Burbank Float Wins Mayor Award

First published in the Jan. 8 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank Tournament of Roses Association brought home the Mayor Award for its Rose Parade float on Jan. 1. The honor, which Burbank also received in 2012, is given to the most outstanding city entry. The float, titled “An Unlikely Tale,” displays a green dragon and a young knight reading a book together. Volunteers celebrated their return to the parade after it was canceled in 2021 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Nonprofit Seeks to Elevate Community

First published in the Jan. 1 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The first time Elevate Burbank attended Magnolia Park Night Out, the organization came with goats.
It was an effective strategy, the nonprofit’s board President Linda Bessin said in a recent interview. Though Elevate Burbank was officially founded in March 2021, the group’s first outing was in October, when members set up a tent during the monthly event that draws crowds looking for live entertainment and small businesses to the neighborhood. It seemed like a good venue to introduce Elevate Burbank, which Bessin said aims to promote diversity and foster closer connections between community members.
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DEI Consultant Welcomes Her Newest Challenge

First published in the Dec. 11 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

When the Burbank school district’s Board of Education approved the hiring of Stefani McCoy as a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consultant in October, it was well past 11 p.m.
“She’s still here. It is late. Welcome, welcome, welcome,” board member Emily Weisberg said prior to the approval of McCoy’s hire.
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City Has Starring Role in ‘Zip Code’ Play

First published in the Nov. 27 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The city of Burbank takes center stage in a new fiction podcast episode, written by a resident, set in a small sound studio.
The episode, subtitled “True Sound,” is part of Antaeus Theatre Company’s third season of its “The Zip Code Plays: Los Angeles” series. Launched during the pandemic, the series invokes the radio plays of the past as well as more modern fiction podcasts. “Zip Code” episodes center around the culture of L.A.-area neighborhoods.
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Rose Parade Float Close to Completion

First published in the Nov. 27 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Jon Reeves is building a dragon.
Late at night, he and between six and a dozen people gather in a warehouse at the Burbank Water and Power yard. For hours, they weld steel, carve foam and install electronics, building the 25-foot-tall beast in preparation for New Year’s Day.
That morning, millions of people will watch as the dragon glides down Orange Grove Boulevard as part of the 2022 Rose Parade.
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Veterans Honored at City Ceremony

First published in the Nov. 13 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Partway through her rendition of the national anthem, performing in front of a Veterans Day crowd, singer Heidi-Marie Ferren suddenly found herself struggling to keep up the melody. Her heart, she later explained, overcame her voice.
But while her words dwindled, the crowd pressed on. Dozens of Burbank officials, veterans and other community members gathered at McCambridge Park for Thursday’s event, kept singing. Ferren quickly recovered, joining the rest in the anthem.
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Burroughs on Broadway: Up Close and in Person Again

First published in the Oct. 16 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

When an artist is performing in front of a live audience, Jennifer Strattan explained, something tangible arises — an interactivity and energy that are absent during a recorded or online-only show.
The same is true, the Burroughs on Broadway director added, when working with her students. After months of virtual classes, virtual practices and virtual performances, Strattan and her John Burroughs High School choir members returned this year to in-person interaction. She didn’t expect to be so emotional when she reunited with them, she said in an interview, but seeing and feeling their energy as they rehearsed was far more impactful than the myriad Zoom meetings.
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‘Sister Cities’ Program Opens Applications for Japan Trip

The Burbank Sister City Committee has opened applications for resident high school students who are interested to join a group traveling to Ota, Japan, in summer 2022.
Although the 2020 Ota trip was canceled due to the pandemic, several students who were selected for the trip are still planning to travel in 2022 with additional spaces available for students to join the trip. The deadline for student applications is Oct. 15. Continue reading “‘Sister Cities’ Program Opens Applications for Japan Trip”

Battling NorCal Blazes, Local Firefighters Expand Skills

First published in the Sept. 11 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

In his 24 years with the Burbank Fire Department, Capt. James Moye has battled all sorts of blazes and relied on proven techniques to put them out. Even when he and a strike team of firefighters were summoned to help combat the Monument and Caldor wildfires last month, he said, the approach was largely the same.
What he wasn’t used to were the trees. In Northern California, where several devastating fires have scorched forests and forced people to evacuate their homes, charred trees presented a unique danger. Moye, who recently returned to Burbank with his team, said he heard them fall to the ground throughout the day and night. Continue reading “Battling NorCal Blazes, Local Firefighters Expand Skills”

Saint Finbar School Ushers in New Class, Principal

First published in the Sept. 4 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Students, parents and staff at Saint Finbar Parish School greeted each other on the first day of class last week with a new principal overseeing the Catholic school this year.
The Notre Dame High School marching band and cheerleading team welcomed visitors during the back-to-school event on Aug. 25.
Rosselle Azar, who was announced as the elementary school’s principal earlier this year, worked with teachers and staff members to coordinate the festivities after an extended period of distance learning. Continue reading “Saint Finbar School Ushers in New Class, Principal”