Rescuing the Patterson-Westley Chamber of Commerce
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Apr 08, 2014 | 1084 views | 0 0 comments | 129 129 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Effort is currently being made to resuscitate the Patterson-Westley Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber has been on life support the last several years. Without a part-time paid staff member, an office and even a telephone number, times have been tough.

Several years ago the local chamber found itself deeply in debt. Strong effort was put forth, money was raised by special events, and the business organization pulled itself into the black by its boot straps.

But since then, being unable to serve its members without a paid staffer, the chamber’s numbers have declined sharply. New businesses have not been welcomed to town and in other ways acknowledged, socials have not been held, communication has been lacking, and convincing members to serve on its board of directors has been a major challenge.

Let’s face it: Business owners and managers are busy people. In a community such as Patterson that has more than tripled in size in the past 25 years, the effort level for them to remain successful has risen sharply. That’s why a paid staffer is so important to becoming successful and having continuity.

And Patterson isn’t alone with this problem. The West Side communities of Newman and Gustine have had their chambers fade away to nothing; sad but true.

But a flicker of hope remains here in Patterson. Hopefully you’ll be hearing more about our business organization in the near future.


California government could come to a screeching halt.

What if the state Senate keeps suspending members who are charged with corruption of one type or another? It could reach the point of not being able to raise a quorum.


I always read the letters to the editor in the Irrigator. Whether they are thought-provoking, maddening, fuzzy or even incomprehensible, I read ’em all.

Last week Paul de Landa wrote a clever one that also made some good points. But Paul, my attention was called to your opening sentence:

“After living 10 years in your (italics added) fair city …”

Alas, Paul, give in and become one of us. You are here, welcomed and appreciated. Except for a few Native American Yocuts, we or our ancestors all moved to Patterson at one time or another. Not even the early Patterson family called this community their permanent home.

But let’s hope you do. Soon.


Newspaper these days need to save money wherever they can. Here’s my suggestion to the Modesto Bee.

Regarding those mug shots used regularly of men and women suspected of vehicle theft: Just use the same photos over and over. They all look the same to me.


Counting on one’s fingers and toes is dangerous once you get past 20. That was the case in last week’s forgettable Fast Talk.

Not only did I have one age wrong, but two! Let’s set it right.

Florence Perry Cogswell turned 102 on April 3, while Aileen Cabral was 103 in late March. Last week I cheated each of them out of a year.

If I ever turn 100 and someone cheated me out of a year, I’d be upset. So my apologies to both.

And here’s a report about Dorothy Wiesendanger, who lives far up Del Puerto Canyon and who regularly reads this newspaper.

She’s out of a care facility after suffering a broken bone and regularly has lunch at Mil’s when being brought down the hill by son Bert to visit the doctor.

My fingers and toes tell me she will be 104 on May 7. Yep, born in 1910. Got it right.

And then there’s Laurence Kolding. He admits to turning 95 this past Sunday. Or was it 59? Only Laurence knows for sure.


After a certain age, the body begins to inform us of our infirmities. Right? Just rolling over in bed can cause the joints to sound off.

In the middle of one recent night, HM (Housemate) suddenly tapped me on the shoulder.

“I just heard a creak on the stairs,” she whispered with alarm.

I just shrugged it off. I knew what she heard.

We live in a one-story house.


Would you agree that waving an advertising sign in front of a business must be about the world’s worst job? Right down there with coal miners, except above ground.

And does it bring in business? It hasn’t yet attracted me.


Congratulations to Patterson High senior Jovanah Arrington who has been named to the Modesto Bee’s all-district basketball team. She paced the Tigers to a heady 26-6 record and their second consecutive unbeaten league championship.

Interesting, all of the six all-district honorees, including player of the year Lexi Tubbs of Modesto Christian, are under 6-foot. All six are guards and all are seniors except Stephanie Moore, also of Modesto Christian. She’s only a sophomore.

Jovanah was named MVP of the Western Athletic Conference, while Mele Tupouata made the first all-league team and both Shealyn Craven and Dayna Hansen the second. Patterson’s Elizabeth Tolleson was honored as coach of the year.

And let’s not forget to congratulate Tiger Jordan Levu, and all-league WAC first team selection.


You’re getting old when “getting lucky” is finding your car in the parking lot.

By the way, do you remember those small pencil sharpeners we used to carry around in our pockets? If so, then you are probably over 50.

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

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