Shared Stories: Merrimack and Me

For some time now, current stories in the media have been reflecting deep divisions within our country. This story by Frank Novak recalls the turbulence over the Vietnam War and the killings at Kent State.  Our country was similarly divided – and we lived through it.  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 Frank Novak

I didn’t go to my college graduation. The year was 1970, and student unrest over the Vietnam War had been boiling for some time. On April 29th, US and South Vietnamese forces entered Cambodia, and demonstrations immediately erupted on college campuses throughout the country.

The afternoon of May 4th was clear, with the jacket-weather crispness of early spring. I had driven up through Andover Center to the Merrimack College campus and was almost to the student parking lot. The car radio interrupted its broadcast; four students had just been killed on the campus of Kent State, shot by Ohio National Guard troops. 

I remember clearly my first emotion; “they’re killing us.” In the light of history, the categories of “they” and “us” were complex, but for myself, and thousands of other college students at the time, there was no confusion. The shootings were a sharp personal assault, and life just could not go on as before. 

So by the end of the day, the students of Merrimack College, along with those in over 450 colleges and universities around the country, were on strike.

Merrimack was a small college at the time. It was founded in 1947, just after World War II, by a Catholic order of priests (the Augustinians) who projected a need for colleges in the suburbs of Boston to educate the returning soldiers from World War II and the subsequent baby boom. 
In 1970, with 2000 students and 500 in each class, it was smaller than many urban high schools. Classes were small, the professors were accessible, and there was only the large cafeteria and basement lounge in the student union for common areas. There was a real sense of community among the faculty and students.

So when the strike was declared, it was a personal thing, a rift in the family. And it wasn’t just a rift between students and faculty. For two years, I had been part of a loosely organized ongoing game of hearts in the basement lounge of the student union.

Of the six or eight guys who floated in and out of this game, half of them were older ex-servicemen getting their college education on the GI Bill. All of them had been involved in the ongoing war in one way or another. Their beliefs and priorities were very different from those my age who still faced the draft and service in Vietnam.

For me, the rift in the college community was even more personal. My father began his teaching career at Merrimack College when the college was a tiny affair operating out of a gym and some other temporary buildings. 

After several years, he left Merrimack to teach at the University of Maine in Bangor. In 1958, when I was 10, the college had grown large enough to have a separate Mathematics department, and my father returned as the first chairman. 

I had been in and around the school for most of my life. I knew the smell of every classroom, the rumble of every elevator. I knew nearly all the faculty: the faint Italian accent of the engineering professor Mr. Parotta, the laugh and mannerism of the half dozen members of the Math department. As a child, I could walk past waiting students into my father’s window office, and put my feet up on his desk if he wasn’t around.

The details of the strike have faded. It was much the same across the country; the students formed a committee, a list of demands was created, there were negotiations. Agreements were made about more student input into the college. 

But the strike was not about the school really. There was a much bigger drama being played out, and this small school was just one little act. Looking back, what I now appreciate was the grace with which the school, the administration, and the faculty, handled the whole thing. 

There was no panic, there was no retribution that I remember. There were meetings. I remember that Dr. Parotta, a native of Italy where the political spectrum is much more vivid and above board than in America, asked a group of us exactly what was it that we wanted. Our lists made little sense; we wanted so much, and really nothing that they could offer.

I don’t remember if classes ever resumed. The semester fizzled to an end. A graduation was held, but I had no heart for it. In my sadness and rage at a deeply divided country, I was walking away from a longtime love, and there were no words or actions that could stop me.

OP-ED: Acupuncture offers alternative treatment for Californians with Medicare

Jeffrey McManus, senior products medical director for Humana in California

Californians are known for living rich, active lifestyles. The warm weather and access to not only the beach but the ski slopes encourage physical activity. Californians have also been known to taking a holistic approach to their health in order to maintain an active lifestyle. As a result, many people are discovering the benefits of acupuncture as an alternative to traditional pain medications.
For baby boomers who want to remain active as they age, acupuncture may be a good alternative to some traditional treatments.
For some people, the body’s natural reaction to aging can be sporadic and often times debilitating. Common health concerns and conditions for many adults 65 and older include being at a higher risk for heart disease, a slower metabolism, arthritis and diabetes.
The ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture may provide an important source of treatment for many of these ailments, with very few side effects as compared to some prescription medication, especially for Californians with Medicare who may not want the aging process to slow down their active lifestyle.
For baby boomers – who are just now aging into Medicare – many may want to consider or continue using acupuncture as part of their overall treatment plan. However, while Original Medicare plans are more commonly known to cover traditional methods to relieve pain, it’s always wise for anyone seeking Medicare coverage to confirm whether or not their insurance plan includes acupuncture as a covered benefit. 
Original Medicare, which covers most Americans who are enrolled in Medicare, does not include any coverage for acupuncture. By contrast, some Medicare Advantage plans do provide coverage, although it is still a small portion of those plans.
There are several reasons why acupuncture should be an affordable option for people with Medicare, which include:
It may be a safe alternative to prescription medication for certain conditions. Many adults age 65 and older take a large number of medications, which increases the risk of adverse health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that every year 177,000 adults aged 65 and older visit the emergency department due to medication problems. Acupuncture may be able to help older adults reduce their use of medications and thereby reduce the risks associated with any medication side effects.
It’s a great pain reliever. Acupuncture is particularly effective in treating a variety of pain conditions that become more prevalent with age, including arthritis, chronic neck and back pain, muscle pain and headaches. In a 2010 survey of 600 rheumatologists, over half said they found acupuncture to be a beneficial treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

It can help upper respiratory issues. In 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that acupuncture is effective in treating some upper respiratory tract illnesses such as allergic rhinitis and bronchitis. Acupuncture can also relieve negative side effects associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

It can help with dental relief. Acupuncture can even help relieve certain mouth disorders that can develop with age, such as toothache, Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, post-extraction pain, gingivitis, and acute and chronic pharyngitis – also known as a sore throat.
By seeking an affordable, holistic alternative to traditional medicine for a wide-range of age-related conditions, more Californians with Medicare are not only embracing their dynamic lifestyles but also improving their overall approach to health awareness. Acupuncture is an important treatment option and one that is being offered on some Medicare Advantage plans in California, such as Humana.
To learn more about Medicare and plans that offer acupuncture, visit or call 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY: 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Calvary Chapel travels to SLO to open football season

DOWNEY – The Downey Calvary Chapel football team will kick off their 2017 football season when they travel to Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo next Saturday night at 7 p.m. The Grizzlies did not play Mission prep last season.

DCC does not have a scrimmage scheduled this preseason and will play nine games in the regular season. The Grizzlies are eligible for postseason play should they qualify. 

DCC finished last season with an overall record of 5-4 and were 3-1 in league play. The Grizzlies did not participate in postseason play last season. 

Head coach Mike Nuno, his staff and players are all looking forward to the start of the 2017 football season.

DCC will also have fall teams for boys’ cross country, girls’ tennis and girls’ volleyball. It is certainly an exciting time to be a fall athlete at Downey Calvary Chapel.

■ The St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy football team will be hosting the Webb Schools of Claremont next Friday night at 7 p.m. This game will mark the season opener for both schools.
St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy will also have fall teams for boys’ and girls’ cross country, girls’ tennis and girls’ volleyball. It is certainly an exciting time to be a fall athlete at St. Pius-St. Matthias Academy.

■ The St. John Bosco football team scrimmaged against Long Beach Wilson High School at Bosco yesterday (stats unavailable at press time). 

This scrimmage served as a valuable tool for the Brave football staff to make any adjustments or address any needs they may need to make for their season opener next week. It was also an excellent opportunity for any Brave player to make a last summer impression to get more playing time.

Long Beach Wilson competes in the Moore League against Long Beach Poly, Lakewood, Cabrillo, Compton, Millikan and Jordan. Long Beach Wilson finished last season with an overall record of 10-3 and a Moore League record of 5-1. Long Beach Wilson was defeated by Los Altos 30-28 in the third round of the C.I.F. Division 6 playoffs.

St. John Bosco competes in the Trinity League against Mater Dei, Orange Lutheran, JSerra, Santa Margarita and Servite. Mater Dei was the 2017 Trinity League champion but Bosco was the C.I.F. Division 1 and state champion after they defeated Mater Dei 42-28 in the C.I.F. Division One championship game.

The Braves will be in Fort Lauderdale, Florida next Friday night to take on St. Thomas Aquinas High School. St. Thomas Aquinas is nationally ranked and the Florida 7A champion from last season. Coach Negro, his staff and players are all looking forward to the start of the 2017 football season and defending their C.I.F. and state titles.

St. John Bosco will also have boys’ cross country and boys’ water polo beginning their respective seasons as well. It is an exciting time to be a fall season athlete at St. John Bosco.

■ Warren High School began their fall semester on Wednesday as students attended their first day of school. 

Fall sports teams have been practicing this summer and their respective games, matches and competitions are quickly approaching. Several competitions have already taken place and some are taking place later today and next week.

The Warren football team will be traveling to Bellflower High School later today to scrimmage against the Buccaneers. The freshmen team will scrimmage at 3:00 p.m., the junior varsity team will scrimmage at 4:00 p.m. and the varsity team will be scrimmaging at 5:30 p.m. These scrimmages will give the coaches a better idea and understanding as to who can do what in game situations. 

The Bears will kick-off their regular season schedule when they host Don Lugo next Friday night under the lights. Don Lugo defeated the Bears 18-0 last season.

The Warren girls’ cross country team ran yesterday at Gahr (times, places and results were unavailable at press time). The Warren girls’ volleyball team will be competing in the Valley Christian/Cerritos Tournament on Tuesday, August 22 and the Lady Bear golf team will be competing against Cerritos on Wednesday, August 28. 

The Warren pool will be hosting boys’ water polo games shortly as well. The pool, locker rooms and scoreboard all look outstanding. Fall sports are just getting started at Warren High School.  
■ Downey High School students went back to school this Wednesday as fall classes began. Many Viking athletes in different grades and team levels have spent a lot of time on campus and in practice getting better this summer in preparation for their respective upcoming seasons.

The Downey High School football team will be scrimmaging against Orange Lutheran tonight at Downey High at 6:00 p.m. Tonight’s scrimmage presents an excellent opportunity for Downey players to make a final summer impression and for Viking coaches to make any last minute adjustments. Downey will kick off their regular season schedule when they host Santa Margarita under the lights next Friday night at 7 p.m.

Several other fall sports teams have been busy this summer in preparation for their respective competitions, games and matches. Boys’ water polo has been busy early in the morning getting their workouts in at the Downey Aquatics Center. Girls’ volleyball has been busy practicing and participating in camps this summer in preparation for their season to begin.
Boys’ and girls’ cross country has been busy running the streets of Downey as well as doing work on the track at Downey. Girls’ golf has been busy driving and putting balls and girls’ tennis has been busy practicing their groundstrokes and backhands on the tennis courts.

Athletes are getting ready to compete and coaches are getting ready to coach. Fall seasons are finally getting started and It is certainly an exciting time to be an athlete on a fall sport’s team.  

WWE SummerSlam Predictions

The biggest show of the summer - SummerSlam – takes place this Sunday. With a card full of top stars and interesting feuds, here are a few predictions.

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Universal Championship Fatal Four Way – Samoa Joe vs. Braun Stroman vs. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar (c)

Paul Heyman has been really playing up the “If Brock loses the title we leave WWE” angle, which is made even more interesting by rumors of Brock Lesnar making a UFC return. A UFC return is complicated for a myriad of reasons, not least of which being that he still has several months left on a USADA suspension for failing several drug tests.

In short, Lesnar and Heyman aren’t going anywhere.

Prediction: Brock Lesnar

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WWE Championship Match – Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

There’s been practically no buildup for this match, except for the fact that Nakamura beat John Cena clean to get the opportunity. Nakamura seems to be getting a majority of the push heading into this match, which doesn’t seem like a good sign for the champ.

Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

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United States Championship Match - AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens w/ Shane McMahon as referee

I’m going to be honest here; I have no idea as this could go either way. I’m going to go bold with my prediction: Styles drops the championship in order to be freed up for the rumored upcoming second Superstar Shakeup. In other words, Owens wins the belt, Styles goes off to Raw.

Prediction: Kevin Owens

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Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt

Originally I gave this to Wyatt, however Monday night changed that prediction entirely. With Wyatt picking up a win on Raw this week, and Balor announcing that “The Demon,” would be making an appearance, it’s pretty safe to say that Balor picks up the win.

Prediction: Finn Balor

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Raw Women’s Championship Match – Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks

This program was quickly thrown together after Bayley – Bliss’s original challenger – suffered an injury. It came down to Banks and Nia Jax to replace Bayley, and I honestly feel WWE made the wrong call. Bliss and Jax have this “friendship” story going, and a match between them would’ve been much more compelling.

Bliss retains, just because there’s not enough story to warrant a title change.

Prediction: Alexa Bliss

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Smackdown Women’s Championship Match – Naomi vs. Natalya

You would think that Naomi is the odds on favorite, but I smell an upset. I think Natalya wins the championship in order to put over a new, upcoming star later on (maybe a debuting Asuka freshly called up from NXT).

Prediction: Natalya


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Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match – The New Day (c) vs. The Usos

This is probably the best feud in the entire tag team division right now (and that includes Raw and Smackdown). The New Day will likely get the nod here, possibly closing up this feud and sending them off to new, fresh challengers.

Prediction: New Day


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Raw Tag Team Championship Match – Sheamus and Cesaro (c) vs Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins

It’s been building for weeks, and Monday finally saw it happen: The Shield (or at least, two of them) is back together. Look for an even more satisfying payoff than the one fans got on Raw.

Prediction: Ambrose and Rollins

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John Cena vs. Baron Corbin

Personal opinion: WWE squandered a big opportunity to grow and develop Corbin by having him unsuccessfully cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase. If the company really wants Corbin as the next big heel, then he needs to win here; a win over Cena can do wonders for a career.

Prediction: Baron Corbin

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Cruiserweight Championship Match – Akira Tozawa (c) vs. Neville

Tozawa shocked the world on Monday when he defeated Neville and ended a championship reign that had been running strong since January. Sunday will now see the rematch between the two, and I find it unlikely that the WWE will so quickly pluck the title off of Tozawa a la Zack Ryder.

Prediction: Akira Tozawa

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Randy Orton vs. Rusev

Not a whole lot makes sense about this feud. I say Orton should put over Rusev and let the Bulgarian Brute pick up some momentum onto something bigger and better.

Prediction: Rusev

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Big Show vs. Big Cass w/ Enzo Amore suspended above the ring in a shark cage

This is a good opportunity for a star on his way to retirement (Big Show), to put over the next big “giant.” Why this match requires Enzo Amore in a shark cage is beyond me.

Badda boom, dumbest match gimmick in the room. How you doin'?

Prediction: Big Cass

Shared Stories: A brilliant beginning to first grade

This coming Monday, August 21, all of the continental United States will be treated to the rare opportunity to see a solar eclipse. Lisa Filler remembers such an event when she started first grade in the Philippines. 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 Lisa Filler

The time from 1954 and 1955 was eventful for me. I was officially enrolled in kindergarten. Tatay (Daddy) went to the United States of America. Kuya Jubert (eldest brother) graduated from elementary school. And Manila experienced the total solar eclipse.

In the Philippines, school starts in June and ends the following March. Elementary is from kindergarten to grade 6 followed by four years high school. A regular student would start at age five and graduate high school at age 15.

In June 1954 I was officially enrolled in kindergarten at Welfareville School, while brother Jose was in grade 2 and Kuya Jubert was in grade 6. We were in the morning session. We walked a half-mile to the school at 7 a.m. and walked back home at noon. Nanay (Mommy) was teaching in the afternoon session at 1 p.m.

Tatay was selected from his work to study the new technology in Geology in the United States of America.  Before going to the United States, Tatay took us around the University of the Philippines and Balara Park. He took a lot of family pictures. 

We all wrote letters to him while he was in Alabama. I always ended my letter with “Be good.” He replied with pictures of the family (LaMoreaux) where he stayed. They had a daughter, Karen, of my age.

I don’t know how long he was in the United States but I remember when he came home. He brought walking dolls for me and my cousin Jean. One was a 12-inch bride, all dressed in white. Another was a 6-inch girl with different outfits. We got a lot of bead necklaces from the Mardi Gras. 

Nanay and I got nice dresses. Mine were of different sizes that I was able to wear until grade 5. Jose got a cowboy outfit, boots and guns.

Jose was so popular with his cowboy outfit and the first one to grow sideburns like Elvis Presley. Kuya Jubert got nice jacket and View Master with films of Washington DC, the New Orleans parade, and others. 

Tatay also brought a lot of bars and boxes of chocolate candy for us and to give away (pasalubong) to relatives and friends. He got himself new Kodak camera and collection of sample liquor in small bottles of different shapes. 

Kuya Jubert won first place in the declamation contest. He practiced so many times that Jose and I memorized with action most of the lines. Kuya Jubert was serious with his studies. In March 1955 he graduated from elementary school as Valedictorian while I graduated from kindergarten. 

He was enrolled at the University of the Philippines (UP) Preparatory High School located in Padre Faura Manila where most of the Valedictorians from different schools continued high school. He had to take two lines of public transportation (jeepney and bus) to get there.  Sometimes Tatay would take him to school using the Land Rover he used for work. 

On June 20, 1955, there was a Total Solar Eclipse in Manila, Philippines. I was in Grade 1 and our teacher was explaining to us what would happen, that the moon would cover the sun and it would be dark at noon time. 

There was a miniature replica of the Solar System showing the position of the Earth, Moon, and Sun.  We were given sunglasses made from picture film and she dismissed us early before it got dark. 

When we reached home, my mother prepared a wide tub full of water for us to watch the eclipse reflected on the water.  We did not have to look up with our film sunglasses. 

All the people in Manila were in awe of the experience as the moon slowly covered the sun until there was total darkness. Then slowly the light of the sun was uncovered in the opposite direction.

That experience gave me a clear understanding of what an eclipse is and began my interest in looking at the solar system.

Shared Stories: What wrong have I done?

Dulce Ruelos and her family left their village to go into hiding when Japan invaded the Philippines. When everyone returned home and school resumed, Dulce feared she had done something wrong. 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 Dulce Ruelos

In 1945, at the end of World War II with the surrender of the Japanese army and the takeover of the Philippines by the Americans, we were finally allowed to go back to our homes from the places where we had hidden for safety.

The initial sight was one of total devastation. All houses were bombed and burned to the ground.  There was only one structure left standing. This was a large, two-story house belonging to my cousin Lorna. 

The roof and walls were riddled with bullets, but the floor was still usable. This structure became our school building. 

Meanwhile, temporary dwelling places had to be built. Bamboo was plentiful and came in handy for use as floors or walls. Our lot had a deep well, so a safe water supply was available for us and our neighbors. We lived temporarily in this hut until better housing could be built.
Top priority was to reopen our school. The only building that could be utilized was the lone surviving home. Quick fixes were made so that classes could start.

First and second grades would occupy the ground floor, and the bigger and older third and fourth graders would be on the second floor.

I was enrolled in second grade. My teacher was a frail-looking but strict and efficient teacher named Miss Teodora. Textbooks and major school supplies had to be shared, and classes resumed with a sense of normalcy.

One day the principal, Mr. Ruiz, came to our classroom. We all stood up as a sign of respect until he motioned us to take our seats. Mr. Ruiz then spoke with Miss Teodora in a soft tone, almost a whisper, and turned toward the class.

He focused his look on me and I heard him mention my name. Needless to say, I was scared, and I began to ask myself, “What wrong have I done?”

Did he find out that I scribbled something on the wall?  But my handwriting is so fine and small.  You see, graffiti is nothing new. Finally he announced that with Miss Teodora’s permission, he would take me upstairs to the fourth grade class.

He asked me to stand in front of the class. Then he gave me the fourth grade book, opened it, and asked me to read from the book. After reading, he told me that I could go back to my class.

At that, I heard him tell the fourth graders that he wanted to show them that a second grader could easily read their book that they were having difficulty with and they should strive to improve their reading skills.

This experience was a moment of pride and an unforgettable memory.

High school football season only 2 weeks away

DOWNEY – The Warren High School football team has been busy preparing for the start of the 2017 football season. Warren will kick off their 2017 season when they host Don Lugo of Chino on Friday, Aug. 25, at 7 p.m. Don Lugo defeated Warren last season at Don Lugo 18-0.

The Bears finished last season with an overall record of 2-7-1 and were 2-3 in S.G.V.L. play. Warren did not qualify for postseason play. The Conquistadores finished last season with an overall record of 10-3 and were 5-0 in Mt. Baldy League play. Don Lugo was defeated by Burbank 44-14 in the third round of the C.I.F. Division 8 playoffs.

The Bears finished last season ranked 3862nd nationally and 282nd in California while Don Lugo finished last season ranked 3128th nationally and 232nd in California. Last year’s game was a bit of a grind before Don Lugo finally put the game away. The Bears have been working hard this offseason in hopes of getting a different result this year.

The Bears have several key returners coming back from last season. Junior quarterback Chris Venegas and junior wide receiver Robbie Colenzo will be two of those catalysts looking to get things going for the upstart Bears. Both players return bigger, faster and stronger from a season ago with more experience and skill under their belts. 

Head coach Raul Lara, his staff and players are all looking forward to the start of the 2017 football season.

■ The Vikings will be hosting Orange Lutheran next Friday night, Aug. 18, in a scrimmage scheduled for 6 p.m. 

This scrimmage will be an excellent opportunity for head coach Jack Williams and his staff to make any last minute changes and fine tune his team in preparation for their season opener against Santa Margarita on August 25th.

The Vikings finished last season with an overall record of 10-2 and were 5-0 in S.G.V.L. play. Downey was eliminated by Charter Oak 35-21 in the second round of the C.I.F. Division 4 playoffs. Santa Margarita finished last season with an overall record of 7-5 and were 2-3 in Trinity League play. The Eagles were eliminated by St. John Bosco 54-14 in the second round of the C.I.F. Division 1 playoffs. 

Downey did not play Santa Margarita last year so this is the first meeting between the two schools.

Downey finished last season ranked 890th nationally and 83rd in California while Santa Margarita finished last season ranked 101st nationally and 12th in California. Coach Williams sees this game as an intriguing matchup due to Santa Margarita’s strong finish last year and the fact that so many players are returning from that team. 

This first game of the season will certainly be a test for Downey. The Vikings will be led on offense by junior quarterback Kijjon Foots and senior running back Baraq Ross. 
Coach Williams, his staff and players are all looking forward to the start of the 2017 football season. 

■ St. John Bosco finished last season with an overall record of 13-2 and were 4-1 in Trinity League play. St. John Bosco defeated Mater Dei 42-28 in the C.I.F. Division 1 championship game and then went on to defeat Concord De La Salle 56-33 in the state championship game at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento. 

The Braves finished last season ranked 5th in the Xcellent poll, 2nd in the national poll and 1st in California.

The Braves will travel to St. Thomas Aquinas of Fort Lauderdale, Florida for their season opener on Friday, August 25th, at 7:00 p.m. St. Thomas Aquinas defeated Plant High School of Florida 45-6 in the Class 7A state championship game last season. The Raiders then went on to defeat Bingham High School of South Jordan, Utah 33-25 in a national playoff game. 

The Raiders finished last season with an overall record of 13-2 and were 2-0 in District play. St. Thomas Aquinas finished last season ranked 6th in the Xcellent poll, 7th in the national poll and 2nd in Florida. 

The matchup between these two schools certainly presents an intriguing challenge. Both teams return several key players at key positions. St. John Bosco will have athletes all over the field on offense and defense as will St. Thomas Aquinas. Quarterback Re-al Mitchell, FS/WR Jaiden Woodbey  and RB/OLB Demetrious Flowers are just three names to watch out for the Braves this fall. 

Coach Jason Negro, his staff and players are all looking forward to kicking things off against St. Thomas Aquinas, in Florida, on August 25th and defending their C.I.F. Division 1 and state championship titles.

■ Former Warren High School standout cross country and track and field athlete Daniella Moreno competed at the World Long Distance Mountain Championships in Premana, Italy last Saturday and finished 21st overall and was the fourth American female to finish. Moreno finished in a time 4:31:12.

Kasie Enman of Huntington, Vermont was the first American woman to finish. Enman finished second overall in a time of 3:57:30. Addie Bracie of Boulder, Colorado finished second for the American women and was sixth overall in a time of 4:07:20. Kristi Spravzoff of Flagstaff, Arizona finished third for the American women and was 20th overall in a time of 4:28:11. Anita Ortiz of Eagle, Colorado finished fifth for the American women and was 26th overall in a time of 4:40:35. 

The race was 32 kilometers long with 8,000 feet of climbing and descending. There were 16 teams of five men and ten teams of five women competing. The fastest men’s individual time was Petro Mamu of Eritrea in 3:12:52 and the fastest women’s individual time was Silvia Rampazzo of Italy in 3:56:45.

Team medals for the men saw Italy win the gold, the United States win the silver and the Czech Republic win the bronze. Team medals for the women saw Italy win the gold, the United States win the silver and Romania win the bronze.

When asked to describe the course in one word Moreno said it was “ruthless.” Moreno went on to say, “It was a big eye opener for me. I went in thinking I’d take advantage of the downhills, and after rolling my ankle about three miles in my game plan changed and it became an uphill race.” 

Moreno went on to say, “overall it was a great experience. I love racing on teams. I haven’t done that since college. It keeps you going for the team.” 

Alternative Medicine: Spiritual Obstacles

In the grand scheme of things, we all encounter spiritual obstacles. My personal journey is no exception. I had a very religious upbringing. Anything outside the chosen religion was seen as negative, wrong and often an act of witchcraft.

I don't know about you, but to a young mind, this causes confusion and conflict. I heard in Sunday mass the priest preach how this superior being (God, universe etc.) was all loving and merciful. That we were all his children. But the real world proved otherwise for this inquisitive mind. Why was it that within our family's religion we practiced this to the core yet when someone outside our religious views came by we intentionally segregated them. 

I became so confused and utterly out of sync with myself. Experiencing the greatest spiritual obstacle in my life. I shied away from sharing this with family and friend in fear of being judged. I somehow had made this story in my head of being abandoned by the very people I loved over my spiritual and religious views. 

Then one day when all seemed broken within my heart and soul, I came to a realization. A realization that would forever transform the way I viewed people. I was on my knees pleading to this higher source for mercy. Tears rolled down my cheeks like a broken water dam. Then, the light came on in my heart.

I realized that the spiritual obstacles I had encountered throughout my life were brought on by my own perception and judgment. Yes, we all have different views but there is nothing written in stone that I must follow one religion, practice or culture. True, we are born into these kinds of upbringings. Mostly to teach us how to go beyond the conventional.

I learned to see beyond the box of my own stereotypical upbringing. Break free from my self-imposed prison. The result was spiritually liberating. The ability to respect and embrace people for who they are rather their spiritual and religious choice was eye opening. Now i was truly experiencing on a deeper level the words I heard as a child "God (universe, higher being etc.) is all merciful and loving. We are all his children". This resonated with me on so many levels.

What I wish you, the reader, takes from my personal journey and experience is the possibility of seeing and respecting people for who they are. The results they produce in life. What do they do for others, rather than their chosen spiritual and religious practice? This simple exercise will resolve any form of spiritual obstacle. How? You will see everyone through the eyes of a mirror. Reflecting onto each one another. You will see no difference beyond the physical realm.

Have a question regarding this article or maybe you’d like to suggest a topic? Write to me at: Next article we’ll chat about Gratitude over Fear.

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.