Residents Remember Fry’s Following Closure

Fry’s Electronics closed its stores nationwide on Wednesday, prompting Burbank residents to lament the loss of a local location famed for its elaborate sci-fi decorations.
The business announced it was stopping regular operations this week after nearly 36 years in business, citing “changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a statement on its website.
On social media, many community members shared photos of the Burbank store on North Hollywood Way, whose decorations were themed after an alien invasion — taking some inspiration from the classic sci-fi film “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” Fry’s was known for styling its stores after various subjects, such as “Alice in Wonderland” or a Mayan temple.
Though several residents noted, as media outlets have in the past, that customer service was sometimes poor and bare shelves seemed to indicate the store would soon go out of business, many also spoke fondly of their memories of the business.

Continue reading “Residents Remember Fry’s Following Closure”

Amazon Confirms Burbank Delivery Station

Several Amazon trucks are pictured at a delivery station in a stock image.
Photo courtesy Amazon
An Amazon spokesperson said the new delivery station, such as the one pictured here, will allow for faster order fulfillment. Residents are concerned it will also increase traffic.

After much speculation, Amazon has confirmed that it is leasing a facility near the Hollywood Burbank Airport to open a new delivery station, expected to open this spring.

Amazon spokesman Justin Grayson told the Burbank Leader that the station would be within the 61-acre Avion site, though he explained information was not available regarding the square footage of the facility.

Continue reading “Amazon Confirms Burbank Delivery Station”

Gun Sales Soar After Capitol Siege

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
A man waits to enter the Guns Direct store, where customers lined up earlier in the week to purchase firearms following the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

In the wake of the assault last week on the U.S. Capitol, some local gun store owners are saying that customers are flocking to their shops.
Jonathan Solomon, owner of Redstone Firearms, said he has seen an increase in gun sales of about 30% to 40%, with a substantial number of customers being first-time firearm buyers. Many of the customers, he added, mentioned the attack on the Capitol building by supporters of President Donald Trump on Jan. 6 as their reason to purchase a gun.
The riot, aimed at overturning Joe Biden’s win in the presidential election, left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer and a man who suffered a heart attack.
“Anytime there’s any kind of civil unrest, gun sales do spike,” said James Janya, co-owner of Guns Direct, “because people are a little bit concerned about what’s going on in this country.”

Continue reading “Gun Sales Soar After Capitol Siege”

City Resolution Apologizes for Past Discrimination

The City Council voted this week to approve a resolution apologizing for racist “sundown town” policies in Burbank’s history and pledging to pursue local, state and federal measures that promote equity.
A sundown town is defined as a city whose practices discriminate against non-white ethnic groups, particularly Black people, such as by requiring them to exit city boundaries by sundown.
The resolution itself contained no concrete policies aimed at combating racism, and there was little discussion from the council on the item during its Tuesday meeting, but city officials have hailed it as a critical first step that could later lead to action.
“It’s OK to go wrong, but it’s not OK to stay wrong,” said Councilman Jess Talamantes. “And this is one thing that we can change, this council and future councils can definitely change, moving forward.”

Continue reading “City Resolution Apologizes for Past Discrimination”

Local Restaurant Defies Dining Ban

Dozens of patrons sit at the outdoor patio of the Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill in Burbank

Baret Lepejian, owner of Tinhorn Flats Saloon & Grill in Burbank, said he loves the city’s Police Department. But the only way he’s closing his restaurant, he added, is if officers drag him away at gunpoint.

Lepejian is no stranger to controversy; his Facebook posts declaring that his business would not enforce face covering requirements for customers earned him condemnation from many local residents and praise from some others in October.

But the restaurateur’s decision to reopen Tinhorn Flats’ patio on Thursday despite a statewide health order banning in-person dining — a defiance not shared by most of Burbank’s businesses — seems to echo some of the growing desperation felt by many eateries’ owners.

“What have I got to lose? If it stays this way, I’m going to lose the restaurant anyway,” Lepejian said. “I would rather go down with the ship than close.

Continue reading “Local Restaurant Defies Dining Ban”

Restrictions Return as COVID-19 Cases Soar

As county and state officials announced renewed stay-at-home-orders this week amid record new coronavirus cases, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center grappled with a surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations that showed little signs of diminishing.
Dr. Mariam Torossian, a pulmonary disease specialist at the Burbank hospital, said its officials observed the surge begin about three weeks ago and accelerate since then — and she worries that the situation isn’t getting better.
“I think what’s frightening is that this is not reflective of what we’re going to see as a consequence of the Thanksgiving holiday,” she said, referencing a period during which, experts fear, many people held private gatherings with members of other households. “The worst is yet to come.”

Continue reading “Restrictions Return as COVID-19 Cases Soar”

Local Restaurants Struggle With Dining Ban

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
Michel LeChasseur, who owns Ma’s Italian Kitchen in Burbank, said he feels restaurants are being unfairly singled out by Los Angeles County officials for a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Michel LeChasseur, owner of Ma’s Italian Kitchen in Burbank, said his business is on its last legs. He also said his restaurant is one of the lucky ones.
LeChasseur said the eatery, which made much of its revenue from its catering services to production studios, is bringing in less than a third of what it did before the COVID-19 pandemic. He had to slash employees’ hours and lay off 14 of his 22 workers. He added that he even chose to forgo his own salary so he could keep paying his workers; his husband’s job is keeping them both afloat.
Still, LeChasseur learned to adjust, though he watched eight friends lose their restaurants during the pandemic. He spread out tables on his restaurant’s patio and bought Plexiglas shields to protect customers. His servers wore gloves and two layers of masks. As the colder months approached, he purchased heaters.

Continue reading “Local Restaurants Struggle With Dining Ban”

Pandemic Recovery and More: Councilmen-Elect Detail Plans

Change could be coming to Burbank, according to the two new City Council members its residents elected.
Both Konstantine Anthony and Nick Schultz ran on progressive platforms that included ideas involving police reform and increased resources for people experiencing homelessness, and pledged to help the city recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We absolutely need change in the city,” Anthony said, pointing out that only two of the eight candidates, himself included, had run for a seat on the panel before. “There is not a single person I’ve talked to who didn’t have something that they needed changed in this city. It was a change election. So let’s do it — let’s make some change.”

Continue reading “Pandemic Recovery and More: Councilmen-Elect Detail Plans”

Plant for Greener Burbank Campaign Underway

The city of Burbank’s “Plant for a Greener Burbank” initiative is a collaborative effort between Parks and Recreation, Burbank Water and Power, Community Development and Public Works to plant a minimum of 500 additional trees throughout the city in homes, businesses, streets and parks for the 2021 calendar year.
With each tree planted, the city is improving the health and well-being of the neighborhoods and the overall Burbank community.
Burbank residents and businesses are invited to join the campaign.
Here’s how:
• Free shade tree program from Burbank Water and Power customers can request free shade trees for their home or business. Residents can select up to three trees and Burbank businesses can select up to 20 trees. BWP is now taking reservations for the 2021 program year.
• Community tree plantings at city parks with parks and recreation
Grab a shovel and join the campaign in planting trees. Burbank Parks and Recreation is inviting households to participate in planting trees at city parks. Currently, tree plantings are limited to household members only and staff will ensure social distancing measures be in place. Join the volunteer list and look out for opportunities beginning in January 2021.
For more information and to sign up for these opportunities, visit burbankca.gov/greenerburbank or call (818) 238-5314.