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Creativity Advocacy – Creativity and Transcendence

| Community | July 20, 2018

by Rene Urbanovich

I love creative visualization as much as the next guy. I think it saved my life, in fact. Well, not my life, but my livelihood, at least. I had always heard about visualization; being raised in the seventies, the E.S.P. movement was pretty prominent, at least in my memory. Later, in the Evangelical church, I heard about the desert fathers and read Christian books by teachers like Richard Foster who proposed visualizations. So it was something I dabbled in during prayer, without knowing much.

When I was fifteen, I developed nodules on my vocal cords from screaming as Ermengarde in Hello Dolly. Those nodes caused me to struggle with hoarseness for years. Though there are many parts that contributed to my healing, I’m here to tell you that the visualizations given to me by my voice therapist, Joanna Cazden, are what changed me the most. She gave me a little cassette tape that coached me through walking into a room made of my vocal folds, where I was told to lay hands on the walls, apologize to them for so many years of abuse/misuse and express how grateful I was to have them. I was really sick of being hoarse (especially since I was a voice teacher) and this woman was an established professional in the medical field, not some kookie hippie, so I went with it.

I haven’t been hoarse since.

This healing happened while I was in school working on my BA in Creativity studies. Concurrently, I was writing papers on creative process, creative people and creative purpose.

I learned that Creative visualization is not some New Age or Eastern Religious practice. In the western world during the 1800s, philosophers and artists known as the Romantics dedicated their lives to this activity.

Back when poets and philosophers were exploring meditations on art and beauty, “transcendence” meant rising above sadness; escaping sin; releasing pain; discovering beauty amidst suffering. And by God, there was a lot of suffering. People were dying right and left of tuberculosis, disease, war, childbirth, you name it.

These artists were called the Romantics because they argued that beyond earthly existence was a higher truth—one that had been created by the Absolute. Here is a great quote for anyone who follows the history of Creativity: “Romantics believed that … all creation participates in eternal truth and all things are part of the whole and of each other … and since all creation has a common origin, a thorough and careful observation of any part may give insights into the whole.” The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer taught that intentionally connecting—communing—with art and beauty offered redemptive qualities, not only for the inherent beauty and truth that it possessed, but because of the inspiring experience it provided for the audience. It gave a momentary release from the divisive forces of every day existence and an opportunity to connect with Creation, or the whole. To connect with art meant to contemplate a thing of beauty and truth—to interact with one’s own imagination.

From where I sit, we regularly connect with art—mostly music and film. Sometimes the art is full of truth and beauty (the CG movie CoCo comes to mind) and sometimes not (The Ring—ugh!). Of course, a lot of people believe in visualization and meditation now. People use that “happy place” to help with bad moods, traffic, lost keys and a whole lot of other stuff. Even without the help of the masters, so to speak; it has finally become a part of our culture.

I sometimes wonder if we might inadvertently use art as an escape instead of a way to connect. We want to sort of numb ourselves to the stresses in our lives. Instead, we could tap into our imagination. The mission of Creativity is to connect us with the whole. Using our mind to connect with a work of art or with nature serves us individually by lowering our blood pressure and relieving stress. It connects us with the transcendent nature of art too, whether it’s a meaningful song or a poignant movie. We share in these experiences, sometimes with friends and family, which connects us to one another. Next time you find yourself being soothed by a beautiful ballad on Spotify, or lose all track of time during a captivating film, take note that you are touching the transcendent properties of Creativity.

More Lights, Camera, Action in Santa Clarita

| Community | July 19, 2018

The City of Santa Clarita saw an increase in on-location filming in Fiscal Year 2017-2018 (July 2017 to June 2018), with the Film Office recording 560 film permits and 1377 film days, which generated an estimated $33.1 million in economic impact to the local community. This represents a 2.8 percent increase in permits, an 8.9 percent increase in film days and a 9.8 percent increase to the estimated economic impact when compared to Fiscal Year 2016-2017.

This is the fifth consecutive fiscal year the Santa Clarita Film Office has recorded more than 500 permits and $30 million or more in estimated economic impact generated from location filming alone. Not included in the reported numbers are the film days and economic benefit from filming that take place on certified sound stages, which does not require a film permit.

“We’re happy that production has remained so steady and Santa Clarita continues to be a top choice for location filming,” said Mayor Laurene Weste. “We are proud that the film industry plays a big part in our local economy, supporting hundreds of area businesses and providing high paying jobs to thousands of our local residents. Being a film-friendly community continues to be a priority for our City Council and we will continue to do everything we can to keep the cameras rolling in ‘Hollywood North’ to ensure our unique and beautiful valley remains a preferred place for production.”

More than half of the filming days for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 were attributed to television production, many of which were from local Santa Clarita-based shows including “Atypical,” “Future Man,“ “Good Trouble,” “Mayans MC,” “MythBusters,” “NCIS,” “S.W.A.T.,” “Santa Clarita Diet,” “Shooter,” “Shut Eye,” “Ultimate Beastmaster” and “Westworld.”

Other television shows that filmed on location in Santa Clarita last fiscal year included “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “American Horror Story: Cult,” “American Housewife,” “America’s Got Talent,” “Animal Kingdom,” “Arrested Development,” “Baskets,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Camping,” “Casual,” “Champs vs. Stars,” “Criminal Minds,” “Fear Factor,” “Get Shorty,” “Ghosted,” “Goliath,” “Here and Now,” “Jay Leno’s Garage,” “LA to Vegas,” “The Last Ship,” “Lethal Weapon,” “Modern Family,” “My Cat from Hell,” “Navy SEALs,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “The Orville,” “Reverie,” “Scorpion,” “SEAL Team,” “Silicon Valley,” “The OA,” “This is Us,” “Timeless,” “Too Old to Die Young,” “Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G.,” “Young Sheldon” and many more.

TV shows weren’t the only productions taking advantage of Santa Clarita filming locations. Many movies shot in the City last fiscal year including, “12 Strong,” “The 15:17 to Paris,” “Ad Astra,” “Backseat,” “Bird Box,” “Book Club,” “Charlie Says,” “Clemency,” “The Family Business,” “The Happytime Murders,” “Honey Boy,” “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” “Miss Virginia,” “Rogue Warfare,” “Semper Fi,” “Silencer,” “Untitled Dan Gilroy Project” and more, in addition to multiple music videos, lots of online content, countless commercials and still photo shoots.

Santa Clarita is consistently one of the most filmed places in California because it’s located within the industry’s well-known 30-Mile Zone and offers thousands of film-friendly locations that can double for almost anywhere in the world. In addition, Santa Clarita has more than 20 sound stages, more than 10 movie ranches, a one-stop shop Film Office and some of the lowest film permitting fees in the Los Angeles area.

Several other factors have contributed to the continued success and appeal of filming in Santa Clarita, including the City’s own Film Incentive Program and Movie Ranch Overlay Zone. In addition, the California Film and Television Tax Credit Program was recently extended and is working to keep production in the state and in the SCV.

For more information about filming in Santa Clarita, visit FilmSantaClarita.com or contact the Film Office at (661) 284-1425. For an insider’s view to filming in Santa Clarita, follow the Santa Clarita Film Office on Instagram (@FilmSantaClarita).

‘The Stolen Collection’ Prevent Property Theft by Securing Valuables

| Community | July 19, 2018

An unsuspecting couple leaves their car window rolled down on a hot summer day, to keep the vehicle cool while they quickly pop into a store. Knowing what a safe community Santa Clarita is, they leave a purse under the front seat, while a laptop is left on the floor in the back. What they don’t know is a thief is lurking in the parking lot, looking for easy targets. In the five minutes it takes to complete their purchase at the store, two new items have been added to “The Stolen Collection.”

Santa Clarita was recently ranked as one of the Top 10 cities in the United States using FBI crime data, with the least amount of property crime, by Reviews.org,. In an effort to keep property crime in the Santa Clarita Valley low and help residents protect their valuables, the City of Santa Clarita and Santa Clarity Valley Sheriff’s Station have partnered to bring a new public safety campaign to the city.

The Stolen Collection aims to prevent crime by sharing safety tips with residents so they can protect their personal property. The campaign has a goal of decreasing the number of thefts from vehicles and homes in Santa Clarita.

In Santa Clarita, there were a total of 3,216 property crime reports in 2017. Of those, 454 reports involved theft from unlocked vehicles. An additional 523 reports were made for vehicle burglaries where a window was smashed or a door lock was pried. In nearly all of those cases, items of value were left in plain view within the vehicle.

Residents are encouraged to check that vehicle windows are completely rolled up and doors are locked, every time they park. In addition to ensuring that valuables are kept out of sight, it is recommended that car interiors are completely clean and organized, to show thieves there is nothing worth stealing.

Theft from vehicles does not only occur at crowded venues. When at home, parking a car in the garage and locking the doors adds extra security and makes it harder for criminals to add items to The Stolen Collection.

The Stolen Collection campaign features advertising around Santa Clarita and public outreach through local media outlets. Residents are asked to report suspicious activity to the Sheriff’s Station if they see someone trying to add to The Stolen Collection.

Learn more about “The Stolen Collection” by visiting SCStolenCollection.com.

Eliminating Money Stress in Your Kids

| Community | July 19, 2018

The kids in your life are stressed out, and financial stress is a big part of this.

I know what you’re thinking. “But my kids (or grandkids) don’t even have jobs yet, or bills and expenses. So how can they have stress around money?”

When you have stress around money and finances, the children in your life pick up on it. Whether they are three years old or seventeen, they know when money is an issue at home. There are many reasons why you might be feeling financial stress. You may have suffered a job layoff in the past year, had to take a cut in salary or benefits just to keep your job, or you may just be having a hard time finding a new job that compensates you enough to keep up with inflation. In fact, it’s not unusual for people to have worked at the same job without a raise for years. And while income isn’t increasing, the cost of living is. Money stress can also happen when you have a large amount of debt. As the bills stack up and your paycheck doesn’t seem to cover all of them, you may feel like you’re fighting a losing battle.

Your kids will react in a variety of ways when they pick up on their parents’ financial problems, and here are some ways to handle these situations when it hits home.

Children will sometimes withdraw, avoiding friends and social situations. Encourage them to spend time with the people and activities they enjoy.

Young people are more attuned to situations than you might believe. Schedule a time with your spouse to sit down with your children for an open and honest discussion. Assure them that they are your first priority and that you are doing what is necessary to get back on track financially.

Many kids will react to financial stress by acting out and engaging in risky behavior. Make it clear that this is not acceptable and will not be tolerated and that you are there for them now and always.

Feelings of helplessness may occur in older children. They feel like they would like to help with the family’s financial problems but are unsure how to do this. Discuss some age appropriate options for them to be included in what is going on at home right now.

And those feelings of helplessness can also cause havoc with your child’s and your own health. Stress you carry for a long period of time can be detrimental to your health, causing problems with the immune system, energy levels, and can even cause an increased risk for cancer and heart disease. It’s critical that you handle stress in an appropriate way so that your money stress won’t turn into a life changing illness for you or another family member.

Plan weekly outings with your children to fight off physical fatigue and keep everyone’s immune system healthy. We are fortunate here in Santa Clarita to be surrounded by parks and trails that can be accessed all year long. These times together could be the catalyst for change within your family as you work through issues together. Remember that your financial problems don’t have to be permanent. You can learn to manage your money and time will help you to improve your situation.

Finally, you need to learn money management skills so that you can eventually relieve the stress you feel from money. When you finally address the problem, you’ll feel better quickly. Just getting the problem out in the open and determining what it will take to solve the problem is sometimes enough to improve your mental and physical health. If you don’t know where to turn, try reading some financial improvement books, talking to a friend, or attending a community workshop. Santa Clarita has many opportunities for us all to learn more about money and finances, and including your children as much as possible will be a positive step.

Stress is a natural part of life. Help your child to understand how to work through it during times of financial struggle and they will carry this knowledge with them and pass in on to generations to come.

Connie Ragen Green lives in Saugus and has been working exclusively on the internet since 2006. Living the Mentored Life is her sixteenth book and was released by Hunter’s Moon Publishing in April of 2018. All of Connie’s titles are available in paperback at Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, at your local bookstore, and also for Kindle. Find out more by visiting http://HugeProfitsTinyList.com and download an audio recording for 2018 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.

Stone Fruit Season at The Farmers’ Market

| Community | July 19, 2018

Besides warm, sunny days and lazy afternoons, summertime also brings delicious stone fruits to the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Markets.

Mizuno Farms is currently offering fresh peaches, plums, nectarines, pluots and apricots. They will also be bringing their first crops of grapes to market and expect to have their fresh fruit offerings through Labor Day. “With all the weather changes we have seen this year, some varieties have great eye appeal and are quite tasty while others don’t have all the same flavor as before,” stated Gregory Mizuno. “Still, we are having a good season with a lot to choose from despite the weather,” he added. Mizuno Farms can be found at the Downtown Ventura Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings and at the Santa Clarita, College of the Canyons site on Sunday mornings.

Fair Hills Farms also brings a variety of stone fruits to the farmers’ market. They include yellow peaches, white and yellow nectarines, and white donut peaches. Other fruits include apricots, purple plums, and many varieties of pluots consisting of plum/apricot mixes as well as a new variety – a plum-cherry mix.

Also known for their apples, Fair Hills Farms will offer their Gala variety mid to end of July. Other varieties will follow and will be available year-round. They include Fuji, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Cameo Honeycrisp, Braeburn, Jonagold, and more. “The apples are staggered as to when they are ready to be picked and how the weather impacts the fruit as well,” stated Nancy Rydell of Fair Hills Farms. “Shoppers will find a great variety to choose from, from the most popular to the lesser known varieties,” she added. Fair Hills Farms products can be found at the Downtown Ventura Farmers’ Market and at the Oaks Shopping Center on Thursday afternoons.

For more information on stone fruit season, call 805-529-6266, or visit the website at www.vccfarmersmarkets.com.

About the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association

The Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association serves the community of Ventura with two Markets -Wednesdays at the Pacific View Mall, front west parking lot on Main Street from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and on Saturdays in Downtown Ventura on the corners of East Santa Clara and Palm Streets from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon. The Thousand Oaks Farmers’ Market is held Thursdays at The Oaks Shopping Center at the east end parking lot, Wilbur Road and Thousand Oaks Boulevard from 1:30 to 6:00 p.m. Santa Clarita Farmers’ Market is held on Sundays at the College of the Canyons, parking lot 5 on Valencia Boulevard from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon.

Around the World in 80 Paintings

| Community, Entertainment | July 19, 2018

Six Santa Clarita Artists Association members were accepted for the La Galeria Gitana exhibit, Around the World in 80 Paintings. Opening night with artists is August 11, with a reception from 6 to 9:00 p.m. This exhibit will be on display until September 21. Art enthusiasts and connoisseurs are welcomed to celebrate with wine, refreshments and lots of art talk.

Jane Mick is an award-winning fine art painter in oil. Texture in her paintings adds dimension and interest. “My painting is titled ‘Paris’. I love to create art with a creative flare of interest and fun. My website is JaneMick.com.”

Painting by Mardilan Georgio

Mardilan Georgio – “Nature is a strong theme in much of my art, especially in watercolors. The human face and body in motion is a favorite theme for my charcoal work. ‘Laundry Day in Kotor’ is a watercolor of a medieval village in Montenegro off the Adriatic Sea where time has stood still. My webpage is: https://www.santaclaritaartists.org/mardi-georgio.html.”

Debra Zednik – “My painting, ‘Wabash Ave, Chicago,’ is an acrylic with impressionist influence, inspired by light and reflections of people in the street.”

Painting by Olga Kaczmar

Olga Kaczmar is a portrait, animal and landscape artist. “I’m thrilled that my watercolor seascape of ‘Nubble Lighthouse in a Storm’ was accepted. I have over 300 art pieces uploaded at: https://fineartamerica.com/artists/olga+kaczmar.html.”

Dody Rogers – ‘Near Tuscany’ is Rogers’ oil exhibit. “Traveling to many countries and enjoying California outdoors has given me photo opportunities and oil painting subjects.” See: https://www.santaclaritaartists.org/dody-rogers.html

Mike Farrell will be exhibiting with his pen and ink stipple art titled ‘Chimney Sweeps’.

La Galeria Gitana is located at 120 N Maclay Ave. Ste. E, in San Fernando. Angela Phillips is the director/curator. For more information, go to

Painting by Jane Mick

www.galeriagitana.com.

Afternoon T

| Community | July 19, 2018

by T. Katz

Q: Why are friendships so tough? I have a lot of friends and it bothers me that some of them don’t like each other and won’t behave at parties or holiday gatherings at my house. I don’t think I should have to pick and choose who can and cannot attend. We’re all adults, but they act like we’re still in junior high. Why can’t people just get along?

A: Yours isn’t the first party of people-who-don’t-behave. Pick up a newspaper, or turn on the television, and you’ll see people of every walk of life behaving badly. A whole batch of ‘em seem incapable of employing any level of kindergarten kindness or even basic old-fashioned playground civility. Junior High indeed! The time period between 11 and 14 years old, though painful, is important to developmental well-being. Everyone flung together, having to work through “playground politics.” [Yup. It’s a real thing. Google it. There’s even a wonderful book by the same name, written by Dr. Stanley Greenspan.] It is through those machinations you work out your independent identity, discover some of what you believe and see exactly what you are made of (despite the rivalries borne from this turbulent time).

But, let’s go back even further, to the earliest years of friendships. Do you remember some of the rules? Why, one of the simplest of requests we had to adhere to, from toddlerhood, was “Keep your hands to yourself!” Darned if that doesn’t seem to have been forgotten, from the looks of national headlines and picket signs. Small wonder then, that the sandbox of friendship now more resembles a kitty litter box, with all the messes to sort through when it comes to unpleasant personalities. Shovel in social media posts, heated discourse (often fueled by erroneous, hateful information) and electronic firewalls that cowardly bullies tend to hide behind, and playground politics become nuclear zones. Childish behavior, at its worst.

Not long ago, a woman I know drew a metaphorical line in the sand of our friendship, because she despises a couple of folks in my contact list. This woman dressed me down and told me that I’d chosen my “camp.” Camp!? Like the kayaking, tent-dwelling, smore-making Camp Runamucka? Nope. Turns out she meant like an enemy camp where it seems a Hatfield & McCoy level of feuding was going on. How does one work out a table seating chart at the next gathering with THAT kind of hostility?

You don’t.

Research shows that trying to “make everybody happy” in relationships can shorten your lifespan. So, howzabout you truly examine your relationships as though it were a matter of life or death? Yours, not theirs. Sit down with your next Backyard BBQ Guest List and honestly assess which category those relationships fall into: Supportive? Ambivalent? Indifferent? Negative? You’re an adult now. Take care of yourself like parents, teachers and campus supervisors did when you were a kid. Your overall health, physically and psychologically, depends on having quality, not quantity, when it comes to relationships.

xo – t.

Homelessness Issues and the City Responds to Alan Ferdman

| Community | July 19, 2018

Contrary to the information in the article by Alan Ferdman, the draft Community Plan to Address Homelessness is an action plan – designed by and bought into by 30 local stakeholders, crafted specifically for the Santa Clarita community. The plan includes 15 goals and 21 action-specific items, complete with detailed timelines for implementation and specific responsibilities assigned to local service providers.

  • The stakeholders involved in developing the plan participated in individual one-on-one interviews and a two-day planning session to identify gaps in current services and develop action items to effectively address homelessness in Santa Clarita.
  • As was provided by the L.A. County planning process, the City of Santa Clarita was represented at the initial Measure H funding discussions, by the representative from the North County Region and by the San Fernando Valley Coalition of Governments.
    The Homeless Ad Hoc Committee of the City Council was designed and intended to meet when needed to best address the constantly changing environment of Measure H and homeless issues. These meetings are in addition to the regular monthly meetings City staff has with Bridge to Home.
  • The City of Santa Clarita has transferred approximately $1 million worth of land to Bridge to Home for a permanent year-round shelter. In addition, Bridge to Home continues to receive funding from the city and the Fifth District Supervisor Barger’s Office. This includes funding for water/sewer connections at their current site.
  • In just over a year since Measure H was passed, Bridge to Home has already been approved for more than $1 million in Measure H funding for operations and development.
  • The draft Community Plan to Address Homelessness identifies six areas of greatest need. In addition to lack of a permanent shelter and affordable housing, the plan also identifies gaps in mental health services, coordination, collaboration and the need for a more accurate homeless count.
  • Mental health and drug addiction are included in the plan. There are currently limited health and dental care options available, which is why they were not identified as primary gaps in the local continuum of care.

The draft Community Plan to Address Homelessness can be viewed at santa-clarita.com/homeless. Please share your input by emailing homeless@santa-clarita.com before August 22.

Community Invited to Review Draft of Community Plan to Address Homelessness

The City of Santa Clarita has been making efforts to help those experiencing homelessness in our community. Upon receiving a planning grant from the County of Los Angeles, the city hired a research group to develop a comprehensive solutions plan to address and combat homelessness. After nearly three months of research, meetings and interviews, a draft of the Community Plan to Address Homelessness has been completed.

The public has an opportunity to weigh in on the plan and be part of the solution. The draft is available for review and comment until Wednesday, August 22. The plan is available at santa-clarita.com/homeless – for questions or comments, email homeless@santa-clarita.com. This plan outlines a community approach and highlights the need for collaboration to make a true and lasting impact on homelessness.

“This plan represents the culmination of months of work and discussions involving the key service providers in our community,” said Councilmember Cameron Smyth. “Reading through the draft of the plan, it is very evident that this is not something the City can take on alone. This plan requires buy in and support from dozens of non-profits, faith based organizations, school districts and more. By coming together and committing to these action items, we will be able to make significant progress toward helping those experiencing homelessness in Santa Clarita.”

“I am thrilled to see the great strides our City, and community, have made toward helping our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean. “We recently purchased and transferred $1 million worth of land to Bridge to Home. This land is adjacent to the property where the temporary shelter currently is, and provides enough space for a new, permanent, year-round shelter with resources, services and the help and support our homeless so desperately need.”

To find out more about what the City of Santa Clarita is doing to address homelessness, including forming the Homeless Ad Hoc Committee of the City Council, funding affordable housing and more, visit santa-clarita.com/homeless.

The Basics of SEO

| Community | July 12, 2018

Every truly successful business has a website. But just having a website isn’t enough. The best websites have various attributes that make it easy to find on your favorite search engine.

You must have a complete Search Engine Optimization system, including keywords and meta tags. The following is a summary of these all-important features.

SEO is absolutely critical to your website being found on search engines. But did you know there are two components to SEO?

The first components are the words on your website. These are called keywords. You need to determine which words people are typing into search engines to find you, and if you don’t know those descriptive words, there are tools online to help you with this process. Chances are you have some idea, because your industry has certain terms everybody uses. That’s a good place to start.

One more thing about keywords: You have to seamlessly integrate them into your copy. Otherwise, search engines will know what you’re doing and punish you by ranking your pages lower or dropping them altogether (remember, the trick is to be on the first page of the search engine). So, if you have to hire a copywriter to help you, it’s a good idea.

Another component to SEO is the computer aspect. This is done by web designers, who use something called “meta tags.” These are the information about the website page that search engines and directories use to help index your site. The most basic meta tags are your site’s title, description and keywords. Make sure you have meta tags for each website page, and make sure they’re spelled the way you intend and are customized for that specific page. Improper spelling could mean a would-be customer misses your page because he spelled the keyword right and you didn’t.

SEO is only one of the steps that will help you maintain a website that is relevant, search engine-friendly and will get your clients to ultimately contact you. To discover what else can be done to improve your online presence, contact Warren Schultz at warren@tapsolutions.net or call him at 818-281-7628. Or visit his website at www.TAPSolutions.net

The Importance of Skin Health

| Community | July 6, 2018

Did you know that only 20 percent of skin aging comes from the natural aging process. Free radicals like; car pollution and air pollution, lack of sleep, stress in life, and sun exposure can lead to the majority of premature skin aging.

It’s important that the products you use have safe, stable & effective ingredients to help fight against these effects.

There are many different skin types and many different skin needs, so always try to stick with one brand and not mix brands. Use a trusted company and one that you know spends millions every year in research and tests annually to make sure they are giving you the best products they can.

It’s difficult to keep up with what ingredients work, what is the newest research in addition sometimes your skin is constantly changing what it needs. Its helpful to try different products to find what works for your skin needs, sometimes it takes trying different products to find what works for you.

As a Mary Kay beauty consultant for almost 9 years, I can bring the beauty to you and work directly with you to figure out what works for you to meet your skin care needs. I’ve used Mary Kay products myself for 27 years. You can always try before you buy. If you prefer to shop online only or order by e-mail or phone, the choice is yours. I’d love to help you with any or all of your beauty needs. Let’s talk!

Sheryl Geraci, Independent Beauty Consultant for Mary Kay, www.marykay.com/sherylgeraci or 661-877-5544

Finders, Keepers

| Community | July 6, 2018

by Harry Parmenter

There’s nothing like the thrill of finding money, the kind that used to belong to somebody but doesn’t anymore, the kind you can keep.

It began for me back in second grade, Mrs. Frasher’s class on the second floor of the west wing at Ocean Avenue Elementary School, Northport, New York. Those were the days of wooden desks with the lift-up top, cubbyhole for your No. 2 pencils in the top right corner. The kind of desk you carved your initials into if you wanted to get in trouble, a vestibule later memorialized by the album cover packaging of Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out,” which neatly replicated the top, bottom and inside of the real thing.

Everyone was assigned their own desk each September, back when school started after Labor Day and ended soon after Memorial Day, when kids had a whole summer to grow up and explore the great outdoors, prior to the unfortunate advent of year-round education, pupil-free days and locked schoolyards.

Five rows across, five back, teacher’s station and blackboard up front, huge globe in the corner, the clock on the wall we just knew was slow. Books and supplies in the hollow basin underneath the desktop, your personal safe space for nine and a half months.

Just back from Christmas break, we settled into our places, the hard wooden seatback connected to the desk itself by a metal bar that ran between your feet. A compact, movable student command post.

I flipped open my desk to find unexpected treasure: a silver dollar with President Kennedy’s face on it and, wonder of strange wonders, a two dollar bill! I had never seen such a thing. And it was significantly larger than any other money I’d ever seen, let alone held. Mind you, this was back when the two dollar bill had not only been discontinued, but was more novel than color television.

I remember sitting there, holding the top up, staring at the stuff, afraid to even pick it up. Everyone was pulling their books out to get started as I sat, practically trembling with excitement, not to mention a vague fear I’d done something wrong.

“Harry, are you with us?”

“Umm, yes, Mrs. Frasher. It’s just that…I found something in my desk that’s not mine.”

All eyes turned towards me as our petite French leader buzzed towards me.

Scott Hutchins popped up out of his seat behind me, straining for a look. “Is it a switchblade?”

“Sit down, Mr. Hutchins,” she said as she stood beside me. If you acted up, she addressed you as “Mister.”

I pointed, dumbstruck.

“Oh, my!” she said brightly, her warm eyes widening. “Now that’s interesting!” She picked up the coin and paper, turning them over in her delicate hands. She held the oversized bill up to the morning light streaming through the giant bank of windowpanes at the far side of the room. The class inhaled.

“This is not yours, Harry?” she said, fixing me with a look usually reserved for Mr. Hutchins.

“No, Mrs. Frasher. I just opened my desk and there it was.”

“Well then perhaps this is your lucky day,” she said, smiling. “We shall see.” With that she turned and walked away, Kennedy and Jefferson in tow.

Too young for avarice (that would come later), I somehow felt guilty.

Robby Latino was all over me at recess. “How did it get there?” he said, jabbing his finger into my shoulder.

“How should I know?” I said, returning the favor.

“She took it away! It’s yours! Finders, keepers!”

I hoped he was right. The episode had thrown me for a loop.

My father took a dim view of the situation that night at dinner on the back patio, my older sister and brother glad to be out of the school spotlight for a change.

“Young man, are you telling me the truth? You didn’t get that from someone?”

My favorite macaroni and cheese smelled different, like cafeteria food. Prison cafeteria. I pushed my breadcrumb cheddar pasta elbows into a corner of my plate.

“No, Dad, it was just there!” I welled up, prone to that sort of thing back then.

“Let’s not turn on the water works.”

I felt like a criminal, even though I hadn’t genuinely done anything really bad since Timmy Smith and I nailed some guy’s car roof with a couple of iceballs in February, and he stopped in the middle of the street and chased us up into the woods behind my house.

“I found the money in my desk! I don’t know where it came from!”

My brother smirked, seeing an opening. “Can I have some more, Mom? The crusty part?” He knew that was the last of it.

I cursed him with a silent “shik” under my breath, an oath I’d just heard on the playground. It was months before I learned the correct four-letter word wasn’t a razor brand.

“Well, this is a matter of some concern,” my father said. “Will you pass the Wishbone please, Mother?”

It wasn’t like he didn’t have bigger fish to fry, literally, given that he was managing a Howard Johnson’s in Commack. But somehow, it felt worse than the year before when I’d really pushed the button.

“So how was your day at school, son?” he’d said, as we broke bread under the same patio umbrella.

“Great, Dad! I made a new friend! He told me how his Mom got mad at him for messing up his room all the time and said, ‘Goddamnit, Glenn Conlon! I’m sick and tired of cleaning up after you!”

The Earth Stood Still. Needless to say, Glenn never came over for a play date.

A few days after finding the booty, Mrs. Frasher held me back at the lunch bell. “Harry, I think you’re going to like this,” she said, as she picked an envelope off her desk and handed it to me. I could feel the weight of the coin and see a faint insignia inside it. “It’s all yours. Finders, keepers, as Mr. Latino would say.” Nothing got past her.

“Thank you, Mrs. Frasher,” I said, beaming.

“You’re most welcome, Harry.” Her eyes twinkled. “And remember, don’t spend it all in one place.”

Ever since then, I thrill to the sight of lost currency, any amount, anywhere, anytime. Once my young son and I were shooting hoops at his deserted middle school court, and as I chased a loose ball, I spied the unmistakable color of money on a bench up against the fence. I dribbled over and Cazart! A twenty! A ten! A fiver! Two singles, three quarters, two pennies and a dime!!! My son was as jubilant as I, a proud paternal moment, the passing of the torch.

Forsaking Mrs. Frasher’s childhood counsel, and having long ago decided—upon something I read—to vicariously spend found money immediately, something fun, we went and bought hot fudge sundaes and a pair of Super Soakers. The perfect ending to another bittersweet weekend divorce visitation.

Last year I was walking in Canyon Country one twilight eve, and there peeking out of a pile of leaves was just the tiniest edge of filthy—and I do mean filthy—lucre.
Ten feet from a fire hydrant on the fringe of an unsuspecting neighbor’s property, there it was: fair game!

I reached down and pulled out the confetti tip and gazed upon a tattered, weatherbeaten $20. Andrew Jackson’s visage barely intact. It was almost too embarrassing to redeem. But not quite! I felt like Jackson at The Battle of New Orleans as I drove to McDonald’s to do the deed. Two burgers later I left Golden Valley, crisp bills settling into my billfold as I dropped the change into the charity box at the cash register. Giving it back.

My latest find was at Quest Diagnostics inside Vons. There for a blood draw, one of my least favorite experiences, I bent over to tie my shoes before being called into the nurse’s house of pain.

Lo and behold as I tied my left sneaker what did I see on the floor against the wall behind me but a quarter! And then, as I bent further into a compromising position to retrieve it there lay another quarter, inches away! All this on top of finding a dime in the parking lot on the way into the store. It was only sixty cents, but the thrill remained the same.

My juvenile glee at discovering unexpected treasure always returns me to Mrs. Frasher’s class, way back then. The mystery of how that money found its way into my desk remains unsolved. My parents held onto it until I came of age, although I’d occasionally take the two dollar bill from inside their desk, just to look at it once in a while. I’d like to say I kept it, but I didn’t. I spent it on something fun: an Alice Cooper record.

Excel Solutions

| Community | July 6, 2018

Microsoft Excel allows people to “think outside the box” and develop creative ways to solve problems and make their jobs – and by extension, their lives – easier because Excel saves time and money. It also eliminates costly errors.

Excel is way more than just a big calculator. It can make the complex simple, the inefficient efficient, the manual automatic and the tedious fun. Here are two more of the many ways Excel can work for you.

Repetitive jobs that took hours or days now take seconds. Say, for example, someone had to format reports for five bosses and set up graphs every day. Each boss wanted the report to show something different. Having to manually format five different reports took two hours a day – and sometimes longer because he made mistakes. With Excel, the various reports took seconds with no mistakes.

Suppose a large employment recruiting company could pull specific data from their database of potential candidates. After pulling the data, the company would have to manually score each candidate by specific criteria to see who was the best potential match. This was very time consuming.

With Excel, you could write a spreadsheet that would score all the resumes by specific criteria that the recruiter wanted. Then the recruiter could go through the resumes, starting with the best candidates and on down, saving countless hours and improving productivity and profits.

Data can be converted from different sources and formats into Excel. Say, for example, a company has six different databases. Database A is the most current, but it’s missing one critical detail, meaning somebody has to go into Database B to find that detail. If it’s not there, that person has to go through Database C, and so on, until that detail is found. Excel merged all the data into one centralized database, so anyone could easily find that detail.

There was a controller of a company with many subsidiaries that every month had to manually combine the sales, receivables and payable figures for each subsidiary. One of the big complications was an employee could work for different subsidiaries in the same pay period, and those figures needed to be combined.

The solution is in the spreadsheet. With Excel, you can create a spreadsheet that would allow the controller to upload the financials into the spreadsheet. Then it would automatically combine everything correctly and give the needed figures they needed, along with a dashboard, to show how things were going.

Become Excel-lent and see the great many things Excel can do for you.

For more information on how to find the right Excel developer, contact Warren Schultz at warren@tapsolutions.net or call him at 818-281-7628. Visit his website at TAPSolutions.net.

Live the Island Life at Thursdays@Newhall

| Community | July 5, 2018

Pacific Island Dance, SENSES Beach Party Head to Main Street

For SCV residents looking to get wild on a Thursday night, The City of Santa Clarita’s Thursdays@Newhall series, presented by Valencia Auto Center, warms up in July with free events in Old Town Newhall. Thursdays@Newhall is an ongoing opportunity for residents of Santa Clarita to attend free shows, concerts and special events on Thursdays throughout the year.

Fresh off after Independence Day, Pacific Island Dance takes over JAM Sessions on July 5, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Join members of the Kalakeke Pacific Island Dance Company and sway to the beat of the drum, while dancing to traditional Tahitian music. Learn the fast-paced moves the Tahitian Dance, Ori Tahiti, and listen to live music from Jason Arimoto and Friends, as they play everything from Americana and Blues, to Hawaiian favorites. JAM Sessions is hosted in conjunction with the Ford Theatre Foundation, bringing dance and original live performances to the Old Town Newhall Library, located at 24500 Main Street.

Also on June 5 at The MAIN (24266 Main Street), 10 performers will take the stage for 10 minutes each to share their comedy, storytelling, short films and music at the monthly 10 by 10 show, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Performances this month include juggling and comedy from Ivan Pecel; comedy from Billy O’Connor and Rachel McDowell; storytelling by Suzanne Whang, Mary-Margaret Martinez and Suzanne Weerts; magic with Glenndalf; music by Yvette Nacer and the Los Angeles Fifes and Drums; and screenings of short films “Uh … Salted” and “One Night in Taipei.”

Game Night returns to Variety Night on July 12, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Whether you are feeling a bit competitive or just looking for some good old fun, grab a friend or two to join you on Main Street. The event will be filled with tailgate games, table-top games, life-size games and much more. Play for fun or go for the gold.

Also on July 12, local musicians will take the stage for Note by Note at The MAIN, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Note by Note is a free musical showcase, delighting audiences with a variety of genres. Bands, duos and soloists will perform a wide range of styles including rock, folk, Celtic, Americana, blues, jazz, country, experimental, western and more. Featured performers in July include Blake Baldwin, Luke Morin, Severin Browne and Medicine Hat. Artists interested in performing at Note by Note can learn more at ThursdaysAtNewhall.com/NotebyNote.

Stick your toes in the sand and relax with a drink in hand at the SENSES Beach Party on July 19, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Main Street will be turned into a beach paradise with 75 tons of sand, covering roughly half of the block. Ride a wave on the mechanical surfboard or build a sand castle, while you listen to some island tunes. Truly embrace the beach vibes with an umbrella-topped drink from the on-street bar, hosted this month by Newhall Refinery.

Starting Tuesday, July 17, the art gallery at The MAIN will simultaneously feature two exhibitions titled, “Don’t Listen to What They Say! Go See!” by artist Ryan Coursey, and “The Last Stand: Night Photography and Light Painting in the Mojave Desert,” by artist Ron Pinkerton. The community is invited to the free art reception on Thursday, July 19, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Guests will enjoy light snacks, music and a chance to meet the artists.

Thursdays@Newhall wraps up the month on July 26, with the ARTree Speaker Series. The ARTree Speaker Series presents fascinating lectures and free-form discussions with influential artists and leaders who bring art, arts education, and exceptional projects to the diverse Santa Clarita Valley community. Speakers will inspire and motivate your appetite for creativity.  Learn more about the speaker series by visiting ThursdaysAtNewhall.com/ARTree.

For more information about the City of Santa Clarita’s Thursdays@Newhall events, visit ThursdaysAtNewhall.com or contact the City’s Arts and Events Office at (661) 250-3787.

Now and Then, A Look Back at 1975

| Community | July 5, 2018

The year 1975 included grand opening celebrations for some now familiar SCV institutions, as well as a blessed event for an attraction that isn’t here anymore, and an ambitious effort by local leaders to escape what was perceived as L.A. County indifference to our valley’s needs.

Chief Lame Deer blessed the new
Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.

Sioux Chief Lame Deer was called upon to bless the founding of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital while Joan Pinchuk, L.A. Supervisor Baxter Ward’s local field deputy, cut the ribbon on a new Senior Citizen Center. Sierra Vista Junior High School teacher Steve Davis, who spent his off hours developing the muscles that won him the Mr. California title, opened a health club; and history buffs were preparing for Newhall’s 1976 Centennial by forming the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. Long-time resident and historian A.B. Perkins was named Honorary President Emeritus and Art Evans was elected acting president.

Teenagers who flock to Magic Mountain for the “white knuckler” roller coaster rides may be surprised to know that a small animal “zoo” was once included in the park’s attractions. In 1975, a wooly monkey named Delilah gave birth to one of the few babies of her species ever born in captivity.

The then-named Boys Club’s auction drew the valley’s biggest crowds by offering many unique auction block items. High bidder Steve Colf purchased a Sitmar Cruise for $1700. Hair stylist Tom Sisk won the bidding for a Miss California finalist’s weight in coins; and business owner Bill Light won the popular “girl in a cake,” which he later featured at the opening of his new store.

In “The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same” category, Editorialist Scott Newhall was decrying the fact that the CIA was spying on the FBI, the FBI was spying on the IRS, and the IRS was spying on the American people and “taxing them beyond endurance.” And teachers in the Sulphur Springs School District were walking the picket lines demanding higher pay.

But the biggest local news of the year was the push for a new county (dubbed Canyon County by the organizers), a movement inspired by one particularly frustrating L.A. County hearing involving services needed in our valley. Disgusted by the long drive to L.A., the wasted time, and many delays, a frustrated Carl Boyer, III, reportedly burst out of his seat and challenged the whole mess with “Anything you can do, WE can do better!”

Though the necessary petitions had been handed to the Registrar in July, the impatient citizenry was still waiting for Governor Jerry Brown (that’s right, the same Jerry Brown) to appoint a study commission in December. The action began an SCV odyssey for independence, which was finally realized 12 years later.

There were actually two different attempts to form our own county. Both required the consent of the entire Los Angeles County area. In the first vote, held in 1976, 55 percent of the SCV voters approved the creation, but the rest of the county voted the measure down 68 to 32 percent.

Undaunted, the locals mounted another county petition drive in 1977 and the qualifying documents were turned in to the L.A. County offices that December. A celebration of biblical proportions (stemming from the fact that it took the organizers 40 days and 40 nights to gather the 7500 required signatures) was held in February of 1978 at the Newhall Bowl. Most of the celebrants included those who had also been involved in the 1975 drive.

Newhall resident and entrepreneur Steve Colf was the high bidder at the 1975 Boys Club auction.

Emcee and vice president of the Canyon County committee, Harry Fedderson, proclaimed that the night would be devoted to relaxation, celebration, and no speeches. (aside from an official presentation made to activist Alice Kline for her “dedication, organization, and hard work” in propelling the petition drive to its successful conclusion).

Though Fedderson had decreed that there would be no speeches, he didn’t say anything about singing, and that’s how the evening progressed with short, humorous narratives about the petition process by Harry, and related songs (music provided by Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin; script and lyrics by Carmen and Joe Sarro and Billie Fedderson).

In spite of the renewed camaraderie and enthusiasm of the 1978 activists, the overall county population once again voted the measure down: 64 to 36 percent.

Any further attempts to start a new county were squelched when the state legislature ruled that a new county must have a minimum population of five percent of the “mother” county. Even as late as 2017, Santa Clarita Valley population had reached only 3 percent. The ruling required a new tactic, which led many of the same activists to begin a drive for cityhood. The third attempt at independence was a charm, with the birth in 1987 of the City of Santa Clarita.

Homeless Shelter to Open Daily During Extreme Heat Wave

| Community | July 5, 2018

With this week’s heat wave expected to reach temperatures significantly over 100 degrees, Bridge to Home will open their shelter facility during the afternoons to provide a cool place for those needing to escape extreme conditions.

The shelter, located at 23031 Drayton Street, will be open on Wednesday, July 4 through Friday, July 6 from noon until 8:30 p.m. The regular dinner service, Feeding It Forward, will be served those nights. On Saturday, July 7, the shelter will be open from noon until 5:30 p.m.

Donations of water, ice and snacks are needed for these additional shelter days. In addition, volunteers are also needed to assist. Community members wishing to volunteer should contact Olga Ruiz at olga.ruiz@btohome.org. For those who would like to donate, items can be delivered to the Bridge to Home Shelter at the Drayton Street location after 12 p.m. on these days, and at the administrative office located at 23752 Newhall Avenue before 12 p.m.

For future days, when temperatures are forecasted to be above 99 degrees, Bridge to Home will open the shelter to provide relief to people needing a place to escape the extreme heat.

Those who are looking for additional ways to support Bridge to Home can visit btohome.org, where they can get involved with the organization and work toward ending homelessness in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Unlicensed vs. Licensed

| Community | July 3, 2018

Could you imagine going to a hospital and having surgery, only to find out your doctor was working without a license? You would never do that, of course, yet every year women, men and children go get their hair done and take a chance of being injured by using an unlicensed hairstylist. Last year alone, the Better Business Bureau received 2,400 reports from people regarding their hair, from bad hair cuts to severe scalp burns.

Hair is big business. Americans spent almost $40 million last year alone for hair related services. You have to have a license to do just about anything in this country, yet states like Arizona, Iowa and Texas are looking to change that. If and when the bill is passed you will be able to blow dry and style hair without a license in Arizona, what that will mean is someone who has had no schooling can touch your hair with styling tools that are as hot as 450°. Iowa and Texas are looking to allow people to braid hair with no license or a limited license. In the past, you have had to have a license in all states. In order to get your license, you have to attend beauty school. Each state requires you to attend a beauty school for a certain amount of hours. After those hours have been reached, you apply to take a state board test. If you pass the test, you get a your license. Yes, you have to pay money to go to beauty school, and if you want any extra training, you pay for that, too. Most of the stylists I know started out as apprentices and trained under another hairstylist until they were ready to be put on the floor.

Please, before you make your next appointment, make sure that your stylist has a license and it is current. It’s in your hair’s best interest.

Kariann Hollenbeck, Personal Stylist at Flo’s Hair Palace, 26051 Bouquet Cyn Rd. can be reached at 661-644-5967

Athletes of the Week

| Community | June 30, 2018

Cooper Austin

Cooper Austin is a senior outfielder for Hart’s baseball team. He recently scored a walk-off double in the bottom of the seventh inning, giving the Indians a 3-2 win over Cleveland High School in the VIBL (Valley Invitational Baseball League) summer baseball tournament.

“Cooper is using the summer VIBL to improve his overall baseball game, and his development has been inspiring,” Hart Baseball Coach Jim Ozella said. “Cooper is one of the returning senior players who are expected to lead Hart Baseball to a successful 2019 season.”


Yolanda Albalat

Yolanda Albalat is a midfielder for the Santa Clarita Blue Heat United Women’s Soccer team. She recently scored the Blue Heat’s second goal in a 2-0 win over Calgary Foothills. The goal was the first of the season for Albalat, who played just nine minutes in the match. The loss was the first of Calgary Foothills’ season. With a 4-1-2 record, Santa Clarita is currently second in the UWS West Conference, behind Calgary. The Blue Heat will travel to Calgary Soccer Center in Canada in a rematch against Calgary Foothills on Saturday June 30.

Simplified Street Sweeping Schedule to Begin July 2

| Community | June 30, 2018

Residents should prepare to be swept off of their feet with the city’s latest easy-to-understand street sweeping schedule.

Beginning Monday, July 2, the City of Santa Clarita will modify the street sweeping schedule throughout all areas of the City. As usual at this time of year, street sweeping will take place once per month following trash pickup days, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., to help keep streets, and particularly gutters, clean and free of leaves and debris.

Each city-maintained street is assigned one day per month. For example, if your street is assigned Monday of Week One, that street would always be swept the first Monday of the calendar month. Tuesday of Week Two would always be the second Tuesday of the calendar month, and so on. The only exception to this schedule occurs on holidays, when trash service is delayed by one day.

Residents are asked to remove vehicles from the street during street sweeping days to assist in the effectiveness of the operation. Residents are also encouraged to keep the street clear of lawn and tree trimmings, trash and debris, and move portable basketball hoops from the street during sweeping.

Additionally, it is important to not pile or stack leaves in the street or in yards. All leafy debris should be placed in a green waste container, which is supplied by your trash service provider. This is to ensure that the street sweeping equipment does not become clogged, which would result in delays in the street sweeping service.

Each street will be swept once per month until the fall, when weekly service will resume. For more information, go to Santa-Clarita.com and search street sweeping for the scheduled daily sweeping routes, or call the City’s Public Works department at (661) 294-2520.

 

‘The Game of Hope – In It To Win It’

| Community | June 30, 2018

The Annual Circle of Hope Afternoon Tea Returns For 2018

Circle of Hope will be hosting their Annual Afternoon Tea fundraising and awareness event on October 6. This event features beautifully decorated tables, eloquent tea sandwiches and refreshments, and will include a Silent Auction. This year’s event will be held at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Valencia, and anticipates approximately 250 guests at this event. This year’s theme is “The Game of Hope – In It To Win It,” and tables will be decorated like board games. Every year, tables are decorated with centerpieces, themes, and ornate tea sets.

This year’s Chairs are Alexander Hafizi, Maggie-Mae Laufman and Caren Kahan. “We three had the same vision of making this year’s event bigger and better than ever before. We are hoping to add more participants, more sponsors, and more community members to help raise awareness for this beautiful organization,” Caren Kahan stated. Title Sponsor Nola Aronson from SCV Advanced Audiology has returned for another year, as this is an organization near and dear to her heart.

The funds raised will go towards supporting members of the community who are battling with cancer. Circle of Hope provides emotional, educational and financial assistance along with supportive wellness therapies to the Santa Clarita Valley cancer community. This past year, Circle of Hope opened Hope’s Haven, a Cancer Wellness Center in SCV that gives patients, families, and survivors support from the community. “After launching Hope’s Haven, we have had an outpouring of support from our local community, and it’s been so amazing. The city has truly embraced Circle of Hope and Hope’s Haven with open arms,” Alexander Hafizi said.

“Our collaborative goal is to bring more awareness in our local community about Circle of Hope, and to shine the light on this beautiful organization that is truly changing lives, even saving lives every day,” Maggie-Mae Laufman said.

This event kicks off the beginning of their ongoing 30 Days of Hope, where companies and people in the City of Santa Clarita host fundraisers every day throughout the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Tickets are $85 and can be purchased on the website. For more information, visit circleofhopeinc.org/tea.

For more information on the event, visit Circleofhopeinc.org/events/.

Summer Movies at William S. Hart Park

| Community | June 30, 2018

Starting in July, The County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation, in collaboration with The Friends of Hart Park, presents its “6th Annual Summer Movies in the Park Series.”

Los Angeles County’s Department of Parks and Recreation’s William S. Hart Regional Park is inviting the community to outdoor, fun-filled summer nights at the movies. Park visitors can choose among three outstanding family-friendly movies at dusk, and the admission is free.

The community can attend the Friday, July 13 showing of Coco, see Jumanji – Welcome to the Jungle on August 3, or watch Black Panther on August 17.

Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets, pillows and lawn chairs. Unleashed animals, smoking and alcohol are prohibited in the park at all times.

Movie titles and show times are subject to changes. Snack, craft and novelty item vendors are available at the event.

The event will be taking place throughout the picnic area at William S. Hart Regional Park, which is located at 24151 Newhall Avenue, 91321.

Watercolor Workshop

| Community | June 30, 2018

On August 25, members of the community are invited to dive into a watercolor painting workshop hosted by Watercolorist Pong Apinyavat. Sponsored by the Santa Clartia Artists Assocation (SCAA), the event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Home Care Services, located at 23340 Cinema Drive, Suite 5, Santa Clarita.

Apinyavat, one of today’s foremost plein air painters of the California coastline, captures the many moods and colors of the sea, beaches, coastal highways and recognizable landmarks.

“My plein air style might include painting the early morning mist, bright mid-day sun and or flow of the evening sunset on the water. My goal is to capture the beautiful natural world I see,” said Apinyavat. “My paints and easel are always with me.”

In the past decade, Apinyavat has won many awards, including the Winsor & Newton (Merchandise Award), the Valley Watercolor Society Jack Richeson Award, the M. Graham, Inc. Award, the Grumbacher Gold Medallion Award, as well as the prestigious Best of Show from the Weisman Museum/Pepperdine University. His work has also been exhibited at the California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica.

“I’m a juried member of Watercolor West. My paintings are found in many private collections and galleries in the United States, Asia and Europe. I currently judge many art shows, give watercolor demonstrations and teach workshops throughout California,” said Apinyavat.

The cost is $50 for members and $60 for non-members. Reservations can be made by contacting Jeanne Iler at 661-678-0357 or by emailing jeanne2@bluemarble.net. For more information about the Santa Clarita Artists Association, visit www.SantaClaritaArtists.org.

Fourth of July Celebrations in Santa Clarita

| Community | June 29, 2018

The Fourth of July is holiday is upon us once again, and Santa Clarita is hosting several events and festivities for residents to celebrate Independence Day. The celebration begins with the Independence Day 5K and 10K runs hosted by the Santa Clarita Runners’ Club. The race follows the Fourth of July parade route beginning at Newhall Park at 7 a.m. for the 10K, 7:45 a.m. for the Kid K, and at 8 a.m. for the 5K run/walk. The whole community is invited to attend and cheer the runners on, but those who want to participate will have to pre-register at scrunners.org.

For the early birds out there, the Santa Clarita Rotary Club will be hosting their annual pancake breakfast from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Roger Dunn Golf Shop at 24200 Main St. in Santa Clarita. The breakfast includes pancakes, coffee, and sausage and costs $5 per person; the proceeds will be donated to various charities. If you’re an early-riser, come and enjoy a delicious breakfast and find out what a rotary club is.

Once the races have finished, Santa Clarita’s Fourth of July Parade will begin at 9 a.m. The parade route begins in Old Town Newhall and continues down Lyons Avenue and Orchard Village before finishing at 16th Street.

To close the city’s festivities, the fireworks show begins at 9:15 p.m. The show takes place at the Westfield Valencia Town Center and will likely receive heavy attendance this year as it does every year. Those looking for a good spot are encouraged to arrive early to stake out a good spot. If you do plan to show up early, be sure to bring good sunscreen, chairs, water, and even an umbrella or two to create a little shade. The Fourth is usually hot, and prolonged exposure to the sun can be dangerous.

Last but not least, remember to be responsible and stay safe this Fourth of July. If you choose to consume alcohol, whether on the Fourth, on the weekend, or both, don’t drink and drive. There are plenty of alternatives for getting home safely, including a designated driver, the use of a ride-hailing app, or simply choosing to stay where you are and getting a hotel/motel room. Law enforcement agencies will be conducting DUI stops and saturation patrols all over Los Angeles County, and there will be zero-tolerance given for those who choose to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Additionally, if you witness a friend under the influence who is getting behind the wheel, stop them. There is always a spike in the numbers of alcohol-related collisions around holidays, but taking responsibility for ourselves, our friends, and our loved ones can help reduce those numbers and keep ourselves and our community safe.

Freeway Close!

| Community | June 29, 2018

By Harry Parmenter 

Ever wonder what it’s like to be one of those poor bastards on the side of the freeway picking up trash? To don the fluorescent orange and yellow of the proud Caltrans flag? To pull down the brim of that classic plastic crash helmet, to just go all Village People, or more appropriately, Village Idiot? Well, come on down!

Always on the prowl for the essential SCV experience, your humble narrator went undercover to spend a day seeing the Golden State Freeway from an entirely new vantage point. It happened many moons ago, the consequence of an imbecilic, albeit non-inebrational indiscretion behind the wheel. The penalty: a long morning at the local courthouse, a stiff fine and a day of community service which did not involve fertilizing young minds with my infinite wisdom.

Instead, it was an unplanned vacation day and a crisp 7 a.m. call on Newhall Avenue just a few wrong turns from the hidden jewel that is the Polynesian Mobile Home Park. Exiting my car—strategically unwashed for six weeks to camouflage any sign of the powerhouse executive I really am—I carried my lunchtime sustenance to the parking lot telephone pole marked with the Caltrans gathering spot down arrow. “Line up HERE,” it said. Always a stickler for punctuality, I found myself alone on a clear summer morning, keen with excitement to fulfill my civic duty.

After a while, a young woman arrived, asking me if she was in the right place, and I assured her with false bravado it was. Conversation ceased as the minutes ticked by, well past seven, other miscreants slouching towards us as our motley crew assembled.

Finally, a cheerful white van approached and pulled up beside us. The driver got out and came around to where we were queued up. Easily 6’5”, 250 pounds, bald, bearded, tats, a chain hanging from his waist. ZZ Top was missing a roadie.

“These are the rules,” he said sharply, crowbar voice cracking the morning air. “No phones, no complaints, no problems. Follow directions, work hard, be safe.” People started putting their phones away. “Put them IN YOUR CAR.” He slid open the van doors. “Let’s get started.”

I took a seat in the back row as the vehicle filled, the day awash with promise and strange odors. It was a sheepish crowd, quintessentially diverse and inclusive, a veritable rainbow coalition on wheels. My heart swelled with pride as we pulled away.

“What’s your name?” somebody asked him.

“Tiny.”

The van trundled a few blocks then made two quick rights into an Open Sesame gate, revealing a Caltrans depot.

“Ok, everybody out! Let’s get to it!”

Our dirty dozen spilled onto the concrete and were instructed to grab the tools of our new trade from against a wall: shovels, sickles, rakes, hoes, trash pickers, pitchforks. Satan’s day shift clocking in.

“In the shed: Helmets! Gloves! Vests!” Tiny barked. We loaded everything onto the back of a huge dump truck emblazoned with the California state logo anchored by our new best friend, Andy Gump.

We got back into the van, falling into a sanctuary state as we headed west on Lyons, the dump truck’s arsenal trailing behind us. A pit stop at 7-11 near the freeway allowed the unprepared to acquire provisions. I debated the merits of a Big Gulp, but passed due to the prospects of a public sit-down with The Gumper.

Back on the 5, our erstwhile Hell’s Angels leader guided us up to the 126, circled back down the freeway and pulled over 50 yards from an off-ramp. Starbucks, a shout away at 70 mph, tantalized from afar at a standstill.

Tiny swung around, looking us each in the eye as he spoke. “Now listen up! You’re gonna get out and go to the back of the truck behind us. Ralph and you,” he flicked his head towards a young Indian guy in the front row, “are gonna hand everything down from the flat so we can get started. Don’t go close, repeat, DO NOT GO CLOSE TO THE FREEWAY. There’s plenty of weeds on the side of the road to keep you busy. You got it?”

The avalanche of morning drive shook the van.

“I said, YOU GOT IT?!”

“YES!” we all cried in terror.

“Then let’s go.”

We tumbled out, tightening our gloves, sunglasses, helmets. We gathered our freeway scrub weaponry and turned to survey the scene. A swath of desert brush and dirt rife with consuming, dense weed growth unfolded before us, litter of all varieties cloaked in the vegetation or just strewn on the dirt wasteland. 21st Century dross. The sun’s raw power burned.

Suddenly, from behind us, Tiny pierced the air with two words I will take with me to the grave: “Get Trashin’!”

I hadn’t done that kind of backbreaking work since I’d spent a few summers in a Philadelphia warehouse in my early 20s. We bent and baked as we slashed and scraped with our tools, attacking the contiguous infestation with the sickle, then unearthing it with the spade, foot driving it repeatedly into the hard ground, slowly accumulating our own personal piles of penance.

It was an endurance contest, all of us alone in our Sisyphean task, hard labor for our stupid mistakes. For me it was only one day. Others, I later learned, had one, three, six month sentences.

If we slacked or paused too long to draw from our (complementary) water bottles, Tiny was right there with a word or two of, shall we say, encouragement. Usually one sufficed.

While a chosen few, particularly those of the fair sex, had been handed trash pickers and huge plastic bags, I slowly began to feel a sense of satisfaction from the hack and stack, flashing on my days as a kid on my grandparents’ farm wielding the grim reaper scythe on tall grass. I’d look around at the other guys to see their progress, trying to outdo them, ignoring my radiating, soaked skin. Jeans and a sweat shirt in the middle of July … talk about the boys and girls of summer!

Deep fried to the bone we worked, persevering, Tiny’s imprecations booming in our ears along with the whir of cold metal zooming by on the 5. At high noon we staggered into the van, exhausted, draining our (again, complementary) water bottles in a single pull.

We got off the freeway and drove to a nearby park for a blur of a lunch break, all of us wolfing down food before collapsing onto the grass as people walked by, nannies pushing strollers, everyone looking at us like Martians, our luminous garb contrasting the happy swings and jungle gym. Within moments, it seemed, it was back on the chain gang.

Hours later, we neared the end of the work stretch, now clear. Tiny called me over. “Get on the back of the truck and we’ll load up.” Somehow I had earned the distinction of being the one to hop up and compress the fruits of our labor. The others heaved the stuff onto the tailgate and I swiped it to the back of the truck, then tamped it down, first with the pitchfork, then my own body, launching myself like Mighty Mouse onto the jagged mass to flatten it as people tossed more and more of it up to me. Cars, buses and semis roared by as I hurled myself over and over onto the prickly green monster, progress measured by the inch.

At last, the task was done, the truck so full I stood engulfed at the front of the flatbed, hands atop the cab, as we crept down the shoulder to the last clump of uprooted vegetation. Finished, I climbed off the truck and rejoined Team Tiny in the van as Ralph drove away with his payload. We were done. Dead, but done.

As we approached the Rye Canyon exit I could taste freedom, salvation, a shower. And then we kept going, no … No … NO! Missing the exit and pulling over just past it at another location, a barren trapezoid incline, white trash littering the terrain. The nightmare continued. Grinding to a collectively despondent halt we once again heard those two little words: “Get trashin’!”

The jail guitar doors banged open and, ubiquitous E-Z trash pickers in hand, we each returned to our own private hell. Finally, the mid-day sun just past its peak, we were summoned back to the van. As I walked from where I’d been working under the Rye overpass I saw a six of clubs playing card, stooped down and slipped it into my back pocket.

All I recall from the drive back, I was riding shotgun with Tiny, who told me he was an ex-con who had been given a shot to rebuild his life and had done so, married, family. A good man, good at his job, a compassionate taskmaster leading ordinary people who had screwed up, helping them git-r-done yet, above all, keeping them safe, like the organization he represented. I will never forget him.

As we pulled into the Newhall parking lot he said to me, “You’re a good worker, Parmenter. Come back anytime!” Despite a deep sense of satisfaction for a job well done, I could only muster a thanks as I got out of the van.

I kept that six of clubs in my car a long time before finally discarding it.

Drive carefully.

Steve Knight on Russian Interference: ‘I Can Connect Too Many Dots’

| Community | June 28, 2018

Steve Knight said he is convinced the Russians meddled in the 2016 election, and expressed support for the Robert Mueller investigation, but stopped short of calling it a witch hunt.

In a wide-ranging, 42-minute phone interview last week, Knight (R-Palmdale) discussed a wide variety of topics, including President Trump, the FBI, immigration, the election and local topics such as CEMEX and chloride.

Knight was careful to separate Russian meddling in the election with suspicions of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, saying he wants to let Mueller do his job and see what comes out.

“We’ve invested a lot of time,” he said. “It won’t come out before the (2018 midterm) election.”

As for Trump’s claims that Mueller is conducting a “witch hunt,” Knight said, “I don’t know.”

However, Knight said he has read the Steele dossier, a private intelligence report of 17 memos written from June-December 2016 by Christopher Steele, a former head of the Russia Desk for British intelligence. This collection of documents contains allegations of misconduct and conspiracy between Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russia during the 2016 election cycle, with campaign members and Russian operatives allegedly colluding to interfere in the election to benefit Trump. It also alleged that Russia sought to damage Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, including sharing negative information about Clinton with the Trump campaign.

“I buy a lot of it,” Knight said. “Too many things, I can put one, two and three together. I can connect too many dots.”

Knight spent much of the interview talking about Trump, who he says he has met only a couple of times and was invited to play golf at one of the President’s resorts. “It’s not something I plan on doing,” he said.

Asked to give Trump a letter grade for his first 516 days in office, Knight declined, saying he would give him “a passing grade. He’s still got some room (where) I can say get better yet.”

He elaborated a bit, saying the economy is good, unemployment is low and the tax plan, though initially unpopular, will benefit more people than not. He especially had kind words to say about Trump’s handling of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“Nine months ago, if you were to ask me, ‘Do you think we’re going to war?’ I would have said it’s a possibility,” Knight said. “Today, we’re talking about a peace treaty.”

Knight insists he doesn’t trust Kim at all, but he believes that Trump’s tough talking about comparing North Korea’s nuclear capabilities to the U.S.’s made Kim see the need to come to the table. “It’s going to be bad for his country, which I don’t think he cares about, and it’s going to be bad for his family,” Knight said.

However, Knight is not as complimentary toward Trump in the context of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump and Putin have met before, and Trump last week said he wants to meet with Putin in July, possibly in Vienna.

To this, Knight is a bit more cautious. He said he’s aware that any previous relationship Trump might have had with Putin doesn’t automatically indicate anything nefarious, since presidents Reagan and Clinton had relationships with other country’s leaders, too. The key, he said, is if the relationship keeps the U.S. out of war. Still, “When President Trump’s name comes up with Vladimir Putin, I do raise my eyebrows,” Knight said.

Knight said he has not read the inspector general’s report on the FBI, which found that former director James Comey had exercised poor judgment when he went public about his circumventing Justice Department leadership and spoke publicly about Hillary Clinton’s emails. It also criticized FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page for their anti-Trump comments in private messages, but concluded there was no political bias in the way the FBI conducted its business.

Knight called the FBI “a phenomenal law-enforcement agency,” but acknowledged Comey probably overstepped his bounds. Mostly, he just wants to stop hearing about it.

What he knows he’s not going to stop hearing about anytime soon is immigration. He introduced his own bill last week in an attempt to stop families from being separated, if the parents are charged with nothing more than illegally crossing the border. The bill, HR 6173, was referred to the judiciary and homeland security committees. But he also cast votes on two pieces of legislation: HR 4760 and HR 6136. Both dealt with immigration and DACA, but Knight preferred 6136, nicknamed the Compromise Bill, because he thought it did more to help Dreamers. It also allots more money for Trump’s border wall. Last week, he voted no on 4760. On Wednesday, he voted yes on 6136. Both went down to defeat

“We’re in Congress. We’re not looking for a perfect bill. We’re looking for something we can pass,” he said.

Knight responded to a Facebook post that quoted him in the Antelope Valley Press from 2008, “I have no problem telling a family: ‘Your child can stay … but you’re going to have to go,’” and contrasted that with his Facebook comment from June 19: “I absolutely oppose the practice of separating children from their parents at the border.”

Knight said the 2008 comment wasn’t about immigration, but about birth hospitals in which Chinese women were coming into the country, possibly legally, possibly not, to give birth, making their children U.S. citizens. He opposed that then and still does, calling it “selling citizenship.”

As for the election, Knight had nothing to say about Katie Hill, his opponent in the Nov. 6 general election. Nor does he think that just because he received almost 53 percent of the vote he is no longer considered vulnerable. He just wants to make sure he isn’t one of those incumbents who think their seat is safe and then lose.

“We don’t know any different. We run hard,” he said. “We keep our head down. We do our work. We have money and we’ll spend what we need to.”

Knight also took a few minutes to address some local issues. He said he talks to city leaders every seven to 10 days, mostly about CEMEX and traffic. He referenced the $47 million grant he secured to relieve traffic along Interstate 5, and he said he talks weekly to the Department of the Interior, Secretary Ryan Zinke or White House officials about when the department’s Board of Land Appeals will rule about CEMEX’s appeal over the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to cancel two contracts to mine in Santa Clarita. He said he now expects it by next month.

“We’ll reach out to the city about what our strategy is, if a poor decision comes out, or if a good decision comes out,” Knight said.

Knight said he has not approached the Environmental Protection Agency about getting the chloride levels in the Santa Clara River raised from their current 100 mg/l.

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