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December 29, 2007

The project will integrate the latest in energy- and water-efficient technologies. It will also feature a technologically advanced studio with HD news and Internet capabilities, officials said.

Local reaction was mixed between those who thought Burbank’s move would tarnish the city’s reputation and those who think the city is positioned well for the future.

But others felt secure in the city’s standing.

Burbank Mayor Marsha Ramos was hopeful that the city is well-positioned to welcome a new media and technology corporation, given the city’s fiber-optics infrastructure and its tax structure.

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Fireworks canceled, but lasers are in

7 Fire safety concerns sparked the cancellation this year of the city’s traditional Fourth of July fireworks display at the Starlight Bowl.

The decision came after Burbank Fire Department officials assessed moisture levels in the hillside near the bowl, concluding the terrain was far too brittle to conduct a show safely.

The year was plagued by wildfires across Southern California, locally with an outbreak above Barham Boulevard in March, and the Griffith Park fire, which scorched more than 800 acres over a two-day period in May.

According to fire officials, the cancellation was a last resort, and preventative measures, like trimming back brush in the hills or pre-treating the area with fire retardant would not have remedied the situation.

Community response was mixed, with residents both bemoaning the loss of a perennial holiday staple while agreeing that safety was a priority.

Park, Recreation and Community Services officials replaced the fireworks with a patriotic laser light show, which brought out about 2,000 attendees, a significant decline over figures closer to 4,000 in 2006.

In regards to Fourth of July fireworks displays in the future, fire safety officials said that cancellations may become more of the norm than the exception.

District contract talks reach impasse

8 Months of heated negotiations between the Burbank Unified School District and the Burbank Teachers Assn. came to a head in early February when district officials declared an impasse in talks.

A state-appointed mediator was brought in to help settle the talks, despite protests from teachers, which included picket lines in front of City Hall, at the district’s board meetings, and some teachers working less after-school hours.

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