I’ve had any number of friends, acquaintances and even people I had never met before ask about the change and what it means. The concerns expressed have been comforting and at the same time encouraging that so many people take a very genuine interest in their hometown paper.
What the change from twice-a-week to weekly publication means, though, is that our ability to survive the current economic downturn is improved. It also means that we are determined to pack as much local news and comment into our weekly format. That’s a promise. And it means that the Press website, www.tracypress.com, will play an increasingly important role in reporting breaking news. The Internet, of course, is becoming a pervasive medium, but we are also aware that not everyone is plugged in, so the printed edition remains essential.
Any constructive comments about how we are doing will be gladly accepted. We know the Press is a private business, but we’re also acutely aware it is Tracy’s hometown newspaper. That we will never forget.
Doin’ the Depot
I was out at “the depot” Friday to see a new commanding officer take over, and the visit reminded me what a major operation is the Defense Distribution Depot San Joaquin — as it is officially known.
For many of us, the closest we usually get to the depot’s inner workings is driving along Chrisman Road.
Last Friday, I drove through the truck entrance to Warehouse 54, where the change of command ceremony was conducted. It is one of the huge warehouses that cover a large part of the 449-acre site off Chrisman Road.
Looking around the interior of just that one warehouse brought home the scope of the operation.
Statistically, what the depot is all about is impressive. Annually, it ships nearly 3.3 million line items valued at $6 billion to military installations around the world — primarily to the Pacific region, but also to war zones such as Afghanistan.
In fact, the new commander, U.S. Marine Col. Adrian Burke, arrived here only a few days before the change of command from Afghanistan, where he was director of logistics for U.S. Forces Afghanistan.
Burke is the fourth Marine to head the depot since it became a Defense Logistics Agency installation in 1963. (Earlier, it had been operated by the Army.) The first Marine commander was Col. Bert Pitcher, who came here in 1980. He was followed immediately the next year by Col. Morris A. “Spud” Miller. Col. Donald Stoner was C.O. in the 1990s.
And no, the change of command was not in the cloth-covered tent-like structures that went up recently along Chrisman Road. Those are for outdoor storage, according to depot spokeswoman Annette Silva.
A touch of Portugal
Have neither the time nor the money to travel to Portugal? The next best thing is attending tonight’s bloodless bullfights behind the Portuguese Hall.
All the pageantry in the bullring — the matadors on foot and on horseback, bulls, young bull-grabbers — is augmented by “Brave Bulls”-style music by the Tracy Portuguese Band and public-address announcements in Portuguese. It’s quite a scene, one of the unique aspects of our town.
• Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by e-mail at email@example.com.