Tag Archives: Christmas

50 Burbank Pets Get Into the Holiday Spirit

We asked on Twitter to show off your pets on Christmas Day.  We were going to pick the top two or three to show off to everyone.  We had a problem, 50 pets all tied at number 1!. One pet did not qualify, but he was cool with it, he has the home court advantage after all.

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to send in your pictures!

Here they are, click on any image for a larger picture


Burbank Bike Angels Celebrate 10 Years of Restoring Bikes

On Tuesday, December 18, the Burbank Bike Angels celebrated their tenth Christmas, displaying restored bikes on the steps of Burbank City Hall, located at 275 E. Olive Ave. 

(Photo By Timothy Malby)

Every year, the Bike Angels volunteer their time to restore used bicycles to provide for kids who come from less fortunate households.

The program has expanded over the years, supplying over 200 bikes every holiday season through various local non-profits, such as the Salvation Army, Family Service Agency, the Boys and Girls Club, and Penny Lane. Partnering with the Burbank Police Officers Association has provided new bike helmets, encouraging safety throughout the community. With the help of the Fire Department, bikes are transported around town.

Elaine Pease, Director of the Burbank Bike Angels, recounted the story of when she started the program a decade ago. Originally, the program only restored a few bikes at a time.

(Photo By Timothy Malby)

“Ten years ago, around Christmastime, there were a few tags left on the Salvation Army Christmas tree and they were for bikes. It happened to be at a time when the economy was very bad, and I thought these poor kids will never get bikes,” said Pease.

“I knew some people who could fix bikes, if I could get used ones we could fix them up and make them look nice. The idea just took off, and every year we got requests for more and more.”

Several volunteers were in attendance as City Council members voiced their appreciation for the selfless work of those involved with the program.

“About 8 years ago, the Bike Angels sent out a flyer to my middle school and I thought it might be fun,” said Alexander deCruz, a volunteer. “I started showing up, and learned how to clean bikes and repair them. I’ve met so many great people. I’ve been coming back ever since.”

(Photo By Timothy Malby)

Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, who has been in City Council since the Bike Angels began, is grateful such a group exists in the community.

“It is one of those events that bring a lot of our community together in support of kids who otherwise don’t have any opportunity to get a bicycle,” said Mayor Gabel-Luddy.

“If there’s one thing I can say about Burbank, it’s that when folks hold together, that is the reward to everyone who lives here, that brings a smile to a child’s face.”

Throughout their 10 years, the Bike Angels have restored more than 1,700 bicycles.

On Friday, December 21, the Bike Angels will be at the Burbank Salvation Army from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to give away the refurbished bikes.

The non-profit group is always accepting new volunteers to help clean formerly owned bikes and pump tires. More information can be found at the Bike Angels’ Facebook page.

Mayor Gabel-Luddy Honors Andre’s Martial Arts

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.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

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.

Taylor Martinez (10) earned an orange belt with a green stripe. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

“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.”

(Photo by Ross A Benson)


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.

Porch Package Thief Arrested

On December 14 at 6:25 pm, Burbank Police responded to reports of a suspicious man who appeared to be eyeing vehicles to potentially break into at the 4200 block of Woodland Ave. Police soon arrested the Los Angeles man after discovering he was in possession of two packages stolen from a home on the 4400 block of Woodland Ave.

When police arrived on the scene, they detained a man who matched the description from a witness. He was later identified as Daronne Davis, a 33-year-old man from Los Angeles.

Davis wore a backpack, which he gave officers permission to search. The backpack contained the two packages he stole, which were addressed to a house living on the 4400 block. When questioned, Davis immediately confessed he had stolen the packages only fifteen minutes prior to their arrival.

Following the arrest, police contacted the resident who owned the packages. It was confirmed that they were stolen from the house’s front porch.

Davis was arrested for possession of stolen property and was placed in Burbank City Jail. He has since been released, and will be in court on January 8, 2018.

The Burbank Police Department wants to raise awareness of such thefts being a possibility throughout this holiday season, urging people to take precautions.

“The holiday season means an increase in package deliveries. It is not uncommon for packages to be delivered late in the evening, during darkness… If you’re expecting a package, try to be home to accept it or make arrangements to have it delivered at a time when someone is home,” stated Sgt. Derek Green in a press release.

“You should also require a signature for packages, especially those that contain valuable items.”

Burbank Gets into the Holiday Spirit

During the holiday season in Burbank, nothing can be certain, except for traffic around the Empire Center, the Town Center, and holiday attractions the whole family can enjoy.

As many residents know, an assortment of holiday decorations has gone up in the city, including wreaths above some of Burbank’s busiest streets. The city is just coming off of Holiday in the Park, which your go-to news source happily attended. Next up in the holiday festivities is the Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony.

The Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony is a special event every year. The lighting ceremony takes place on the steps of City Hall and everyone is invited. The event is scheduled to begin at 6:00 PM, and will run until 6:30 PM on Saturday, December 2nd. You can read the official description of the event below:

“Join Santa and special guests on Saturday, December 2nd, for a magical night in front of Burbank City Hall.  The festivities will begin at 6:00 PM as we usher in the Sounds of the Season with performances from the RC Kickettes and The Muses from John Burroughs High School. After the ceremony guests are invited to visit with Santa, write a letter to our U.S. troops, and enjoy holiday music.”

If you’re interested in attending the event, make sure to arrive early as parking around Orange Grove and Third Street is limited.

Speaking of the limited parking spaces along Orange Grove and Third Street, the parking lot is scheduled to close in order to make way for The Rink in Downtown. Along with the annual tree lighting ceremony, a more popular attraction remains to be the Ice Rink that goes up every holiday season. This year, the Rink is scheduled to open December 14 and will run until January 7, 2018.

During the entirety of the event, residents of Burbank can expect fundraising events, special performances, and holiday music. You can read the official description below:

Located in the heart of Downtown Burbank and just steps from San Fernando Boulevard, The Rink will provide a festive getaway for customers, employees and families out for seasonal fun Thursday, December 14, 2017, through Sunday, January 7, 2018. Themed entertainment, twinkling lights, and joyful music will add to the holiday spirit. Before or after a 90 minute session, skaters are invited to explore hundreds of shops and eateries. The Rink in Downtown Burbank is located next to Burbank City Hall at the corner of Third Street and Orange Grove Avenue.”

As an added bonus, Burbank residents are eligible to receive a free skate rental and $10 admission for the day, 10:00AM-10:00PM. The rink’s hours are as follows:

Open Daily from Dec. 14, 2017- Jan. 7, 2018

Sunday through Thursday 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Friday and Saturday 10:00 AM – 11:30 PM

TubaChristmas Invites Burbank to Get into the Holiday Spirit

On Sunday, December 3, ‘Merry TubaChristmas’ will hold their annual musical concert at  Hall of Liberty, located at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90068. The Hall seats 1,200 people and is free to the public. This concert has been played every holiday season for the last 41 years and is comprised of hundreds of musicians playing the tuba and the baritone/euphonium. 

The event will feature numerous holiday-themed music, including Christmas carols and some Hanukah songs. Audience members are encouraged to sing along and will be treated to a visit by Santa himself. The event’s conductor, Scott Wilkinson, is in his seventh year of conducting. Wilkinson has been attending and participating in the event for 40 years. “I just love tuba,” said Wilkinson, “I love being around tuba players, they’re a fun lot, a lot of comradery, and I enjoy being a member of that family.”

TubaChristmas was created by tubist Harvey Phillips in 1974. The event was meant as a tribute to the late tuba artist and teacher, William J. Bell, who happened to be born on Christmas Day, 1902. The first TubaChristmas was held in New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink in 1974.

While the event may seem big, Wilkinson, Cheryl McMillan, and a small group of people mostly made up of local Burbank residents, organize the concert. The planning phase often takes months of work and planning.  While there are TubaChristmas concerts all around the world, Wilkinson’s LA show is unique as it features high-level professionals and Hanukah-themed music.cheryl

Wilkinson also has 40 years of experience as a professional musician and has had the opportunity to be a part of ensembles such as the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, I Cantori, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the Flying Karamazov Brothers, and Rakia. 

Other special guests include USC Thornton School of Music Professor Jim Self, who provided music for films such as, Airplane!, Poltergeist, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, War of the Worlds, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Also playing will be The Tubadours and Self’s USC Tuba Quartet. This year marks the 6th year of the USC Quartet’s involvement and they will have a featured number at the start of the show. 

As for what songs get featured in the show, Wilkinson explains that there is a basic book of music with 35 songs in it that every TubaChristmas concert uses, to ensure that any musician can play at any TubaChristmas event, no matter the location. From there, Wilkinson narrows down the setlist and curates it according to the talent he has at his disposal.

After the event, Wilkinson is always left with a feeling a gratitude. “Fun for me is seeing all of the tuba players having fun,” Wilkinson said, “I get a lot of calls from TubaChristmas players saying they can’t wait.”

For Wilkinson and others, TubaChristmas is not just a holiday event. It is also meant to provide a spark of inspiration for anyone interested in learning a musical instrument. Students who participate get a chance to sit next to and perform with high-level professionals from the LA Philharmonic. With this opportunity, Wilkinson hopes that “students will better themselves and maybe practice an extra hour.” The event is especially meaningful as it also contains one family’s three generations of musicians (Otis, Jeff, and Dylan).

If any tuba players are interested in joining the event, no matter your skill level, you are encouraged to contact Scott Wilkinson at TubaChristmasLA@gmail.com.

Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign Begins

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

On November 20, the Salvation Army’s Burbank Corps continued their annual Christmas fundraiser known as the “Red Kettle Campaign,” which raises money for the poor and homeless, among others who are often neglected during the holiday season.

Red kettles have been placed in 13 locations throughout Burbank to collect donations until Christmas Eve when funds will be distributed. The kettles can be found outside all four Ralph’s, Vons on Pass Ave., Pavilions, Hobby Lobby, Handy Market, and inside the parking lot of Macy’s.

“The economy has made it a rough year for many families, and we’ve seen it firsthand in the numbers of people coming to us for help,” said Lt. Jeremy Baker.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“It’s especially hard during the holiday season, with people losing their jobs, their homes and not knowing how they will provide for their families. That’s when The Salvation Army steps in to help. But to keep pace with the need, we must rely on generous people in our community to open their hearts with a donation to help their struggling neighbors.”

This year, the Red Kettle Campaign is centered around the theme, “I’ll Fight for Good,” highlighting the individual effort that goes into positively impacting the community.

The Salvation Army’s Burbank Corps anticipates raising $70,000 which will fund local programs and services, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for those who won’t be able to celebrate on their own. Other donations will fund the Burbank Corps’ after-school program which engages with local youth.

A press release from the Salvation Army suggests that those who are interested in volunteering this holiday season should visit burbank.salvationarmy.org or contact Lt. Brittany Baker at 818-845-7214.

Councilman Bob Frutos and BPD Honored at Luncheon

On the morning of November 3, the Burbank Coordinating Council hosted their second annual luncheon at Burbank Presbyterian Church, in which City Councilman Bob Frutos was honored along with the Burbank Police Department. 

During the luncheon, funds were collected for holiday baskets to donate to needy families. Last year, they collected enough to donate over 500 baskets, and they hope to give even more this Christmas season.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“The selfless efforts and generosity of the honorees give us an outstanding example of the spirit of generosity that made America strong — and that continues to thrive in Burbank,” said Marsha Ramos, MC for the event.

“Bob and the honorable men and women of the Burbank Police Department have dedicated their lives to public service seeking to protect and improve the lives of children and families in our community.”

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Councilman Frutos, a Burbank resident of 25 years, has dedicated his life to public service. Beginning at a young age as a police cadet and later becoming a police community liaison officer, he continues in retirement to serve as a reserve officer. Frutos has been on the Burbank City Council for six years, serving one year as mayor.

“He is a generous spirit that stands out, he attracts good, inspires many and seeks to unite us.  He generously offers his time, talent and treasure in support of many worthy causes such as youth and senior services, our public schools, and many community-based organizations and charitable efforts here in Burbank,” said Ramos.

Councilman Frutos was awarded the “Spirit of Giving Award” by the Khalifeh family, on behalf of the BCC. He then said a few words, humbly thanking the community.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

The BPD also received the same award this year. Following the BCC’s recognition of Frutos’ life-long communal service, Ramos spoke about the police department’s positive impact on Burbank residents.

“The men and women in our police department selflessly service the public with courage, honor, and excellence. From responses to residential house calls to the extraordinary coordination of efforts in response to the LA Tuna Fire, the commitment of BPD to preserve life and property is demonstrated every day, 24-7 and an utmost professional way.”

Throughout the year, the BPD is involved with several programs to grow in their interactions with the community. Around Christmastime, officers make phone calls to schedule holiday basket deliveries, collecting food among other gifts, and giving the baskets to families in-person.

For 22 years, they have also participated in “Operation Chill,” a program that rewards kids with free 7-11 Slurpee coupons for good behavior and abiding by the law. Over 19 million coupons have been given out since the program began.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Ramos listed several other communal activities the BPD have put on, including “Shop With A Cop” and “Coffee With A Cop,” both allowing residents to spend time and have conversations with local law enforcement.

During this time of year, officers partner with the Salvation Army to provide Thanksgiving Meals to families who can’t afford to celebrate on their own. BPD has also raised funds for the Boys & Girls Club, Arts for All, and the National Police Officers Memorial.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“It has been said that a hero is someone who is selfless, who is generous in spirit, who gives as much as possible to help people. The men and women of The BPD fit the description, an exact match for this definition of a hero,” said Ramos.

A few of the sponsors who helped put on the luncheon include Capes4Cures, Cartoon Network, Burbank Water and Power, Burbank Federal Credit Union, and Handy Market.

Falcon Theatre Delights With “Walkin’ in a Winter One-Hit Wonderland”

Winter One-Hit-Wonderland-2-high-res

Photo By Chelsea Sutton

A few nights ago I went to see the annual holiday show at the Falcon Theatre. This year’s show was “Walkin’ in a Winter One-Hit Wonderland.”

The Troubadour Theater Company, made up of actors, musicians and comedians has performed annual holiday shows at the Falcon Theatre for over 10 years.

To me, there is nothing that says Christmas more than the Falcon Theatre. The Troubies always put on an excellent and captivating show. They are known for their witty dialogue, which masterfully incorporates current events, as well as their notorious use of breaking the fourth wall. The storylines are always clever, and often feature cameos by characters from past shows.

The Falcon Theatre holiday shows always incorporate a certain singer or band into their holiday storyline.

Past shows have included “The First Joel,” featuring Billy Joel songs, “A Christmas Carol King,” featuring Carole King songs and “A Charlie James Brown Christmas,” featuring James Brown songs.

This year, instead of focusing on the hits by one artist, the Troubies decided to use famous “one-hit wonders” as the featured music in the show. Selected songs from this year’s show included “Somebody That I Used To Know,” “I’m Too Sexy” and “Take On Me.”

This year’s show seemed to be even more amusing than past years. The actors were quite artful, performing jokes and adlibs with impeccable timing. Active audience participation, including dressing an audience member up in a Santa suit, made the show engaging and hilarious.

My family and I have gone to the Falcon Theatre’s holiday show for over five years now. The comedy is sharp and the music is captivating. Our holiday tradition would not be complete without the Troubies.

Make the Troubies part of your holiday tradition. “Walkin’ in a Winter One-Hit Wonderland” runs through Jan 19, 2014

Visit http://www.falcontheatre.com/winter_one_hit_wonderland.html for more information and to purchase tickets.

Heroes & Helpers Gives Kids Something Special for Christmas

Burbank Police Officers, Explorers, Cadets and Volunteers teamed up with Burbank Noon Rotary members at Target at the Empire Center Thursday evening and held this years"Heroes and Helpers". The kids were given gift cards and went through the store picking gifts for family members. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Police Officers, Explorers, Cadets and Volunteers teamed up with Burbank Noon Rotary members at Target at the Empire Center Thursday evening and held this years”Heroes and Helpers”. The kids were given gift cards and went through the store picking gifts for family members. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank’s Police Department, along with Target, the Burbank Noon Rotary, the Burbank Temporary Aid Center (BTAC), held their “Heroes & Helpers” for the Burbank Boys and Girls Club on December 19 at the Burbank’s Target.

Burbank Police Officers, Explorers, Cadets and Volunteers teamed up with Burbank Noon Rotary members at Target at the Empire Center Thursday evening and held this years"Heroes and Helpers". The kids were given gift cards and went through the store picking gifts for family members.Pictured are Burbank Noon Rotary Member Barry Gusow along with BPD Motor Officer Ryan Murphy with a couple of kids looking for the good deals.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

.Pictured are Burbank Noon Rotary Member Barry Gussow along with BPD Motor Officer Ryan Murphy with a couple of kids looking for the good deals.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Target, BTAC, and the Burbank Noon Rotary provided funds for 30 less-fortunate kids from the  Burbank Boys and Girls Club to go Christmas shopping. Each child was presented $100.00 in gift cards to spend on whomever they wanted, for whatever they wanted for Christmas.

Burbank Police Officers, Cadets, and Explorers, and Noon Rotarians, played Santa’s helpers as they assisted the children with their shopping. With gift cards in hand, the youngsters bought gifts for not only themselves, but also for members of their family, with little prodding from police personnel.

After the shopping experience, the kids were transported to the Burbank Police station, where they joined their families and were treated to an Italian dinner and dessert provided by Ciao Cristina.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Police Officers, Explorers, Cadets and Volunteers teamed up with Burbank Noon Rotary members at Target at the Empire Center Thursday evening and held this years"Heroes and Helpers". The kids were given gift cards and went through the store picking gifts for family members.Pictured is Police Cadat Magdalena Bautista with a group heading for the toy isles. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Police Officers, Explorers, Cadets and Volunteers teamed up with Burbank Noon Rotary members at Target at the Empire Center Thursday evening and held this years"Heroes and Helpers". The kids were given gift cards and went through the store picking gifts for family members, with the help of Burbank's true Hero's. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)