Celebrating 12 years of serving the community Signal T R I B U N E Photo by Julian Rothen Serving BixBy KnollS, California HeigHtS, loS CerritoS, Wrigley and tHe City of Signal Hill Vol. 33 No. 38 Your Weekly Community Newspaper February 24, 2012 Major contractor quits work on SH Police Station construction site CJ Dablo Staff Writer The general contracting company responsible for building Signal Hill’s police station suddenly stopped construction last week with little explanation, City officials confirmed at last Tuesday’s City Council meeting and in interviews this week. Irvine-based FTR International gave no real warning to the City that it would abandon work on an estimated contract worth almost $8.7 million, according to Deputy City Manager Charlie Honeycutt. “It was…news to us because we had seen a lot of process occur on the building, particularly since after the holidays things really started to ramp up,” Honeycutt said in a telephone interview Wednesday, adding that “there was a flurry of construction activity” on the morning of Feb.15. However, later that day, Honeycutt said, a project manager for FTR told an on-site construction manager unexpected news: FTR has withdrawn from the job and laid off employees. For now, the site on the corner of 27th Street and Walnut Avenue is much quieter. The police station is about 70 percent completed and had been slated to be finished by the end of July, according to Honeycutt. He said that he’s made several attempts to contact FTR, but he has not received any real official response from the company. According to Honeycutt, FTR has stopped work on other projects for other entities in Southern California, however at press time, the Signal Tribune has been unable to independently verify with FTR’s clients that there have been other similar instances in which FTR has abandoned its clients’ work sites. FTR enjoyed a reputation for a number of noteworthy projects throughout the area. FTR completed an operations building last year at Pier G in the Port of Long Beach and is CJ Dablo/Signal Tribune Construction site of the future police station in Signal Hill near the corner of Walnut and 27th Street on Feb. 13, 2012, just a few days before construction was halted close to finishing an administrations building, according to the communication department at the Port. FTR has failed to respond to any inquiries by press time. Gabelich, Cohn describe 8th district accomplishments during BKBIA’s annual ‘State of the District’ address Nick Diamantides Staff Writer Eighth District Long Beach City Councilmember Rae Gabelich has succeeded in bringing about many changes in the past eight years. Last Thursday (Feb. 16), at the “State of the District” dinner party hosted by the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association (BKBIA), she reflected on her two terms in office and described some of the good things that have happened during her tenure. The event took place in the Expo Arts Center building on Atlantic Avenue. About 100 people attended. “It’s difficult to try to summarize eight years in a brief presentation,” Gabelich told the audience, explaining that she could only cover some of the highlights and remaining challenges. She noted that she first ran for office in 2004 primarily because of her objection to the proposed expansion of the Long Beach Airport. “When I took office, the recommended project would have nearly tripled the size of the airport terminal to about 133,000 square feet,” City Attorney David Aleshire explained at the Tuesday City Council that the City had monitored FTR closely last year after news reports revealed problems between FTR and its major client, the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD). Earlier this month, the Board of Stephanie Raygoza terfeit $100 bills from a female described as thin, white and fairskinned with light brown hair. Belmont Shore businesses Jenny G Boutique and Subject Clothing were hit with additional counterfeit $100 bills on Feb. 16, however, with these encounters, the subject was caught on surveillance camera. Dede Rossi, executive director of see CONSTRUCTION page 11 LB businesses on alert as counterfeit currency circulates shopping areas Staff Writer Small businesses throughout Long Beach are taking a big step in combatting counterfeit bills this month, upon receiving alerts that a few shops reported fake currency circulating among the business districts. The trend began two weeks ago when two businesses in Long Beach’s Retro Row on 4th Street took in coun- see COUNTERFEIT page 15 Photo by Krista Leaders Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association Executive Director Blair Cohn, Long Beach Clothing Company owner Shawn Moore and former owner Jay Tilles at last week’s State of the District address. The local apparel store was honored as Supporter of the Year. she said, adding that because of the strong opposition of so many residents, the City finally approved a 78,000-square-foot terminal. Gabelich reminded the audience that she was instrumental in most of the 8th district repaving projects since 2004, as well as the installation of new traffic lights and other improvements to make Atlantic Avenue between Bixby Road and San Antonio Drive more pedestrian-friendly. She also mentioned the annual Bixby Knolls Dragster Expo & Car Show that she first organized in 2005 and which drew more than 13,000 fans last July. She listed other accomplishments as well, explaining that she played a major role in finding the see DISTRICT page 14 central.fraudfighter.com Local businesses are being encouraged to purchase fraud-fighter machines like the one shown.