A Facebook group is helping local high school seniors celebrate graduation despite their tumultuous final semester by providing them with some of their favorite gifts. The group, “Spoil (Adopt) a 2021 Senior,” connects community members with graduating seniors from local institutions, including the John Burroughs, Burbank, Providence and Monterey high schools. Participants purchase items for their “adopted” senior and deliver the gifts. The group’s efforts are aimed to help seniors retain a sense of celebration and achievement for graduating, an event which due to the pandemic may not be honored with the usual festivities. “We’ve all been through this [process] of how we tell these kids how great your senior year is,” said Michelle Pinto, who formed the group. “How much fun you get to look forward to, things you get to do — and these kids have nothing.”
The 20-year-old son of the Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill owner was arrested Thursday night after removing a city-placed lock from the restaurant’s doors and welcoming patrons inside. The arrest came just a day after Lucas Lepejian, son of owner Baret Lepejian, sawed off the latch to a crowd of cheering supporters. The restaurant, which has operated without its health and conditional use permits for weeks, was “red-tagged” — or declared unsafe and thereby not legally accessible — on Wednesday. On Thursday, Tinhorn Flats also reported it had removed boards the city had placed to block its doors.
Hundreds of local residents returned to work in February following the lifting of statewide coronavirus restrictions, reversing a steep increase in unemployment reported at the beginning of the year. The Burbank unemployment rate fell from 13.3% in January to 11.2% in February, according to preliminary data from the state Employment Development Department. The drop reversed some of the recent increases in the city’s unemployment rate, which was 10.4% in December.
The Burbank High School varsity football team was unable to contain Phelan Serrano’s ground game in a 48-12 loss at home last Friday as the Bulldogs fell to 0-2 on the season. The visiting Diamondbacks jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, garnering 354 yards on 31 carries, averaging 11.4 yards per touch. The Bulldogs defense surrendered a total of 502 yards. Jaishawn Wright led Serrano (1-1 overall) with 166 yards and two scores and Adam Alderman had 116 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries. Payton Cornell threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Rider. Burbank struggled to find any rhythm on offense with only 162 total yards. Senior Adam Araradian completed 10 of 22 passes for 149 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Brandon Pena caught five passes for 101 yards and returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. Jagg Richer had a 30-yard reception and Zakk Estrada caught a 5-yard touchdown pass. Brayon Crawford led all rushers with 16 yards on 10 carries. Jarren Flowers led the Bulldogs on defense with nine tackles, and Owen Cusumano recorded seven tackles and intercepted a pass. Crawford finished with six tackles and Austin Blacano had five. Burbank hosted Crescenta Valley in a Pacific League showdown on Friday, April 2. Look for coverage of the game in next week’s issue of the Leader.
With two outs and two runners on in the bottom of the fourth inning, a line drive off the bat of the Burroughs High softball team’s leadoff batter Kelsey Acosta resulted in a force play and stopped the Indians’ rally against Chatsworth Sierra Canyon. The play helped halt a potential Burroughs rally and helped Sierra Canyon to a 7-4 nonleague victory at Jack Smock Field in Burbank on Wednesday. “After that run, defensively our mindset was completely changed,” Burroughs junior Isabella Scazzola said. “Our effort and energy skyrocketed from it.” Scazzola finished 1 for 3 with two RBIs, a double and a run scored for the Indians (0-2 record). Teammate Gigi Garcia added an RBI single and junior Arley Pena capped the scoring with an inside-the-park home run at the bottom of the fourth. Acosta helped lead the JBHS offense with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate.
When Gloria Salas recently began receiving congratulatory emails, texts and phone messages, she was confused. That was until she found out that her husband, former Burbank City Councilman Tim Murphy, had learned she was to be the recipient of the Community Service Award at the Glendale YWCA’s 24th annual Heart and Excellence Awards. “I couldn’t figure out what I was being congratulated for until I realized that Tim knew and told everyone,” laughed Salas. “It was nice to hear from so many people, and I really am honored, but I’m not one of those people who likes to be out in front taking the bow. I feel more comfortable being behind whatever team I’m working with just to get things done.” A native Angeleno who has worked in the legal field since her senior year of high school, Salas’ passion has always been advocating for women’s rights and causes. She has been a longtime member of the Zonta Club of the Burbank and has served as the chapter’s president and advocacy chair of Zonta District 9, which covers five western states. In that role she has dealt with issues such as human trafficking and domestic violence, and went to Sacramento and Washington, D.C., to lobby on various pieces of legislation affecting women and girls.
Burbank residents will soon see more of the normality they were used to before the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year. The L.A. Department of Public Health announced on Tuesday that the county has met the threshold for the orange tier — indicating moderate infection of the coronavirus — of the state’s blueprint for a safer economy. The next-to-lowest tier loosens restrictions on businesses and allows theme parks to open. The new health order will go into effect this coming Monday, April 5. “After a year of fear, anxiety and tragic loss, we’re seeing glimmers of hope once more,” County Supervisor Hilda Solis said in a virtual update on Tuesday. “But this didn’t happen just by accident. This was because of our collective hard work.”
After several close calls and failed attempts, the Burbank City Council narrowly passed a temporary ordinance limiting fees third-party delivery platforms can charge restaurants. The ordinance, which council members approved with a 3-2 vote on Tuesday, will prevent services such as Grubhub, Postmates and Uber Eats from charging a vendor more than 20% of the online purchase price of an order. City staff members said those fees have reportedly been as high as 40%. The initiative will go into effect at the end of April and will expire when indoor and outdoor dining return to full capacity, unless the City Council extends or terminates it before then. Food delivery platforms will also be barred from reducing drivers’ pay or tips because of the ordinance, which additionally requires services to provide customers with an itemized receipt. Restaurants who allege that a service has violated the ordinance can sue it in small-claims court.
Addressing residents’ worries about an incoming popular fried chicken restaurant chain, city officials said this week that they will monitor noise, traffic and trash around the establishment. A facility for Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers is being built at 1750 W. Olive Ave., at the corner of Olive Avenue and Orchard Drive. The close proximity of the location, which will include a drive-thru, to a neighborhood has some residents concerned. Municipal staff members and Raising Cane’s representatives have pledged to mitigate potential issues, actions City Council members pushed for during their meeting Tuesday. Neighbors have rallied against the construction, with a flyer opposing the drive-thru being distributed in the nearby residential area at one point. Several have contacted the City Council during public comment periods, including this week, expressing concern that traffic will spill from the drive-thru into residential streets.