‘The Energy is Back’ on BUSD Campuses, Superintendent Says

Photo by Oscar Areliz / Burbank Leader
Alex Ramos (left) and his son Landon are greeted by a Miller Elementary employee on Monday, the first day of in-person instruction since last March.

It was a long road to get there, but the Burbank Unified School District officially welcomed back students for limited in-person instruction at all grade levels on Monday.
The milestone attracted a television news van and media photographers, as well Board of Education President Steve Frintner, who had not visited any of the BUSD school sites since they shut down last March.
“We really did miss students and teachers,” said Frintner, who visited Joaquin Miller Elementary School on Monday. “As a board member, and my other board members would agree, one of the things we enjoy most of the position is being at the school and seeing the interaction between the students and teachers.”

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City to Consider Hazard Pay for Grocery Workers

The City Council will consider an ordinance next month that would temporarily raise the minimum wage for grocery and drug store workers.
City employees were tasked with providing options for the potential hazard pay, also commonly referred to as “hero pay,” during the council’s Tuesday meeting. Several California cities have enacted such pay increases, usually for grocery store workers, in recognition of the risk they face interacting with the public during the pandemic.
Following the council’s 3-2 approval, an ordinance will return to the panel for further discussion and a vote on May 4.

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Some Magnolia Park Residents Upset With Tinhorn Flats

Photos by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
A woman walking by Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill takes a picture of the restaurant, around which the city built a tall fence to prevent it from being operated until it regains the required permits.

Erik C. Andersen’s most recent visit to Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill was in 2019, when his company rented out the restaurant for a mixer. But that event may have marked the last time he’d ever visit.
Tinhorn Flats has been open recently, of course. Its defiance of coronavirus public health orders prohibiting in-person dining, and continued operations despite losing its permits and fighting the city and county in court, have garnered the restaurant national fame. Supporters both local and outside of Burbank have rallied to the eatery’s defense, seeing the city’s efforts to close it as government overreach.

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District Hosts Groundbreaking Ceremony for New Building

Photo courtesy BUSD
The Burbank Unified School District held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the upcoming construction of the new two-story modular building at Walt Disney Elementary School. Among those present for the celebration were Sharon Cuseo, Charlene Tabet, Superintendent Matt Hill, Board of Education President Steve Frintner, Disney Elementary Principal Molly Hwang, Larry Cross, Debbie Kukta and Peter Knapik.

After years of delays, construction will soon begin on the new two-story modular building at Walt Disney Elementary School and the Burbank Unified School District celebrated the milestone with a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday.
“Today is a monumental day for the Disney community as we are embarking on a new and highly anticipated chapter in our school’s history — the expansion of our school,” said Disney Elementary Principal Molly Hwang. “This beautiful building will provide solid structure for years to come while opening our footprint. This new construction will provide a place for teachers to bring out the best in our students, to inspire them with the love of learning and to create a space that provides a sense of community and belonging.”
The new building will have 10 classrooms, two of which will be used for special programs, according to BUSD Director of Facilities Larry Cross. It will also have “state-of-the-art internet and technology features,” a new elevator, and the playground and sports field will nearly double in size.

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Domestic Violence Reports Down, but Concerns Abound

Domestic violence incidents are trending downward, according to the Burbank Police Department. But some local organizations believe underreporting may be a cause.
There were 167 incidents in 2020, Lt. Eduardo Ruiz of the BPD said at a recent meeting of the Burbank Domestic Violence Task Force, a 16% decrease from the total of 199 in 2019. In 2018, he explained, there were 238 domestic violence incidents in Burbank.
This year through March, according to BPD data, there have been 46 domestic violence incidents, compared to 49 in 2020 and 67 in 2019 for the same period.
However, some members of the municipal task force — which convened for the first time in years on March 31 — expressed concern that the pandemic and related stay-at-home restrictions may be making it more difficult for those in an abusive relationship to contact police. Some reported that their organizations have received more domestic violence-related calls since the beginning of the pandemic.

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Jean Clovis Verville | Obituary

Jean Clovis Verville

Jean Clovis Verville: His life was well lived and he was well loved! The Lord called him home in a peaceful manner at home surrounded by family on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 in his 90th year.
This kind, loving, caring and wonderful man has left a permanent mark etched on our hearts and immensely missed by his wife and best friend of 68 years Jacqueline (Gaudette), his daughter Lynn Miller, son-in-law Stewart Miller, daughter Lisa Coad, and son-in-law Hal Coad.
Family was everything to Jean. He was proud and honored to be the patriarch, father, grandfather and great-grandfather to our close-knit family.

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Burroughs Moving Forward With New Mascot

After many months and many votes, John Burroughs High School’s Associated Student Body announced the bear will replace the Indian as its mascot.
More than 1,700 students participated in the process of selecting between a phoenix and a bear. The school will now move forward in designing a new logo.
ASB President Nadaly Jones spearheaded the movement early in the school year and most of her fellow ASB representatives supported her. Nearly two-thirds of the student body voted in favor of a change last December.
“ASB and I would like to thank everyone who participated in helping change the mascot,” Jones said during a Board of Education meeting on Thursday. “This important change would not have been possible without the support and involvement of many. Each of you played an important part in this monumental movement. We are so grateful that we have been able to help our student body’s voices be heard and help create the change they wanted to see. Go Bears!”

Family Promise ‘Rattles’ in Fundraiser at Starlight Bowl

Photos by David Laurell
Family Promise bestowed their 2021 Impact Award upon Charles “Chuck” Cusumano, who was joined by family members including his wife Tracy, and sister-in-law and brother Evelyn and Roger Cusumano.

This past week, Burbank’s Verdugo Mountains shook, rattled and rolled.
It wasn’t the type of shaking, rattling and rolling that had Burbakers dropping, covering, holding on, and then checking their phones for the epicenter and magnitude. Instead, it was the type that rocked the hills with the sound of music – specifically the music from the early days of rock ‘n’ roll.
While the Starlight Bowl has not hosted an evening of music since August of 2019 due to the pandemic, last week the city allowed the bowl’s parking lot to serve as the venue for a 1950s “drive-in” concert staged as a fundraiser for the Burbank-based Family Promise of the Verdugos, an organization committed to helping local homeless families achieve lasting independence.

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Burroughs Falls to Crescenta Valley

By Austin Green
Burbank Leader

Photo by Austin Green / Burbank Leader
Burroughs No. 1 Isabella Harris-Bermudez (right, foreground) hits a serve while teammate Isabella Munguia (left, background) gets ready to toss the ball for one of her own during the Indians’ match against Crescenta Valley on Thursday.

The John Burroughs girls’ tennis team had its record dip to 1-2 with a 13-5 loss to league rival Crescenta Valley High School of La Crescenta on Thursday afternoon.
For Burroughs, No. 1 singles player Isabella Harris-Bermudez bounced back nicely after dropping her first set, winning her next two 6-2, 6-2 to finish the day at 2-1. No. 2 Isabella Munguia and No. 3 Lauren Pieri each won one set apiece. Munguia went 0-6, 3-6, 6-3 on the day while Pieri went 0-6, 3-6, 6-1.
But the Indians struggled in doubles, winning just one of their nine sets as No. 2 Kelli Brahms and Vanessa Muga beat their CV counterparts 6-3. Brahams and Muga dropped their other set 2-6. No. 1 duo Elane Shane and Kaitlyn Glaim lost their only set of the day 3-6 and Kyrsten Tyler and Nicole Concepcion lost their two sets 2-6, 0-6. No. 3 team Madison Safarik and Valerie Lentine got swept 0-6, 6-7, 6-2, while Ava Marye and Meagan Voh lost their only set 1-6.

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Burbank Edged by Glendale in Girls’ Tennis

By Austin Green
Burbank Leader

Photo by Austin Green / Burbank Leader Burbank’s Molly Foenander (right) returns a serve while doubles partner Ellen Petrosyan (left) stays ready near the net during the Bulldogs’ 10-8 loss to Glendale.

After a nearly 18-month layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Glendale and Burbank high schools’ girls tennis teams recently opened the season at Glendale, taking to the courts for the first time. The host Nitros secured a 10-8 win in their first match under new head coach Jim Jenks, who took over from Tom Gossard after the 2019 season.
“It was great to get out and get the girls moving again. I think they needed it, I needed it and we’re all excited to be out here once again,” Jenks said.
Glendale welcomed a limited number of family members, all masked and distanced throughout the school’s six tennis courts, to cheer on players from both teams. Coaches mingled with parents — many of whom had never met the coaches in person, especially in Jenks’ case — and instructed players during between-match breaks. Players shared encouragement or consolation with their teammates.

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