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It’s rootin’ tootin’ Rose Sale time

by DEVIN WEEKS
Staff Writer | August 15, 2020 1:07 AM

Rotary floral fundraiser starting early, roses on sale now

COEUR d’ALENE — A gang of masked bandits interrupted the Coeur d'Alene Rotary Club meeting Friday in The Coeur d'Alene Resort.

"President Luke, this here is a stickup," gang leader "Mo Whiskey" hollered above the hubbub. “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate. Alright bandits, somebody tie up this pretty boy will ya? Don't mess up his hair, though."

"Oh yeah, let's get him!" one bandit cried.

Wearing bandannas around their faces and ropes in hand, the "Rosy Bottom Bandits" marched right up to Rotary President Luke Russell and tied him to a chair, stealing his bell and gavel and replacing them with a pan and wooden spoon.

Mo Whiskey — actually Rotary member Mark Wilson — and his shady sidekicks took over the meeting, announcing the early start of the 2020 Rotary Rose Sale.

"We are here to relieve President Luke of his highly coveted bell and gavel," Wilson said into a microphone. "And we are going to hold onto that until you and this highfalutin club of yours pays the ransom."

The ransom: To sell more roses than last year.

"We all know we gotta get better every year at what we do, right? We practice that as bandits, we gotta get better every year, don't we?" Wilson asked his sidekicks, who whooped in response.

"That's what you gotta do, that's the ransom," he said.

He explained to the group of chuckling Rotarians why reaching this goal is so important.

"Because there are a lot of good people out there that are counting on you to do that and raise that money," Wilson said. "This money does a lot of good in this community, helps a lot of organizations that are helping a lot of people. And they're counting on you to do that."

Starting with the first sale in 1990, the Rotary Rose Sale has raised $912,910 thanks to hard-working, community-minded Rotarians who work in teams to sell as many bouquets as they can to give all the money to nonprofits and causes including Kootenai Health, Panhandle Health District, first-responders, food banks and so many more.

The club's other major fundraiser, Coeur d'Irish, was canceled in the spring, making the Rose Sale even more critical to Rotary's mission to positively impact the community.

"Our Rose Sale is our largest fundraiser that supports opening doors and delivering a lasting impact to our community," Russell said. "Over the past five years, the Coeur d'Alene Rotary Club has given more than $250,000 back to the community, and just as importantly, these roses warm the hearts of both the givers and receivers."

Rose Sale Chairwoman Lucinda Ade said the club had initial concerns about how roses would be delivered amid the pandemic, "but we have a plan in place to keep both our Rotarians and our recipients safe."

Last year, the club sold more than 1,400 dozen roses, breaking previous records. Members are ready to set yet another record this year.

Roses will be delivered Oct. 2.

Roses are $28 per dozen ($20 is tax deductible to the purchaser). To order, contact any Coeur d'Alene Rotary member by Aug. 31, or atlbade48@gmail.com or 208-651-6164.

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The "Rosy Bottom Bandits" bound away after highjacking Coeur d'Alene Rotary President Luke Russel's bell and gavel and tying him to a chair during the club's meeting Friday. Roses are available for purchaase now through the end of August and will be delivered Oct. 2. (DEVIN WEEKS/Press)

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Coeur d’Alene Rotary Club President Luke Russell reacts to being tied up by “bandits” as the club launches its annual Rotary Rose Sale on Friday. Roses can be ordered through Aug. 31.

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Kimber "Bullseye Kimmy" Gates and daughter "Shoot 'Em Up" Annie Travis on Friday gallop away from a fun presentation announcing the start of the Coeur d'Alene Rotary Club's 2020 Rose Sale. (DEVIN WEEKS/Press)