Tag Archives: Burbank

Burbank Football Meets Canyon Tonight

By Rick Assad
Sports Editor


Hoping to locate the win column after suffering a stunning 20-13 nonleague loss to Ayala, the Burbank High football team will host Canyon tonight at Memorial Field with a 7 p.m. kickoff.

That loss took away some of the steam after the Bulldogs defeated powerful Monrovia, 38-20, in the season opener, so second-year Coach Richard Broussard and his staff shouldn’t take anything for granted against the Cowboys.

Canyon lost to talented Calabasas and Thousand Oaks by scores of 48-14 and 53-26, respectively, but bounced back and routed Eastside, 33-14.

This will be an excellent test for the Bulldogs, who are expected to compete for the Pacific League title, which begins next week.

Burbank junior quarterback Guy Gibbs has started two games, and is getting used to the speed at which varsity football is played.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Quarterback Guy Gibbs will need to play well versus the Cowboys. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Gibbs has been efficient after throwing four touchdown passes with two interceptions.

Gibbs averages 114 passing yards per game, and though these numbers are decent, they should improve with experience.

Burbank’s strength is its potent running attack which is led by sophomore tailback Darnell Williams, who averages nearly 77 yards per game, and has accounted for 254 all-purpose yards, including 80 yards on kickoff returns.

Junior Nick Warren has 100 yards with a score, while junior Jake Kelley has run for 59 yards and two touchdowns.

Junior Forest Fajardo is the top receiver with 111 yards and six receptions with a touchdown, and senior Max Weisman has four catches for 63 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively the Bulldogs are paced by junior defensive back Andy Reyes, who has 22 solo tackles and six assists, while junior defensive back Miguel Vasquez has 13 solo tackles and five assists.

Burbank's defense will be the key to the season (Photo by Ross A. Benson)
Burbank’s hard-hitting defense will be critical against Canyon. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Linebacker Kelley has one sack along with six solo tackles and four assists, defensive back Fajardo has seven solo tackles and two assists, senior defensive back David Medrano has collected seven solo tackles and 10 assists.

Junior defensive back C.J. Mays has eight solo tackles and four assists with one sack, and senior defensive end Jha’rod Horhn has five solo tackles with three assists and two sacks.

Canyon junior quarterback Miles Fallin has found the target on 30 of 70 attempts for 315 yards, while tossing two touchdowns with two picks.

When the Cowboys run the football, junior Henry Arellano should lead the charge after gaining 76 yards with a touchdown, while senior Ricky Aguilera has 44 yards and one score.

The Bulldogs should zero in on junior wide receiver Camden Apsay, who has 78 yards on seven receptions. Junior Riely Ward has snared five passes for 37 yards and senior Dylan Ramirez has 44 yards on four catches with a score.

Gibbs will have to keep a careful watch on senior linebacker Travis Clarke, who has 16 solo tackles and three assists, junior Cole Manclow, who has six solo tackles and eight assists, and junior strong safety Jake Gavin, who has 10 solo tackles and two assists.

It’s certainly not going to be easy, but the Bulldogs can prevail if the offense, defense and special team plays at a high level and they keep the turnovers to a minimum.

Airport, City Council Joint Meeting Try To Provide Information

For the first time since November 2013, in what has become a long battle over how to replace the aging terminal at Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport, the Burbank City Council and the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, the group that operates the airport, met publicly.

( Photo by ©  Ross A. Benson)

( Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The information session at Burbank’s Buena Vista Library on Wednesday provided an opportunity for the public to hear the authority’s latest plans for a replacement terminal.

Where to build the new terminal is not the only matter to consider, as a second Metrolink station is being built at the airport and a possible California High-Speed Rail station there could attract even more people to the area.

Burbank Council Member Emily Gabel-Luddy said the airport’s location was unique in California, maybe even the country, as it pertains to rail and transit connections. She called the project an “opportunity, not a detriment to the community or traveling public.”

Burbank City Councilwoman Emily Gabel-Luddy.( Photo by ©  Ross A. Benson)

Burbank City Councilwoman Emily Gabel-Luddy.( Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Built in 1930, the existing terminal no longer meets current seismic standards and some parts of the building are too close to runways and do not meet current FAA requirements, the airport authority says.

There are two options for where on the airport a replacement terminal would be built, and the preferred option would be north of the existing terminal and near a planned Metrolink station. The station will be a part of the Antelope Valley Line. Officials broke ground on the station in 2013 although construction has not yet started. The preferred terminal site is also near a possible future location of a California High-Speed Rail station, although those plans have not been finalized.

An existing Metrolink station on the Ventura County Line stands on the south side of the airport at Empire Avenue.

In order to build on the preferred site, Burbank must relinquish control of an easement for access to Hollywood Way. The city council must also approve the authority’s plans and Burbank voters will ultimately decide if the plan moves forward.

( Photo by ©  Ross A. Benson)

( Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

If so, the process also will include an environmental review and residents and travelers may not see “shovels to the ground” until possibly 2019 or 2020, said Dan Feger, the airport authority’s executive director.

An alternative location for a replacement terminal would be on the southwest quadrant of the airport. The authority may not need Burbank to approve construction as it already owns the land, but existing aviation tenants would need to move out and the southwest parcel is further away from the possible high-speed rail station.

Burbank Mayor Bob Frutos. ( Photo by ©  Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Mayor Bob Frutos. ( Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The existing terminal is about 232,000 square feet, according to information discussed Wednesday, and the replacement terminal would come in at about 355,000 square feet, regardless of where it is built. Once the new terminal is built, the existing one would be closed and demolished.

While the planned terminal will be larger, the number of gates stays the same, at 14.

The estimated cost of the project is $300-$400 million, and will be paid for by funds from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), said Steve Madison, president of the airport authority who represents the city of Pasadena. Plans also include a new fire station.

Airport Commissioner Steve Madison.( Photo by ©  Ross A. Benson)

Airport Commissioner Steve Madison.( Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The airport provides tens of thousands of jobs and generated close to $2 billion in total economic output in fiscal year 2013, according to documents provided at the meeting. Bob Hope Airport generated an estimated $6.5 million in revenue for the city of Burbank. Neighboring cities benefit as well, and public comments from Pasadena civic figures noted that important relationship, especially as it pertains to tourism for the Rose Bowl.

Throughout the three-hour meeting, both sides acknowledged they haven’t talked in some time, and Madison noted in some of his opening remarks that discussions started in 2011.

While the meeting was not without acrimony, it also allowed the parties involved to acknowledge the need to further discuss the matter and show they were not without a sense of humor.

City Councilman Will Rogers. ( Photo by ©  Ross A. Benson)

City Councilman Will Rogers. ( Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burbank City Councilman Will Rogers at one point said he had a few more questions, but, “Will save the rest for later when I understand we can use knives.”

Fifteen people spoke at the meeting, among about 100 attendees, representing Burbank, Pasadena and Lake View Terrace.

Among them was Paul Dyson, a Burbank resident of more than 20 years. Dyson also serves on the city’s Transportation Commission and as president of the Rail Passengers Association of California, but said he was speaking as a taxpayer Wednesday.

He noted the planned Metrolink station and that the high-speed rail route would be coming through Burbank.

City Councilman Dr. David Gordon. ( Photo by ©  Ross A. Benson)

City Councilman Dr. David Gordon. ( Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“Whether you believe [high-speed rail] is a threat or an opportunity, it is real,” Dyson said. “Until the state says otherwise.”

The FAA is a key source of funding, and that means taxpayer money, whether those taxpayers are local or regional, he said.

Speaker Paul Dyson. ( Photo by ©  Ross A. Benson)

Speaker Paul Dyson. ( Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“As a taxpayer, I am looking for the best outcome,” Dyson said.

Council member Gabel-Luddy said passengers will still be able to get off from the back of the plane and addressed the historic nature of the terminal, and said she wanted to preserve the building when she first was elected to the city council.

“We can preserve key parts…and transfer features to the new building,” at “Hollywood Burbank Bob Hope Airport,” she added, alluding to recent discussions about possibly adding Los Angeles to the airport’s name.

Pasadena Mayor and airport commissioner Terry Tornek talked about evolving standards for public facilities and gave the example of a public school in Pasadena that has stood at its current location for several decades. As benchmarks change, the school may not be eligible for public funding because it no longer meets current seismic standards as it is too close to a fault line, he said.

Tornek, a former Pasadena city planner, said the terminal is not going to be shut down, but that commissioners do have a sense of urgency.

“We need a safer terminal,” he said.

Tornek said the authority wanted to build on the preferred site, but if they didn’t get the vote, he said the airport authority still has the responsibility to build a safer terminal.

He said issues with Burbank were “reconcilable” and referred to disagreements as “technical differences.”

However, among those differences is Burbank’s desire for veto power.

Nine commissioners make up the airport authority, with three representatives from each city who are appointed by their respective city council. Burbank could thus be outvoted on important issues.

( Photo by ©  Ross A. Benson)

( Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Mayor Bob Frutos thanked those in attendance and watching from home as he closed the meeting. The Burbank City Council will review the proposal in closed session, and in 30 to 45 days will present their position publicly, he said.

Frutos also acknowledged airport commissioners.

“I know there were differences of opinion every step of the way, and I thank the commission for being here,” he said.

Earlier in the night he noted that both sides had not talked since last year.

Burbank Airport Commissioners L/R Don Brown, Ray Adams and Bill Wiggins.( Photo by ©  Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Airport Commissioners L/R Don Brown, Ray Adams and Bill Wiggins.( Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“I appreciate…that we are now talking,” Frutos said just before the meeting ended. “It feels good.”

ED. NOTE: Here is the proposal that has been presented by the airport

Bob Hope airport terminal design

SPRING TRAINING SPECIAL: Re-Live the History of the St. Louis Browns in Burbank

Olive Memorial Stadium

Olive Memorial Stadium (Photo courtesy of Wes Clark and Mike McDaniel)

By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor

With Major League Baseball spring training underway, we thought it would be fun to reminisce on the St. Louis Browns existence at Olive Memorial Stadium. Below is the story of their stay as well as a video that captures a bit of history here in Burbank.

Olive Memorial Stadium and the St. Louis Browns


Olive Memorial Stadium was home to the St. Louis Browns for spring training from 1949 – 1952 (Photo courtesy of Wes Clark and Mike McDaniel)

Gone but not forgotten. Quiet but not silent. From 1947 to 1989, a brick-facade stadium located at 1111 W. Olive Ave. (now known as George Izay Park) was home to Burbank residents and guests who utilized the facility for America’s national pastime of baseball. Guests you might ask? Who might that be? Well, Olive Memorial Stadium was home to the St. Louis Browns of Major League Baseball during spring training from 1949 to 1952.

It’s been 20 years now since the demolition of the ‘ole stadium. Tucked away in the southwest corner of the park, this grand old venue with a seating capacity of 1,000 people hosted each spring what many critics called the “worst team in the history of baseball.”

Built in 1947 for $64,425, closed to the public in 1989, and razed in 1995, Olive Memorial Stadium provided for four spring seasons a setting where the St. Louis Browns of the American League could enjoy an atmosphere of competitive baseball, beautiful weather and friendly crowds.

All that remains now is a memorial concrete column with plaques that was awarded to the city of Burbank on December 14, 1945, and was dedicated on May 30, 1947, to honor Burbank residents who were killed in World War II.

St. Louis Browns

St. Louis Browns of the American League; now the Baltimore Orioles

“First in shoes, first in booze, and last in the American League” was an expression synonymous with the St. Louis Browns. In their 52 year history, the “Brownies” finished in last place in their division 14 times and seventh 12 times. They only had three top-two finishes in their history. The Browns finished their St. Louis stay with a morbid overall record of 3,414 wins and 4,465 losses.

The lone bright spot in their franchise history was the victorious 1944 American League pennant over the Detroit Tigers. In an All-St. Louis World Series, the Browns lost to their city rival, the St. Louis Cardinals, in the ‘Streetcar Series’ four games to two held at Sportsman’s Park.

Discovered in 1901 as the original Milwaukee Brewers, the Browns moved and became residents of St. Louis in 1902 and stayed there through the 1953 season. In 1954, because of direct competition with the Cardinals and their wealthy and popular owner August A. Busch Jr., Browns owner Bill Veeck sold the team and the squad re-located to Baltimore where they became the Orioles.


Olive Memorial Stadium was built in the southwest corner of now George Izay Park at 1111 W. Olive Ave. (Photo courtesy of Wes Clark and Mike McDaniel)

For one month a year, the Browns called the city of Burbank home. The players lived across the street at the Olive Manor Motel (since demolished). Despite their poor play throughout the years, the Browns were supported with open arms by the citizens of Burbank.  As it is now like it was back then, spring training represents the preparation and beginning of the major league baseball season when hope springs eternal and spirits are high.

Local Burbank workers came by during their lunch hour to catch a glimpse of some of baseball’s finest players. Families descended in droves upon this popular park in hopes of seeing their heroes. With the Chicago Cubs playing in nearby Avalon on Catalina Island, the Pittsburgh Pirates in San Bernardino, the Chicago White Sox in Pasadena and the New York Giants in Phoenix, chances of seeing a favorite player or even a Hollywood celebrity was very good.

Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Andy Devine, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Nat King Cole, Dinah Shore and Marilyn Monroe were sighted visiting with the players in the clubhouse after practices and games. Maybe they weren’t the New York Yankees, but these “Brownies” were popular with the city of Burbank and its loyal fans.

It has been said that the Browns even upstaged Burbank On Parade, the city’s annual parade. By drawing crowds as large as 2,500, Olive Memorial Stadium was filled to capacity with fans lining along the left and right field foul lines. Spring baseball fever was alive and well in Burbank as the Browns and their opponents entertained the throngs of fans.

Roger Hornsby

Browns Manager and MLB Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby greets the mayor of Burbank (Photo courtesy of Wes Clark and Mike McDaniel)

Spring training in Burbank brought out a who’s who of baseball legends. Some of the star-studded cast included: St. Louis Cardinal legend and 1952 Browns Manager Rogers Hornsby, Browns pitcher and Negro League star Satchel Paige, Browns 1949 MLB Rookie of the Year Roy Sievers, New York/SF Giants Willie Mays, New York/SF Giants Bobby Thomson, Chicago White Sox Luke Appling, Cleveland Indians Bob Lemon, Cleveland Indians Bob Feller, Pittsburgh Pirates Ralph Kiner and the Chicago Cubs Hank Sauer.

Right here in our own backyard.

After the Browns left Burbank, the stadium was primarily used throughout the years for amateur and semi-pro baseball such as American Legion Post 150 as well as for the local high school teams and occasionally the Hollywood Stars. As the decades came and went, the stadium became more and more neglected. Grafitti, cracks in the concrete, splintered bleachers and a warped roof covered the facility.

The stadium closed in 1989 and for six years thereafter, debates and arguments raged on for the future of this historic site. Should it be renovated? Should it be destroyed and a new baseball structure built? Ultimately, the facility was rendered unsafe by the Burbank City Council.

Citing the poor dilapidated condition of the venue, the popularity of area softball and the expensive cost to rebuild a new baseball stadium (between $800,000 and a $1,000,000), Olive Memorial Stadium was demolished in 1995 and replaced with the current softball field in existence.


St. Louis Browns vs. Cleveland Indians (Photo courtesy of Wes Clark and Mike McDaniel)

On a casual Sunday afternoon drive heading north on Olive Ave., look to your left as you pass by George Izay Park and try to remember or even reminisce what Burbank once had: the St. Louis Browns and Major League Baseball entertaining Burbankers.

Just imagine in your head for a second the following scene at Olive Memorial Stadium: Browns Manager Rogers Hornsby in the dugout with his pitcher and legend Satchel Paige on the mound. At first base is the Giants’ Bobby Thomson and at the plate is a youngster named Willie Mays. Now those were the days. And I wasn’t even born yet….

myBurbank.com would like to thank the Burbank Historical Society and long-time Burbank resident Dr. Joe Dossen for their generosity and insight into the St. Louis Browns as well as Wes Clark and Mike McDaniel for allowing us to use their photography.

In honor of the St. Louis Browns, here are some exclusive personal accounts given by the former “Brownie” players.

Jim Dyck, #27, third baseman and the final player to ever appear in a Brown’s uniform on Sept. 27, 1953: (1951-1953)

On Spring Training– “We played the Cubs a lot. We formed some lasting friendships. The Brownie spring camps always were fun. Good fields, good lodging, everything first class. I loved the Browns and still do.”

On Manager Rogers Hornsby– “I also remember how mean, gruff and ornery Hornsby was. Great player, terrible manager.”


Hank Arft, #3, first baseman (1948-1952)


St. Louis Browns cap

On Spring Training– “Burbank was still ‘small town’ during that time. The fans were warm and friendly. We lived in a motel close to the park, very convenient, and the weather was fabulous. Happy memories!”

On Manager Rogers Hornsby– “Mr. Hornsby was one of the greatest hitters who ever played and he thought that any player should be able to hit like he did. He played better than he managed. He had no sympathy for a player who didn’t produce, regardless of the circumstances.”

On MLB players – “Players’ attitudes were different in those days. It was a thrill to meet those great players and to be on the field with them. Joe DiMaggio was always a gentleman, on and off the field. I wanted to be like him. Just to walk out in Yankee Stadium was a thrill. To get a hit off Raschi or Reynolds made my day.”


Joe DeMaestri, #1, shortstop (1952)

On Manager Rogers Hornsby– “It was the worst time of my baseball career.”

On Owner Bill Veeck– “He was great to us. Excellent relationship.”


Billy DeMars, #1, shortstop (1950-1951)

On Spring Training– “We had some exciting rides to and from the ballpark and hotel.”

On Manager Zack Taylor– “From 1 to 10, 10 being highest he would have been a 5.”


1950 St. Louis Browns

1950 St. Louis Browns

Roy Sievers, #18, outfielder and first baseman, Rookie of the Year- 1949 (1949-1953)

On Spring Training– “I had some great springs there. A great hitting park. It was a great area to train in plus the city itself was great to the players.”


Ned Garver, #31, pitcher, Led AL in complete games in 1950 and 1951; won 20 games in 1950 (1948-1952)

On Spring Training– “I got to meet some movie stars- Bing Crosby came in the clubhouse and I got a picture with him. The Browns team was introduced on the Graucho Marx TV show.”

On Manager Rogers Hornsby– “Did not seem to have many friends. At least a few showed up. Baseball’s greatest right hand hitter and no friends – very sad. Very strange atmosphere. Not conducive to players being able to perform at their best.”

On the Cardinals– “Just enjoyed getting to play against Musial, Slaughter, Moore, Marion, etc.”


Bob Cain, #33, pitcher (1952-1953)

On Spring Training– “Always remember how Satchel Paige would try to hide behind the left field wall from Rogers Hornsby.”

On Manager Rogers Hornsby– “I got along with Rogers Hornsby very well. I thought he was a pretty good manager.”

On Eddie ‘the midget’ Gaedel’s funeral– “My wife, Judy, and I were the only ones from baseball at his funeral. Enclosed is the article about us at the funeral and a card showing me pitching to the midget.”


We conclude our special feature on the St. Louis Browns with some interesting facts.

Did you know….

  • The Browns name is shortened from Brown Stockings, which was also the original name of the Cardinals. The name simply refers to the colors the team wore.
  • The grandstand seats at Olive Memorial Stadium were $1.80 for adults and 90 cents for children under 12.
  • The Los Angeles Rams used Olive Memorial Stadium as their main practice facility from 1959 to 1962.
  • The St. Louis Browns have two Hall of Fame players enshrined in Cooperstown: George Sisler, 1B, 1915 – 1927 and Bobby Wallace, SS, 1902 – 1916. Sisler won the MVP in 1922.
  • Sisler was the premier hitter of his era. His 257 hits in 1920 stood as the single season standard until passed by Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki in 2004. His .420 average in 1922 is still the third highest single season average on record since 1900. Rogers Hornsby hit .424 as a Cardinal in 1924.

    Eddie Gaedel

    MLB’s smallest player ever, St. Louis Browns Eddie Gaedel at bat

  • The 1948 All-Star Game was hosted by the Browns at Sportman’s Park in St. Louis.
  • Eddie Gaedel, “the midget”, is the smallest player to have ever played major league baseball. On Aug. 18, 1951, owner Bill Veeck signed 3’7” midget Eddie Gaedel to make an appearance for the Browns as part of a publicity stunt.

Weighing 65 pounds and wearing #1/8 (one-eighth), Gaedel stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter in the first inning of the second game of a doubleheader vs. the Detroit Tigers.

Facing future Browns pitcher Bob Cain, Gaedel took four balls and walked to first base. He was removed for a pinch runner and Gaedel never played major league baseball again. It was the most memorable moment in St. Louis Browns history.

Now you know!


Airport Commission Delays Action on Project

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

After firing a warning shot to the Burbank City Council on Friday in a form of a letter that Mayor David Gordon called both inflammatory and controversial, the Burbank, Glendale Airport Commission delayed their action regarding the offer sheet proposed to Burbank.

While the letter has still not been made public as of Monday at noon as was promised at the Sunday City Council meeting, the letter from Executive Director Dan Feger implied that the Authority would basically unhook the new terminal and the B-6 property and immediately put it on the open market unless the city takes immediate action in the negotiations.

Burbank called a special meeting of the City Council on Sunday night (the first one in about 20 years) and unanimously voted for the airport to delay their action on Monday until all three Burbank commissioners could be present (Bill Wiggens is on a family trip) and the city would not accept all of the condition of a term letter sent in November.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Authority President Steve Madison (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Commission President Steve Madison begun the Monday morning meeting by stating that the Authority values the membership of all three cities and that the action by the City Council was heard loud and clear. After only three speakers addressed the commission in the room before a closed session was called that lasted for about an hour.

Burbank Commissioner Don Brown welcomes newly appointed commissioner Ray Adams to his first meeting (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Commissioner Don Brown welcomes newly appointed commissioner Ray Adams to his first meeting (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

After returning, Madison announced that Resolution 462 would be delayed in respect to the vote by the City Council. Both Burbank Commissioners, Don Brown and newly appointed Ray Adams were in attendance.

No word was given when the item would be brought back but the agreement with the City expires on March 15.

Here is the content of Resolution Number 462 as presented on the Authority’s agenda for the Monday meeting that the authority wanted the council to immediately act upon:



Staff seeks Commission approval of the following: (i) authorization for the Executive Director to withdraw the Authority’s entitlement applications for the approximately 59-acre former Lockheed Plant B-6 Trust Property (“Trust Property”) (sometimes referred to as the “Opportunity Site”); (ii) authorization for the Executive Director to put the entire Trust Property on the market with an option to subtract three acres if a deal is reached with the City of Burbank (“Burbank”) for a replacement terminal on the Lockheed Plant B-6 Adjacent Property (“Adjacent Property”); and (iii) adoption of the attached Resolution No. 462, a Resolution of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority Commission Memorializing Commitments to the City of Burbank Regarding the Burbank Bob Hope Airport.

These actions are the next step towards the Authority’s objective of reaching a consensus with Burbank, its voters, the City of Glendale (“Glendale”), the City of Pasadena (“Pasadena”), the airlines, and the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) on an Adjacent Property replacement terminal. To this end, Resolution No. 462 (“Resolution”) addresses three commitments.

First, the Resolution memorializes the Commission’s willingness and commitment to indefinitely and unilaterally provide protections to Burbank (i.e., protections not incorporated into a Joint Powers Agreement (“JPA”) amendment) until such time as Burbank takes a hostile action against the Authority. These protections provide quality of life benefits for the surrounding community and continue to fulfill the Authority mission statement to “be a good neighbor.”

Second, the Resolution memorializes the Commission’s commitment to build a replacement passenger terminal building with no increase in the number of aircraft gates or public automobile parking spaces, consistent with the discussions of the Airport Land Use Working Group and the public presentations made to Burbank, Glendale, and Pasadena.

Finally, the Resolution memorializes the Commission’s commitment to give Burbank seven more weeks to accept the Authority’s November 21, 2014, term sheet proposal for permanent protections for the Burbank community and vested entitlements for the Authority to construct a replacement 14-gate passenger terminal building on the Adjacent Property.


In October 2011 the Authority and Burbank amended the Development Agreement to extend the term until March 15, 2015, and to permit the parties to publicly discuss a vision for the future of the Airport. The vision includes:


  • Development of the Trust Property;
  • Entitlement for construction of a replacement 14-gate terminal building on the Adjacent Property; and
  • Amending the JPA that created and governs the Authority to give each city the power to veto certain Commission actions that could change how the Airport impacts the quality of life for the surrounding community in the future.

Authority and Burbank staff, in conjunction with the Airport Land Use Working Group, subsequently met numerous times to negotiate a term sheet that would form the basis for a new Development Agreement and entitlements for a replacement terminal on the Adjacent Property. Additionally, the Authority and Burbank conducted multiple public presentations regarding the Authority’s desire to sell the Trust Property in an entitled condition, which would allow a future developer to build on the site without further discretionary review by Burbank. As part of that process, the Authority engaged consultants to prepare various conceptual plans and those plans were reviewed by Burbank staff and the Airport Land Use Working Group over many months prior to the Authority’s preparation and submission of formal applications.

On November 14, 2013, at a joint meeting, the Commission and the Burbank City Council approved the basic characteristics of an Adjacent Property replacement terminal and a Trust Property development for purposes of further study and the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (“FIR”). The Trust Property portion was to study development of up to approximately three million square feet of mixed uses (Office, Flex/Industrial, Retail and Hotel) based on economic analysis predicated on estimated demand for such facilities over a 15-year time period.

Due to community concern about the three-million-square-foot proposed development on the Trust Property, including comments from some Burbank Councilmembers, the Authority decided to reduce the proposed density. In December 2013 the Authority submitted to Burbank entitlement applications for an Adjacent Property replacement terminal and for Trust Property development. The Trust Property applications proposed a reduced project of approximately 2.3 million square feet of mixed uses that would be developed and absorbed into the market over a ten-year time period.

The attached Exhibit 1 shows the configuration of the Trust Property, which is comprised of three blocks of land. Two of the blocks are zoned M-2 and total approximately 42 acres; the third block is zoned Airport and is approximately 18 acres. The conceptual layout for the Trust Property development contemplated that approximately three acres of the site would be transferred to the Authority to accommodate a special placement for parking structures that would serve the Adjacent Property replacement terminal. That special placement was a response to Burbank staff’s desire for a “view corridor” allowing the replacement terminal to be seen from Hollywood Way. It is possible to configure the parking structures in a manner that does not require land from the Trust Property, but those alternative configurations likely would not preserve the view corridor feature.

On February 3, 2014, Authority staff gave the Commission a public presentation regarding the proposed terminal alternatives for environmental analysis. A copy of that presentation is attached as Exhibit 2. Page 3 of that presentation identified Alternative 1, which states that the development of a terminal on the Southwest Quadrant of the Airport would not include a


change in governance and that the Opportunity Site would be sold with its current zoning. This presentation was also made to the city councils of Glendale and Pasadena. Burbank staff declined Authority staff’s offer to make that presentation to the Burbank City Council.

In March 2014 the Authority and Burbank executed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) to cooperate and coordinate their respective efforts regarding the EIR preparation.

In June 2014 Authority staff shared with Burbank staff comments regarding the Burbank’s draft staff report on alternatives for the EIR. Authority staffs comments clearly stated the position of the Commission, Glendale, and Pasadena that JPA amendments would only be granted for the entitlement of a replacement terminal on the Adjacent Property, and not for a replacement terminal on the Southwest Quadrant. Burbank staff did not incorporate Authority staff’s comments in the final version of the Burbank staff report.

In July 2014 the Authority put the EIR on hold pending reaching a resolution with Burbank regarding the project description and project alternatives. During the ensuing time period, Burbank staff and Authority staff continued to negotiate the language of a term sheet.


On November 18, 2014, President Madison and Vice President Quintero met with

Mayor Gordon and Vice Mayor Frutos on the term sheet. A recap letter summarizing that meeting was sent to Burbank on that same date and is attached as Exhibit 3. That recap letter restated the position of the Commission, Glendale, and Pasadena that amendments to the JPA to change governance of the Authority would only be approved if Burbank approves entitlements for a replacement terminal on the Adjacent Property and would terminate if the Authority was forced to build a replacement terminal on the Southwest Quadrant.

Authority Counsel subsequently sent the City Attorney a November 21, 2014, term sheet representing the Authority’s proposal for this “deal.” A copy of that term sheet is attached as Exhibit 4. Highlights of the Authority’s November 21, 2014, term sheet proposal include the following:

Consensus Voting

The JPA will be amended to require affirmative votes by two Commissioners appointed by each city in order for the Commission to take any of the following actions:

  • Increase the number of commercial airline passenger gates above 14;
  • Create or construct any remote parking positions for air carrier aircraft;
  • Approve any expansion of the existing terminal, any expansion of the replacement terminal beyond 355,000 square feet, or any relocation of airline passenger related airport functions from the replacement terminal;
  • Amend the Authority’s Noise Rules and the manner in which they have been enforced since 1994 except to implement the mandatory curfew sought in the Authority’s Part 161 Application;
  • Amend the Authority’s voluntary curfew or the manner in which it has been applied since the voluntary curfew was adopted (prior to the creation of the Authority) except to implement the mandatory curfew sought in the Authority’s Part 161 Application;
  • Abandon support for congressional authorization for the imposition of the mandatory curfew sought in the Authority’s Part 161 Application. This commitment would not preclude the Commission from opposing legislation that would authorize the imposition of noise and/or access restrictions that differ from the mandatory curfew sought in the Authority’s Part 161 Application or that would limit funding for the FAA to enforce federal law at the Airport;
  • Approve the acquisition of real property except for the following: (a) airspace easements, utility easements, and avigation easements; (b) an access easement, airport parking restriction, view corridor easement, and other interests in the Trust Property that facilitate the construction and operation of the replacement terminal; and (c) acquisitions approved by Burbank; and
  • Approve an airport management contract or lease with a maximum term in excess of 35 years.


The JPA amendments will be binding on the Commission’s successors and assignees including the Authority’s management company.

Effective Date

The JPA amendments will become effective shortly after a positive Measure B vote if there is no litigation challenge.

Termination of JPA Amendments

The JPA amendments would all be automatically terminated if Burbank takes certain specified hostile actions against the Authority to stop or impede construction and operation of a replacement terminal. Additionally, any particular JPA amendment that is deemed invalid by the FAA or a court would automatically terminate. However, the Authority would be obligated to defend the validity of that particular JPA amendment until a final appellate court decision is rendered, and the other JPA amendments would remain in effect.

Transient Parking Tax

Burbank could not increase the transient parking tax, as applied to the Authority’s parking lots, beyond the current 12% rate.

Duration of Development Agreement

The new Development Agreement would have a ten-year term, with up to three five-year extensions in the Authority’s discretion.

Use and Sale of Trust Property

Burbank would allow temporary uses to continue on the Trust Property until the site is sold and would consider extending the sale deadline so that Burbank can complete a specific plan for the site and the Authority can continue generating rental revenue.

Retention of Portion of Trust Property

The Authority would obtain title to approximately three acres of the Trust Property for use in the Adjacent Property replacement terminal project. This additional increase in the acreage owned by the Authority would be offset by elimination of all uses, including parking uses, on the approximately 5.3 acre Parking Lot B.


Because the Development Agreement is set to expire on March 15, 2015, and despite discussions between Burbank and the Authority over the last two years that have not yet resulted in complete consensus between the parties, the Authority feels compelled to take public action prior to the pending expiration date so that its position and conduct cannot be misunderstood or misinterpreted. To show that the Authority is listening to, and is sensitive to the input of the community from its outreach efforts, the Authority has determined that it will withdraw its Trust Property entitlement applications.

The Authority will begin the process of selling the Trust Property in accordance with the requirements set forth in the Amended, Restated, Superseding, and Combined Escrow and Trust Agreement (“Trust Agreement”).

Further, the Authority remains committed to addressing the pressing need to replace its existing 85-year-old, outdated terminal building with a modern terminal that satisfies all current building safety design standards, but with the same number of aircraft gates and public parking spaces as the existing terminal.

The Authority seeks Burbank approval pursuant to Measure B of a replacement 14-gate terminal on the Adjacent Property consistent with the Authority’s November 21, 2014, term sheet proposal and consistent with terminal layout previously presented at the joint session of the Burbank City Council and the Commission on November 14, 2013.

The Authority will, by resolution, immediately implement the protections identified in that November 21, 2014, term sheet proposal so that these protections are in place prior to the expiration of the Development Agreement. It is the Authority’s intent that these protections will remain in effect indefinitely absent a hostile act by Burbank as more fully set forth in the draft Resolution.


The Resolution provides for the automatic expiration of the Authority’s November 21, 2014, term sheet proposal upon the occurrence of certain events. Burbank’s failure to accept the proposal by March 31, 2015, in the manner described in the Resolution is one such event. If Burbank accepts the proposal but the parties do not complete drafting of the documents (a new Development Agreement, entitlements, and Measure B language) by May 31, 2015, then that too would cause expiration of the proposal. The proposal also would expire if the parties complete the drafting and Burbank does not hold a Measure B election on an Adjacent Property replacement terminal within one year of the Authority’s certification of the EIR. Upon any expiration of the proposal, the Resolution requires the Executive Director to notify Glendale and Pasadena in writing that the Commission no longer supports amending the JPA.

However, as long as Burbank does not take a hostile action against the Authority, the protections afforded by the resolution will remain in place, even if Burbank does not accept the term sheet proposal.


Authority staff has determined that it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the adoption of the Resolution may have a significant effect on the environment. The Resolution does not approve a project or authorize construction and, in fact, preserves the status quo. The Resolution is therefore exempt from the environmental review requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act pursuant to Section 15061(b) (3) of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations. The sale of the Trust Property is required by the Trust Agreement, which has been subject to prior environmental review.


If Burbank accepts the Authority’s November 21, 2014, term sheet proposal by March 31 as described above, there is sufficient funding in the current FY 2014/2015 budget under the Replacement Terminal line item to restart the EIR.

Authority staff will need to develop a revised budget for the balance of the current fiscal year and for FY 2015/2016 after consultation with the EIR consultant for the revised scope of work.


Authority staff recommends that the Commission approve the following: (i) authorization for the Executive Director to withdraw the Trust Property entitlement applications;

(ii) authorization for the Executive Director to put the entire Trust Property on the market with an option to subtract three acres if a deal is reached with Burbank for an Adjacent Property replacement terminal; and (iii) adoption of the attached Resolution No. 462, a Resolution of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority Commission Memorializing Commitments to the City of Burbank Regarding the Burbank Bob Hope Airport.



City Council Convenes Special Sunday Meeting

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

In a rare move, Burbank’s City Council on Saturday called a special session on Sunday evening to discuss the actions taken by the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority regarding the Commission’s meeting scheduled for Monday that will basically terminate the negotiations for the Lockheed Plant B-6 known as the ‘opportunity’ site and put it on the open market.

Members of the Council found out about the Airport Authority’s meeting on Friday with a letter that was sent to the Council. Here is the full agenda of the Authority’s meeting scheduled for Monday morning at 9 am. The meeting will be held in the Skyroom and the public may attend and also address the commission.

Sunday night’s meeting was broadcast and streamed live.  Mayor David Gordon started by reading a statement calling the airports decision both inflammatory and controversial.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Five minutes of public comment brought many speakers. Most complained that the issues of the airport in the past has not been as publicized as many had wished.

A unanimous vote was taken to reject the letter sent to the Council as well as a request to Burbank’s commissioners to report the actions of the Sunday Council meeting and to request that the Commission postpone their vote at the Monday meeting.  Burbank will only have two of their three commissioners (Bill Wiggins is out of town for a family event) available at the meeting Monday morning.

Council members say that they had thought that the negotiations on the 58 acre property had been going well and the tone and timing of the letter was a complete, yet calculated surprise.

Friction with the Authority has not been this high in many years. While the cities of Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena own the airport, it is the Commission who runs it and each city appoints three commissioners tor represent their interest.  While a city can appoint a commissioner, they can not order that person on what to do, but may ask and suggest.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Presently the Authority acts as a majority (5 to 4) which means that at any time all three Burbank commissioners can be out voted and had in the past decade by many 6 to 3 votes. Burbank is looking as one step to make more important votes a super majority which would take two votes from each city for a major issue to pass.

Without the super majority, the airport could decide to take any action they saw fit including where to put a terminal and even expansion or making the airport international in the future despite Burbank’s objections.  While none of these actions has been threatened at this time, the Council is working on putting in these safeguards to protect the citizens of Burbank in the future.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Alumni Attend Tailgating “Big Game” Style

Alumni Pregame & Homecoming137

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)


Back in the 1970s, Burbank High School students never thought they would sit alongside Burroughs students during the Burbank-Burroughs Homecoming Game.

Alumni Pregame & Homecoming109

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

But that’s what happened Friday night. Graduates from both schools attended the Burbank-Burroughs Alumni Association’s pre-game party in the parking lot of the Burbank Unified School District before walking over to Memorial Field to watch the game.

The balmy weather was perfect for those attending the pre-party. Alumni paid $20 and socialized while chowing down on tacos, rice and beans. A student from Burbank High School performed on keyboard while grads took pictures of each other and shared memories about favorite teachers, classes and football games.

Alumni Pregame & Homecoming125

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

The pre-game party was well attended by not only alums as far back as 1958 but by city and school district officials as well, said alumni association President Joanne Lento Miller, who graduated from Burroughs in 1972.

“We enjoyed music supplied by current BHS student Evan Mehta and a never-ending taco bar as we merged as one community family,” she said. “The energy and excitement continued through the night as we cheered for our favorite team with a bit of friendly rivalry. This is the kind of camaraderie the alumni association was hoping to cultivate!”

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

Karen and Chuck Campbell, both Burroughs grads from the Class of 1958, were chatting with former Burbank High School coach Dave Kemp, who is now on the School Board.

“We drive up from from Huntington Beach every year for the game,” Chuck Campbell said.

He taught at Burbank High School for many years, and since 2005 he has been researching and writing books about Southwest history.

Alumni association members helping Miller to organize the event were school district liaison Emilio Urioste, School Board President Roberta Grande Reynolds, Connie Barron Trimble, Kimberley Clark, Gil Tobon and Steven Ferguson and Kathy Lawrence.

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

“The alumni pre-party provided a wonderful opportunity to spend time with high school classmates and to connect with new kindred community spirits who all came out to support our Burbank tradition of friendly rivalry,” said Reynolds, who graduated from Burbank High School in 1972. “We were prepared to have fun no matter who won the game.”

Kathleen Gaston Hitt, BHS Class of 1973, attended with her husband, Bill, who graduated from Glendale High School Class of 1966.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“The years seem to melt away when we see our classmates and old friends we socialized with 40 years ago,” Hitt said. “There was a cozy camaraderie at the dinner, and escalating excitement at the game. To be there made you feel young again.”

The Gaston-Hitt family have several members who graduated from Burbank High — Fred Gaston Jr., 1963; Bob Gaston, 1975; Heather Hitt, 2000; and Jason Hitt, 2005.

To join the alumni association, visit bhsjbhsalumni@gmail.com.

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Sweeps Burroughs in JV / Freshmen Football

It was a magnificently glorious night to be a Burbank High football player on the junior varsity and freshman team as each claimed a Pacific League title after beating city rival Burroughs on Thursday at Memorial Field.

The Bulldogs junior varsity blanked the Indians, 18-0, behind three rushing touchdowns and 315 total net yards, while Burbank’s frosh dismantled Burroughs, 60-28, as it compiled 478 total yards including 422 rushing yards.

JV Game

In the junior varsity match, the score at halftime was 6-0 after running back Guillermo Hernandez (60 yards on 16 carries) punched it in from two yards and 4:12 left in the second quarter after defensive back Tommy Sanchez picked off quarterback Gabriel Pellot (seven of 20 for 31 yards with an interception) and returned the ball 28 yards.

(Photo By Edward Tovmassian)

(Photo By Edward Tovmassian)

The Bulldogs (8-2 and 6-1 in league) stretched the lead to 12-0 with 6:28 left in the third quarter when running back Cade Hollingsworth scored on a three-yard blast that capped an eight-play, 71-yard drive.

“Yesterday I was thinking about this game,” said Hollingsworth, who gained 82 yards on 12 carries. “I wanted to pump the guys up. This was a team effort. We all felt like we had a chip on our shoulder. It’s weird because you want to be pumped and ready to go, but you can’t get too excited. You have to stay focused.”

Burbank’s final points came with 10:36 showing in the final quarter as Hernandez dented the end zone from four yards that concluded the seven-play march.

(Photo By Edward Tovmassian)

(Photo By Edward Tovmassian)

The Bulldogs junior varsity has now captured the league crown four straight times despite several players moving up to the varsity.

Hernandez’s tally was made possible after Pellot’s pass failed on fourth and 13 from the Burbank 25-yard line.

For most of the night, Burroughs (5-4-1 and 4-2-1 in league) had difficulty moving the football as Burbank’s stingy defense allowed 83 yards with 52 yards coming on the ground.

“These are a bunch of guys who have a big heart,” Burbank coach Tom Wilkie said. “These guys made themselves a team. We tend to make adjustments with our blocking in the second half, but so did Burroughs.”

(Photo By Edward Tovmassian)

(Photo By Edward Tovmassian)

On the Indians’ first possession they managed to reach the Burbank 17-yard line, but Pellot’s fourth down and five pass lost four yards.

Just before the intermission, the Indians were able to march to the Burbank five, but Pellot’s fourth down attempt failed to find the target.

After a 35-yard kickoff return from running back Sammy Duran set up the Indians at the Burbank 36 midway through the third quarter, they moved the ball only 11 yards after Pellot’s toss on fourth and 13 again didn’t find the mark.

Freshmen Game

The Indians (316 total yards) led 6-0 in the freshman match on a six-yard burst from running back Tommy Cantrell (game-best 208 yards on a game-high 40 rushes) with 5:43 remaining in the opening quarter, but Burbank (7-2 and 5-0 in league) tallied the next 22 points before Cantrell located the end zone with a six-yard scamper and 2:21 left in the third quarter. Cantrell added the two-point conversion.

(Photo By Edward Tovmassian)

(Photo By Edward Tovmassian)

Burbank quarterback Nathan Cruz-Laube (two of four for 56 yards) tossed a pair of scoring passes in the opening half that covered 38 yards with 1:55 left in the first quarter that tied it at 6-6, then added an 18-yarder with 6:10 showing before the half that gave the Bulldogs a 14-6 edge as Cruz-Laube chimed in with the two-point conversion.

Cruz-Laube’s one-yard scamper with 7:35 remaining in the third quarter made it 22-6 as running back Darnell Williams chipped in with the two-point try, and it became 30-14 when Williams capped a 53-yard march with a 10-yard run and 1:32 left in the third quarter as running back Sebastian Leal was successful on the two-point conversion.

(Photo By Edward Tovmassian)

(Photo By Edward Tovmassian)

The Indians (6-4 and 4-1 in league) came within 30-20 after Cantrell romped in from two yards and just over eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but a 52-yard sprint from Williams (162 yards on eight carries) and 7:46 showing in the final quarter pushed Burbank’s lead to 38-20 after Cruz-Laube cashed in the two-point conversion.

“We came out super strong in the second half,” said Cruz-Laube, who had 135 yards on 16 rushes. “We run a no-huddle offense. We waste no time and we fight.”

With 5:23 left in the fourth quarter the Bulldogs forged a 46-20 cushion when Leal found the end zone from one yard and running back Blake Quinteros supplied the two-point try.

(Photo By Edward Tovmassian)

(Photo By Edward Tovmassian)

Burbank coach Mark Meredith was pleased with the team’s effort and had praise for Cruz-Laube. “He’s a running back that we’ve converted to quarterback,” he said. “They couldn’t handle our speed on the outside. Once we sealed the edge, we were off.”

About three minutes later Burbank charged ahead 54-20 when Quinteros scored on a 15-yard gallop and Cruz-Laube’s two-point attempt, and it became 60-28 when running back Charles Lott Jr. scored on a five-yard run and 40 seconds left.

The Indians’ final score was a 35-yard dash with 2:21 left from running back Benjamin Peters, who added the two-point try that trimmed the lead to 54-28.

City of Burbank Night at Dodger Stadium a Bark in the Park

(L to R) City Manager Mark Scott and Mayor Dr. David Gordon enjoyed a fun evening together with more than 200 Burbank residents (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(L to R) City Manager Mark Scott and Mayor Dr. David Gordon enjoyed a fun evening together with more than 200 Burbank residents (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

By Dick Dornan
myBurbank Sports Editor

Who let the dogs out?!

On a night that fan No. 3,000,000 walked through the gates at Dodger Stadium, more than 600 dogs stole the show as the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrated “Pups in the Park” night last Saturday evening.

John Muir Principal Dr. Greg Miller proudly shows off his Orel Hershiser autographed baseball prior to the game (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

John Muir Principal Dr. Greg Miller proudly shows off his Orel Hershiser autographed baseball prior to the game (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

With the right field pavilion full of four-legged animals, that didn’t stop the City of Burbank having its own special night as well. Before 51,000 fans and more than 200 Burbank residents sitting together in the reserved level, the Dodgers defeated the Mets, 7-4.

Celebrating the City of Burbank night were dignitaries that included City Manager Mark Scott, Mayor Dr. David Gordon, Council members Emily Gabel-Luddy and Jess Talamantes as well as Recreation Supervisor Vicky Cusumano and John Muir Principal Dr. Greg Miller.

A group of 20 young children from the Burbank Boys and Girls Club also attended the game and enjoyed a festive atmosphere that saw the Dodgers rally from an early 3-0 deficit. Adrian Gonzalez’ three-run home run sparked the Dodgers’ comeback and made the evening that much more memorable.

Burbank Boys and Girls Club (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Boys and Girls Club (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

In between innings, we caught up with Mark Scott and Mayor Gordon and asked them to share their thoughts on the city of Burbank and Dodger night.

“I am having a great time in Burbank,” said Scott, who just finished his first year as City Manager. “It’s been a great year working with the Mayor. He has terrific vision and we think we have some good things to do for the people of Burbank.”

“It’s been great. Very, very fast-paced. It’s like a whirlwind. There are a lot of good things happening,” added Mayor Gordon after recently completing his first 100 days as Mayor. “I have a great City Manager to work with, a great team, and we’ve brought the Council together on a lot of issues. I am very pleased. It’s quite a privilege and honor.

The Dodgers' Yasiel Puig met with man's best friend during pregame ceremonies (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig met with man’s best friend during pregame ceremonies (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“And of course Dodger night is great. I always love coming to Dodger night. I have family and friends here tonight. I love the Dodger games. I’ve been to every Burbank Dodger night since I’ve been in office. It’s been great.”

After Gonzalez launched his three-run blast into Puppy Pavilion in right field, Scott emphatically jumped into the air, pumped his fists and joined the Dodger faithful as everyone celebrated another Dodgers’ victory.

“I’m a die-hard Dodgers fan,” Scott said. “This is my first Burbank night at Dodger Stadium so we are having a great time. I’m having a lot of fun.”

Flag Football Flourishing for Burbank Park and Recreation

2014 Burbank Dolphins (Photo courtesy of Mike Graceffo)

2014 Burbank Dolphins (Photo courtesy of Mike Graceffo)

By Dick Dornan
myBurbank Sports Editor

NOTE: this story has been revised and updated since it ran in September of 2012.

Hark the days of our childhood when many of us played flag football. Those were the good times. Sure we would find some time to play tackle football without pads and other times a simple game of “two-hand touch.” But there was always something special about playing flag football.

At any position on the field, we could be who we wanted to be. Maybe I could be Joe Montana at quarterback or even “Mean” Joe Greene at defensive end? It was a game of simplicity and grace and it brought out a smile in each of us.

Burbank Dolphins listen attentively to coaches' instruction (Photo courtesy of Mike Graceffo)

Burbank Dolphins listen attentively to coaches’ instruction (Photo courtesy of Mike Graceffo)

High School football might take center stage on a Thursday or Friday evening at Memorial Field and Pop Warner on a Saturday at Burbank High, but it doesn’t get any better than wrapping that flag belt around your waist, inserting your mouthpiece and wearing your jersey with pride.

Flag football is alive and well here in Burbank. It’s thriving and it’s here to stay. One visit to Verdugo Park or Foy Park on any weekday evening and the memories come rushing back. The noise of whistles in the air, enthusiastic yelling by the players, positive encouragement by the coaches and cheering amongst the fans are just a fraction of the sights and sounds reasonating throughout Burbank.

“There is a lot of excitement this year,” said Jason Dyer, the City of Burbank’s Recreation Coordinator. “We’ve also had some free camps and clinics and will continue to have them throughout the season.”

Burbank Dolphins work on passing drills (Photo courtesy of Mike Graceffo)

Burbank Dolphins work on passing drills (Photo courtesy of Mike Graceffo)

Burbank Park and Recreation has done a tremendous job in continuing the success, tradition and enjoyment of flag football. Dyer said there are 30 to 40 percent new kids participating this year.

Twenty-four teams are separated into three age brackets (Grades 2 – 4, Grades 5/6, and Grades 7 – 9) and two divisions per bracket (NFL and AFL). Each game features 8-on-8 with every player being eligible on offense. Each player plays the same amount of time. Most importantly for many parents, there isn’t any hard hitting or tackling. The emphasis is on learning the fundamentals of the sport and the rules of the game.

“You get to learn the game without getting hit. You learn how to move your feet and learn how to play each position,” Dyer said. “You want to be able to come out here and play and not worry about an injury that might eliminate your career this young. There is a need for both (tackle and flag football) and I think both can co-exist which is great.”

Coach Mike Graceffo (on the left) is assisted by longtime friend, Ken Bailey (in the middle) Photo by Ross A. Benson

While teams come and go at the youth level, there is one constant in Burbank. The Burbank Dolphins and Coach Mike Graceffo are synonymous with flag football in this city. They have been a fixture of Burbank Park and Recreation for more than 30 years. Graceffo is a pillar of strength in the sports community.

“I love sports and I played all the sports when I was a kid. This is my way of giving back to the community a little bit,” said Graceffo, who has coached in this league since the late 1970’s. “I love flag football because you can open it up. Everyone is eligible to catch a pass. It’s an offensive dream and a defensive nightmare. It’s just a fun game.”

Graceffo’s love and passion for flag football and youth sports does not go unnoticed. He has gained the admiration of many former players who keep in touch with him to this day as well as coach by his side as an assistant.

“Mike Graceffo is awesome. I’ve been able to play for him and coach with him,” said Kenny Knoop, defensive coordinator for the Burroughs Indians. “I still work with him to this day with our schools and PE. He’s still right there in my life.

Burroughs defensive coordinator Kenny Knoop played for the Burbank Dolphins in 7th and 8th grade (Photo by Dick Dornan)

“I absolutely love the Burbank Dolphins,” Knoop continued. “I still go to games and see Mike (Graceffo) and Ken (Bailey) on the field. I started football with the Burbank Dolphins. That was my introduction to football. They are definitely still in my heart.”

“Mike taught me how to be a competitor, how to love sports and to be a team player,” Burbank Dolphins Orange assistant Mike Mersola said. “He is kind of like the fabric of the city and the Dolphins program is a fabric of the youth. My memories of it were the best times of my youth. Coaching now is really rewarding. It’s an honor and a privilege.”

It’s nice to win but victories are the last thing on the mind of Graceffo and his staff. It’s about teaching his players how to play the game of football properly while making it exciting at the same time.

Knoop played tackle football for the first time in ninth grade at Burroughs High. He credits his flag football experience as a major reason for successfully preparing him for the high school level.

Burbank Dolphins condition during a summer practice (Photo courtesy of Mike Graceffo)

Burbank Dolphins condition during a summer practice (Photo courtesy of Mike Graceffo)

“Flag football helps you with the concepts of moving in space and travelling and attacking a person. Two kids running into each other isn’t what football is all about,” Knoop explained. “As a kid I learned how to attack a target, move lateral, cross the field to get where I was going and learn the angles of the game.

“The basic fundamentals of hand-eye coordination, catching, throwing and blocking were all there without smashing into somebody. I am a true believer that tackling in football is an attitude. You don’t have to have pads on to do that correctly. I am a big advocate of kids in flag football. They are learning all the basics of the game.”

Many kids who played flag football first before tackle during the middle school years later became successful at the high school level and beyond.

Burbank Dolphins: Pride and Tradition for many years

Burbank Dolphins: Pride and Tradition for many years

These Burbank Dolphins alumni include Kenny Knoop, Carlos Baker, Todd Dellutri, Ryan Bowne, Dylan Mersola, Joe Cesta, Mike Cesta, Matt Pentecost, Jabbar Craigwell, Brian Kaloustian, Kyle Creamarosa, Keith Jarbo, Richie Ramos, Bobby Machuca, David Machuca, John Jay, John Wagner, Mike Wagner, Ryan Buchanon, Finnbarr Geary, Freddy Keeler, David Escobar, Migual Armendariz, Joe Ungos, Shane Clark, Seth Oseransky, Dillon Disiere, Jake Micioni, Jon McGinley and Josef Topete to name a few.

Approximately 95 percent of these players went on to star in high school football without having played tackle until their freshman year. Thus, flag football is a great way to begin one’s journey on the gridiron. The future of flag football is bright in Burbank.

Burbank Park and Recreation will be hosting a high school night at a Burroughs and Burbank High football game this season and there will be an end of the season finale that includes punt, pass and kick, and a ceremony honoring the champions, runner-ups and sportsmanship winners for this season.

Burbank Summer Theater Camp Puts On A Hip Shakespeare

The Burbank Youth Summer Theater Institute (BYSTI) debuts a fun and contemporary take on Shakespeare with A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Starlight Bowl Thursday evening, June 26.

Approximately 20 kids and teenagers participated in the 2014 Burbank summer theater camp, learning lines, working on acting chops, painting scenery and immersing themselves in the world of the stage.

“I really like acting and BYSTI is such a family – all the lords and ladies are really helpful and supportive,” commented twelve-year-old Addie Miller. The adult directors of the camp are referred to as “Lord” or “Lady” rather than “Mr.” or Mrs.,” she explained.

Burbank Youth Summer Theatre Institute 2014. Back row, left to right: Drew Anderson, Susie Miller, Emma Shannon, David Prather, Dvean Shahnazarian, Louie Zekowski, William Rodriguez, Crystal Robbins; Middle Row, left to right: Lisa Dyson, Matthew Molaro, Addie Miller, Shayna Gerard, Julia Skillsky, Alexa Klohn, Desiree Cooper, Jaden Gerard, Michael Cutone; Front Row left to right: Taaryn Cooper, Clare Collins, Phoebe Kellogg, Cassius Clay-Harris, Harry Zekowski, Holden Schade, Michael Goltry.(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Burbank Youth Summer Theatre Institute 2014. Back row, left to right: Drew Anderson, Susie Miller, Emma Shannon, David Prather, Dvean Shahnazarian, Louie Zekowski, William Rodriguez, Crystal Robbins; Middle Row, left to right: Lisa Dyson, Matthew Molaro, Addie Miller, Shayna Gerard, Julia Skillsky, Alexa Klohn, Desiree Cooper, Jaden Gerard, Michael Cutone; Front Row left to right: Taaryn Cooper, Clare Collins, Phoebe Kellogg, Cassius Clay-Harris, Harry Zekowski, Holden Schade, Michael Goltry.(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Miller, who will begin seventh grade at Muir Middle School in August and performs the role of Helena in the production, also said, “I learned a lot. I’ve been attending this camp for five years and this was my first big role.”

Starting out at Woodbury University, BYSTI has drawn kids ages 8-18 from Burbank and surrounding communities for the past five years. The brainchild of Dr. David Rosen, BYSTI was founded by Lisa Dyson, Beth Morrison, David Prather and Crystal Robbins, after Dyson was introduced to Rosen by Peggy Flynn, BUSD Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator.

The acting and theater camp focuses each summer on one play by William Shakespeare to study and prepare for the culmination of the three-week experience.

Burbank Youth Summer Theatre Institute presents "A Midsummer Night's Dream." (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Queen Titania and the fairies pamper Bottom in BYSTI’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

BYSTI moved to the Starlight Bowl this year, after an invitation by Victoria Cusumano, Recreation Supervisor for the City of Burbank. The directors of the camp and the kids all agree the Starlight Bowl venue is pretty great.

“I like it up here a lot,” added Miller. “The stage is so much bigger and the acoustics are great.”

“We are having a blast up here at the Starlight Bowl,” Dyson, the theater camp’s Artistic Director, said. “It’s great to have a real stage to work with and the setting is awesome.”

Burbank Youth Summer Theatre Institute presents "A Midsummer Night's Dream." (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Demetrius, Helena, Lysander and Hermia tussle in BYSTI’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

While many of the camp’s attendees are returning from previous years, some youngsters are new to the experience and are enjoying it.

“This is my first year doing BYSTI and it’s really exciting,” commented Louie Zekowski, age 12. “It’s something I really enjoy, from the drama and the acting, to the attention.”

“Weirdly, I even enjoy learning my lines,” Zekowski added. The Luther Middle School eighth-grader performs the role of Lysander in the production. “I’ve found there’s a spark in acting for me.”

Sixteen-year-old Susie Miller was helping out behind the scenes, painting fairy tree branches, at a recent rehearsal. She volunteers at the camp, along with other older teens, providing needed off-stage help.

Puck and Fairy King Oberon plot in BYSTI's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."  (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Puck and Fairy King Oberon plot in BYSTI’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Eight-year-old Taaryn Cooper likes his first year at BYSTI and especially his role of Philostrate, “Philostrate is more formal and royal and I like to get into the character.”

Robbins, Dyson and Prather use all original lines and scenes from the Shakespeare play they choose to work on each year for the theater camp. By focusing on preparing core scenes, they are able to stage the play in three weeks.

“We always add in some elements that the kids would appreciate, perhaps a bit of a current popular song or dance,” explained Robbins. “It helps our audience, who are mostly young, too, to see these old stories have a lot in common with events and actions that go on today, even on the playground at school.”

BYSTI’s performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream lasts about an hour and begins at 6:00 pm. Thursday, June 26. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and picnics are welcome. Admission and parking are free. The Starlight Bowl is located at 1249 Lockheed View Drive in Burbank.