Rotarians pocket a cool $7,500 at casino fundraiser for community
by: Rick Swart, Bruce Shoemaker (top photo), president of the Columbia County Rotary, spent the evening dealing cards.

Gamblers came out in force Saturday night to compete for prizes and bragging rights at the Columbia County Rotary Club's annual Casino Night at the St. Helens Elks Club. Approximately 150 people attended the annual fundraising event, which made a profit of $7,500. Proceeds from the event are used to fund local community programs as well as vocational scholarships, which are awarded each year to graduating seniors at Scappoose, St. Helens and Rainier high schools.

At Casino Night each player started with $30 worth of script and tried to win as much as possible in a three-hour session, with the top earners taking home prizes donated by the club and local businesses. Trevor Peniuk from Scappoose parlayed $30 worth of script into $9,000 of winnings to claim a flat-screen TV.

Bonnie Moss was second with winnings of $6,000 and took home a poker table for her efforts. Buck Tuppers edged out Scappoose Mayor Scott Burge for third-place honors and won a barbecue grill. Christine Smith, who is pictured at the craps table rolling the dice, won the door prize - a dinner cruise on the Portland Spirit riverboat and a night on the town in Portland. In all, more than $2,500 worth of prizes were given away or sold in a silent auction.

Club members, who donned green top hats and green ties in celebration of St. Patrick's Day and 'luck of the Irish,' prepared for the event by learning how to run casino games.

The Columbia County Rotary Club has 40 members and meets at noon on Wednesdays at Creekside Center in St. Helens.

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