Smoke House Celebrates 75 Years With Hollywood Stars

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

It was an emotional evening for Smoke House owner Marti Spencer as the venerable restaurant celebrated its 75th anniversary by throwing a gala party last Tuesday night.
Hosted by former KNBC-4 weatherman Fritz Coleman, the evening saw the legendary eatery packed with longtime regulars, notables from the entertainment world and local political dignitaries who came out to celebrate the three-quarters-of-a-century milestone with Spencer and her staff.
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Burbank Actress Makes Her Mark With ‘La Brea’

First published in the Oct. 9 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

As a young girl, in the bedroom of her parent’s home in the Magnolia Park section of Burbank, Veronica St. Clair would lay on her bed and dream of becoming an actress.
That dream became stronger as each year passed, and during her time at Roosevelt Elementary School, Jordan Middle School (now Huerta Middle School) and John Burroughs High School, she began honing her dramatic skills in variety shows, talent shows and show choir.
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Local Kiwanis Club, With New President, Celebrates 100 Years

First published in the Oct. 2 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Let’s step back in time about 100 years to when President Warren G. Harding made the first presidential radio address, ribbons were cut for the opening seasons of the Rose Bowl and the Hollywood Bowl, and actress and television personality Betty White was born.
In Burbank, a transport from Graysville, Ohio, named James Crawford as the city’s fifth mayor, and a charter was issued for Burbank’s first service club: The Kiwanis Club of Burbank.
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Campaign Raises Funds for Saint Joseph’s New Facility

First published in the Sept. 25 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Photos by David Laurell/Burbank Leader Enjoying a beautiful evening of fundraising are Dr. Celina Barba-Simic (from left), Dr. David Sato, and Walter and Bonnie Hill.

Icon Blue Founder Walter Hill and his wife Bonnie, who serves as the president of B. Hill Enterprises, stepped into the spotlight for the Minutes Matter More Than Ever campaign event last week.
Surrounded by more than 100 supporters of the campaign to raise funds to construct Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center’s new state-of-the-art emergency department and urgent care facility, the couple looked out at those who had gathered at the home of Donald and Elizabeth Savant.
“I’m pleased to be here this evening,” Walter said. “I’m actually pleased to be anywhere.” Continue reading “Campaign Raises Funds for Saint Joseph’s New Facility”

Stringing Together Love in Spite of Anti-Asian Hate

First published in the Sept. 18 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Photos by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Alicia Cho is committed to raising awareness and funds for her cause by creating and selling handmade jewelry.

Some of us have really vivid memories from our kindergarten days.
Alicia Cho, a 17-year-old senior at Burbank High School does and, unfortunately, it is not a good one.
“My first racist encounter happened when I went shopping at the Grove in Los Angeles with my mom,” Cho recalls. “We were getting things for my first day of kindergarten and while we were walking around, two men approached us, stretched back their eyes and began making karate poses.”
Cho also remembers the men using racial slurs, mimicking an Asian dialect and laughing.
“I was confused. I really didn’t comprehend what they were doing or why, but what I did understand was my mother’s hurtful and scared reaction,” Cho said. Continue reading “Stringing Together Love in Spite of Anti-Asian Hate”

Benatar Hits Starlight Bowl Crowd With ‘Best Shot’

There is a coming-of-age milestone that is hit when, as a young teenager, one attends their first rock concert. It’s a rite of passage, one that Darin Wolf made in 1981 while a 14-year-old kid in junior high school going to see Pat Benatar.
“Going to see her is a memory I’ll never forget,” said Wolf, who today serves as a math teacher and coach at Burbank High School. “It was my first concert, and I’ve been a fan of hers ever since.”
Having had the opportunity of making many more memories by going to see Benatar play live on numerous occasions over the past four decades, Wolf chalked up yet another one this past week, as he attended her performance at Burbank’s Starlight Bowl. Continue reading “Benatar Hits Starlight Bowl Crowd With ‘Best Shot’”

BCC Raises Funds for Holiday Basket Program

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

Over the years, the coordinators, volunteers, supporters and family sponsors of the Burbank Coordinating Council’s Holiday Basket Program have been responsible for filling the spaces under Christmas trees, stockings, stomachs, hearts and souls of so many who have been in need.
This past week, to raise funds for this year’s program, the council, in partnership with Burbank’s Buddy’s All Stars Sporting Goods, also filled many local closets and clothes drawers by making brand new sports apparel of all sizes available for just a dollar apiece. Continue reading “BCC Raises Funds for Holiday Basket Program”

La Providencia Guild of Children’s Hospital – Making a Difference

Photos by David Laurell / Burbank Leader Last Saturday’s “Come Aboard for a Friendship Sail” summer meeting was chaired by Janice Shafer, who is pictured with Sue Meckley, a key contributor to the thrift shop’s continued success.

For as far back as most Burbankers can remember, if you’re on the lookout for vintage clothing, fashion accessories, jewelry, glassware, art work, memorabilia, collectibles, furnishings or a really unique gift, you have no further to take your search than to Magnolia Park’s antique and specialty shops.

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GiniFest Highlights Armenian Wine

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
During this year’s GiniFest, event founder Stepan Partamian was recognized by Mayor Bob Frutos.

Theoretically, good wine can originate from any place on earth that gets full sunlight, has proper drainage, nutrient-poor soil and vineyards tended by micromanagers who oversee the fruit’s development and know the perfect time for harvesting.
Still, conventional wisdom says that when most people purchase or order wine, they tend to make sections that come from France, Italy, California or, perhaps, Spain.

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Leadership Burbank to Select 2021-22 Class

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Don St. Clair and Konstantine Anthony were among those who met with potential Leadership Burbank participants last week.

Leadership Burbank board members will begin the selection process for its 2021-22 class next week.

While the mission of Leadership Burbank is to identify, educate and motivate current and emerging leaders with the hope that they will go on to develop ideas and solutions to make Burbank a strong, sustainable and vibrant community, the program has proven to do more than that. Since its inception 25 years ago, Leadership Burbank has changed the lives of uncountable residents who may not even be aware that the program exists. It has also given participants far more than a broader knowledge of Burbank and the teaching of leadership skills.

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