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Top 10 Stories Of The Year

December 30, 2006

But this year, volunteers — more than 125 of them — ushered in the event's triumphant return, along with 2,000 participants who marched or rode in the parade.

When the parade began, on April 21, Grand Marshall Rob Fukuzaki, a KABC-TV Channel 7 sports anchor, helped usher in the parade's theme, For the Love of the Game.

Local sports dignitaries made special appearances, including Olympic silver medalist pole vaulter and Burroughs High School graduate Ron Morris and former heavyweight boxer Rocky Pepeli, who is now a Realtor in Burbank.

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Players from the Burroughs High football team also joined the procession aboard a Burbank Fire Department truck.

Organizers said it was a success, saying this year's parade attendance exceeded that of the past few years.

Modernization hits stride at schools

With a $122.5-million bond that passed in 1998, the modernization of Burbank schools began on schedule.

Luther Burbank Middle School was the first school to begin modernization in April with an estimated cost of $12.8 million.

The school has a new underground technology infrastructure, an art facility, a nurse's office and other structural improvements.

The remaining three projects, McKinley and Providencia elementary schools and Monterey High School, will have overlapping construction schedules, with McKinley School beginning its modernization in 2007 and ending in 2008. Monterey High School will begin work in early 2008 and overlap with Providencia Elementary School's construction, which is scheduled to start at the end of 2008 and run through 2010.

McKinley Elementary School's projected cost for modernization is $7.6 million.

All of the school's classrooms will receive air conditioning, new lighting and telephone intercom systems, among other improvements.

Modernization continued after 2005, a year in which officials faced questions about problems in school-facilities construction — problems included small missteps like boilers left in school basements with no way to hook them up, and larger structural issues like flooding in the John Burroughs High School gym, excessive leaking in the school's roof, and a gym at Burbank High School that allowed dust from the track to blow into the building.

Since those mistakes, much of the school staff initially responsible for overseeing the construction has changed, including Ali Kiafar, the previous director of maintenance and operations, on whom much of the botched construction was blamed.

The last school to be modernized is Providencia Elementary School.

The total estimated cost for modernization is $4.5 million. The school will undergo classroom renovations and receive new fire alarm lines and underground power.

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