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Six Things You Should Know When Looking for a Web Designer

| News | December 16, 2014

By Warren Schultz
Most business people know they need a website but have no clue how to go about putting one together. How do they even find a web designer? Are web designers the same as graphic artists? Do they need to hire a separate person for that? Do web designers help with writing the web site? So many questions; where do you go to find the answers?

Here’s a quick guide to how to find a qualified web designer to create your site:

  1. Have an idea of what you need on your website. How will you use your website? Many people use theirs as the main link to your company. Others use their site as a complement: You’ve met me, now check out my site. How many pages do you want on your site? What will each page say? Do you have any ideas about how you want each page to look?
  2. Freelancer or large firm? Do you want to work with a freelance developer or a large firm? There are positives and negatives to each. A larger firm has employees with varied skills and a large body of work; however, they often charge more and tend to be more bureaucratic. A smaller firm, or a single freelancer, usually offers lower prices and better one-on-one communication.
  3. Referrals. If someone you know recommends a web developer, check it out. Find out what it was that person liked about them and see if that developer meets your needs. Don’t let the fact that the developer isn’t local be a stumbling block. The Internet and telephone are wonderful inventions.
  4. Check out the developer’s site.
    1. Its look. Is it attractive? Easy to navigate? Organized logically? Are there any broken links (links that don’t work)? How quickly does the site load? Look at the portfolio on the site. Do you like what you see? Does he or she only design websites or can they do software development and database design? The best developers know how to create a site, maintain it, market it and promote it. Does this developer do it all?
    2. Testimonials. What do the customer testimonials say? If person’s full name or company name is included, contact them and ask what type of experience they have had with the developer.
    3. Communication. Don’t just rely on email to contact the web developer. Speak to them directly to gauge their personality and see if they are willing to bounce ideas between the two of you. Ask as many questions as possible and see if you like the answers. For example, Who will own the website? (Hint: it should be you— not the web developer or a third party). Who will maintain it, and at what cost?
  5. Find the best price. Many web developers don’t post their prices online, but that shouldn’t stop you. Contact them directly. Give them a few parameters or specifications, so they can provide an accurate estimate, which you then can either accept, refuse or counter offer. The developer also has the option to reject your counter offer. You’ll also need to know when the project costs are due, if a percentage of the payment is due up front, and your payment options.
  6. Read the fine print. Insist on a contract; it protects you and the developer. Make certain the contract includes:
    1. Deadline guarantees
    2. Developer’s availability
    3. How much more you’ll pay for changes to the project
    4. If the developer will take care of any programming bugs you may find once the work is done
    5. Again, that you are named as the website owner.
    6. The computer language it is to be written in.
    7. All legal and compliance issues if you are a part of a regulated industry.

Once you’ve chosen the web developer you are going to use, make sure you keep the lines of communication open. Remember, you are the one who is going to have to live with the website, so make certain it’s what you want and represents your business the way you’ve always envisioned it would.

For more information on how to find the right web developer contact Warren Schultz at warren@tapsolutions.net or call him at 818-281-7628.

 

 

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Heroes of the Week – Sara Jane and Chantal Chelin

| Scene in SCV | December 13, 2014

The Hudgins with Maverick and Bailey

Heroes 848 2New Leash on Life’s Lend a Paw program sent a special delegation and their two therapy dogs, Maverick and Bailey, to visit an extraordinary Santa Clarita family: the Hudgins. The following is an excerpt from a “thank you” note New Leash on Life received from Heather Hudgins after heroes Sarah Jane and Chantal Chelin brought therapy dogs to work with her children.

We just wanted to share some of the pictures from our wonderful visit from Bailey and Maverick. Sarah Jane and Chantal were so gracious with their Hereos 848 3time, and have such an amazing gift handling these beautiful dogs. It was such a blessing to our family to have this experience. It was the most engaged and happy we have seen our boys in a LONG time. It was the perfect distraction from their day-to-day challenges. It is amazing to see the connection that animals can make.

New Leash On Life has extraordinary volunteers, like Sarah Jane and Chantal. The healing power of the dogs and the bravery of families like the Hudgins combine to create improvements in the welfare of many. Contact New Leash on Life through the website: NLOL.org.

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Hosting Live Workshops Locally to Grow Your Business

| Opinion | December 13, 2014

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By Connie Ragen Green
Chrystal wrote in to ask me what I thought about hosting live events and workshops in the city or town where you live. I am devoting this month’s column to answering her question in great detail.

I can remember years ago when I visited Home Depot and saw the schedule for their live workshops prominently featured by the main entrances to the store. For the life of me, I could not figure out why this was so important to them. Then I attended one about how to replace the tile on your bathroom countertop and suddenly the bright light went on in my brain. These workshops gave them the opportunity to show off their expertise, showcase their staff, and recommend their products. Very smart.

So, how can we emulate this model in our own business? The answer is to start small and grow over time. The first event I hosted here in Santa Clarita took place in a small room at one of the local hotels. They charged me $25 and gave me a three-hour time frame. I had five people show up, mainly because I only invited people by calling or emailing them personally. This was in 2006 and I did not yet have the confidence to ask more people to attend. It went very well. We had a mastermind style discussion, with each of us sharing our thoughts and ideas on the topic of marketing ourselves and our businesses online. And I still know all five of those original people!

Within a year, I decided to partner with a woman named Dr. Jeanette Cates so that we could host larger events and workshops across the United States. We did five of these over a two-year period until we both decided to go our separate ways. Jeanette and I remain good friends to this day and continue to support each other in our business endeavors.

With this experience under my belt, I was ready to offer more events to attract people who would be interested in what I was doing in my online business. Now I offer two live events each year, either in Las Vegas or Los Angeles, as well as three or four retreats in Santa Barbara for smaller groups. My goal is similar to that of Home Depot in my example above. I get to show off my expertise, showcase my clients, and recommend my own courses, products, and programs.

You can do the same thing, no matter what your level of expertise or your topic. This is exactly what I am recommending:
Commit to hosting a small event within the next 30 days
Choose a local venue and invite three to five of your friends
At the end, ask for constructive feedback on your presentation
Schedule another event within 60 days and invite more people
Typically I prepare a PowerPoint presentation to use throughout my event, but you can also do it with just some notes or handouts. I like to prepare a workbook for attendees to use to follow along, as well as to provide them with resources, additional information, and my contact details. I also give everyone who attends a copy of one of my books to thank them for coming.

If you want to take this to the next level, plan out in advance what you will offer people who attend as a follow up to your presentation. For example, at my last event I offered my Platinum Mastermind program to those who wished to apply. I handed out applications on the last day and several people joined my mentoring group. You may also want to offer special deals on your books, products and courses throughout your event.

I sincerely hope you choose to incorporate live events and workshops into your business in 2015. It will definitely change the way you are perceived by the community and increase your bottom line in the long run.

Connie Ragen Green lives in Saugus and has been working exclusively on the Internet since 2006. Her 10th book, “The Transformational Entrepreneur,” was recently released by Hunter’s Moon Publishing and is available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. Find out more by visiting http://HugeProfitsTinyList.com and download an audio recording for 2014 at http://NewRulesforOnlineMarketing.com.

Questions? Email Connie at crgreencrgreen@yahoo.com and be sure to put Home Business Question in the subject line. Your question and answer will be included in a future article.

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Non-Profit of the Week – New Leash on Life

| Scene in SCV | December 13, 2014

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Animals hold a special place in all of our hearts. Whether we have a lovable pet at home, or just have fond memories of growing up with a furry family friend, their little wet noses can always bring a smile to our faces. The unconditional love pets express toward their owners is unlike any other, and many times they become true family members. Many animals are lucky enough to have loving homes, but just as many find themselves in shelters across the world waiting to be chosen by a family. Those lucky animals that do get a second chance at a good life are, unfortunately, outnumbered by those that never make it out of a cage. Instead they are euthanized, becoming a statistic in the ever growing decline of animal shelters.

This is where great organizations that devote themselves to these animals step in and do everything in their power to make sure that all animals are given the fair chance to find a good home. New Leash on Life (NLOL) was formed locally in 1997 with a strong mission of “saving the lives of homeless animals and improving the lives of people.” After years of observing the shelter system deteriorate and countless pets die, a vision of a more effective system began to take shape. In March of 2002, the organization moved to a 13-acre facility in Placerita Canyon and established the E.R.A. Center for Education, Rehabilitation and Adoption, which serves as a safe haven for many companion animals. It is also a learning resource for children and adults, facilitating New Leash On Life’s vision of making Los Angeles a no-kill city.

Today New Leash On Life has been responsible for spaying and neutering thousands of pets, rescuing and placing over 5,000 dogs, and making a determined effort to educate the community about responsible pet ownership. The organization also has a rich history of search and rescue efforts in disaster relief throughout the nation, including Hurricanes Gustav, Katrina, Rita and the wildfires of 2008 in Southern California.

NLOL has also established the Lend A Paw program, which provides certified assistance and therapy dogs to better the lives of those experiencing mental, physical or emotional life challenges. The dogs and volunteers regularly visit special needs schools, nursing homes and even make individual house calls to provide healing for those in need. Make sure you read about our Heroes of the Week, where we share a story of two volunteers and their dogs that brought endless smiles to a little boy and his family.

New Leash on Life makes sure never to leave any dog behind for any reason. The non-profit does not discriminate due to age, a major reason why so many animals are still homeless. NLOL has established the Senior Sanctuary Program to ensure that older dogs who are less likely to find homes are placed with the appropriate families. In addition, the group also established the Mobile Pet Adoption Program to expand community awareness. Every week volunteers visit various areas to provide information and showcase the dogs looking to be adopted. This program has led to many new adoptions which, in turn, allows the organization to continue adopting new animals. The Pet Education Trainers Program is dedicated to teaching children about animal awareness and safety.

For more information on New Leash on Life, visit www.NLOL.org.

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Band of the Week – Vinyl Gypsies

| Scene in SCV | December 12, 2014

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Band 848

Based in Southern California, the Vinyl Gypsies is a classic rock band blending musical favorites with its own original style. The uniqueness of the talented group is that the members can perform their entire set list with both acoustic and electric guitars. They guarantee that each and every Vinyl Gypsies show will be different from the last.

The band is made up of four core members – Lisa Meegan on lead vocals; Ed Rigg on guitar and vocals; Chuck Standish on drums, percussion and vocals; and Shawn Richkind on bass. In addition, there are always several experienced musicians joining the Gypsies on stage incorporating piping hot saxophone, ripping lead guitars and smoking keyboards, as well as a bevy of other musical instruments. The Vinyl Gypsies pride themselves on providing endless entertainment for any occasion, whether it is for a quiet, relaxed environment or a loud, rocking party experience. They aim to please, and their extensive song library and diverse style can deliver musical bliss to any crowd.

The Vinyl Gypsies will be playing this Saturday, December 13 at The Valencia Wine Company (24300 Town Center Dr, Valencia) starting at 9 p.m. Spend the evening with this group and hear a wide range of classic rock hits, hard rocking and soft rocking! You will surely find yourself dancing the night away to their melodic sound.

For more information on the Vinyl Gypsies visit the website at www.vinylgypsies.com.

Photo credit: CW Rockin photos

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Sports Highlights

| Sports | December 12, 2014

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Golf
Valencia’s Alison Lee made the difficult decision to turn pro after winning the LPGA Qualifying Tournament over the weekend in Florida.

The Valencia High graduate shared medalist honors with Minjee Lee at 10-under in the five-round tournament. Immediately after her final round, Alison Lee decided to end her college career and become a pro on the LPGA Tour. She is a sophomore at UCLA.

“I have a lot of mixed emotions,” said Lee. “When I made my par putt and realized I got my LPGA Tour card I was just filled with joy … I thought about my team and my school and my coaches and it made me sad. I get to start a new chapter in my life and hopefully it will be great, and I’m really looking forward to the future.”

Lee shot an even-par 72 on the final day of the tournament at the LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla. She recorded five rounds of even par or better. Her best round came on the third day when she shot 5-under 67.

Lee said she wants to continue her education at UCLA. But she also wants to start her professional golf career.

“I’m going to try and juggle school with golf at the same time,” Lee said. “I still want to attend school, so we’ll see how my schedule will work and we’ll see how it all plays out as the year goes on.”

High School Boys Basketball
Two basketball teams from the Santa Clarita Valley won preseason tournaments.

The Valencia Boys won the Simi Valley Tournament.

The Santa Clarita Christian Boys won their own Tip-Off Tournament.
Valencia beat Santa Barbara, 79-64, in the championship game of the Simi Valley Tournament. Dakota Abbott scored 36 points in the championship game against Santa Barbara. He was selected as the tournament MVP.

Malik McCowan scored 13 points and had eight rebounds in the championship game. He was selected to the all-tournament team.

Kyle Ensing had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He also blocked three shots.

The Vikings improved to 3-1.

The Santa Clarita Christian Boys beat Albert Einstein Academy, 66-42, in the championship game of the SCCS Tip-Off Tournament.

Alik Airapetyan scored 14 points, had six assists and four steals in the championship game. Chris Collins had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Santa Clarita Christian Boys improved to 4-0.

High School Girls Basketball
The Valencia Girls Basketball team is undefeated after four games. The Vikings beat Antelope Valley, 49-29, in the High-Five Shootout to win their fourth game in a row to start the season.

Kayla Konrad scored a game-high 15 points for Valencia against Antelope Valley. Talia Roth scored 12 points.

The Saugus Girls won their final game in the High-Five Shootout over Royal, 52-49, in overtime.

Maryrose Elias and Maria Lopez each scored 10 points for Saugus.

Cross Country
Cross country runners Samantha Ortega and Brian Zabilski from Saugus wrote the final chapters to their illustrious careers in the Nike Cross Nationals meet in Portland, Ore.

Ortega and Zabilski ran the final races of their high school careers in the national cross country meet.

Ortega paced the Saugus Girls team to an 11th place finish at the meet. There were 22 teams at the Nike Cross Nationals. Ortega was the top finishing runner for Saugus in 56th place on the 5K Glendoveer Golf Course. She completed the course in 18 minutes, 45 seconds.

Mariah Castillo was 66th overall in 18 minutes, 51 seconds. Ortega and Castillo were the only two runners from Saugus to finish in the top 100.
Zabilski competed as an individual and was 66th in his race.

Three more runners from Saugus raced in the Footlocker Cross Country West Regional Championship at Mt. San Antonio College.

Emma Bahr was 99th in the girls seeded race in 20 minutes, 35.3 seconds.
Darby LaPlant was 109th in 20 minutes, 52.0 seconds.

Tim Broggie was 148th in the boys seeded race in 17 minutes, 26.9 seconds.

Soccer
The Hart Boys and Girls Soccer teams are in good company in the CIF Southern Section preseason rankings.

Both teams are ranked in the top 10 of the CIF preseason polls.
The Hart Boys are No. 4 in the Southern Section Division 4 preseason poll. Lakeside is the No. 1 team in Division 4.

The Hart Boys are 3-0-1 after their first four games and have not given up a goal this season. They are coming off a 2-0 shutout over San Fernando on Saturday.

The Hart Girls soccer team is ranked No. 7 in the Southern Section Division 2 poll. Oaks Christian is the top team in Division 2.

The Hart Girls won their first game of the season, 1-0, over Royal on Monday. They are 1-1-1 after their first three games.

Tim Haddock is the Sports Director at KHTS AM 1220. He writes for ESPN.com, the Ventura County Star, the Team USA website and the SCV Gazette. He can be reached by e-mail at tim@hometownstation.com. Follow him on Twitter @thaddock.

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All the King’s Horses and All the King’s Men

| Opinion | December 12, 2014

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by Robert Patrick Lewis
The President of the United States of America is not the smartest man in the world. I know that he may be the most powerful man, but it is not his job to be the smartest.

One of the first things taught to a non-commissioned officer in the Army is the importance of delegation of duties. No matter how great, smart, or tough you are, there is only one of you, and a good leader always surrounds himself with great people to whom he can delegate important tasks.

The most powerful men in the world have known this for ages, with Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford even coining the phrase “master mind alliance” to describe their daily meetings with other accomplished and smart men for their best ideas.

Ford famously drove this point home when he was accosted by a group of men who wanted to take him down a peg by “proving” he wasn’t very intelligent. While these men thought they would prove their point by asking Ford questions drawn from textbooks and high society, he responded brilliantly, as a man of his stature should. Rather than answering their egghead questions, Ford pointed to a row of red buttons on his desk, and explained that the buttons would summon men under his command who could answer any of their questions, allowing him to keep his faculties focused on the most important task of a businessman in his position: to think about new ideas, not focus on the old.

Putting this into the context of our current age, we now focus back on the President. As a President cannot possibly entertain every problem and issue that faces this country, it is his duty to pick qualified cabinet members, to whom these tasks are delegated, so he can focus his attention on the direction of the country (or golf, as our current one does). A wise President chooses his cabinet purely on merit and achievement, while a weak one chooses based on political donors and yes-men.

The resignation (and, from my sources, it doesn’t seem like it was truly that) of Chuck Hagel marks the sixth Secretary of Defense to move out of the position in four years, and nine senior military Generals have been relieved by Obama in his administration.

Let that sink in for a moment. A President with zero military experience and no family military background is relieving all of the “subject matter” experts under him if they don’t agree with him. How do you think Ford or Carnegie would judge him for that?

Much like Humpty Dumpty, it seems as if Obama is setting himself up for a fall, by choosing to listen to people like Al Sharpton while relieving people like Chuck Hagel from their posts. And in the end, not all Obama’s horses, nor all Obama’s men, will ever be able to put Obama back together again.

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Police Blotter

| Police Blotter | December 12, 2014

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There was plenty of drama in the SCV, according to this week’s police blotter. Santa Clarita Sheriffs this week brought in a suspected fugitive from justice, a 31-year-old Newhall man. Also, a 51-year-old maid from Granada Hills and a Sun Valley couple, both aged 25, were charged with theft of personal property.

An unemployed 23-year-old Saugus man was arrested for second-degree robbery. An unemployed 54-year-old Val Verde man was picked up for taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

A 48-year-old Canoga Park woman who works in homecare was charged with getting credit/other’s ID. An unemployed 50-year-old Newhall woman was cited for entering/occupying a property without consent.

A 42-year-old Santa Clarita man who works in the concrete business was picked up for destroying/concealing documentary evidence.

An unemployed 31-year-old Canyon Country woman was charged with corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant. A 53-year-old mover from Sun Valley was arrested for battery with great bodily injury.

A 55-year-old retired Canoga Park man was picked up for having a firearm with narcotics, and a 36-year-old security stuntman was charged with carrying a loaded firearm on his person or in his vehicle in a public place. Also, a 20-year-old carpet installer from Los Angeles was charged with manufacturing/selling/giving/lending/possessing metal knuckles.

A Victorville man and a Porterville man were charged with transporting/selling/furnishing marijuana.

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:
44-year-old unemployed Canyon Country man
20-year-old Mission Hills student
27-year-old Newhall man who works in framing
26-year-old Santa Clarita transient
42-year-old teamster from Canyon Country
30-year-old salesman from Canyon Country
31-year-old self-employed Sun Valley man
36-year-old Pacoima man who works in operations

A 33-year-old truck driver from Sacramento was picked up for driving a commercial vehicle with a .04 blood/alcohol level.

DUIs this week included:
35-year-old Lancaster man who owns an online smoke shop
26-year-old manager from Riverside
21-year-old Redwood City electrician
38-year-old nurse from Santa Clarita

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Jaso vs. Doug – A Differing Opinion What a Difference a Day Makes

| Opinion | December 12, 2014

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When an anticipated movie comes out, we run to see it on opening weekend. When a new restaurant opens, we promptly visit the new establishment to try the cuisine. When the latest iPhone hits the market, we have reserved it online before it is even available!

But, when there is a real need, we—“we” no longer referring to you and me, but to world leaders—tend to “plan” talks or perhaps organize a conference.

What is it about peace that is so elusive, so optional? Do the consequences of “planning peace talks,” or worse, “delaying peace talks” occur to world leaders? We’ve all heard the news report that “peace talks will resume on ….” When was the last time we heard that “peace talks will conclude” or that “peace begins

now” (as opposed to “The ceasefire commences at midnight on …”)?

Saying that peace talks will resume implies complete failure. After all, we (still referring to those world leaders) are really saying that we will accept even more preventable human death for the moment. Someone’s close loved one is going to die between now and when we resume peace talks. Someone’s mother, father, child, sibling, or all of them will be killed in an attack or in battle while we plan our peace talks.

Let’s get it together and go after peace like it’s the last damn iPhone on the shelf.
Peace now,
Jaso

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Lean to the Left Whose Welfare Are We Concerned About?

| Opinion | December 12, 2014

by Sylvia Turner
Right wingers love to point to welfare as the great failure of social programming. Not only do they talk as if every program is a direct comparison to the way welfare is administered, but they have drawn conclusions based on sheer anecdotes, stories through the grapevine and downright myths.

Writers at the website Cracked.com recently interviewed welfare workers to fill in some of the gaps between reality and the examples discussed at the water cooler, where people on welfare were living “higher on the hog” than middle class Americans. Most of the anecdotes I’ve heard thrown around by conservatives about wasted welfare resources involve minority mothers of numerous children who continue breeding to get more tax dollars.

The writer of the Cracked.com article pointed out that it is harder to cheat the government than to “pull one over on” private charities, because they don’t have the manpower to detect the cheating. Besides, according to an article in “The Atlantic” last year written by Eric Schnurer, when it comes to cheating the taxpayer, the majority of welfare fraud goes to those in management and government officials.

A nationwide network of food banks called Feeding America says that 83 percent of food stamps are going to households with children and/or disabled or elderly people. Also, welfare fraud accounts for only two percent of the government budget.

Just to make sure I cover all the right-wing concerns, I have to mention the overblown view that conservatives have about illegal aliens taking all their money.

Undocumented immigrants are not allowed to get government benefits, says Politifact.com. Furthermore, illegal immigrants can’t collect food stamps until they’ve been in the country at least five years. You can read it on Aspe.hhs.gov. It would surprise some to know that, according to Binyamin Appelbaum and Robert Gebeloff, who write an intelligent blog called Economix: Explaining the Science of Everyday Life, benefits flow mainly to the middle class – 69 percent.

As usual, the Right could stand a little fact-checking.

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