Leadership Burbank 
Sharpens Focus to Fit the Times

Photo courtesy Leadership Burbank
Members of Leadership Burbank’s class of 2019 hold placards at graduation. The program’s alumni have included city officials, Burbank Unified School District administrators and local business executives.

Leadership Burbank’s class of 2020 had almost made it to the finish line when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Class members crossed it anyway.

Participants in the local program, which provides leadership training and a behind-the-scenes look at city, nonprofit, school and business organizations, select a project every year to complete before the nine-month course ends in May. The class of 2020 — the most recent group, since the pandemic put the program on hiatus for a year — wanted to perform renovations for BCR: A Place to Grow, a local nonprofit that serves children and adults who have developmental and intellectual disabilities.

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Sharpens Focus to Fit the Times”

Fundraiser, Blood Drive Planned in Memory of Student

Photo courtesy Meredith Swierczynski
Evelyn “Evie” Swierczynski

When one student’s name was announced at this year’s Burbank High School graduation ceremony, it was met not with cheers, but silence.

The student wasn’t there to collect her diploma or walk across the stage to a wave of applause. Instead, when Evelyn Swierczynski was named, the audience quietly stood, taking a moment to honor the rising 10th-grader who, if she hadn’t died from acute myeloid leukemia in 2018, would have graduated with her class that day.

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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 Library Eliminates Overdue Fines

Photo by Charles Hirsch / Burbank Leader
Other libraries that have eliminated overdue fees include the Glendale, Los Angeles and San Diego public libraries, which made the change in 2019.

The Burbank Public Library is longer charging overdue fines for late materials, a move officials believe will improve access for low-income patrons.
The change went into effect Thursday, the beginning of the 2021-22 fiscal year, along with the rest of Burbank’s budget policies. Library items that are lost, damaged or never returned will still cost patrons replacement fees. But if a patron returns a lost or past-due item — no matter how long overdue — all charges will be removed from the user’s account.

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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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Burroughs, Burbank, Providence Athletes Receive All-CIF Honors

Photo by Eric Danielson / Burbank Leader
Burroughs senior Kayla Wrobel earned a spot on the All-CIF first team with 12.1 points and eight rebounds per game this year.

The CIF Southern Section unveiled its first All-CIF lists in more than a year and it included high school athletes from Burbank High, John Burroughs and Providence.
Burroughs had the most athletes of any Burbank school with four, two of them from the girls’ basketball team that went on an impressive postseason run.
Seniors Faith Boulanger and Kayla Wrobel made the All-CIF Division 2AA first team after leading the Bears to the semifinals, where they fell to Cajon High of San Bernardino, 67-59.

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Local Unemployment Dipped in May

a chart compares LA County's unemployment rate to Burbank's over the past year
Data Source: California Employment Development Department

As Los Angeles County moved into the state’s least restrictive tier of coronavirus restrictions, Burbank’s unemployment rate fell in May after a brief bump in April.
The local joblessness rate dipped from 12.3% in April to an estimated 11.2% in May, according to the most recent monthly figures from the California Employment Development Department, with the number of out-of-work residents falling from roughly 7,300 to 6,700. The lowest rate for the city since April 2020 was last November, when about 6,000 locals were unemployed — a rate of 10.5%.

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Burbank Attains Achievement in COVID-19 Vaccination Rate

A graph shows the cumulative percentage of vaccinated Burbank residents 16+ at 70%
Data: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
As of June 25, more than 70% of Burbank residents ages 16 and older have been at least partially vaccinated from COVID-19, though the rate of new vaccinations is dropping greatly.

Burbank passed a milestone in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic last week, with more than 70% of residents ages 16 and older at least partially vaccinated.
As of June 27, just over 63,000 Burbank residents — or 70.4% — in that broad age group have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the most current Los Angeles County data that is publicly available. President Joe Biden had emphasized the need to have 70% of American adults be at least partially vaccinated by July 4, though he recently announced that the nation would not reach that rate by the target date.

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