Downey brought back the Holiday Home Decorating Contest for 2013, the contest was discontinued in 2012 due to financial situation in the city according to Mayor Mario Guerra during the awards ceremony on Monday evening at city hall.

The city council presented awards to residents of each district area.

List of winners below from each district area

Area One Winners

Best Use of Lights

  • Best Overall – 8602 Nada St. (Kniep)
  • Honorable Mention – 8503 Dalen St. (Edilberto Serna)

Best Lawn Display

  • Best Overall – 8535 Fontana St. (Emmett Fletcher and Stephanie Shue)
  • Honorable Mention -12903 Airpoint Ave (Saul Cerrillos)

Best Religious Display

  • Best Overall – 12246 Eastbrook Ave (Steve and Linda Jones)

Christmas Tree Window Display

  • Best Overall – 9006 Margaret St. (Larry and Hartini Cruz)
  • Honorable Mention – 12049 Patton Rd. (David Batres)

Mayor’s Award – 8402 Conklin St. (Michael Contreras and Louise Herrera)

 

Area Two Winners

Best Use of Lights

  • Best Overall – 7619 Nada St. (Boyle Family)
  • Honorable Mention – 7826 Devenir Ave (Jesus Guzman)

Best Lawn Display

  • Best Overall – 7414 Luxor St. (Daniel and Krystle Richard)
  • Honorable Mention – 7852 Brookmill Rd. (Jose Lanfranco)

Most Energy Efficient

  • Best Overall – 7920 Melva St. (Larry Osterhoudt)
  • Honorable Mention – 7964 Borson St. (Pat and John Ruth)

Best Religious Display

  • Best Overall – 7614 Yankey St. (Gilbert Family)
  • Honorable Mention – 11603 Haro Ave (Jose Donaoh)

Winter Wonderland

  • Best Overall – 12065 S. Gurley Ave. (Adrian Hernandez)

Most Original Holiday Display

  • Best Overall – 12353 Horley Ave (Lance and Michelle Laven)
  • Honorable Mention – 7453 Benares St. (Raquel Vargas Avila)

Christmas Tree Window Display

  • Best Overall – 7104 Nada St. (Albert and Cecile Mendoza)

Mayor’s Award – 12023 Morning Ave. (Luis Carrillo)

 

Area Three Winners

Best Use of Lights

  • Best Overall – 7629 4th Place (Kym Gomez)
  • Honorable Mention – 7359 Via Rio Nido (David Rivas)

Best Lawn Display

  • Best Overall – 9912 Norlian Ave (Sandy Richard)

Most Energy Efficient

  • Best Overall – 7827 8th St (Ruben and Anne Rojes)

Winter Wonderland

  • Best Overall – 10324 Pomering Rd. (Torres Family)
  • Honorable Mention – 9922 Norlian Ave ( Dan Lorenzetti)

Most Original Holiday Display

  • Best Overall – 10318 Pomering Rd. (Gabriel Covarrubias)
  • Honorable Mention – 7521 Cleargrove Dr. (Cerna Murillo)

Christmas Tree Window Display

  • Best Overall – 8125 7th St Apt. A (Silverio and Tina Rojas)

Mayor’s Award – 7504 Muller St. (Carl and Maggie Jackson)

 

Area Four Winners

Best Use of Lights

  • Best Overall – 8537 Via Amorita ( Boyd S. Horan Jr.)
  • Honorable Mention – 9444 Sideview Dr. ( Elizabeth Frometa)

Best Lawn Display

  • Best Overall – 8517 Lubec St. (Ana Salvador)
  • Honorable Mention – 9906 Brookshire Ave. (Manny Sandate and Martha Hernandez)

Best Religious Display

  • Best Overall – 10221 Newville Ave. (Irma and David Mesa)

Santa’s Workshop

  • Best Overall – 10945 Hasty Ave. (Mike Boyd)
  • Honorable Mention – 8564 Suva St. (Robin and Andrew Smith)

Winter Wonderland

  • Best Overall – 9384 Suva St. (Jim and Melissa Barger)

Most Original Holiday Display

  • Best Overall – 10903 Hasty Ave. ( DeAnna and Randy Moyes)
  • Honorable Mention – 8358 Lubec St. (Kandy and David Grzebyk)

Christmas Tree Window Display

  • Best Overall – 11018 Marbel Ave. (Reno and Jeanne Earwood)
  • Honorable Mention – 9220 Arrington (Margaret Perez)

Mayor’s Award – 10257 Mattock Ave (Messer-Hughes Family)

Launched in August, Downey Police Department began to use Nixle community notification service program for residents and community members of the city of Downey and surrounding areas.

Known as the social media tool for police, Nixle notification service is designed to deliver timely and important information to community members through technology such as text messaging, email, web and mobile application.

The Nixle application is available on Apple products and is free download. Users subscribed to Nixle will get alerts about crime and community events in the area that the user lives in and subscribes to. Photo by: Alicia Edquist

The Nixle application is available on Apple products and is free download. Users subscribed to Nixle will get alerts about crime and community events in the area that the user lives in and subscribes to. Photo by: Alicia Edquist

Residents are encouraged to sign up for the free notification service through Nixle.

In just minutes, residents can sign up for mobile alerts by sending a simple text message with “DOWNEYPD” to 888777 and user is signed up instantly for those critical alerts and community safety and event information.

The police department is using this service to notify its users of public safety information and community events.

Police departments throughout the country have turned to using Nixle for various purposes such as sending real-time alerts to residents when a crime is in progress, traffic issues and missing children.

There are others ways to sign up for Nixle service, individuals can register for free at www.nixle.com and choose whether to receive alerts as a text message, email, a notification on the Nixle smartphone app or to view it online.

Another added feature to signing up for Nixle service is that subscribers also have the ability to register for multiple locations, such as agencies within the area of one’s residence or work.

Subscribers can subscribe to not only Downey but surrounding cities that use the Nixle service to communicate with their communities. Photo by: Alicia Edquist

Subscribers can subscribe to not only Downey but surrounding cities that use the Nixle service to communicate with their communities. Photo by: Alicia Edquist

Other cities in the area that use Nixle and you can sign up for alert notifications include Norwalk, Cerritos, Lakewood, Pico Rivera Sheriff stations, and the Bell Gardens and South Gate police departments.

Note that standard text messaging rates will apply for subscribers who choose to receive text alerts and do not have text plans with their cell phone providers.

There is no spam or advertising associated with Nixle messages.

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Santa Barbara raise $4.4 million for breast cancer research and patient care in September 2013 Photo by: Alicia Edquist

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Santa Barbara raise $4.4 million for breast cancer research and patient care in September 2013
Photo by: Alicia Edquist

According to Avonwalk.org, every three minutes, there is a new diagnosis of invasive breast cancer and every 13 minutes a life is lost to breast cancer.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and it has arrived in many different ways through sponsored walks, products, organizations collecting funds and benefit concerts all in the name of fighting breast cancer and help finding a cure.

Companies can’t wait to market to consumers during the month of October to help fight the cause with their exclusive pink products.

Instead of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations, we see pink everything and pink ribbons on all types of products with the idea that “a portion of the proceeds will go toward the cause.”

But how much really goes toward the cause?

According to an article in 2011 from USA Today, “Pink ribbon marketing brings mixed emotions.” While many Americans support buying pink products often breast cancer patients feel like everyone is trying to cash in on cancer.

Breast Cancer Pinkwashing

In this Monday, Oct. 10, 2011 photo, a Sephora Collection Pink Eyelash Curler is displayed in Philadelphia. Advocates are asking whether breast cancer awareness has lost its focus, and become more about marketing than women’s health. Pinkwashing, a word coined by activists, is a practice being described as when a company or organization does a pink breast cancer promotion, but at the same time sells and profits from pink-theme products. But pink ribbon groups say such sales help to fund millions of dollars of research to find cures for the disease. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

“Awareness does not equal commitment,” says Timothy Seiler of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. “When people purchase an item like a pink ribbon or make a donation at a grocery store, those types of steps often lead people to feel like they’ve done their part.”

But does all the effort of buying a product that has a pink ribbon on it help fund research and a cure?

Products with the pink ribbon show up on all types of products from cups to shirts mostly in the month of October since its Breast Cancer Awareness Month, all making it easy to market to the consumer that by buying this product you are helping the cause to fight against breast cancer.

But there is a bigger problem.

Each product you buy that has a pink ribbon on it a percentage of the purchase actually goes to the cause that could be as small as 10 cents.

Grocery stores like Albertsons in Downey, Calif. are selling pink ribbon products for breast cancer awareness month.  Photo by: Alicia Edquist

Grocery stores like Albertsons in Downey, Calif. are selling pink ribbon products for breast cancer awareness month.
Photo by: Alicia Edquist

Why not find a way to really put your money where you intend it to go?

Some products that put pink on actually have known cancer causing ingredients in their products. Thinkbeforeyoupink.org, took on Yoplait’s “Put a lid on it” in 2008 when the company started their pink lids save lives, the yogurt at the time contained rBGH hormone that is known to increases the risk having breast cancer. Think Before You Pink was able to get General Mills to remove the ingredient from the products through a campaign by consumers and the organization.

Awareness is important, but action is even more important to those who are fighting daily with breast cancer.

According to Think Before You Pink, they encourage all consumers to “Consider giving directly to a breast cancer organization whose work you believe is most essential to addressing the breast cancer epidemic.”

One of those ways is getting involved with an organization like Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and donating directly to causes that help fund breast cancer research and patient care.

The organization holds nine walks each year all over the United States, where not only does each walker have to raise $1,800 but the organization directly gives funds into that city’s hospitals and organizations that help families with breast cancer, research and patient care.

Breast Cancer Walk

Participants in the Avon Breast Cancer Walk pass the Capitol, Saturday, May 3, 2008, in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

According to Avonwalk.org, an average 80 percent of net funds raised by an Avon Walk stays in the area where the event takes place. The remaining 20 percent helps ensure that care programs in all 50 states, as well as national research programs, have adequate funding to make the most progress possible in the fight against breast cancer.

Howard Phillips walks in memory of his wife Sue Phillips who passed away from breast cancer in 2002.  Photo by Alicia Edquist

Howard Phillips walks in memory of his wife Sue Phillips who passed away from breast cancer in 2002.
Photo by Alicia Edquist

The next time you come across a product with a pink ribbon, take a good look at how much of that purchase really goes to fight breast cancer. The likelihood is very little.

If we really want to feel good about supporting breast cancer research and patient care, go directly to an organization that you know your donation will be used in a way that not only fully supports the fight against breast cancer but will have a lasting impact over the product that 10 cents goes to the cause.

For more information about how you can get involved or donate to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, visit www.avonwalk.org

During a one-week online survey on Downey’s Historical Relevance for my capstone project on The Past and Future of Historical Preservation Efforts and Awareness of Historic Events and Sites in the City of Downey, California 26 participated in the survey.

The results were interesting as to what people felt personally about saving historical sites and how they felt the city is responsible for keeping the historic parts of the city.

Participants who answered the survey primarily were in the age groups 25 to 34 (42 percent) and 55-64 (27 percent) and have been residents of the city of Downey between 15-35 years.

As a result, Baby Boomers and Generation Y have invested interest in preservation of the city’s historical places. From this we can assume that children of Baby Boomers grew up going to the various historical places in the city and their parents’ value preservation.

Both women and men participated almost equally in the survey. Men showed higher involvement in the survey with 54 percent of those surveyed being men and 46 percent being women.

Response showed that 23 out of 26 participants feel that the city of Downey is responsible to preserve and maintain the historical places

Response showed that 23 out of 26 participants feel that the city of Downey is responsible to preserve and maintain the historical places

An overwhelming 92 percent of participants felt that the city is responsible for preserving and maintaining the historical places.

However when it came to involvement of participating in a community preservation group or attending city council meeting, 85 percent said they were not involved in any group but they do care about preservation of places in the city.

A list of some of the most popular historical places was given to participants to find out which places they have visited. All participants have visited the World’s Oldest Operating McDonald’s that is located on Lakewood Boulevard and Florence Avenue in the city. Second most visited place is Johnie’s Broiler, now Bob’s Big Boy Broiler after rebuild and restoration. The Avenue movie theater and Rives Mansion were among popular places participants had visited. All places on the list were visited by at least four of the participants.

Downey's Historical Relevance results of survey

Downey’s Historical Relevance results of survey

There were 69 percent of those surveyed felt that if the city were to market the historical places the city would see an increase in tourism and economic impact for the city.

When it came to do participants feel the city is doing enough to protect and preserve historical places in the city 69 percent said no, the they need to be doing more while 19 percent were not sure.

During the survey, I discovered a few new groups that are active in the city and the preservation movement. I am planning on connecting with the groups soon and continue to gather more information about preservation in the city of Downey and future efforts on projects.

The survey results provided a good insight for the continuation of the capstone project and gave some new avenues for story ideas as far as why residents care about preservation but are not involved with any community group that helps protect places. I think conducting another survey about why people get involved or do not get involved in preservation efforts would be a good to see what residents are feeling about the involvement in their community.

 

A $9.8 million deal was reached with Downey City Council and Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital for the purchase and sale agreement of the property that Downey Regional Medical Center located on at the city council meeting on Tuesday evening.

The sale will need to be approved by the California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris office and the sale expected to be finalized in September. The city currently owns the land that the hospital is on.

In regards to the tentative deal with PIH Health, Alex Saab, councilman who represents district 5 in Downey was reassured with the deal.

“It’s reassuring, the hospital had some major problems and serious concerns for a number of years. The fact the PIH has had experience running a successful hospital in Whittier, Calif. and they realize the potential in Downey is reassuring for us and residents,” Saab said.

The city’s agreement was approved unanimously by city council with two abstentions by Mayor Mario Guerra and Mayor Pro Tem Fernando Vasquez due to conflict of interest in the vote.

The agreement comes four years after Downey Regional Medical Center filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009. PIH Health took over the management of the hospital in June of this year.

The land is currently being leased by Downey Regional Medical Center for one dollar.

According to Saab, the city council wanted to make sure that Downey still had a hospital with an emergency room. That was the intent of leasing the land for one dollar and to make sure they could still be open.

Though PIH Health will soon own the property, there are some assurances that it will remain a hospital and medical use property.

“We thought long and hard about safeguards to protect it as a hospital. We placed some restrictions on land use and we still control the zoning for the property,” he said.

The agreement states that the use of the property shall be restricted to hospital use until 2030. The property then will be still restricted to hospital and medical use but no longer has to be a hospital if PIH Health decided to change it.

During public comments before the vote, residents expressed concern for making sure the property remained a hospital and was available to residents and not become office space.

He added that PIH Health is planning on investing millions into the property, retrofit, and buildings. “If they were not intending the land to be used and serviced as a hospital they would not be investing millions into the land.”

So what is to become of the $9.8 million that Downey will receive as revenue for the sale?

“Personally, I would like to see a significant amount go into the reserves and the other portion to improving the city’s infrastructure, parks and hiring of police officers,” Saab said.

Saab would like to see the city do something tangible with a portion of funds.

While nothing is set in stone, he encourages all residents that are interested in DRMC or about the revenue to use the non-agenda public comment time at city council meetings to share ideas, thoughts and opinions with the council.

“There is no rush to spend the revenue. We will need thoughtful community input when the time comes,” Saab said.

Downey Regional Medical Center is located at 11500 Brookshire Avenue. Downey, Calif.

Photo Gallery of Downey’s first National Night Out event

Helmet giveaway and free child fingerprinting services were among the most popular booths at Downey’s first National Night Out event in Downey, Calif. on Tuesday, Aug. 6 at the city’s civic center.

Downey partnered with the city’s police department to host the city’s first National Night Out event. Downey’s community, government and safety organizations participated and promoted community awareness of programs, service groups, health and safety organizations and healthy living.
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Stone Soul brings soul music to Downey’s Twilight Summer Concert from Alicia Edquist on Vimeo.

Soul music filled the air during the annual Twilight Summer Concerts in Furman Park in Downey, Calif. on Wednesday evening.

More than 300 concertgoers filled the park to listen, dance and groove to music by Stone Soul who played classic soul and Motown music. Residents from not only Downey, but also surrounding cities came for the concerts.
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Shop American Saturday at Crafted from Alicia Edquist on Vimeo.

Locals and tourists came to visit the first “Shop American Saturday” event at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, Calif. on Saturday that promoted buying American made goods from the marketplace.

Still in its infancy and only a year old, Crafted is a marketplace in old renovated World War II-era warehouses next to the port that is open to the public. The marketplace is for shoppers to shop for American made goods all year and a place for small business crafters to find a place they call home.
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Debbie Schwenn started her business Holy Honey with husband Michael three years ago after the loss of their son in a car accident. Photo By: Alicia Edquist

Debbie Schwenn started her business Holy Honey with husband Michael three years ago after the loss of their son in a car accident. Photo By: Alicia Edquist

The Holy Honey from Alicia Edquist on Vimeo.

The Downey Greek Food Festival is an annual celebration of Greek culture, food, dancing and more. This year, Holy Honey came to enjoy the festival and get the company’s products out to the public. Michael and Debbie Schwenn started Holy Honey in honor of their son, Joshua, who passed away in a car accident in 2007. The company was started in 2010.

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