On Saturday, December 15, Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy honored Grandmaster Vincent J. Rodricks with a certificate of appreciation during a Christmas celebration at Andre’s Martial Arts, located inside the Burbank Town Center.
During the Taekwondo studio’s annual Christmas party and belt ceremony, Mayor Gabel-Luddy presented the certificate, praising the masters’ for the positive impact they’ve had on the community. Following demonstrations, students and their parents watched as Grandmaster Rodricks was honored.
“You are all a real-life example of what happens when you maintain discipline, focus, humility, and practice. I want to congratulate all of you in your next steps,” said Mayor Gabel-Luddy.
“The people who have the greatest humility are the most powerful. It doesn’t make sense but when you think about it it makes all the sense in the world. Thank you for your dedication to our community.”
Burbank Police Department Captain Denis J. Cremins was also in attendance and has returned for several years in a row.
“I’ve known Grandmaster Rodrick for 7 years. I’ve seen the way he’s interacted with the kids and the families. He has a great deal of respect, and it builds a lot of character in the kids. The character building is the most important thing. He’s changed their lives in so many different ways,” said Captain Cremins.
After receiving the certificate, Grandmaster Rodricks presented a plaque, a representation of his appreciation to the Mayor, thanking her for the City’s support.
Earlier in the day’s session, students as young as 3-years-old broke wooden boards in half with a single kick, earning higher ranked belts for their hard work. Masters also demonstrated their skills by breaking cinderblocks in half.
Andre’s Martial Arts have a reputation of inclusivity, encouraging families with autistic children to become involved. One of the parents who helped organize the Christmas party’s potluck, Lori Nishida, has a teenage son with autism who has thrived under Grandmaster Rodricks’ instruction.
“Whenever kids come in, whether a child is little or has special needs, Vince would assign a kid to mentor that child, to show them the proper techniques for kicks,” said Nishida. “It’s been great, because then kids learn from a young age how to help each other, no matter what their abilities are.”
As the masters volunteer their time and do not get paid, parents thought it would be a good opportunity to come together and buy a seasonal gift to show their appreciation. Each master was given a gift card to Starbucks.
Andre’s Martial Arts is located on the first floor of the Burbank Town Center at 201 E. Magnolia Blvd., Ste. 140.
On Friday, December 14, the City of Burbank hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the popular seasonal ice rink known as “The Rink,” located behind City Hall at 275 E. Olive Ave.
The outdoor ice skating rink is 4,100 square-foot and can hold up to 165 skaters per session. For the next six weeks, it will be open for everyone to enjoy, with fundraising events, scheduled performances, and public skating.
Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy cut the ribbon after giving a short speech, stating that she hopes Burbank residents skate into the new year.
During the ceremony, young talented figure skaters from Pickwick Ice performed on the rink, skating to songs such as Christmastime, It’s Not Christmas, Winter Dreams, and a track from The Adams Family.
Among the skaters was Aubrey Ignaco who recently competed in the Pacific Coast Sectionals and won first place for the novice level. She will be advancing to compete in nationals this January.
“Hopefully she’ll go from there to the Olympics. At this point she can be invited to compete internationally,” said her father proudly.
Shoko Tokuda, whose son skated as a part of an “Adams Family themed” trio, is excited to return to The Rink throughout the rest of December.
Conveniently located near the recently remodeled Burbank Town Center, locals have a festive activity to look forward to after buying presents.
For interested skaters, costs include $12 unlimited skating with no re-entry. Skate rentals are also provided for $5, and skating aids are $8.
The Rink is open from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. It will continue to stay open to the public until Sunday, January 6, 2019.
Small children darted around the crowd of parents seated on artificial grass and played next to a 10-foot juggler on stills who was also making animal balloons, while they all wait to watch the movie Jumanji on an outdoor inflatable movie screen.
The Burbank Town Center is hosting a seven-week series, Movies Under the Stars every Thursday through the Summer. A Wrinkle in Time, Coco, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi are some of the movies that will be played.
“We wanted to do a community-oriented event that was fun during the summer, that would bring families to the shopping center,” Marketing Director Sara Sherman said. “Let them enjoy an evening watching movies, being with their friends and families outside under the stars.”
“Just so long as they’re [children] together,” said parent Stacy Pasetta. “Just being out with their friends, being outdoors in some kind of event. We miss the drive-ins and this is as close as we can get.” [Laughs]
Parents enjoyed the evening out too. Robert Morris watched his kids leap and run with the other children while seated with his wife.
“Its summer, so I thought I’d meet some friends and have my kids play with some other friends here in Burbank, watching one of the best movies of last year,”
What did his kids like the best?
“I like the balloon animals,” said Morris’ 11year old daughter, red-haired Mackenzie.
Many parents brought meals to eat before the start of the movie, and the pizza was a favorite on the menu. Candy was the young moviegoers favorite. Mackenzie voraciously ate licorice while viewing Jumanji.
The film drew all ages with young parents holding babies to middle-aged parents with teenagers.
The Burbank Town Center will be exhibiting movies every Thursday from 6 p.m.-10 p.m., and the series will run until August 9th. The films will be shown next to the old IKEA building across from the California Pizza Kitchen in Burbank. Parking is in the mall garage across the street from the event.
This year, the $60 million renovations of the Burbank Town Center which started in January 2017 will finally be complete, with new stores, a brighter atmosphere, and a revamped food court among other refurbishments.
Visitors to the eighth largest mall in Los Angeles County have already noticed several new additions, including the renovated food court which has relocated from the third floor to the first floor. The modernized atmosphere has an improved seating area with USB compatible outlets and decorative lights.
“The new food court has a lot more seating available. It’s very spacious and it’s a lot more open. I think that’s one of the best changes they’ve made, moving the food court downstairs,“ said Atticus Bacchus, an employee of All Amusement Fun Center.
Although some restaurants have left the revitalized food court, several restaurants that were on the third level remain, such as Panda Express, Sbarro, and Mongolian Grill, which is coming soon.
“Our goal is to introduce fresh new tenants to Burbank Town Center with an eye to making the dining terrace a go-to-place when visiting Burbank,” said Lance W. Taylor, director at CAPREF Burbank LLC, who has been overseeing the renovation of the mall.
Soon, there will be an outdoor dining terrace with a view toward Verdugo and west toward the Hollywood Hills. A new outdoor escalator will carry shoppers and diners to the space which faces the shops on San Fernando Blvd.
Two new entrances into the Burbank Town Center have been added to the east and west parking garages, allowing better circulation throughout the mall.
A grand staircase leading to an entrance into the mall has been made accessible on E. Magnolia Blvd.
New skylights throughout the mall, along with LED lighting and new flooring, provide a more energetic and positive shopping atmosphere than before.
Following AMC 8’s recent theatre remodel with reclining seats, stores such as New York & Co. and Vans have also been redesigned.
Burbank Town Center is currently home to 150 retail stores and soon, Cost Plus World Market will add to that number. The 17,000 sq ft store will be located on the first floor of the mall and is said to open in June or July.
Additional changes include the relocation of See’s Candy from across the hall to provide more room for H&M, which will be located on the second and third levels. The fast fashion retailer is expected to open around summer or during the fall.
In 2017, H&M was the highest ranked fashion outlet according to Forbes America’s Best Employers and made the list of “Best Companies to Work for in Fashion” for Business of Fashion. New stores such as H&M and Cost Plus will likely benefit the local economy in providing job opportunities and better shopping experiences.
“With the $60 million mall renovation nearing completion and the addition of these new tenants, we are seeing increased activity from national and local retailers interested in calling Burbank Town Center home and we anticipate additional retailer announcements this year,” said Taylor.
Such new additions are enticing locals who are used to doing their shopping online or in other cities.
“The updates to the mall are exciting as it will bring about a much-needed change and update to the area. Many people drive to Glendale for stores like H&M and Cost Plus, so it will be great that their tax dollars will be staying here in Burbank,” said Wes Taylor, a resident of Downtown Burbank.
Although many new shops are coming to the mall, several stores that have become favorites in the community remain. LA County’s last mall arcade, the “All Amusement Fun Center” which has been in business for 24 years, has been relocated from the first floor to the third floor after it was nearly closed in 2017. In response to community outcry, owners Jim and Susan Rowton collaborated with Lance Taylor to find a suitable new location and were able to keep the arcade open while adding several new games.
On March 3, the All Amusement Fun Center hosted a community event, allowing visitors to play games, get their faces painted, and have balloon animals made— all free of charge.
New resting stations with USB compatible outlets give shoppers downtime to sit and relax between stores. For young families, there are two new play areas which provide a chance for parents to monitor their kids as they take a break from shopping.
Recently added Tesla Superchargers are located on the top of the Burbank Town Center parking garage at 495 North Third St. The station, which allows drivers to charge their cars much quicker than at home, is among the largest in the country, with 20 public-access stalls at the rate of $0.20 per kilowatt hour.
On the third level near Sears, interactive murals were recently installed by students from Burbank High, Providencia Elementary, Brett Hart Elementary, and Jordan Middle School. The murals feature illustrations encouraging shoppers to pose and take part in the images to share on social media.
Burbank Town Center is located at 201 East Magnolia Blvd.
On Saturday, March 3, students from Providencia Elementary, Brett Hart Elementary, Jordan Middle School, and Burbank High School installed interactive murals on the third level of the Burbank Town Center.
Art classes from schools in the district have worked together to add color to the mall as it undergoes refurbishments. The 6 ft. x 8 ft. murals vary in themes, showcasing the artistic styles of the students. One mural depicts a political message about equality, while another depicts a flying saucer hovering over a cornfield.
“They were really self-led and they were in charge of what they wanted to illustrate,“ said Burbank High School art structure and art history teacher, Rebecca Platner, who oversaw the district-wide project. “It’s special for them to have their art in a public place.”
Shoppers are encouraged to take part in the interactive murals and post to social media, tagging #BUSDpaintsBTC.
Students and teachers alike invested a lot of their time in creating the murals, totaling about a month between the design and painting process.
“My students submitted design concepts and then we voted on them and we refined them until we got to the one we wanted to work on for the wall,” said Burbank High School visual and performing arts teacher, Jonelle Pickett.
Pickett’s advanced animation class collaborated on a 3D mural depicting a picnic with soda, fries, and a hamburger. CJ Jobelle, a junior, is one of the students who worked on the assignment.
“The overall painting took about three weeks, roughly around that. People were taking turns to paint it,” said Jobelle.
Visitors can attribute the murals to the individual classes who created them, as the school names and grade levels are provided next to each illustration.
“It’s really exciting that under Rebecca’s leadership we were able to get several schools and artists representing their talents to get visual arts into the community,” said Peggy Flynn, arts and career technical education coordinator for BUSD.
“It helps people see the power that art can have in an open space like this.”
Eventually, the wall will come down once space is rented out. Until then, visitors of the Burbank Town Center can admire the creative work of the next generation.
On Saturday, March 3, the All Amusement Fun Center at Burbank Town Center hosted an event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. allowing visitors to get their face painted, request balloon animals, and play an unlimited amount of arcade games— all free of charge.
After 24 years, owners Jim and Susan Rowton are thankful for the continued influx of customers, especially since the arcade was nearly closed last year in light of the mall’s refurbishments.
Relocated from the first floor to the third floor, the All Amusement Fun Center has taken on a brighter energy and a more inviting ambiance. While many of the arcade’s games come from the previous location, half of the games are brand new. Recent additions include claw machine games, which allow patrons to play until they win a stuffed animal.
“People love that and it’s a beautiful new concept that is part of what’s called a fair play initiative that’s started in the industry and something we embraced immediately,” said Jim Rowton. “We love giving back to people. The more you give them, the more you win their business and the more you win their trust, and that’s what we’re all about.”
Among the arcade’s most popular games, racing games linked online allow patrons to compete against other gamers across the world.
Rowton also recognizes the arcade as an opportunity to show hospitality to the disabled and mentally impaired.
“We love the fact that they entrust us and feel comfortable here. It really touches us, that families come here and their kids can have a slice of normalcy and enjoy things that others of us take for granted.”
While some arcades might showcase lackluster prizes for patrons saving up their tickets, Rowton has worked hard to stock the best quality prizes for customers. From stuffed animals to Star Wars themed wallets among other items, the display case has something of interest for gamers of all ages.
“One of the things we’re most proud about is our merchandise. We work hard to shop for the community and be astute and expert buyers so we can put prizes out there that people can win easily,” said Rowton.
If a gamer is a few tickets short of the cost of a prize, a claw machine gives them the chance to win 30 to a thousand tickets to meet their goal.
“We try to be very generous about giving back to people. It’s been one of the things that made us successful over the years.”
When Los Angeles County’s last mall arcade nearly closed in 2017, the community spoke up and made it known that Rowton’s business holds a special place in their lives. With the help of Lance W. Taylor, director at CAPREF Burbank LLC, who has been overseeing the renovation of the Burbank Town Center, the arcade’s closure was avoided. Instead, the Rowtons collaborated with Taylor so that the All Amusement Fun Center would be relocated and refurbished.
“Special marketing events like this one, with a generational tenant like All Amusement, help connect the community with our tenants, and give them a reason to visit the new Burbank Town Center. We hope their experience gives them a new perspective and makes them want to come back to both All Amusement and the mall,” said Taylor.
On the night of Saturday, February 24, the Burbank Police graveyard team discovered a stolen vehicle on San Fernando Rd. across from the Burbank Town Center.
Upon inspecting the car, police recovered stolen IDs, credit cards, mail, keys to mailboxes, counterfeit
money, credit card scanners, and narcotics.
Police arrested both occupants of the vehicle, one male, and one female.
This is the second arrest made this week related to narcotics and fraud. However, it seems to be unrelated to the incident which occurred on February 22.
Neither of the suspects’ identities has been released.
The Information gathered for this story has been supplied by Burbank Police Department’s Social Media accounts.
Owner of the popular local bar “Tony’s Darts Away” and founder of Golden Road Brewery, Tony Yanow is partnering with the City of Burbank to open a new restaurant and brewery at 10 W. Magnolia Blvd which will be called “Burbank Common.”
Located adjacent to the downtown Burbank Metrolink station, the project will involve the demolition of a 70,000 square-feet storage warehouse to be replaced with a restaurant, a craft beer pub, a roller derby rink, and possibly food carts. Space will be reduced to 33,000 square-feet to provide an outdoor recreation area. It is currently unknown how many restaurants the 2.4-acre site will include.
Burbank Common will utilize the 471 parking spaces located near the Metrolink station. Although more than half of the spaces are used by those riding the Metro during the day, it is hoped there will be enough room to accommodate customers in the evening.
“For intermittent larger events that will occur one to two times per month, it is anticipated that parking can be provided offsite in existing parking facilities in Downtown Burbank and a shuttle system could be employed to shuttle attendees to and from events,” said Ross Young, a project manager for Burbank.
To ensure that the Metrolink parking will not be overwhelmed, a “full parking study” will be conducted during the environmental review process.
Although the city will retain ownership of the property, Yanow will operate Burbank Common with his restaurant group, the Artisanal Brewers Collective.
“His company has the resources and experience to independently build and operate the facility and they are proposing to incorporate features that would provide significant community-wide benefits,” said Young.
“If approved by the City Council, the proposed project would have a number of benefits for the City. The project would also provide a much-needed event center which would complement the existing businesses and hotels in Downtown Burbank and throughout the City by attracting outside visitors to Burbank.”
In 2008, the city attempted to demolish the same warehouse but could not receive support from City Council due to the high cost. The warehouse which was formally owned by AmeriCold has six-feet thick cement walls that make it difficult to demolish. From 2011 to 2016, the property was controlled by a different redevelopment agency.
“From a fiscal standpoint, the project would facilitate over $10 million in private sector investment, while creating jobs, boosting tourism, and increasing the City’s tax base,” said Young.
Burbank Common is currently going through its environmental analysis and “community outreach phase.” The project is expected to be presented to the Burbank Planning Board and City Council before September.
Santa with the help of volunteers from Burbank Parks & Recreation stopped by the Burbank Town Center for a long tradition of Breakfast with Santa. Santa was joined by Mrs. Claus and read stories to the kids in attendance.
Here is a photo gallery of the event: ( Click on any picture to see it larger.)