Lighten up, Rex -- it was tongue in cheek
Just to kindly point out to Rex Bowlby of Burbank and your letters
section that there’s no doubt John Muir Middle School spelled
“CONGRADULATIONS” intentionally in order to congratulate the
graduates of 2003. ConGRADulations, get it? I’m sure the
eighth-graders did, Rex.
Middle school marquee was a play on words
I am writing in response to Rex Bowlby’s amusing stab at John Muir
Middle School’s misspelled sign (Burbank Leader, Community Forum,
July 2). I would ask him to understand that our students and staff
take spelling very seriously. The message on the sign was intended as
a play on the word “Graduation” as in “ConGRADulations.” Of course,
middle school students do not graduate, but rather promote to high
school, but the idea is the same. I hope that everyone else got the
pun, and I apologize if the sign in any way put academics and
education in a bad light in the Burbank Unified School District.
John Muir Middle School
Smola admirer searching for answers
Sadly, Burbank Temporary Aid Center (BTAC) has lost a devoted
executive director in Patricia Smola. But more important, fellow
citizens in need of temporary assistance have lost even more -- a
truly caring advocate who worked tirelessly to help them in every way
It is especially tragic that this happened while she was on
disability leave due to a stress-related illness. What a strange turn
of events for someone who is so respected in our community that she
was recently named as one of the 50 most influential citizens of
Burbank, and featured by the Leader as one of the people they felt
was at the head of her class in the area of community involvement.
She was subsequently referred to in Wednesday’s Leader as " ... the
woman credited with turning around the Burbank Temporary Aid Center.”
Isn’t it amazing that only one short month later, this same
Patricia Smola is fired by the “powers that be?” I am one of the
numerous Burbank citizens who need answers. It is sad that she has
now been subjected to the same demise as several other directors
Is it a coincidence that the board members have been basically the
same since 1998? Since these board members apparently believe that
change is healthy, why not initiate changes there -- from the top
down? In any event, it might be enlightening, indeed, to delve into
the real reasons behind these transgressions and to deal with the
Hopefully, BTAC will find another director who, like Patricia
Smola, will fulfill the purpose for which it was originally
established. Above all, we must not lose sight of the original intent
of BTAC, and that is to help those in need.
Former BTAC Volunteer
Local aviation pioneers remembered
Sixty-six years ago this month, Amelia Earhart departed on what
she hoped would be the first round-the-world flight by a woman. We
should not forget that she was part of our neighborhood.
Earhart’s first airplane was purchased from Burt Kinner; it was
built at Grand Central Airport in Glendale. She worked at the phone
company on Magnolia Boulevard and Tujunga Avenue to earn money to
take flying lessons. She set speed and distance records in her
beautiful red Lockheed Vega, which was designed and built in Burbank
on the land where the Burbank Empire Center is located now. She took
off from the dirt runway that ran parallel to the train tracks there;
you can see that in vintage photos of her flying with the Verdugo
Mountains behind her.
She prepared for her round-the-world trip with Paul Mantz in
hangar 2 at Union Airport in Burbank. That hangar is still in use
today -- you can still walk up to the hangar door that she leaned
against in 1937.
The aircraft she used on her round-the-world attempt was a
Lockheed Electra model 10, which was designed and built in Burbank.
She and her navigator, Fred Noonan, departed Lae, New Guinea, on July
1, 1937. One more refueling stop and they were home free. They were
never seen again.
It was a different world back then, a world where real people
pitted themselves again real danger, and sometimes they paid with
their lives. I believe we should remember that Burbank’s history is
not only about make-believe and movies; some of our history was real.
Especially during this centennial year of aviation, there should be
recognition of the great things that took place here in Burbank.