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In The News:

The Top 10 Stories Of The Year

December 29, 2007

No sooner did the new standards go into effect that enforcement challenges plagued city staffers and officials. Calls and e-mails flooded city offices from residents complaining that the restrictions of the law were not being enforced. Fueling the problem was the fact that local business owners and managers were put in the difficult position of having to tell longtime customers that they could no longer smoke in restaurants and cafes. Even getting the word out was hampered by a disconnect between the law’s effective date and the posting of signs notifying patrons of the new policy.

In an attempt to surmount those challenges, city officials established a new staff position that would be tasked with going to local business owners to educate them about the details of the ordinance. The person filling the position would serve as a liaison between the city’s licensing and code department and local businesses, getting the word out about the new restrictions.

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Burbank Police also began issuing violations — a $400 fine — as of Aug. 5. More than 40 tickets were handed out in the month of September.

Murder-suicide on Cypress Avenue

3 On Aug. 9 Rafael Shirinian’s bitterness toward his neighbors turned deadly.

When Vahik Farhadian, 48, walked through the front entrance of his apartment complex in the 600 block of Cypress on the afternoon of Aug. 10, Shirinian fatally shot him. Farhadian’s son, 22-year-old Oshin, fled the scene, but did not escape injury, police said.

Oshin Farhadian was shot in the shoulder as he escaped to the nearby apartment of Manyam Masihi, 49, who Shirinian then fatally shot in the chest before retreating into his own apartment.

Police attempted to coax Shirinian out of his apartment, sending a negotiator to speak with him. But 20 minutes later, he was dead from a self-inflicted gun shot wound.

Burbank Police Chief Tim Stehr, who was sworn in the day before the shooting, reflected what several people felt about the city and its typically peaceful communities.

“It’s very unusual for Burbank,” he said at the time. “It’s a very quiet neighborhood, and this is very unusual.”

Residents in the Cypress complex, unaccustomed to such violence, also expressed shock that such an event could happen in Burbank.

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