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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Friday Night Classic Car Show Returns to Bob’s Big Boy

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Long-time employees Alma Hernandez and Gencer Pedrigala of Bob’s Big Boy are thrilled to be back up and running with their Friday night car shows.

It was a blistering hot Friday afternoon in Burbank as actor Joaquin Garay pulled his 1984 Mazda RX7 into the parking lot of Bob’s Big Boy restaurant on Riverside Drive.

He bounded out of the car with a huge smile on his face, popped open the hood, and expressed his excitement over the official return of the restaurant’s Friday night classic car shows. 

“I’m thrilled,” said Garay, whose father, Joaquin Garay Sr., was a well-known entertainer and radio personality in the 1930s and ’40s and best known for providing the voice of Panchito in the 1944 Disney film “The Three Caballeros.”

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Boys & Girls Club Welcomes Supporters To New Facility

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
State Sen. Anthony Portantino was welcomed to the Boys & Girls Club’s new home by Shanna Warren and Paul Herman.

Back in the mid-1990s, a small group of residents that included former City Councilmember Tim Murphy, the late Elizabeth “Liz” Shapiro and former Mayor Dave Golonski’s late wife Barbara Sykes began discussing the possibility of bringing a chapter of the Boys & Girls Club to Burbank.
In 1995, by virtue of the dedicated work of this group, the city of Burbank provided a shuttered firehouse to serve as the home for the new club.

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Burbank Chamber of Commerce Mixers Return

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Kicking off the first post-pandemic business mixer were Burbank Chamber of Commerce CEO Jamie Keyser Thomas and State Sen. Anthony Portantino.

The Burbank Chamber of Commerce mixers have a longstanding tradition for being fertile networking ground for representatives of the local business community.

That, however, was not really the case as the chamber resumed its bi-monthly gatherings during an open house at its Magnolia Boulevard office this past week.

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Tribute Bands Help Return To Normalcy at Starlight Bowl

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Saturday’s Starlight Bowl audience spanned the generations, all who were thrilled to be out and having a good time.

This column limits me to a certain amount of words, both by the simple “real estate” of space on the page and my knowledge that you, dear reader, have a limit as to how much of your time you are willing to give me.

After spending last Saturday evening at the Starlight Bowl for the second time in this year’s series of summer concerts, I wondered just how, in the limited space I have, could I properly convey the sense of joy and excitement that permeated the amphitheater — by the audience, performers and even the staff who put on the shows. 

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Making Memories at Starlight Bowl Summer Concerts

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Led Zeppelin tribute band Led Zapagain brought back memories from the 1960s and ’70s during Saturday’s Starlight Bowl season opener.

In the moment, a summer evening at Burbank’s hillside Starlight Bowl is one for family, friends and couples to enjoy a picnic dinner and a variety of live music performances. But moving past the moment, it is the thousands of memories that are made during each performance that is the true magic of the Starlight Bowl.  

In the wake of a missed season due to the pandemic, the bowl once again opened for its 2021 slate of concerts with the music of Led Zeppelin tribute band Led Zapagain last Saturday. It was an evening in which the alchemy of turning moments into memories pulsated as strongly as the opening riff of Zep’s “The Song Remains the Same.”   

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Foundation Helps Loving Animals — and Their Owners

Linda Venegas and her dog Ottie getting pampered by groomer Deborah Stevens. Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader

In the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Gary Michelson, a renowned spine surgeon and prolific medical inventor, founded a nonprofit organization he called Found Animals. 

Beginning with the establishment of the first free pet microchip registry, today the Michelson Found Animals Foundation has gone on to create the Better Neighbor Project, which delivers pet food and wellness services to pet owners in need.

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BTAC Drive-Thru Event Helps Those In Need

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Volunteers filled the trunks of 59 cars with food during BTAC’s drive-thru event.

For the first time in its 47-year history, the Burbank Temporary Aid Center staged a drive-thru food distribution event open to anyone in need this past Saturday morning.

“Having never done anything like this, we really didn’t know what to expect,” said Barbara Howell, who serves as the nonprofit organization’s chief executive officer. “But we were fully prepared for whatever needed to be done.”

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Local Woman Makes a Difference — at Home and Abroad

Photo by David Laurell
Lusine Simonyan in 2019 launched Burbank-based Miray Collections, which represents more than 40 Armenian artists.

Every community is blessed with residents that are exceptional by virtue of their commitment to giving back. With their dedication to make life better for others, they are the shining stars in the constellation that make up a community.

Since its incorporation as a city, Burbank has been fortunate to have many such shining stars, including a vibrant young woman named Lusine Simonyan.

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