Tag Archives: community

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.

Burbank Town Center Remodel Nearly Complete

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.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

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.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“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.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

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.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

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.

Community Spotlight – Universal Service Station

We here at myBurbank News feel it’s always a treat to get to know the small business owners that call Burbank home. This week, we talked to Jesse Clark of Universal Service Station, located at 2005 N Glenoaks Blvd. Universal Service Station acts as a gas station, convenience store, car wash, concierge services, and an auto-repair shop.

Without further ado, let’s get to know Jesse!

How long have you been operating in Burbank?

The mechanic and gas station have been open since 2011. We took ownership in early 2011 and shut it down for remodeling and getting it up to code. We reopened in late 2011. 

What drew you and your business to Burbank? 

I kinda fell into it and took a liking to it. I was on the westside for so long, ended up in Burbank in a roundabout way and made it my home. Burbank is such a different world. That’s what attracts me

 to the city. And safety. I’m raising a little girl and I’d rather her be here than in Venice. 

We’ve made the city sort of our own community here. A lot of the people I know I’ve gotten to know over the years. It’s cool to walk around Burbank and hear, “Hey! It’s Gas Station Guy!”

Speaking of the people, what’s your favorite thing about the city and/or its people?

The city is warm. I mean, to put it like that, there’s warm and cold to me. In Venice and in the westside, it was just so populated and so busy. This is a little slower paced and warmer people. You get the time to know them instead of a rush-rush. Since I’m here all the time, I’ve gotten the luxury of meeting a lot of cool people from here. And there are a lot of cool people in Burbank. 

How difficult would say owning a small business in Burbank is? 

It’s my first business venture. Everyday is a challenge. It’s always evolving, and if I don’t figure out ways to evolve, then we fall behind, and I don’t want to do that. We have added, and will continue to add different services, which is also fun. It’s a learning process, a growing process, and a catering process because I like to cater to my clients. 

What did you do before this? 

I managed a Jaguar, BMW, Landrover Auto-Repair Shop for many years. I was a service-advisor, manager, car washer, parts order – just everything. Every hat, I wore it. I still do that because it’s just in my nature. 

Does you past experience make this position a little more appealing? You’re essentially doing the same things, but now its your own.

Well it is my own. And it’s not just my own. It’s our family business. My wife, my sister-in-law, my step-son, my nephews, everyone is a help and a contributer to our family business. The auto-repair is second nature to me. Knowing the ins and outs of that made for a relatively easy transition. Never had dealt with gas before as a gas station – that’s…interesting. Gas is an interesting business.

Managing the convenience store is always strange to me. It’s quite a menagerie, and I like that. I like being able to offer whatever I can of good quality. I don’t want to stretch myself too thin and do anything low-quality. I haven’t done that and I don’t see that happening. I love it when people are like, “Best experience at an auto-repair shop ever” or “Best car wash ever” or “Did you just paint that car?” I have to tell them, “No, it’s a ten-year-old car, I just gave it some love!”

I saw you were started a Breast Cancer Awareness promotion. Could you elaborate on that? 

Yeah, it was an idea for a pink car wash. I want to donate to cancer research. I just saw that Julia Louis-Dreyfus posted today that she has breast cancer, and that should gain some some more eyes and donations out of people’s kindness in their hearts. But for me, I want to do something as well. I’m doing pink snow-foam car washes, which not only look cool, but it cleans well. All for a good cause. We’re going to tally up the amount of washes we do and donate it at the end of the month. 

 

You can find Jesse and his crew at Universal Service station, located at 2005 N Glenoaks Blvd Burbank, CA 91504. To read more about his business and his clients, you can visit his Yelp page here.

If you have any recommendations on who myBurbank News should feature for the next Community Spotlight, comment down below or tweet using the hashtag #CSmyBurbank!

Thanks for reading!

Jefferson Students Show Their Support for Sandy Hook

Riley Young and his father Ryan get a little help from Burbank Police Officer Angela Burrows, on making a snow flake. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

One week after the horrific events that unfolded at Sandy Hook Elementary School, over 150 students, parents, and community members gathered in front of Jefferson Elementary School to make cutout snow flakes and observe a moment of silence. PTA groups across the nation are putting events such as this one together to show support for the families and children from the small Connecticut community of Newtown. They hope to send boxes of cutout snow flakes to decorate the new classrooms when the children return from winter break.

Jefferson’s gathering had students, parents, police oficers, school officials, and city and school district administrators in attendance.  They all helped make snow flakes.  Some blew liquid bubbles, remembering the 26 who perished including 20 first graders.

 The students who participated in the event came on their own time.  Friday was te first day of winter break for Burbak Schools, and a furlough day for teachers.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Police Officers Adam Adler with Vice Mayor Emily Gabal Luddy, and Lt. John Dilbert.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Police to Hold Community Academies in English, Spanish and Armenian

The Burbank Police Department conducts a community academy twice a year for those who live or work in the City of Burbank. This fall, we are looking to have three separate academies, one in English, one in Spanish, and one in Armenian.

These academies are a terrific opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at the Burbank Police Department.

For eleven weeks, participants learn from the officers who actually work in the various bureaus and assignments of the Burbank Police Department. Presentations include topics such as the criminal justice system, the police hiring process, training, traffic control, patrol, detectives, air support, the Special Weapons and Tactics team, police K-9s, and much more. Participants who graduate from the community academy may be eligible to become a Burbank Police Department volunteer.

The fall academies begin on Wednesday, September 5th, and conclude on November 14th, 2012. Space is limited. Applying early is recommended.

Meetings take place at 6:30 p.m., at the Burbank Police Station, and conclude at approximately 8:30 p.m. There is no charge for the community academy.

Applicants are subject to a background check.

Applications may be picked up at the police department and should be returned no later than August 29th, 2012.

Muir Middle School Invites Neighbors to National Night Out Festivities

On Tuesday, August 7 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 pm, John Muir Middle School will be participating in National Night Out (NNO) in partnership with the Burbank Police Department. NNO is an annual event designed to strengthen communities by encouraging neighborhoods to engage in stronger relationships with each other and with their local law enforcement partners.

In the spirit of National Night Out, Muir is reaching out to its neighbors to develop a collaborative relationship so that they can assist one another in creating a great school and neighborhood for all.

John Muir Middle School will be having a free hot dog roast, complete with chips, drinks, and popsicles. The event itself is very informal and functions more like a block party than a meeting with a set program. Community members can drop in anytime and meet their neighbors and the Muir team pick up information on how Muir can help you with school-related concerns, and have fun and a free dinner. Should you have any questions please contact the school at 818-558-5320.

Yvette Herrera to Join Burbank Community YMCA

Former board member and past board chair Yvette Herrera is joining the staff of one of Burbank’s leading and oldest non-profit organizations, the Burbank Community YMCA, as Director of

Yvette Herrera

Philanthropy and Community Engagement. Herrera, a resident of Burbank for over 20 years, is the founder of HT Group, a boutique consulting firm that provided strategic marketing to nonprofit organizations and businesses for the past 10 years.

Asked why she is giving up her consulting practice to work for a community agency, Herrera said, “Dedicating my professional efforts to the YMCA extends the volunteer work I have been doing for years. I believe that the Y, its mission, solid reputation and extensive reach, is uniquely situated to mobilize community caring, activism and ownership. We can create new partnerships with people and organizations who believe, like I do, that the YMCA can help make Burbank an even better place to live, work and raise our children.”

The Y’s Chief Executive Officer, JC Holt expressed his perspective on hiring Herrera as a “terrific result to an extensive search”. He continued, “As you might imagine in today’s job environment, we attracted qualified candidates from as far away as New York. I could not be happier with the outcome. Yvette’s skill set, organization knowledge and long-time community engagement in Burbank make this a perfect fit for the Burbank Y.”