Crows Landing could aim for stars
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Nov 21, 2012 | 1035 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ron Swift
Ron Swift
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While passing the time on a recent trip outside the country, I picked up a copy of the International Herald Tribune, the global edition of the New York Times.

And right there in print was the answer to our prayers — a project that would fit well at the former Crows Landing naval air facility some two miles south of Patterson that Stanislaus County plans to convert to industrial use:

A commercial spaceport, one designed to send tourists and payloads into space, right here in Stanislaus County on publicly owned property.

Sound far-fetched? I then read on.

Nine such spaceports are in the planning stages around the country, it was reported, mostly at existing airports. (Crows Landing still has its runways.) Ten others have been proposed.

The states of Texas and Florida have become heavy hitters in attracting developers of such facilities, and Spaceport America is about to complete the first phase of its project at a site in New Mexico.

One official was quoted as saying, “In the next couple to three years, there’s going to be a demonstrative reduction in the cost to launch stuff.”

Spaceport America reportedly has more than 500 sign-ups at $200,000 apiece for its first space flight.

Big business? You bet. The hopeful developer of a site near Brownsville, Texas, predicts annual salaries totaling $50 million. Tourism, major hotels and restaurants would bring in big bucks.

It might be a fledgling industry, but it’s about here. Spaceport America hopes to blast off its initial flight in 2013.

It sure would beat freight cars hauling cargo containers to the Crows Landing site.

I wonder if you can see Patterson’s circular streets from outer space.

A good showing

Despite the lack of publicity in the area’s daily press, the turnout for last week’s Veterans Day ceremony in the downtown park was excellent.

So was the short program organized by the local American Legion post and its Commander Mike Anderson and its Ladies’ Auxiliary.

Beside the general public, the American Heritage Girls, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts were in attendance, many of them participating in the ceremony.

Not only that, but it was a gorgeous day.

Thanks to all who attended to pay tribute to those who have served in our nation’s military. It was one of those small-town occasions that can make us all proud.

Turkey talk

In the past few days, this thought has been circulating via email: “Some generals have been taking orders from their privates.” Some truth to that.

Here’s another of those “must-have” gadgets for Christmas. It’s a projection alarm clock with dual time and weather displays. You set it to project the time and weather, the latter giving both inside and outside temperature and up to a 24-hour forecast, on either the bedroom ceiling or a wall. That way, you don’t have to roll over to check the time or even look out the window to see if it’s raining. All for less than $100 (well, actually $99.99). Should be a hot item this season. Isn’t technology wonderful?

Another email pointed out that Thanksgiving is the one time when big thighs are a good thing.

More learning

A couple of months ago, Fast Talk gave readers desiring to further their education a couple of questions to answer. The correct answers were to appear the following week, but didn’t.

It took an out-of-state call last weekend to point out this lack of follow-through. So here are both the questions and the answers.

n What does a clock do when it’s hungry? It goes back four seconds.

n How does Moses make his coffee? Hebrews it.

I truly apologize for keeping you hanging. (You were, weren’t you?) A program of continuing education is important.

For the sports fan

An undefeated year on the gridiron is indeed a very rare thing.

The Atlanta Falcons found this out. So did Alabama, Oregon and Kansas State in the college ranks. And how about top-ranked and undefeated Placer, loser to Escalon last weekend, as well as the Ripon Indians?

Can Notre Dame finish unbeaten? Ohio State, which is bowl-ineligible, has a better shot.

And finally…

After elections, the winners celebrate and the losers lick their wounds. And then life goes on, continuing to give us reasons to be thankful we live in a country of many freedoms.

So on Thursday, give thanks.

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

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