Irrigator enters new era with sale
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Nov 29, 2012 | 879 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ron Swift
Ron Swift
Did you notice a change in last week’s Irrigator?

Of course many readers noticed, but for the few who didn’t, I’ll elaborate.

Listed as the new co-publishers of this newspaper, right there in fine print on Page 14, were Ralph Alldredge and Will Fleet.

Alldredge, a Bay Area attorney, has owned the Calaveras Enterprise, published in San Andreas, for a number of years, while Fleet has until recently served as publisher of the Fresno Bee. Fleet’s experience also includes community newspapers in smaller cities similar to Patterson.

The two acquired not only the Irrigator, but also the Tracy Press and the Scotts Valley Banner. Beginning with last week’s editions, the three are being printed in a plant in Galt. (With the exception of a five-year span, the Irrigator had been printed in Tracy since late 1964.) Other newspaper functions are expected to continue in the Irrigator’s downtown Patterson facility.

As is common with most changes of ownership, readers can expect changes in this newspaper, too. Some may be small and not necessarily perceptible to readers, others may be phased in over a period of time, and still others may be announced after the new publishers get a feel for our community.

In the meantime, let’s give co-publishers Ralph and Will a warm Patterson welcome.

A repeat of 50 years ago

Here’s a question for you: What makes most of 2012 the same as 50 years ago — 1962?

In the event you might not remember, the days of the week and the dates were the same each year, except for the months of January and February. That exception is caused by 2012 being a leap year.

But I remember 1962 very well. Thanksgiving fell on Nov. 22, just as it did this year. And I observed the holiday while driving to Prineville, Ore., to get married.

The wedding ceremony was performed on Saturday evening, Nov. 24, after which HM (not yet a Housemate, as we hadn’t yet lived together) and I drove nearly 200 miles to Klamath Falls, Ore. The next day was a Sunday, and we drove 400 more so I could be back to work at the Irrigator bright and early Monday morning, Nov. 26.

And here I sit — exactly 50 years later to the day and on the same date, Nov. 26 — lamenting about the coincidence while staring at a dang monitor. It was on this date 50 years ago that I banged out the story of my own wedding for this newspaper, and I did it on Ol’ Blackie, which was to become my faithful manual typewriter for 40 years.

These days, Ol’ Blackie and I spend our afternoons together in Patterson’s downtown museum, where I serve as curator and O.B. just sets there looking regal and sometimes dusty. We occasionally discuss some fond memories, which keep each of us going.

Which brings up another question: Do newspaper hacks sometimes write their own obituaries (in advance, of course)?

Yes, it has been done, and no, I haven’t finished mine yet.

Back to the books

In keeping with Fast Talk’s policy of offering continuing education for those readers desiring self-improvement, a spot quiz will now be given. (You may grade yourself.)

Q: Why did the iPod owner change its name to Titanic?

A: It started syncing.

Q: Why was the guy addicted to brake fluid not worried?

A: He knew he could stop any time.

Q: Why did the student drop out of a class on communism?

A: Because of lousy Marx.

Please be advised (or forewarned) — this quiz will continue next week.

For the sports fan

Most basketball fans have read about a Grinnell College (Iowa) player scoring 138 points in a 179-104 win early last week.

That player was Jack Taylor, who’s just a sophomore at the four-year college. Just wait until he gains some experience and maybe he will top his record-setting performance against Faith Baptist College, another Iowa school.

Taylor, it was reported, took an amazing 108 shots from all over the floor, including 71 from 3-point range (he made 27 of those, 38 percent, which isn’t exactly having a hot hand). What is amazing is that he averaged a shot every 20 seconds.

But that isn’t all. Remember this name: David Larson. He dropped in 70 points for Faith Baptist in a losing effort, breaking his school’s record of 47.

Taylor, it should be noted, sat out about four minutes. Tiredness, I assume.

And finally…

Many of us are more than glad the presidential election is history. But will our national problems get solved?

And some, after the first of the year, expect a real earthquake in Washington, D.C. It will obviously be the government’s fault.

You did see that coming, didn’t you?

Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at

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