Mary Ross, with a mouthful of a job title as Chief Fiscal & Administrative Officer for Nevada County’s Information & General Services Department and County Purchasing Agent, was looking for a way to get more involved in the community outside of government itself.
She knows she could have helped out any one of the area’s non-profits by volunteering for their board of directors. Instead, she says she chose an organization that can help them all.
Five years later, she is President of KVMR 89.5 FM's Board of Directors.
"KVMR touches everyone doing good work in the community," Ross explained. "I value that. Besides, I just love the station."
And summer marks the time when other potential board members are recruited for terms beginning in the fall.
"We're looking for people with experience in fundraising, marketing, law, non-profit organizations, or public relations," Mary noted. "We're seeking people who are passionate about KVMR and independent media."
After spending much of her time on the Board working on KVMR’s building project, "I'm hoping to soon turn my attention to recruiting and mentoring new board members," she said, inviting those interested to contact her at email@example.com.
Keeping independent media alive and thriving is becoming "more essential every day because of media consolidation and the influence of corporate interests on programming,” according to Ross.
The former Stanford University research administrator and one-time charter school principal has been at ground zero of the non-commercial radio station's work to build a new home for KVMR and a backstage addition to the adjoining Nevada Theatre in downtown Nevada City.
Ross is a founding trustee of the Bridge Street Trust, which will manage the property as the new facility heads toward completion.
"We were fortunate to have arranged financing to complete the building on schedule," she said. “Now that everyone who passes by can see the incredible improvement this building brings to our city’s landscape, I hope the enthusiasm that I hear every day will inspire visits to our website www.bridgestreetproject.org to support it.”
In fact, Mary notes there are still opportunities for rooms or even the whole building to be named by contributors, and pledges for contributions payable over five years are welcome.
And how did she get interested in living here?
"The natural beauty, the small town feeling, and it seemed like—and has proven to be—a great place to raise our boys."
She and husband Steve, a computer programmer, have two sons, Miles, 24, and Gabriel, 17. Miles, aka Psy Fi, will be performing this Friday at the Stonehouse in Nevada City. (Hey, a mom's got to plug her kid's shows.)
But it's a mom who has had a lifetime love of the medium, beginning with a transistor radio shaped like a Schlitz beer can she got from her father. “Dad sold Schlitz. It made perfect sense in my family for a nine year old to have a beer can radio,” Ross smiled.
"And one of these days the alter ego of my no-nonsense government official self wants to have a radio show called 'Bad Girl Blues'."
Guitar Wiz Tells All
Tommy Emmanuel will talk about his career and his intricate guitar style on The Fat Music Show Monday at 1 p.m. (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming), with highlights of his recent Center for the Arts performance as well.