Departing Chief Recalls BPD’s Challenges, Reforms

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse will retire on Tuesday after decades in law enforcement. LaChasse came to the Police Department while it was facing allegations of discrimination and use of excessive force.

On Tuesday, Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse will trade in his badge and gun for a stack of travel brochures.

The Santa Clarita resident has spent several decades working in law enforcement, including more than 11 years leading the Burbank Police Department. Over time, LaChasse said, he’s collected plenty of Smithsonian and National Geographic magazines, filling his mind with images of travel destinations he’s wanted to visit but never had the time.

After his retirement next week, he will. His role will be filled by current Deputy Chief Michael Albanese until City Manager Justin Hess selects a long-term replacement.

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Resident, BHS Alumna Launch ‘What the Deaf?!’ Podcast

Photo courtesy What the Deaf?! Productions
Burbank High School alumna Sarah Tubert and Burbank resident Carly Weyers launched a podcast dedicated to discussing their experiences as Deaf individuals.

“Nothing is off-limits,” Sarah Tubert signs in the first episode of her podcast. “We’ve heard everything.”
Then she corrects herself with a hint of humor: “No, we’ve seen everything.”
The moment appeared to set the tone of the “What the Deaf?!” podcast. Tubert, a 2011 graduate of Burbank High School, and local resident Carly Weyers host the series, whose first season ran from the beginning of the year until late February.
As indicated by Tubert’s comment, the pair hope the podcast provides an avenue for people who aren’t Deaf to ask questions. But Weyers and Tubert are also quick to emphasize that they don’t represent the entire Deaf community, pointing out that even between themselves, their experiences vary greatly.
Tubert became Deaf when she was 3 years old, after a surgeon severed her facial nerve during an operation, paralyzing the right side of her face and taking most of her hearing.
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A Veteran Photographer’s Gallery of Experiences

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
Mitchell Haddad’s portfolio includes a number of pictures of then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, who spoke at the Gibson Amphitheatre in 2007. Haddad said that while he was rarely intimidated by public figures he photographed, he was often excited to work near them.

Mitchell Haddad loves the Dodgers enough to get arrested.
Growing up in Burbank, he would sneak into ballgames at Dodger Stadium by flashing fake tickets at the usher and hoping he wouldn’t get caught. Once, as a 17-year-old, he did, while trying to steal Hank Aaron’s uniform from the clubhouse. A security guard found him attempting to open the door with a butter knife.
Haddad, a John Burroughs High School alumnus, recalled in an interview that his mother wasn’t upset when she picked him up at the police station. In fact, she tried to explain her son’s behavior to the officers.
“He just loves baseball so much,” she told them. Haddad didn’t realize until decades later that his mother thought he had only been trying to sneak into a game early.
That love of baseball would cause him to return to the ballfield. When he was older, he walked into Dodger Stadium again. This time, he was armed with a Nikon camera and a fake press pass. Once he got in, he was free to take pictures of his heroes as he pleased.
And then, yet later, he started getting paid.

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Batman Statue Placed in Downtown Burbank

Photo by Oscar Areliz / Burbank Leader

Visit Burbank, along with Burbank-based DC and Warner Bros. Studios, unveiled a new
7½ -foot tall, 600-pound statue of Batman last week in the AMC Walkway of downtown Burbank.
Funded by Visit Burbank, this signature public art piece of the iconic DC superhero makes an ideal selfie spot in the city. The colossal statue will help showcase Burbank as a leading tourist destination and will exemplify the city’s status as the “Media Capital of the World.”
Since appearing in the pages of Detective Comics No. 27 on March 30, 1939, Batman continues to leave his mark in every form of entertainment imaginable. The Batman statue is based on a drawing by world-renowned comic book artist and the publisher and chief creative officer of DC, Jim Lee. The design of the fan-favorite superhero was then digitally sculpted by Alejandro Pereira Ezcurra. The final larger-than-life statue, made from bronze, was built by artisans at Burbank-based American Fine Arts Foundry and Fabrication.
When visiting the newly installed Batman statue, remember to practice social distancing and wear a face mask.

Magnolia Park Works on Luring Holiday Shoppers

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
Sheryl Coughlan, owner of Antiques on Magnolia, said she is concerned that some local small businesses will have an abnormal lack of business this holiday season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sheryl Coughlan is worried about Magnolia Park this holiday season.
The owner of Antiques on Magnolia told the Leader in a phone interview that with coronavirus cases on the rise, some workers still unemployed and rollbacks of reopenings announced, local businesses will lose out on crucial income during a period when people are usually buying presents.
Black Friday, for example, is usually a good day for Coughlan’s business, as is Magnolia Park’s annual Holiday in the Park event, which would have been held Friday of this week were it not for the pandemic. In previous years, customers filed in for her art and jewelry sales, many of them hoping to find a Christmas present for a loved one.

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Thumbs Up to Instructor’s Teacher of the Year Award

Photo courtesy Ericca Dent
Ericca Dent, a 2nd-grade teacher at Joaquin Miller Elementary, was one of 10 educators to be named the 2020-21 Teacher of the Year by Los Angeles County, an honor that has now been given to a Burbank Unified School District teacher for two consecutive years.

Every weekday morning, Joaquin Miller Elementary School teacher Ericca Dent greets her 2nd-graders by name and checks in on their emotional state by asking them to use their thumbs to express how they are feeling.
“Most students are thumbs up, but there are times it’s sideways or thumbs down,” she said.
Dent does the same to let the students know how she’s feeling and certainly had her thumb up on Friday, Oct. 2, after being congratulated by her class for being one of 10 educators named 2020-21 Teacher of the Year by Los Angeles County.
“A number of them congratulated me, and that was really sweet,” Dent said. “It definitely is an amazing feeling. Looking back at so much of the hard work I’ve done and the work with my students and being recognized, I’m honored and humbled for sure. It’s a great feeling.”
The L.A. County Office of Education held a virtual ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 1, to honor the winners. Dent will receive a $1,000 cash gift from the California Credit Union and a $350 gift certificate for school supplies.

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Mask Enforcement Report Pulled From Council Agenda

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
Councilman Jess Talamantes had requested a report regarding a potential fine for people not complying with face covering guidelines. After he asked that it be taken off the council’s Tuesday agenda, some residents expressed frustration.

The Burbank City Council this week didn’t discuss the possibility of fining people who don’t follow face-covering guidelines, as a report on the subject was withdrawn from a meeting’s agenda.
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Church, With City’s Help, Gives Food to 500 Families Today

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
“It’s not about the food,” said volunteer Amy Berger. “It’s about giving people a sense of community, that this is going to be over, but we’re all here to help each other out.”

After weeks of preparation, a local church, in partnership with Burbank’s Department of Parks and Recreation, is giving away food and other supplies to about 500 families today.
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Library and Teens Join Forces to Bring Good News

The Burbank Public Library wants to deliver good news to local residents with its “QuaranTEEN” web series, which premiered on the library’s YouTube page on Tuesday.

We all could use a little more positivity in our lives, and the Burbank Public Library is delivering it, with the help of local teens.
The library launched the first episode of “QuaranTEEN,” a web series that shares its name with a summer program designed to teach media production skills to local youth, on Tuesday. The students’ writing, production, editing and anchoring skills are on full display in the video — featuring an upbeat lifestyle story and a chat with a local club owner-restaurateur — posted on the library’s YouTube page.
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