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October 2, 2012 > History: The Union City Leader

History: The Union City Leader

By Myrla Raymundo

Thumbing through the old issues of yellowing copies of The Union City Leader, donated by Newspaper Publisher Dick Folger, I learned a lot of the history of Union City. Dick Folger is well known in Union City as the former Editor and Publisher of The Leader which began October 22, 1959 with significant circulation in Union City and neighboring cities.

Dick was born February 14, 1934 in Indiana; his wife, Pat, was born in San Francisco October 31, 1933. They met as students at San Jose College, in San Jose. He and Pat were married May 18, 1957. Before moving to Hayward, Dick and his family lived in Fremont. In March 1996, Pat went back to school to earn a Masters Degree in Music and performs at senior centers, Hayward School District events and convalescent homes. On Sundays, Dick officiates as a Deacon at masses of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Union City. He was ordained on September 26, 1987. Dick and Pat have six children and ten grandchildren.

The September 22, 1972 issue of the Union City Leader includes an article, 100,000 Ride Bart in First 5 Days. BART General Manager B. R. Stokes is quoted, "We opened Monday with 18 cars in service and were able to put as many as 22 cars in service to handle combined loads of commuters and excursion riders during the week." The article notes, "BART tickets in any amount from 30 cents to $20 are sold by vending machines in each station. The machines dispense a credit-card size, magnetically encoded ticket usable for a single ride or again and again until its value is used up."

Another article of the same date says that the Meyers Sisters donated their ranch for Dry Creek Park: "The seldom seen and often mysterious Meyers sisters of Union City donated a 1,255-acre ranch to the East Bay Regional Park district."

On September 29, 1972, the Union Leader informed readers of Phase 1 of Union City's new downtown getting underway. "William E. Moore, President of Kelly-Moore Paint Company and developer, together with Union City Mayor Don Miller and Chamber of Commerce President Dick Andrade, turned the first spadeful of dirt symbolically breaking ground on Phase 1 construction of Union Square, Union City's new central business district. Union Square is located at the intersection of Decoto and Alvarado-Niles Road. The location is adjacent to Union City's BART station."

In the issue of October 6, 1972, Larry Orozco wrote about football action. "Exploding for 13 points in the first quarter, the Bengals of Union City beat a tough Jet team, 13-8, to remain undefeated thus far (3-0). This had to be the most crucial game of that Saturday's encounters in light flag play."

The same issue announces, "Folgers Opens Doors with Reception Today - Folger Publications, publishers of The Union City Leader, will hold the official grand opening ceremonies at their new location which houses both the business offices and the printing plant at 33333 Western Avenue today at 3 p.m. The firm, under the direction of Richard Folger, has been a part of the Union City community for 13 years as of October 22, 1972."

In May, 1973, after 15 years of publication, the Leader ceased publication but printing and publishing was an integral part of Dick and he returned to the business. FolgerGraphics settled into its present location in Hayward in 1989.

Dick said that when he started the newspaper, the population of Union City was only 6,143; now it is 70,000.

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