DOWNEY - The Mary T. Stauffer Foundation on Wednesday presented a $15,000 donation to the Columbia Memorial Space Center to pay for field trips by fifth grade classes in the Downey Unified School District to experience a simulated mission to the moon in the Challenger Learning Center.Accepting the welcome donation from foundation CEO Dr. Mary Stauffer was space center programs manager Christie Pearce. In attendance were City Council members Dave Gafin and Mario Guerra, Mayor Pro Tem Roger Brossmer and Mayor Luis Marquez, along with assistant deputy city manager Scott Pomrehn who is directly in charge of the center, as well as foundation CFO Linda Kennedy and board member Alyson Blowers, who also happens to be Stauffer's granddaughter. It is the fifth or sixth time the foundation has given a donation in varying amounts, said Stauffer, in the initial stages to benefit the work of the Aerospace Legacy Foundation, of which she has been an advisory board member and which has, along with other former city council members, played an important role in the center's formation. A tour of the center's two main attractions that never fail to enthrall - Mission Control and the International Space Station - followed, prompting Stauffer to remark that the totality of hands-on sensations (sight, sound and touch) the children experience when they man the various controls in the whole center is likely to be more than the sum of its parts, a sort of scientific "super-synergy." Brossmer, who also represented the Downey Unified School District, said he hopes, "At least one of these fifth graders will be inspired to become an astronaut." Guerra said he'll be happy to see some of the kids joining the science community which today employs 100,000 people. The Mary T. Stauffer Foundation provides scholarships in support of local high school students, DUSD educational efforts and a variety of other community programs to help children. Vasquez appointing new member to Planning Commission The Planning Commission is one of three mainstay commissions - the others being the Library Advisory Board and the Personnel Advisory Board - that are required by charter to work side by side with the city council and city staff in providing the best possible economic and social services to the community. Specifically, the Planning Commission is charged with giving direction to, and exercising control over, city issues that include land use, zoning and variances, conditional use permits and environmental impact reports. Its decision-making powers also impact development and redevelopment programs. Each council member appoints his choice of commissioner for his district. Currently serving as planning commissioners are David Gafin appointee Mike Murray for District 1, Mario Guerra appointee Robert Kiefer for District 2 and Louis Morales, Roger Brossmer's appointee, for District 3. Newly-elected District 4 councilman Fernando Vasquez used to be now-mayor Luis Marquez' planning commissioner for District 5, but since Vasquez won the District 4 seat, he now has to appoint his own personal choice to the commission. His nominee, he said, will be announced at noon Friday. Marquez is still mulling over his nominee. He said he wants to make sure he appoints the right person for the job. The other non-charter boards and commissions that render purely advisory yet no less important services to the City Council are the following: Community Services Commission, Keep Downey Beautiful, Parking Place Commission, Water Advisory Board, Traffic Committee, Project Area Committee and Downey Hospital Commission.
********** Published: January 6, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 38