Foreclosure help available Aug. 8

DOWNEY - A "foreclosure prevention fair" to help local residents save their homes is scheduled for Aug. 8 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Downey Adult School.Credit counselors and lenders will be available for on-site assistance, one-on-one counseling, and information on viable options for your mortgage. Presentations will also be given on topics including "Understanding Your Mortgage Options," "Fraud Prevention and Awareness" and "Improving and Restoring Credit." Visitors should bring their loan and other relevant financial documents. The fair is sponsored by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, the Los Angeles Neighborhood Housing Services, L.A. County Neighborworks Center for Foreclosure Solutions, Downey Unified School District and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). For more information, call (213) 628-9230.

********** Published: July 31, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 15

Learn more about OASIS

DOWNEY - Karina Madariaga will give a presentation about Downey Adult School's OASIS program when she speaks to the Downey Christian Women's Club on Aug. 12 at Rio Hondo Event Center.Also scheduled to speak is Linda Olson, whose topic is "Being Made for Something More." The buffet lunch meeting begins at 11:45 a.m. and costs $13. Both men and women are invited. For reservations, call Sonja at (562) 862-4347.

********** Published: July 31, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 15

Female chorus needs singers for show

NORWALK - The Norwalk-based Southland Harmony Chorus is searching for female singers to join its group.Women of all ages who enjoy singing are invited to the chorus' weekly rehearsals Tuesdays at 7 p.m. at the Norwalk Masonic Center, 12345 E. Rosecrans Ave. The chorus is currently preparing for its fall show on Nov. 7 and would like to add voices to enhance the show. Musical knowledge is not necessary to join - voice training and music education are part of the membership. Any woman of average singing ability will find a part in the chorus. For more information, contact Bobbi Morrill at (714) 376-1810 or e-mail bobbimorrill@yahoo.com.

********** Published: July 31, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 15

Beard resumes club presidency

DOWNEY - Barbara Briley-Beard has been installed as president of the Woman's Club of Downey for 2009-10.It is Beard's fifth term as president. The Woman's Club, now in its 111th year of service, also installed new officers, including Barble Heiny, first vice president; Yvonne Swain, second vice president; Debbie Miller-Hernandez, third vice president; Cynthia Deack, recording secretary; Loretta Wagner, treasurer; Jean Barrera, corresponding secretary; Linda Dong, financial secretary; Shirley MacDowell, rental director; Marina Amezcua, curator; and Marjorie Saling, parliamentarian. The Woman's Club of Downey meets the first Wednesday of every month, October through June, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at its clubhouse on Paramount Boulevard. Each gathering includes a streamlined business meeting, a $12 lunch, and entertainment or guest speaker. Annual dues are $40. To join the club, call Barbara Briley-Beard at (562) 869-7618.

********** Published: July 24, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 14

Looking to escape the heat this summer?

DOWNEY - The air-conditioned Barbara J. Riley Community & Senior Center, located at 7810 Quill Dr., offers many different programs for seniors free of charge.The different physical activities offered include Jazz and Tap classes as well as a Kaiser Permanente Fitness Center. Aside from the physical activities offered, the Senior Center also offers weekly movies on Wednesdays and a social gathering known as the "Downey Seniors" every Tuesday night. These gatherings include dancing and board games as well as an air conditioned place for seniors to come together, relax, and socialize. The Downey Senior Center's most anticipated event is the monthly Café Quill, which allows seniors to have dinner while they experience an entertaining evening of raffles and shows. The next Café Quill will be Aug. 20. For more details on this event or other events offered throughout the community, go online to www.downeyca.org/city_csg.pdf to see the entire Downey Community Service Guide. Stephanie Cobau is a journalism intern for the Downey Patriot.

********** Published: July 24, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 14

Learn more about OASIS

DOWNEY - Karina Madariaga will give a presentation about Downey Adult School's OASIS program when she speaks to the Downey Christian Women's Club on Aug. 12 at Rio Hondo Event Center.Also scheduled to speak is Linda Olson, whose topic is "Being Made for Something More." The buffet lunch meeting begins at 11:45 a.m. and costs $13. Both men and women are invited. For reservations, call Sonja at (562) 862-4347 or Jean at (562) 861-1114.

********** Published: July 17, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 13

$10K sweepstakes up for grabs

DOWNEY - Stonewood Center is sponsoring a $10,000 fashion sweepstakes with entries being accepted until Aug. 3.The "Inspire Your Style Sweepstakes" includes an interactive website, www.inspireyourstyle.com, that includes style quizzes, polls, trend alerts, Q&As, and more. People who enter the sweepstakes online and tell a friend about it will automatically be entered into another $1,000 drawing. Full contest rules are available online or at Guest Services.

********** Published: July 17, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 13

Downey: My hometown

The city of Downey I knew as a youngster was a small, largely suburban-rural community. Long before it became a city it was fragrant with orange blossoms in spring and sooty-dirty when the temperature dropped to freezing and the smudge pots were lit to keep the fruit from frost bite in the many orange groves.A man with a horse-drawn disc contraption weeded and plowed our orchards. He made shallow basins around all the trees to contain the water at irrigation time. The water for this came from an irrigation ditch nearby. It was out-of-bounds for us children but secretly we dangled our feet in it on warm summer days. The moving water was clean and deliciously cool. When my father ordered some exotic fruit or food stuff from other places, he drove in his Model T Ford to the train depot in Downey to pick it up. We heard the trains come through Downey at night. The sound of them set me to dreaming of far places yet to be experienced. Downey was ideally situated in relation to the city of Los Angeles, to the mountains and the shore. We were not far from any of these attractions, yet were far enough to have a flavor of our own. It was a sleepy town with one main street, now Downey Avenue. There we had one theater, the Meralta, and I remember a department store, a bank, a shoe store, barber shop and grocery store. The Home Bakery there sold delicious pineapple pies for 25 cents. My father bought our big two-storied house and property from a Mr. Squires. There were six of us siblings and my parents there where College Avenue ended and met Clara Street. Later, College Avenue became Paramount Boulevard, which now ribbons its way north to other cities. Clara Street became Florence Avenue. Huge trucks loaded with hay from the cities of Hynes and Clearwater came thundering to a stop at our corner and made the ground shake. Our Downey schools were about a mile from our home. In good weather, we walked, cutting diagonally through neighboring ranches. On rainy days our older siblings drove us to and from school. Much later we rode the school bus. At one time, during World War II, troops of soldiers were stationed south of our home on 7th Street and Paramount Boulevard. The boys whistled and waved at us young girls when we drove by in my brother's convertible. And we drove by often! We were content here in Downey and our many Los Angeles relatives liked it so well they came nearly every Sunday to spend the day "in the country." They went home with boxes of fruits from our orchard after feasting at Mama's table. My youngest brother, Joe, and I spent most of our summer days outdoors. Children from neighboring ranches were our playmates. We had a vast two-acre playground right in our backyard where we were the bad guys and the good guys having rubber gun fights, chose teams for baseball games, played miniature golf, high jumped, performed dramatic plays and played school in our playhouse, climbed trees, and sometimes just lay on our lawn and looked at the clouds. Our old mongrel dog, Jack, was included in all our activities and summoned us when we were called to go indoors with a particular bark. Jack was the original and expert tire-biter. He raced after cars traveling east on Clara. How disconcerting that must have been for those drivers! By some miracle he lived undamaged to a ripe old age. At bedtime we heard the rustling of sleepy birds high in the palm and magnolia trees outside our open windows. The fragrance of jasmine and orange blossoms filled the night. We fell asleep between crisp cotton sheets which had dried on a line in the sun and we awoke to the aroma of breakfast wafting up from downstairs. It seems logical to assume that our physical and social environment influences us in ways we don't even recognize. Now that I have many friends here and have become active in some of the social aspects of the city, I cannot see the point of moving. Our little city is changing; it isn't the safe haven we once thought it was, it isn't perfect, but it's my hometown and it suits me just fine.

'My Hometown' was written by Downey resident Rosalie Sciortino in commemoration of the Downey Historical Society's annual membership luncheon, held June 27.

********** Published: July 10, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 12

A tale of two rivers

I was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa on the Mississippi River. Davenport is bounded on the south by the Mississippi (yes, south because the Mississippi runs from east to west at Davenport) and on the north by Duck Creek. The Mississippi is a mile wide at Davenport and Duck Creek is larger than many western rivers, so there was always somewhere for me to enjoy my favorite pastime, fishing.After World War II and college, my wife and I moved to Los Alamos, N.M., where I worked on the atomic bomb. The Rio Grande River is just a few miles east of Los Alamos, and the city is bounded on the west by Frijoles Creek. Both are good places to fish, although I had to learn to fish for trout instead of catfish. Our first two children were born while we lived at Los Alamos, and this posed a problem. All housing there was rental housing handled by the Atomic Energy Commission. You were qualified to rent a place based on your family need, length of service and salary level. When our first child was born we were allowed to move from an apartment to the two-bedroom part of a two-bedroom/four-bedroom duplex. When our second child was born, we were eligible for a three-bedroom structure when one became available. Because of my low salary and short service, and the disturbance caused by four teenagers with motorcycles in the other part of our duplex, the wait seemed interminable. A fellow I worked with had come from California and subscribed to the L.A. Times. In perusing the paper, I found that North American Aviation in Downey was hiring so I applied for a job. When I received an offer, I announced I was leaving for California. This was the winter of 1951-52. My co-worker showed me pictures in the Times of Firestone Boulevard in Downey where water was flooding the storefronts. Since I was familiar with the spring floods in Davenport where the river spilled over its banks regularly, I wasn't concerned. My mood brightened greatly when I noted on a map that Downey had the Rio Hondo River as its western boundary and the San Gabriel River as its eastern boundary. At least I would have a place to fish after work if I chose to. I mentioned this to my co-worker, and when his laughing subsided, he explained that these were seasonal rivers that were dry most of the time. So here I sit in my easy chair surrounded by two dry rivers, my fishing pole gathering dust and my nylon line rotting, waiting for a chance to go fishing again.

The Downey Patriot welcomes non-fiction, first-person stories from Downey residents for publication in the newspaper. Stories may be e-mailed to eric@thedowneypatriot.com or mailed to Downey Patriot, 8301 E. Florence Ave., Suite 100, Downey, CA 90240. Unfortunately, stories submitted to this newspaper cannot be returned.

********** Published: July 10, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 12

Ashley Abdon & Jason Ibarra will wed

Ashley Abdon, of South Gate, daughter of David and Lisa Abdon, will wed Jason Ibarra, of Downey, son of Sally Ibanez and Antonio Ibarra, in a marriage ceremony tomorrow at Messiah Lutheran Church. Ashley is a 2007 graduate of Downey High School and is currently a student at Westwood College. Jason graduated from St. John Bosco in 2003 and works as an accountant. After a honeymoon cruise to Mexico, the couple will reside in Downey. ********** Published: July 3, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 11

College the next step

High school is over. I am so excited to move on to the next big chapter in my life: college.However, I have an entire summer vacation to experience before furthering my education. The summer of '09 is bound to bring many fun-filled adventures. It is time for me to live my life as it comes and have a blast while doing it. My eighteenth birthday was on Sunday, so I can finally get in to those over-18 clubs. This summer there will be trips to the beach, window-shopping in fancy malls, awesome concerts and long car rides with no particular destination. I want to spend as much time as possible with my friends before we all become separated in the fall. Still, distance is really not a factor in my friendships since modern technology makes it so easy to communicate. With facebook and myspace I can read all of my friends' updates and see their pictures and feel as if I were there with them. Of course I will also spend time with my family. We are going to visit my relatives in Virginia and North Carolina. While on the east coast, we will also spend time in New York and Washington DC, two places that I have always wanted to visit. Then I will be jetting off to Germany. Actually, that last sentence will only be happening in my dreams, which will be occurring frequently. Sleep will probably be my main activity this summer, since I need to make up for all of the hours I missed while doing homework during the school year. I will also spend time writing, since this is not even close to the end of my writing days. I am definitely going to continue writing in college, since I am on the staff of the Daily 49er at Cal State Long Beach and I will continue to contribute stories to The Downey Patriot.

********** Published: July 3, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 11