Fugitive ex-cop went to school in Norwalk

Norwalk Christian Elementary School closed early today - and will remain closed Friday - as a manhunt ensues for Christopher Jordan Dorner, the ex-LAPD cop suspected of gunning down three people, including a Riverside police officer. In a manifesto posted on his Facebook account, Dorner said he struck a student who called taunted him with a racial epitaph.

"A fellow student...called me a [expletive] on the playground," Dorner wrote. "My response was swift and non-lethal. I struck him fast and hard with a punch an (sic) kick. He cried and reported it to a teacher. The teacher reported it to the principal. The principal swatted [the student] for using a derogatory word toward me. He then for some unknown reason swatted me for striking [the student] in response to him calling me a [expletive]."

Sheriff's deputies swarmed the Norwalk elementary school Thursday after the manifesto was discovered online. Neither Norwalk Sheriff's officials or school administrators were available for comment.

Dorner is suspected of killing an Irvine couple on Sunday and shooting at police early this morning. Authorities say Dorner is armed with several weapons - including an automatic assault rifle - and warned residents not to approach him.

In the manifesto, Dorner also claims to have resided in Pico Rivera and Cerritos. He asked reporters to "investigate every location I resided in growing up. Find any incidents where I was ever accused of being a bully. You won't, because it doesn't exist."

Ravens hang on to win Super Bowl XLII

Quarterback Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31, to win Super Bowl XLVII in the Super Dome on Sunday. Flacco was named MVP of Super Bowl XLVII after he threw for a total of 287 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. All three touchdown passes from Flacco were thrown in the first half of the game.

Flacco threw for a total of 11 touchdowns in the postseason, tying him with retired quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Joe Montana for the most in a single postseason.

Anquan Boldin finished the game with six catches for 104 yards along with a touchdown reception.

Ravens captain Ray Lewis and the defense helped seal the team's victory with a defensive stand on the 49ers final attempt to take the lead. Lewis led all players in the postseason with a total of 51 tackles.

Lewis will retire after winning his second Super Bowl and spending his entire 17-year career with the in Baltimore. Lewis was a member of the first ever Ravens draft class in 1996, along with former teammate Jonathan Ogden, who was announced as a member of the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class the day before the game.

Ravens safety Ed Reed had five tackles and the only interception of the game. Reed had a scare early in the game as he had to go to the locker room to check the severity of what looked like a knee injury from a tackle on 49ers tight end Vernon Davis.

Reed also entered the history books as he tied the all-time record for most career postseason interceptions with nine picks.

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick led the huddle for the offense in only his 10th career start.

Kaepernick threw for 302 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also had 62 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown.

Kaepernick set a few records during his Super Bowl performance. He set a Super Bowl record for the longest rushing touchdown by a quarterback, breaking the record set by Montana, who was also a 49ers quarterback. Kaepernick also became the first 49ers quarterback to throw for an interception in the Super Bowl.

This is only the first loss for the 49ers in six total Super Bowl appearances, but first appearance since winning Super Bowl XXIX in 1994.

Other milestones were set during the Super Bowl, including Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones returning the opening kickoff of the second half 108-yards into the end zone, which is the longest kick return in postseason history. Jones also had a 56-yard touchdown catch. The game also featured the first ever fake field goal attempt in a Super Bowl contest.

Another milestone set during the game was the longest delay in Super Bowl history, which lasted 35 minutes due to a power outage during the 3rd quarter of the game. It was not until after the power outage that the 49ers scored their first touchdown.

Among the most notable milestones was the first meeting between a pair of brothers coaching on opposite teams for the first time in a Super Bowl, as Jim Harbaugh was head coach of the 49ers and John Harbaugh coached the Ravens.

Follow James on twitter at @Jwilliams029 and @Sports_Minded

Mendez leads Norwalk City Council candidates in fundraising

NORWALK - Norwalk Councilman Mike Mendez currently leads all Norwalk City Council candidates in fundraising, collecting more than $13,000 in contributions, according to campaign financial statements released from the city clerk's office last Thursday. Due to the city clerk's office on Jan. 24, the first set of campaign statements cover the period between Jan. 1-19, although some candidates chose to submit statements also listing contributions made during the last six months of 2012.

From July 1 through Jan. 19, Mendez received $13,170 in campaign donations mostly given by individuals living outside the city of Norwalk with the exception of a few local businesses.

Between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2012, Mendez collected $7,950 in contributions including his largest contribution, which came from fellow Councilman Luigi Vernola, a nonmonetary contribution of signs, t-shirts, and banners worth an estimated $2,300. From Jan. 1-19, Mendez garnered another $5,220 in contributions.

Mendez's other top contributors included Pioneer Cash and Carry, Inc. of Artesia ($2,000); Daniel J. McKenna III, owner of McKenna BMW ($1,000); Stanton-based CR&R Incorporated ($1,000); Nationwide Environmental ($1,000); and Irvine-based PCI, Inc. ($1,500).

Mendez also received a $100 donation from Cerritos College board member Bob Arthur. Mayor Cheri Kelley, on the other hand, reported just two contributions during the statement period covering Jan.1-19. John Bynum of John Bynum Realty donated $200 and a $100 from the 2011 campaign of Norwalk Councilman Marcel Rodarte. With $7,350 in cash on hand, Kelley has already spent nearly $2,465 on campaign materials thus far.

Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District Board President Darryl Adams collected a total of $5,814 from the beginning of 2012 through Jan. 19. In addition to a $1,500 loan Adams made to his campaign, the city council candidate also received $200 from Hector Gomez, owner of Protek Pave, $100 from NLMUSD teacher Richard Drake, $2,500 from Palmilla Mex, LLC, and $100 from NLMUSD administrator Francisco Ramirez.

Meanwhile, candidate Enrique Aranda garnered $4,340 in contributions, not including a $10,000 loan he made to his campaign.

From July 1 to Dec. 31, Aranda raised $2,915 followed by another $1,425 during the period between Jan. 1-19. The majority of his donations appeared to come from friends and local businesses.

Aranda's other contributors included Palmilla Mex, LLC ($2,000); Rendon for Assembly 2012 ($500); Alejo for Assembly 2012 ($250); District Attorney Mario Trujillo ($250); Carlos Vasquez, a broker with VCA Realty ($250); and Martin Rodriquez, manager at Bellflower Medical ($250).

Candidate Candy Martinez submitted a campaign statement, but had no contributions to report while candidate Bryan Mesinas Perez failed to report any statements.

On Jan. 31, all candidates must submit the semi-annual financial statements covering the period between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2012.

J. Arthur Morris exhibit opens next Friday

DOWNEY - Stay Gallery will debut its first collection series with a gala event Feb. 8 from 6-10 p.m.The series is titled "First Glance" and will showcase the J. Arthur Morris Collection.

Stay Gallery took the collection on loan after they were contacted by Grace Eshilian, a close friend of the Morris family.

In addition to his instrumental role in the creation and advancement of Downey Community Hospital, Morris was an avid and talented photographer. His family still owns a photography studio on Firestone Boulevard.

In his later years, Morris became known as a generous community pillar and philanthropist. He donated more than $1 million to Downey Regional Medical Center's radiology department.

But it will be Morris's life behind the camera that will be the focus at Stay Gallery. "This collection is beautiful. It tells an incredible story of a very inspiring man," said Valentin Flores, executive director of Stay Gallery. "We are very excited to share these photographs with the rest of our community."

The gallery has been working on the collection with Morris family members for several months. The collection is expected to be displayed through several exhibits.

"Jim and Mary (Morris) are awesome. They realized that we were doing a good thing for our community and have been incredibly helpful throughout the process," said creative director Gabriel Enamorado.

"They have met with us multiple times, helping us piece together the story of a beloved community member that continues to give to Downey. They have helped us curate the exhibit, write the language, and get the word out about the event. Simply awesome people. They have helped us better understand our city, something we are constantly seeking to do. We've learned a lot about J. Arthur Morris through the telling of their stories -- we can't thank them enough."

The exhibit's opening on Fe. 8 coincides with "J. Arthur Morris Day" in Downey.

While the event is free, the gallery is asking for donations at the door to help cover production costs and to allow for curation of future Morris events. The gallery has more than 300 pieces it has carefully divided into several series they plan to exhibit in the future.

The event is open to the public and will feature live jazz, hors d'oeuvres and hand-crafted punches inspired by classic cocktails from the Lock & Key Social Drinkery, still under construction in Downtown Downey.

"Also, don't forget to dress classy, it's going to be an incredible night," added Flores.

********** Published: January 31, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 42

Downey teen chosen for national environmental board

DOWNEY - Downey High School sophomore Karina Gonzalez was chosen out of thousands of applicants nationwide to serve on a youth advisory council to Keep America Beautiful.The council was limited to 10 students from throughout the country who will act as ambassadors and leaders for youth service in their respective communities and states. Karina was the youngest member selected. Students were chosen based on a written application, geographic representation, grade level and interest area. No more than one member can represent any one state. Karina, a member of the Downey Kiwanis Green Team, was instrumental in getting the city to install cigarette receptacles in Downey parks two years ago. "I am really passionate about eliminating cigarette litter in local parks and public places because cigarette litter affects the health of the community and is harmful to wildlife," Karina said. She traveled to Washington, D.C. Monday accompanied by Downey Kiwanis Club member Brenda Lopez to take part in Keep America Beautiful's national conference. The conference wrapped up Wednesday.

********** Published: January 31, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 42

Musical groups wanted for concert

DOWNEY - Choruses and musical groups are wanted for Songfest 2013, the annual concert sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Groups that want to participate should call Lois Buchanan at (562) 927-9790. This year's concert is scheduled for March 16 in Downey.

********** Published: January 31, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 42

Louise Bieschke

Our Lady of Perpetual Help School honored nonprofit worker Louise Bieschke during a recognition breakfast Jan. 29 as part of Catholic Schools Week. Bieschke is an outreach manager with CASA/LA, a nonprofit that works with Los Angeles foster youth. She oversees volunteer recruitment and public speaking engagements. "I never expected to receive such an honor," Bieschke said. "We don't do the work we do in order to get thanks, but when people come together and notice the help you've given, it's always very rewarding." Bieschke is pictured above with Mayor Mario Guerra and Councilman Alex Saab. ********** Published: January 31, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 42

Gloria Cox Heer

Heer, Gloria Cox, 85 of Mission Viejo, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday January 13, 2013. She was born on October 7, 1927 in Los Angeles, California. She grew up in Los Angeles, received her AA degree from UCLA and graduated from USC with a BA degree. Gloria and Warren Heer were married on June 18, 1949 in Yuma Arizona. Gloria is survived by her husband Warren, her daughter Linda Heer O'Connor of Mission Viejo, her son George Warren Heer and daughter-in-law Melissa Heer and two granddaughters, Megan and Allison Heer all of Rancho Santa Margarita.Gloria was very active in Parks and Recreation in the County of Los Angeles as well as several other cities including Mission Viejo in Orange County. Gloria even had a park named after her by the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors. Gloria Heer Park is located in Rowland Heights and was dedicated on June 6, 1984. Gloria received many awards and recognitions from the cities of Downey, Santa Fe Springs, Commerce and Mission Viejo. She was also highly recognized by National, State and local societies. She listed her occupation as a "Professional Volunteer". Services will be held at Fairhaven Memorial Services on Saturday, February 2nd at 2:00 pm in Mission Viejo. The family requests that memorial donations be made to the Gloria Heer Scholarship fund in lieu of flowers, and can be sent to: Gloria Heer Scholarship fund Saddleback Valley Educational Foundation 25631 Peter A. Hartman Way Mission Viejo, California 92691

********** Published: January 31, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 42

Crime Report

Friday, Jan. 18: Officers responded to Wilderness Park at 7:30 A.M., where a City of Downey employee reported the theft of copper wiring from various light poles and electrical boxes within the park. The loss/damage was estimated at $12,000. Detectives are investigating. Saturday, Jan. 19: A residential burglary was reported in the 8600 block of 7th St. at 6:30 P.M. The residents came home to find their front door pried open and items removed from the residence. Detectives are investigating.

Sunday, Jan. 20: At 10:30 A.M., officers responded to the intersection of Bellflower Blvd and Lakewood Blvd regarding a report of a "strong arm" robbery. The victim reported she had been pushed to the ground by an adult male suspect. Once she was on the ground, the suspect pulled the victim's necklace from around her neck. The suspect fled on foot with the loss. Detectives are investigating.

Friday, Jan. 25: At 10:50 P.M., an adult male was robbed at gunpoint in the driveway of his residence in the 7300 block of Cleargrove Dr., by two masked suspects. The victim believes he was followed home from his business in a neighboring city. Detectives are investigating.

Saturday, Jan. 27 At 8:20 A.M., the City's exterior lighting contractor was at Wilderness Park when he observed a subject attempting to pry the cover from the underground electrical vault. The suspect entered a pick-up truck and fled. Detectives are investigating.

At 7:30 P.M., four victims were sitting at a picnic table inside of Brookshire Park (12547 Brookshire Ave) when they were approached by two suspects. One suspect asked the victims what gang they were from as he brandished a handgun. The suspect then demanded the victims' property and struck one of the victims on the head with the pistol. The suspect took the victim's property and both suspects fled on foot. Detectives are investigating.

At 10:07 P.M., a Downey Police officer located a stolen vehicle traveling eastbound on Firestone Blvd at Patton Rd. Officers attempted to stop the vehicle but the driver refused to yield, and a vehicle pursuit ensued east on Firestone Blvd to Imperial Hwy. The fleeing vehicle ultimately collided into another occupied vehicle at the intersection of Imperial Hwy and Valley View, in the City of La Mirada. The suspect attempted to flee on foot but was captured. The driver of the other vehicle in the collision complained of pain to his lower back, and was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Tuesday, Jan. 29: At 11:30 A.M., officers responded to the LA Fitness located at 12074 Lakewood Blvd, regarding a suspect breaking into vehicles. When officers arrived they spoke with an off-duty Police Officer who provided them with follow up information. Through investigative means officers were able to locate the suspect inside his residence. The suspect was arrested and booked for Vehicle Burglary.

********** Published: January 31, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 42

The environment: change or semantics?

It's easy to dismiss efforts to change the status quo because the proposed solution isn't perfect. This is especially true of environmental change, where facile arguments attempt to belittle new ideas. Through this line of thinking, it could be claimed that walking doesn't help the environment because shoes are constructed from materials made of petroleum which wear off, causing pollution.Variations of such rationales are applied on a larger scale across a broad spectrum of environmental issues that confront us in the modern era. For example, this author has heard the problem of species extinction dismissed with the blithe assertion that "extinction happens and we don't really need polar bears anyway." The bankruptcy of Solyndra, the federally-assisted solar power manufacturer, is also a case in point. Its failure has been continually used to suggest that solar technology is not worth the effort, despite the fact that Solyndra's collapse represented only a minute fraction of many otherwise successful federal technology loans in a long line of federal energy subsidies, which, by the way, at one time accrued to a young oil industry. Climategate is another example. No substantive science was ever in question, but climate change deniers used this same kind of logic to claim that some unrelated questionable professional behaviors disproved global warming. The most absurd variant thus far of this kind of illogical thinking comes from the North Carolina General Assembly, which introduced legislation last year that sought to deny unanimous scientific consensus regarding sea level rise by mandating linear instead of exponential projections--in effect telling the Atlantic ocean that its inevitable higher sea levels are illegal. If you studied logic in school and your Latin isn't too rusty, you may remember some of those famous fallacies, such as "reductio ad absurdam," translated as "reduction to absurdity," or "argumentum ad consequentiam," translated as "argument from adverse circumstances." Neither of these quite describes this new line of fallacious anti-environmentalist thinking, but they both convey the idea. Such logic is glib and false. But more importantly, it's lazy. Because if you can dismiss these environmental issues, you don't have to deal with them. It is not the purpose of this column, however, to devolve into semantic argument. The goal of this ongoing and ever shifting series of environmental discussions is to keep the topic of our society's massive sustainability issues in the public arena, and hopefully to bring a little extra perspective to some of its less known detail.

********** Published: January 31, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 42

Most Americans plan to watch the Super Bowl at home

Century 21 My Real Estate is sharing the results of the Century 21's "Big Game Survey."Century 21, an advertiser in this year's Super Bowl, recently surveyed Americans about their game-watching and party plans during this year's game. The results revealed an overwhelming majority of Americans consider the home to be the best place to tune into the Big Game and that a number of factors contribute to making the party a success, including the comforts of home, good food and, of course, a big screen television. Key findings include: * Home is where the game is. Nearly nine in ten Americans who plan to watch the Big Games (88 percent) agree home is the best place to catch the action. In fact, 84 percent indicated they will watch the game this year in their home, a friend's home or a family member's home as opposed to other venues including bars and restaurants. * Comfort, comfort, comfort. 66 percent of those who plan to watch the game at their own home or someone else's said a comfortable and/or relaxing atmosphere is the leading reason why they opted to watch the game there. In fact, the most popular benefit of watching the game at home instead of a bar is the ability to easily find a comfortable seat with 58 percent of U.S. adults citing this as a benefit. Not far behind was the advantage of not having a huge crowd blocking the view of the television, which drew 48 percent of the vote. * In good company. 63 percent of women value good company as a critical factor to making a good Big Game party, compared to 57 percent of men. * However, 46 percent of U.S males indicated that aside from holidays and birthdays, the Big Game is their favorite reason to get together with family and friends at someone's home (compared to 39 percent of U.S. females). * What makes a good house party? Nearly three-quarters of Americans (72 percent) said food and drink are among the most critical factors in a successful Big Game party. * Party Too Hard? After a long day of eating, drinking and touchdown-cheering, those aged 18-34 are most likely to indicate that they have called in sick to work the next day after a Big Game house party (22 percent). And of all hooky players - men are more likely to do so than women (14 percent compared to 9 percent). Additional findings include: * Time to Relax. 76 percent of Americans who plan to watch the championship game said they like to watch the game at home in their pajamas or comfortable clothes, with women supporting this notion even more so than men (83 percent vs. 70 percent). * Bathroom breaks! Nearly half of U.S. adults (46 percent) cite cleaner bathrooms as a benefit of watching the game at home. * Did you see that?! Men are four percent more likely than women to cite "being able to control instant replay with the DVR" as a reason to watch the game at home (26 percent compared to 22 percent). * Savory over sweet. For American adults, snack foods such as chips and dip lead the way with 22 percent of the vote for the best Big Game party food. Not on the menu? Sweets such as cookies and brownies only drew in two percent of the vote. * Hot dogs are ready! Not surprisingly, 23 percent of Americans in the warm-weathered South indicated grilled specialties such as hamburgers and hot dogs are the best foods, compared to only 12 percent of those from the chilly Northeast. * It's all about big screens. 52 percent of U.S. adults said the quality of the television (e.g., size and resolution) is a critical factor to throwing a successful party for watching the game at home. * Staying connected. 36 percent of those who plan to watch the Big Game indicate they will use media devices other than their television to supplement the game-viewing experience. * 42 percent of U.S. adults who will be using additional devices during the Big Game say they will be doing so to check sports news apps on their phone or tablet for breaking, behind-the-scene commentary.

********** Published: January 31, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 42

Downey bicyclists

Dear Editor:Last Saturday, the Downey Bicycle Coalition hosted its first Community Bicycle Ride. Despite the rainy morning, over 70 bicyclists congregated at Apollo Park to enjoy the Downey roads in community. For a city of our size, such a turnout demonstrates not only the desire to ride, but also the need for bicycle infrastructure to be a part of our city's future. A special thanks goes out to the various student Kiwanis groups that contributed about 40 bicyclists, making the ride a success and showing that bicycling is for residents of all ages to enjoy. We are also thankful for the patience and willingness to share the road displayed by Downey motorists. The Downey Bicycle Coalition will host a Community Bicycle Ride the last Saturday of every month, bringing visibility to the fun, healthy, and sustainable bicycling lifestyle. As a lifelong resident, it is an absolute pleasure to work towards safer and more accessible streets for all, as we work to bring bicycle infrastructure to Downey. Please get involved by liking us on Facebook or emailing me at downeybike@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from, and seeing more, community members at future bicycle rides. Happy Riding, Rogelio (Roger) Pardo Chair of the Downey Bicycle Coalition

********** Published: January 31, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 42

Neighborhood riff raff

Dear Editor:Imagine you've worked hard, very hard to save for a house of your dreams. We found ours located alongside the golf course off Old River School Road. Once you get moved in, start with the renovations, you and your spouse are happy and feel blessed. Now imagine you look out your window as the sun starts to set and you see a car full of youths parked directly in front of your house smoking pipes of pot and drinking beer, blasting music. At first we thought maybe it was a fluke; we hoped it was. But they kept coming and coming. Not the same car, but different cars all the time. Now imagine you walk to your front door and along the way having to stop to pick beer cans off your lawn, used condoms off your sidewalk and bags of fast food wrappers thrown everywhere. It sure looked like a great area when we shopped the house, what went wrong? Yes, we've called the police. They made one arrest. But you know, they just keep coming anyway. We installed sensor lights. We've tried. In fact, our little visitors don't discriminate the daylight. They'll show up in the middle of the afternoon while we're working in our yard and start puffing away as if nothing matters. What a major disappointment our dream house has become. All the times we went to view the house there was never riff raff hanging about. Constantly looking out our windows, not at the sunset but at clouds of smoke, trash and wasted kids that snarl at your when you check them out. All we can do is call the cops or hassle them off the street. Great, right? Imagine it happening in front of your home. It's been a little over a year now. How would you handle it? Brett Pollak Downey

********** Published: January 31, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 42

Downey memories

Dear Editor:Recently we attended several local events, each of which evoked, for my husband, memories of life in Downey from his preschool years until the present. The first was a filmed aviation history presentation at the Aerospace Legacy Foundation meeting; the second was a home movie of Downey and various popular Southern California sites shown at the meeting of the Downey Historical Society. We had nostalgic fun recognizing the places which have changed much over the years. In his young adulthood my husband, Audie, was introduced to the Downey chapter of the Christian Businessmen's Club (CBMC), which met then at the Silver Saddle restaurant on Florence. He met some older men who modeled Christian values and community involvement. A few of these were Earl Wintz, George Cade, Gordon Madru, Victor Pearce, Don Johnston and Norm Sipple (not to slight anyone he has forgotten!). Also among these men was award-winning space shuttle designer Royal Castle (Cas) Englehart, recently deceased. They had fellowship, shared and organized the mayor's prayer breakfasts, as well as participating in the Values campaign. This was before Character Counts, and character did count with these men. They served their community, their country and their churches. The third recent event my husband attended was a funeral for Norm Sipple, past president of the CBMC, beloved by his family, neighbors and friends, including those in the CBMC. While a loss to many left behind, for Norm this was a great reunion with his precious Lord and Savior, whom he himself met through the witness of yet another older CBMC mentor. Bill Wallace, James Van Lengan and others from CBMC were at the service, with James being the young current president of the group. So the legacy lives on. Norm, with whom God blessed our lives, will be missed, but now he can rest and let others do their part to make our lives, churches and communities what they were meant to be, and at times to stand in for missing fathers. Glory Derryberry Downey

********** Published: January 31, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 42

California DREAMers

Dear Editor:I want to thank you, Melissa Nunez and Claudia Retamoza for the article "Undocumented and Unafraid." Claudia, thank you for sharing your story of growth that will bring hope and knowledge to other students; Melissa, thank you for reporting on the struggles of undocumented youth and for providing facts around the DREAM Act; Eric, thank you for publishing an article that calls attention to the confusion that undocumented students face. I work with juniors and seniors in Los Angeles high schools teaching effective personal statement writing techniques for private colleges, UCs and Cal State EOP questions to provide students equal access to higher education. I meet many undocumented students just like Claudia who have high GPAs and a strong desire to go to college, but because they grow up in fear and are often advised to keep their status a secret, they don't receive the necessary information to plan for a successful path to college. I am very happy to learn that DREAM Team LA is bringing support and empowerment to students at Warren High, my alma mater. I hope to be in contact to learn how I can get involved in supporting the DREAMers in both their applications to universities and with writing scholarship essays. This is a call to action to other community members who want to support the inspiring and incredible youth of Downey. Marisa Urrutia Gedney Downey

Dear Editor: I am writing to congratulate Melissa Nunez for writing an article that is refreshingly needed in the city of Downey and across the state. Her focus on Claudia Retamoza and other DREAMers like her is to be commended. Too many people ignore the fact that this country was founded on the ideals and sacrifices of immigrants. I am not an immigrant, yet as a 2012 graduate of Warren High School, I can say that some of the most dedicated and focused students I went to school with were. From them I learned the importance of making right on the privilege of receiving a public education. When I stop to reflect on why some immigrants had a different view on education than the rest of us, it occurred to me that it was because of the sacrifices their parents made when deciding to cross a hostile border and set aside their dreams. Immigrants everywhere, from the past and the present, cross borders for the hope of their family and their children. While I know we cannot have an open border, we as a country need to extend citizenship to those who have been here long enough to know and love no other country. Furthermore, if they have proven themselves as exceptional students and community members, why wouldn't we want to add them to the list of U.S. citizens? I suggest that people who echo nothing more than empty phrases of intolerance instead use their time to research their own history. Surely there was an immigrant somewhere in their past who made the difficult choice of leaving their country of birth to come to the United States. They did not do this for themselves -- the first generation immigrant always suffers the most -- they did this for their descendants. Maybe instead of investing in hate, we should invest in humility, the humility to admit that each and every one of us has immigrants in our family who were wrongly persecuted and blamed for the ills of society. Alec Dominguez Downey

Dear Editor: I am from Mexican parents who migrated to the country in the 60s. I am writing to you in a desperate call of beseech. I am a 21-year resident of Downey and read your newspaper all the time. I can not hold my thoughts further. Throughout the years I have read numerous racist, ignorant and demeaning comments towards the Hispanic community that now occupies the suburb city of Downey, as well as personally encountered discrimination from other white American residents. I have seen Downey bloom from what it was 20 years ago both in socioeconomic and residential improvement by the Hispanic residents of Downey. Good things have happened to Downey because of the Hispanic community. Statistics demonstrate that Hispanics spend more money than any other immigrant group in the United States. Major store chains and restaurants want to be in Downey mostly due to the Hispanic community. I recently read a comment on Eric Pierce's blog (thedowneypatriot.com) stating that Downey has changed from the 70s to a "barrio." Certainly all cities have changed since the 70s in many ways. It is generations and social morality to blame, not the Hispanic race. Rosa Velarde Downey

********** Published: January 31, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 42