Gordon Sodetani awarded Sister Cities scholarship

By Denise Juarez
President, Downey Sister Cities Association

Downey Sister-Cities Association (DSCA) is one of Downey's oldest associations, started under President Dwight D. Eisenhower's "people to people program." Our organization works on learning about other cultures, customs, and furthering relationships to build bridges, not walls.  
DSCA has many partners we work hand and hand with. Last year, we hosted the 2016 U.S./Mexico Sister Cities National Convention, and this year we helped the city of Pico Rivera host the 2017 national convention.  

At these conventions we give awards to cities that have done exceptional work in developing ways to further enhance relationships with other countries. We also provide scholarships to youths that exemplify excellence in academics and humanitarianism.

This year's winner of the 2017 USMCSA humanitarian scholarship is Downey's very own Gordon Sodetani. 

Martha Sodetani and Mayor Fernando Vasquez. Photo courtesy Denise Juarez

Martha Sodetani and Mayor Fernando Vasquez. Photo courtesy Denise Juarez

He has proven that he gives himself back to his community. He is a youth counselor with the YMCA.  He is a youth and government leader, and has many other achievements. He currently carries a 4.0 at Cal State Long Beach.  

Gordon has been a youth member of Downey Sister Cities Association for more than three years and, God willing, will be attending our dual Sister-Cities visitation to Guadalajara, Jalisco and Fresnillo, Zacatacas, Mexico in August. 

Gordon received the scholarship at a recent City Council meeting. He also shared the night with his mother, Martha Sodetani, who received the Mayor's Healthy Heart Award.

Downey Sister Cities Association meets the third Wednesday of the month at Embassy Suites Downey at 6:30 p.m. We are currently looking for new members.

Del Rio Lanes launches summer program for kids

DOWNEY – Del Rio Lanes is taking sign-ups for a new youth program starting this summer. 
For $10 a week, children can participate in a ten week long program, where they will bowl and eventually be presented with their very own ball. 

A similar program had been offered by the bowling alley for adults in the past to great success. 

“The concept was that if people bowl better or if they have their own equipment they’re likely to bowl more,” said Center Manager Mike Cammarata. “…If you have your own ball, maybe you’ll bowl more often. “If you bowl better - if you’re better at it – maybe you’ll do it more.”

“We had the 10 for 10 program for adults, and it was a success. We signed about 80 people up, and of those 80, when it ended, 80 people now are bowling better and have their own equipment, and about 20 of them joined an additional league.”

According to Cammarata, the alley doesn’t really see any instant profit from the concept, as the cost of the ball that is given away is barely covered by the fees. It is the hope of the alley that the program will cultivate a love of the activity in each individual, eventually leading to more regular bowlers and league sign-ups. 

He also says that this is a good way to give back to the kids in community.

“Junior bowling isn’t a profitable thing most of the time,” said Cammarata. “But if kids like bowling, that’s your league-bowler of the future, your tournament bowler of the future.”
Kids ages 17 and under are now able to be signed up for the program, which will run on Saturdays starting June 10. 

With volleyball title on the line, Downey-Warren set for showdown

DOWNEY – The Warren High School boys’ volleyball team currently has an overall record of 11-6 and are 6-1 in S.G.V.L. play. 

The Bears defeated Dominguez at Warren 3-0 on 4/4, defeated Lynwood at Lynwood 3-0 on 4/6, defeated Paramount at Warren 3-1 on 4/11 and were defeated by Gahr at Gahr 3-1 on 4/13. The loss to Gahr at Gahr has been the only league loss for the Bears.

Warren will host cross-town rival Downey next Tuesday, will travel to Dominguez next Thursday and will host Lynwood on May 2 in their regular season finale. Warren is currently in first place in the most recent S.G.V.L. standings. Downey is currently in second place with an overall record of 14-8 and a league record of 5-1 and Paramount is currently in third place with an overall record of 12-4 and a league record of 3-1. 

Gahr is currently in fourth place with an overall record of 6-12 and a league record of 3-3, Lynwood is currently in fifth place with an overall record of 6-8 and a league record of 1-6 and Dominguez is currently in sixth place with an overall record of 1-6 and a league record of 0-5.
Coach Scott Lane, his staff and players are all looking forward to clinching a league title.

Warren must defeat Downey at home next Tuesday in order to do that. The “cave” will certainly be loud next Tuesday night as city rivals will clash for bragging rights and a league title.    

■ The Warren High School baseball team currently has an overall record of 11-9 and a S.G.V.L. record of 1-3. 

The Bears were defeated by Paramount at Paramount 5-4 on 4/4 and defeated Paramount at Warren 7-4 on 4/7. Warren was defeated by Gahr at Warren 8-0 on 4/11 and were defeated by Gahr at Gahr 2-0 on 4/13. 

The Bears have been competing in the St. Paul Tournament over Spring Break. The Bears are currently 1-2 in that tournament. Warren defeated John Glenn 4-3 on 4/15, were defeated by Long Beach Poly 8-0 on 4/17, were defeated by St. Paul 6-5 in nine innings on 4/18 and were scheduled to play Serra at Downey on 4/19 (score unavailable at press time).

The Bears will continue league play when school resumes next week. Warren will travel to cross-town rival Downey next Tuesday and will host the Vikings next Friday in their away and home series.

Coach Pearson, his staff and players are all looking forward to finishing league play on a strong note. After the away and home series against Downey next week the Bears will play two games against Dominguez and two games against Lynwood. The Bears will also mix in a non-league double header against Hemet at Warren on May 6. 

The playoffs are just around the corner and four teams are looking to secure a line on the C.I.F. postseason bracket.

The Downey Vikings Baseball team went 5-0 in the St. Paul Easter Tournament to win the championship. They defeated Crean Lutheran 11-0.  Jorge Arellano, Andy Hurtado, Adrian Valtierra and Kyle Vasquez were named to the “All-Tournament “ team. Jorge Arella

The Downey Vikings Baseball team went 5-0 in the St. Paul Easter Tournament to win the championship. They defeated Crean Lutheran 11-0. 

Jorge Arellano, Andy Hurtado, Adrian Valtierra and Kyle Vasquez were named to the “All-Tournament “ team. Jorge Arella

■ The Downey High School baseball team currently has an overall record of 11-8 and are 4-0 in S.G.V.L. play. 

The Vikings swept a home and away series against Dominguez. Downey defeated Dominguez at Downey 13-0 on 4/4 and defeated Dominguez at Dominguez 14-2 on 4/7.

Downey also swept an away and home series against Lynwood. The Vikings defeated Lynwood at Lynwood 6-5 in eight innings on 4/11 and defeated Lynwood at Downey 10-0 on 4/13.
The Vikings have been competing in the St Paul Tournament over Spring Break where they currently have a record of 3-0. Downey defeated Schurr 10-7 on 4/15, defeated Mary Star of the Sea 7-4 on 4/17, defeated St. Francis 2-0 on 4/18 and were scheduled to play Crean Lutheran on Wednesday (score unavailable at press time).

Downey will resume their league schedule when they return from Spring Break. The Vikings will host cross-town rival Warren next Tuesday and will then travel to Warren on Friday to complete their home and away season series.

After the Warren series the Vikings will play two games against Gahr and will then conclude their regular season schedule with two games against Paramount. Downey has gotten off to a solid league start and will now begin the more challenging part of their schedule.

Coach Gonzalez, his staff and players are all looking forward to finishing the league schedule strong and making a playoff run. Four league teams are all competing for a line on the C.I.F. postseason bracket. 

■ The Downey High School boys’ swim team currently has an overall record of 9-1 and is currently 1-0 in San Gabriel Valley League competition. 

Downey defeated cross-town rival Warren 89-81 in their first league contest at the Downey Aquatics Center. This dual meet was the closest competition between the two schools in the last five years. Downey has dominated league competition the last several years and this year Warren pushed Downey until the end.

Downey was led individually by seniors Marcus Powell, Dominik Del Carpio and John Choi. Powell placed first in the 100 yard breaststroke and Del Carpio and Choi placed first and second in the 50 yard freestyle, respectively.

Junior Nathan Lopez placed first in the 200 Individual Medley. The 200 freestyle relay also took first place. Coach Delhousay is very proud of the way his team responded to such a close meet. According to Coach Delhousay, “league prelims and finals will be very competitive this year.”

Coach Delhousay, his staff and swimmers are all looking forward to finishing up league competition, prelims and finals on a strong note. As it appears now, Downey and Warren will both be well represented in C.I.F. postseason competition. 

DUSD sending 300 students to SkillsUSA state competition

DOWNEY -- A group of over 300 DUSD students will travel to San Diego over the weekend to compete in the SkillsUSA State Competition.

This competition brings together the top SkillsUSA students from across the state of California to compete in areas of technical and soft skills. Downey Unified will be represented by a group of high school, middle school and adult school students.
On April 13, Warren High School (WHS) hosted the first of two SkillsUSA banquets that are held to honor Downey Unified’s SkillsUSA students who are currently competing. Held at the Rio Hondo Event Center, this evening concluded with the 2017 SkillsUSA Student of the Year award being presented to a student for embodying an exemplar competitor within the SkillsUSA realm at WHS.  

Currently a senior and President of the SkillsUSA California Chapter, WHS’ Tori Real was presented with this prestigious award.
Downey High School will be hosting their banquet on Thursday, April 27, 2017, succeeding the return of their students from San Diego.
Spanning a three-day-period, from April 20-23, Downey Unified students will be competing in various technical and soft skill competitions such as: Crime Scene Investigation, Quiz Bowl, Carpentry, Engineering Technology/Design, Broadcast News Production, Information and Technology, Plumbing, Mobile Robotics, Career Pathway Showcase: Health Science, Electrical Construction Wiring, Masonry, Esthetics, Principles of Engineering Technology, Community Service, Health Knowledge Bowl, Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Architectural Drafting and Robotics: Urban Search and Rescue.
Currently with over 15,000 school chapters, Downey Unified is one of the largest chapter involved in SkillsUSA, with one or more students qualifying for Nationals every year since 2009. Last year, resulted in 500 students competing in the Regional Championships, 225 qualifying for the State Championships, 26 making it to Nationals and ultimately culminating with four finishing as National Champions.
SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. Launched in 1967, this National Championship has grown from 54 competitors in three contests to more than 6,000 competitors in 99 hands-on occupational and leadership skill areas.
Adding contests to the championships to meet the demands of new and expanding occupations, their affiliated instructional programs represent 130 different occupational areas.   Downey Unified has grown exponentially within SkillsUSA and is dedicated to do whatever it takes to provide hands-on job related experience to students, providing them with the tools to be both globally competitive, and college and career ready.

Shared Stories: My first experience baking bread

Belle Fluhart recalls a serious baking error that many of us can sympathize with – misreading the recipe.  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 Belle Fluhart

I was 12 years old during the Depression. My three older brothers were 18, 19 ½, and 21 years old.

When I started the 7th grade, I was delighted that I would have a class in sewing and a class in cooking. One semester sewing, the next cooking, every year.

In the cooking class we were making bread. The first day we copied the recipe from the black board, and talked about what we were going to do. The next day, we measured out the liquid and yeast, and mixed the liquid ingredients together and left it for the yeast to do what it’s supposed to do. I think it’s called proofing. The third day we mixed in the flour to make a dough.

In no time I realized that something was wrong, because it was not making a dough. I was adding more and more flour.

I had misread the recipe where it said to add ¼ cup of water, and I had actually added 1 ¼ cup of water. The teacher was watching me, but doing nothing. I realized that she was wondering what I was going to do.

I got some more yeast and put in more salt. I don’t remember the other ingredients, but I put in whatever was necessary to make up for all of this flour it was taking to make dough.

I mixed the dough, made a round ball, and put the oil on it. Then I found a big bowl and left it to rise overnight. The next day, I had a great, big ball of dough where I was supposed to have a little ball. I put flour on my board and started kneading the dough.  


By this time, I was so embarrassed. I was just kneading the dough. I could feel the enmity of my fellow classmates. Everyone in this room hated me because I had a great, big ball of dough and everyone else had a little ball that could be held in the palm of one hand.

I wished I could crawl under a rock and just disappear. But there was no rock. I started to cry. I wasn’t looking up. I just kept kneading and kneading that dough.

Suddenly, the teacher was at my elbow. She said, “I went over to the cafeteria and borrowed a bread pan.”

At that, I looked up and the teacher was smiling. I quickly dried my tears and oiled the pan, formed the loaf, and put it in the pan. I put it up to rise and went home.

The next day we all baked our bread. I had to allow extra time for my big loaf. When the bread was baked, and beautifully browned, the teacher wanted me to cut it so she could taste it.

I pleaded with her to let me take it home so I could cut it where my brothers could see it. She said, “All right, if you promise that you will bring me a piece tomorrow.”

When I got home, my brothers grabbed the bread and one was starting to cut it.

I said, “The teacher made me promise to bring her a piece so she could try it.” My brother with the knife said, “The teacher gets the first slice.”

He cut the first slice and wrapped it up. He said, “Don’t forget to take it tomorrow morning.” I said, “I’m going to put it with my books.”

The first thing I did the next morning was to take the bread to the teacher. She took a bite and said, “That’s delicious.”

At the end of the semester, the teacher was preparing to pass around the report cards.
She said, “It has never been my practice to give anyone an A+, but this semester, I’m giving a student an A+. She doesn’t always do things right. In fact, she makes some great, big mistakes. But she always is able to compensate for her mistakes and make an edible product. And in these days, it’s so very important to not waste food.”

I was very happy, and couldn’t wait to take my report card home to show my brothers.

Letter to the Editor: Credit to Trump

Dear Editor:

President Trump deserves credit for what he did in Syria. Our Congresswoman Lucille Roybal Allard was correct when she said (4/13/17) that it was " the appropriate response to the Assad regime's despicable chemical attack." I agree.

The problem in Syria, however, goes beyond the war. This war is an example of the catastrophic consequences of climate change from global warming.

The costs of the war in Syria are staggering: It has claimed almost half a million lives, wounded close to 2 million people, generated 4.8 million refugees and displaced almost 7 million people within Syria.

As we look deeper into the causes of the Syrian war, one sees global warming as a principal one, perhaps the main one. 

Starting in 2006, Syria suffered its worst drought in 900 years; it ruined farms, forced as many as 1.5 million rural people to crowd into cities alongside Iraqi refugees and decimated the country’s livestock. Water became scarce and food expensive. The suffering and social chaos caused by the drought were important drivers of the initial unrest.

Climate scientists have stated that global warming very likely exacerbated the historic drought, thanks to potentially permanent changes to wind and rainfall patterns. 

Citizens' Climate Lobby (CCL), an organization of volunteers, is working to combat global warming with a proposal to put a federal price on carbon-based fossil fuels with all the fees collected returned to each household.

So, it is a welcome sign that our President is concerned about Syria and its children.

We hope our President will extend his concern to global warming and begin to act accordingly, for the protection of our country and our planet.

Guido Rivero

Alternative Medicine: Stories

What stories? The stories created by the mind that drive us up the wall. We all have them – it’s a natural thing for the primitive human mind to fabricate. The problem is that these made up fables will hinder us from being the successful, healthy, abundant and prosperous being we are destined to be.  

So what is a story exactly? Think of a time an assumption(s) (a.k.a. stories) clouded your judgment of a person or situation. I’ll share one of my experiences: A while back I met a woman whose appearance was impeccable. Her hair and makeup well done but her facial expressions came across as an angry and bitter person. Immediately the mind began to fabricate stories and I indulged in the moment. 

The storyline was filled with thoughts of this woman being difficult, unpleasant and unhappy. Surely because she was all of this her sole mission was to make me feel the same way. My emotions started to bubble, I suddenly felt angry towards her. I remember creating multiple plot twist in my mind. I knew that the moment she tried to change me and bestow her negativity upon me I would snap like a dried up twig. And surely she appeared impeccable only to make me feel worthless, I mean what other reason would there be! Oh my goodness I was so submerged in this tale I completely lost track of everything else around me.

She was there to give a presentation. The moment she spoke I froze. Her voice, the sweetest. Soon I learned what she really was and was not. Her frozen facial expression was due to a stroke she’d suffered many years back. As her presentation continued I realized what a compassionate heart and loving person she was. Always wanting to empower others through the sharing of knowledge. This was the point it all hit me like a ton of bricks. Reflecting back on the situation I realized that I had made a choice and allow the mind to fabricate false stories. It registered that this hindered my ability to be open, compassionate and understanding of others suffering and needs.

This woman wasn’t after me with her negativity and arrogance. It was all a creation of the mind. For what purpose? To distract me from my true divine purpose. By choosing to give into the minds game I wasted precious time and energy. Did I learn anything – You bet I did!

So what’s to take from all of this? In any situation we must practice positive thoughts and a correct viewpoint. Shifting your awareness away from any story the mind begins to fabricate does this. The mind will throw multiple curve balls in an effort to distract you. The “what if’s, what not’s”. It doesn’t care if you hurt along the way.  Know that YOU control the mind not the mind in control of you. Give this exercise a try for a few days, see and feel the transformation within.

Have a question regarding this article or maybe you’d like to suggest a topic? Write to me at: m_arrieta@yahoo.com. Next article we will talk about Energetic Hygiene 

Marcela A. Arrieta is an alternative modality practitioner with over five years of experience in this field. She is also a successful entrepreneur who resides in Downey.

Letter to the Editor: Plan ahead for Ride and Stride

Dear Editor:

May 7, 2017 is Downey's Ride and Stride, be prepared for street closures, so plan ahead. I only mention it because of last year's Ride and Stride; Downey residents were writing in the editorial page about how the event inconvenience them, despite the fact that it was advertised way in advance.

I received my water bill in the mail last week, and guess what, there was a pamphlet that was advertising the Ride and Stride that showed the street closures (and other information), a month before it happens. Residents have no excuse to complain about the street closures and how it inconvenienced them; I'll say it again, plan ahead.

I live on a street that will be closed, and my street does not have driveways, so we must park on the street; I already planned ahead of where I will be parking my car for the day (since I cannot have my car parked on the street). If I can deal with it without complaining, so can everyone else.

As for the event itself, I enjoyed the Ride and Stride last year, walking around the city and seeing the events going on, the food trucks and the booths. It's was fun to see other residents out there, walking, jogging, biking, rollerblading and skateboarding. 

I am glad Downey has decided to have the event again this year and I look forward to it.

Guillermo Vazquez

Byron Joseph (Bud) Buck

September 25, 1940 - April 6, 2017

Bud was born in Wausau, Wisc. To Byron and Lillian. He was the third of four children. His family moved to Mipls., MN when he was a child. He met his wife Carol when he was 15 and she was 13. It was love at first sight. They married in 1958 and moved to California with his family. They lived most of their lives in Downey, where they raised their three children, Chris, Lance and LaNean.
Bud owned and operated his machine shop for 40 years. His father taught him the business and now his sons are both in the same profession.

He was a proud member of the Downey Elks 2020 for 15 years and was the Exalted Ruler 2014/2015. He loved the Elks and the people. He loved family camping trips all over but enjoyed Lake Powell the most. Then he took to golfing, rain or shine.

He is survived by his wife Carol, son Chris (Stacy), son Lance (Shirleyann-Fiance), daughter LaNean (Guy) – 8 grand kids, 5 great-grand kids, 3 sisters, Joan Crooks, Margaret Putnam and Karen Douglas – numerous nieces and nephews and his special Johnny Cash singing buddy Alec.
He will be missed by all.

Celebration of Life will be held at Downey Elks Lodge 2020 on April 22, 2017 at 5:30 pm.