As the developers of The Promenade begin to clear the area of the NASA site for construction, residents are continuing to be hopeful that the NASA site’s historic history will not fade away in Downey, California.

Larry Latimer, vice president for the Downey Historical Society and the Aerospace Legacy Foundation sees opportunity for to be done from the city side of saving Downey’s space history and other important sites.

Latimer recalls when Roger Brossmer, current council member, who was mayor at the time became very interested in what the Aerospace Legacy Foundation was doing as well the Columbia Memorial Space Center. According to Latimer, after Brossmer left the mayor’s seat there was not much interest from the city in working toward preserving space history.

However, he is optimistic that after talks with the developers of the site that the space history is important to them and will make efforts to include the history into the shopping center. Even though all the structures on the NASA site are gone with the exception of the Kaufman Wing, Latimer hopes that a portion of the wing will become a visitors’ center for the NASA and aviation history.

When it comes to preservation, “Downey has been a city government that does not get involved. They leave it to community groups to try and preserve sites in the city,” he said.

“One of my biggest gripes with the city is that they don’t allocate money for historic preservation or support efforts,” Latimer said.

Latimer shares concern like some residents in the community about the Columbia Memorial Space Center’s management issues. Currently, the center is being run by the city and is struggling with running the center. The city is looking for someone outside the city to partner with them like the Smithsonian or aerospace industry.

“It’s a great place and it’s been so awesome. I am confident in the city in the long run,” he said.

“Month after month, you see city council people come to the center because they want to show it off and take photo opportunities. It’s time to stop doing the photo ops and start getting the center back on its feet,” he said.

He also would love to see the space shuttle mock-up be restored because people would be able to get in it. “What a learning experience that would be for a child,” he said.

He believes that the city could do more with the public arts funds that they have and use it toward funding things at historic sites.

Though he likes what the owners of Stay Gallery, he feels like the city should be investing public arts funds into historic preservation for the city.

“Priorities in this city are not preservation,” Latimer said.

He feels that more people need to get involved with preserving the history in Downey. “Residents can speak out more at city council meetings, write letters to The Downey Patriot, spread the word about visiting the historic places and join the groups in Downey that are involved with historic preservation,” Latimer said.

“We need to get more people to follow through in city government about the Columbia Memorial Space Center and get the right people involved to sustain the center for the community,” he said.

Latimer believes that the city needs leadership and need the city council and the mayor to take responsibility for the historic places and the CMSC.

“I am disappointed that they are not the ones speaking out the most when it comes to historic preservation and the center, none of them will and its sad that no one will speak out on saving historic places around here,” he said.

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 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, 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., 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, 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

Resident finds value in historical preservation from Alicia Edquist on Vimeo.

Fond memories of going to The Avenue movie theater in Downey are just a few of the places that Malia Phillips, Downey resident recalls about growing up in the City of Downey, Calif.

She is a substitute teacher and graduate student who is majoring in Social Work. She has lived in Downey for her entire life of 32 years.

While she has not been active in historical preservation of specific places in Downey, she finds value in keeping places in Downey that have had significant importance for the city.

“I think it makes our city more interesting that we have the historical landmarks and it’s always something to tell people when they are asking about where you live,” Phillips said.

The World’s Oldest McDonald’s on Florence Avenue and Lakewood Boulevard is the one that she tells people about the most. The McDonald’s is known for its Googie-style architecture, Speedee figure and food system, and car culture and outside burger stand.

Another historic place that Phillips finds interesting is Johnie’s Broiler that is now Bob’s Big Boy Broiler because it has been in movies.

When it comes to the impact that historical preservation makes on a city is important to her.

“It makes it (city) more interesting otherwise we would have a boring city with not a lot going on. It makes it interesting for people who are visiting and when you have friends who come visit you have places to show them,” she said.

Phillips believes that the city is not doing enough to help save and restore places in Downey.

“I think there are places like the Avenue movie that are sitting empty and could be refurbished and being used. I think they try, I know like with the Bob’s Big Boy they helped to get that going and the McDonald’s that are open now,” Phillips said.

Historical preservation for Phillips means that we are preserving our history like a legacy to tell the children in the next generation and the world that something important or interesting happened in Downey.

With the recent demolition of the old NASA Boeing site, where the Apollo Space Program called home, with the exception of one of two buildings that were not taken down will soon have a shopping center called Tierra Luna.

Phillips is one of those residents who are not happy about the new shopping center being built on the land where the Apollo capsule was built.

“I don’t think we need another shopping mall, so it’s kind of disappointing. I am glad to see they are doing something with the property cause I really hate see buildings sit empty and wasted space like that…That space could probably be used differently and to better serve community. I really don’t think we need more shopping in Downey,” she said.

She follows several Facebook groups that talk saving parts of the city such as The Downey Conservancy group. While she doesn’t participate in conversations online about historical preservation she does take what she sees in the groups and has conversations with people about it.

Having personal memories of places in Downey has often been the starting point for saving a place because of the influence of the personal memory it has on someone.

For Phillips she also feels that saving places have to deal with the personal relationship you or your family has had with a place.

“It has a lot to do with their personal lives and what they choose to want to save and choose to want to restore and what they don’t care about,” Phillips said.

For her, it’s her personal memory of The Avenue movie theater which was built in 1922 that has been shut down and empty for years.

“We used to go there all the time when I was a kid, cheap movies and it was an adventure. We didn’t have a bigger movie theater until I was much older so that is where we went to the movies most of the time unless you wanted to go to a different city,” she said.

Several years ago, there was a campaign to Save the Avenue but since then not many have heard about what might happen to the old movie theater and wonder what has become of the saving it.

“We have a very interesting history and would just like to see it get preserved,” she said.


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.

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.

Living with diabetes from Alicia Edquist on Vimeo.

Gary Head and Ron Roberson have been friends for more than 13 years and had no idea that they would become such a support for one another through the medical issues both of them have faced in the last year.

Head, 60 years old and Roberson, 64 years old are a support group for one another along with other friends. Head was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and Renal Failure and Roberson has had several mini strokes and one major stroke. Both men’s diseases has caused them to change their eating and exercise habits as well as support one another through the medical issues.

According to the Center for Disease Control, diabetes and strokes are two of the ten leading causes of death for Americans according to the 2010 report.


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