Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Time for another party

When I looked at the Talk Around Town blog and saw it's been three months since I wrote a posting here, I was startled.

The Apricot Fiesta is a memory, the summer quickly past us by and the Stanislaus County Fair recorded another successful run. Now, as Labor Day Weekend approaches, Patterson is gearing up to celebrate its 100th birthday with a big bash this weekend.

The weekend will present a century of history and of memories.

A dedicated group of individuals has been working diligently over the past few years to bring us class reunions, home tours, Patterson High tours, Patterson Cemetery tours and plenty of food and beverages for the celebration. A hsitorical play is also in the works for folks to find out a bit of history in an hour.

Former Patterson residents will return for the weekend to visit with classmates, families and friends. It is going to be great fun! See you downtown for all the festivities.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ready for Patterson's Big Party

Just some random thoughts for Fiesta and graduation week:

Memorial Day: The local veterans, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, do a great job every Memorial Day out at the cemetery. Flags and crosses decorate the graves of those who served in the military. The Avenue of Flags — large flags lining the roadways — is a sight to behold.
Folks gather to remember those who have died and to honor the men and women who have served our country. The ceremony includes music, prayer and the playing of Taps.
The crowd is a cordial one and plenty of time is spent visiting. Then, Tom and I walk along the road to visit the gravesites of relatives and friends who have gone before us.
There is a saying, "Freedom isn't free" and that is so true.

The sadness of the beginning of the week gives way to joy as the days go on.
Joy and delight for those who are moving on from middle school to high school and others who are making the jump from high school out into the world.
It's Graduation time!
Parties and barbecues abound and it is a time for celebrating.
Stay safe.

The long-awaited Patterson Apricot Fiesta is upon us... for the 39th time. Can you believe it!?
This fun-filled weekend has something for everyone — rides for the kids, plenty of food and drink for adults. There are lots of craft and commerical booths for shoppers. The perfect weather and slow economy did keep people close to home last year.
The combination of the two resulted in the biggest Fiesta ever.
See you downtown!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Jaguar's Jungle doings

It's been busy over at Apricot Valley Elementary School. The afterschool program, named Jaguar's Jungle, had a Career Day in March.

Among the presenters were Patterson District Ambulance Co. paramedics Craig Scott and Brandon Lima. The two paramedics described what children should do when an ambulance is on the road.

Get out of the way, get off the street and pull over to the right, students learned.

Students also learned when they call emergency number 9-1-1 they should give their name, address of where the emergency is and information about what is happening.

Otis Walton, a physicist from Lawrence Livermore Lab, told the children about static electricity and work he is doing for NASA. Kids used balloons and rubbed them in their hair to make static electricity. Walton also explained Project Dust, where he and a group of scientists went to Colorado for a weekend and studied and tested robotic vehicles speeding over the sand.

Other presenters included a pharmasict, veterinary tech, school nurse, nail technician and waitress.

Career Day is popular and an annual event at the afterschool program.

"We do this every year, " said Lauren Soto-Figueroa, coordinator. "We want to show the kids different ooportunities they can pursue with or without college."

Maggie, age 8 and a third grader said it was interesting. "I want to be a vet because I like animals."

Joey, age 9 and in fourth grade, said. "It's fun. I've never done this before."

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hosting an exchange student

Over the years, my family has hosted exchange students. Seven teens at last count. Teenagers from other lands come to the United States to learn about our culture and customs and tour California.

We've hosted six female students and one male. Two from Japan, three from Italy and two from France. Our dear Pika lived with us for a school year and is like a daughter to us. All from different exchange student companies.

The latest student, Jovana, was part of the French group who lived in Patterson from Feb. 16 to 25. It certainly was a pleasure having Jovana in our home. Tom and I really enjoy the hosting experience.

The local host families stayed in close touch throughout the 10 days the teens were here. Certainly, we formed a bond among the families and the teens.

This great group of French teens ranged in age from 14 to 17. Denise Miller coordinated Patterson host families and students while Sarah Panerra of Newman placed students in families there. There were 11 girls, 4 guys, and two teachers on the West Side.

The French group took day trips to Turlock, Tracy, Modesto, San Francisco(twice) and Sacramento. Denise alternated a short trip day, then long trip day, etc.

The lone weekend was spent with the host family. Just as luck would have it, I got the flu on the Friday afternoon.

Our original weekend plans had to be changed. Tom took Jovana to the Pleasanton Mall, a Modesto dairy and for a ride on the firetruck on Saturday. They toured the Winchester Mystery House on Sunday. I could not move a muscle.

All in all it did work out and now we e-mail each other. Jovana is back at home and back to school in Paris.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ushering in an era of hope and change

A peaceful transfer of power

The world watched Tuesday as Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States ushering in a new era driven by the words "hope"and "change."

Obama, son of a white woman from the United States and a black man from Kenya in Africa, recited his oath of office in front of more than 1 million people present in Washington D.C. and countless others watching from around the world.

The United States once more, as it has in its long history, had a peaceful transfer of power. Peaceful and gracious, as former President George Bush and First Lady Laura Bush welcomed the Obama family to the nation's capital over the last few weeks.

Obama brings a diverse background, young family and a drive to work towards a better America to the seat of government in Washington, D.C.

Local residents speak out

I spoke to some Patterson residents this week and most were ready to support their new leader.
Kristina Santos, president of the West Side Democratic Committee, said the group had an inauguration party Tuesday night at a local home.

"It was a wonderful day and it is a new America," Santos said. "There's a spirit of unity that was evident in all the people who came to Washington, D.C. to celebrate with joy. There's a new feeling of confidence and hope in our government that conditions in our country and our relationships around the world improve."

Retiree Sandy Mc Dowell got up early Tuesday morning to listen to all the "hoopla" as she called it.

"It was truly thrilling to see the crowds and realize some of the intense planning and preparation for this inauguration," McDowell said. "Seeing all those people — they were just so enthusiastic. They even showed 'clips' of people around the country and around the world."

Changes in our nation

Two local women of color have seen changes in our nation in the past few years.

“It was the second most historical moment that I can remember, " said Juanzette Hunter. "The first being Nov. 4 with him winning the election. And by getting the younger and older ones who never voted before the possibility of hope and change. It was a personal thing for me being from the South and seeing the changes in the world from a child till present. "

Hunter added the thought that now we all need to work together for a better future.

"If all the politicians and us common people work together, we probably could see a change quicker," Hunter said. "I’m very happy to be a part of history so I can tell my grandchildren one day. And my great-grandchildren because I’m going to be around then too."

Cerise Grice and her husband, Andre, took the day off from work so they could watch every moment of the inauguration. Cerise also made sure students in her children’s classrooms were watching. Daughter Simone toured the nation's capital this summer first hand through a leadership conference.

Simone, age 11, said President Obama is a great leader and a role model.

"He wants to help the economy by getting people back to work and keep them in their homes," Simone said. "He's inspired people to believe that our challenges will be met."

Her mother is also confident the nation will move on to brighter days.

"I have been supportive of his(Obama's ) campaign and his approach moving our country forward, " Grice said. "I’m a native of Chicago and I’ve known him since his appointment to the state senate of Illinois."

Grice said Obama has engaged youth in the political process and it transends all factions — beyond race, gender and religion.

"Even though my daughter is not of age to vote she understands our government leadership process," Grice said. "That's what I love about his speech, it was so encouraging reminding us we are one people and one nation."

Veterans support new leader

Retiree and war veteran Wade Norris watched the televised events.

"It was a great inauguration — attendance broke a world record," Norris said. "Barack Obama says he's for change. He's got a plate full. We all wish him luck. I believe he's going to make a good president."

Gene Carter, another war veteran, is willing to give Obama a chance.

"He did a very good job on his inauguration speech," Carter said "I think he's going to do a heck of a job as president."

Associated Press photos

Monday, January 19, 2009

A time to look ahead

Tomorrow a new U.S. President— Barack Obama — will take the oath of office in Washington, D.C.

People from throughout the world will watch, along with Americans, as our new leader begins his four-year journey.

Obama takes over from George Bush and will inherit the long litany of problems including war, economy, foreclosures, health care and the stock market — just to name a few.
The task ahead is massive as we have heard through television, radio, computer and newspapers.
As president-elect, Obama began work a few months ago and is ready to hit the ground running this week. Along with Joe Biden, his new vice-president, and with a new team of leaders, Obama will takle all the issues — all enormous.

One bright note is the White House will have a young family — Michelle, Sasha and Malia Obama and Michelle's mother. Their news will focus on the every day — from what singers and entertainers they like to what puppy will live in the family home.

Every day distractions are welcome ones at that help balance the messages of doom and gloom we are bombarded with every day.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A new beginning

As we turn the pages of the calendar, we start a New Year and a new beginning. The year stretches ahead of us with hopes of better, healthier more prosperous times than in 2008.

We remain optimistic that 2009 will bring a stable economy, affordable home prices for all, food on the table for families and jobs for those who need them.

It is tough to stay optimistic when we turn on the TV and hear all about the doom and gloom throughout the globe. The stories from throughout the United States citing failing banks, businesses, corporations and needed bailouts have shaken consumer confidence. Stores closed and people lost their jobs.

Here in Patterson numerous individuals, businesses and clubs have stepped forth to help those less fortunate. A new group, named Project HOPE(Helping Our People Eat) has taken root. Organizers want to assure those folks who need it have food during the winter months. There's always a spike in giving at holiday time and it levels off the rest of the winter.

Project HOPE folks will start a food drive to fill the shelves of local food pantries in the next week or so. Hopefully, food collected will last the food pantries through the spring when job prospects should be much brighter.

When Project HOPE volunteers come knocking at your door please give generously. There will be drop off boxes stationed throughout businesses and one can leave the donations there also.

Let's all keep pulling together for those in need no matter what the season.