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Thursday, Sep 21, 2023


Don’t ask From the “Oh, you get those calls, too” file: The folks at the Studio City Chamber of Commerce thought it might be interesting to share some of the questions they’re asked by callers. So the chamber’s executive director, Gloria Carbone Mitchell, decided to print a few of the more interesting inquiries she’s received in a recent newsletter. They include: Can I raise chickens in Studio City? What should I do with my oriental rugs? What kind of sun lotion should I buy? What should I do with the dead rat on my lawn? Do you have a camera store in Studio City? Does it have film? What’s that white gunk on my tree? Can you find my high school? Can you find my mother? Mitchell said she even gets calls from as far away as Canada. You might think that after fielding a few of those calls, the chamber would think about getting an unlisted number. Good What? In case you missed it, Sept. 1 was Good Neighbor Day. No, the postal service didn’t misplace your card. The day was set aside in the last few years by florists to help promote flower sales. Customers at My Sweetheart Florist in Arleta were greeted with free roses for the day. They were encouraged to keep one and pass the others along to friends and neighbors. At My Sweetheart, the holiday lasted three days. That’s how long it took to deliver the free bouquets, about $700 worth of flowers, to all of the shop’s regular customers, said owner Ashwin Parekh. Parekh began observing Good Neighbor Day last year, and although he says that he hasn’t seen a significant uptick in business as a result, the promotion does spur goodwill. “People remember our name, so in the future if they think about sending flowers, they think of us,” he said. Let Them Eat Fruit Westlake Village-based Dole Food Co. has had a rough year. The world’s pre-eminent pineapple producer was involved in a costly trade war over banana sales in Europe. The weather has been chaotic, wreaking havoc on fruit crops. And the company’s stock price has been on a downslide. But Dole has come up with a new way to boost sagging sales by trying to convince kids to eat more fruit. The company has come up with “Fun Shapes,” bits of pineapple cut up to look like stars, moons and suns as part of a celestial theme and like fish as part of a sea creatures theme. Aimed at the younger market (pre-schoolers and elementary school kids), the pineapple bits are packaged in specially colored cans and sell from 99 cents to $1.19. No word on whether banana fruit cutouts will follow. Narrow Escape It’s usually Mayor Richard Riordan who’s featured on “Ask the Mayor,” a monthly radio talk show on KFWB-AM 980. But while Riordan was on vacation recently, L.A. Police Chief Bernard Parks filled in and nearly got a parking ticket. During the interview, KFWB employees noticed that a traffic enforcement officer was preparing to cite a parked car outside the Hollywood studio. Host Kathleen Sullivan asked the chief if it was his car. Turned out it was. After station employees dashed outside and said the car belonged to the chief, the surprised officer moved along. Meanwhile, Parks explained to his radio audience that he had parked by a non-working meter. Sullivan jokingly asked Parks whether he was going to strangle the officer. The chief instead promised to “commend the officer for his powers of observation.” Paying by the Mile Want to shave $3,000 a year off the cost of operating your car? Just move from the congested climes of Los Angeles to the wide-open spaces of Sioux Falls, S.D. A survey by Runzheimer International, a Wisconsin-based consulting firm, determined that L.A. is the nation’s most expensive place to drive and maintain a mid-sized car ($8,907 a year), while Sioux Falls is the cheapest ($5,843). Researchers attribute the gaping difference to higher insurance rates, labor and gas costs. “Los Angeles is consistent at being expensive,” said Peter D. Packer, vice president of communications for Runzheimer. “You ranked the most expensive last year, too. It’s life in the big city.” Not far behind Los Angeles is Philadelphia ($8,273), Detroit ($8,225) and Providence, R.I. ($8,195). After Sioux Falls, the cities that save the most wear and tear on wallets are Eau Claire, Wis. ($5,862), Burlington , Vt. ($5,898) and Bismarck, N.D. ($5,945). Flapping in the Wind Howard Furst found himself in the middle of the ongoing flap over street banners last week. Earlier this summer, his firm, AAA Flag & Banner, contracted with the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to hang 500 banners throughout the city for the upcoming Emmy Awards. Then came the brouhaha over L.A. allowing ABC to hang hundreds of promotional banners on streetlights to promote upcoming shows. Embarrassed city officials declared a 30-day moratorium on all new banners, which are supposed to be reserved for non-profit groups, and Furst found his $80,000 contract flapping in the wind. A Bureau of Street Services official eventually gave him a verbal OK to hang the Emmy signs. But with half the job done, the official called back and said no banners could go up, period. After a lobbying campaign on Furst’s behalf by the L.A. Sports & Entertainment Commission and the Entertainment Industry Development Corp., the city allowed him to proceed. “Can you believe this?” he said. “This is nuts.”

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