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Trees Cut by Vandals Will Be Replaced


Ten saplings that were recently cut down by vandals will be replaced Saturday, and another 25 planted along Victory Boulevard, as part of a beautification project.

Community leaders were shocked to wake up Monday morning to find that one-third of the holly leaf oak trees they planted last weekend had been chopped in half with a pair of lopers or bolt cutters. Only a three-foot trunk and a metal rod remained.

"People were calling, almost in tears," said Ben Fiss, field deputy for Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Feuer. "It took two years of planning and getting grants, which aren't easy to write. For someone to go out and do this in a couple of minutes is disheartening."

Using a $3,450 federal grant, the L.A. Urban Resources Partnership purchased 30 15-gallon trees to help spruce up the medians on Victory Boulevard between Whitsett and Coldwater Canyon avenues, said Melinda Barlett, director of the city's water and natural resources division. Replacement trees will be paid for by the partnership.

Meanwhile, residents are searching for a motive. One Valley Glen Community Council member went door-to-door this week soliciting support for the effort while at the same time "looking for someone who might have flinched," said council member Peer Ghent.

"It possibly was someone who thought the trees weren't a good idea," he said. "It doesn't seem like the way a kid would do it. My experience with kids says they would have snapped them with their hands."

In the future, the community is considering putting chicken wire around the trees, as has been done with past projects, Ghent said.

Not to be deterred, community leaders say they will plant the 25 new saplings and are continuing with plans to install a sprinkler system by the end of the summer.

Volunteers interested in helping at Saturday's planting should meet at 9 a.m. at Babcock Avenue and Victory Boulevard.

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