County’s Coronavirus Statistics Fuel New Hope for Reopenings

Los Angeles County is moving in the right direction when it comes to lowering COVID-19 transmission, a trend that bodes well for local economies that have been decimated by the pandemic.
“We have made a lot of progress reducing transmission in L.A. County since we experienced that surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths starting in mid-July,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said at a news conference on Wednesday. “As we consider our future reopenings, we’re going to use the lessons we learn from our past and community transmission indicators to guide decisions regarding reopening sectors and permitting additional services.”

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City to Consider Offering Utility Bill Credits

Burbank Water and Power will propose to the City Council a $1.5 million program that would help residents laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic pay their electric bills.
The potential program suggests that the utility dedicate part of its public benefits fund to give electric bill credits to local residents who are on unemployment insurance. The council is expected to decide whether to OK the program and may give direction regarding some details, including the size of the credits, during its Tuesday meeting.
The amount owed for city utility services recently has increased, according to a staff report the council is scheduled to review on Tuesday, jumping from just under $1 million overall to about $4.8 million. About 2,200 users have had past-due accounts for 91 days or more.
“BWP really understands that people are making some really tough choices right now,” Joe Flores, marketing manager for the utility, said in a phone interview. “Especially if you’re not receiving any type of income and if you are on unemployment insurance, you have to make some pretty tough choices about what bills [you’re] able to pay.

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Verdugo Park Gym to Get New Floor

Nearly 60 years after its construction, a Burbank basketball court that hosted TV stars and professional athletes is receiving a replacement floor.
The court has served as a location for basketball and volleyball games, school dances, day camps and other activities since the Verdugo Park Recreation Center was built in 1961. But over decades of use, the floor’s quality deteriorated, developing “dead spots” where basketballs tended to have less of a bounce.
The project, which started Aug. 26, is expected to be completed on Oct. 7, though residents may not be able to see the new surface for a while since most activities at the recreation center are shut down due to Los Angeles County and California health guidelines.

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Burbank Sees Uptick in Thefts, Minor Crime Increase Overall

Thefts in Burbank rose by about 23% from July to August, according to recently published data from the Police Department, though crime reports overall increased by a smaller margin.
The hike in thefts contributed to a rise in Burbank’s reported Part I offenses, also known as index crimes for their common usage as statistical indicators by law enforcement, from 203 in July to 214 in August. However, crime reports from January to August this year are still the lowest they have been since the same period in 2013.
After seeing a steady fall for two months, theft reports jumped from 130 in July to 160 in August. The number of some violent crimes also fell; there were no murders or rapes reported in August — compared with one murder and five rapes reported in July — though robberies and aggravated assaults rose by two each.

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Though Airport’s Traffic Lags, Finances Relatively Steady

Photo by Christian Leonard / Glendale News-Press
The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority voted this week to purchase a new firefighting vehicle with federal grants. Hollywood Burbank Airport, which the authority oversees, continues to struggle with low passenger counts.

Hollywood Burbank Airport, like similar facilities across the nation that have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to see a drastic drop in passengers compared with last year’s traffic, airport officials said this week.
Staff from the airport told Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority commissioners on Monday that passenger numbers of about 110,500 for July 2020 — the most recent figures available — showed a 79.6% plummet from July 2019’s total of nearly 542,000.
About 1,875,000 fewer passengers have traveled through the airport from January to July this year compared with the same period last year, according to officials, a drop of more than 57%.

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Closed Restaurants Call on Residents to Support Local Eateries

The “animator room,” featuring drawings from cartoon artists stopping by Moore’s Deli for a bite, brought customers from across the United States. But after the coronavirus pandemic hit, the restaurant’s owner was forced to close his business permanently.

“I’m going to do everything that I can in the next couple of weeks to keep us afloat. But I don’t see us going much longer.”
That’s what Chris Applegate remembers telling his employees this summer. Despite the economic weight the coronavirus pandemic had dropped on his restaurant, the Backstage Cafe, he had hoped that it would have “one great day” that would get it through the week, and then another that would get it through the next week.
“But,” he said in a phone interview, “in the end, it just didn’t happen.”

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City Council Backs Fine to Enforce Mask Rules

After weeks of pressure from some residents — and a bit of backlash from others — the Burbank City Council directed municipal staff members to create a fine enforcing face covering guidelines.
The staff still needs to draft an order that the city manager will give, but it will be shaped according to directions the council gave on Tuesday. Notably, the order will not be administered by the Burbank Police Department, something the agency strongly opposed when the matter was raised at previous meetings.

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Parents Irritated Over Construction Delay at Disney Elementary

Parents showed their vexation to Burbank Unified School District officials over yet another delay of the Walt Disney Elementary School modernization project during a virtual Governing Board meeting on Thursday, asking staff and board members for answers and to not keep its stakeholders in the dark.
“I’m grateful to everyone for every single sleepless hour that has gone into thinking, creating, planning and executing our current education plan,” an emotional parent told the board. “What I would like to ask tonight is that the same passion, drive, perseverance and take-charge attitude be used to get the construction started and completed at Disney Elementary.

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Nonprofit to Host Drive-Thru Scares for Fundraising

Photo courtesy BCR
“A Place to Grow” performers pose at their set for BCR’s “A Place to Scare” event last year. The nonprofit plans to hold a similar event outdoors this October.

A local nonprofit organization will put on its first drive-thru Halloween event in mid- and late October, hoping to give visitors a fun, socially distanced experience while raising money for its operations.
BCR: A Place to Grow, which offers programs for children and adults who have developmental or intellectual disabilities, will host the event in its parking lot on the weekend nights of Oct. 16-18 and 23-25. The “Cursed Creek” drive-thru haunt is open to all, according to nonprofit representatives, who will request a $20 donation from vehicles looking to participate.

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Minimize Exposure to Wildfire Smoke, Doctors Advise

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
A smoky haze from the nearby Bobcat Fire dwindles over the Verdugo Mountains. Some experts are warning that air quality could become potentially hazardous.

With smoke from the Bobcat Fire continuing to billow into communities throughout Burbank and the rest of the San Fernando Valley, health experts are warning residents to limit their time spent outdoors.
The Bobcat Fire, which began in the Angeles National Forest on Sept. 6, burned more than 60,000 acres, with 15% containment, as of Friday morning. The wildfire, whose cause remains under investigation, previously prompted evacuation orders for parts of Arcadia and Sierra Madre. Evacuation warnings also have been issued for parts of Pasadena, Monrovia and Altadena.

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