Tag Archives: Burbank

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.

 

 

Boys and Girls Club of Burbank Raises Over $175,000 at 19th Gala Event

BBGC @ Sheraton GALA -3

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley held its 19th Annual Fundraising Gala and Auction “Back to the Future” on Saturday, May 17, 2014 at the Sheraton Universal Hotel.Thanks to the generosity of our donors, sponsors, guests and Emcee, Johnny Holiday more than $175,000 was raised.

BBGC @ Sheraton GALA -1

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

This year the Club is recognized  Burbank City Manager Mark Scott and Local Business Leader Kevin McCarney. “Both Mark and Kevin are former Boys & Girls members,” said Shanna Warren, CEO “illustrating perfectly the impact of the Boys & Girls Club on its participants. We are so excited to recognize these two community leaders and also show case how great futures do start at the Boys & Girls Club.”

BBGC @ Sheraton GALA-12

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Johnny Holiday,  Emceed the evening. Mr. Holiday is the great nephew and god son of Bing Crosby. Following in the footsteps of his great uncle, Johnny and his band will also performed, treating guests to some timeless classics.

BBGC @ Sheraton GALA-10

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

In addition, the Club’s very own Deaf and Hard of Hearing students  performed to “Power of Love”, the theme song from the movie “Back To The Future.” Both a live and silent auction were held, with some spectacular items for sale. And, just to add more fun to the jam-packed evening, a grand stakes opportunity drawing took place with a chance to win $10,000 in prize money.

Proceeds from the evening will go directly to our Education programs, including but not limited to: After School Enrichment, Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) program, Creative Arts, Athletics, College Bound and Teen Programs.

 

 

Burbank Students Ride & Walk to School to Help Their Health and Ours

More than 1,300 students from nine Burbank schools participated in the annual Bike & Walk to School Day a couple of weeks ago.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Burbank Traffic Management Office (TMO) and Cartoon Network partnered with the Burbank Unified School District to support the day’s activities, which are intended to encourage students to live more active, healthier lifestyles while reducing local traffic congestion and vehicle emissions in the community.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Sponsors provided t-shirts, wristbands, reflectors, and stickers bearing the Bike & Walk to School Day logo, and a raffle resulted in five lucky students winning bike helmets.

At Robert Louis Stevenson the PTA assisted with handing out shirts, bottled water, stickers, and even had tables setup where kids could write appreciation notes to teachers preparing for the end of year ‘Teacher Appreciation Day’.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Hollywood Digs Shares Tidbits Behind The Scenes In The Valley

Veteran screenwriter Ken LaZebnik stumbles across some former homes and haunts of Hollywood artists, producers, studio personnel and the like and turns it into a framework for this enjoyable collection of essays, Hollywood Digs.

Micky Moore on the set of "King of Kings." (Photo Courtesy of Michael D. (Micky) Moore Papers, Collection no. 0117)

Micky Moore on the set of “King of Kings.” (Photo Courtesy of Michael D. (Micky) Moore Papers, Collection no. 0117)

Book cover photo courtest of Kelly's Cove Press

Book cover photo courtest of Kelly’s Cove Press

Including several black and white photographs by the legendary photographer Leigh Weiner, among other great historical photos, the book is a series of vignettes into the every day life and little-known stories of those recognized across the country for their on-screen work.

A favorite chapter examines the art and work of screenwriting in a company town. The forgotten, the obscure and the wildly famous all get a nod in this collection of writings. Old Hollywood connections and unknown players behind the scenes are brought to light.

LaZebnik conducted several interviews and walked a lot of steps around his San Fernando Valley neighborhood to happen upon hidden gems of stories and anecdotes. Many of the kernals from which stories sprouted came from his own Valley stomping grounds.

Jack Warner. (Photo By Leigh Wiener)

Jack Warner. (Photo By Leigh Wiener)

“Each chapter begins with some little shard of evidence that has remained from an otherwise discarded life or history,” says LaZebnik.

“The plaque honoring Jock Mahoney at The Sportsman’s Lodge (at least until they took it down!); the script from the Dick Powell Show in the Special Collections of Pepperdine University Libraries – a piece of evidence from an extraordinary show that has largely vanished from the public consciousness,” he added. “Even my own Thomas Kinkade painting, hanging on a wall in my office – I take these remaining glimpses into something much larger that has been discarded and try to bring it back to life.”

Leigh Wiener's photograph of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney; JUN 1963; On set of Garland's CBS TV show, Los Angeles, CA (Photo By Leigh Wiener)

Leigh Wiener’s photograph of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney; JUN 1963; On set of Garland’s CBS TV show, Los Angeles, CA (Photo By Leigh Wiener)

LaZebnik writes portraits of some of the most famous names in Hollywood, including Paul Newman, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Al Jolson, Milton Berle, Jimmy Stewart, George Burns and Harpo Marx. He also examines some of the well-known and not so well-known names in the machine, from Jack Warner to Micky Moore to Kathy Zuckerman, the real-life “Gidget.”

Annual Care Walk Of Burbank Benefits Family Service Agency

The Family Service Agency of Burbank (FSAB) conducts its seventh annual Care Walk of Burbank on Saturday, May 10, through beautiful Johnny Carson Park. Activities commence at 7:30 a.m. and the Walk starts at 8:00 a.m. There will be refreshments, including a free pancake breakfast, exhibitors, t-shirts and gift bags for all registrants.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

All proceeds from the event benefit its no-cost, school-based counseling program. Through this program, each Burbank Unified School District campus has a counselor on-site during school hours.

The Family Service Agency of Burbank addresses the social, emotional and mental health of the community. By participating in the Walk, people can help the FSAB provide no-cost clinical and psycho-educational care for Burbank’s youth. Directly, the child is positively affected by the counseling. Indirectly, families, teachers, school administrators, peers and the community-at-large are affected.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

This year, the CareWalk is dedicated to Jeri Buliavac. She is a long time resident and a hairstylist in Burbank. As she battles her personal journey to fight her cancer, she unselfishly continues to be an active supporter and friend to FSAB, “Where No One Walks Alone.”

Registration is now available and people can register as an individual, team and/or sponsor. Kids, adults and seniors can participate.

For information, call FSAB at 818-845-7671 or visit their website: www.carewalkofburbank.org

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Reader Weighs In On Next Burbank Mayor

On Thursday Burbank’s city council undergoes its annual “reorganization,” the five choosing from among themselves one to serve as Mayor.

One local contingent argues the decision has “always,” with only extreme exceptions, been premised upon a formula that weighs placement in the most recent election. Others insist using only seniority and the record of who has not yet been Mayor is the way it has “always” been done, save for the occasional boycott of supposed trouble makers.

There have been many battles over the Mayor’s seat, with a council majority and their respective camps occasionally declaring that whomever was next in line couldn’t be named, warning of disaster and municipal humiliation. Among those denied a “turn,” only to later be given the chance by new regimes, were Mary Lou Howard and Dave Golonski. Others were blackballed and left office never serving as Mayor, including Tim Murphy, Susan Spanos, Ted McConkey and, to date, David Gordon.

The pearl-clutching dramas make some forget the job is entirely a figurehead position. With it comes wielding the gavel at council meetings, and use of a larger office. Otherwise, the job is as Burbank’s ceremonial representative, the “privilege” of the center seat at the dais, and signing proclamations. Burbank’s Mayor has no button to push to let the missiles fly, nor even a weighted council vote or veto. In 25 years of watching Burbank’s Mayors, I don’t recall one incident wherein residents were abandoned, an employer closed, or a thriving business fled because of the Mayor. All of these have happened, of course, but who was or was not Mayor at the time played no role.

Our neighbor, Glendale, has repeatedly named as Mayor one of the most erratic, self-centered and “out-of-round” pols I’ve ever known. While that’s led to occasional flaps, some of which even roiled international wags as he rambled irrationally and blundered, I don’t believe his being Mayor has ever had more negative impact on the city than his simply being a councilman.

I’m no fan of councilman David Gordon, and can document many incidents that reflect badly on his claimed integrity and honesty, qualities for which supporters give him credit. But he was elected, and even the well-founded contempt some of his colleagues and constituents is not cause to engage in a petty effort to block him from the Mayor’s seat he longs for.

As a journalist I’ve certainly reported on the sentiments of those who opposed one potential appointment, or supported another, just as I’ve covered the “:horse race” aspects (i.e. “Three out of five council members now say there’s no way they’ll ever agree to make – fill in the name here – Mayor on May 1.”).

Still, as long as the time in office and the rotations allow it, my personal opinion has always been that everyone who wishes to serve as Mayor should get their turn. That was my position when Tim Murphy, an amiable, respected and dedicated councilman was shoved aside in the 90s, and when the belligerent demagogue McConkey was raging from the dais in the 2000s. It’s no different for Gordon.

 

Will Rogers