Downey girls lacrosse may switch to tougher league

DOWNEY – The Downey High School girls’ lacrosse team has had a busy summer. The Lady Vikings have been practicing for the past six weeks from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the football/soccer field at Downey. 

The Lady Vikings are looking to change leagues this season. Downey has been competing in the Ocean League where they have won several league titles. The Ocean League consists of Beverly Hills, Culver City and El Segundo. 

The Lady Vikings are now looking to play in the Bay League. The Bay League consists of Redondo Union, Peninsula and Palos Verdes. Coach Mires sees the Bay League as more competitive and a better fit to prepare the Lady Vikings for postseason competition.

The Downey girls’ lacrosse program is certainly on the rise. Former Lady Vikings Ashley Guerrero and Jade Martinez have earned scholarships for their outstanding play. Guerrero is in Colorado playing at a smaller school and Martinez is in Washington D.C. playing.

This year’s group of players will be led by senior midfielder Natalie Hernandez. Other players to watch for include junior midfielder Kennedy Bates, junior defender Sara Reid and four year starting goalkeeper Melissa Gonzalez. 

The Lady Vikings will be competing in a small tournament on July 29 at the Glendale Sports Complex. Downey is scheduled to play Crescenta Valley and a club team named Scream.

The Downey girl’s lacrosse team will also be traveling to Las Vegas in October, Santa Barbara in January and San Diego during the lacrosse season. Coach Mires, his staff and players are all looking forward to the start of the 2018 season.

■ The Downey High School boys’ soccer team has been busy this summer, with practices 4-5 times each week for the last six weeks.

Coach Mires mentioned that there have been between 65-70 student-athletes participating in the summer program.

The Vikings have competed in two summer tournaments. The first tournament was the Downey Summer Classic which was held at Downey on June 18. This competition was a 7 vs. 7 which featured 16 teams and saw Downey defeat Long Beach Wilson in the final. The Vikings finished this tournament with a record of 6-0.

The second summer tournament was in South Torrance and was held June 25. This competition was a 6 vs. 6 and the Vikings defeated Cathedral in the final to win that tournament. Downey finished the South Torrance Tournament with a record of 6-1.

Coach Mires and his players are looking forward to the 2017-18 season. Some players to watch out for include senior midfielder Ignacio Licea, senior goalkeeper Ricky Guerra, senior center Nicholas Campbell, senior defender David Aguilera, senior midfielder Sebastian Perez and senior striker Nick Correa. Mires maintains that “this team has offensive firepower and will score a lot of goals.”

Downey will be hosting the West Coast Showcase in early December and will be traveling to Arizona before S.G.V.L. competition begins. The Vikings will be playing Concord De La Salle of northern California, Loyola of southern California and Hamilton of Arizona in preseason tournament play.   

Several of Mires’ players are being “looked at” to play at the next level. U.C. Riverside, Redlands, San Diego State, Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Dominguez Hills are just a few of the schools interested in Downey’s talent. The upcoming season will certainly be exciting as the Vikings look to make a run at the S.G.V.L. title as well a deep run in the C.I.F. Division One playoffs.

■ Former Warren High School standout cross country and track and field athlete Daniella Moreno will be competing as a member of the Women’s U.S.A. Long Distance Mountain Team. 

Moreno will be competing for team U.S.A. in Premana, Italy at the World Long Distance Mountain Championships on August 6. The race course will be the Giir De Mont mountain course which is 32km or 19.8 miles long.

Moreno came across this opportunity based upon her performances in the last year. Some of her notable performances were placing 4th at the U.S.A. Trail Half Marathon Championships, 2nd at the La Sportiva Cup Final as well as winning a handful of trail races overall and setting new course records.

Moreno plans to continue running well after this opportunity. Daniella sees herself working to strengthen her weaknesses and making her strengths stronger. Moreno believes that speed is a big advantage for her and she continues to work hard to get faster. Daniella plans on getting back to the track as the U.S. Olympic Trials approach. Moreno also sees a switch to Ultras in her near future.

Daniella Moreno is extremely excited for this opportunity and journey. Moreno mentioned that “if you had asked me back in high school if I thought I would ever make a U.S.A. team I probably would’ve been hesitant to say yes or even maybe.” 

Moreno concluded by saying, “if you are in high school, don’t give up on your passions, because if you pursue them vigorously you never know what may come of it.” 

Moreno’s story is inspiring and certainly deserves more attention. Part two of the Dani Moreno piece will be in next week’s Downey Patriot. Part two will focus on advice given to Moreno in high school, her U.C. Santa Barbara days and dealing with early setbacks.

Downey Symphony to perform free concert

DOWNEY – The Downey Symphony will present its annual free concert in Furman Park at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 26, under the baton of music director Sharon Lavery. 

Downey Symphony music director Sharon Lavery. Photo by Joan Anderson,

Downey Symphony music director Sharon Lavery. Photo by Joan Anderson,

The concert will open with familiar tunes from Broadway and film musicals, including “Phantom of the Opera,” “Les Miz,” “The Sound of Music” and “American Tail.” 

Joining the orchestra will be soprano Rachael Lorenzetti. She grew up in Downey and served for 10 years as cantor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. 

A graduate of Cal State Fullerton, she works as a costume designer for various theaters while she pursues a singing career.  For more information and videos of her singing, see

The orchestra will then play its traditional offering of patriotic music, including anthems of the various armed services, as well as “America the Beautiful” and Sousa marches. 

During the final number, children will be invited to come to the stage and help Maestra Lavery conduct the orchestra. 

The Downey Symphony, which launches its 59th season in October, is a professional orchestra of trained, career musicians. The summer concert is made possible by a major contribution from a friend of the Symphony, who is offering this event in memory of a beloved animal companion, who passed away recently. 

Support also comes from the City of Downey, which sponsors concerts on Wednesdays throughout the summer.

Information will be available at the concert about the Symphony’s upcoming season as well as its Garden Party, a major fund-raising event in September. The Garden Party presents an afternoon of good music, good food, and auction items under the theme “Mi Hacienda” on Sunday, Sept. 24. 

Downey residents can take pride in this very special cultural asset, and the community’s support is vital to the Symphony’s continuation.    

Downey Adult School student wins gold at national SkillsUSA competition

DOWNEY – Twenty-eight Downey Unified SkillsUSA gold medalists traveled to Louisville, KY, on June 19 to represent the state of California. 

Competing in various areas of technical and soft skills competitions, Downey Unified produced a U.S. SkillsUSA champion for the third consecutive year.

Receiving a gold medal in Practical Nursing was Amy Schwartz, a student from the Downey Adult School Career and Education Center’s Vocational Nursing program. 

After earning all gold medals at both the regional and state competition, students from the Downey Adult School competed nationally in the areas of Practical Nursing, Medical Math and Medical Terminology. 

“It was an honor to have our students participate in the SkillsUSA National Competition this year,” expressed Blanca Rochin, principal of Downey Adult School. “We are proud of our students’ sportsmanship, skills, and professionalism throughout the competition and extend special congratulations to Amy Schwartz, the only national gold medal winner representing Downey Unified this year.”

Downey Unified students, along with their advisors/teachers, were delegates for the state of California competing against other high schools from across the nation. 

Nationally, SkillsUSA serves more than 310,000 high schools, colleges, postsecondary and middle school students who participate in over 100 different skills and leadership competitions. 

This year, Downey Unified students from Downey High, Warren High, and the Downey Adult School competed in the following competitions: Quiz Bowl, Esthetics, Career Pathway Showcase-Health Services, Masonry, Practical Nursing, Medical Math, Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Medical Terminology, CNC Milling, Career Pathway-Services Business and Employment Application Process.

Currently with over 15,000 school chapters, Downey Unified is one of the largest chapters 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, 300 qualifying for the State Championships, 36 making it to Nationals, and ultimately culminating with two 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 now 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,” stated Phil Davis, Downey Unified’s CTE and STEM Director.

Shared Stories: Wardrobe Malfunctions

More than a few women can probably relate to Helen Hampton’s clothing problems out in public. 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 Helen Hampton

Back in the 1940’s, when I studied voice at the Boston Conservatory of Music, I used to go to dinner at Schraff’s before my voice lesson.  It was a pretty place with candy and other sundries on the street floor, with a lovely restaurant at the top of a spiral staircase.

One evening I was wearing a new girdle, and the stays in it were killing me! I knew I could not take my singing lesson in agony, so after dinner I went to the ladies room to take off my girdle.
Whew! Instant relief! Into my purse it went.

But then I realized – I had no way to hold up my stockings. Luckily I had heard long ago that pennies twisted at the top of hose will hold them up. And so, I twisted the pennies into each stocking and left the ladies room.

As I was exiting down the spiral staircase, the pennies started falling out! One by one they fell down the stairs, jingling all the way. I felt all eyes on me as I made my descent with my stocking around my ankles. I was SO embarrassed!

I rushed back upstairs to the ladies room. I took off my stockings and put them into my purse with the girdle! After making my way down the spiral staircase with my head held high, I then proceeded on to my singing lesson.

On another occasion, a skirt gave me problems. During World War II, my sister and I were volunteers for the U.S.O. in Boston. I sang with the band and we both danced with the boys.
One night I rushed home from work to change my clothes before going to the U.S.O.  I chose a beautiful light blue skirt with a matching blouse.

In a rush, I put the skirt on, and then I styled my hair. When I reached for the blouse, I found a button missing.  I hurried to look for something else to wear and found a pretty red dress.
My sister and I hurried up the street to the subway. Running late, we ran to the U.S.O. and signed in.  Within a few minutes a boy asked me to dance.

As I was dancing away, I kept seeing my sister waving to me. I kept waving back. Finally my dance partner asked what I was doing. I said, “Oh, my sister keeps waving to me.” 

He looked over at her and said, “I don’t think she is waving. I think she wants to come over.”
We danced over and my sister pointed to me, laughing her head off. I looked down and saw a light blue accordion-pleated skirt hanging three inches below my red dress! I was so embarrassed!

I excused myself, rushed to the cloakroom, took off the skirt, hung it on a coat hook, and returned to the dance floor. Needless to say, my dance partner was not in sight!

Letter to the Editor: Taxed to death

Dear Editor:
The California State Legislature does not understand that homeowners still want Proposition 13’s two-thirds majority to remain so we can keep our homes. 

In Downey, we see apartments and low-income homes being built everywhere. Does the California taxpayer at state and federal levels pay for low-income homes through grants using our money? Is it that the Democrats don’t understand that we don’t want a parcel tax on our homes (ACA-6)? 

They just voted to put a $52 billion tax on our gasoline and car fees. Now they want to put a parcel tax on every privately-owned home. It’s always the homeowner who has saved and purchased their home that is taxed. Rep. Maxine Waters’ $6 million home will pay the same amount of tax as someone who owns a $300,000 home; every homeowner pays the same. 

In the past I thought the gasoline tax was a way to pay for upkeep on our roads and highways but it went into the General Fund. The legislature wants us to pay for their incompetence, to pay to widen interstate highways, also to build and extend mass transit. The bullet train is already over budget and may never be finished. 

If they need more money, legislators should cut their salaries and do away with their pensions. 
When election time comes, we need to retire them and our do-nothing governor. I’ve had enough of their wasting my money.

Betty Logan

Downey teen collecting donations for TLC Center

DOWNEY -- As part of an Eagle Scout project, a Downey teenager is collecting toiletry items to benefit the TLC Family Resource Center.

Yanni Ramirez, 17, will be outside Ralph’s grocery store on Firestone Boulevard from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. this weekend collecting donations. 

He'll be joined by Boy Scout Troop No. 351, which is helping with the project.

Items in need include shampoo and conditioner, cotton swabs, shaving razors, hair brushes, toothpaste, dental floss, baby wipes, deodorant, lip balm, bar body soap, hand sanitizer, shaving cream, lotion, tissue, sewing kits, first aid kits, and mouthwash. 

The TLC Family Resource Center provides health and social services to uninsured and/or under-insured Downey children and their families.

This is Ramirez’s final project before he departs for New York's Cornell University next month.

Bellflower author publishes children's book

BELLFLOWER - Bellflower author Michael W. Brewer has published a children’s book entitled "The Booners."
The book follows a lonely stray dog and a cat named Shatakanders as they search for the meaning of words, making new friends and learning along the way.
"The Booners" is a 30-page paperback published by Dorrace Publishing Co. Inc of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It retails for $9

Naomi Mae Ford

October 24, 1931 - July 2, 2017

Naomi Mae Ford died July 2, 2017. The youngest of four siblings, she was born to Clarence and Beata Hildreth on Oct. 24, 1931 in Redlands, Calif. Our beloved mother faithfully served the Lord to the end.

Through her life Naomi gave compassion and support to people in need that came into her life.
She was preceded in death by her brother, Raymond; sister, Dorothy; daughter, Carol and son, Timothy. She and her family remained close through the years with her sister, Carol and her husband, Bob and their children Kenneth, Kathy, Doug and Darlene, Dorothy’s children, Judy and Marilyn and their brother, Bill who passed in 2015. Naomi will leave a gap in the hearts of her surviving children, Laurie and Richard; her grandchildren, Becky, Richard, David, Rachel, Jacob, Joseph; their cousins, Jacob and Joseph Gunderson and great-grandchildren.

After graduating from Redlands High School, Naomi went to Azusa Pacific Bible College, taking music studies where she played piano and organ for the choir and enjoyed playing gospel hymns through her years.

Please sign theonline guest book at


Will California’s new hourly wage laws hurt low-income workers?

Sometimes the best of intentions create unintended consequences. One wonders if that is going to be the case in California, which is in the process of phasing in a $15-per-hour minimum wage.

On the face of it, this would seem to be a good thing because it boosts pay for workers in California, where the cost of living is so high. But the Washington Post reports a new study from the University of Washington suggesting that the $15 rate actually hurts low-income workers:

“When Seattle officials voted three years ago to incrementally boost the city’s minimum wage up to $15 an hour, they’d hoped to improve the lives of low-income workers. Yet according to a major new study that could force economists to reassess past research on the issue, the hike has had the opposite effect.

“The city is gradually increasing the hourly minimum to $15 over several years. Already, though, some employers have not been able to afford the increased minimums. They’ve cut their payrolls, putting off new hiring, reducing hours or letting their workers go, the study found.”

This is not good news for California. The UW study would also appear to lend credibility to warnings voiced by restaurants, the hotel industry, farmers and farmworkers that this and other new wage requirements will actually cut their incomes and raise costs to consumers.

The California Legislature passed wage and overtime-hike measures last year and small business owners are bracing for the worst.

Yes, trying to ensure workers can boost their wages is commendable. But our lawmakers are failing these workers by instituting shallow, simplistic and symbolic approaches that in reality are highly likely to backfire as this new study suggests.

Unfortunately, in Sacramento and most government offices, those making laws and setting regulations have little if any experience as economists, private-sector workers or business owners.

Since the stakes are so high for workers, shouldn’t there at least be a basic requirement that those who micromanage wages must have spent some time meeting a payroll? Playing with other people’s money and work is easy when there is no accountability or need to confront reality.

Alex Saab is an attorney and small business owner. He is a council membr in the city of Downey and a former mayor.

Letter to the Editor: A solution to fireworks

Dear Editor: 

Regarding Mr. Diaz’s letter last week on illegal and legal fireworks noise, I and others can definitely tell M80s, bottle rockets and all those other illegal fireworks going off.  They are louder, linger longer and are more annoying. 

This year was the worst ever and everyone I have spoken to agrees.  Something must be done.
 I have asked City Council to consider making changes to fireworks on behalf of many others living here. My suggestion is to eliminate -- yes, eliminate -- any fireworks in the streets.  Only allow them to be used at a park or open vacant space and reduce the sale of the countless number of stands in our city. Limit stands to a few major non-profits and only sell in the park, where you are allowed to discharge them. Curfew is 10 p.m.  Anyone using them in the street will be cited. 

Our police and fire departments can quickly and easily cite the violators.  Our homes are safer, our pets feel safer, we feel safer and for once we can enjoy the 4th like we use to in this city without feeling we are in a war zone.

Dorothy Pemberton

Paging Dr. Frischer: Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome

In my practice, one of the most common complaints I hear is fatigue. The difficulty with this symptom is that there are so many possible causes. A diagnosis requires a careful review of a patient’s entire lifestyle, health history, diet history, exercise and sleep habits, etc. Could adrenal fatigue syndrome (AFS) be responsible?

Scientific literature on fatigue includes Addison’s disease (also called adrenal insufficiency). Addison’s is a well-known medical condition, yet I can count on my fingers how many times I have seen it in my rather long career.  In contrast, some sources on adrenal fatigue syndrome claim that it is extremely common.

Adrenal fatigue syndrome is said to include a collection of non-specific symptoms, such as fatigue, body aches, anxiety, inability to handle stress, depression, cravings for salt, difficulty concentrating, changes in digestion, insomnia, inability to lose weight, allergies, and a “weak immune system.” 

AFS appears in numerous alternative medicine sources, but is not accepted as a medical diagnosis by mainstream institutions. Blood tests that are able to diagnose Addison’s disease come back normal for AFS.

In contrast to AFS, Addison’s disease clearly occurs when the adrenal glands stop functioning. Causes include autoimmune disease, having a malfunctioning pituitary gland, longtime use of prednisone, cancer, the use of blood thinners, and having a chronic infection (especially tuberculosis).

When Addison’s disease is present, the adrenal glands don’t produce enough essential hormones. This leads to fatigue, body aches, weakness, nausea, salt craving, unexplained weight loss, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, loss of body hair, and hyperpigmentation. This adrenal insufficiency can be diagnosed by blood tests, as well as by special stimulation tests.

Proponents of the adrenal fatigue diagnosis claim this is actually a mild form of Addison’s adrenal insufficiency, and that it is caused by chronic stress. The theory is that the adrenal glands are unable to keep up with the increased demand of perpetual stress, leading to excess flight-or-fight activity. As a result, the glands can’t produce quite enough of the hormones we need in order to feel good, yet there is enough to show a normal blood test. 

The assertion is that most of us will develop AFS at some point in our life. The diagnosis of AFS is based only on symptoms, and there are indeed some similarities between these symptoms and those of Addison’s disease.

The treatment for Addison’s disease is to replace the missing hormone(s). The proposed treatment for Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome is also logical: it focuses on the purported root causes, including stress and diet.

One thing I have learned through the years is that science does not explain everything, and that when science lacks a reasonable answer for a problem, many will step forward with answers - be they correct or not. I advise that you be extremely careful *not* to accept a diagnosis that is unrecognized by mainstream medicine. I have seen patients hurt by purported treatments for unproven conditions. “Remedies” for so-called adrenal fatigue can leave a patient feeling worse, and encourage him or her to ignore the actual root causes.

Yes, there are conditions that are as yet not understood by mainstream medicine. However, my responsibility is to offer advice that is supported by science. I would suggest that you do the same. As knowledge expands, we will all grow with it.

Dr. Alan Frischer is former chief of staff and former chief of medicine at Downey Regional Medical Center. Write to him in care of this newspaper at 8301 E. Florence Ave., Suite 100, Downey, CA 90240.

Shared Stories: Pets or Pests?

Yolanda Reyna grew up without family pets and afraid of dogs. When she married, her husband’s dog was a new experience.  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 Yolanda Reyna

When I was a young girl growing up, I don’t recall having any pets in my home.  What I do recall were pests such as cockroaches and mice. That was about the only thing I saw wandering around my house (besides people).   

I mean, I didn't think they were my pets. But honestly, I got used to them, you see, as I was growing up.  My family and I lived in very poor conditions. 

But as far as pets like a dog? Well I only knew one thing - I was afraid of them! My recollection of dogs was that they roamed the streets.  I just knew of dogs being outdoors, not indoors, let alone sitting on a sofa or wearing doggie clothes!

I remember one time my mother let me walk to the store (by myself) to buy some candy.  Oh, I must have been around seven or eight years old.  As I started to walk down the sidewalk, out of nowhere came a little dog (it could have been a Chihuahua).  

That teeny weenie little thing just started barking at me. I was so paralyzed with fear that I could not move. I started to cry so loud that I think I scared the poor little thing away. My mother eventually came to my rescue. 

After that incident, I never really cared for dogs or any animals. It's funny how something like that can just change your outlook. But also growing up, my siblings and I were normally chased by dogs when we walked to school. I really could not understand how and why people loved animals so much!

When I met Robert, the father of my children and my ex-husband, he had a dog named Max. Max was a golden retriever. He was a big dog. Robert loved him so much. He kept him in the backyard. I wasn't too fond of the dog, but I did appreciate how much Robert loved him. 

I didn't dislike the dog, I think I didn't know how to appreciate him. I had been dating Robert for about six months when Max ran away.  He was gone for two weeks. Robert was devastated. 
He even cried! I thought, what a baby. 

After two weeks, Max appeared with no warning. Somehow he managed to make it back home. Robert had told me the story of his return. I was shocked! 

After dating Robert for a couple of years, we eventually got married and had two children, Reina two years old and Lil Robert one years old.  I had already grown accustomed to Max. He barked a lot! It was annoying!  He could be a pest at times! 

But then I realized he was sort of protecting us.  Because dogs bark at everything. They have a sense like no other.  He barked at everything and everyone! 

His favorite time of the day to bark was when the mailman was approaching.  It was like clockwork! Every day at around 3 pm he would bark and bark! 

So I’d say, “Great, the bills are coming in,” or, “Oh! My unemployment check is arriving!” Max had different barks for different people. He had this wailing bark when he knew Robert was coming home from work.  It was amazing!

Robert really loved Max and Max loved Robert too.  I saw the bond between them. Each time Robert came home from work, of course he’d greet his family first, but then he would go straight outside in the backyard and greet his dog. 

The love they had for each other was nice to see.  Robert would sit on a chair and let Max sit on his lap.  He let Max lick him all over his face!  

Robert had Max for quite some time, since he was a teeny weenie little thing. He told me the story when he first got Max. How he was so little he fit in the palm of his hand or how he let Max sleep on his chest at times. 

Max was only around my children and me for almost four years. I met Max December of 1989 and he left us around 1994. It was the saddest day for Robert and it is sad to say I was forced to call animal control. 

One day while Robert was out in the backyard attending to yard-work, Reina our two- year-old wanted to go outside with her dad, but I was very nervous of her being around Max. I never allowed her to get near him. 

Robert only allowed Max to get near her when he carried her in his arms. Robert assured me she would be fine if I let her go outside. So while I was in the kitchen, I could see Reina around the patio area.

No sooner than I blinked, Max appeared and was humping Reina from her little behind! Reina being only two years old, didn't have a clue what was going on!

I literally witnessed this! I raced outside and Robert turned and witnessed it too! He yelled at Max! It was hilarious but yet scary. 

That was all it took, plus, with having two children, Robert really didn't have time for Max. He never walked Max nor did he take him for any vaccinations. 

I did not want the dog around. So I told Robert I think we should consider giving him to someone that will spend more time with him.  I just didn't want Max around. I know it sounds cruel but I was thinking of my children. 

I called animal control and they took Max away. Robert agreed but I made the final decision. To this day, I often think about that time and the love that Robert and Max shared.