Tag Archives: Burbank

Former Drug Store Owner Thomas Lewis

Thomas M. Lewis, the former owner of Jay Scott Drugs in Burbank, has died at his home in Milton, Wisconsin.  Mr. Lewis died October 12.  He was 66 years old.

He owned the popular neighborhood drug store, located at the corner of Glenoaks Blvd. and Iriving Dr. for many years before he retired due to health reasons in 1995.  Born in Burbank, Mr. Lewis graduated from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, and attended Glendale and Los Angeles Valley Colleges.  He was a Vietnam War veteran, serving in the U.S. Army, where he was awarded the Bronze Star.

In 1972 he married his wife, Roxanne Leko.   She worked as a teacher at David Starr Jordan Middle School for many years.   Mr. Lewis was a member of the BMC organization in Burbank from 1980-1995.   According to the family, he had always wanted to live in the county, so a few years ago he and his wife moved to Wisconsin to be closer to their children.  He enjoyed hunting and fishing, and had an extreme love of music, playing the guitar with his friends on a weekly basis.

Survivors include his wife, Roxanne, daughter, Kimberly Ward and her husband James of Beloit, WI; and son Timothy Lewis and his wife Brooke, of Janesville, WI; and four grandchildren, Tyler and Tanner Ward, and Cash and Parker Lewis.    Mr. Lewis is also survived by his brothers, James Lewis and his wife Linda, of Phoenix, Arizona; and Dennis Lewis of Santa Barbara.  He is predeceased by his parents, Robert and Margaret Lewis; his daughter, Allison; brother, John Lewis; and sister-in-law Betty Lou.  

A memorial service for Mr. Lewis will be held on October 21, in Beloit, Wisconsin

Burbank / Burroughs Alumni are All Friends Here

Burroughs and Burbank high school alumni have proved time and again they are the party animals around this town.

Attending the Burbank-Burroughs Alumni Assn. kick-off party are, from left, Roberta "Grande" Reynolds, Burbank High Class of 1972; Debra "Chew" Atherton, Joanne "Lento" Miller and Barbara Austin, all from Burroughs Class of 1972. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Attending the Burbank-Burroughs Alumni Assn. kick-off party are, from left, Roberta “Grande” Reynolds, Burbank High Class of 1972; Debra “Chew” Atherton, Joanne “Lento” Miller and Barbara Austin, all from Burroughs Class of 1972. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Case in point, after the combined reunion in August, a group of classmates had such a great time they decided to start an official group and the Burbank-Burroughs Alumni Assn. was born. About 20 grads stopped by Friday night for a kick-off event at D’Argenzio’s Wine Tasting Room in Burbank to meet new people, talk about old times and catch up with those they haven’t seen since graduation.

The location seemed appropriate since co-owners are Burroughs grad Richard D’Argenzio and his wife, Kathy “Rhoads” D’Argenzio, Burbank High School alumna. They were introducing fellow graduates to vintages just released last weekend during a party at the winery in Santa Rosa, run by Richard’s twin brother Raymond.

Debra “Chew” Atherton and Tony Verdugo, from the Burroughs Class of 1972, were active in theater classes while in school.

“My senior year in high school was wonderful! So was my junior year,” Verdugo said. “I had a blast! All afternoon was theater. We just had a lot fun! And we hung out afterwards–at Bob’s and Copper Penny.”

Atherton remembered the plays they performed.

“We did ‘Wait Until Dark’, ‘Mid Summer Night’s Dream’, which was my favorite, and ‘Guys and Dolls’,” she said.

“One of the minor ones we did was ‘Cinderella’ with the choir,” Verdugo added.

Seeing familiar faces was the best part of attending the party, said Randy Arrington, Burbank High School Class of 1972.

“It’s exciting to come and recognize faces I saw 40 years ago, talk to them, find out what their lives have turned out to be, if they have done something special or the sad things they have been through,” he said. “You’d be surprised how many people’s lives seem to take similar paths.”

Bringing graduates of the two schools together is the reason for starting the alumni association, said Joanne “Lento” Miller, a founding member. She graduated from Burroughs In 1972 and her son, Jeremy, graduated from Burbank High in June.

“I am passionate about the Burbank schools — both Burbank and Burroughs– and I’m passionate about the community and the city we live in and I think everyone should be one big happy family,” Miller said. “And nowadays many families have kids that went to one school and they went to the other, so this is a natural move to bring us all under one happy umbrella.”

In creating an alumni association, the group is committed to “giving back” to the alma maters by offering scholarships, mentoring programs and having a bigger presence within the community, Miller said. In four weeks, the group has grown to 740 alums on its Facebook page.

“That’s a sign of school and community spirit!” Miller said.

One of the upcoming everts for the alumni association to get together is the Burbank Burroughs homecoming football game, she said.

“One idea is to have a section of the bleachers reserved for members of the alumni association,” she said. “We want to pattern the association after the USC alumni association.”

Creation of the alumni group has support from the district office, said Roberta “Grande” Reynolds, Burbank High Class of 1972 and vice president of the School Board. Supporters include Superintendent Jan Britz, Director of Secondary Education Emilio Urioste, Burroughs Principal John Paramo, Burbank High Principal Mike Bertram and School Board President Dave Kemp.

Being a Burbank High grad, Reynolds said she loves the idea of an alumni association.

“We have a strong, cohesive community,” she said. “We have so many people that have ties to both of the schools and I really hope we can have ties to one another.”

Viva Cantina is a hit on Friday night

Photo by Madison Jones

Friday night was a good night to be at Viva Cantina, on Riverside Drive. With a crowd like I haven’t seen in some time, the atmosphere was charged with energy and excitement.

I sat in one of the booths in the back room, where I always sit when I’m at Viva’s. To my left was a crowded bar, and directly in front of me was a group a twenty-somethings taking shots.

It was a younger atmosphere than I’ve felt in a while, and that may be due to Viva’s recent marketing efforts directed at younger people looking for nightlife.


Photo by Madison Jones

The front room was a bit more relaxed than the back room. Cow Bop, a usual at Viva’s, played their jazzy/country style that always has many Viva-goers coming back for more.

I’ve grown up going to Viva’s and it’s nice to see their transition from a small restaurant filled with mostly cowboys and cowgirls, to a lively cantina known for their live music and big drinks.

Photo by Madison Jones

Photo by Madison Jones

Viva’s has a full bar, but I think most people come for the margaritas. They boast 100 different tequilas to choose from, and margaritas come in a variety of flavors. I decided on strawberry, but they’re all delicious. Hint: It’s not on the menu, but Viva’s makes a killer pomegranate margarita. Just ask!

While I normally go to Viva’s for the atmosphere and the drinks, I hit the jackpot with my food choice. For the first time since I’ve been going to Viva’s, I ordered chicken fajitas. They came out sizzling and smelling delicious, and they did not disappoint. The chicken was so moist, and the peppers, onions and tomatoes were fresh and delicious. I’m sure it will be my usual dish from now on.

Burbank has a variety of places to choose from for Friday nightlife, with its small bars, restaurants, theatres and comedy shows. Viva’s Cantina is definitely a Burbank nightlife gem!

Smoke House Restaurant Begins 68th Year In Burbank

Guests, waitress, cooks, and Bartenders Celebrated Smokehouse's 67 years in business. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Guests, waitresses, cooks, and bartenders celebrated Smoke House’s 67 years in business (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Smoke House customers, friends and employees celebrated their 67th Anniversary on Thursday evening, October 10. The bar was packed to capacity and the famous Smoke House garlic bread aroma filled the air.

The Staff of the Smokehouse thank all their loyal customers and friends for all the great memories. Looking forward to another 67 years. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The staff of the Smoke House thank their loyal customers and friends for all the great memories. Looking forward to another 67 years. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Smoke House was founded in 1946 at the corner of Pass Ave. and Riverside Dr. in Burbank. The original restaurant seated 46 guests and was the hangout for many actors from the golden aged of Hollywood and dignitaries including Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.

The Red Coach Inn was located at 4420 Lakeside Dr. and originally built by Danny Kaye in 1947, but it never opened as a restaurant. In 1948, The Smoke House moved into its current location and the restaurant’s success has continued as has its slogan “Fine Food at a Fair Price.”

General Manager Israel Aviles, always at your service. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

General Manager Israel Aviles, always at your service. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Smoke House’s unique recipe for garlic bread is just one menu item that keeps loyal guests coming back year after year. The Smoke House is an independent, family-owned restaurant.

The restaurant is managed by Israel Aviles, who always provides excellent hosting and service, and runs smoothly with a loyal group of cooks, waitresses, bartenders and other staff. As a thank-you to customers, the Smoke House offers “1946 Prices and Specials” through the month of October.



David Meyerhof: Burbank’s Resident Poet

Retired teacher and Burbank resident David Meyerhof has a family history that includes a Nobel Prize and perilous escapes from the Nazis in Germany and France during World War II.   It’s the kind of material that would make a great book or movie, but Meyerhof has used it to inspire his poetry.

Both Meyerhof’s father and grandfather wrote poetry, so it was only natural that he would start writing poetry around the time he was in the 3rd grade. He began “seriously writing poetry,” as he put it, in 2006 when his father became ill.  His father’s illness and death are what eventually resulted in his first book of poetry, Look Beyond,  that was published in 2012.

“I wrote about fighting death,” said Meyerhof, as we sat in the Coral Cafe one morning not long ago, and he related the story of his family.

David’s grandfather was Otto Meyerhof, a German scientist who is considered as the “Father of Biochemistry,” was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1922 in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries about how sugar is converted into energy in the human body.   His father, Walter Meyerhof, was a professor of Physics at Stanford University for 43 years.  David taught Mathematics and Science for 33 years at Florence Nightingale Middle School in Highland Park.

He probably wouldn’t even be here today if his grandparents had not been able to escape from Germany in 1938, as the persecution of Jews intensified prior to the start of World War II.  By 1940, when France surrendered to the Germans, his grandparents were in Switzerland, but his father was in college in Paris.  His father was sent to a detention camp controlled by the Vichy French government.  He managed to escape by simply walking out of the back of the camp into the woods, making his way eventually to Switzerland.  Ironically, his parents had been working on getting papers that would secure his release, so 18 year-old Walter managed to sneak back into the camp and wait 2 more months for his “official” release.

After his release, Walter tried to leave France by walking across the Pyrenees Mountains to Spain and Portugal, with the help of forged papers and guides provided by American Varian Fry, who eventually helped an estimated 2,000 Jews   escape the Nazis.  His escape was foiled and he ended up before a French judge.  Thanks to friends of his parents, he and his companions were released.

Eventually, his father left Portugal on a ship.  Walter missed the first boat, according to his son, because he met a girl in a bar.  Walter had to wait 3 more months before the next boat took him to the United States and safety.

David’s mother, Miriam Meyerhof’s escape from Germany was equally harrowing.  As a teenager, Miriam was living in Berlin in 1938.  Her neighbors warned her to stay at home the night of November 9, “Kristallnacht,” when thousands of Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues were destroyed.  An estimated 60,000 Jews were rounded up and sent to camps that night. She was able to get out of Germany and go to England thanks to the Kindertransport (children’s transport) that saved the lives of nearly 10,000 Jewish children in the nine months leading up to the start of World War II.   The cut-off age was 16, but somehow 17 year-old Miriam was able to get out.

Once safely in England, she went to a boarding school. Later she began working in a nursery school run by Anna Freud, daughter of Sigmund Freud.  She later started her own child care in England.  She and Walter re-connected and were married in 1947 in Scotland.   The Meyerhofs came to America and settled in Menlo Park, California, where she still lives today.

During the last two months of Walter Meyerhof’s life in 2006, as he was dying from Parkinson’s  Disease, his son David was unable to sleep.  He wrote poems at night to help him deal with the imminent death of his father. His book, Look Beyond, is a collection of his poems that helped him get through this personal tragedy.

“My poems give people a way of dealing with difficulties,” said David, “They give people a way of handling hardship — because I’ve been there.”

His poem, “When Your World is Turned Upside Down, How Do You Make It Right Side Up?” was written the day, 2 years ago, after his mother fell and broke her hip.  Prior to that, she had been living an active life.

The lives of his parents have influenced David’s poetry.  He is now a “Holocaust Remembrance” speaker in Burbank schools.   He has read his poems at Temple Beth Emet in Burbank, and last April he went to Sacramento to read a poem about his mother and Kristallnacht before the California State Assembly on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

One of David’s poems will be read October 5, in Germany, when the German Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology presents the Otto Meyerhof Prize to a young scientist under the age of 40. .  The new award is in remembrance of Otto Meyerhof’s outstanding contributions to science.  Otto Meyerhof, who died in 1951, was only 38 years old when he won the Nobel Prize, one of the youngest people to receive that honor.  David is also involved with the World Kindertransport Day Committee.

His book, Look Beyond, which is self-published with the Xlibris Corp., is available on Amazon.com.  David is currently working on his second book of poems.  His Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/DavidMeyerhofLookBeyond.

Hopefully Tragedy Will Serve as a Life Lesson for a Generation

Thoughts from the Bullpen

By Craig Sherwood
Executive Editor

There are many nights that when monitoring the police and fire radios, I hear all sorts of life changing moments going on that affect individuals around the city. Saturday morning at 4:10 a.m., l was listening and heard the tragic news reported by Engine 11 that they had a ‘S-5′ at a crash scene. A S-5 stands for a deceased person; the man’s voice on the scanner then said that there was still too much smoke and the firefighters could not see inside well.

Minutes later he said that there were now five S-5’s.

While I have heard or been on the scene of one or two deaths in the past through violence or accident, the gravity of five was overwhelming. Of course even one death is just as important as multiple casualties, but our society tends to focus more on mass fatalities.

At that point I began to wonder if these were Burbank people. Because of the proximity to the freeway, there were many possibilities, but since the car had apparently exited the off ramp at Scott Road, the immediate thought were these might be locals.

As police worked the scene, a report of the car being registered to a Burbank address then hit home and I knew at that time that this would be not only a tragedy that would touch individual lives, but the heart of a city.

Emotions then completely enveloped me. I have also been a high school baseball coach for 30 years and have spent the past several back here in Burbank. My immediate thought was of my current and former players. They are not just kids who play baseball for you or the school, but a family that you spend hours upon hours with.

At the same time I suddenly thought of all the parents who were about to be woken and notified that their son or daughter had just lost their life.  I am just a high school coach, I could not even imagine what it must be to be a parent.

For the next couple of weeks the facts and the anger will come out. First will be blame, then will be the tests to see if alcohol was a factor. Police will determine if speed and the amount of people in the vehicle was a safety factor.  These are all questions that need to be answered but in the long scheme are really not important.

This will become a teaching moment and life experience.

These were teenagers. In most cases, they have just been given some new found freedom of being 18 and considered by our society as adults, which to them meant they could do whatever they want, whenever they wanted. Don’t judge. Everyone reading this who is now adult can remember back to that time also and understand.

And anyone also who can remember back to their teenage or young adult years can probably remember that there was some circumstance that they got themselves into and somehow escaped injury and now look back and ask, “What was I thinking then?” That is part of what youth is. No one can tell you anything because you know what is best and you can handle anything.

Let’s face it, every teenager out there is invincible. Nothing can happen to him or her. They never believe that bad things can happen to them and they can take care of themselves.  It’s not about right or wrong or how their parents raised them, it is all about the fact that they are now ‘adults’ and they know better.

Parents do the best they can to raise their kids also. They try to teach them to be good people, to make the right decisions, to make something of their lives. They only want the best for their son or daughter. Children have no idea how much their parents worry about them until the circle of life makes the children parents someday with their own kids.

I never have believed in telling a player something and then use the words ‘because I told you so.’ I have always felt that they usually just rebel and think they still know better, that I am just using my authority to tell them what to do.  Instead, i always tell them the reason why I want something done a particular way and the reasons behind it.

This is all about life lessons. When you experience something, it makes you wiser and most young people just don’t have the experiences yet to make good decisions. You can tell them things until you are blue in the face, but until they experience it, they have don’t have a baseline to remember.

Hopefully, there are some younger people reading this that don’t usually spend their time on a news site or even watch news on television.

To you, I say, think about what you are feeling right now. Think about the hurt, the loss in your heart, the people around you who are affected.  Think about the families that will have an open seat at Thanksgiving dinner for the rest of time. One brief decision could mean the difference of crawling into your bed at night or creating a void that will never be filled.

And don’t just think of friends and family.  This entire community feels the hurt right now.  The brave firefighters and police officers who responded to the scene and witnessed the devastation will have to live with that the rest of their lives.  Yes, they are trained professionals, but they are also mothers and fathers who have very real feelings.  These are all professionals who live to help people.  You may think that all they do are hassle kids when in truth, they really do care about ALL Burbank people young and old, rich and poor. They are hurting right now too.

If you are older and grew up in Burbank, you might remember a few accidents that have taken some of our youth before their time.

There was the tragic accident back in the 70’s on Parish by Burroughs that took the life of a student. In the late 80’s there was the fatal accident on Olive and Screenland when, after a late night party near Travel Town, a vehicle lost control and rolled into a gas station.

These events helped change their generations.  No doubt that there were many who thought twice before they did something that they felt might be wrong.

Luckily, there have not been many of these accidents in recent years. There had been programs over the years like those from the CHP that showed drunk driving accidents by teens and the Every 15 Minutes program that had been put on at high schools but has now been phased out locally due to budget cuts.

These programs would not have stopped this accident. You do wonder though if they were still in place if even one of the young people who lost their life may have made a different decision and not made that trip, though. This is not about blaming anyone, this is just about reminding people that you never know what might be accomplished when the message is constantly repeated.

Even our photographer, Ross A. Benson (who is also a father), has made up a PSA that we run on our website every year reminding people not to drink and drive. The tragic thing is the picture that he uses in the PSA is of another serious accident that took place in that exact same underpass as this recent crash.

Hopefully, as much hurt this accident has brought to so many people and families, our newest generation of teenagers and young adults will use this as a life experience. All they have to do is just keep this in the back of their minds. They are still going to do the things that teenagers do, you just hope that one of the things they don’t do is mingle alcohol and cars.

If this tragic accident can serve to remind just one young person to make the right decision, even when it is not a popular decision with his or her peers, then they can pay tribute to these families who will forever have a hole in their lives.

Everyone of us who live in Burbank have felt this loss of these incredibly talented young people and our condolences go out to their family and friends.

Today, their friends and family hurt, our community hurts, I hurt.

Life will go on, let’s just hope that our memory lingers.


MyBurbank runs this PSA every year. The accident is sadly in the same underpass as the accident this past weekend. (Ross A. Benson’s PSA)

Crash Victims Yet to be Identified by Officials

The memorial at the crash site is growing daily, with flowers notes, cards, candles, stuff animals and plenty of tears and memories of lost friends. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The memorial at the crash site is growing daily, with flowers notes, cards, candles, stuff animals and plenty of tears and memories of lost friends. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

As of Monday afternoon, both Burbank Police and County Coroner Officials have yet to release and confirm the names of the five who were killed in a solo car crash early Saturday morning.

Pictures and stuffed animals and plenty of memories are being left behind at the crash site. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Pictures and stuffed animals and plenty of memories are being left behind at the crash site. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

A spokesman for the Coroner’s Office said on Monday that dental records have been received, although the bodies have yet to be examined. Investigators will attempt to match the information within the next couple of days.

Many media outlets have gone by friends of the victims in identifying the names, including pictures from Facebook accounts. myBurbank will wait until an official notification is made before making the information public out of respect for the families involved.

Flowers piled high, and memorial candles aglow balloons and posters with friends writing sit at the location where 5 Burbank kids lost their lives Saturday morning. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Flowers piled high and memorial candles have been placed along with balloons and posters with friend’s writings at the location where five Burbank residents lost their lives Saturday morning. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

A make-shift memorial continues to grow and has now consumed the crash site where five reported Burbank youths lost their lives.

While the accident is still under investigation, speed is believed to be one of the key factors in the collision that destroyed a protective guardrail before the Nissan struck a cement underpass a little after 4:10 am Saturday morning.

One girl was pulled from the wreckage and remains in County/USC Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson © 2013)

After tearing through a guardrail, the Nissan came to rest against the cement underpass at the 5 freeway and San Fernando (Photo by Ross A. Benson © 2013)

Burbank Firefighter Kyle Springer puts out flames coming from a Nissan after it struck a guardrail and burst into flames. (Photo copyrighted By Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Firefighter Kyle Springer puts out flames coming from a Nissan after it struck a guardrail and burst into flames.  There was no chance to rescue any of the five people trapped inside. (Photo copyrighted By Ross A. Benson)


Toluca Lake’s Malbec Perks Up Lunchtime

By Lisa Paredes
Associate Editor

Malbec, in Toluca Lake, brings the flavors and style of Argentinian cooking to the Burbank area, with expertly-prepared steaks, fish and salads. Long a mainstay of the business lunch, making reservations or arriving on the early side is the best way to get your choice of seating on the patio or inside. On busy days, there is a back room that can hold latecomers.

Chimichurri and fresh bread. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Chimichurri and fresh bread. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

While we have been eating at Malbec for years, we’ve only ever stopped by for lunch. Malbec is open into the evening for dinner and even has a Tapas and Wine Menu, served from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily. The dinner menu is the traditional expansion of the lunch menu, providing more variety in appetizers and hearty options for steaks and fresh pastas.

Recently, we visited Malbec for a quick and early weekday lunch. We ate inside, as it was overly warm outside. The inside dining space is very live – when the room gets full, the noise level can get fairly loud. Malbec does a great job with portion size – plates aren’t overly big, but often, enough to share if family-style is your thing. Often, I get the steak salad and a glass of Malbec wine, but this most recent lunch, I was determined to spice things up and try some different plates.

Beet and pear salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Beet and pear salad. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Starting off the meal with a light red sangria served over plenty of ice and the homemade chimichurri sauce and soft pieces of bread was delightful. We deliberated between the always-delicious, buttery and garlicky Almejas y Mejillones Provenzal – a rustic broth of clams and mussels, and the slightly larger bowl of soup Cazuela del sur – a mixture of small shellfish and seafood in a tomato base, both served with crostini.  We ended up trying something new for us, the Cazuela del sur. While the seafood soup was tasty, it just did not reach the heights that the clams and mussels always do, so it was a bit of a let down.

Milanesa, breaded steak sandwich. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Milanesa, breaded steak sandwich. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Our main entrees arrived: the Remolachas y Peras (Beets and Pears) and the Steak Milanesa (Breaded Steak.) The substantial salad tossed together yellow and red beets, roasted pears, tomatoes, walnuts and blue cheese crumbles on a bed of arugula, dressed with a light red wine vinaigrette. The pears were roasted to a soft, yet firm texture and a delicious complement to the beets, walnuts and cheese. The Steak Milanesa has changed in composition since our last visit to Malbec, turning out even more delicious. Beef tenderloin, pounded thin, breaded and fried, is served with avocado, tomato, lettuce and mozzarella, with a creamy aioli between two pieces of extremely soft and airy bread.

Our server was extremely attentive, and plates were cleared away quickly. By the time we had finished our early lunch, the place was packed. The food was delicious; the restaurant remains one of the better choices for lunch in the area. Malbec makes it high up On The Marquee, closing in on Tops In Town, because Malbec can always be relied upon for prompt service, clean amenities and dining room and consistently delicious food. Perhaps a visit in the future for tapas and/or dinner may change that rating.

Restaurant Info: Malbec is located at 10151 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake, CA  91505. 818-762-4860. Open Monday – Tuesday 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Wednesday – Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Friday 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., Saturday 12:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. and Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Malbec receives: On The Marquee

myBurbank Ratings:
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Roadkill)

New Baseball Coach Named at Burroughs High School

By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor

Welcome back home.

Craig Sherwood was named the new head baseball coach at John Burroughs High School on Tuesday replacing Kiel Holmes who resigned on August 1. Sherwood served as an assistant coach at Burbank High School for the past three years under Coach Bob Hart.

Craig Sherwood

Craig Sherwood

“I still sit here and find it hard to believe. It is going to be a process that may take a while, but when I wake up every day I know that there will be a daily goal to get better,” Sherwood said.

“I feel a tremendous responsibility to everyone who has supported me in this move, even (Burbank coach) Bob Hart who is a Burroughs’ alum.”

In a homecoming that seemed inevitable and destined to happen again at some point in his life, Sherwood has returned to Burroughs where he previously coached in 1984-85 and 1996-00 as an assistant varsity coach winning a league title in 1997. More significantly, Sherwood is a 1976 graduate of JBHS and has lived in the Burbank community his whole life.

“It has always been great to be an assistant coach at JBHS, but to be the head coach is an incredible honor and very humbling,” Sherwood said. “I have had former players that I had not heard from in over 10 years reach out with support. It is really important that we bring back traditions and celebrate our alumni.”

Coach Craig Sherwood (second from the left) leaves Burbank to return to coach at his alma mater (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Coach Craig Sherwood (second from the left) leaves Burbank to return to coach at his alma mater (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank won its first league title since 1991 this past spring. Sherwood played an integral part of the team’s success as the Bulldogs finished 17-9 overall and 12-2 in league.

After three years of witnessing the Burbank program improve each and every season, Sherwood reflected upon his time spent there.

“Bob Hart gave me an opportunity to come back to my hometown and do what I love, working and watching boys transform into young men. Bob has an incredible read on players and situations and has taught me volumes,” said Sherwood, who actually coached Hart when Hart was a young student of the game. “Those kids last year really bought into the system and will forever be able to visit the field, see that championship banner, and know they were part of something very special.

“I am also glad that the JV team also won the league title going away. I know the talent is still strong and the young players will have a bright future. They will battle the heck out of us.”

The one-two combination of Hart and Sherwood at BHS will be missed but the future matchups between friends and baseball peers will be full of intrigue and ultimate respect.

“Coach Sherwood did a great job for us at Burbank High School,” Hart said. “I’m sure he will continue to do the same at Burroughs. We wish him the best of luck.”

Prior to coming to Burbank, Sherwood was a varsity assistant at Crespi High School for 16 years covering two different stints (1986-93, 2001-08).

While at Crespi working under Scott Muckey, Sherwood coached current Minnesota Twins third baseman, Trevor Plouffe, and former MLB pitcher, Jeff Suppan, who won a World Series ring with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006 and was the National League Championship Series MVP that same season.

A third Celt who played for Sherwood could very well make the Major Leagues soon as Crespi 2008 star Sean Gilmartin is a top pitching prospect for the Atlanta Braves. Gilmartin was a first-round draft pick of the Braves in 2012.

“I was lucky enough to have spent 16 years with the best high school coach in America,” Sherwood said of Muckey. “Here is a man who won State titles as a college coach, coached in the College World Series, and has even coached professional baseball at the Triple-A level and he still had the patience to mentor and teach me the respect of the game. He will always be one of the baseball gods.”

Sherwood won a CIF championship in 2003 at Crespi, the program’s first-ever title, capturing several league titles along the way in one of the toughest leagues (Mission) in the Southland.

His coaching career has now come full circle. Sherwood inherits a Burroughs program that went 17-12 and 10-4 in the Pacific League last season (3rd place). The Indians last won a league title in 1997; a season Sherwood knows too well.

From Burroughs to Crespi to Burbank and now back to Burroughs, Sherwood has been a winner everywhere he has coached.

“It’s well-deserved,” said Hart.




Burbank Students Head Back to School

By Lisa Paredes
Associate Editor

With excitement and anticipation, children and families throughout Burbank begin their first day of school today. The Burbank Unified School District’s administrators, staff and teachers are also welcoming the 2013-2014 school year with some new and continuing programs like Spanish Dual Immersion, Transitional Kindergarten and the Homework Task Force. Current enrollment is over 15,100 students, just about the same as last year’s numbers.

It's the first day of school and Jordan Middle School is ready to welcome students  (Photo by Lisa Paredes)

It’s the first day of school and Jordan Middle School is ready to welcome students (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Burbank Unified schools, along with all other California public schools, will also be preparing throughout the year for next year’s new national educational standards program, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS.)

According to BUSD Superintendent, Dr. Jan Britz, “The start of school is an exciting time, and with the introduction of Common Core and many Measure S improvement projects being implemented at our school sites, 2013-14 promises to bring many milestones and accomplishments.”

Spanish Dual Immersion  The District’s first dual immersion Spanish language kindergarten class opens today, August 19, at Disney Elementary. The program serves 29 students and provides 80 percent of the school day in Spanish and 20 percent in English. A lottery was held to select participating students because interest in this program was so strong, with more than 50 families applying for entrance. BUSD plans to add a class per year, for the next six years, so that by the time these students from the inaugural class are in fifth grade, there will be a dual immersion class at every grade level.

Transitional Kindergarten  The highly successful Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program, the first year of two-year kindergarten for five-year-olds, is in its second year at BUSD. The voluntary program offers children who turn five between September 2 and December 1 an extra year of developmentally-appropriate learning, before entering traditional kindergarten. Currently, 113 students are registered for TK, which has one classroom each at four school sites: Roosevelt Elementary, Harte Elementary, Jefferson Elementary and McKinley Elementary.

Common Core State Standards  The school district and teachers will prepare for Common Core State Standards through professional development, instructional materials and technology. The passage of Measure S enables the District to address some of the technology needs so that more of the one-time funds allocated by the state for CCSS implementation can be dedicated to teacher training. Teachers will collaborate and develop lessons throughout the year so that by the time 2014-15 school year rolls around, they will be ready for the new standards.

Students walk to Jordan Middle School (Photo By LIsa Paredes)

Students walk to Jordan Middle School (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Jordan Middle School  “We are very excited about the new Common Core Standards. Our staff is passionate about teaching and creating a dynamic school where students are engaged and encouraged,” comments Mrs. Stacy Cashman, Jordan Middle School Principal.

“We are also excited to wear our new Blue and Gold spirit shirts. The ASB students did a great job on the design! Our ASB, under the leadership of Mrs. Hatch, leads our school spirit. They really know how to make Jordan fun!”

Jordan Middle School is also very proud of STOP IT!, their anti-bullying program. Assistant Principal, Mr. Leonidas Tarca, has helped create an atmosphere where students are empowered to stand up for themselves and others. His STOP IT! student leaders met over the summer to set new goals for the coming year, including community service.

Last year, Cartoon Network animated a short story, “You Are Special,” by Jordan student Sherryn Sim. This coming year, Jordan plans to meet with an organization to reduce trash at lunch and find greener ways of doing things around the school.

“I am also proud of Jordan’s emphasis on the arts. Cougar Vision, our student broadcast, won an award from the Burbank Business Partners, we have award-winning choir and band programs, and our culinary arts students participated in a CPK cooking competition last year,” adds Mrs. Cashman. “I am grateful for the family feeling we have at Jordan. We have so much support from staff, students, parents and business partners.”

“These weeks before school opens have been busy as we prepare,” Mrs. Cashman concludes. “I can’t begin to describe the thrill of the first day of school, the new shoes, the new outfits and the smiles on the faces of our new students!”

Students and families begin their first day at Roosevelt Elementary (Photo by Lisa Paredes)

Students and families begin a new school year at Roosevelt Elementary (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Roosevelt Elementary At Roosevelt Elementary, Principal Dr. Jennifer Meglemre points to the violin program as a source of pride. Last year, all first grade students had weekly violin lessons funded by the Roosevelt PTA and Boosters.

An unnamed donor gave the school 15 violins so that students could learn using school violins. The Leadership Burbank Class of 2013 recently donated 31 additional violins and 20 music stands to Roosevelt and Providencia Elementary Schools.

“This year we are able to expand our program so that both second and first graders will take weekly violin lessons, ” explains Dr. Meglemre. “Our goal is to grow an instrumental music program for all grade levels over the next few years.”

“I am most excited this year about the transition to the Common Core State Standards. The teachers and I have been to workshops this summer, learning about the new national standards,” Dr. Meglemre continues. “The focus of the CCSS is fewer and deeper. The teachers will be spending more time teaching fewer standards, so they will be able to emphasize the real world application and critical thinking skills.”

Adds Dr. Meglemre, “I feel so fortunate to work at a school with such dedicated teachers and supportive parents.”

Parents accompany their children on the first day as students line up to meet their teachers at Roosevelt (Photo by Lisa Paredes)

Parents accompany their children on the first day as students line up to meet their teachers at Roosevelt (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Safety Committee and Homework Task Force Burbank Unified administrators also highlighted two other programs, the Safety Committee and the Homework Task Force. Comprised of parents, administrators, teachers and staff, the Safety Committee met throughout the past school year to discuss anti-bullying and to review and revise existing Board Policy. The committee drafted a policy clearly defining bullying and its signs and outlining BUSD’s commitment to providing a safe working and learning environment.

The Homework Task Force was created during the 2012-13 school year. Parents, teachers and administrators met and studied information about the purpose and amount of homework appropriate for various ages, ultimately suggesting guidelines per grade level about the amount of time children could be expected to participate in homework.

For more information on the ongoing activities in the Burbank Unified School District, please visit their website at www.burbankusd.org