FHRA's Warm Winter Meeting 2005
A great turnout of more than 80 Franklin Hills neighbors filled the meeting room at King Middle School for the FHRA’s winter meeting, but that wasn’t the big news of the night.
LAPD senior lead officer Al Polehonki announced that just before coming to the meeting he and fellow SLO Sam Salazar had arrested the suspect in four recent area bank robberies. The sharp eyed SLO’s were just leaving El Arco Iris restaurant when they saw a man who matched the picture and description on an internal LAPD flyer. One of the banks allegedly robbed by the suspect was the CalNational Bank at Vermont and Prospect where the FHRA has an account. Bank Manager Dennis Ead was pleased when informed by FHRA treasurer Bruce Carroll that the suspect in the January 24th robbery had been arrested. Polehonki and Salazar’s commitment to our neighborhood is evidenced by the fact that they came to our meeting and then went downtown to handle the liaison with the FBI.

Officer Sam Salazar discusses area crime as Matt
Levy  (right), Councilmember Tom LaBonge's
new field deputy for the Franklin Hills area listens
intently. Levy's office is downtown at City Hall
In addition to keeping a sharp eye out for faces on wanted flyers Polehonki and Salazar also reported encouraging crime stats for the Franklin Hills area. In January there were no  murders, aggravated assaults or sex crimes, 1 burglary and surprisingly only 1 car breakin reported, but Polehonki added “I know there was a few more than that” and he urged everyone to report crimes to LAPD. There were 2 robberies, one of them a mailman making his rounds on Lyric Ave, 4 car thefts and 16 arrests for felonies, misdemeanors and traffic crimes.

Another award winning performance featured Nicky Thole (left) and Brenda Varvarigos of the Camarillo Wildlife Rehab. They were presented with a certificate of appreciation by Capt. Wendell Bowers of LA City Department of Animal Services. Since last winter’s FHRA meeting Camarillo Wildlife has helped save over a thousand animals picked up by LA City Animal Services officers.
Wildlife specialist, Officer Gregory Randall, was also back with tips for keeping wild critters at bay. Coyotes can travel 25 miles in a day, love to tunnel under fences, but hate noise…so, he advised, make plenty to scare them away, and if you see someone feeding a coyote please report it to the LA Dept. of Animal Services.

Thole showed off a screech owl rescued after being hit by a car. The owls can camouflage themselves to look like trees and  maybe a bit too much like asphalt. Thole reported that the possum that starred at last year’s meeting had been released back into the wild last fall.
Also in the critter file FHRA Board Member George Grace reported that nearly $2000 has been donated to set up wildlife drinkers in Griffith Park to help keep animals there and not in our yards..
FHRA President Charley Mims looks on as Councilmember Tom LaBonge and the community greeted the new Principal at King Middle School, Charlene Hirotsu, She said King was the “most beautiful” school she’s been at in her 30 year career, promised to work with the community on traffic problems and to eradicate on campus graffiti within an hour.

She explained the kids are, “not as scary as they look…when you get to know them everyday they are beautiful kids.”

LaBonge started his remarks, just before leaving for a trip to the Superbowl, by noting the Philadelphia Eagle’s head coach was a Thomas Starr King graduate.

The Councilman also answered critics of his support for a measure to increase the LA City sales tax to hire more police. He noted the half cent increase would only add about $3 to the cost of a washing machine so fears that people would travel to Glendale and other surrounding cities to save money probably wouldn’t materialize. He also pointed out the greater safety would aid businesses and their customers.

There were also brief reports from Sharon Romano of the Hollywood Beautification Team about area cleanup and beautification projects and FHRA President Charley Mims about progress to make traffic on our streets safer.

In addition to a head full of useful info some meeting goers were rewarded with door prizes that ranged from books about LA to Laemmle movie theatre passes and Starbucks gift cards. And everyone had a chance to meet new neighbors and renew old friendships.