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For Tony Wade, the Kiwanis For Fun Car Show is a labor of charitable love.
For 30 years the Burbank resident owned an automotive shop in Glendale and was a member of the Glendale Kiwanis. When he retired 14 years ago, he decided to join a club closer to home. Then, with help from Donna, his wife of 40 years, and their daughter and son-in-law, he started a Kiwanis Club of his own.
During the club’s annual Car Show Sunday, Wade was supervising the members barbecuing hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken on the grill under the trees at Johnny Carson Park. They served 800 people lunch and 200 at the pancake breakfast.
The Aktion Club, whose members are developmentally disabled, was selling lemonade. The group is sponsored by the Kiwanis For Fun. Their participation in Kiwanis fundraising events like the annual car show allows them to learn skills that help them gain independence. Seeing them beam with pride as they volunteer alongside Kiwanis members does Wade’s heart a lot of good. He sees firsthand how his club has made a difference in their lives.
The funds raised from the car show go to children’s charities in Burbank, including the Boys & Girls Club and BCR “a place to grow”, as well as The Roy and Patricia Disney Cancer Center, the Burbank Police Department and the Burbank Animal Shelter.
“We donated 400 bicycle helmets this year to the Burbank Police Department for kids that don’t have helmets, and cooked and provided the product for Burroughs Senior Pancake Breakfast last week. We fed 700 kids in an hour,” Wade said. “I have had a great life and it’s a great thing to give something back.”
The car enthusiasts dotting the lush landscape had different reasons for showing their babies.
Lori Wilcox’s 1944 convertible with a rumble seat was among the 300 vehicles displayed. It’s a bright pink with flames painted on the hood, front fenders and doors. She’s been showing the car for 10 years, she said, as a way to share a hobby with her dad who owns a woody.
Her car often wins the women’s choice award, probably because of the color, she added. The car appears in the Hollywood Christmas Parade each year and has carried such celebrities as those from the former ABC TV show going to online “One Life to Live”, L.A. City Councilman Eric Garcetti and the band One Direction.
Pete Rios of Arleta was sitting under a pop-up tent with several friends. He was showing his black 1938 Buick Century that he bought 10 years ago. He has restored it, he said, incorporating his ideas along with those offered by his wife and son.
He tuned up the engine and had proper headers made for it. The carburetor was changed to 12 volts and shocks were added so he could lower the car to the ground during shows and raise it to drive, he said.
“They call these cars low riders or bombs — anything from the ’30s,” he said. “Some people like them stock, but I’m a low rider from way back, that’s why I built it this way.”
It took him a good five years to get it to show condition. It was his longtime dream to own a show car, he said, but because of the costs involved, he had to wait until retirement and after the kids grew up. Now he shows the car all over Southern California.
“We meet a lot of nice people and see friends we went to school with way back,” he said.
Photos By Joyce Rudolph
Plans to redesign popular, but aging Johnny Carson Park in Burbank will received a significant boost thanks to more than $1.7 million dollars in grant money from the State of California.
The California Natural Resources Agency held a ceremony in Sacramento this past Wednesday (Nov. 28), at which time it awarded $34 million to 33 river parkway projects around California.
Johnny Carson Park will receive $1,780,000 to restore an existing 885-foot storm water channel to a natural creek and create eight acres of habitat with a one-half mile ADA accessible creek side loop trail.
“This money will go a long way in the much needed renovation of Johnny Carson Park,” says Judie Wilke, Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services for the City of Burbank. “Park users will be able to enjoy the parkland’s natural habitat in addition to the other amenities including, the playground, performance stage, picnic area and pedestrian bridges.”
The renovations to the 17.60 acre park that borders Bob Hope Drive and State Route 134 are in the design phase. More information regarding the proposed redesign from the City of Burbank website,
Johnny Carson Park Redesign
Johnny Carson Park is one of the largest and most utilized neighborhood parks within the City. Throughout the park’s history, the site has lost and gained several acres. Currently, the park stands at 17.60 acres and approximately 8.75 acres of the park are City-owned. The park also provides extensive local, regional, environmental and social benefits.
The current amenities offered at this park include: a picnic area; an outdoor exercise course; a playground; a drainage channel (streambed); two pedestrian bridges; a small performance stage; restroom facilities; an abundant amount of mature trees; and vast areas of shaded green passive open parkland. These amenities make this facility quite popular with the community. The park’s topography and potential for streambed restoration provide some very exciting opportunities for sustainability-driven improvements.
In order to operate and maintain the park’s infrastructure in a way that balances the sustainability goals of the City Council, the City is currently undergoing an effort to renovate the interior core of the park. The project will focus on improving energy efficiency, water efficiency, public access and will employ current design practices that are geared toward long-term sustainability, while still serving the community’s recreational needs.
For the most recent project updates please contact Jan Bartolo, Park Services Deputy Director at (818) 238-5300.
June 2012 – Update
The City has applied to four sperate grant applications sponsored by the State of California, Department of Parks and Recreation (State) to help offset development costs associated with the redesign of Johnny Carson Park. The City was recently notified by the State that the City’s Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant application has been recommended to receive an award of $265,000 in grant monies. The City’s LWCF grant still needs to be formally approved by the National Park Services. It is anticipated that the approval process could take up to three months before the City receives a fully executed agreement.
The LWCF grant’s project scope includes enhancing the existing loop trail with interpretative signage, performing Americans with Disability Act (ADA) improvements to the two existing bridges, providing a new par course exercise equipment and creating a secondary trail system complete with benches.
The project is currently on a hiatus for the next 120 days while, staff awaits for the formal award to be made on the LWCF grant along with the notification of awards to be made on the remaining outstanding grants that have been submitted. Furthermore, with the recent dissolution of the City’s Redevelopment Agency, the initial funding earmarked towards this project has been eliminated. The City is currently exploring creative methods to fund this beneficial and worthwhile community project.
Through the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Budget process, the Burbank City Council has approved funding for the removal and replacement of playground equipment at Johnny Carson Park.
August 2011 – Update
Through an ongoing community planning process, the design firm of AHBE Landscape Architects with input from various community leaders, Burbank residents, business and City staff has proposed the following options for the redesign of Johnny Carson Park:
Design concept based on a site loop walk experience that becomes a journey through spaces representative of southern California landscape typologies. By connecting the northern ends of the existing main walkways, a complete loop walkway presents opportunities for walkers, joggers, strollers, and all user types to be engaged and be in contact with diverse open spatial experiences. The loop takes advantages of the existing topographic conditions, mature vegetation, a stream, and views of the site to create a space for much needed urban reprieves and contact with nature.
Design concept highlight resource generating elements including an outdoor café, solar panels, and usage of reclaimed water. In addition to all amenities provided by the existing typical passive park programs, this concept design adds Net Zero Energy concept where energy and resource (funding, food production, water) are self-generated at the park site itself. By adding programs such as a café (leased out to a vendor), rentable stage/event spaces, community gardens and orchard for food production and sales, cisterns and/or gray water processing units for irrigation and other non-potable use, photo-voltaic panels for lighting for night use, the park can sustain and operate by little not no supplementary resource.
Design concept reflects on the historic watershed of the site and reshapes the park to function as a true stormwater mitigation system as well as recreational amenities and habitat restoration site. A large open lawn area in the center is excavated to contain a capital storm flood water. Unique recreational play areas and event spaces are created around this reshaped open lawn. On the existing steep slopes, an adventure play and walkways are connected to the existing walkways.
Johnny Carson Park Creek Design Options
Road Kings celebrate their 60th anniversary with the rumbling of dragsters at Johnny Carson Park on Sunday. The 23rd annual Picnic in the Park and Charity Car Show raised funds for Burbank High School auto shop program, Police and Fire Museum and Burbank Historical Society. Original Road Kings members TV Tommy Ivo and Don “The Snake” Prudhomme attend and reminisce during the dragster Cacklefest.
By Joyce Rudolph
It was a classic case of fun when the Road Kings and friends flooded Johnny Carson Park with more than 600 hot rods in all shapes, sizes, colors and speeds at the 23rd annual Picnic in the Park and Charity Car Show on Sunday.
All proceeds went to Burbank charities like the Burbank High School auto shop program, Police and Fire Museum and the Burbank Historical Society.
The morning began quietly with a Boy Scout flag presentation followed by an exuberant rendition of the national anthem by Gino Gaudio. Commendations congratulating the car club on its 60th anniversary were presented to Road Kings President Rick Kalisz. Mayor Dave Golonski presented the Burbank honor and other commendations were sent from the offices of Rep. Adam Schiff, Assemblyman Mike Gatto, Sen. Carolyn Liu and county Supervisor Mike Antonovich.
Drag-racing legend TV Tommy Ivo, one of the original Road Kings members, was there to receive a special commendation from Schiff. And later, another racing icon and Road Kings member, Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, came by.
Then the rumbling began. Several dragsters were started up one by one for the Cacklefest ~ testing the eardrums of some and thrilling the others.
Anna Octane, with the Stormy Byrd Race Team, sat in the fire-engine red Revelation, a modified fuel roadster, that shrieked and sputtered. An interesting history surrounds the ruby gem. Octane provided a flier explaining how after breaking several records in the 1960s it was retired in 1969 and discovered by Tim Byrd in 1985 in a Calabasas garage. Tim and Bob Byrd breathed new life into it and today it runs the 7.60 Nostalgia Eliminator Class and match races.
Classic cars were spread throughout the rest of the park, including Ian Campbell ‘s 1950 Oldsmobile 88. He bought it on eBay.
“What’s interesting about this car is it has the showroom hood on it,” Campbell said. “If you look through the plexiglass hood you’ll find on the engine valve cover it says high compression test
engine General Motors Research. They had made less than 42 of those engines that were never put in an automobile.”
They had used the engine in the refineries because they made them up to 12 to 1 compression, Campbell said, and they found out back then if you had a higher compression engine you could get better gas mileage and you would have more horse power. Congress went to the refineries and wanted them to upgrade to higher octane but it was going to cost them about $2 billion and they didn’t want to do it, Campbell said.
“They could have saved a whole lotta gas back then. Even today you can save a whole lotta gas if you come up with higher octane gasoline. You’d get better mileage and more horsepower and they still won’t do it,” he said.
Campbell also has the original information pamphlet for the vehicle and other paperwork, including a blank factory order form that the dealers used to order the showroom hood. He bought it from a man in Riverside who specialized in 1950 Olds parts and memorabilia.
A few rows over was a turquoise 1948 Ford Deluxe convertible owed by Jerry and Nancy Varney of Burbank.
Twenty-three years ago the car was owned by Sam Foose, auto designer Chip Foose’s father. Jerry Varney was tipped off to the fact when he found a small paint can in the trunk and the color on the side read Foose Blue.
Nancy called Chip Foose’s office and asked if the car was possibly once owned by the family and after several phone calls and exchanging emailed photos, Foose confirmed it belonged to his father.
“That’s the paint job that Sam painted the car 30 years ago,” Jerry Varney said.
Recently, Sam Foose signed his autograph on the inside of the glove compartment door.
“In January I emailed Sam and told him we were going to be in the National Roadsters Show at the Pomona Fairgrounds and Sam showed up and he said ‘yes that’s it, that’s the car’ and that’s the day I asked him to autograph it, which he was more than happy to autograph.”
The car was pretty tired by the time Jerry Varney bought it. It took about eight or nine months to refresh the whole car. He reupholstered the interior and the trunk himself, he said.
“I took a class in upholstering and bought a sewing machine,” he said. “We got it done in time to take up to the Hot August Nights in Reno last year and ever since then we are enjoying the car.”
Road Kings Car Club celebrates its 60th anniversary with a roar of engines at the 23rd annual Picnic in the Park and Charity Car Show on June 10 at Johnny Carson Park. The sparks will fly during the Cracklefest as drag racing top fuel cars light up one after the other.
By Joyce Rudolph
Get ready to sample the excitement of drag racing when the Burbank Road Kings Car Club celebrates its 60th anniversary during the 23rd annual Picnic in the Park and Charity Car Show from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 10 at Johnny Carson Park, 400 Bob Hope Drive.
Throughout the day, owners will be firing up their nostalgic drag racing top fuel cars during the Cracklefest.
“It’s an incredible display,” said publicity chairman Don Baldaseroni. “You will see and feel the thunder when the cars light up, one after another.”
Special guests attending are drag racing legends Tommy Ivo and Don Prudhomme and recent NHRA Funny Car winner Jack Beckman.
Gino Gaudio will kick off the festivities at 9:30 a.m. singing the national anthem and a Boy Scout colorguard will present the colors. Mayor Dave Golonski will give the official welcome.
Proceeds go to charities such as high school auto shop scholarships, Boys & Girls Club and the Burbank Police and Fire Museum.
Spectators and car entries are free, with donations appreciated. Car placement begins at 7 a.m. Breakfast is served from 7 to 10:30 a.m. with lunch beginning at 10:30 a.m. Menu includes hamburgers, hotdogs, fries and drinks.
There will be 800 hot rods, modifies and factory stock on display.
Trophies will be awarded to the top cars in 15 categories as well as several special awards. Other activities include a 50/50 drawing, silent auction and more than 40 vendors.
For information, call (818) 842-KING, or visit www.burbankroadkings.com.
Cancer survivors, friends and family came out this weekend to support the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life that continued for 24 hours, from Saturday to Sunday morning. More than 700 registered to walk. People at booths offered information such as wearing sun block, eating fresh vegetables and getting tested for early detection~ the best defense against the disease.
By Joyce Rudolph
Teams of residents and business people came together to walk in the fight against cancer during the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, a 24-hour event that began at 9 a.m. Saturday and ended at 9 a.m. Sunday at Johnny Carson Park.
The walk continues for 24 hours because cancer never sleeps, said Daniela Barragan, Relay for Life manager, who is based in the American Cancer Society’s Burbank office.
“This event celebrates three things, honoring cancer survivors, remembering those we have lost and fighting back against the disease,” she said.
The Burbank walk was organized by volunteer co-chairmen Nate Frey and Michelle Jacobovitz and 22 committee members. More than 700 people registered. Each year more than 300 events like this are held across the state and 5,000 events are held throughout the country, Barragan said.
Part of fighting back is raising funds and awareness, Barragan added. The funds raised from the Relay go to cancer research and free services, like free wigs for chemo-therapy patients and rides to
treatment. Several booths set up along the route were sharing information on the importance of wearing sun block, eating more vegetables and getting tests for early detection ~ the best way to win
the battle against cancer.
Among the teams walking were Chad’s Champions, in support of Chad Becken, 37, who is fighting colorectal cancer; and Dan the Man team, honoring the memory of Dan Linegar, founder of the Burbank Relay event, who passed away from esophageal cancer in November.
What Chad Becken’s illness proves is that colon cancer isn’t only contracted by older people, said his mother Susie Becken. People in their 20s and 30s should start getting tested for colorectal cancer,
especially if there is a history of cancer in the family.
“A simple colon test can save your life!” she said.
A special tribute in honor of Dan Linegar was held during the luminaria ceremony on Saturday evening. More than 500 illuminated paper bags lined the park, in the names of survivors and those who had passed away.
Linegar was a huge supporter of Burbank Temporary Aid Center and ran its Santa’s Room for five years, said Victoria Sands of Burbank.
“I feel this event is his legacy,” she said.
A group from the Burbank High School Key Club, a young adult branch of Kiwanis, was getting the luminaries ready for the ceremony. Participating were Micaela Kingman, 16; Khushbu Patel, 15; Ashley Garber, 16; Ellie Hirahara, 16; Karishma Patel, 15; and Jacob Salomon, 15.
Ellie was volunteering at the event for the second year, she said. She has family members who have survived and passed away from cancer.
“The candlelight ceremony is touching,” she said. “Helping out is really amazing! It’s a good feeling!”
A section of the park had a display of white quilts decorated with multi-colored handprints of survivors. Veronica Hudson, cancer research coordinator at the Roy Disney Family Cancer Center in Burbank, knew many of the names.
“Seeing these patients’ names ~ it’s incredible!” she said. “They are so strong. They just keep fighting.”
For questions about cancer, live representatives can be reached 24 hours a day at (800) ACS-2345. Seven languages are spoken.