Be community minded today, and every day in Tahoe (opinion) |

Be community minded today, and every day in Tahoe (opinion)

Heidi Hill Drum
Tribune Opinion Columnist

Community — it’s a social group, of any size, whose members live is a specific place and share government, culture and history.

In Tahoe we have many communities such as the City of South Lake Tahoe, California, and Incline Village, Nevada — two very different towns in separate states. Yet, they are both in the regional community of Lake Tahoe.

The Tahoe Prosperity Center looks at Tahoe as one region. Our efforts at improving Tahoe’s prosperity are focused on economic, environmental and community development that will have long-lasting positive impact for our residents.

Tahoe’s regional issues are big — housing, workforce, redevelopment and transportation among others. These concern all of Tahoe’s communities even though solutions may be implemented differently in Tahoe City, California, than they are in Stateline, Nevada. We all have our part in improving Tahoe, but there are many leaders, too numerous to mention in this column, that embody the spirit of true community. One local person is deserving of a little shout out this month, however.

Ted Kennedy is a partner in California Burger (and Azul and Basecamp Pizza) and is a community superstar. He runs successful businesses and takes care of his employees. He also gives back with donation nights at each of the restaurants. He and his employees volunteer with Christmas Cheer and other local nonprofit organizations. And on Aug. 1, because of the horrible events in Dallas and Baton Rouge, he is providing free meals to our local police officers and their families. Yes — you read that correctly. If you are a police officer/law enforcement officer, you and your family will be treated to a free meal at California Burger, Beach House at Lakeside Beach or the Beer Garden in the Basecamp Hotel on Aug. 1. Now, if you know Ted this is not surprising. He gives back in countless ways. But with all the negativity out there in our community about vacation homes, the Loop Road, or Stateline versus California, Ted is a wonderful reminder of why we live here — that true sense of community and taking care of each other.

Of course there are many other examples. We’ve all attended fundraisers for friends dealing with health issues or the tragic and unexpected loss of a loved one. The Tahoe Tribe comes together when tragedy strikes as we did nine years ago during the Angora Fire. But, what the Tahoe Prosperity Center wants to do, and what we see exemplified in Ted, is to build that sense of community into everything we do all year — not just when something bad happens. A sense of community is how we will make positive changes for the better for all who live here.

Let’s follow Ted’s example and support our hard working police by thanking them for all they do. And while we’re at it, let’s do the same for our firefighters, teachers, dishwashers, waiters, front-line retail staff, housekeepers and your neighbors. Invite them to dinner. Be a part of improving our community rather than being in the “us versus them” camp.

Tahoe has so many wonderful examples — concerts and paddle events on the lake, TAMBA trail days (and parties), the beer garden at the beautifully renovated Basecamp Hotel after a concert, family beach dinners and all the fun with American Century Championship Golf here this week. These are just a few of Tahoe’s unique community activities that we all love.

No matter what issue we’re all working to solve, I hope we remember the fun and spirit of Tahoe and be more positive, thoughtful and community-minded to help our communities thrive.

Heidi Hill Drum is the executive director of the Tahoe Prosperity Center, a Tahoe Basin-wide organization dedicated to uniting Tahoe’s communities to strengthen regional prosperity. She has expertise in collaborative governance and is a 20-year resident of Tahoe. Heidi, with her husband John, are happily raising their two boys in South Lake Tahoe.

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