'Crimes of the Heart' opening in Long Beach

"Crimes of the Heart," the Pulitzer Prize-winning comic drama about three Mississippi sisters betrayed by their passions, opens June 9 at International City Theatre in Long Beach. 

“I have loved this play ever since I saw the original Broadway production,” says director Luke Yankee, whose previous directing credits at ICT include "Private Lives" and "Shipwrecked!" “Its wit, charm and humanity speak to me — and to many of us — on a very basic level. Its message of honoring and loving your family first, no matter what, is timeless.”

Set in Hazlehurst, Mississippi in 1974, "Crimes of the Heart" tells the story of the three Magrath sisters: Lenny, the oldest, is unmarried and facing diminishing marital prospects. Middle sister Meg has just returned from the West Coast after a failed attempt at a singing career. And youngest sister Babe has just been bailed out of jail after shooting her husband in the stomach.

Their priggish and insufferable cousin, Chick, seems only too pleased to stir up gossip and rehash old family scandals.

Into this disturbing but hilarious world of dysfunction comes Barnette, an awkward young lawyer who hopes to rescue Babe from her legal predicament. Rounding out the group is Doc Porter, Meg’s former flame whom she ditched after a brief tryst five years earlier during Hurricane Camille.

Beth Henley completed writing the play in 1978 and submitted it to several regional theaters — without success. Unknown to her, a friend entered it in the Great American Play Contest at the Actors Theatre of Louisville. It was named co-winner and produced at the 1979 Actors Theatre Festival of New American Plays.

There, it was so well received that it was selected by numerous regional theaters for their 1979-80 seasons. The Manhattan Theatre Club produced it off-Broadway in December 1980, where it a garnered the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play. It opened on Broadway at the John Golden Theatre in 1981.

The 1986 film adaptation was directed by Bruce Beresford; it garnered three Academy Award nominations.

"Crimes of the Heart" runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., June 9-25. Two preview performances take place June 7-8, both at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $47 on Thursdays and Fridays, and $49 on Saturdays and Sundays, except for June 9 (opening night) for which tickets are $55 and include a post show reception at Utopia Restaurant. Tickets to preview shows are $35. 

International City Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. For reservations and information, call 562-436-4610 or go to InternationalCityTheatre.org.

Legislation would designate Rancho hospital as 'rehabilitation innovation center'

A bill to designate Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitant Center as a ‘rehabilitation innovation center’ advanced in the State Assembly with a 14-1 vote last week.

Photo by Pam Lane, DowneyDailyPhotos.com

Photo by Pam Lane, DowneyDailyPhotos.com

Assembly Bill 1411, by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), was brought forward by constituents during the assemblywoman’s annual ‘There Ought to be a Law’ contest, which was won with this proposal.

The Rehabilitation Innovation Center designation recognizes an inpatient rehabilitation research center that has particular expertise in treating patients with the most complex rehabilitation needs.

Located in Downey, it was first founded in 1888 to serve farming families who could not afford medical services.

“Rancho Los Amigos provides care to approximately 4,000 inpatients and 71,000 outpatients annually, making it one of the largest rehabilitation centers in the nation,” said Garcia. “At a time when healthcare for working Americans is in a perilous position, 85% of this center’s patients are on MediCal and it’s the only public rehabilitation facility in Southern California even though it’s one of the most premiere facilities in the country.”

As the only rehabilitation hospital in Los Angeles County’s Department of Health Services, the center serves a unique and vital role in patient recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration. The hospital specializes in brain, neurology, orthopedic, pediatric, spine injury, and stroke rehabilitation. Each year, the hospital provides care to approximately 4,000 inpatients and 71,000 outpatients, making it one of the largest rehabilitation centers in the nation.

“This legislation recognizes the few rehabilitation centers, like Rancho Los Amigos, that have a higher calling to treat the most complex patients, provide access to the most vulnerable, and contribute to advancing the science of rehabilitation,” said Jorge Orozco, Chief Executive Officer at Rancho Los Amigos.

A video of just one of the innovative treatments the center has created can be found here.  In it, nodes connected directly to a paraplegic man’s brain control a robotic arm enabling him to drink a beer for the first time by himself since his accident. 

“Their innovative care and ability to heal thousands of people every year not only provide a beckon of hope for patients in need but they’re also a fantastic example of the services and advancements burgeoning in this region,” added Garcia.  “The work Rancho Los Amigos does is amazing—just watch the video!  The potential partnerships to advance care and innovation in rehabilitation treatments are endless and start-ups should take note and visit this jewel in my district soon.”

The bill will next be heard in Assembly Appropriations. 

Former mob boss is keynote speaker at Mayor's Prayer Breakfast

Former mafia boss Michael Franzese, who at his peak generated an estimated $8 million per week through illicit business dealings, will be the keynote speaker at the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast on Saturday, June 3.

The breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Rio Hondo Event Center. Admission is $20. 

A member of the Colombo crime family, Franzese made a fortune selling bootleg gasoline and other crime ventures. In 1986, at age 35, he was named by Vanity Fair one of the biggest money-earners the mob had seen since Al Capone. 

Fortune Magazine listed him No. 18 on its list of the "Fifty Wealthiest and Powerful Mafia Bosses." 

Not surprisingly, Franzese quickly became the target of Manhattan's famed federal prosecutor, Rudolph Guiliani. Facing 100 years behind bars after an indictment on federal racketerring charges, Franzese pleaded guilty to two counts, reducing his sentence to 10 years in prison and $14 million in restitution payments. 

Franzese denounced the crime lifestyle while in prison and became a devout Christian. He remains the only person of his rank to ever walk away from the mob -- and live. 


Letter to the Editor: Response from Downey PD

This letter is in response to a previous letter received last week.

Dear Editor:

On May 16th, 2017, at about 1352, our dispatch center received a call on the business line from Mrs. Curtis, but after a few moments, the call was placed on hold when they received an unrelated call via 911. Once the 911 call was handled, and our dispatcher was able to speak with Mrs Curtis, the call was entered and officers responded, arriving within five minutes of being dispatched. During the call, Mrs Curtis advised that the subject was last seen walking away from her residence and towards Pangborn Ave and Muller St.
Responding officers located the suspect away from the caller’s residence, and he was ultimately arrested. Unfortunately, the original caller was not notified of his arrest.
I called the Curtis residence this afternoon and spoke with Mrs Curtis, the original caller, to let her know what happened and apologized for us not following up with her immediately after making the arrest, as we should have.
While I understand that Mr. Curtis was upset in his belief that the Downey Police did not respond, it is simply not true. We should have notified them of the arrest, but unfortunately we did not until my phone call to them today.
In regards to Mrs Curtis being placed on hold, our dispatch center has to answer calls that come in via 911 as quickly as possible, not knowing the nature of the call. Often times, other callers may get put on hold when other, more emergent matters arise.
We appreciate the concern and feedback from the Curtis family, and apologize for falling short. We will continue to strive to be better.
Dean R. Milligan
Police Captain, Field Operations

Downey Patriot wins 5 awards at state journalism contest

The Downey Patriot earned five awards at a state journalism contest Saturday, including three prizes for photography. 

The California Newspaper Publishers Association received 2,668 total entries in 39 categories in its Better Newspaper Contest, which honored excellence in journalism during the 2016 year.

Winners were announced during a luncheon Saturday at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. 

In the Best Front Page (Broadsheet) category, The Downey Patriot staff won honorable mention for its single entry of three front pages, which included: 

■the Oct. 20, 2016 issue that listed all campaign contributions for City Council candidates; 

■the Oct. 13, 2016 issue that included coverage of a Downey Patriot-sponsored City Council debate at the Downey Theatre; 

■and the June 30, 2016 issue, which reported on the City Council’s decision to put a proposed half-cent sales tax increase on that November’s ballot. 


Downey Patriot editor Eric Pierce won four awards, including second place for his photo essay of the Downey Christmas Parade. 

“Bringing a routine photo assignment like a Christmas parade to life is sometimes a challenge,” judges wrote in their comments. “These photos captured the event well and made me feel like I was there.”

Pierce also won three honorable mentions: two separate awards for his photo coverage of the Ricky Galvez memorial dedication, and for his essay titled “How I Went from Journalist to Realtor.”

The contest was open to daily and weekly newspapers across California, along with college publications.

Letter to the Editor: Upset with Downey Police

Dear Editor:

On May 16, my wife called me in a panic. A man was at our front door pulling his pants down to his ankles. Not knowing what to do, I told her to call the Downey Police Department and to keep the doors locked.

My wife was ready to leave the house to pick up our granddaughters from school, but was afraid to leave with the man standing at our door. When my wife called "Downey's finest," she was placed on hold for so long that she had to hang up and call our daughter to tell her that she was unable to pick up our granddaughters.

After explaining the situation to our daughter, she placed another call for help to the Downey Police, only to be asked if this was an emergency. When she was finally able to explain the situation, dispatch ask if she wanted to be contacted by an officer. Of course, she answered "Yes."

At no time since the call did she receive a call or visit from the Downey Police Department.

I can only imagine that the Police Department was so busy tracking down kidnappers, bank robbers and car thieves that they couldn't be bothered to respond to my wife's call for help. If that was the case, I understand, but to completely ignore a request from a panicked citizen is inexcusable.

Stanley Curtis

WWE Backlash: Preview and Predictions

It was a few weeks ago that the stars of Raw looked for some post-Wrestlemania “Payback.” Now, the superstars of Smackdown face “Backlash.”

Tye Dillinger vs Aiden English

The “Perfect 10” has defeated and frustrated “The Drama King” over the last several weeks. They’re both mid-card talent and there’s nothing really important hanging in the balance. This match wouldn’t be happening if the WWE wasn’t up to something. 

I was always of a fan of Aiden English and the Vaudevillians, however with Simon Gotch now gone from the company English finds himself a singles competitor. He’s been solidly beaten over the last several weeks, but I sense a change in his fortunes. 
Prediction: Aiden English


Sami Zayn vs Baron Corbin

Poor Sami Zayn is being fed to someone again.

These two have been going after each other for the last several weeks. Now, the score is set to be settled on Sunday. 

I long for the day that “The Underdog from the Underground” gets his time to shine, but for now Baron Corbin seems to be building momentum during his eventual push to the main event. 
Prediction: Baron Corbin


Luke Harper vs Erick Rowen

Two former Wyatt Family brothers now face off. 

Rowen returned from injury not too long ago, however upon his return the Wyatt Family was in the midst of imploding and Bray was quickly off to Raw. 

Rowen needs the win here, and with the tons of momentum Harper has had a loss won’s hurt him substantially.
Prediction: Erick Rowen


Naomi, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch vs Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina

WWE is blessed with a wealth of great female talent right now, so they should avoid just booking the women for the sake of booking them. But I digress… 

The inaugural and current Smackdown Women’s Champions’ and Smackdown’s newest acquisition take on Natalya and her “welcoming committee.” 

WWE has been pushing the angle that Naomi, Flair and Lynch are “on the same page” really hard, which makes me smell a rat. 

Someone is going to turncoat and cost the good guys the match. The obvious choice is Flair, which makes me absolutely believe that we’re about to see an unexpected Lynch heel turn. 
Prediction: Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina.


The Usos (c) vs Breezango for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships

Call me crazy, but this match screams upset!

Compared to Raw, Smackdown’s tag team division is a little lacking, to say the least. Raw has Enzo and Big Cass, The Hardy Boyz, Sheamus and Cesaro, and The Club. Smackdown has, uh, The Ascension? 

The Usos have had much more of an entertaining title run than American Alpha before them, but the Blue Brand still needs to establish a few of their tag teams as credible. 
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but “The Fashion Police” are adding a new blue and silver accessory to their summer ensemble. 
Prediction: Breezeango


Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler

“The King of Strong Style” vs “The Show Off;” if you’re not drooling, you may not be a real wrestling fan.

Nakamura’s long anticipated call up to the main roster finally came around the time of the Superstar Shakeup, however it’s been over a month and the WWE Universe has yet to see Nakamura participate in a match. 

Ziggler and Nakamura are both sensational workers who are known to put on spectacular matches. This has the potential to steal the show, and is a great opportunity for Nakamura to kick off from while not hurting Ziggler’s stock in the slightest. 
Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura


Kevin Owens (c) vs AJ Styles for the United States Championship

If Nakamura and Ziggler doesn’t steal the show, this match will. 

Two of the most entertaining talents on the roster (if not the world) face off over for the United States Championship. 

Last Tuesday, AJ Styles told The Canadian “New Face of America” that he intended to bring the United States Championship back to America. 

Neither of these guys need the title; they’re both already extremely over with the crowd. Owens and Styles both are former World Champions, and undoubtedly will both be back in the main event scene eventually. 

For now, let Owens keep the title and build it and himself up. Both individuals should bring out the best in each other for one great match.
Prediction: Kevin Owens

Randy Orton (c) vs Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship 

The Iron Sheik. Nikolai Volkoff. La Resistance. Mahammad Hassan. Rusev. WWE hasn’t been afraid to do the “evil anti-American foreigner” angle before, and the once laughable Jinder Mahal (along with former “Bollywood Boyz” the Singh Brothers) have settled into the role pretty successfully. 

Mahal was quickly and quite surprisingly thrust into the main event scene once he was acquired by Smackdown during the Superstar Shakeup. 

While Randy Orton is undoubtedly one of the more boring and least engaging champions as of late, Mahal isn’t quite at the superstar level he should be to take the title. This is likely not the end of the rivalry by any means.
Prediction: Randy Orton

Former Downey police officer Michael Westray passes away

Michael Anthony Westray, 77, of Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho passed away April 27 at the Schneidmiller House in Coeur d’ Alene surrounded by family and friends.

Mike, as everyone called him, was born to Vernon and Mary Alice Westray on Sept. 6, 1939 in Los Angeles. After graduating from South Gate High School, he joined the United States Navy and served his country for six years.

Upon completion of his engagement in the military, he became a police officer for the City of Downey and retired after 38 years of service.

Mike met Barbara Wade on Nov. 23, 1973 while working as a police officer. They were later married Feb. 21, 1976 in Hollydale. Together they lived in Downey where they raised their family. 

After retirement, Mike moved to north Idaho in 2004, settling in Coeur d’ Alene. He became a volunteer for the Coeur d’ Alene Police Department. 

In his younger years Mike enjoyed playing football, as well as speed skating, and riding dirt bikes. He was a member of the Huntington Park Jaycees, Bodie Chapter E Clampus Vitus, NRA, PORAC, and the OWLS.

He is survived by his wife of 41 years Barbara; two sons Matthew (Alice) Westray of Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, Donald (Karleen) Wade of Vista Murrieta Calif.; one daughter Michelle (Timothy) Lipa of Coeur d' Alene; brother Peter (Linda) Westray of California; 10 grandchildren, Shelby and Jack Westray, Alyson, Mitchell, Derek, Devon Wade, Hannah Levinson-Lipa, Timothy, Morgan, Isabella Lipa; two nephews, , Richard (Kristina) Wade, and Ryan (Jennifer) Wade; two nieces, Laura Westray, and Melissa Westray-Olsen; four great-nieces, Rebecca, Victoria, Madison, and Riley; four great-nephews, William, Tyler, Jameson, and Charles; brother-in-law Richard (Arlene) Wade; sister-in-law Rosemarie Wade; and his mother-in-law Jeanette Wade.

Mike was preceded in death by his parents and son, Timothy Westray.

A celebration of life will be held Friday June 23, at 6 p.m.. at the Downey Elks Lodge.

The family suggests that memorials may be made to Downey Police Officers' Association at dpoa.org and Fire Memorial Foundation P.O. Box 1748 Hayden, Idaho 83835. Or you can also donate to Gifts From Riley foundation, please visit www.giftsfromriley.org, and get more information regarding Mike's great-niece Riley.

Mel Baldivia was WWII veteran

DOWNEY – Mel G. Baldivia, a father, grandfather and great grandfather, passed away Saturday, April 29, at the age of 97. 

He was born May 24,1919 in Calvillo, Mexico. He served in WWII as part of the USMC First Division Marines stationed in the Pacific. 

He was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Theresa, and is survived by his daughters Barbara Rood, Pat Baldivia and son Robert David Baldivia, two grandchildren and three great grandchildren. 

A rosary and visitation was held May 17, with chapel services May 18 at All Souls Cemetery in Long Beach.

Shared Stories: Po Tai Island and My Wonderful Uncle

Candy Wong’s family is from Po Tai island in Hong Kong. Every year the islanders celebrate the festival of Tin Hau, goddess of the sea who protects fishermen and sailors. Candy’s uncle has a well-known restaurant on this small, nearly uninhabited island. 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 Candy Wong
Po Toi Island, an island belonging to Hong Kong, is my homeland. It is the most southern part of Hong Kong. Most of the islanders are fishermen.

Being fishermen, they believe in a Goddess named Tin Hau. People on this island thank Tin Hau for blessing their lives. They celebrate Tin Hau’s birthday on March 23rd every year. 

The leaders of the island ask every resident in the island to donate money to pay for four days and three nights of opera performance. The opera performance is very intricate and requires a lot of preparation.

First, they need to build a temporary theater, which can seat 500 people. Then, they invite a Cantonese opera group to come to the island to perform opera in front of Tin Hau Temple. 
During the Tin Hau festival, every islander stops working and joins every gathering. Tin Hau festival is so much fun for everyone. It is like a carnival on the island.

My uncle, Leund Chi Ming, is one of the leaders in the festival and he’s a leader because of his involvement with tourism on the island. 

While I don’t live there anymore, my uncle is a famous cook who still lives on the Island. My uncle is able to survive on an island with less than fifty occupants through building a restaurant called Ming Kee.  

It’s an open-aired restaurant with a small stage for dancing.  Working only four days a week, from Thursday to Sunday, his salary stems from the tourism business. Most of the tourists venture onto the island for its hiking trails in hope of catching a sunset facing the Pacific Ocean.

Thursday is his business preparation day.  In the morning, he drives his small truck to the organic farms in Aberdeen to buy seasonal vegetables. In the afternoon, he chats with fishermen at the Aberdeen pier and makes deals with them. Usually he orders lobsters, shrimps, mussels, clams, fishes, crabs and, of course, my favorite eels. 

After all of the food is delivered to his restaurant, he works with the workers to clean and chop until midnight. He then awaits his first customer to come the next day.  He keeps a close eye on the pier to greet the first customer coming onto the island. 

Guided by two rows of hanging orange lights, customers slowly file in, and my uncle greets each one of them with the biggest smile. Usually, customers like to sit in the front part of the restaurant.  It is because the restaurant is built on the beach; and they can take a walk after dinner or dive into the sea and swim in the unpolluted sea water.  The meals at my uncle’s restaurant, in my heart, are priceless.

Gradually, many people in Hong Kong began to know about the restaurant. Recently, he was interviewed by a journalist from the travel guide, Lonely Planets. After the article was published, the business of my uncle’s restaurant increased 30%. 

He is planning to work one more day a week, and he hopes to use it to create new dish and do extra business preparation. I hope my uncle really enjoys his career because his passion to serve great food and provide an unforgettable experience to Po Tai Island is cherished.

You can find a picture of Po Tai island and Ming Kee restaurant on Google Maps.

Letter to the Editor: Misconceptions about Planned Parenthood

Dear Editor:

I’m writing in response to Patti Sharpe’s open letter to Senator Feinstein (Letters to the editor Patriot, 5/11/2017). While I appreciate her views as a pro-lifer, I must correct some inaccuracies in her letter regarding Planned Parenthood.

The first is in regard the use of federal funding for abortions, this is untrue. In 1976, The Hyde Amendment (Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) prohibited the use of federal funds to pay for abortions with the exception in rape, incest, or life-endangering pregnancy.

While P.P. does perform abortions, among its top three health services (abortions, contraceptives, STD testing) it amounts to only about 3 percent of its long list of health services, like pregnancy testing and adoptions. P.P. receives Medicaid funding from the federal government, which allows the very low income to have access to health care.

The second inaccurate statement was that Planned Parenthood does not provide prenatal care. This is simply not true.

Therefore, I ask Patti if it make any sense to deny prenatal care to an unborn child because that parent is a low-income. That is what will happen: even relying on donations would not guarantee coverage to all 75 percent of Planned Parenthood's mostly-below-the-poverty-level patients. By defunding P.P., unwanted pregnancies would rise and Medicaid cost over 10 years would be $650 million. Trumpcare would phase out Medicaid.

So how is it pro-life to take away the poor’s healthcare, which is a basic human right along with clean water, air, and safe food?

Joanne Gallo

Letter to the Editor: Pro Life

Dear Editor:

Many today are striving for social justice. I believe social justice should be extended to include the rights of the unborn to be free from the threat of being killed by abortion-on-demand.

If anyone has any doubt about what abortion is, they should watch "The Silent Scream" on YouTube. It is an ultrasound of an actual abortion. When I saw the video, I knew I was watching the murder of a human being.

There are some who justify abortion because it was declared legal by the majority of the Supreme Court in 1973, but don't forget it was this same court which declared slavery to be legal in the 1800's. Slavery was unjust and abortion is unjust. Slavery was overturned and abortion will be overturned.

It is the ultimate act of selfishness to kill an innocent, unborn human merely to enjoy an improved quality of life. Greed is the abortionist's motive. Woe to those who get rich by evil means.

Why a woman willingly submits to the will of an abortionist is beyond my comprehension. She is violating her own natural maternal instinct.

Alan Halstensgaard