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GAINS ARGUE THIS We might already have...



We might already have more lawyers than we need, but it’s hard not

to root for Meredith Applegate and Cerita Bickelmann.


Meredith, a senior at Burbank High School, and Cerita, a junior at

John Burroughs High School, recently made names for themselves at the

2003 Los Angeles County Mock Trial competition.

Meredith, a three-year member of Law Dogs, her school’s mock trial


team, received the Alan I. Rothenberg Award as the Outstanding

Student Litigator at the competition. Perfect scores on her closing

arguments sealed the deal for Meredith, who admitted she likes the

“rush” that comes with court trials

Cerita, who joined her school’s mock trial team last year after

some prodding from a friend, was named the competition’s Outstanding

Pretrial Lawyer. Her role was to argue whether evidence should be

admitted. The experience, she said, has boosted her self-esteem and


helped prepare her for what to expect when she enters law school.

Congratulations to Meredith and Cerita, two exceptional young

women who think on their feet and cut the competition down to size.

Watch out, trial lawyers -- you’ve got some competition at your



They’ve come to Burbank from across the street and across the

country to be a part of history. More than 500 volunteers, including


some from as far away as Florida and West Virginia, have worked to

bring the city’s Rose Parade float to life.

On Thursday, every one of them can sit back and watch with

satisfaction as “Moosic, Moosic, Moosic” rolls down Pasadena’s

Colorado Boulevard in the 115th Rose Parade.

Many of these folks are busy putting the finishing touches on the

city’s 69th parade entry, which will be towed from the float barn on

Lake Street to Pasadena tonight, accompanied by a police escort.

Entering a float is a long-standing tradition for the city of

Burbank, and speaks to the dedication of community members who return

year after year to make each entry beautiful.

Thank you to those selfless souls who work to make the city proud.

If you can’t support Burbank by working on the float, be sure to

cheer it on Thursday morning by attending the parade or watching it

on television. If you can’t do either, be sure to visit the parking

lot at George Izay Park starting Sunday, when the float will be on

display from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Wednesday.



It’s been more than six months since Burbank Temporary Aid Center

(BTAC) Executive Director Patricia Smola was canned for reasons that

remain unclear, and the organization’s board of directors has yet to

name a replacement.

Smola, widely credited with stabilizing center operations and

vastly improving fund-raising, was a popular director. Her dismissal

sparked criticism from friends and colleagues, including those who

donated time and money to the center on West Burbank Boulevard.

At least one volunteer terminated her relationship with the center

after seven years. The Rev. Larry Stamper of First United Methodist

Church, which donates an estimated $10,000 annually to the center,

raised concerns about the organization’s leadership.

In July, a BTAC board member called for President Jan Loporchio to

resign, saying public confidence hung in the balance. The request was

swept under the rug. At a board meeting in August, members learned

that cash donations were down, and the center was seeking to raise

$115,000 during the 2003-04 fiscal year.

Yet, despite countless setbacks, some of which haven’t been

mentioned here, a permanent replacement for Smola -- a former escrow

officer with a knack for fund-raising -- has not been hired.

The board of directors of the nonprofit organization, which helps

meet the short-term emergency needs of Burbank residents and relies

on donations, needs to immediately hire a long-term executive

director who can help restore the organization’s luster and get

fund-raising back on track.