Year in Review: City manager Mike Flad leaves, Burbank sees first homicide in 3 years, Rebecca Mieliwocki recognized by Obama

It was a year of surprises as local events often turned into national news.

December 29, 2012|By Times Community News Staff
  • Barbara Beckley, artistic director at the Colony Theater, on stage at the Burbank location. In October, the venue raised $49,000 in two weeks,in time to put on a hit play. But the theater still needs to raise $500,000 to continue operations.
Barbara Beckley, artistic director at the Colony Theater,… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

A massive manhunt for a missing FBI agent, the surprise departure of the city’s chief executive, a National Teacher of the Year, tragic suicide and long-sought closure for the family of a murdered Burbank police officer.

The year 2012 was full of twists and turns, surprise and tragedy. Here’s a look back at some of the top stories that reverberated throughout the community, and far beyond.

Burbank woman electrocuted trying to help motorist in crash

A 40-year-old Burbank woman was one of two Good Samaritans who were electrocuted to death Aug. 22 after trying to help a motorist trapped inside his vehicle after a crash in Valley Village.

Irma Zamora and Stacey Schreiber, 39, of Valley Village were electrocuted on Aug. 22, when they tried to render aid to 19-year-old Arman Samsonian who crashed into a light pole and fire hydrant, officials said.

Samsonian was allegedly driving at high rate of speed on Magnolia Boulevard when he lost control of his SUV and crashed into the pole and hydrant at Ben Avenue in Valley Village, officials said.


Schreiber and Zamora stepped into the spewing hydrant water that had been energized with 4,800 volts of electricity from fallen power lines and were electrocuted. Rescue crews had to use a 6-foot pole with hooks and a handle to retrieve the women.

In all, six people, including a Los Angeles police officer and the driver, were injured from electrical shock.

Samsonian pleaded not guilty in November to two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence for the women’s death. Zamora’s son, meanwhile, described her as brave, heroic and “always trying to help someone.”

“The fact that my mom died being a hero, I am just so proud of her,” the son, David Aguilar, said.

Bob Hope Airport experiences prolonged financial turbulence

The Bob Hope Airport struggled throughout the year with declining passenger numbers and parking revenues following the unexpected departure of American Airlines in February.

Airfield officials were caught by surprise in October when the number of passengers for September tumbled by 10% compared to the year prior and parking revenues declined 9.7%, dropping to $1.5 million from the $1.67 million logged in September 2011.

For fiscal year 2012, the airport managed to squeak ahead of expectations, taking in just $4,677 more than what was projected, according to a report released in October.

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