His name might not be a household one, but Tony Seruto is a hometown boy who continues to give back to the Westchester and Playa del Rey community each and every day.

Seruto was recently named the Rotary Club of Westchester’s Citizen of the Year for his continued support of local Little Leagues, AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization) and Loyola Marymount University (LMU) athletics as the owner and operator of Tower Pizza on Lincoln Boulevard —Ýan establishment he has run for more than 20 years.

Seruto grew up in Playa del Rey and went to Orville Wright Middle School and Westchester High School.

His wife, Joanne, attended Visitation School and St. Bernard High School.

They grew up nearly side-by-side, but didn’t meet until they were both at Santa Monica College.

From the moment Tower Pizza opened its doors, Seruto wanted a local place for families to enjoy.

He wanted his place to be comfortable, casual, and inexpensive, with great food — and for those of you who have been there, you know he has certainly accomplished that.

Seruto does not just serve great pizza; he provides great community service.

He is a dedicated supporter of LMU and donates money and food to many LMU organizations and sports teams.

He is also a generous supporter of our local schools, donating supplies, food and other items for many educational functions.

You can also find AYSO and Little League teams in Tower Pizza, a favorite spot for end-of-the season parties and celebrations.

Seruto has created a place that many people call home, a place where people feel not like customers, but like friends.

When people walk in, they are often greeted by their first names, not only by Seruto, who is there seven days a week, but also by other customers that gather there, some on a daily basis.

And these local people know that if they go there for lunch on Monday or Friday, chances are pretty good that they will get one of Joanne’s freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, which won first place at the Los Angeles County Fair back in 2003.

More than the cookies and pizza, it is the community support and the spirit of giving that Rotarians saluted in naming Seruto the 2005 Rotary Citizen of the Year.


TREE REMOVALS — Tree removal notices will soon be posted on trees lining the Westchester Central Business District on Sepulveda Boulevard.

The notices are in conjunction with the Sepulveda Boulevard project of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), which will include the addition of a full-time parking lane in the Business District.

In addition, the project will include landscaped medians, new turn pockets and some sidewalk repairs, but will not increase the number of travel lanes.

The actual removal or relocation of the trees will not take place until absolutely necessary in the construction phase, according to an LADOT spokesman.

At this time, it is expected that the trees will not be disturbed until spring 2006.

Among the improvements as part of this project are:

— Right-turn-only lanes from Sepulveda onto Westchester Parkway, La Tijera Boulevard and Manchester Avenue (eastbound only).

— Corner “bulb-outs” at 9th Street and Westchester Parkway.

— Landscaped medians (size varies) within all blocks from Lincoln to Manchester with trees and shrubs, paid for by the H.B. Drollinger Co. will pay for this initially, with maintenance of the medians paid for by a business improvement district that is currently in the process of being formed.

Existing palm trees will be re-used and all ficus trees will be removed. New planting will alternate palms and canopy trees.

Tree species include, Chinese flame, which is green, not pink; and medians might have the pink trumpet trees.

— Right-turn permissive lane at 77th Street from southbound Sepulveda only.

To accommodate this, sidewalk width will be reduced on east side of Sepulveda.

A few ficus trees will have to be removed to accommodate this as well.

— Landscaped medians at all blocks in the residential area of Sepulveda Boulevard north of Manchester Avenue, except between 80th and 78th Streets.

Initially, medians in the residential area will have grass and trees like Manchester.

Trees and shrubs will come later when funding and maintenance are in place.

— Some sidewalks will be replaced with the $150,000 “community benefit” funding from Arden Realty. Exactly where this money will be spent is not known yet; criteria will be developed to determine this.

New sidewalks should conform to new plans and will be built away from tree root areas.

For more information about this project or how to get involved, visit the Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association’s Web site at www.WestchesterStreetscape.org or call (310) 204-9742.

POLICE MEMORIAL MONTH — As the Los Angeles Police Department observes Police Memorial Month, it is appropriate that we remember and honor those who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty while serving the people of Los Angeles.

In Westchester, a candlelight vigil will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 19th at the Ahmanson Recruit Training Center, 5651 Manchester Avenue, at the corner of Osage Avenue.

The vigil will honor fallen officers, and the public is invited to attend.

According to figures provided by the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial Fund, on average, one law enforcement officer is killed somewhere in America every 53 hours.