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Think Local

| Community | September 13, 2018

Sometimes, the best place to market yourself is in your back yard, figuratively speaking.

By targeting your local area, you put yourself in an advantageous position: You’re competing with fewer people for your services. It’s also true that by doing so, you decrease the number of potential customers, but this can be mitigated because many people want to work with people who live nearby. This gives you a better chance of being the big fish in this smaller pond.

So, you’ve decided to think local. How do you go about it? Here are some ideas:

Show everybody online you’re local. The easiest way to do that is to include your address and phone number on your website. Another way is to get listed in online directories, such as Yelp and yellowpages.com. Individual search engines, such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing, also have online directories. Just go to any search engine, type in “business directories” and get a long list. Then, go to those sites and fill out the information – making sure you again include your local address and phone number.

Show everybody you meet you’re local. Good old-fashioned networking still works. Go to local chambers of commerce, networking groups, business mixers, trade shows and professional associations and get in front of as many people as you can. Stress that you’re local and looking for local customers/clients. Make sure you have business cards and marketing materials with local addresses and phone numbers. Maybe you can team up with “power partners,” which are businesses that could refer their clients to you because you offer a service those clients need. An example: web designer, content writer, graphic designer and proofreader/editor.

Show everybody you’re an expert who’s local. Have a portfolio that shows the awesome work you’ve done for local customers/clients. Get these people to give testimonials. Give a free seminar that leaves no doubt that you are the one to go to in your field/industry. Offer some of your lower-priced services at either deep discounts or for free. Have a blog that can link to your website, or write articles for local newspapers or trade publications.

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. Website: www.TAPSolutions.net

Tickets on Sale for Soup for the Soul

| Community | September 13, 2018

Bridge to Home, the primary homeless services provider in the Santa Clarita Valley is inviting the community to a fundraiser called “Soup for the Soul – All the Stars are Closer.” This year’s event will take place on Saturday, October 13, at 6 p.m., and the location will be six stories up in the starry sky on the rooftop in Old Town Newhall.

This year’s fundraiser is vital as Bridge to Home is in the process of making the dream of a permanent, year-round homeless shelter a reality, and they are calling on the support of the community.

Come to the new rooftop in Old Town Newhall for a night of wines, appetizers, craft brews, hot soup, decadent desserts and much more. As the stars sparkle overhead, participants can dine, enjoy live entertainment, an auction and learn about the mission of Bridge to Home and how you can help.

Restaurants that will take part in this delicious event include local favorites Stone Fire, Wolf Creek, Salt Creek, Egg Plantation, Olive Terrace, Fishtail and Nothing Bundt Cakes, to name a few. There are sponsorship opportunities still available.

Bridge to Home provides support services – including an emergency winter shelter, case management, housing navigation, and additional resources – that help individuals and families in the Santa Clarita Valley transition out of homelessness.  All these services are available thanks to funds from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, subcontracts with Los Angeles Family Housing, private and public grants, and extensive in-kind donations and participation from the local community.

Come enjoy a night of food and fun – while helping this important cause. Individual tickets are $100 and sponsorships are available. Visit btohome.org to buy tickets and learn more about Bridge to Home.

College of the Canyons’ Learning Center Continues Annual Tradition

| Community | September 13, 2018

by Natalia Radcliffe

The Valencia campus at College of the Canyons (COC) is preparing to celebrate Banned Books week. This year, The Learning Center (TLC) continues its annual tradition of having a theme with respective events and displays pertaining to banned and challenged books.

This September, the theme is a perfect suburban utopia set in the 1950s, inspired by the book “The Stepford Wives.” Think perfect, neat, houses all looking the same, with neatly trimmed lawns and white picket fences, similar to the perfect, idyllic neighborhoods in the movie “Edward Scissor Hands” or the book “A Wrinkle in Time.”

With this description in mind, the decorations will mimic a perfect suburban neighborhood, including the aesthetics of white picket fences and perfect houses. Music will be playing that portrays a perfect American society.

As of September 6, the specifics pertaining to the activities and presentations were not solidified. According to Miguel Chavez, a lead tutor and major contributor in the planning of events, decorations, and displays for Banned Books Week, the different activities will happen Monday through Thursday. For the one of the activities, Chavez says the TLC is hoping to have a professor from the sociology department come and speak in an open forum style. Another idea is to have a presentation of different films that depict the perfect 1950s suburbia paired with a discussion of how that relates to the censorship of books and other forms of media.

“Mainly, we are really focusing on why the books were banned or challenged,” Chavez said. “We hope people will come way from these events with a more open mind. Just because you hate this book or other form of media and think it’s controversial, does not mean that it should be censored. People are diverse and have different tastes. Perhaps the next person likes it.”

In the spirit of the upcoming Banned Books Week, Chavez says favorite banned/challenged book is “1984” by George Orwell. “I’m very into societal structure,” Chavez explains. “I like the depth of how well the society is depicted. I also enjoy the allegories to real life that are referenced in the book.”

The COC library and Art Gallery are expected to be participating in this event. More information will be available in next week’s issue.

Small Business Websites

| Community | September 7, 2018

Many people believe Santa Clarita is famous for being business-friendly. Many of those businesses in and around the valley are considered small businesses. The Small Business Administration defines a small business as one with less than $7 million in annual sales and fewer than 500 employees.

That’s probably the majority of businesses in Santa Clarita.

Regardless or how small your business is, you need a good business website. Let’s assume you have one already. Is it up to date, getting good traffic and bringing in enough business that you’re always busy?

If so, you can stop reading now. Your website is in good shape and doesn’t need work.

For everyone else, you may need a website redesign. If any of the following apply, you ought to strongly consider it.

1. You’re not ranked on page one of the search engines. Ninety-five percent of online traffic comes from that first page. I can’t stress how important it is to maintain a high standing in the search engines. You can achieve this by taking advantage of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, which I’ve written about many times before.

2. You’ve changed something about your business, but it is not reflected on your website. Companies alter and update business plans, or introduce new products and/or services, but sometimes forget to put these changes on their website. Your site is a direct reflection of your business. Make sure it is in sync with everything else you do.

3. Your site isn’t easy to navigate. Visitors to your website must be able to find what they’re looking for easily. This means concise wording that incorporates your key word phrases and other elements to make the pages more search-engine friendly.

4. Your site looks dated. Design standards, trends and best practices change and evolve over time. Currently, broken-grid layouts, illustration in the center of the page, animations and videos, variable serif fonts, floating navigation menus and mobile-friendly designs are some of the in-trends. But that will eventually change, so stay updated on what’s cool, hip, hot, trendy, etc.

If your business website suffers from a lack of enthusiasm and creativity, a website redesign can be the first step in generating excitement within the company. A redesign can show your employees, your customers and your competition that you are a force to be reckoned with in the market, and you will not go quietly.

A redesign can breathe new life into your website, transforming your web presence from being good enough to being extraordinary.

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. Website: www.TAPSolutions.net

College of the Canyons to Honor Don and Cheri Fleming with ‘Silver Spur’ Award

| Community | September 7, 2018

In recognition of their support to College of the Canyons and the Santa Clarita Valley, the college’s Foundation has named Don and Cheri Fleming as the recipients of the prestigious “Silver Spur” Community Service Award.

The 2019 Silver Spur Celebration will take place Saturday, March 16, 2019 at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

As supporters of the college since 1999, Don and Cheri have contributed to nearly every one of the Foundation’s significant initiatives. Whether it has been Chancellor’s Circle, Silver Spur, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center Campaign, Golf Tournament or Cougar Club, they have been actively involved in the college’s commitment to higher education.

“Don and Cheri Fleming’s visionary leadership and entrepreneurial spirit have truly made a difference in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said COC Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook. “Cheri’s hands-on leadership and philanthropy are inspiring and Don’s involvement with the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation has positioned Santa Clarita as a business-friendly city. The college has been incredibly fortunate to count on them as friends and supporters over the years.”

Since purchasing Valencia Acura in 1997, Don and Cheri Fleming have become synonymous with the local auto industry. At the time, the dealership ranked last in sales and customer satisfaction at the national level. Since then, the dealership ranks among the top Acura dealerships in the country in terms of sales penetration in their primary market area, customer loyalty and overall customer satisfaction.

A member of Soroptimist International of Santa Clarita Valley since 1999, Cheri served as a Soroptimist International of the Americas (SIA) board member from 2010 to 2014. In 2013-2014, Cheri was presiding officer of 36,000 SIA members in 20 countries. In that capacity, Cheri was instrumental in shaping the organization’s future and overall impact.

In the Santa Clarita Valley, Cheri’s philanthropic efforts have been extensive. Currently a board member and Vice Chair for the Child and Family Center and Director for the American Cancer Society Unit Council, Cheri has also served as a board member and past Chairman of the Henry Mayo Newhall Health Foundation and currently serves as a Director of the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.

Consistently named among “Santa Clarita’s 51 Most Influential” by The Signal, Cheri, an Ohio native, has also been named the 2017 Volunteer of the Year by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal and the 2012 Woman of the Year by the Los Angeles County 5th Supervisorial District and Commission for Women.

Born and raised in Texas, Don Fleming moved to Southern California after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. Don has been president of the Santa Clarita Valley Auto Dealers Association for 18 years, during which time he has been instrumental in making local auto dealers the largest sales tax contributors to the city.

Don has served as a Director of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Foundation, and as co-chair and founding board member of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation, which has helped bring and retain thousands of jobs in the community. He currently serves as Chair-emeritus.

In 2015, Don was named Volunteer of the Year by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Foundation and has consistently been listed among “Santa Clarita’s Top 51 Most Influential Individuals” by The Signal. In 2013, he was honored with the Semper Fidelis Award by the Los Angeles County Chapter 1st Marine Division Family, U.S. Marine Corps.

The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. with guests able to enjoy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a display of unique vintage automobiles. The evening will also include dinner, a live auction and a personal video tribute created for the Flemings.

This year’s event will be chaired by Diana Cusumano, previous Silver Spur recipient and Foundation board member.

For more information about the 2019 Silver Spur, to purchase tickets, or to become an event sponsor, contact the College of the Canyons Foundation, 661-362-3737 or visit the Foundation’s web page.

College Launches Zero Textbook Cost Pathway for Water Technology Program

| Community | September 6, 2018

College of the Canyons has launched a Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) degree for the Water Systems Technology program, utilizing Open Educational Resource (OER) materials. This degree will prepare students to become state certified water treatment, water distribution, and wastewater operators.

Funded by a ZTC grant from the state chancellor’s office, the water technology certificate program will benefit approximately 400 students this year.

“We are very excited to offer this completely Zero Textbook Cost pathway in Water Technology that provides students with the latest developments of knowledge in the field and has been personalized to match the educational rigor of the courses,” said Brian Weston, project manager of Zero Textbook Cost grant at the college.

The pathway, which was created by COC faculty, field experts, contractors, and the South Central Coast Regional Consortium, will provide water technology programs across the state with a free alternative to commercial resources.

“Our water technology faculty were motivated to create the OER materials due to the lack of currency, expensive cost, and available choice found in commercial texts,” said Regina Blasberg, chair of the engineering technologies department at the college.

In 2009, two COC faculty members authored a textbook, and after successful feedback from students, developed a second textbook for the college’s Advanced Water Mathematics course in 2011.

Consisting of eight-member colleges, the South Central Coast Regional Consortium works to create a highly skilled workforce by supporting workforce development efforts across the state.

For more information about the college’s water technology program, visit the department’s homepage.

Want a Better Memory? Practice Your Storytelling

| Community | September 6, 2018

Shane wrote to me last week and asked if I had any tips for improving memory at any age. You bet I do, and here is what I believe will make a difference for you.

Storytelling and memory go hand in hand. If you want an improved memory, here’s how to use storytelling to your advantage.

Do you remember facts easily? How about a well crafted story? If you are like the majority of people, you will take good stories over dry facts any day. There are people who revel with facts alone. There is nothing wrong with this. But, our brains have been created to tell and hear stories. We remember people from history because of their stories. Do you know the story of how Abraham Lincoln walked several miles to return a few pennies to a woman who had done some shopping at the General Store where he worked as a young man? What about single mother J.K. Rowling who was on welfare in the U.K. before publishing the Harry Potter books and becoming a billionaire?

It makes sense that storytelling has to be the easier path to a better memory. When we hear a good story, we will likely share it with our family and friends. They will also be more tempted to pass the information on to others in the form of a story. This is especially effective for entrepreneurs and small business owners as a strategy to weave stories into what we have to offer. Stories become the fabric of our lives. The memory boost is a plus in this case.
Of course, there is the possibility that as the story moves from one person to the next, the meaning may alter along the way. There are going to be differences in how each person tells the story. They will also embellish the story that makes it deviate from the original. You may remember the game called “Telephone” (or Chinese Whispers) when you were young. There would be a row of people, and the first person would whisper a short story to the person next to him or her. This would follow on down the row of people. By the time you get to the last person and ask he or she what the story is, it will be completely different from the original.

This was the premise for a television show called Password that aired on CBS during the 1960s. It starred Allen Ludden as the host. It was quite popular and that is where Ludden met his second wife, actress and comedienne Betty White. They were married until she was widowed in 1981 and she is currently ninety-six years old. Yes, I did fact check this information but most of it I remembered because it is told in story form. Stories are powerful!

Storytelling and Memory is About Telling Stories

While storytelling can be a great way to help remember, not everyone is good at telling stories. If someone is a poor storyteller, they will either get the story wrong, they will not present it in an engaging manner, or both. In this case, it is better for the person to keep strictly to the facts and avoid trying to tell stories.

Storytelling is a skill that can be practiced. Some people are natural at it, and that gives them a big advantage. Because of these natural storytellers, others may feel intimidated and may believe it is not possible to learn the skill. That is not the case. It does take some time before you will be good at it, and you may not be as good as others, but you will eventually get much better at it. This means that you can be instrumental in improving your own memory as well as that of others.

I like to practice my storytelling skills regularly and enjoy the interaction with others when I do. And stories make perfect sense in my online business when I need to make a point or persuade my community to pay closer attention to what I am sharing with them. Start telling stories and let me know if your memory improves, a little or a lot.

Connie Ragen Green lives in Saugus and has been working exclusively on the internet since 2006. Kids and Money: Teaching Financial Responsibility and Values to Children is her latest book and was released by Hunter’s Moon Publishing in July 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.

Afternoon T

| Community | September 6, 2018

Q: My friend makes very bad choices when it comes to love. She goes from head-over-heels in love, almost overnight, to super quick and ugly breakups. Before I even get to know the person, they’re gone and it’s sad. It happens over and over and I try to be there for her, but the highs and lows are exhausting. How’s she always picking the wrong people to fall for?

A: Your friend might have a faulty picker when it comes to her ticker. But, before we assassinate the characters of her disposable objects of affection, I’d like to point out that there are some people who are addicted to charging head-first into a buzzsaw of love and loss of their own making. It’s a style of War and Woo that is rather drug-like in how it affects the mind, to say nothing of the heart. As with any kind of chemical dependence (yes, even hormonal), it’s painful to watch someone you care about engaging in something that repeatedly hurts them. It’s also difficult to know that the “bad choices” in a War & Woo scenario are often decent people who can be deeply hurt, too after the cyclone of courting such a personality.

A sad song by The Stylistics called Break Up to Make Up in the 70’s perfectly described the War and Woo relationship. The lead singer croons about his inability to make his sweetheart happy, no matter how hard he tries. The oft repeated chorus has him wailing, “Break up to make up, that’s all we do. First you love me then you hate me, that’s a game for fools.” It’s four minutes of pretty pain and a song I think should be required listening in junior high, as a cautionary tale for how NOT to behave once puberty hits and dating becomes a thing.

You mentioned not getting to know the love interests and that’s part of the pattern of people who War and Woo. In the wooing phase, they’ll often cocoon and isolate themselves. Then, once in battle mode, they’ll gather their troops of tried and true to help them through. This can be the exhausting part of the equation, as you’re called in for the aftermath of emotional shrapnel.

As a friend you’re invested and already bought a ticket to this rollercoaster of a human being, so offer up some advice/different battle tactics:

Journal and Make Lists. It’s a safe place to see what they did or didn’t like about the relationship and, like a map, they may see patterns and have a clearer vision of everything.
Engage in Self Care. They must go inward for a little while to repair mentally, spiritually and physically. It’s important to be strong in all areas before heading out on the field again.
Learn to be Alone. When a person can like/love their own company and space, it is a much stronger fortress from which they can protect their heart and recognize friend from foe.

xo – t.

Parent Resource Symposium at City Hall

| Community | September 6, 2018

When a loved one is in need of assistance, you want to get them the help they need before it is too late. From mental health services to rehabilitation and drug prevention resources, taking a proactive approach enables you to have tools at the ready before a problem arises. To help educate the community on drug trends and teen issues, the City of Santa Clarita will hold its annual Parent Resource Symposium on Wednesday, September 12, 2018.

The Parent Resource Symposium is a free event that is open to the public and will start at 6 p.m. at City Hall, located at 23920 Valencia Boulevard. The event is hosted by the City of Santa Clarita in partnership with the County of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.

The evening will consist of a free resource fair for parents and their teenagers in the Century Room (City Hall first floor), followed by a panel discussion featuring law enforcement, counseling professionals and health advocates in the City Council Chambers. Panelists invited to participate are:

Detective William Velek – Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Brenda Tumasone – Certified Chemical Dependency Specialist, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence
Dawnel DeRubeis – Education Committee Lead, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Michelle Krantz – Principal, La Mesa Junior High School

The event will focus on drug laws and trends, as well as common issues affecting teenagers today. Panelists will share important information regarding the effects of drug use on the body, warning signs and symptoms to spot and resources available for parents and teens to get help for those they know are using.

For more information about the Parent Resource Symposium and efforts made to educate youth in Santa Clarita about living drug free, visit HeroinKills.org.

Doctor’s Diary (Snippets from the frontline): Loss of the TCU

| Community | September 2, 2018

By Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.

The most detrimental loss to elder seniors in our community was the hospital closing the Transitional Care Unit (TCU). It served as a step-down unit, so discharged seniors who were slow to recover would have a place for recuperation. The TCU gave them a better chance of returning home.

Primary care physicians could continue close monitoring in the TCU, and consultant doctors maintained a vigilance mindful of complications. Upon discharge, these patients were less likely to be re-admitted.

Once the hospital launched conveyor-belt treatment of patients, care was accelerated and the TCU concept was axed, making way for more profitable acute hospital beds.

Now, after a diagnosis is made and treatment started, patients are immediately transferred to nursing homes (SNFs), most of them outside our valley away from family, friends, and their communities.

Statistically, many of these patients remain in SNFs and die, never returning to their home.

Seniors had picketed the hospital five consecutive months attempting to maintain the TCU. But closing the doors of the TCU also closed the door on the health and wellbeing of seniors in our valley.

Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.

Comments: http://scvphysicianreport.com/2018/08/25/doctors-diary-august-25-2018-loss-of-the-tcu/ Hit “Home” for past snippets.

Local Crime

| Community | September 1, 2018

A 24-year-old handyman from Canyon Country was arrested for carrying a concealed dirk or dagger on his or her person. And a 21-year-old fast food worker was brought up on charges of carrying a switchblade knife upon his or her person.

A 32-year-old manager from Canyon Country was brought was charged with being a fugitive from justice. And a 25-year-old handyman from Castaic was arrested for corporal injury on a spouse/ cohabitant/etc.

A 31-year-old recycler from Santa Clarita was charged with possession of items with intent to forge/counterfeit.

Two individuals were brought up on charges of battery against a former spouse: a 28-year-old unemployed Canyon Country and a 33-year-old contractor from Palmdale.

A 20-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident was booked for loud/unreasonable noise.

DUIs with prior arrests included:

22-year-old unemployed Reseda resident
21-year-old barber from Palmdale
44-year-old self-employed Glendale resident
31-year-old personal trainer from Stevenson Ranch
27-year-old bus boy from Canyon Country
34-year-old salesman from Valencia
21-year-old glasser from Palmdale
28-year-old unemployed Lancaster resident
59-year-old building manager from Newport Beach
22-year-old foreman from Palmdale
57-year-old plumber from Canyon Country
38-year-old supervisor from Palmdale
32-year-old student from Bakersfield

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

41-year-old unemployed Palmdale resident
22-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident
46-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
27-year old pool serviceman from Canyon Country
45-year-old editor from Valencia
38-year-old unemployed Lancaster resident
35-year-old unemployed Rosamond resident
26-year-old construction worker from Westchester
29-year-old unemployed Quail Valley resident
31-year-old salesman from Canyon Country
29-year-old salesman from Canyon Country
54-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident

Web Design Vs. Graphic Design

| Community | August 31, 2018

Let’s get one thing straight: Website designers are not graphic designers, and vice versa. While it’s true that many aspects of graphic design can be found in website design, website designers have vastly different skills than graphic designers.

If you want to make sure you hire the right designer, read on to better understand the differences.

Graphic designers create visuals – graphics, typography and images – for specific purposes. It could be to advertise a product or service, announce an event, highlight a new logo or brochure or trumpet some custom invitation or new brand identity. It’s often very artistic and creative, but the designer has one shot to get it right. Once the design is printed, that’s it.

Website designers, on the other hand, create and modify all aspects of a website, including graphics, content and performance. Art is used to serve technology, and it’s vastly more computer-technical than graphic design because it usually involves coding and programming. A website design can evolve over time, changing to fit whatever design trends become popular.

Graphic designers need specific computer skills. These include programs by Adobe Systems Incorporated such as Photoshop, Pagemaker, Illustrator and Acrobat.

Website designers may need to know JavaScript, HTML5, jQuery, SQL and PHP, depending on the website’s needs. In other words, they have to understand the internet; a graphic designer doesn’t.

When it comes to using color, graphic designers favor the four-color format of CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black), whereas website designers use RGB (red, green blue) to reproduce a wide array of colors.

Maybe one day technology will develop to the point that the differences between the two won’t exist. But until then, it’s important to know the difference.

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. Website: www.TAPSolutions.net

In the Beginning …

| Community | August 31, 2018

A History of Banned Books, Part 1

By Natalia Radcliffe

Books have been around since the dawn of the written word – in one form or another. Their pages contain infinite number of worlds, all at a person’s fingertips. Books can inform, entertain, or inspire. Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” aided the colonists in forming the United States of America. During WWII, “Mein Kampf” was considered the bible of Nazism, hailed by the Axis and condemned by the Allies.

Because books have the power to inspire change, some people are reluctant to house those that challenge the status quo, and this is when books can be challenged or banned. According to the website of the American Library Association, or ALA, under “Banned Book FAQ,” books are challenged when there is an “attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.”

As far as who initiates the challenge of a book, it can be anyone. The process begins when a person or group of people bring to attention a particular book they want to ban, whether it is at a school, university, or a public library. If leadership decides to remove the book, it is banned.

However, many challenges go unnoticed. ALA in their article “Top Ten Most Challenged Books Lists,” “surveys indicate that 82-97 percent of book challenges – documented requests to remove materials from schools or libraries – remain unreported and receive no media.”

In 1939, the ALA started to take an interest in censorship, coming up with the “Library Bill of Rights” that year. A few decades later, in 1982, the organization launched the first Banned Books Week event.

Robert P. Doyle has edited the American Library Association’s Banned Books, a collection of thousands of titles that have been subject to censorship challenges. He says in an article titled “Books Behind Bars” found on PBS.org that in 1982 “the American Booksellers Association had their annual conference in Anaheim, California, and the ABA decided to put some books in a cage near the entrance to the exhibit area. Among the books they had locked up were Maya Angelou’s ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,’ ‘The Diary of Anne Frank,’ and ‘Doris Day: Her Own Story.’ … These were books that people had complained about: Doris Day’s book because its content was so shocking in contrast to her all-American image. ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ because it was ‘a real downer’ … and “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” because they thought it preached bitterness and hatred against whites.”

This was the first time challenged or banned books were on display, which helped paint a bigger picture and spread awareness. The tradition has continued.

The state of California has had its share of banned and challenged books throughout the years. One of the first books to be banned in this state was John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize winner “Grapes of Wrath,” which was published in 1939. It is set in Kern County, based on the real California city by the same name.

Lynn Neary, an NPR arts correspondent and a frequent guest host on “Morning Edition” and “Weekend Edition,” wrote an article entitled “‘Grapes Of Wrath’ and the Politics of Book Burning.” It says, “When the book came out, some of the powers that be in the county thought that they had been portrayed unfairly; they felt that Steinbeck hadn’t given them credit for the effort they were making to help the migrants. One member of the county board of supervisors denounced the book as a ‘libel and lie.’ In August 1939, by a vote of 4 to 1, the board approved a resolution banning ‘The Grapes Of Wrath’ from county libraries and schools.”

People could be seen out on the streets burning Steinbeck’s novel after this resolution was approved.

Doyle claims common subjects that spark book challenges are sexual content, “issues of language or profanity” and “LGBTQ issues and racism.” He adds that “new ideas/themes/experiences that challenge the current orthodoxy will always be controversial.”

Creativity Advocacy- Creativity and Emptiness

| Community | August 24, 2018

Going up to McGee Creek last weekend to feel the sunshine, see the stars, smell the campfire and sleep alongside the whisper of the winddid something to me. I hadn’t been camping in over eighteen years, so it’s no wonder that I was struck with childhood memories, moments wrought with emotion at remembering my grandparents who’ve passed, a renewed appreciation for Mother Nature, and even just the sound of my own breath amidst something I know very little of—silence. The whole experience knocked me over even as it uplifted me—reminding me of my need for vacation and basically, my need to just “be.”

The High Sierras seemed to wag their proverbial fingers at me, shaming me for being so busy and encouraging me to do more of this thing called “nothing” and learn to just “be.”
Doing nothing is not something I’m good at—and I never have been. Even now, in my mid-fifties, I’ve taken to playing solitaire on my iPhone to keep my mind occupied. This jaunt through the canyons has caused me to re-think my little addiction to tiny technologies that fit into my back pocket. And in fact, my own children (who are now the same age I was when I last camped) have been encouraging me to meditate for years. Meditating is the practice of doing nothing, of calming the mind and finding one’s center.

While I don’t traditionally meditate like a yogi, in criss-cross-applesauce position—fingers poised and eyes closed, I do dabble in pseudo-meditative activities. Aside from singing, I have been known to slap paint on a blank canvas just to watch it drip, then dry. As a poet, I am experienced in the use of empty space called whitespace. Though I am not a sculptor, I am keenly aware of the negative space in sculpture that can define the form—as important as the solid shape itself. So, it does stand to reason that for Creative works, emptiness and nothingness are what actually express meaning. I concede that there is something to this nothingness.

Creativity seems to warrant empty space. In her book, “The Artist’s Way” Julia Cameron urges artists to keep margins in their calendars, as well as to carve out play dates for the practice of not-doing. Albert Einstein is known for having spent long afternoons doing just that–nothing, engaging only his imagination. Salvador Dali claimed that falling into a half-sleep state would cause him to slip into this liminal space—this slot of nothing. Meditation changes our brain’s Beta waves to Alpha and Theta waves, which relieve stress and promote well-being. Even a plant whose roots are crowded into a tiny pot can thrive when transplanted into a bigger pot and the roots can spread out. Space is good. Emptiness is powerful. Especially when that space is internal, dark, and undefined.

Not everyone’s schedule is as jam-packed as mine, but many of us do operate on a level-of-busy that flies in the face of the desert fathers’ or Buddhist monks’ idea of a good life. Learning to embrace the idea of letting go is a good beginning for both self-development and Creative works. We don’t even have to drive five hours north of Santa Clarita to experience it, either.
Nothing is everywhere.

I have to hand it to Oprah and Chopra for introducing our pop culture to meditation and marketing ideas like Super-Soul Sunday (in direct opposition to Kim Kardashian’s famed obsession with wedgies and vintage thongs) where concerned millions congregate via cyberspace to meditate and improve their practice of doing nothing. Gathering the collective around an invisible campfire to release stress is quite an accomplishment even if it’s in a file-format or a pod cast. Meditating helps to Create healthier individuals and these individuals are what make up society. When we contemplate together, we are connected—which is the ultimate mission of Creativity. Sometimes it just might take empty space to fulfill this mission, but there’s plenty of it to go around.

Afternoon T

| Community | August 24, 2018

Q: A new school year has started and I’m trying to teach my kids about self-discipline, but I wonder if it’s just something you’re born with? I often look at them and think it’s a lost cause.

A: These “kids” you speak of, are they your offspring or students springing off the walls of your newly minted classroom for this school year? Either way, we’re all students honestly and should think of ourselves as pupils on a life-time quest to learn about people, the world and our place in it. To answer your questions: Self-discipline is a learned behavior and one we should continue to study, too. We’ll always need to control things about ourselves: our appetites, mood, work ethics, etc. They’re all inside jobs, though that’s not to say we can’t use outside help, in the way of trainers, teachers or therapists. We can use the tools and training of others, but we are the ones who ultimately need to wear the hat and whistle of coaching of self-control/willpower.

Children need to know that they have control over themselves and it’s not something you simply tell them once or twice, now and again. It’s a daily message — spoken and unspoken – to be given at home, in school and the world at large, during every stage of their development. You’ve no doubt heard the term Helicopter Parenting, you know those caregivers who hover and shoot down every decision-making moment a young person might have? These adults think they’re being helpful and “saving their baby” from heartache, mistakes and disaster. Their intent is good, but the results are bad. Maybe not right then and there, but most definitely in the long run. Think about it. If someone else is always making choices for you, how will you ever know how to make your own? Eventually, you’re likely to become incredibly angry and resentful about not having any say in what happens to you, for you and around you. Sure, missteps and errors are uncomfortable, but they should be. That’s how we learn! Touch a hot surface one time and you’ll likely never do it again. It’s not to say that self-discipline should be an art learned through pain, but it certainly is a skill honed by exertion and effort. The very foundation of developing self-discipline is getting past the “Ick!” factor of the uneasiness and distress you’ll feel in the process. Your job as teacher/parent is to recognize and support that tender soul through heartache, not fix it.

To help craft self-discipline, having schedules and structure are critical, as is the enforcement of delayed gratification. (Too often we allow ourselves and our charges to engage in the fluffy stuff (screen time, treats, activities) before tasks are completed.) Those three elements make for a strong self-discipline foundation to grow on.

I’d also ask you to share great stories on the subject from mythology, philosophers, faith and fables, written by great teachers before us, from whom we lifelong students can always learn.

xo – t.

Tae Bo 6-Week Challenge Personal Review

| Community | August 24, 2018

by Clarissa Michael

Every six weeks another Tae Bo 6-Week Challenge begins, led by certified instructor Angie Eliaszewicz. I joined the class to try out that style of martial arts and to see how effective it was for losing weight.

The sessions in the first two weeks focused on healthier eating and each individual participant was told to analyze what food means to them. Our instructor suggested that you want to avoid associating food with happiness, if possible, and she directed us toward an effort to lose inches, rather than obsessing about weight loss.

“Tracking pounds may be fine for someone who wants to lose weight, but in some cases, you lose fat and gain muscle, so the weight won’t be an accurate measurement of whether or not you’re getting in shape,” she said.

The classes are held at Hugo’s Gymfitness in Santa Clarita and Be Fit in Canyon Country. They consist of mainly cardio workouts at the beginning, when she’s trying to get participants in shape, but you also work with weights. Each of us started with a 2-pound weight and most of the students were surprised how difficult it was. You work out for more than an hour using the weights, while practicing Tae Bo moves including kicking, punching and finding your rhythm.

The instructor did a good job of keeping in touch with each of us as we progressed through the program. She used Facebook and texting very consistently. Eliaszewicz was personally trained by Billy Blanks, the founder of Tae Bo, which is a combination of tae kwon do and boxing. She cuts the music when she needs to work on form, and when the music comes back on it provides an extra energy-boost.

The main focus of the program is to help people get in shape long-term. In the first two weeks Eliaszewicz wanted us to lose water-weight and observe how deceptive it can be to think you’re doing great when you may not be losing any inches. Our class had a group chat, where we could send pictures and discuss food choices along the way.

What was unique about this program, compared to some programs is her focus on muscle toning, which was easy to see in the before-and-after pictures. And because Angie Eliaszewicz just launched the program, it’s a good time to jump in, because you’ll get more individualized attention.

The schedule is varied, so parents and students can work around jobs and school and kids. And she is very flexible and understands if you can’t be there, but also pushes her clients so they can maximize their results.

Eliaszewicz does what her students do, getting in shape side-by-side, because she continues training with Billy Blanks. For information, call 661-255-2700 or visit Hugosgymfitness.com.

Hoefflin Foundation Celebrates 25 Years of ‘An Evening Under the Stars’

| Community | August 23, 2018

A non-profit that was founded in Canyon Country and for many years held its annual fundraiser in Sand Canyon has a long, successful history of improving the lives of families fighting pediatric cancer.

The Michael Hoefflin Foundation will hold its 25th “An Evening Under the Stars Benefitting Kids with Cancer” next month, an event that brings together hundreds of Santa Clarita supporters and raises thousands of dollars for the non-profit organization. Many of the community members from the first event and early days of the Foundation are, once again, volunteering for the event as it marks a significant anniversary.

The charity’s roots are in Canyon Country. The event was held in the backyards of Sand Canyon residents in its early years, including the inaugural An Evening Under the Stars in 1993 at the home of Carl and Jeri Goldman. The fundraiser has brought numerous musicians to Santa Clarita as feature entertainment, from Christopher Cross to Eddie Money.

This year’s entertainment will be Kenny Cetera’s Chicago Experience, featuring Kenny Cetera, a former touring member of the original band, Chicago. It will be held on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 6 p.m. at Valencia Country Club.

The Valencia Country Club is a new location for An Evening Under the Stars. Attendees will enjoy a dinner catered by the golf club and the opportunity to bid on many unique auction items.

Although the Michael Hoefflin Foundation focuses on fundraising efforts throughout the year, An Evening Under the Stars is critical in raising funds to help drive the foundation’s mission to provide support to children and their families facing the emotional and financial difficulties of pediatric cancer.

“We are grateful for the support of our community, said Gillian Stone, MHF’s executive director. “This is our chance to give the community that we so appreciate a beautiful, memorable, and hopefully inspiring evening, and let people know about why we need the support we do,” she said.

The chairman of this year’s event is Scott Schauer, owner of the Santa Clarita Soccer Center, who has been involved with the Foundation for more than 20 years. Visit www.mhf.org for ticket information and to discover what the Michael Hoefflin Foundation is doing in our community.

The Michael Hoefflin Foundation for children’s cancer is a public non-profit that provides financial and emotional support to children and their families in Santa Clarita and surrounding valleys. They strive to educate the public and provide grant funding for innovative research to accelerate progress in the fight against pediatric cancer.

Can You Hear Me Now? Communicating Clearly for Results

| Community | August 23, 2018

Communication is at the root of every human interaction. Whether you work as a rocket scientist, an entrepreneur, or a classroom teacher, communication will be at the heart of everything you do. If you are a parent, an employee, or an employer, you may have experienced firsthand what it’s like to have misunderstandings based on miscommunication. Every relationship on the planet relies on clear communications, whether these are through writing, speaking, or both.

The question you want to begin with is:

“Are you happy with your current level of communication skills?”

If you’ve answered yes, then you may stop reading right now. But, if you’ve answered no (which is more likely the case), then please keep reading to learn more about my five tips for crafting and delivering information in a clear and concise manner.

#1 Choose an appropriate topic.
If you are speaking on behalf of yourself or your company, then make sure to choose the best possible topic and lead with that as you begin. If you want to make a point with your family members, position your topic in a way that will allow for an open discussion once you’ve made your relevant points.

The crucial thing here would be to focus on what you know best. By this I mean you want to share your perspective on your topic in a way that gets your feelings and beliefs across, while not being judgmental or opinionated. Provide examples of how you see the topic playing out over time so that it’s a win-win.

#2 Know your audience.
The way you would communicate with your employees, your boss, or people you serve with on the board of a non-profit organization would differ from how you communicate with your spouse or young children. This is based on your relationships with each person and the goals you have in mind when you begin speaking or writing to get your ideas across in a way that will be effective.

It’s critical that you understand your audience and what they are wanting and expecting to hear. If you fail to deliver the right information, or fail to deliver your information in the right way – you’ll leave your audience cold and unimpressed. This is where persuasion comes into the communication process, but we will leave that discussion for another day.

#3 Hone in on your key message
Determine in advance what it is that you want and need to communicate to the other person or people involved.

Only go into as much detail as is warranted by the situation. If you want to communicate to your employee a new method of checking in inventory and passing information along to the next department, you do not need to explain in detail the accounting process involved and the steps used in production of the final product. It isn’t necessary and may lead to confusion or miscommunication. Stick to “just the facts” and everyone will benefit.

#4 Make your content engaging as you communicate.
Tell stories. I learned how to do this effectively as a classroom teacher and carried it over to my real estate business. This allowed me to make my points and to enroll my listeners as I explained important concepts and ideas.

Scientific research has shown that the brains of people reading or listening to stories are more engaged and stimulated than when they simply hear hard facts, so we know storytelling works.

Stories help us to learn new things and to enjoy the magic and mystery of the world. When it comes to delivering captivating presentations, make sure you have plenty of relevant stories to tell.

#5 Provide solutions as you write or speak.
If you want to inspire action, you must deliver solutions during your presentations. If you don’t, you are asking for trouble, because your audience will draw their own conclusions that may be out of congruence with what you were attempting to convey to them.

Whatever you are being asked to communicate, look for ways to embed practical tips those listening to or reading from you can easily remember and adopt.

I speak and write regularly on the topic of becoming and succeeding as an entrepreneur. I make sure to include plenty of “how to” tips, as I want my audience to not just hear my story – but to know how to create their own story too.

I’d love to hear your experiences, thoughts and your own stories around this topic of clear communication.

Connie Ragen Green lives in Saugus and has been working exclusively on the internet since 2006. Kids and Money: Teaching Financial Responsibility and Values to Children is her latest book and was released by Hunter’s Moon Publishing in July 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.

Now and Then

| Community | August 23, 2018

Because volunteers have long been the lifeblood of the SCV, the community takes time out each May to honor a man and woman who have shown a deep-seated commitment to charitable causes.

Sue Endress joined those ranks in 2015 when she was selected Woman of the Year for her tireless dedication to the youth in our valley.

The first of four children born to Shirley and Jerry Davenport, Susan Dawn Davenport made her California debut on September 2, 1955. The Davenport family lived in Hacienda Heights until Sue started second grade. They then moved to the San Gabriel Valley where Sue began her life-long commitment to community service joining her mother and father as they volunteered in the local church and school activities. She became a Brownie in the Girls Scouts of America and remained in Girl Scouts until she graduated from high school earning the First Class Award, which is now known as the Gold Award and is equivalent to the Boy Scout’s Eagle Award.

In her senior year of high school, Sue was selected to participate in an International Scouting event in Colorado where she met fellow Girl Scouts from different countries. The scouts backpacked through Colorado, refurbished a pioneer cemetery, clearing weeds and overgrown bushes and cleaning the tombstones of early settlers. They also helped in repairing and painting a 100-year-old hotel and music hall.

Rotary Youth coordinator Sue Endress visits with former Interact Club president Sebastian Cazares following a recent Interact slide show presentation.

Other extra-curricular activities in high school included the French Club and the Speech and Debate Clubs. As a member of the Speech Club, Sue participated in contests throughout the Southern California area.

After graduation, Sue went to work with Los Angeles County Hospital in the personnel department going beyond the scope of her job by counseling and finding jobs for young minority adults. Many of Sue’s former clients called her in later years to report on the advancements they had made in their respective careers.

While at the county, Sue served a six-year stint in the US Army Reserves as a recruiter, spending vacations and many weekends going on recruitment trips. She met Newhall resident Bob Endress when she began working in human resources at the University of Southern California.

In 1978 Sue and Bob were married and Sue not only lost her single status but also became a mother to Bob’s children, Robert Jr. and Belinda. Sue worked with Bob in the Private Investigation field while also running a secretarial business. Her most current business venture is being an owner of a Farmers Insurance Agency.

The couple’s work and family life were enriched with the births of daughters Casandra in 1979, and Nicole in 1983. When the girls were old enough, they both joined scouts and Sue was their assistant leader. Sue also became active in the PTA.

Casandra joined the band when she entered Hart High School, and Sue and Bob became band parents. They helped with fund-raising events and attended every band competition. Sue soon found herself taking charge at Hart High School’s annual “Rampage” band festival at College of the Canyons. As many as 20 bands traveled to the competition and Sue recruited volunteers and coordinated bus parking, food preparation, judging, and clean up.
When Nicole graduated from junior high, she also joined the band and Sue and Bob continued their band activities for four more years. During their tenure, Sue kept fundraising script for the band in her office and sold it to all band supporters. Even after the girls finished high school, Sue continued to sell script for the Hart High Band Boosters.

Because Nicole’s activities also included track competition, Sue became active in the Hart High School Track Boosters. She added to her booster club activities when she later worked with the College of the Canyons Football Boosters.

Bob was active in the Senior Citizens and Kiwanis clubs when Sue married him, so it was only natural for her to contribute her talents to those organizations as well. Sue was a founding member of the SCV Senior Center Foundation and served as a board member on the Foundation helping to coordinate fund-raising events like the Wine Auction, Celebrity Waiter, and the 5 K run at Magic Mountain. She also was active with Bob in the 5 K run for the Kiwanis Club. For those efforts, Sue was awarded Kiwanis Club Wife of the Year.

In the Santa Clarita Valley, participating as a volunteer in one organization often leads to membership in another, and that became a reality for Sue when fellow Senior Center volunteers invited her to a meeting at the Santa Clarita Valley Rotary Club. She joined the club in 2005. While Sue found participation in the Rotary Club’s community and international projects rewarding, she longed to continue her service to young people and volunteered to take charge of creating and recruiting young people in Rotary’s high school Interact programs in 2006, a position she continues to hold. As liaison and mentor, Sue has been a positive role model to well over a thousand students.

While working with young people has been her focus, the Man and Woman of the Year Committee chose to honor Sue in 2015 because of her involvement in a variety of charitable organizations – one of the many criteria involved in the selection process. The wisdom in their choice is exemplified by the fact that Sue continues to enrich the lives of our valley’s young people.

Now and Then

| Community | August 16, 2018

The national media bombards us with images of students whimpering in campus safe zones, angry teens marching on freeways to block traffic; and young adults destroying public property – distressing manifestations of what they perceive as an election gone wrong and an unfair world. Though they make for great sound bites, seldom does anything positive come from these disruptive demonstrations.

How heartening then to see examples of a different kind of student activism in the Santa Clarita Valley. Local newspapers and social media post pictures of our valley’s teens out in the community cleaning up trash from riverbeds, fund-raising for a homeless charity, and manning food drives for the needy.

An in-depth look at this teen phenomenon was recently presented by the Saugus High School Interact Club, a group of teens sponsored by the SCV Rotary Club. The high school club, which is self-governing and self-supporting, was started eight years ago by alumnus Michael Sun, who is now about to graduate from UC Berkeley. At the time, Michael and his fellow Interact members supported the local Help the Children organization and conducted food drives in the community.

A slide show prepared two weeks ago by last year’s president, Sebastian Cazares, and incoming president, Michelle Sun, demonstrated how Michael’s spirit of volunteerism continues to flourish on the Saugus campus.

The two leaders and their fellow teens began raising money last year to purchase a cow for a poor village in Uganda. The cow now provides much needed milk for children who have been orphaned by the AIDS epidemic.

The club’s other international project included collecting books and school supplies for children in Puerto Rico’s public schools. For the 2018-19 year, Michelle has proposed raising money to purchase 200 WAPIs, Water Pasteurization Indicators, to send to Kenya. The devices, which can fit in one’s hand, are used to test whether water is safe to drink.

Saugus High Interact officers Michelle Sun, Andrew Chao, and Sebastian Cazares recently gave the SCV Rotary Club an update on the teens’ service projects over the last two years.

On the local front, Michelle will be joined by Interact officers Ashley Hernandez, Daron Assatoury, and Andrew Chao in leading the club members in volunteer

Morelia Robles will be studying in Brazil this year as a Rotary District 5280 International exchange student.

activities at the SCV Food Pantry, the Homeless Shelter, and a number of Rotary service projects.

Their Rotary Club liaison (who has served in the position for 12 years) is former SCV Woman of the Year and Youth Chair, Sue Endress. Under her guidance, the teens, who say Sue is “like our mom,” also participate in Rotary District 5280 activities. In addition, Sue was instrumental in creating a SCV Rotary sponsorship for a year-long Rotary District International student exchange program to Brazil. Interact member Morelia Robles has been selected as the SCV good will ambassador. She will live with a host family while attending Colégio Santa Américo in Sao Paulo.

Morelia, who began her charitable good works several years ago creating Easter baskets (Bunnies Who Care) for young patients at Children’s Hospital, wants to major in International studies dedicated to helping women and children. She already speaks three languages and has a goal of adding more as she continues her pursuit of higher education.

Another group of teens who instill hope for a better future are the William S. Hart District’s ROTC kids. One of their many community projects is the Child & Family Center’s annual Taste of the Town fundraiser. The young men and women put their own recreational activities aside for a weekend, arriving at the event site as early as 6 in the morning to unload heavy equipment, arrange 100-plus tables and umbrellas, place signage, and help the vendors with their tent displays. Many times the set-up activities last until dark.

What amazes the adult volunteers is the teens’ respect and good-natured willingness to share experiences as they work alongside their older counterparts. Watching these young citizens in action goes a long way in countering the negative images of angry, disruptive mobs that the national social media parades before us on a weekly basis.

While most protestors who carry their profanity-laced signs and chant out belligerent rhymes return home to huddle endlessly over video games and smart phones, our cadre of young SCV volunteers put their beliefs in action, engaging in projects to make our local community and the outside world better places to live. Positive actions may be too boring for cable television to cover, but they sure go a long ways in promoting good will in the Santa Clarita Valley and the struggling towns in Third World countries.

College of the Canyons Offers Expanded Career and Academic Options

| Community | August 16, 2018

Registration is currently underway for the Fall 2018 semester, with College of the Canyons providing students and community members with access to more than 1,900 class sections in a wide range of academic subjects and career education disciplines.

To help meet the needs of new and current students, the college has also created 35 new and modified programs as well as 286 new and modified courses.

“The needs of our students have always been our main focus when creating or modifying curricula,” said Dr. Jerry Buckley, Assistant/Superintendent and Vice President of Academic Affairs at the college. “Our goal is to help students meet their educational goals, whether it be to transfer to a four-year school or gain new skills.”

Class sections will include courses that most students need to either graduate, transfer to a four-year school and/or meet prerequisites.

Five new associate degree pathways have also been created for students who wish to transfer to a four-year college in a seamless way.

The new degree pathways available this academic school year will include the following:

Environmental Science AS-T Degree
Environmental Studies AA Degree
Public Health AS-T Degree
Hospitality Management AS-T Degree (available spring 2019)
Social Justice Studies AA-T Degree

The schedule also features a wide selection of career technical education courses where students gain the skills needed to work in high-demand fields, such as plumbing technology, electrical technology, and carpentry technology.

In addition, several continuing education courses will be offered to students who would like to gain a new set of skills or sharpen existing skills through courses such as Spanish for Healthcare Workers.

Three new continuing education certificate programs will also be offered for students interested in Workplace Essentials, Management Tool Box, and Customer Relations.

Students will once again have the option of enrolling in courses offered at both the college’s Valencia and Canyon Country campus, as well as online.

Fall semester classes begin Monday, Aug. 20, and run through Saturday, Dec. 8.

As in years past, College of the Canyons will also offer a number of late start and short-term courses designed to meet the needs of working adults. Those courses are scheduled to begin throughout September and October. In addition, for students looking to get a jump start on planning for the spring 2019 semester, a list of available classes is also available on the college website.

Enrollment fees at all 114 California Community Colleges will remain at $46 per-unit, as mandated by the state of California.

Students and community members interested in attending classes this semester are encouraged to visit the class schedule in order to view the current schedule of classes and take the steps necessary to enroll.

For more information about the College of the Canyons fall 2018 semester, visit the Admissions & Records webpage.

Creativity Advocacy – Creativity and Story

| Community | August 10, 2018

Once again, I spent my entire weekend working—if you can call attending performances working, that is. I wasn’t really doing anything beyond sitting, but such is the job of a voice teacher.  Last weekend I enjoyed four different shows. This is nothing new. Most singing and acting coaches dart all over town to support their students. What struck me about my weekend was that every show was original. New. Innovative.

The first show, a short comedic film screened down in Hollywood, cracked me up with the hilarious characters and crazy antics. The second showcased heart-wrenching scenes from the holocaust set in Italy through musical theater; the third—a new review of Broadway songs, stunned me with harmonies and emotional connection. The last one blew me away with its flawless acting, feminist themes, rhyme and musical score. I needed a weekend to recover from my weekend!

After every standing ovation (and they were 4 for 4), I found myself choked up on the way to my car. I was moved to tears by each original piece but more than that, each work carried an extra layer of emotion because it was new. And I knew the writers—I was part of something grand. I couldn’t contain my excitement for each writer nor could I restrain my joy at having shared in their Creative accomplishments.

To write a piece requires one type of Creative energy. To then rehearse, mount and execute a production warrants another. The collaborative nature of film and live theater employs even another form of Creativity. Add the audience, whose participation impacts the show, and Creativity abounds!

Original works seem to carry a poignancy that other performances may not. I find myself wondering, what drove these young composers to write new shows when there are plenty of famous works ready-made and packaged for the stage? Why did they feel the need to tell their stories?

Authors, playwrights, composers and poets use their craft to self-express. They’re in touch with the power of narrative, honoring the hero’s journey. When they share their version of life, it makes them feel connected and known. We, as the audience, might recognize ourselves in these stories as well, which allows us to feel known, understood and verified. Sharing in one another’s stories connects us.

Storytelling is an ancient art form. So ancient, in fact, that some historians believe it to be the first art form, originating around the fire when our ancestors shared myth and used chanting as a way to connect and preserve culture. Before the proliferation of books and the written word, stories were told and kept by poets, minstrels, troubadours, jesters, mimes and royal courtiers. Acting troops traveled all over, producing and delivering story for hundreds of years. In a sense, this practice still continues today, only the stories themselves are updated, made novel and more relevant. Some of the most genius, epic tales can be accessed with the click of a button. Expensive blockbuster series like “Game of Thrones” or “The Tudors” are accessed on demand from the couch, while donning our pajamas. Never has “story” been so readily available and pervasive as now.

Bearing witness to stories helps us realize our rich histories, to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going as a species. Sometimes the story is comedic, which brings laughter to our bodies and sprinkles a little perspective upon our journeys. Sometimes the story is tragic, but we may glean some redemption and learn something. Storytelling is in our genes, hard-wired into our DNA from past generations. We all engage in storytelling, and we all have our own tale to tell!

Next time you kick off your shoes in front of the big screen or attend live theater to partake in story, muse over the profound connection this activity can bring—a link back to humans of a distant era who, just like us, sans electronic technology, were moved and transformed by orange glowing faces, with dancing and drumming, laughter and tears, sanctified by togetherness and the conjoining of the human spirit.

August Holiday Thoughts

| Community | August 9, 2018

By William Tozzi

I’m thinking about an unacceptable situation. There are no holidays to celebrate in the month of August in the U.S. There are no days off, no parties, no holiday sales … just business as usual.

I know there are many days in August highlighting various subjects, but none of them are holidays. However, one of these days caught my attention and should be a candidate for a new national holiday. It’s Senior Citizens Day, which takes place on August 21.

National Senior Citizens Day honors our elderly population. On this day, we are encouraged to recognize and show our appreciation for the value and contribution of elderly people to home, family and society.

In a Presidential Proclamation (August 19, 1988), President Ronald Reagan said “For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older.”

Some might take exception and claim the sorry state of the country today is a consequence of unwise actions of senior citizens in their earlier years.

I’m also thinking this claim could be a good motivation to younger citizens. They should pay attention to advice by senior citizens in order to avoid the errors senior citizens made and the opportunities missed when they were younger.

I propose National Senior Citizens Day be made an official holiday in the U.S. I am asking everyone, not only senior citizens, to urge their senators, representatives and the media to support this proposal.

Why am I introducing taking action like this at a time when we should be doing something about the unacceptable discord in the country?

My thoughts are, this effort might open a channel of awareness and friendship to counteract the negativity and hatred overwhelming this nation.

City Partners With Ring Security, Offers Rebate Program

| Community | August 9, 2018

Be sure to mark your calendar for the program that is starting a ring in the community. The City of Santa Clarita is partnering with Ring to provide discounts for Santa Clarita residents on the purchase of select home security devices. During the promotional period, residents will have the opportunity to receive a $100 promotional code funded by the City and Ring, along with additional discounts generously provided by Ring. The approved $25,000 of City funding will enable 500 Santa Clarita residents to participate in the program on a first come, first served basis.

“We are proud to live in a city that is recognized as being a safe place to live and raise a family. We understand that our residents want additional peace of mind knowing their homes are safe, and we are glad this discount on Ring technology can help make that happen,” said Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste.

The program will incentivize the purchase of Ring Video Doorbells and Security Cams, which connect to the user’s smartphone or tablet via a free app (iOS/Android) when activated by the motion sensor, when someone rings the doorbell or by live viewing the camera’s video feed at any time. Residents can then see, hear and speak to anyone on their property. Optional video subscription services are available to residents who want to save their Ring videos.

“We’re excited to partner with the City of Santa Clarita to make our Security Doorbells and Cameras available to local residents at an even more affordable cost,” said Jamie Siminoff, Chief Inventor and Founder of Ring. “Even without a Ring device, Santa Clarita residents can connect with one another and stay up-to-date on local crime and safety information from their neighborhood by downloading the free Neighbors App by Ring. When neighbors, the Ring team and local leaders all work together, we can create safer communities and reduce crime in neighborhoods.”

In 2017, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station reported 384 residential burglaries in the City of Santa Clarita. The rebate program will leverage technology, community support and strategic partnerships to maximize law enforcement efforts for residential burglaries in an effort to reduce crime.

Program Information
The promotional period for the program begins August 13 and will run until the funding limit is reached. To participate in the program, residents must email santaclarita@ring.com beginning at 8 a.m. on August 13 with their shipping address to receive the promotional code information. Ring will then provide the discounts to Santa Clarita residents after the promotional code is redeemed at checkout, at Ring.com. Addresses will be verified to ensure the location is within city limits. Emails received prior to 8:00 a.m. on the program start date will not receive a promotional code.

Santa Clarita residents will have the opportunity to purchase the following discounted products:

One (1) product per household can be purchased with a $100 discount off the retail price. The discounted prices are:
Video Doorbell 2 – $99
Video Doorbell Pro – $149
Spotlight Cam Battery – $99
Spotlight Cam Wired – $99
Floodlight Cam – $149

A maximum of three (3) additional products per household can be purchased with a $30 discount off the retail price. The discounted prices are:
Video Doorbell 2 – $169
Video Doorbell Pro – $219
Spotlight Cam Battery – $169
Spotlight Cam Wired – $169
Floodlight Cam – $219

A maximum of (3) accessories per household can be purchased at 20 percent off the retail price.

Due to this program being on a first come, first served basis, residents are encouraged to use the promotional codes as soon as possible. Receiving a promotional code does not guarantee a discounted device. Only the first 500 codes to be redeemed at checkout will be honored. Promotional codes are valid for a single-use only and cannot be used towards previously purchased Ring products.

Residents will also need to pay an additional fee for a subscription to record and save the footage on the Ring mobile app. For more information about Ring’s products, visit Ring.com/products.

For more information about the rebate program, contact Jerrid McKenna, Assistant to the City Manager, at jmckenna@santa-clarita.com.

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