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November 4, 2010
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Tahoe governing board spokesman Dennis Oliver dies from brain virus

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Dennis Oliver — the Incline Village resident who made a name for himself for his unwavering passion for Lake Tahoe and its surrounding environment — died Wednesday night following a serious, month-long illness.

He was 47.

Oliver, the public information officer for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, was an extremely valued employee over the last three and a half years, said TRPA Executive Director Joanne Marchetta.

“Dennis’s love for Lake Tahoe combined with his superlative writing skills made him an exceptional spokesperson for our agency and we are deeply saddened over his loss,” Marchetta said.

Oliver relocated to Lake Tahoe from the Bay Area in 2007. He was a key team member of the successful campaign for a ballot initiative to raise funds for fuel reduction work in the Douglas County portion of the Tahoe Basin and was recently a board member of the Sustainable Tahoe Congress, according to TRPA.

“Dennis made a major impact on Lake Tahoe during his time here,” said Julie Regan, external affairs director and Oliver’s supervisor and colleague. “We will remember his laughter, his extraordinary talents and especially his unwavering commitment to Lake Tahoe’s restoration.”

In addition to his work with TRPA, Oliver ran for the Incline Village General Improvement District during the June 8 primary. He did not receive enough votes to move on to the general election.

He referred to his primary loss this summer as a success because he got some residents and voters “focusing on the future and letting go of the past,” according to a June interview.

“His passion for environment and the Lake Tahoe Basin came out in everything he did and everything he said,” said Bill Horn, IVGID general manager, on Thursday. “He will genuinely be missed.”

Oliver spent more than 27 years as a reporter, editor, writer, instructor and communications professional. He covered environmental policy, investigative news and special projects for the Oakland Tribune for three years. He also worked for six years as the director of communications for California Alliance for Jobs where he focused on promoting public infrastructure work for two California labor unions.

Impassioned for nature and the outdoors, Oliver also authored two regional travel, nature and outdoor guides, “Inside Out Northern California” (1999) and “Camping! Northern California” (2001).

He earned a bachelor of arts at Saint Mary’s College of California.

Oliver supported the arts and enjoyed painting in his spare time. He was also an avid poker player and supported many charitable poker tournaments at local casinos.

Memorial services are currently being scheduled.

Staff members at TRPA are initiating an arts and environmental education fund in his memory. For additional information, contact Jeff Cowen, TRPA community liaison at 775-589-5278 or send an e-mail to

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Nov 5, 2010 12:19PM Published Nov 4, 2010 03:47PM Copyright 2010 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.