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A final exit for actors Dennis Hopper & Gary Coleman

Photo:  Mark Boster/ Los Angeles Times — A frail Dennis Hopper gets a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, March 26, 2010

A legendary Hollywood  “Bad Boy”

Veteran actor and co-star of the cult classic motorcycle/road film, “Easy Rider” (1969), Dennis Hopper, died last Saturday, May 29, at the age of 74, after a battle with prostate cancer. Hopper reportedly passed away at his home in Venice, California surrounded by family and friends.

Hopper appeared in over 100 films. He lived a life that was, at times, as colorful and wild as some of the characters he played on the big screen.  The Los Angeles Times website has a tribute and extensive photo gallery on the life and talent of Hopper, who was a writer, director, and photographer. as well as a gifted actor.

Star of TV hit “Diff’rent Strokes” dies

Former-Child Star, Gary Coleman, gained fame for playing the lovable chubby-cheeked kid, Arnold Jackson, in the  TV comedy, “Diff’rent Strokes.” However as an adult, Coleman’s life was filled with drama, mishaps, and misfortune.  He died last Friday, May 28, in a Utah hospital after being taken off life-support. Coleman reportedly suffered an intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding within the skull) and then slipped into a coma last week. Coleman was only 42. People Magazine website has more on the troubled actor’s death and life.

Disney employee arrested and charged with insider trading scheme

A lot of buzz on the Internet and here in the Media City about the arrest of Disney employee, Bonnie Jean Hoxie and her boyfriend, in an FBI sting operation.  Hoxie and Yonni Sebbag were taken into custody last Wednesday in Los Angeles and arraigned in federal court that afternoon. Both were charged with wire fraud and conspiracy.  Each suspect is facing up to 25 years in prison on those charges.

Hoxie is (was) the administrative assistant to Zenia Mucha, Disney’s head of corporate communications. Hoxie and Sebbag reportedly were nabbed trying to sell insider information on Disney’s quarterly earnings to undercover FBI agents.

The word is this scheme was pretty dumb — with the alleged suspects discussing their game plan in e-mails! Oh, in one e-message, Hoxie reportedly talked about the Stella McCartney handbag and shoes she wanted to buy with the plot-dough. Instead, Hoxie and Sebbag are going to be shelling out a lot of their own money for lawyers.

Hoxie was released on $50,000 bail. Sebbag is considered a flight risk, so he’s still in custody.  More details on the alleged scheme and the undercover operation at L.A. Times and

More controversy simmering in B-town

Some Burbank city officials probably think their stonewalling will end the inquiries about that suspicious bus accident involving school children last winter. Not a chance.  The first media report of the strange circumstances surrounding that bus vs vehicle accident on January 15, 2010, at Olive Avenue and Orchard Drive, appeared on this blog back on March 20, 2010.

City employees had been talking about that accident for weeks, then I heard about it.  Here’s a quick recap: 21 Burbank school children, from Emerson Elementary and Jordan Middle School, were riding on that bus. It was a minor mishap. I’m told the other vehicle swerved, hit the bus, knocking off the side mirror. No injuries. However, the controversy is over what type of bus was carrying those children. City officials insist it was a Got Wheels bus.

However, my reliable sources tell me the police report states it was not a Got Wheels bus, but a regular Burbank transit bus. This has sparked questions of whether the city is putting children’s safety at risk by side-stepping regulations for buses designated for children, in order to save a buck or two.

At the suggestion of Burbank City Manager Mike Flad, I e-mailed Interim Community Development Director, Greg Herrmann, about the matter for a clarification. However, Hermann did not take kindly to my tough questions and sent me, what came across as, a threatening e-mail. I posted e-mails from that exchange in a blog post on April 6.

Then on April 21,  I posted another story on my blog about Activist Mike Nolan asking Flad for an investigation into the bus accident and the e-mail threat I got from Herrmann. Nolan made his request at the televised city council meeting on April 20. Flad agreed to provide a report on the bus accident.

So here’s the latest. At the May 18 city council meeting, Nolan expressed disappointment that Flad had reneged on his commitment to provide that report. What happened surprised a lot of folks. City Attorney Dennis Barlow declared the bus accident a “legal matter” saying that was “due to potential litigation.” Barlow explained he had provided the city council members with a summary of the accident, but there would be nothing to report to the public.

 Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Burbank City Attorney Dennis Barlow 

 After that May 18 city council meeting, I asked City Attorney Barlow what type of bus was involved in that accident. He said quote,” It was a Got Wheels bus.”  When I asked what kind of “potential litigation” would be involved in an accident with no injuries and a busted side mirror — he would not comment.

The day after, I dropped off a formal media request, at BPD Headquarters,  for Burbank Police Records Technician Supervisor, Deborah Wilson,  asking for a copy of the police/traffic report on that bus accident, with the required $15 in cash enclosed.  I got back a rejection, dated May 24,  in the mail with my 15 bucks. Along with the rejection letter, a copy of “the call for service for this incident” with preliminary information — but no traffic report from the scene of that bus accident.

Mike Nolan is still on the hunt for an unaltered copy of that police report and so am I. Burbank city council members should be demanding to see this police report and not accept some lightweight summary from the City Attorney. Did they not learn anything from the police mess Burbank is attempting to dig its way out of right now. Sooner or later the real facts will come out and if there is “potential litigation” as Barlow stated, council members need to show they did not stick their heads in the sand, but acted decisively in the public interest.

Another Honeybee sighting

Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Burbank Police Commissioner Jim Etter’s cool “Honey Bee” — a beautifully restored 1956 Chevy Bel Air parked n the Burbank City Hall parking lot May 19, 2010

This time I had my camera with me and was able to snap a few shots of Chevy Jim’s classic ride. When I drove into the Burbank City parking lot for the Police Commission meeting, Wednesday, May 19,  I caught sight of a couple of young dudes posing and profiling in front of Burbank Police Commissioner Jim Etter’s 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible.

The “Honey Bee” really grabs attention. After the meeting, I walked out into the parking lot with Commissioner Etter and over to the pretty Chevy. A couple came over and just stared at “Honey Bee” in awe. Etter made their evening, by allowing them to slide into the front seat.

Warning! Don’t try that if Etter is not around. “Honey Bee” is security tight. You can look, admire, and even take photos, but no joyriding without the owner’s permission.

Grand View claims checks in the mail

Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — A young visitor spends a few moments at a relative’s gravesite at Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale on March 7, 2010

The check is in the mail or has already arrived for more than 14-hundred folks who filed valid claims in the class action lawsuit involving the landmark Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale. That lawsuit alleges a long list of violations including selling non-existing grave plots and the mismanagement of remains and gravesites at the 120-plus-year-old cemetery. Also back in 2005, a state investigator discovered thousands of human remains at Grand View that had been improperly handled.

The defendants, among them the present owner Moshe Goldsman, did not admit guilt, but agreed to settle the class action lawsuit for around $3.8 million last October. The settlement was finalized earlier this year on January 19.  Over a million bucks of that went to the lawyers.  Also, $500,000 was set aside for the restoration of Grand View, which it badly needs. And finally, 1,460 claimants were awarded $1, 296.23 each.

A Burbank resident I know, got one of those checks recently, but still has concerns about the future management of the cemetery, and of course, when it will be open with regular hours.  More than two years ago, at the height of its troubles, Grand View was shut down and has been opened for months now, only occasionally, by the order of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Anthony J. Mohr.  Grand View is scheduled to be opened to the public, noon to 4 p.m. this coming Sunday, June 6, and again on Father’s Day, June 20.

Check out the archives for more Grand View posts and photos.

Million $ plus script deal

Two heavyhitter screenwriters have really scored an out-of-this-world script deal with a ton of zeros attached. Terry Rossio and Bill Marsilli reportedly have sold a movie pitch to Disney and Producer Jerry Bruckheimer in a deal that’s a low-seven figures against $3.5 million payday. Wow!

The Wrap is reporting the pitch, yeah there isn’t even a script yet, is called, “Lightspeed.” The project is described as an epic space adventure about a young hot shot space pilot who must navigate his ship on a dangerous mission through a galaxy on the brink of war. Apparently the buyers see this as a 3D event movie.

Oh, Rossio and Marsilli hold the record for the highest spec sale –a romantic thriller called, “Deja Vu.” Disney and Bruckheimer shelled out somewhere between $5 and $8 million for that spec back in 2004. Nice to see a couple of writers making big money.

Mega Millions officials looking for owner of valuable ticket

Could you use some extra cash, like around $167, 371?  Well, if you have a lucky lottery ticket that matched five out of six winning numbers in the Mega Millions draw on April 27, 2010, then that money belongs to you!

Mega Millions officials say the ticket has the numbers 50, 41, 37, 23, and 55. The only winning number missing is 6, the Mega Ball. That ticket was bought at the Chevron gas station at 267 South Indian Hill in Claremont.

Right now the Mega Millions jackpot is at $12 million. The next draw is tomorrow, Tuesday, June first at 8 p.m.

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