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Community Chatter

$5 million gift arrives in the mail

  Cal State Northridge got a gift recently that probably had officials dancing with glee. An anonymous donor sent the state university a cashier’s check for $5 million in the regular mail! The only request: that the funds be used for scholarships and student assistance. University President Dr. Jolene Koester said, “… we pledge to be good stewards of these funds.” The multi-million dollar gift will create the Scottsdale Endowment and will target high-achieving incoming freshmen. The endowment got its name from the location of the bank that issued the check, Scottsdale, Arizona.... Read More →

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Book Bytes–Sarah, Leah, and Boys Night Out

Big Buzz on Sarah Palin book The new Republican V.P. nominee, Sarah Palin, has a book out and it’s a hot bestseller on Barnes & Noble.com and Amazon. “Sarah: How a Small Town Girl Turned Alaska’s Political Establishment on Its Ear” has been out a while. The biography was first published in April of 2008, before Palin’s recent problems were disclosed in the national media. Last Saturday, “Sarah” ranked number eight on the Barnes & Noble.com bestsellers list. By Sunday evening, it had jumped to number five. Then on Labor Day Monday, the highest ranking... Read More →

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BBQ on Labor Day weekend

Handy Market cooks grilling to the max at a recent July BBQ. The grill team will be smoking in the parking lot of the Handy Market on West Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank today. The market has been open for business more than 35 years. Also, Handy Market has won the Burbank Leader Readers’ Choice Award for the best grocery store 12 years straight. Every Saturday, the market’s custom grill is fired up and laid out with turkey drumsticks, chicken sections, ribs, corn, sausages, and of course, the store specialty tri-tip. This is a major BBQ... Read More →

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Part Two: Is The Burbank Town Center Mall Safe?

Photos: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove The Burbank Town Center mall has become a tense place to work for some tenants and their employees.  Business owner Diana Daoud says she’s “scared” to carry merchandise to and from her car in the mall parking lot. Also, Daoud is worried about another burglary at her second level AT&T Wireless kiosk. The business has been hit four times in less than a year-and-a-half – twice in the last few weeks. In just merchandise, the burglaries have cost Daoud more than $20,000.... Read More →

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Security Problems At The Burbank Town Center Mall

Photos: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove A rash of burglaries and robberies have some business owners and their employees on edge at the Burbank Town Center mall in Downtown Burbank.  Business owner Diana Daoud brought her complaints and frustrations to the Burbank City Council on Tuesday, August 12. During her few minutes at the podium, Daoud presented details about the recent burglaries at one of her businesses and then hammered home her bottom line point; the inadequate security at the Burbank Town Center has made the mall unsafe and an... Read More →

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Local basketball star wins fourth gold medal

  Hoop star Lisa Leslie went out in style at the Olympics in Beijing. Leslie helped the U.S. women’s basketball team crush Australia 92-to-65 to win the gold medal, yesterday. Team USA has taken the gold in four straight Olympics — beating the Aussies in the last three for it. Leslie scored 14 points before fouling out with 6:33 left in the game, but no matter, her teammates finished the job.  Leslie reportedly has played her last Olympics. She is bowing out of international play. Leslie and former teammate Teresa Edwards are... Read More →

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Another visitation at Grand View cemetery

  Visitors spent time at gravesites during the August 10 opening at Grand View. For the second time this month, Grand View Memorial Park cemetery will be open to the public today from noon until 4 p.m.  I dropped by during the Sunday, August 10 opening and was surprised by the small turnout and the bleak appearance of the Glendale cemetery. I have heard some relatives say it is too depressing, too sad a place to visit now. Some of the visitors I met at the August 10 visitation wished for better days.  “It was... Read More →

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Caltech scores high on list of best American colleges

Caltech founded in 1891 The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena is small but mighty.  Caltech, a major research institution, has a student body of about three thousand. U.S. News & World Report has come out with its 25th annual best American colleges lists for 2009 and Caltech rated very high. In the rankings of best national colleges for undergraduate studies Harvard topped the list at number one, followed by Princeton in second and Yale in third. MIT and Stanford tied for fourth, while Caltech and the University of Pennsylvania tied... Read More →

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Update on SAG negotiations & location filming in Burbank

     Those long-running Screen Actors Guild negotiations appear to be stalled in a nowhere zone. The most recent press release posted on SAG’s website is dated August 15 and it claims “informal discussions” are happening. Ah, but wait, over on the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers’ website a posted statement denies there are ANY talks underway.  Not a good sign of progress. Nonetheless, the filming must go on. A crew sets up at a hillside home in Burbank to film a commercial spot for VH-1 and... Read More →

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Gasoline prices drop at the pumps

A couple of motorists pump gas in Burbank. Photo by FLLewis I filled up at a gas station in Burbank on Thursday. It was not as painful as it has been in weeks past – but it still hurt.  I pumped a little over eight gallons – at $4.039 a gallon – total $34.02.  That was a good deal, according to the latest gasoline figures released by the Automobile Club of Southern California. In the AAA Weekend Gas Watch dated August 15, the average price of self-serve regular gasoline in... Read More →

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Bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon’s big event in Burbank

Author Sherrilyn Kenyon shows off her new vampire fangs at a book signing.      photos by FLLewis                                           New York Times bestselling author, Sherrilyn Kenyon brought her wildly exciting book tour, complete with vampire fangs, special gifts, and prizes to Burbank on August 8. Even though I was familiar with Kenyon’s incredible success, I was still surprised to see so many local folks willing to sacrifice part of their Friday night to meet the famous writer. At 7:30 p.m. the line snaked around a corner of the 4200 block... Read More →

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Cool writing events in hot August

Dr. Gay Toltl Kinman Growing market for young adult and children’s books. On Saturday, August 23, at 2 p.m. Dr. Gay Toltl Kinman will be offering advice on how to make your children’s novel  or YA fiction sparkle.  Kinman writes cozy mysteries, short stories, short plays, YA as well as children’s and adult novels.  Authors with manuscripts should bring the first pages of their work with them. The Buena Vista Branch Library will be the place for this workshop.  Call 818-238-5620 for more information. Get your screenplay in shape.... Read More →

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Grand View gates to be open again

Photo by FLLewis Two visitors arrange flowers at a gravesite during the March visitation at Grand View.   By order of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mohr, Grand View Memorial Park will be open to the public, Sunday, August 10, from noon to 4 p.m. This is welcome news for those who want to spend some time remembering friends and relatives laid to rest at the Glendale cemetery.  Judge Mohr signed the order on July 29, approving public visitations at the troubled cemetery on August 24, September... Read More →

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TPing a nuisance or a joke or a crime?

Photo by FLLewis Some pranks never really die; they just get passed onto a new generation. TPing or toilet papering is one of those pranks that is repeatedly resurrected by neighborhood kids. If you are not familiar with the term or act, here’s a brief description: TPing is when a group of young marauders swoop down, usually at night, and drape a particular property with streams of toilet paper (white is the preferred color). TPing appears to be a suburb thing. I’ve never seen twisted toilet paper hanging from... Read More →

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A time to remember

A man pauses to reflect near a gravesite during the March 30 public visitation at struggling Grand View Memorial Park cemetery in Glendale. This visitor is one of the lucky ones. He managed to find the grave marker or at least the general area he was looking for despite the thick layers of wild grasses, weeds, and debris. I have been to two recent visitations at this 124-year-old neighborhood cemetery. Each time, I have spotted eager and diligent visitors cleaning the gravesites, markers, and headstones. A job that should be handled... Read More →

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Community Calendar

“The Sounds of Summer” concert series in Burbank continues on Tuesday, August 12, with America’s Premier Doo-Wop Group, The Alley Cats. Bring a picnic, bring a blanket or a lawn chair for an evening of fun. The concert kicks off at 7 p.m. at the Northwest Branch Library, 3323 West Victory Blvd. Call 818-238-5640 for more information. Contributed by Louise Paziak, Publicity Maven for the Burbank Libraries.

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Murder Abroad

Mystery author Bruce Cook with a fan at a book signing. Love mysteries and exotic locales, then check out this event tomorrow, July 19, at the Buena Vista Branch Library in Burbank from 2-4 p.m. A panel of mystery authors will discuss their books, as well as the fun and problems of setting their plots and crime scenes in far away places. On the panel will be Eric Stone (Grave Imports), Aileen Baron (The Gold of Thrace), Patricia Wynn (The Motive from the Deed), Gay Toltl Kinman (Death... Read More →

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Coffee & Conversation

Photo courtesy Sheila Lowe Handwriting expert and book author Sheila Lowe will be joining a panel discussion title “A Slight Case of Murder,” on Saturday, August 2 in Burbank. This event is presented by Sisters in Crime/LA, a local mystery writers’ group. Lowe has parlayed 30 plus years of experience in the handwriting field into a very successful business with clients in the judicial system as well as private industry. Also, her background came in very handy when Lowe created a mystery novel series with a sleuth named... Read More →

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New anti-smoking campaign for some Hollywood movies

Movies aimed at the younger generation will soon carry anti-smoking public service announcements when they are released on DVD. The Los Angeles-based Entertainment Industry Foundation announced a new initiative to include the special PSAs on movies that have scenes of tobacco use and are rated G, PG, and PG-13. The PSAs will appear in the opening minutes of all new youth-friendly films released by Paramount, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, the Walt Disney Company, and Warner Bros. At the end of each thirty second anti-smoking PSA there will... Read More →

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Sign of confusion

  This hands free phone sign reminder for drivers may have caused some double takes. The sign near the border of Glendale and Burbank, on San Fernando Road at Spazier Avenue, had a misspelling in the first word the first time I spotted it. Check out the photo at the top taken the week of June 23. I took more snapshots of the same sign around July 8. It appears that later the second “h” in the first word had been changed to... Read More →

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Some MySpace users can’t connect

There is a glitch on the popular social network MySpace today. I was talking with a counter clerk in the Central Burbank Library this afternoon and overheard a young man complain to another clerk that the computer he was using, “was broken.” The clerk calmly asked what website he was on. “MySpace,” the man replied. He was then told the site was having problems accepting user passwords. Apparently, the problem had been going on all day. In January 2008, the Los Angeles based MySpace reported more than 110 million monthly... Read More →

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Bargain prices at popular Burbank submarine sandwich shop

The American flags were out at this neighborhood eatery during the long 4th of July weekend. Many local businesses closed up shop during the long holiday weekend: not Giamela’s in Burbank. When I asked the owner, Edward Giamela, if he ever takes off. “We’re never closed.” He declared with a straight face and then smiled. “That’s a lie. We’re closed four days: Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s.” Giamela continue to laugh and joke as he worked making sandwiches behind the counter with three male employees on the... Read More →

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