Nancy Jane Stephens was born June 1, 1925, in Sierra Blanca, Texas. She spent her final days surrounded by her family at home in Burbank, California and passed away peacefully at the age of 95 on the morning of January 10, 2021.
At age 83, when asked to sum up her life in six words or less Jane responded, “Been There, Done That, Worth It.”
Jane grew up along the Rio Grande border between Texas and Mexico, 88 miles south of El Paso, in a small railroad town serving cattle ranchers, the daughter of Johnny Philomel Cox Stephens and Grover Cleveland Stephens and sister to Wyman, Grover, and James Stephens, all of whom predeceased her. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, at the University of Texas, Austin. While attending UT Austin, Jane met her future husband, Robert Ellsworth Shanks, who was stationed there for naval flight training. After her brother Wyman was killed in April 1945, aboard the USS Mobile in the South Pacific, and her previously arranged May wedding date was canceled, Jane boarded a train to travel alone across country to Boston where the couple married in the Harvard University Chapel on June 16, 1945. After the war, the couple returned briefly to Texas, before settling in California, where Robert, known as Bob to friends and family, finished his schooling at USC, earning master and doctorate degrees in Education. Continue reading “Jane S. Shanks – Obituary”
Joyce L. Ricciuti, a longtime resident of Burbank, California and later moving to Reno, Nevada, passed away Dec. 13, 2020 after a short battle with colon cancer. She was born 3/28/1934 in Rhode Island, later married and then moved to Burbank in 1956. Joyce was a very energetic and caring mother and loved spending time with friends and family. She was a longtime parish member of St. Francis Xavier and was also employed there for 25 years. She was a tireless volunteer for the school’s activities and received numerous awards along the way. Continue reading “Joyce L.Ricciuti – Obituary”
Denise Fredrickson, 93, a longtime resident of Burbank, CA. passed away peacefully after a brief illness on January 26, 2021.
She was the oldest of three siblings in her family as both her parents and two sisters preceded her in death along with her husband.
She was a long time member of Calvary Bible Church and made many friends over the years.
Surviving is her four children, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren; she will be truly missed.
Denise is finally at Peace….
On a sunny spring afternoon in the pre-pandemic days of February 2020, Burbank native Kevin Zambrano took a selfie in front of a poster of himself that promoted the revival of “West Side Story” at New York City’s Broadway Theatre.
Having been cast in the role of Shark gang member, Moose, Zambrano, a 2014 graduate of Burbank High School, moved to New York in September 2019, began preview performances in December, and experienced what he hopes will be his first opening night on Broadway on Saturday, Feb. 20.
“It was everything I imagined it would be — even more,” said Zambrano. “I would get so much energy from the audience. When we finished each show, I was completely filled with this amazing energy, and then I would walk out of the theater’s stage door with people who were waiting to see the cast and literally be on Broadway.” Continue reading “Burbank to Broadway and Back: Pandemic Hasn’t Stalled Dancer”
Outdoor dining is now reopened in the city of Burbank, with municipal workers placing cement K-rail barricades this week to create nine in-street dining parklets.
Various parking stalls on San Fernando Boulevard and Palm Avenue were bound with the barricades on Tuesday. Until then restaurants in downtown Burbank could use outdoor dining in private parking lots and patios and on sidewalks with a permit. Two of the nine in-street dining parklets are communal dining areas that are open to the public for pickup orders or coffee-to-go. There is also a communal dining area on the AMC Walkway. The designated communal dining areas will be managed and maintained by the Downtown Burbank Business Improvement District. Continue reading “City of Burbank Creates Dining Parklets”
It started with a helmet. The armor and fame followed.
Tim Brehmer, a standup comedian from Toluca Lake, said he was pulled over by a police officer for skateboarding without a helmet in spring 2020. The officer, Brehmer explained, threatened him with a ticket unless he started wearing head protection.
The next time Brehmer saw the officer, he was wearing a helmet straight out of “Star Wars.” Specifically, he fashioned it after the one worn by the titular character in “The Mandalorian,” a hit show streamed on the Disney+ service. Eventually, Brehmer added armor to his ensemble and strapped a Grogu doll — the alien child often casually referred to by the show’s viewers, somewhat erroneously, as “Baby Yoda” — to his chest.
Traveling up to 30 mph through Los Angeles and Burbank on an electric skateboard, and often spotted on the Chandler Bikeway in Burbank, Brehmer has become something of a local legend. Some families, he said, wait on the bike path, hoping to see him — one boy explained it was his birthday.
That legend is part of the idea behind wearing the helmet and armor, Brehmer said, explaining he was influenced by TV show “Falling Skies,” in which a major character becomes a masked vigilante and inspires others. Continue reading “Skateboarding ‘Mandalorian’ Seeks to Encourage Onlookers”
With COVID-19 cases declining in Los Angeles County, the Burbank Unified School District is planning to expand its on-campus services by bringing back small groups of students, but the potential move has raised concerns for employees.
During a virtual meeting of the board of education Thursday, an emotional Louis Ayala, a California Schools Employee Association executive representative, spoke about the impact the coronavirus has had on workers and their families. He asked that the board and district staff focus on providing vaccines for employees and give them the same opportunities given to teachers working remotely.
“There is no vaccine for our classified employees, but you are going to ask them to go to the front lines?” he asked. “Will you go with them and see what they have to perform on a daily basis?
“Where’s the equality?”
Ayala expressed frustration about the scenario of bringing back more students and worried that the protocols in place would not be enough to keep employees safe. Continue reading “Without Vaccine, BUSD Staff Raise Concerns on Campus Return”
The Burbank Unified School District is dedicated to its diversity, equity and inclusion initiative, and it is not alone in its crusade.
It has earned support from the community, most notably a small group of teachers who call themselves the Justice and Equity Team, and they’re ready to assist their fellow colleagues in providing a more diverse, inclusive environment for all students.
“We thought of several names but decided on JET,” said Victoria Cuseo, a Spanish teacher at John Muir Middle School. “It was snappy, and we really liked it.”
Cuseo spearheads the group along with Mojgahn Emamjomeh of Burbank High School and Ericca Dent, a 2nd-grade teacher who was one of 10 educators named 2020-21 Teacher of the Year by Los Angeles County in October.
After attending several California Teachers Association racial and equity committee meetings last summer, Cuseo said she felt it was time to form a similar group in her community and was later given the go-ahead by Burbank Teachers Association President Diana Abasta.
“During this pandemic, we’ve seen gaps in equity and struggles with teachers and students,” she said. “I was feeling like we really needed it, especially with the Black Lives Matter movement. It really highlighted all the ways that we can be doing better, to be more equitable and more focused on social justice in schools.” Continue reading “Burbank Teachers Push for Diversity, Inclusivity Through New Group”
Enrollment at Woodbury University in fall 2020 fell about 8% compared with fall 2019, the institution reported, as fewer high school graduates nationally joined institutions of higher learning.
In a statement, Woodbury President David Steele-Figueredo did not provide a precise enrollment count, though he said much of the decline was attributable to students taking “gap” semesters or years. The university’s spring enrollment is 1,022 students, the Associated Students of Woodbury University said on Instagram. Continue reading “Woodbury Enrollment Drops as Students Take Gap Year”
Beloved coach and Burbank High School campus supervisor Pete Roses died on Tuesday at 56. The unexpected death of Roses, who coached basketball and football at Burbank and John Burroughs high schools, came as a shock to the local sports community, especially BHS head football coach Adam Colman. “I remember my first day after graduating middle school, basketball tryouts were at the Burbank High School gym,” he said. “There was Pete Roses. I knew who he was right away. I played for him in basketball, and he started coaching football my junior year.”