The Fritz B. Burns Foundation will present longtime Westchester real estate developer Howard B. Drollinger with the 2005 Fritz B. Burns Outstanding Community Service and Leadership Award as part of the Westchester/LAX-Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce installation dinner Friday, June 17th.
Incoming chamber president Cedric Sutherland of CORT Business Services will host a Mardi Gras Ball as the chamber celebrates the passing of the torch from chamber president Diane Barretti to Sutherland.
The black-tie affair will begin at 6 p.m. and dinner will begin at 7 p.m. at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport, 5711 Century Blvd., Westchester. Tickets are $85.
The event will celebrate the more than 50 years of accomplishments for the chamber and will include Barretti’s presentation of a variety of awards to chamber members, commemorating their service to the chamber during the 2004-2005 year.
New chamber officers will be installed and the community’s new honorary mayor will be announced by the incoming president. Information and reservations, the chamber, (310) 645-5151.
HOWARD DROLLINGER — Like Fritz Burns before him, Drollinger has been a tireless supporter of our community, funding a wide array of projects in the areas of education, homelessness, veterans affairs, beautification and social services.
He has been involved in philanthropy since before his company, H.B. Drollinger Co., was formed in 1947. Even as a young businessman, Drollinger recognized the importance of giving back to his community.
In 1952, he joined the Rotary Club of Westchester and has since donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Rotary-related charities from teacher mini-grants for local schools to polio eradication, which helped millions around the globe.
His contributions have had an immeasurable effect on the community, from feeding the hungry and providing additional educational materials to local schools to providing services for mentally ill and recreational opportunities for adults and children.
He has been a longtime contributor and supporter of many organizations that form the crux of our community, including the Westchester Family YMCA, Westchester/LAXñMarina del Rey Chamber of Commerce, Loyola Marymount University, Airport Marina Counseling Service and scores of local youth sports teams and schools.
In addition, his generous donations through the Westchester Rotary Foundation have assisted in sending young scholars to other countries for educational purposes, clothing underprivileged children right here in Westchester, repairing the local fire station, teaching students to read and painting out graffiti.
His contributions to Rotary International have helped to promote international projects, including the organization’s goal of eradicating polio from the entire globe by 2008 — a mission that is nearly complete.
Most recently, Drollinger stepped up to the plate when the Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association approached him to help pay for maintaining the new landscaping and planted medians scheduled to be installed along Sepulveda Boulevard.
Instead of simply writing a check, Howard took the reins and is now working with property owners on both sides of the street to form a Business Improvement District that will maintain area landscaping in perpetuity.
Without his help, the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation would have simply abandoned this portion of the project and Westchester would have missed out on a singular opportunity to beautify this important traffic corridor.
Similarly, Drollinger recently provided the leadership and funding necessary to restore and rescue the Veterans Memorial at the corner of Lincoln Boulevard and Manchester Avenue. The monument recognizing area Vietnam-era veterans has been damaged and is routinely graffitied by vandals.
Working with local veterans, Drollinger provided the seed money necessary to repair the monument and helped lobby Los Angeles City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski to approve the relocation of the monument to a site where it will be less of a target for vandals and more visible to local residents visiting the Westchester Library.
Drollinger has also been a contributor to the Union Rescue Mission of downtown Los Angeles.
Drollinger has been presented the Rotarian of the Year Award from Rotary, the Community Builder Award from the West-chester Family YMCA and the Helmsman leadership award from the chamber of commerce.
The Fritz B. Burns Award includes a $5,000 contribution to be made in Drollinger’s name to his choice of charitable organizations.
Among the previous winners of the award are Shirley Pfeil, John Ruhlen, Jeanne Breunig, Curt Curtiss, Hugo Francis, Mary Ellen Cassman, Rowena Ake, Jim Bunch, Gwen Vuchsas, Lloyd Hild, Mary Lou Crockett and Lance Lipscomb.
Congratulations, Howard, on this long overdue award.
WESTCHESTER SIGN —
A dedication ceremony to celebrate the re-lighting and refurbishment of the “Welcome to Westchester” sign will be held at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 21st, in the Westchester Municipal Building Community Room at 7166 Manchester Ave., Westchester.
A brief ceremony is planned before the official re-lighting of the sign at 8:15 p.m.
The event will also include the rededication of the El Camino Real Bell on Manchester Avenue, which was also refurbished thanks to funds from the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/ Playa del Rey and Los Angeles Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski.
John Griswold of Griswold Conservations Associates, LLC restored the sign panels — a process that took about six weeks and lots of expertise to mend the many cracks and a baseball-size hole in one of the panels.
He also restored the El Camino Real Bell.
Tony Villegas of Tony Villegas Electric restored the electrical components and installed a sensor to make the sign turn on at dusk and off at dawn.
“We didn’t even know that it used to light up until we took the panels off,” said Judith Ciancimino, who helped spearhead the restoration effort. “Even people who have lived here for 50 years didn’t remember it used to light up.”
Sergio Ortiz and Hector Miguel restored the brick planter box at the base of the sign and have aged the new bricks to make them match the original bricks still in place.
“It’s funny, but most people I talk to about this sign didn’t even know where it was,” said Ciancimino.
The sign is located near the intersection of Manchester Avenue and Loyola Boulevard.
“Even when I explained the location, they couldn’t even picture where it was,” she said. “When our landmarks look run-down, our community looks the same.
“I think the spruced up sign and bell add a little bit to the perception that this is a community that cares.”
IMPROVEMENTS — Members of the Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association met with City of Los Angeles representatives on Sepulveda Boulevard Wednesday, June 1st, to review Phase II of the organization’s plans and the community’s vision of a new, improved Sepulveda corridor, including landscaped meandering sidewalks, pocket parks and new pedestrian lighting the length of the residential area.
Among topics discussed was how best to use the $150,000 donated by Arden Realty for community improvement with a design that can be continued along the boulevard as funds become available.
Raising the estimated $3 million for Phase II is the next big challenge for the association and includes the community’s vision of a beautiful, inviting boulevard.
In order to achieve this goal, donations and partnering will be sought through major local developers, large corporations doing business in Westchester and government agencies.
Phase I is already funded with $5.8 million from the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation and work is scheduled to begin next spring.
This will include landscaped medians from Howard Hughes Parkway south to Lincoln Boulevard, a permanent parking lane in the shopping district, better crosswalks and new turn lanes as additional safety measures.
Signs have recently been posted on approximately 100 trees along the area. This should not cause concern. As part of the construction of turn lanes and improved sidewalks, it is necessary to move some trees.
The trees are not being destroyed but will be replaced and/ or relocated to accommodate improvements.
Information, Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association, (310) 204-9742 or www.westchesterstreetscape.org