Rose Shasha Neal

May 21, 1925 - March 5, 2018

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Rose Shasha Neal, 92 years old of San Bernardino, formerly of Downey passed away peacefully on March 5, 2018 at 11:50 p.m.

Memorial dinner to honor her will be at Buca di Beppo in Huntington Beach at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday March 24, 2018.  Please call Linda 949-331-3411 to reserve seating.

Rose is interred at Riverside National Cemetery at 22495 Van Buren Blvd, Riverside, CA 92518.
Rose was born in Pennsylvania to Joseph and Bertha Shasha on 5/21/25.  She moved to Downey when she was eight years old and lived most of her life in Downey.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Harold Neal who passed away on February 14, 2003.

 Rose is survived by her sons, Michael Neal of Downey and Alan Neal of Huntington Beach and her daughters, Linda Hill and her husband, Brad Malinowski of San Bernardino and Tammy Ford and her husband, Kenny Ford of Las Vegas, NV.  She is also survived by her grandchildren, James Hill, Veronika Hill, Matthew Neal, Samantha Gonzales, Melissa Neal, Michelle Neal, Joshua Neal, Brian Ford, Jacob Ford, Tyler Ford and her great grandchildren, Mariah, Connor, Adam aka “Billy,” Ian, Liliana, Aliyah, Fox, Gennivesia and Jocelyn,  her sister-in-law, Josephine Shasha of Long Beach, her brother-in-law, Robert Neal of Oakland and many nieces and nephews.

Rose spent many years caring for all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren, potty training each and every one and teaching them all to read.

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In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Operation Smile, 3641 Faculty Boulevard, Virginia Beach, VA 23453 in the name of Rose Neal.

Letter to the Editor: Traffic in north Downey

Dear Editor:

We reside in the area of north Downey and we have loved living here for over 20 years. 

Since they have added the new condos and food establishments, there has been so much more traffic. We go out around 2:30 or 3 p.m. and it’s like you can’t get through Gallatin and Lakewood. Gridlock is always an issue, people are so disrespectful, they don’t care about following the laws and go through the striped lines after the freeway entrance going north. 

U-turns and left-hand turns are being made constantly going southbound on Lakewood when they can’t or don’t want to wait for the left hand turning lane on Gallatin. Another issue is the way is traffic allowed to make a U-turn when people are trying to turn right. All these people are normally just going to McDonald’s. There are two entrances to the 5 freeway, they need to figure it out. The U-turn should be eliminated. 

I really don’t know what the solution should be for these major traffic jams, but come summer, or Christmas holidays, it’s only going to get worse. 

With all these new housing structures and less parking, and no one looking at synchronization of the traffic lights, we are going to constantly be stuck in traffic at these locations. Firestone and Florence are no better either. 

Let’s get help or put traffic cops out there to look at the people that are violating the traffic laws. As we go around the community, all we see are more condos being built and people just coming in and not following traffic laws.

M. Contreras

Letter to the Editor: Homelessness meeting

Dear Editor:

I’m concerned about the sound of this town hall meeting regarding the homeless hosted by the police and Mayor Pro Tem Rick Rodriguez. (“Police to Discuss Homelessness at March 22 Meeting,” 3/8/18)

It sounds a little like a discussion about criminalizing the homeless. Like a vigilante posse of people who are fed up with the unsightly property devaluing by poor people living outside their homes, apartment buildings, parks and riverbeds. 

While some homeless people exhibit anti-social behavior, not everyone is the stereotypical shopping cart schizophrenic, or Megan’s law sex offender. (In fact, most of those registered sex offenders, at least 98%, are housed here in the city.)

Some homeless people are just regular folks who have the misfortune of living in a society where housing is not considered a basic inalienable human right. And gentrification in the neighborhood has pushed out affordable housing.

Remember, the American Civil Liberties Union is just a phone call away from a class action lawsuit. So I hope this is a meeting about compassion for the homeless who obey the law. 

And while we’re at it, maybe we could push out some of those Megan’s law sex offenders who live comfortably sheltered here in Downey.

Garett Bell

Commerce councilman to challenge Cristina Garcia in Assembly race

 Facebook photo

Facebook photo

DOWNEY – Ivan Altamirano has announced his intent to run for the 58th Assembly District.
The son of immigrant parents, 44-year-old Altamirano currently serves as Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Commerce.

Altamirano was appointed to City Council in 2012 to fill a vacant seat. He previously served as a Planning Commissioner.

“I didn’t have any political ties,” said Altamirano. “I filled out the application during one of the council meetings. They interviewed 23 of us and they chose me.”

He says he “hit the ground running.”

“Within three months I created something huge in our city…it’s called the Citadel Express Shuttle,” said Altamirano. “It’s a natural gas bus, and what it does is it travels from the Commerce Casino, to the Citadel, and then it goes to Union Station, L.A. Live, Staples Center, Bonaventure, major hotels and back every day. It became so successful that now we have two busses; one in Downtown and one in LA, and ridership is free.”

He was reelected for the first time in 2013, and once more last year.

Before taking that responsibility, however, Altamirano had a bit of a rough past.

“City of Commerce in the late 80’s and early 90’s, it became gang infested,” said Altamirano. “What happened was all of my friends started to join gangs…so I had no choice, they forced me into the gang and I got into a lot of trouble as a teen.”

Altamirano says that by the time he was 16, he was on probation. By 17, his first baby had been born. He dropped out of high school and ended up in juvenile hall.

“I had to really make a decision,” said Altamirano. “I started to look at the future and I started to see what has been happening with my friends…I said ‘I cannot do this.’”

From there, Altamirano went to Los Angeles Trade Tech, earning a GD and AS degree. He eventually started his own air conditioning and heating business and has since started buying investment homes in the City of Commerce.

“I know what it is to fail forward,” says Altamirano.

He is currently married with three children.

Now looking towards State Assembly, Altamirano says that his initial plan was to run several years down the line out of respect, however current circumstances surrounding the District have expedited his decision.

“Our goal was to run in four years,” said Altamirano. “It was the lack of representation and lack of leadership in our district. We felt compelled to run, to go out there and bring what the Southeast needs.”

He is running as a Democrat.

The 58th District consists of nine cities, including Artesia, Bell Gardens, Bellflower, Cerritos, Commerce, Downey, Montebello, Norwalk, and Pico Rivera.

Altamirano says he “understands these cities.”

“I grew up in this area all my life, in the City of Commerce born and raised,” said Altamirano. “I come from a city that works. We come from a city that we have one of the largest railroads…we have big issues here in the City of Commerce that also is through the Southeast, with traffic and local investment. We need people that are going to represent with leadership.”
Altamirano says “he cares.”

“The way I see my constituents is the way I see my kids, my family,” said Altamirano. “When I do something, it’s for everybody; it’s to make it work.”

Shared Stories: Listen and Learn

Steve Zaragoza is an observant man. The boy scouts probably learned a lot under his leadership. Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center. Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. Curated by Carol Kearns


By Steve Zaragoza

It was picture-perfect springtime in Joshua Tree National Park when a group of Boy Scouts visited in 1984. All the colors were sharp and the air was crisp and clean. It is a time I captured and kept in my mind.

I was a scout troop assistant scoutmaster and advisor for hiking and backpacking. We had two patrols of six boys and six leaders. Friday night evening dinner was jumbo burritos.

Next morning started with seasoned potatoes, scrambled eggs, and bacon. After clean-up, we all helped each other to prep for a day hike.

The trail we took would lead us to the boulders area. Throughout the hike, we pointed out the different cactus -  the Joshua tree, teddy bear cholla, Mojave yucca, chuparosa, desert lavender, creosote bush – just to name a few. During our hike in a dry creek bed, we also saw small desert life – rabbits, squirrels, and birds.

At the point of about two miles, we had reached an area at the boulders. All of us agreed to rest. That started a lot of chitter chatter. While that was going on I noticed a signal to have our lunch and snacks.

My favorite snack on hikes is salami and cheese with crackers (Ritz, of course). Some of the boys wanted salami and cheese, so I made a trade – peanut butter and jelly for salami and cheese.

While everyone was eating I noticed a rock climbing group ahead of us. As I was watching, I heard one leader giving instructions to one boy on where to place his hand and foot.

The instructor made himself very clear, telling the boy, “Right arm straight out and about two hand lengths up, and place four fingers in the fissure. Then slide your right leg up slowly till you feel a bump with your foot.”

At the base of a boulder, one of the other instructors was prepping another boy to climb. “Pull yourself up,” he yelled.

That instructor also told the boy to, “Hold and feel my hands to know the movements of tying a knot.”

At that point, I turned back to my group of boys and said, “Hey, guys, look and listen and tell me what you see.” About five minutes in, the boys said they just saw others rock climbing.

I told them, “Listen, guys, they’re in constant communication while climbing and rappelling.” 

The group of kids we were watching were blind. It told our boys that we had a lot to learn about how to listen and work together.

Downey’s postseason ends early, but future looks promising

DOWNEY – The Downey High School girls’ basketball team saw their season come to an end last Saturday night at Downey against Cathedral Catholic of San Diego, 50-48, in the second round of the 2018 C.I.F. Division 2 State Championships. 

The Lady Vikings finished their season with an overall record of 26-7 and a S.G.V.L. record of 8-2. Downey finished their season as C.I.F. Division 2A Finalists and in second place in S.G.V.L. play behind league champion Lynwood.

The Lady Vikings were defeated by Glendora at Azusa Pacific University, 47-35, on March 2 in the C.I.F. Division 2A championship game but qualified for the C.I.F. Division 2 State Girls Basketball Championships with their string of wins in postseason play. 

Downey defeated Westview of San Diego at Westview, 59-51, in the first round of state championship play on 3/7 to advance to the second round. In that game, the Lady Vikings trailed 19-16 at the end of the first quarter and 29-27 at halftime. 

Downey outscored Westview 11-7 in the third quarter and led 40-38 as the quarter came to an end. The Lady Vikings outscored Westview 19-13 in the fourth and final quarter and came away with the hard-fought 59-51 win.

The Lady Vikings were then eliminated last Saturday night at Downey against Cathedral Catholic. In the Downey/Cathedral Catholic game, the Lady Vikings trailed at the end of the first quarter 12-8. Downey rallied back in the second quarter and took a 21-16 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Lady Vikings were outscored 20-8 in the third quarter and trailed 36-29 as the quarter came to an end. 

Downey outscored Cathedral Catholic 19-14 in the fourth quarter but fell short, 50-48.

Coach Harris, his staff and players are all disappointed with how their last game ended. However, many of this year’s players are underclassmen and will be back next year to make a deeper run. 

This was an excellent season for the Lady Vikings and they should feel proud of how well they played and how hard they competed. 


WARREN GIRLS BASKETBALL: The Warren High School girls’ basketball team saw their season come to an end last Wednesday night against Legacy High School of South Gate at Warren, 74-73, in overtime in the first round of the C.I.F. Division 3 State Girls Basketball Championships. 

The Lady Bears finished their season with an overall record of 20-11 and a S.G.V.L. record of 6-4. Warren defeated Cabrillo, 47-42, in overtime at Colony High School in Ontario on March 3 to claim the C.I.F. Division 3AA title and qualify for the state tournament.

In the Warren/Legacy game, Legacy jumped out to a 31-21 lead as the first quarter ended. Warren outscored Legacy 8-7 in the second quarter but still trailed 38-29 going into the locker room at halftime. 

The third quarter was action packed as Warren outscored Legacy 26-25 but still trailed by eight points going into the fourth quarter. The Lady Bears tied the score in the fourth quarter and forced overtime.

The two teams battled back and forth in overtime. Warren took the lead at 73-71 with 3.7 seconds left and Legacy needed to go the length of the court to score. That is exactly what Legacy’s Arianna Harper did. Harper drove the length of the floor, drew the foul and made the free throw to give the Lady Tigers the 74-73 lead with .3 to play. 

Harper’s final three points gave her 35 points for the game and helped seal the win for Legacy. The Bears inbounded the pass but that was all they could do as the clock expired and Legacy claimed the hard fought, 74-73 overtime win.


WARREN BASEBALL: The Warren High School baseball team currently has an overall record of 6-1 and will begin San Gabriel Valley League play when they host Lynwood at Warren on April 10. 

Warren swept Hoover, 13-0 and 11-1, on 2/27 in a doubleheader at Warren. The Bears defeated Magnolia, 18-5, on 3/1, defeated Rancho Alamitos, 12-0, on 3/3 and were defeated by Santa Ana at Warren, 7-6, in nine innings on 3/5.

Warren defeated Estancia at Estancia, 13-2, on 3/7 and defeated Savanna at Warren, 10-2, on 3/9. The Bears were scheduled to play El Rancho on Tuesday afternoon but the game was postponed due to the rain. The two teams played on Wednesday (score unavailable at press time).

Warren finished last season with an overall record of 19-10 and a S.G.V.L. record of 8-2. The Bears were eliminated last season in the first round of the C.I.F. Division 3 playoffs by Peninsula at Peninsula 6-2 after winning their wild card game against Long Beach Poly 3-2. 


WARREN SOFTBALL: The Warren High School softball team currently has an overall record of 4-2 and will begin San Gabriel Valley League play when they host Lynwood on April 10. 

The Bears have played three games in the Savannah Tournament. Warren defeated San Clemente, 2-1, on 2/24, were defeated by Woodbridge, 4-3, on 2/24 and defeated Fullerton, 4-0, on 3/9. 

Warren finished last season with an overall record of 21-9 and a S.G.V.L. record of 8-2. The Bears were eliminated in the second round of the C.I.F. Division 2 playoffs by Santa Margarita at Santa Margarita 8-0. Warren was scheduled to play Millikan on Tuesday but no result or information was made available. 

Coach Starksen, her staff and players are all looking forward to the start of league play. 


DOWNEY BASEBALL: The Downey High School baseball team currently has an overall record of 1-7 and will begin San Gabriel Valley League play when they host Paramount on April 10. 

The Vikings are currently 0-3 in the Downey Tournament (Feb. 24-26 and March 12-14) and were 1-5 in the Loara Tournament (March 1-9). The Vikings were defeated by La Mirada, 6-2, on 2/24, were defeated by Cantwell-Sacred Heart, 3-0, on 2/26, were defeated by Edison, 4-0, on 3/1 and were defeated by Cypress, 8-1, on 3/3.

Downey was defeated by Canyon, 3-0, on 3/6, was defeated by Ocean View, 2-1, on 3/8, defeated Anaheim, 6-0, on 3/9 and was defeated by Pacifica, 7-1, on Monday. The Vikings hosted Long Beach Poly at Downey on Wednesday in their fourth and final game of the Downey Tournament (score unavailable at press time). 


DOWNEY SOFTBALL: The Downey High School softball team currently has an overall record of 7-4 and will begin San Gabriel Valley League play when they host Paramount on April 10. 

The Lady Vikings defeated St. Paul, 6-4, on 2/24, defeated Walnut, 17-2, on 2/24, defeated Sunny Hills, 8-1, on 3/1 and swept Lakewood at Lakewood in a doubleheader, 9-5 and 6-3, on 3/6.

Downey competed in the Tournament of Champions in Bullhead City, Arizona, March 8-10. The Lady Vikings finished that tournament with a record of 2-3. 

Downey was defeated by Pacifica, 6-2, on 3/8, was defeated by Cienega of Vail, Arizona, 2-0, on 3/9, defeated Flagstaff, Arizona, 11-0, on 3/9, was defeated by Coronado of Henderson, Nevada, 4-3, on 3/10 and defeated River Valley of Arizona, 3-0, on 3/10. 

Downey was defeated by La Habra at La Habra on Tuesday, 7-6. Coach Garcia, his staff and players are all looking forward to the start of league play.

2 arrested for buying alcohol for minors

DOWNEY -- Two people were cited for furnishing alcohol to a minor during a Downey Police Department “shoulder-tap” operation on Saturday. 

In the operation, a person under age 21 stands outside a liquor store or convenience store and asks customers to purchase alcohol for them. The minor indicates they are under 21 years old and can’t buy the alcohol themselves. 

Adults who purchase alcohol for the underage decoy receive a citation. 

The decoy is under direct supervision of a police officer, authorities said. Downey Police completed the operation with assistance from the Bell Gardens and Whittier police departments. 

Approximately 70 police and sheriff’s departments across California participated in the operation, which was funded by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. 

Letter to the Editor: Remembering Marie Eckstrom

Dear Editor: 

I would like to take this opportunity to honor one of Downey's most diligent and thoughtful volunteers that we very sadly lost late last month. 

Marie Elizabeth Eckstrom had been a resident of Downey since 1959, and served the community for years as a member of the League of Women Voters, Downey Symphony Guild and as a volunteer for Rancho Los Amigos Rehabilitation Center. Marie also volunteered tirelessly at the USC Norris Cancer Hospital for over 25 years. Every week up until age 92, she would drive from Downey to the Norris early in the morning, motivated only by her desire to help others. 

Marie gave generously of her time and resources to assist as many needy causes as she possibly could - we will probably never know just how many organizations and individuals benefited from her generosity because she never sought out any credit or recognition. In fact, any recognition she did receive would make Marie visibly uncomfortable. 

I would like to send a tremendous thank you out to this incredibly kind and giving soul that we had the privilege of having in our community for so many years. Marie's passing is a terrible loss for Downey, but she leaves behind an incredible legacy of giving that will always be warmly remembered by the community she loved so much.

Matt Millard


Letter to the Editor: Councilman's plans to remove planning commissioner

Dear Editor: 

We just got word that Councilman Alex Saab is beginning the process of removing one of our most outstanding planning commissioners, Jim Rodriguez, mid-term.

Although Rodriguez is doing an excellent job, the councilman said he wants to remove him to “give others an opportunity to serve”. That’s like saying let's recall a councilman so we can give “others an opportunity to serve”.

It just doesn’t make sense. It seems possible that the reason Mr. Saab is looking to make the unprecedented change is that commissioner Rodriguez was effectuating change that city staff didn't like. Although these had unanimous approval by the Planning Commission at its Oct. 4 meeting, the changes were ignored by the city.

The Planning Commission agreed to have city staff post a few items on Facebook that would open up a discussion among the community. We never saw those items get posted. Did the councilmen make efforts to support these community engagement efforts? We don't know. But the fact that his commissioner is asked to leave shortly after seems curious.  

We’ve never heard of a planning commissioner being replaced unless he missed meetings or maybe didn't live in his district. It seems unusual to do that mid-term, especially to a commissioner who has a positive history of dedication and commitment.

If we remember correctly, Rodriguez's passion, honesty, and work ethic were the very reasons Mr. Saab chose him to serve almost six years ago in the first place. A new appointee would barely have time to have any real effect on a position like that. We know that that position requires a lot of time to learn and deal with the legal and complex issues of city zoning and land issues things.

It just doesn't make sense to us and I hope that his being asked to leave isn't because Rodriguez sometimes opposes the city's ideas, like when he voted no on KB Homes and no on the go-go dancers and no on lot splits.

We think it's healthy and good to have diverse opinions and increased efforts to get our community more involved. When we voted for Mr. Saab six years ago we thought he did too.

Can someone please tell us why he would do this?

Ruben and Annie Rojes

Ed Hano and David Holcombe named police officer and firefighter of the year

DOWNEY -- Police Cpl. Edward Hano and fire Capt. David Holcombe will be honored as Police Officer and Firefighter of the Year, respectively, at a luncheon April 17 at the Rio Hondo Event Center. 

Now in its fourth year, the annual awards ceremony is put on by the Downey Police & Fire Foundation. 

Honorees are selected after consideration of a variety of criteria including, but not limited to, outstanding acts of kindness, compassion, courage, attitude, professional work ethic, and devotion to duty. 

Tickets to the luncheon are $30 and must be purchased in advance by contact Yvonne Rosales at (562) 904-2301 or 

Event sponsorships are also available, ranging from $500-$2,500. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. 

Crime Report, 3/12/18

Friday, March 2:
At 9:30 a.m., a male suspect entered the Arco Am/Pm Market at 9706 Telegraph Rd. The suspect robbed the clerk at gunpoint and took cash from the register. The suspect then ran from the location. Detectives are investigating.

Sunday, March 4:
At 1:30 a.m., a male victim of a stab wound sought treatment at a local hospital. He stated he was in the parking lot at the Anarchy Library Bar, 13250 Woodruff Ave. As he attempted to break up a fight, he was stabbed with scissors and sustained non-life threatening injuries. Detectives are investigating.

Submitted by the Downey Police Department

Thomas Calvin Burger

July 8, 1921 - March 4, 2018

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Thomas Calvin Burger, 96, longtime resident of Huntington Park and Downey, CA, died peacefully at his home, surrounded by family, on Sunday, March 4, 2018.

Born July 8, 1921 in Blanca, Colorado to Albert J. and Ann S. (Eastwood) Burger, he was the youngest of seven children.

Tom graduated from Huntington Park High School in Winter 1940. A loyal “Spartan”, he remained an active member of the HPHS Alumni Association from its inception.

Tom served in the Pacific during WWII aboard the U.S.S. Medusa. By the end of his service he attained the rank of Chief Yeoman.

Having enjoyed a long career in the Swimming Pool Supply industry, he maintained many business friendships following retirement.

A resident of Glenbrook East in Downey since 1988, he served the H.O.A. in many capacities and as Resident Manager until his passing.

Memberships included the American Legion and Downey United Masonic Lodge #220.
Preceding him in death, his beloved wife of 64 years, Kathryn P. Burger.

He is survived by four children: Kathleen Brockie (Robert), Corona, CA; Mary Moode (Mike), Nacogdoches, TX; Peggy McMann, Garden Grove, CA; and Thomas Daniel Burger (Debra), Huntington Park, CA., nine grandchildren, twelve great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

Visitation only: Saturday, March 10, 2018, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m., Miller Mies Mortuary, 10229 Paramount Blvd., Downey.

Graveside Service: To follow at 1 p.m. at Inglewood Park Cemetery, 3803 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, CA.

Janet Molinaro

April 18, 1934 - December 29, 2017

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Long-time Downey resident Janet Molinaro passed away on December 29, 2017 at the age of 83.

Born Janet Mae McCurdy on April 18, 1934, Jan, as she was known to family and friends, graduated from Downey High School in 1951 and later attended UCLA. While working for her family’s company, McCurdy & Son, Inc., Jan would meet and fall in love with Southern California businessman Louis Molinaro. They were married in 1959 and later bought a home on Julius Avenue, where they raised their daughter Dina and son Richard.

Jan was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt and sister, and she will be remembered by her family and friends for her passion, humor and joy of life. Jan developed a love for sports while playing golf and tennis in her youth and she passed this love down to her children and grandchildren. She was a dedicated fan of UCLA athletics and all who knew her would agree that she was truly a “Bruin for life.”

A fixture in the Downey business community, Jan entered the real estate industry in 1976 as an agent and later became a broker for Century 21 CB Real Estate, which she owned until her retirement in 2013. She was an active member of the Downey Association of Realtors, which honored her as Broker of the Year as recently as 2011, and a volunteer for the National Kidney Foundation.

Upon the passing of her husband Lou in 2013, Jan retired and spent her last years visiting her great-grandchildren, taking weekend trips to Las Vegas and listening to albums from her favorite musician, Frank Sinatra.

She is survived by her children Dina Kennedy and Richard Molinaro, son-in-law Brian Kennedy, daughter-in-law Janet Hare Molinaro, seven grandchildren: Travis, Nicole, Nicholas, Melanie, Julia, Owen and Carrie, and two great-grandchildren: Elizabeth and Alexander. She is also survived by her sister Charlotte Widling.

Her life will be celebrated by family and friends in Arcadia on March 10.