Health reform policies going into effect

Starting on Jan. 1, a number of important new benefits will go into effect under the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress earlier this year.As the new year begins, insurance companies will have to abide by new requirements on how premium dollars are spent, Medicare enrollees will get free preventive care and access to drug discounts, community health centers will receive more funding, and all hospitals will begin reporting certain patient infection rates. "These benefits are important new building blocks of the new health law that will ultimately help ensure that more Americans have greater access to affordable, high-quality care," said DeAnn Friedholm, director of Consumers Union's health reform campaign. "Starting in 2011, more insurance premium dollars will go towards medical care instead of profits, seniors will have better access to preventive care, and all hospitals will begin to disclose their infection rates to the public." Starting Jan. 1, the Affordable Care Act will require: More Premium Dollars Going to Medical Care: If you are covered by an individual or small group policy, your insurer must spend 80 percent of the premiums it collects on medical care or activities that improve the quality of care. For those covered by large group policies, insurers must spend an even higher amount -- 85 percent. Beginning in 2012, insurers who fail to meet this "medical loss ratio" must provide policyholders with a rebate instead of pocketing those excessive premiums. New Medicare Preventive Health Benefits: If you are covered by Medicare, you can get an annual wellness visit and a personalized prevention plan at no cost. Medicare beneficiaries will also be able to get immunizations and screenings for cancer and diabetes without co-pays. Drug Discounts for Medicare Recipients: If you have Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D), you will be eligible for a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs and a 7 percent discount on generic drugs if you have a coverage gap (also know as the "donut hole"). These discounts will increase each year until the donut hole is completely eliminated by 2020. Increased Funding for Community Health Centers: If you rely on Community Health Centers for free or low cost care, you'll benefit from new federal funding to support these centers. Hospitals Must Report Certain Patient Infections: Hospitals will now have to track and report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Healthcare Safety Network when patients get central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) in intensive care units. HHS plans to issue a public report on hospital-specific CLABSI infection rates later in the year. By requiring public reporting of infection rates, HHS aims to help patients learn more about their hospital's infection control track record and put pressure on hospitals to improve their care.

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36

To fly or not to fly: that is the question

Commercial flying has seen some rough turbulence lately. Not like the good old days - last century - when flying was fun.It was an adventure. You could arrive at the airport a few minutes before your flight and get right on the plane. Airline personnel had a smile on their face and a warm greeting. The passenger was in a good mood and well dressed. Children, if there were any, were well behaved. Delays were rare and once underway you got free drinks and a meal depending on the length of the flight. Everyone was courteous. No more! Now you need to arrive at the airport 2-3 hours before your flight. You spend more time waiting than flying. Then there are the lines to check in, go thru security and get on the plane. To get thru security you have to remove your belt, shoes and jacket and maybe get a full body scan or a pat down. You may have to pay fees for bags or extra weight. You also have to worry about overbooking, delays, cancelled flights and missing connections. Once on the plane, small seats, no free drinks or meals. And, of course, you may sit on the taxi way for hours. Not a lot of fun. But wait. It's not that bad. Here are five reasons to fly: It's Fast. Certainly if you are traveling over 500 miles it's not even a close call. It is far better to be flying along at 550 miles an hour at 30,000 than driving on the highway at 60 mph. The plane also goes in a straight line to its destination whereas the car has many twists and turns and must follow the road which was determined by terrain. The plane goes non-stop from airport to airport but the auto has to make many stops for lights, tolls, fuel, rest areas, traffic and accidents, which sometimes ties you up for hours. Nothing is worse than sitting in a long line of cars, moving at 1 mph, waiting for an accident to clear. Buses are subject to the same problems as autos. Of course, there is the train, but on long trips not nearly as fast or efficient as the plane. However, on shorter trips, downtown to downtown, the train is a better alternative than the plane. France and Japan have bullet trains that do better than 200 MPH, unfortunately we do not have that luxury. It's Safe. Despite some high profile plane accidents air is still the safest way to travel. A plane crash that kills over a 100 people makes worldwide news and scares people. Even a small private plane accident that kills two makes the local news. Not only are planes the safest form of travel they are getting safer. Out of almost 11 million departures in recent years there were only 28 accidents involving large commercial planes. The death rate per million departures is only 0.2 while about 40,000 in the United States die in car crashes each year. And car accidents are up due to mobile phone distraction and drinking. Even train safety has declined. There have been more derailments, human errors, explosions and collapsed bridges. Interesting to note that as trains go faster they have more accidents. It's Cheap. People are moaning about the high cost of flying but when compared to cars and trains for long distance the plane is actually much cheaper. A 1000+ mile trip on a plane might cost you several hundred dollars for the ticket but that is your main expense. If you go by car it will take several days and you need to factor in lodging, meals, tolls, fuel as well as the stress of driving. Even a train trip of that length will be more expensive. Of course, expense will vary with the number of people on the trip. A plane ticket for one is a lot less than tickets for four. The Alternatives. If you do not go by plane your choices are car, bus, train, or boat. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. For short trips planes do not offer many advantages but for overseas trips there really is no other option, you cannot drive or take a train. You could go by boat and that would be great fun if you have the time. Generally speaking airports are clean and safe whereas bus and train stations are often dirty and in some cases not in the best section of town. For longer trips your best option is the plane. It's Relaxing. This may sound like a strange reason to fly but think about it. The greatest stress is worrying about all the things that could go wrong and they generally don't. If you expect everything to be perfect you are sure to be disappointed. The best advice is to expect the worst and then if something good happens you will feel good. So bring a good book or your laptop and relax, you will get there. Focus on how happy you will be when you get to your destination whether it is for business or pleasure. Despite all the stress of flying and there is considerable, it certainly beats the other choices for trips of long distance. Ideally, you'll be able to fly non-stop since many of the stresses, delays and maintenance problems occur at the hubs -- that is where you make connections and the airlines make repairs. Just remember: when your plane is late, it is better to be waiting in a nice warm terminal than sitting for hours in traffic behind an accident or stuck in a snow storm. Dr. Douglas A. Lonnstrom is the author of "JFK Jr. - 10 Years After the Crash - A Pilot's Perspective." Visit him online at www.lonnstrombooks.com.

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36

Bill targets foreign manufacturers who evade trade rules

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-39) helped introduce the Enforcing Orders and Reducing Customs Evasion (ENFORCE) Act last week, bipartisan legislation "intended to eliminate schemes by foreign producers to evade payment of antidumping and countervailing duties.""Our U.S. producers are being undermined by foreign competitors whose fraudulent schemes enable them to avoid paying the duties they owe," Sanchez said. "In order to keep American producers and businesses strong, and keep Americans working, this bill ensures that Customs will aggressively enforce anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders - putting those who would break our laws on notice that flouting U.S. laws will no longer be tolerated." Antidumping duties are imposed when it is established that foreign goods are being sold (or "dumped") in the U.S. at prices below the prices in the home market. Countervailing duties are imposed when foreign goods receive illegal subsidies that artificially hold down their prices. The duties are meant to even out these illegal practices so that American and foreign goods are competing on a more level playing field when it comes to prices. Those who work to evade these duties are not only skirting the law, they are harming U.S. businesses and killing jobs, Sanchez said. The ENFORCE Act establishes procedures for investigating claims of evasion by foreign manufacturers. Domestic producers, for the first time ever, will be able to petition U.S. Customs and Border Protection to investigate possible antidumping and countervailing duty evasions. Once an investigation is initiated, Customs must make a preliminary and final determination about whether an importer is engaged in duty evasion. The legislation prescribes timelines, as well as enforcement and remedial measures for each determination. "Trade cheats who illegally dump goods in the U.S. are going to extraordinary lengths to continue to avoid playing by the rules," said Rep. Walter B. Jones, who also helped author the bill. "This bill would give U.S. companies the ability to compel the U.S. government to take action to stop these practices. It is long overdue." If passed, Customs will receive $20 million to train employees and staff the ports.

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36

B's Dance Place

B's Dance Place participated in the city of Downey's holiday toy drive by collecting toys from students and staff. Cpl. J. Gomez and Officer J. Llamas of the Downey Police Department picked up the toys, which will be distributed to children in the community. ********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36

Medical student honored for leadership

DOWNEY - Marizabel Orellana, a student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, was named a 2010 Herbert W. Nickens Scholar by the Association of American Colleges during the association's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 8.The single mother of a 14-year-old daughter, Orellana, 35, was one of five third-year medical students recognized for demonstrating leadership in eliminating inequities in medical education and health care, and for addressing the educational, societal and health care needs of minorities. Each recipient was awarded a $5,000 scholarship. "Receiving the Nickens Award is an incredible honor and a reminder of how important it is for me to serve my patients and advocate for their needs," Orellana said. "My patients inspire me to persevere, because each of them has the right to high-quality and affordable health care." Orellana helped launch a mentoring program for low-income youth at the Renacimiento Community Center in Pomona. She did this as a member of the inaugural class of the David Geffen School of Medicine's Program in Medical Education, a dual-degree program that aims to train medical leaders who will address health policy, care and research for underserved populations. The following year she expanded the program into a six-week summer program to engage children ages 11-18 in leadership development activities. The goal is to spark their interest in pursuing higher education and potential careers in health care. This is not the first time that Orellana's initiative has been publicly acknowledged. In June, she was one of two medical students awarded the $5,000 Oliver Goldsmith, M.D., Scholarship by Kaiser Permanente's Southern California region. In March, she was selected as one of 20 medical students nationwide to receive a leadership award from the American Medical Association Foundation. On behalf of the city of Pomona, Mayor Elliott Rothman also presented Orellana with awards in 2009 and 2010 in appreciation of her efforts to mentor children of the city. Orellana is pursuing a master's degree in public health in addition to her medical degree. Following residency training, she plans a career in primary care medicine. Orellana's mother is from Mexico and her father is from Guatemala. Both of her parents immigrated in their teens to the United States.

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36

Trojan Horse Bandit wanted in bank robberies

DOWNEY - The FBI is asking the public's help in identifying a man accused of robbing five local banks, including a Bank of America branch in Downey last month.The man, dubbed by the FBI as the Trojan Horse Bandit due to his affinity for USC team apparel, is accused of robbing four Bellflower banks going back to September. He is also suspected of robbing the Bank of America branch at 9330 Firestone Blvd. in Downey on Nov. 1. His latest heist was Dec. 13 when he robbed a Union Bank in Bellflower. According to law enforcement officials, the suspect approaches a teller and threatens to shoot them with a firearm. No weapon has been seen during any of the robberies. The man is described as Hispanic, between 20-30 years old, 120-160 pounds and standing between 5 foot 2 and 5 foot 9. He has been spotted wearing USC team apparel during the robberies along with different hats, gloves and glasses. Anyone with information on the identity of the Trojan Horse Bandit is asked to call (888) CANT-HIDE or 911.

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36

Audit company rubberstamped Bell finances, state says

BELL - State Controller John Chiang on Tuesday published the results of a quality-control review of the city of Bell and the Bell Community Redevelopment Agency's audits, which found that the city's audit firm, Mayer Hoffman McCann (MHM) failed to follow the majority of applicable generally accepted fieldwork audit standards."MHM appears to have been a rubberstamp rather than a responsible auditor committed to providing the public with the transparency and accountability that could have prevented the mismanagement of the City's finances by Bell officials," said Chiang. "Had MHM fully complied with the 17 applicable fieldwork standards, it would have led them to identify some - if not all - of the problems my office has uncovered since August." Cities - like counties and other local governments - must produce annual financial statements and use outside auditors to review those statements. These reports are used to determine the city's financial position, its ability to meet its obligations, and the performance of the city's management and governing board. The purpose of any quality-control review is to ensure the city's contracted auditors followed generally accepted government audit standards, performed adequate testing and fieldwork, and were able to support their conclusions. This review of MHM's work found that the firm failed to fully comply with 13 of the 17 applicable fieldwork auditing standards. In particular, the firm's auditors complied in varying degrees with fieldwork standards regarding audit documentation and evidence, risk of fraud, and litigation, and their conclusions were not supported by their working papers. MHM has worked as Bell's independent auditor since 2006, when it bought the City's previous audit firm, Conrad and Associates LLP. Conrad and Associates had performed audits for the City since 1994. This review focused on the working papers behind MHM's latest audit of the City and redevelopment agency's 2008-09 financial statements. A copy of the review has been submitted to the California State Board of Accountancy. At the firm's request, nearly all communications during the course of the review went through MHM's attorneys. The Controller's review found that the firm did not adequately look for documentation and evidence to support the city's records, did not document the reason for deficit balances, management's plans for dealing with the financial conditions, or the adverse effect of deficit balances. Instead the firm relied primarily on comparisons to prior year financial statements, requesting information on variances in excess of $200,000 and 15 percent from the prior year. For example, a $300,000 loan to a local business was not flagged for additional review because the same loan with the same value appeared in prior year statements. Instead, auditors should have reviewed the age and collectability of a loan that showed no repayment. An audit released by the State Controller earlier this year found the now-defaulted loan was made without the City Council's knowledge. The firm's review of Bell's payroll was also limited to comparisons against prior years, and only looked at the City's General Fund, although salaries were charged to other funds. Had the firm reviewed the records for key employees, it should have noted that the Chief Administrative Officer had salary agreements with five other City funds. It should also have noted that the CAO's basic salary would increase if the General Fund maintained a positive balance, providing an incentive and risk for misappropriation of public dollars. Additions to the City's assets, including a $4.8 million land purchase from a former mayor, were not adequately reviewed. The firm's audit only looked at journal entries surrounding the purchase, but should have analyzed the valuation and existence of the building, which the City undervalued in its asset report by $200,000. MHM should also have found that the appraisal supporting the land's value was more than a year old, and noted the potential conflict in such a large purchase from a former City official. The firm did not document its consideration or evaluation of the City's ability to meet its obligations. The City had planned on leasing a parcel of land to a railroad and using those revenues to make payments on $35 million of lease-revenue bonds. However, a 2008 ruling from the Los Angeles County Superior court blocked the lease because the City had not obtained an environmental review. The firm's working papers did not show any analysis or record of this issue and its financial effects, nor did they note the reason why the City had recently extended the maturity date of its bonds. The review also found problems in the firm's audit of federal program compliance. The firm's auditors used outdated compliance guidelines and failed to adequately evaluate the City's controls over major federal programs or test all applicable requirements for those federal programs. In a separate review of the City's Redevelopment Agency, the firm did not disclose that the Bell Community Redevelopment Agency had been sanctioned by the State for failure to make mandatory payments to local education agencies. There was no evidence in the firm's working papers that the auditor identified or considered the impact of this sanction. Sanctioned redevelopment agencies face several prohibitions - one is that their monthly administrative expenses may not exceed 75 percent of the average monthly amount spent for those purposes in the prior year. The Controller's review found that the City's Redevelopment Agency violated the sanction by increasing its yearly administrative expenses by 31 percent. The firm also failed to determine whether expenditures made from the agency's Low and Moderate Income Housing Fund were related to the production, improvement or preservation of low and moderate income housing. An audit that fully followed the Redevelopment Agency audit guidelines should have questioned the validity of these expenses. The full report is available on the State Controller's website at www.sco.ca.gov.

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36

Health information technology needs direction

A new study that reviews more than four decades of medical journal articles about the impact of health information technology (HIT) and electronic communications on medication adherence concludes that while there is evidence to suggest that simple electronic reminders are an effective and low-cost means to improve adherence, there are few studies that show how HIT can be leveraged to more thoughtfully engage or motivate patients to take medications as prescribed.The study was published this week in the American Journal of Managed Care and is the result of a research partnership between Harvard University, Brigham and Women's Hospital and CVS Caremark - a three-year collaboration focused on developing a better understanding of patient behavior, particularly around medication adherence. According to the researchers, the study findings "highlight the disappointing state of evidence on a topic of substantial health importance." The researchers concluded that as the U.S. "invests substantially in the broad implementation of HIT, innovative adherence interventions built on the capabilities of HIT are essential and must be rigorously tested to identify applicable best practices."

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36

Rancho athletes put on a show

DOWNEY - The Rancho Renegades, an accomplished wheelchair basketball team comprised of former patients of Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, conducted an on-court demonstration during halftime of the USC-Cal State Fullerton basketball game at the Galen Center on Nov. 24.After an impressive display, including a number of three-point baskets, the team received a standing ovation from the crowd. "This was an awesome experience for our athletes," said Rancho Wheelchair Sports Director Lisa Hilborn. "Many of our athletes will play wheelchair sports at Division I schools, so it was a great incentive for them to continue to work hard in school and prepare themselves to be successful in college." The wheelchair team has distinguished itself on the court, with the Renegades Junior team finishing second in the nation this year. The athletes have also proven to be excellent scholars, graduating from college with both Bachelor and Masters degrees at a rate higher than the general population and 3.5 times higher than the graduation rate of persons with disabilities throughout the nation.

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36

Congress keeps ceding power to the president

I've never been able to figure out why Congress seems so interested in giving up power. When you're sworn in as a member on Capitol Hill, you take an oath to uphold the Constitution, which places Congress first in the firmament of national governance and makes it coequal to the presidency. Yet over the years, members of Congress have repeatedly handed the executive branch more power, in everything from going to war to budget-making to designing the specifics of financial-industry reform.Capitol Hill's latest exercise in self-shrinkage is its proposed ban on earmarks. These are the moves by individual legislators to direct federal dollars - usually in the form of spending or tax breaks - to specific projects, interests, or companies. The unsuccessful attempt to fund Alaska's infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" was through an earmark. On the other hand, earmarks were used to develop the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., the Human Genome Project, and the Predator drone missile. They also may well have helped fund the highway improvement you drive to work on, the flood control project that protects your home, or the federal contract that keeps some of your neighbors employed. You would think, given the rhetoric we've been treated to recently on earmarks, that they're a significant part of federal spending. Not even close. As Daniel Inouye, the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, pointed out recently, earmarks make up less then one-half of one percent of total federal spending. We have a $1.3 trillion deficit, he told fellow senators, and "if we accept this proposal to eliminate all earmarks and take the second necessary step of actually applying the savings to deficit reduction, the total deficit for the United States would still be $1.3 trillion." There is no question that the earmark process has been misused and abused over the years. Members have curried favor with powerful constituents, steered federal funds to prominent campaign contributors, and supported projects whose benefit to their districts, let alone their country, was dubious at best. All of this was usually done in total secrecy. But any dispassionate look at earmarks would suggest that most of them have been useful and defensible. Over the last few years, moreover, Congress has made the earmark process more transparent, detailing members' requests so that the names of their sponsors are public information and readily available. This trend toward transparency should be encouraged - indeed, I would argue that if you want to sponsor an earmark, you should also be willing to stand up in your chamber and defend it in the face of an up-or-down vote, rather than allow it to be slipped into some massive spending bill where it disappears from sight. Congress needs to make progress on this front, just as it could do a better job of figuring out where a particular project ought to fit in terms of national priorities - and not simply allow it to rise to the top because the member supporting it has seniority. Still, these ought not be fatal flaws. The most important argument in favor of earmarks is that they give members of Congress - the people in the federal government who are most intimately familiar with the needs of their home districts and states - the ability to make sure that needed projects get attention. Because make no mistake: money on roads, bridges, transit projects, sewer lines, flood-control projects, and community centers is going to get spent. The only question is whether the decision on where it's spent gets made in at least some cases by our elected representatives, or exclusively by federal bureaucrats who may or may not be familiar with the communities they're affecting. During a recent debate over the proposed earmarks ban, Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin had this to say: "When a Federal agency announces that a facility should be built in Nebraska rather than Texas or Alabama or whether a defense contract should go to a company in Colorado or Arizona rather than Rhode Island or Ohio, there may be no accountability to voters for those decisions. The employees of Federal agencies are...good people, but they are not elected. They do not meet with constituents. They cannot possibly understand the needs of local communities as well as those who stand for election." He's right. In the end, then, the debate over earmarks is not about improving the federal deficit, it's about power over the federal purse-strings and whether to give the President and the federal officials who work for him exclusive power to decide where money gets spent. If Congress yet again opts to diminish itself while strengthening the President, you've got to wonder how much further Congress will go in handing over more power to the President and rejecting its constitutional role as a coequal branch of government. Lee Hamilton is Director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36

Commerce councilman told to resign

COMMERCE - A city of Commerce councilman must resign and abstain from holding public office for the next three years after pleading guilty Monday to obstruction of justice, the district attorney's office has announced.Hugo Argumedo, 49, was placed on three years probation by Judge Henry Barela. The case stems from a false affidavit that Argumedo certified as true, filed in a civil lawsuit between Commerce and the former city attorney, Francisco Leal. The false affidavit, signed by Argumedo, was filed by Leal in an attempt to defend allegations that he failed to pay a settlement owed to the city of Commerce after a contractual dispute. By filing a false affidavit, Argumedo caused the city to incur additional legal fees and resulted in a miscarriage of justice to the city, prosecutors said. Argumedo pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of obstructing justice. A felony count of perjury by declaration was dismissed at sentencing.

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36

Museum opens late for science discussion

LOS ANGELES - First Fridays, the provocative series in which live music, discussion and curatorial tours converge in an after-hours event, returns to the National History Museum on Jan. 7.The new season, "The Nostradamus Edition," includes a slate of speakers exploring the ways that science will affect our future: will be able to harness the power of our brain to be more creative? Is climate change causing us to evolve? Will we live in a building designed by termites? Are we doomed to go the way of the dinosaur? Or will we live forever? The speakers will not be discussing science fiction, but rather the real science that is shaping our life today, and will change our lives in the future. Jonah Lehrer, a contributing editor at Wired, will lead a discussion at 6:30 p.m. titled "The Science of Creativity." Dr. Michael W. Quick, head of the Department of Biological Sciences at USC, will moderate. Anthropologists Dr. Margaret Hardin and KT Hajeian will lead tours through "What on Earth?" starting at 5:30 p.m. "What on Earth?" is a new installation featured in the historic Haaga Family Rotunda. Each architectural case presents enigmatic and visually arresting specimens from the museum's collection, and the objects' "identities" unfold through a playful dialogue as visitors wander around the installation. Swedish quartet Little Drag will perform their high-energy electro-synth pop at 8 p.m. The group, which played at Coachella last year, fuses electronica and R&B to create "a rich, danceable sound that can't be ignored." Admission to First Fridays is $9 for adults and $6.50 for children and includes full access to open museum galleries. Access to the concert is guaranteed only with the purchase of a concert pass, which start at $40. For more information, call (213) 763-DINO or go to www.nhm.org.

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36

Quilt expert to speak

WHITTIER - Francis Holt, an expert quilter and collector of quilts, will be the guest speaker at the Jan. 15 meeting of the Whittier Area Genealogical Society.The meeting begins at 1 p.m. at the Whittier Masonic Lodge. Holt will speak on the topic, "Quilts and Their Historical Contribution throughout the American Pioneer Days."

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36

DCLO discounting remaining shows

DOWNEY - Discount seats have been made available for the remaining two productions of the Downey Civic Light Opera's current season, "The Melody Lingers On" and "Funny Girl.""The Melody Lingers On," opening Feb. 17, features the music of Irving Berlin, described as "America's most prolific and beloved songwriter." Songs featured in the production include "White Christmas," "What'll I Do," "Easter Parade," "Puttin' On the Ritz," "Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning" and "God Bless America." The show runs Feb. 17 to March 6 at the Downey Theatre. "Funny Girl" is the musical that captured the greatness of one Broadway legend, Fanny Brice, and created another in Barbra Streisand. "People" and "Don't Rain On My Parade" are just two of the production's songs that have become part of musical lore. The backdrop of the Zeigfeld Follies "adds a look that dazzles the eye." "Funny Girl" runs June 2-19. Discount seats are available to DCLO subscribers only, but "special holiday offers" are available to general audiences as well, said executive director Marsha Moode. For tickets and information, call (562) 923-1714.

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36

Investing in youth

Dear Editor:This is response to the letter to the editor titled "A Nightmare" (The Downey Patriot, 12-16-10) The Dream Act lets the children of immigrants become naturalized citizens if they go to college or serve in the military here. The people who oppose this know nothing about our hard-working immigrant families. As it has been said, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." Most of the young people who would benefit from this act came to the U.S. so young that they don't remember or feel part of any other country. We have all invested in these kids education, many from kindergarten through the 12th grade, until they graduate from high school. Do we want to throw away that investment and make them work at menial jobs for the rest of their lives instead of letting them use their brains and talents to contribute to our society? We are only hurting ourselves and our country by stifling the brightest minds of our young people just because their parents brought them here when they were too young to have a choice in the matter. This is total stupidity, and if Republicans stand united against this, it will come back to haunt them for a very long time. I really think that the closed-minded citizens of this country need to learn about language and travel and live abroad for a few years so they can wake up their minds. -- Anita Rivero, Downey

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36

Farmers market closed 2 weeks

DOWNEY - The farmers market in Downey is closed for the holidays and will reopen Jan. 8.The market had been open 139 consecutive Saturdays since it opened April 26, 2008, city officials said. It is normally open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Second Street in downtown Downey. For more information, call (562) 904-7285 or e-mail farmersmarket@downeyca.org.

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36

Subaru donates to auto program

NORWALK - Cerritos College received a $2,500 donation toward student scholarship funds from Subaru and five area dealers on Dec. 6.Car dealerships Sierra Subaru, Timmons Subaru, Renick Subaru, Shaver Subaru and Subaru of Glendale each contributed $250, and Subaru of America matched with $1,250 to bring the total donation to the school's Southeast ROP Automotive Youth Education Systems Program to $2,500. The program prepares students for entry-level career positions or advanced studies in automotive technology. Since its inception, it has sent nearly 11,000 interns to the auto industry nationwide. Subaru has supported the program since 2001 and is looking for more dealers to participate and contribute. "We are pleased to support dedicated students advancing their automotive education," said Dan Page, district parts and service manager for Subaru. "They are the future of our industry."

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36

Riviera Healthcare Center

The YMCA after-school site after Price Elementary School went caroling at Riviera Healthcare Center on Dec. 11 "to share the joy of the season with residents." The children and their parents sang Christmas carols, and also went caroling in neighborhood near Price. ********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36

Legal to have loaded gun in parked car?

Q: Is it legal to have a loaded firearm in a parked vehicle while hunting?A: No. Possessing a loaded rifle or shotgun (live round in the chamber) in a vehicle, even when parked and you are away from your vehicle for any purpose, is still prohibited. This law applies when you are on a public roadway or other way open to the public. This means any place the public can go, including roadless or "off road" areas. Q: I just went through the validation part of the Department of Fish and Game site and can't locate the following requirement. What happened was a friend stopped Saturday at a California Highway Patrol office to have his deer tag validated. The carcass was in the truck in a deer bag and the horns were cut off. The officer told him he was in violation of the law as the head must be attached to the deer until dropped off at a butcher shop or cut up at home. I've never heard of this before in California. Is this the case? If so, it's a severe imposition on successful hunters. The book says the head must be retained in case a warden asks to see it after the fact, but what if you want it mounted and must skin it as soon as possible? I cannot locate anything referring to the horns attached issue. Why not require proof of sex be left on the carcass instead? A: For hunters who backpack into roadless areas, they are required to pack out of the field all edible meat and the portion of the head which normally bears the antlers (skull cap) with the tag attached. The remainder of the skull may be discarded at the kill site. The tag must be validated prior to transportation to the nearest person authorized to validate the tag. Hunters are then required to maintain the portion of the head which normally bears the antlers with the tag attached during the open season and for 15 days thereafter, and it must be produced upon demand to any officer authorized to enforce the regulations. Q: I see on many websites that you cannot take female Dungeness, but I see in the regulations no comment about females. Have the rules changed now allowing females can be kept? A: Recreational fisherman may keep the female Dungeness crab - commercial fishermen must throw them back. Since the females are often so much smaller and less meaty than the males, many fishermen toss them back so they can reproduce more young for future generations. The larger females that meet the minimum size requirements also carry the most eggs and produce the most young, so it makes sense to let females go as a matter of course. However, there is no law that compels you to do so. Q: Can you tell me the reason why anglers are not required to display their fishing licenses anymore? How are wardens supposed to catch poachers and unlicensed people? I know we have fewer wardens than needed, but this just makes their job harder and decreases revenue for the state in the form of fines. A: The Fish and Game Commission agreed to do away with the required display law this year because fishermen have been asking for it to be overturned for a number of years. People were constantly complaining about losing their licenses or finding it to be a big hassle. Our enforcement staff too said this law didn't help them that much because they still had to walk up to the person to see the license to make sure it was valid. Many people were making copies of licenses and displaying the illegal license while fishing. The theory that more people would purchase a license due to peer pressure did not prove to be true. Many people would be upset when a game warden asked to see the license because it was already visible, yet the only way to check if it was valid was to have it removed from the case. While it may cause a decline in fine revenue, it was the predominant voice of the anglers in California to not have to display their licenses above their waist anymore, and so the Commission finally agreed. Although it's no longer the law, many anglers do still choose to proudly display their licenses. Q: I understand the baiting issue, but I would like clarification on deer and elk attractant scents, like "Tink's" or "BuckBombs". There are also scents for bears, hogs and predators and I want to be in full compliance for whatever I'm hunting for. A: California Fish and Game Commission regulations do not specifically prohibit using the products you mention. However, the regulations do prohibit taking resident game birds and mammals within 400 yards of any baited area. The definition of baited area is, ". . . any area where shelled, shucked or unshucked corn, wheat or other grains, salt or other feed whatsoever capable of luring, attracting, or enticing such birds or mammals is directly or indirectly placed, exposed, deposited, distributed or scattered, and such area shall remain a baited area for ten days following complete removal of all such corn, wheat or other grains, salt or other feed." According to retired Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Captain Phil Nelms, scents sprayed into the air and allowed to disperse over a wide area in the wind generally do not fall within the definition of bait. Scent products that have to be applied directly to a surface such as a rock, tree or bush generally cause the game to come to that specific place, and if they feed on it, it is bait. So, if the product you use causes the game to chew on, nibble at, lick, etc. the surface it is applied to, it is "feed" and as such falls within the definition of bait. In that case, you are prohibited from taking (e.g., hunt, pursue, catch, capture or kill or attempt any of those actions) game within 400 yards of that area. Q: Can I use motorized decoy ducks which have paddle feet to kick up water? They don't simulate moving wings, but simply cause ripples in the water with the use of paddles. Please advise. A: Yes, starting this year, it is legal to use duck decoys that have battery powered feet that cause ripples in water before Dec. 1. The restriction only limits decoys with electronic or mechanically operated spinning blade devices or spinning wing decoys. Q: Is it legal to use bonito carcasses for lobster bait? Since bonito have a size limit, the fish carcasses cannot be measured and so there's no way for DFG to know how many or how large the fish actually is. Is there some way to legally use these carcasses to bait our lobster hoop nets? A: You can take/have up to five undersized bonito in possession. When fishing from a boat with bonito for bait, use no more than five bonito for the maximum of 10 hoop nets allowed on a vessel (assuming there is more than one lobster fisherman). Use half of a bonito for each hoop net, and keep each half whole. That way the game warden can count how many you have total by inspecting each net. If there are less than five bonito, there is no need to worry about the size. Q: Last fall while hunting with a guide in the D6 Zone for deer and bear, I shot a nice 300-pound black bear. While getting my bear tag from my backpack, one of the guides saw that I had both my D5 and D6 deer tags as well as my bear tag. He told me it was illegal to be hunting in one zone (D6), while having a different zone tag (D5) in your possession. Is this true? If I have a legal tag for the zone in which I'm hunting, I can't see any reason why it would be illegal to have a legal tag with me for another zone. I always keep all of my tags together in my backpack and I'm sure most all hunters do, too. Would you please see if it is a judgment call on the part of the game warden or if there actually is a law that says it's illegal? A: Regulations require only that hunters must have in their possession a current tag valid for the species and the zone in which they are hunting. Possession of another tag, issued to the same hunter but valid for another zone or species, is not prohibited. A more common problem in this area is when one of the tags belongs to a friend or relative. It is against the law to possess a tag belonging to someone else. Q: I would like to hunt sea ducks and target surf scoters this waterfowl season. Is this legal? If so, how does one know where it is legal to hunt from shore? Also, if hunting from a boat, I know the motor must not be utilized except to retrieve birds. What other guidelines are there for hunting from a boat? A: Surf scoters and other sea ducks are found along the entire coast but hunting for them is more popular north of the Golden Gate Bridge in northern California (such as Humboldt Bay) and in Oregon and Washington. According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Northern California District Chief Mike Carion, hunting from shore is legal provided that the shoreline is not private (unless you have permission to be there). It also must not be in an area covered by one of the numerous ecological reserves, marine reserves, state parks, etc. along the California coast.

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36

Farrell's may expand into Downey

DOWNEY - City officials have been in contact with representatives for Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour about the possibility of the nostalgic restaurant expanding into Downey.According to the Orange County Register, Farrell's is scouting Southern California locations "at least 20 miles away" from its current Mission Viejo base. The article did not mention how many stores Farrell's plans to open. According to its website, Farrell's currently operates restaurants in Mission Viejo and Santa Clarita, in addition to two stores in Hawaii. It previously operated a restaurant at Stonewood Center that was shuttered several years ago. "Farrell's requires between 6,500 and 8,000 square feet of space for its restaurants and is actively looking for high profile restaurant locations with plentiful parking," real estate investment firm Grubb & Ellis Company, which is representing Farrell's in its expansion, told the OC Register. Councilman Mario Guerra said city officials contacted Farrell's several months ago regarding "another business venture in Downey." "Our staff and I met with the owners and expressed our interest and willingness to work with them and to facilitate their going "back to the future" here in Downey," Guerra said. "They were very interested in us also. All I can say is that there is a genuine interest on all parties. We discussed several locations for them and we will keep everyone updated." -Eric Pierce, city editor

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36