Doctor’s Diary (Snippets from the frontline)

| Community | 18 hours ago

Housecall Pidgin Talk

By Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.

“Whatsa matter you?” was the greeting from my 89-year-old Hawaiian patient.

“I no like da bed!”

She had battled bladder cancer with radiation treatment affecting her right hip, resulting in damage needing surgical intervention. A month prior to hip surgery, I requested a hospital bed through a home health agency, making it easier to stand and allowing comfort at night.

“If I get little bit money, I go buy new bed!”

She was right, as there was a problem. “Where is the remote to elevate your head?”

Slowly and gingerly she got up, limped to the foot of the bed, pulled out a crank, and turned it. “I neva like dat!”

The bed was vintage WWII, and as I lifted the mattress, a rust cloud arose from the springs. Immediately, I called the agency and they switched the bed out.

Durable medical equipment like “da bed” (which also includes wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and other devices) are provided by Medicare. But it is also the main source for Medicare fraud.

The convoluted Medicare-fix now allows elder senior patients to be ripped off by home health agencies using inferior equipment.

Whatsa matter Medicare?

Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.


Doctor’s Diary May 11, 2018: Housecall pidgin talk (#100)

Memorial Day Ceremony at Eternal Valley

| Community | 20 hours ago

Santa Clarita residents look forward each year to an annual schedule of Memorial Day events hosted by Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary. This year they include music, a rifle salute and a fly-over at a ceremony on Monday, May 28 beginning at 10 a.m. Two days earlier, local Scouts will honor more than 5,000 veterans by placing American flags on graves throughout the memorial park.
Prelude music will be performed by the Santa Clarita Valley Concert Band, led by conductor Tim Durand. This complimentary event, held in the front parking lot of the Mortuary office, is expected to draw thousands of visitors to Eternal Valley, which is located at 23287 North Sierra Highway in Newhall.
“Memorial Day is a day to honor and remember the brave American heroes who gave their lives serving our country,” said Curtis Woods II, general manager of Eternal Valley Memorial Park. “We are grateful to host this important tradition that brings families and friends together in a show of patriotism and respect.”
Arriving guests will see an avenue of large American flags as they arrive. On Saturday, May 26, Scouts will be joined by their families, the Young Marines, and other community volunteers in placing flags at the graves of veterans buried in the Veterans Section and throughout the memorial park, creating a virtual carpet of red, white and blue.
A fly-over of World War II aircraft by the Condor Squadron will open the event. Fred Arnold, veteran, U.S. Air Force Reserves, will greet guests, and Pastor John R. Koczman of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, will provide the invocation and benediction. Bill Reynolds, U.S. Army Vietnam veteran, will give the president’s message and Gary Sproul, chief operating and financial officer for The Signal newspaper, will give the keynote address.
Ronald Reagan Marine Corps League from Simi Valley will post colors and conduct the rifle salute. The presentation of flags to grave markers will be handled by Young Marines of Santa Clarita Valley with Raymond and Joshua Torres, and bagpiper Chelsea Joy will participate.
Additionally, HM3 Steve Quach, Desert Storm veteran, U.S. Navy, and Fausto Galvan, Vietnam veteran, U.S. Marine Corps, will remember our fallen veterans with an honor bell. Mary White will give a tribute to fallen warriors with Hugh Cline on acoustic guitar. Taps will be played by Robert Martinez, Vietnam veteran, U.S. Marine Corps. Memorial Wall and closing will be presented by Curtis Woods II, general manager, Eternal Valley Memorial Park.
The ceremony participants and contributors include the City of Santa Clarita, Charmaine’s Florist, Santa Clarita Valley Concert Band, World War II Condor Squadron, Santa Clarita Valley Elks Lodge #2379, Ronald Reagan Marine Corps League, Simi Valley Young Marines of Santa Clarita Valley, Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 355 – The Lost Patrol & Associates, Santa Clarita Valley Signal Newspaper, Briana Garden, Air Force ROTC, Doug Barrett – Decibel Studios, American Legion Post 507 & Auxiliary, Dennis Witzel, Vietnam veteran, U.S. Army, Millena Hicks, country and western singer, “Rebel Heart,” BBS Carpenter Shop, Brian Bovert, Boy Scouts of America, Bill Hart District, Cub Scouts, Bill Hart District, Girl Scouts, Greater Los Angeles, Santa Clarita Emblem Club #459, Canyon Theatre Guild, Easter Costume, North Hollywood, Eternal Valley Memorial Park, Scott Watson, Sean O’Connell, Nolan Kulp, Elizabeth Howell, William Howell, and other civic-minded individuals and organizations.
For information on the Memorial Day ceremony or about Eternal Valley Memorial Park, call 661-259-0800 or visit Eternalvalleymortuary.com.

Farmers’ Market Celebrates 25th Anniversary

| Community | May 18, 2018

It has been 25 years since the Santa Clarita Certified Farmers’ Market first pitched its tents, bringing the community fresh fruits, vegetables and other foods. The staff and vendors will celebrate on Sunday, May 20 at the Valencia campus of College of the Canyons, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road in Parking Lot #5. The celebration will run from 8 a.m. to noon.

The community is invited to see food demonstrations by the Culinary Institute on the COC campus at 9 a.m. Members of the department will showcase a variety of meal preparation techniques and create a cool summer salad made from products at the market.

Musical entertainment will be provided by guitarist and vocalist Corinn Conant, a fan favorite of the market who plays at venues throughout Ventura County. Also joining the celebration is Safe Moves, one of the leading authorities on traffic safety education in Ventura County. The non-profit will have an information booth where youth can learn about traffic safety while participating in contests with a chance to win prizes. In addition, they will have a pedestrian rodeo set up with a virtual city to teach children how to stay safe when walking, biking or riding in cars. There will also be free customer giveaways and additional children’s activities.

“We are looking forward to sharing this celebratory day with the community as we transform the market with a special layout for guests to enjoy,” said Karen Schott, operations manager for the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association.

For more information, visit the website at www.vccfarmersmarkets.com or on Facebook @VCFarmersMarket.

Non-Profit of the Week: Santa Clarita Valley Quilt Guild

| Community | May 18, 2018

If you ever worked on a quilt, you recognize the tremendous amount of time that’s spent creating these one-of-a-kind pieces of artwork. The Santa Clarita Valley Quilt Guild is made up of hard workers, though their contribution also enables them to do what they love.

Almost 30 years ago, a group of quilters created the non-profit group to share their love of handcrafting and at the same time meet needs of others in the community. They pass on their skills to future generations through demonstrations and in working with Girl Scouts earning their Quilting Badge.

The group has contributed three quilts to the City of Santa Clarita, and one hangs in the City Council chambers. The members also adopt families in need, raising money for individuals without resources.


The goal of the SCV Quilt Guild is to serve the community, says Carol Carter of the community service committee for the organization.

“We make quilts for our veterans through Habitat for Humanity,” she said. “Each veteran receives a quilt when they move into their new home.”

The non-profit organization creates quilts for residents of the VA Hospital in West Los Angeles. They also support The Painted Turtle, a camp for children with special needs and medical issues.

“We donate turtle pillows and small quilts for each child to take home,” Carter said.

The Guide Dogs of America are supported by the non-profit, and the Santa Clarita Senior Center receives original work from the Quilt Guild, including placemats, shawls, wheelchair and lap quilts for seniors.

Some of the other organizations benefiting from the work of the guild include: American Diabetes Association, Boy Scouts, Brownie Girl Scouts, Canyon Country Library, City of Hope, Henry Mayo Memorial Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, Santa Clarita Food Pantry, SCV Pregnancy Center, SCV Homeless Shelter, SCV Sheriff’s Department, United Cerebral Palsy, and others.

The SCV Quilt Guild holds monthly meetings where national and international quilting experts speak and offer workshops. For more information about the guild, visit SCVquiltguild.org.

Santa Clarita Valley Quilt Show

The public is invited to the Santa Clarita Valley Quilt Guild Quilt Show at Hart Hall on June 9-10, 2018. Those who attend will see a display of quilts crafted by members of the SCV Quilt Guild, and can enjoy gift items from various vendors, plus take part in a silent auction and door prize opportunities. There will be food trucks present, as well.

The Quilt Show will take place on Saturday, June 9 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, June 10 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Hart Hall is located in William S. Hart Park, 24151 Newhall Avenue in Santa Clarita.

The cost for one-day admission is a $10 donation and two-day admission is a donation of $15. For more information, visit SCVQuiltGuild.org.

Free Gardening Class for Residents

| Community | May 17, 2018

Local property owners can improve their outdoor view with free classes offered by SCV Water. To enhance the possibilities for residents’ gardens this spring, a class will be offered called Landscape with Perennials, where attendees will learn how to select flowers that can add charm to your landscape for years to come. These are plants that live two or more years and are well-suited for the SCV climate. Participants will receive a list of perennials that can help spice up their landscape with texture and pops of color.

Bay area horticulture professor Stephen Williams is slated to teach the class on Saturday, May 19 from 9 a.m. to noon at SCV Water, located at 27234 Bouquet Canyon Road in Santa Clarita. Williams received his horticultural training at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California. He honed his skills at Descanso and Huntington Botanical Gardens where he worked as garden staff and plant propagator/nursery manager for 10 years. He has been affiliated with U.C.C.E. Master Gardeners since 1996 and has been teaching free, weekly home gardening classes for 10 years at Mt. S.A.C.

To register for Landscape with Perennials, and to see a complete list of classes for 2018, visit www.yourSCVwater.com or call 661-513-1230.

SCV Water’s mission is to provide responsible water stewardship to ensure the Santa Clarita Valley has reliable supplies of high quality water at a reasonable cost.

For more information, contact Karen Denkinger, event coordinator,
kdenkinger@scvwa.org, 661-513-1230.

City Accepting Name Submissions for Youth Honor Grove

| Community | May 17, 2018

Annual Event to Honor Youth Killed in Traffic-Related Incidents Scheduled for September 5

Local residents are invited to submit names of youth aged 24 or younger who lost their lives in traffic-related incidents to be added to the Youth Grove in Central Park, 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus. To be considered for addition, the individual must have lived in the Santa Clarita Valley or attended a local school.

Names submitted to the City of Santa Clarita will be added to pillars that simulate cut tree stumps, which represent young lives cut short. The pillars surround a central monument urging the community to “Know More” about safe driving habits and to pledge that “No More” young lives will be lost behind the wheel.

To submit a name to be added to the Youth Grove, parents or family members must complete a signed release form. Names can be submitted at any time. However, for inclusion in this year’s annual Evening of Remembrance scheduled for September 5, 2018, names must be received by Saturday, June 30, 2018.

The half-acre Youth Grove memorial is dedicated to educating the community about safe driving and offers a place for reflection. It is home to 105 individual pillars, each with a plaque bearing the name of a young life lost in a traffic-related incident.

Prior to the Evening of Remembrance, community members are invited to participate in the Walk of Remembrance. The walk will begin at 7 p.m. at the Youth Grove to be followed by the ceremony in the adjacent Field 4.

For more information on the Youth Grove or to obtain a release form, contact Tess Simgen at (661) 250-3708 or tsimgen@santa-clarita.com, or visit Santa-Clarita.com/YouthGrove.

Now and Then: SCV Boys and Girls Club

| Community | May 17, 2018

Looking around the decorated patio in front of the Newhall clubhouse that now bears his name, former SCV Boys and Girls Club executive director, Jim Ventress, mused, “It just doesn’t seem that long ago that we had our ribbon-cutting ceremony.”

Jim was one of many officials and supporters that turned out Thursday, May 10 to celebrate the club’s Golden Anniversary – and the ribbon cutting he was referring to occurred in the early ‘90s when the 20,000-square-foot facility finally became a reality, 24 years after the local club’s founding. Prior to that time, small “satellite clubhouses” existed on local school campuses.

The club owes its 50-year success story to compassionate executive directors like Jim Ventress, Bob Ross, and current director Matthew Nelson; the far-sighted guidance of its dedicated board members; and the loyal support of its committed volunteers. Many of the alumni were present Thursday to share some of their favorite memories and anecdotes.

Seated under an awning with wife Selma, was founding board member Ed Bolden, who reminisced about the many luaus, casino nights, auctions, and “passing the hat” fundraisers that have kept the club afloat through good and bad national economic times.

Joining him was current board member Tom Dierckman, who proudly recalled the dedication ceremony of the Sierra Vista Clubhouse in Canyon Country, which opened in 2003 under his leadership. Together, the two “flagships” have served and continue to serve record numbers of youngsters and teens through a variety of recreational, educational, and mentoring programs.




Another current board member, Gloria Mercado-Fortine, joined long-time auction volunteer Lois Bauccio in praising the way the Newhall clubhouse and Jim Ventress diffused the growing gang presence that threatened the Newhall Park area in the ‘90s.

The club’s first Boy of the Year, Frank Giardina, recalled the 1968 ceremony at the Odyssey Restaurant, where he received his award. Frank went on to be a counselor at the club’s Valley View and Emblem Elementary School satellite locations. Frank also started the first Teen Center. One of his happiest memories involved the times he led 15 teens in decorating nearby Magic Mountain for the Christmas holidays. Frank roused his crew at 3 a.m., while the rest of the valley slept, to add the festive touches to the amusement park.

One of the early morning perks was the chance to ride all the attractions when the decorating was finished at 8. That was when the ride operators reported for work and the teens “ran like crazy around the park, riding everything we could until the park officially opened at 11 a.m.”

When questioned about the 28 years that Barbara Morris has faithfully turned out the annual auction catalogue, the graphic artistic explained, “I was working at The Signal Newspaper and helped Tony (Newhall) design the catalogue. When he left to work for the San Francisco Chronicle, he took me aside and, in his own inimitable way, ‘praised’ me into taking it over. I’ve been doing it ever since and enjoying every minute of it.”

Volunteers Barbara Stearns-Cochran and Jami Kennedy shared early memories of club activities and the annual auction fundraiser (which will take place this year on June 2 with the theme “All That Glitters is Gold”). Barbara remembered how son Chuck Stearns good-naturedly dogged the counselors at the Valley View Clubhouse, working out much of his hyperactivity during competitive games on the school’s playground.

Jami laughed as she recalled taking her 3½-year-old grandson with her while she decorated the CalArts grand ballroom for one of the auctions. “We had an outhouse prop set up in one corner,” she explained, “and was I bowled over when I turned around from my decorating tasks to see that he had stepped inside and used it!”

The conversations stopped for a brief ceremony led by executive director Nelson who introduced some of the young club members (for a brief club history narrative), then elected dignitaries who presented congratulatory plaques to current board president Ann-Marie Bjorkman.

Keystone Club president Vanessa Guzman ended the ceremonies with praise to the staff for their guidance and support. “They have made this our home, our second place,” explained Vanessa, “and our goal is to be like them and help our community.”

Vanessa’s speech was a highlight and a fitting end to a tribute-filled afternoon, which left all the participants feeling inspired about the future leaders of our valley.

Grand Opening of Eternal Valley’s Garden of Sardarabad and Monument

| Community | May 11, 2018

Local residents are invited to attend the grand opening of a monument honoring the traditions and beliefs of the Armenian culture. Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary will open its newest section, the Garden of Sardarabad, on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 beginning at 10:00 a.m.

The event is free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be served.

The garden is a tribute to the historic battle that was fought and won in Sardarabad, Armenia. A 20-foot high monument, the only replica of its kind, is a symbol of the 100-year commemoration of the battle. His Eminence the Archbishop Hovnan Derderian will bless the monument. There are more than 600 interment spaces for family members to be interred and remembered throughout time.

“The Garden of Sardarabad is an example of our dedication to understanding, working with, and serving the diverse cultures of our neighbors and the communities we serve,” said Curtis Woods II, general manager of Eternal Valley Memorial Park. “We look forward to celebrating with our community members.”

Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary is located at 23287 N. Sierra Highway in Newhall. The mortuary is a member of the Dignity Memorial network of more than 1,800 funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers is North America. Dignity Memorial offers a combination of products and locations serving families nationwide. For more information, call (661) 259-0800 or visit http://www.eternalvalleymortuary.com.

How to Excel in Business to Save You Time and Money, part 4

| Community | May 11, 2018

Did you know that Excel sorts data, processes data and compiles data? As I’ve said in previous articles, there’s virtually nothing Excel can’t do with data.

Once, a manufacturer received a multi-store report with no page breaks from a vendor. The manufacturer needed separate pages for each store, but he wanted to stop manually going through the reports and putting in page breaks before printing them.

The solution to that problem was to write a macro that went through the large report and logically figured out the page breaks according to the store codes and line breaks.

Excel also works really well with data over different worksheets. A client was given a spreadsheet with more than 200 worksheets with about 30 data elements on each sheet. Her task was to combine all the information into one sheet so it could be used as a master roster. She didn’t want to copy and paste each field, which she estimated would take a week.
By coming up with a formula that combined all the data in seconds, it saved her hours and hours of copying and pasting each cell.

Finally, if the data is repetitive, Excel can process it. A client had some extremely large data files that he got from his ongoing clients. This data was uploaded into the main system to update information. The problem was the clients often supplied invalid data, causing the updates not to load and causing delays in processing the information.

By writing a spreadsheet that reviewed all the data files and showed all the errors before they went into the main system, the files were cleaned up before the main load, thus saving countless reloads.

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

The ARTree Flutterby Studio

| Community | May 11, 2018

Due to public response, The ARTree will continue its Flutterby Open Art Studio program throughout the summer months. Flutterby offers free studio time for children and families with free use of art supplies. No prior registration is needed.

ARTree’s Flutterby Studio is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the L.A. County Arts Commission, as well as the City of Santa Clarita.

The next class is June 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The theme is “summer colors.”

For more information, visit Theartree.org.

New Rules for Social Media in 2018

| Community | May 10, 2018

Social media is here to stay, but you probably came to this conclusion long ago. The question now becomes one of how to accept this way of communicating as a part of our lives and businesses and how we can make the best of a world that is new to many and confusing to most. The answer lies in both how we think of social media and how we learn to utilize this complex and ever expanding world to our benefit and the benefit of those around us.

Think about this from another perspective. It has never been as easy as it is right now to reach people all over the world with a single, meaningful message by a click of the mouse or tap of the index finger. Our words and images hold the power to affect others in ways we may not know or understand, even though it is basic communication in its simplest form.

How you leverage the power of the internet through social media will depend, in part, upon what you see as your role in the world. These are the possibilities, at least through my eyes and experience, and there will be some overlap between these roles as well:

  • Business owner, independent contractor, or freelancer
  • Community leader and someone who is active with non-profits
  • Concerned citizen and family member

As the owner of a small business, independent contractor, or freelancer, your message is about the work you do and the people you serve. Appropriate updates might include information on the products and services you provide and information that is valuable to those who come to you as their trusted advisor in your field.

As a community leader and one who volunteers and participates in a variety of ways with local non-profits and service organizations your message is about the work these groups are doing and the people they serve. Your posts and updates would include information on events and highlights of both the people who lead the groups and the people who benefit from the work that is being done.

As a concerned citizen and family member your message is about your daily life in your community and the people you are closest to throughout the world. Your posts and updates would revolve around the events and situations you encounter, your travel and other leisure activities, and the challenges you face and would like to address in a public forum.

With each of these profiles I recommend avoiding controversial topics, unless you have a cause you are passionate about and do not mind alienating at least half of those who will see it. By maintaining a “middle of the road” position you are able to address both sides of an issue and share information from a variety of perspectives. And make sure those in your business and personal life are aware of anything you might post that would affect them directly. For example, in my family we do not post recognizable images of anyone under 18 years old at any time.

I have a huge presence on social media because of my growing business, and I am also a community leader and a concerned citizen. Spending no more than 15 minutes a day altogether, including all social media sites combined, allows me to share my content around entrepreneurship, details of my books and online courses, and the live events and workshops I attend, host, and speak at throughout the world. This expands my reach exponentially and increases my income regularly.

Also, I share important facts and events about the charitable groups and service organizations I am a part of, and the more personal interests I have in areas such as film festivals, the environment, and travel. Another note here is to remember that once you have posted anything on social media it will be there forever, even if you delete it at a later date. Choose your words and images carefully and make it your goal to interact in a way that allows others with differing opinions and views an opportunity to be heard.

Social media is here to stay, and making the highest and best use of these platforms for business, community involvement, and personal interests can be a valuable addition to our lives. And these “new rules” simply reflect the values we have had all along.

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.

Measure SA Oversight Committee Member Needed

| Community | May 10, 2018

The William S. Hart Union High School District needs a new member of the Measure SA Citizens’ Oversight Committee. This member will serve a two-year term with a maximum of three consecutive terms.

The committee is looking for a member who would fit in the Taxpayer Organization category. In other words, this member needs to be active in a bona fide taxpayer association.

Employees, contractors, vendors and consultants of the William S. Hart Union High School District are not eligible to be on the committee.

Measure SA is a $300 million general obligation bond passed by voters in Santa Clarita in November, 2008. Its purpose is to fund construction projects such as the new Castaic High School, Performing Arts Centers at Canyon and Saugus High Schools, and improvement projects at other high schools and junior highs.

The application for the Measure SA Citizens’ Oversight Committee can be found online at https://4.files.edl.io/c472/05/08/18/162645-ee3f66f7-3750-441f-be43-63392921801b.pdf. All completed applications must be sent to Lisa Arnone (larnone@hartdistrict.org) by Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 3 p.m.

Bike to Work Day

| Community, Sports | May 10, 2018

Every year, Santa Clarita employers engage in friendly competition to see who can get the most employees to bike to work. This year’s Bike to Work Day is Thursday, May 17, 2018, during Bike Week Santa Clarita, which will include several bike-related events. Businesses with the highest participation rate in each category – small, medium and large – will win a gift certificate to the restaurant of their choice and a free smoothie from Juice It Up – Santa Clarita for all the business team members who ride.

There are three categories of competition:

-Small Business (2-25 employees) Prize – $75 Gift Certificate to restaurant of choice & free Juice It Up smoothie
-Medium Business (26-100 employees) Prize – $150 Gift Certificate to restaurant of choice & free Juice It Up smoothie
-Large Business (over 100 employees) Prize- $250 Gift Certificate to restaurant of choice & free Juice It Up smoothie

Team Information
Businesses should designate a “lead rider” who will be responsible for registering their business, encouraging co-workers to ride, and act as the point of contact. Each lead rider is required to submit a list of cyclists who are riding by May 17, 2018 to Laura Jardine at ljardine@santa-clarita.com or by pledging each rider online. These names will be entered into the city’s raffle for prizes. The prizes include KHS bicycles, gift certificates, quality cycling gear, movie tickets, and more.

Santa Clarita Transit and Metrolink are offering free rides for anyone on local routes who have bikes and/or helmets.

Five bicycle pit stops, hosted by the City of Santa Clarita and local bike shops, will be stationed throughout the city with snacks, giveaways and raffles to help riders fuel up on their car-free commute. The city has teamed up with Bicycle Johns, Valley Bicycles, and Performance Cyclery to host the following pit stops, which will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on May 17, 2018:

-City Hall – 23920 Valencia Boulevard
Hosted by the City of Santa Clarita
-Bouquet Junction (Valencia Blvd. & Bouquet Cyn Rd.) – Behind Chi Chi’s
Hosted by Performance Cyclery
-Trail access at Camp Plenty & Soledad Canyon
Hosted by Bicycle Johns
-Trail access at Newhall Avenue & 16th Street
Hosted by the Valley Bicycles
-City Public Works Yard – 25663 Avenue Stanford Hosted by City of Santa Clarita
-Princess Cruises
Visit them at 24303 Town Center Drive – behind Soup Plantation in courtyard
-The Paseo Club
Visit them at 27650 Dickason Drive

Online Resources:
The Santa Clarita Valley Bicycle Coalition Official Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SCVBicycleCoalition/
Los Angeles County Metro information http://bikesantaclarita.com/
Plan your route on City of Santa Clarita’s trails and find out about other bike events
Get bicycling directions on Google Maps www.la-bike.org Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition
www.performancecyclery.com or Bicycle John’s – Local bike shops that service & repair all types of bicycles
www.khsbicycles.com KHS manufactures road, track, mountain, tandem, folding, cruiser, and youth bicycles.
City’s environmental resource
Call the city at (661) 286-4098 with additional questions. To register your business or organization for Bike to Work Day, register online or contact Laura Jardine at 661-255-4376 or ljardine@santa-clarita.com.

Feeding it Forward Dinners Benefit Homeless

| Community | May 10, 2018

Local non-profit Bridge to Home is beginning its fourth year of a program that offers hot meals, warm showers, case management services, health screenings and hygiene supplies to those in need. Located at Bridge to Home’s winter shelter site, the program provides up to 50 individuals in need with dinner, a sack lunch, canned goods, and case management to help them find permanent housing solutions.

Feeding it Forward takes place every Tuesday through Friday night from 6-8:30 p.m. through the fall. Bridge to Home is located off Railroad Ave. at 23031 Drayton Street in Newhall.

“For many of our clients this will be an essential opportunity, to not only have a warm, well-balanced meal, but also work with a case manager to get needed support that will help lead them to permanent housing,” said Bridge to Home Executive Director Silvia Gutierrez. “For those who have fallen on hard times, Feeding it Forward will provide them with relief, hope and the knowledge that they have a place to go and someone to turn to.”

For community members who would like to donate, Bridge to Home is currently accepting travel-sized personal items for hygiene kits, such as combs, shampoo, conditioner and body wash.

To find out more about what donations are needed or to volunteer, visit btohome.org , email volunteers@btohome.org or call (661) 254-4663.

Pardee Homes Showcases HomeSmart At Aliento Event

| Community | May 10, 2018

The public is invited to a celebration of new neighborhoods in Santa Clarita by Pardee Homes. HomeSmart at Aliento will showcase Arista, Cresta and Verano neighborhoods on Saturday, May 19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors will enjoy demonstrations and information sessions by Pardee’s participating home tech vendors, plus tasty treats and raffle prize opportunities.

“This is a great way to see how our HomeSmart features can add comfort and convenience to your new home,” said Lyndsay Fuller, director of Sales and Marketing for Pardee Homes LA Ventura.

Shoppers who buy a Cresta, Arista or Verano home in May can celebrate with a price-included Smart Home Theater System. For a tour of HomeSmart, see:

In Santa Clarita’s Golden Valley, Aliento is a Pardee Homes master-planned community. For more on Arista, Cresta and Verano, call a New Home Specialist at 661-491-7397. or visit www.alientoliving.com

From the high $700,000s, Cresta designs offer 3,144 to 4,290 square feet, 4 to 6 bedrooms and 3.5 to 5.5 baths. From the $700,000s, Arista homes offer 2,530 to 3,477 square feet, with 3 to 6 bedrooms and 2.5 to 5 baths. From the upper $500,000s, Verano offers 55+ buyers a private club amenity and versatile one-story designs with optional lofts, ranging from 1,599 to 2,419 square feet, with 2 to 4 bedrooms and 2 to 4 baths.

Aliento’s gated environment features parks and on-site trailheads. The Terrace offers all residents indoor/outdoor recreational amenities. Aliento is close to excellent schools, shopping and services, and freeway and Metrolink connections.

To reach Aliento, exit 14 North at Golden Valley Road. Turn right onto Golden Valley Road. Turn right on Oak Crest Drive and follow signs. Also see www.pardeehomes.com

Cocktail Party to Benefit Castaic Animal Shelter

| Community | May 10, 2018

An upcoming event in Santa Clarita will bring local residents together in support of homeless animals. Wild for Animals is an evening of cocktails and appetizers where proceeds will benefit the Castaic Animal Care Center for the purchase of medical equipment. It will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 19 at Centre Pointe Plaza, 26415 Carl Boyer Drive.

To symbolize the animals that will be aided by their participation, guests are encouraged to wear poodle skirts or an animal print outfit to the event. Tickets at the door are $50 per person and include appetizers and drinks and the opportunity to bid on animal-themed items donated for a silent auction. Awards will be presented to local veterinarians, pet stores, rescue people and organizations that help homeless animals in the local community.

Special guests will include U.S. Congressman Steve Knight, California State Senator Scott Wilk, County of Los Angeles Animal Care and Control Director Marda Mageda and Castaic Animal Care Center Director Karen Stepp. The event is hosted by Richard and Kiza Hilton.

A donation box at the entry to the event will be used to collect new or gently-used blankets and towels, cat and dog food, or other miscellaneous animal supplies brought to the party by guests for the use of homeless animals. All cash and material donations will go through the Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, and all donations will be tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Centre Pointe Plaza is located at the corner of Carl Boyer Drive and Centre Pointe Parkway, just west of Golden Valley Road. RSVPs and requests for information can be directed to (661) 886-1116.

Both Sides of the Fence

| Community, News | May 10, 2018

Jennifer Hughes hates the fence. From her Laguna Court home, she had a clear view of Valencia Valley Elementary School. Now, she has a clear view of the eight-foot wrought-iron fence the Newhall School District is erecting.

“Everyone that lives in close proximity hates the fence,” she said. “The Newhall School District bulldozed the fence (through the school board) and didn’t take into account how the community is so upset.”

The change of view is not the real reason Hughes objects. In an email to the Gazette, she bemoaned “the loss of our beloved park/school open space.”

She also told the Gazette she dislikes the fence being eight feet, when other district schools have six-foot fences.

“The community is upset from being open to (having) an eight-foot fence that looks like a prison,” Hughes said.

Furthermore, she said, the school sits in a low-crime area, making the fence unnecessary. She has been fighting this fence for more than a year, even bringing petitions with as many as 59 signatures opposing the fence – and one signature favoring it – to the school board.

It’s fallen on deaf ears.

“The fence is going up,” school board president Phil Ellis said. “The board decided we needed a fence.” He added that the sheriff’s department recommended an eight-foot fence.

Hughes said Ellis voted against a fence back in June before voting in favor of it in January. Ellis said he has long favored a fence, but voted against the plan that came before the board.

This disagreement illustrates the differing points of view over safety and security. How far does a school, and a district, have to go to guarantee the safety of the students?

“Safety is an issue becoming more and more paramount,” Ellis said, “so you do what you can, but there is nothing you can do that will stop everybody.”

The non-profit Everytown For Gun Safety Support Fund reported that there have been 39 school shootings at various elementary, middle, high schools and colleges/universities this year, and 310 between Jan. 8, 2013 and May 3. Not all of these resulted in deaths or injuries, but a gun went off in all cases.

Ellis said he recognizes that a fence won’t necessarily keep out someone hell-bent on shooting up the place from doing so. Hughes said a fence could keep people from being able to escape.

Hanover Research conducted a study in 2013 on the benefits and disadvantages of school fencing and found properly selected fencing can restrict access to less-visible areas, but the wrong kind of fencing can limit surveillance. Wrought iron is generally considered best, but each school must determine its own needs.

Ellis said the fence is just one part of the district trying to ensure better security. “It’s not just a shooter we’re trying to stop,” he said. “It’s to protect and force entrance to a school from a central point, (the front door), where we add layers of security. We’re in the process of analyzing a couple of security issues surrounding Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi is not the best (at Valencia Valley).”

Bicyclists ‘Hit the Trail’ Saturday

| Community, Sports | May 10, 2018

Residents can take advantage of Santa Clarita’s prevalent pedestrian and cycling trails Saturday during the annual “Hit the Trail Community Bike Ride.” There will be a guided, non-competitive bicycle ride and a family fun fair with activities and giveaways. Jersey Mike’s and the City of Santa Clarita will offer free sandwiches to those who ride, while supplies last.

Riders have a choice of a full 9-mile route or a 4-mile route for those with younger children. Both rides begin and end at Valencia Heritage Park, 24155 Newhall Ranch Road in Santa Clarita.

The Hit the Trail Community Bike Ride will be held on Saturday, May 12 at 10 a.m., timed to coincide with Bike Safety Month. You can get more information at BikeSantaClarita.com or contact Pat Downing by calling 661-250-3783 or emailing PDowning@santa-clarita.com.

Now and Then: A Community of Volunteers

| Community | May 6, 2018

Do you:
• Have a family member, or a friend, who has been diagnosed with cancer?
“We know a cancer diagnosis can be scary – and overwhelming. Whether you need emotional support, the latest cancer information, a ride to chemo, or a place to stay when treatment is far away, we’re here to help – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
The American Cancer Society

• Have an aging parent who is finding it difficult to adjust to the realities of his or her new life situation?
“The Senior Center is life – reimagined – a place that will serve all seniors regardless of age, income level, activity level, disability, or cognitive level.”
The SCV Senior Center

• Know a family struggling with mental and behavioral issues, needing diagnostic and therapy services?
“The Child & Family Center helps build a healthy Santa Clarita Valley by providing mental health, behavioral, and education services to children, adults and families.”

• Feel compassion for families who have lost a sustainable source of income or lost a home?
“Family Promise of Santa Clarita Valley brings shelter, meals, and support services to families without homes, helping them to get back on their feet.”

The Santa Clarita Valley is a community filled with compassion – its charitable and service organizations work hard to meet the needs of individuals and families that have been hit with negative life challenges, whether they be health or financial related. And while all these agencies have qualified professionals to provide the needed assistance, they possess another common denominator that helps them fulfill their missions: a cadre of committed volunteers who spend hours raising funds and/or offering the “sweat equity” needed to support their good works.

The above organizations are just a few of the dedicated agencies that will be spotlighting their hard-working volunteers at the Friday, May 11 SCV Man and Woman of the Year Gala. In all, 26 participating organizations will be proudly honoring the men and women who unselfishly give their time to improve the quality of life in our valley.

The gala gives SCV residents a chance to join in the salute and express their appreciation to this year’s nominees and the organizations they serve:

2018 Women of the Year Nominees:
Julie Benson, Carousel Ranch; Ann-Marie Bjorkman, Boys and Girls Club of SCV; Julie Creps, William S. Hart Pony Baseball & Softball; Tami Edwards, SCV Rotary; Laurie Ender, Family Promise of SCV; Susan Hayward, Zonta Club of SCV; Pam Ingram, Sebastian Velona Foundation and Soroptimist International of Greater SCV; Janine Jones, American Cancer Society and Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation; Laura Kirchhoff, Circle of Hope; Gloria Mercado-Fortine, Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers; Sue Reynolds Buckley, Boy Scouts of America; Susann Rizzo, Santa Clarita Organization for the Protection of the Environment (SCOPE); Lindsay Schlick, Junior Chamber International Santa Clarita (JCI Santa Clarita); Suzanne Stone, Soroptimist International of Valencia

2018 Men of Year Nominees:
Hunt Braly, Bridge to Home and Homes4Families; Steve Corn, College of the Canyons Foundation; Jeremiah Dockray, SCOPE; Alan Ferdman, Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers; Neil Fitzgerald, JCI Santa Clarita; Michael Fox, Sebastian Velona Foundation; Michael Keesler, SRD-Straightening Reins Foundation; Taylor Kellstrom, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and Circle of Hope; Brian Koegle, HandsOn Santa Clarita and SCV Senior Center; Nick Lentini, SCV Child & Family Center and SCV Rotary; Ed Masterson, Carousel Ranch and WiSH Foundation; John Musella, SCV Chamber of Commerce; Jim Ventress, Boys and Girls Club of SCV; Stephen Youlios, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation

Each of these men and women represent hours of service spent outside their professional and family lives. They are dedicated to making this valley a better place to live and work. From their ranks, a 2018 SCV Man and Woman of the Year will be named. A few of the criteria influencing the selection, which will be made by a committee of former Man and Woman of the Year recipients, include: number of years in service, hours of service, and number of different organizations served.

The Friday, May 11 event will be held at the Valencia Hyatt and begins with cocktails and dinner at 6 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling 661-252-2012.

How to Excel in Business to Save You Time and Money, part 3

| Community | May 5, 2018

I continue with Part 3 of the various ways Excel can save you time and money.

Excel transfers data into MS Word files. An online retailer downloaded customer orders into an Excel file. Then an employee created packing slips by copying and pasting all the pertinent information from the Excel file into a Microsoft Word template. The employee also had to manually change the customers’ formatting to make it compatible with the company’s style. The retailer’s manual conversion and correction process was extremely time-consuming.

The key is to create an Excel program that reads the orders, automatically corrects the formats and transfers the data to packing slips. The new process can take seconds to convert the Excel format orders into Word packing slips instead of minutes, or even hours.

Excel calculates estimates. A window blind company owner never knew exactly how much material he needed for any single project. He would estimate the amount and put that figure into Excel. When he estimated too much, it cost him money for materials he didn’t use. When he estimated too little, it delayed the project’s completion because he had to get more material from his supplier. Plus, he used Excel as if it was just a paper chart.

By using Excel, one can create a worksheet for each order as part of a workbook for orders to suppliers. After all the individual orders are entered into the workbook as worksheets, the new Excel workbook can calculate how much material is needed for the entire group of orders. This worksheet will save the company time and money, because the owner can order the right amount of material from his suppliers and allocate it correctly to the customers’ jobs.

Excel sorts data. A large retailer used a contact form on its website to solicit inquiries and received many. When the staff went to read the emails, there was a large amount of spam mixed in. The staff member responsible for the incoming emails had to weed out the junk mail and copy the legitimate inquiries into Excel spreadsheets. The retailer needed to find a way to sort the emails and to speed up the intake and distribution process.

By writing and installing a code into the retailer’s website, emails that were sent from the website link now automatically carry the code so they are recognized and kept on the retailer’s email processor. Emails from spam and sources outside the website don’t have the code, so they’re kicked out.

As part of that solution, it’s a good idea to also write an Excel macro that goes through all the email and deletes the junk mail that doesn’t have the inquiry code, thus eliminating the need for manual review. Next, the macro sorts the information from the emails and distributes it to the appropriate sheets based upon the type of the inquiry. The user could then quickly and easily send the inquiries to the appropriate responders throughout the company. The new process saves many hours and greatly improves the company’s response time.

For more information, you can contact web developer Warren Schultz at warren@tapsolutions.net or call him at 818-281-7628.

Afternoon T

| Community | May 5, 2018

By T. Katz

My youngest child will soon be “leaving the nest” and I’m heartbroken. I’ve been a parent for so long, that I’m not sure what I’ll do when my home (and heart) are empty. I’m just sick about this.

A: While there are those who will tell you Empty Nest Syndrome is not a clinical condition, I will tell you that often the overwhelming emotions that accompany ENS, can and will make you sick. We can’t have that! There’s an awful lot of truth behind the “If momma/daddy ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” And before you can go in search of happy, my parental friend, you have to be healthy. Just ask anyone with some seriously advanced mileage on their car(cass). They’ll tell you, “If you don’t have your health, not much else matters.” My wish for you, is that you can be both healthy and happy once your baby bird has flown away. To achieve that, the focus is going to have to shift back to you, and that’s going to take a bit of work and time.

In the beginning of your new normal, loneliness and grief are to be expected and accepted when you are the one left behind to walk through familiar settings with a heartbeat missing. A huge emotional transition takes place and that can affect sleep patterns and eating habits and those alone can take a toll on the physical. You have to address those two issues immediately. Remember how you would make sure your kid got a good night’s sleep and decent nutrition before a big event or exam? Well, you’re being tested in one of life’s biggest ways and you need to parent yourself! Sleep and eat right. It will make a difference moving forward. [Speaking of moving, ANY physical activity is also helpful.]

Unsympathetic people aren’t always good sounding boards and can make you feel more lonely and isolated, so if you don’t seek out a support group or counselor – talk to the smartest person you know: You. No, really. You did the best job you could with your offspring (seriously, NO parent was perfect), so you’re pretty stinkin’ knowledgeable about a thing or two. Get a journal or notepad at the dollar store and start spilling your thoughts into it. Ask yourself questions. Maybe even address topics of conversation you may want to still have with your child(ren). It will make for more interesting future contact via phone/email/texting once you’ve contemplated on a subject. It’s one of the best investments of a hundred pennies you’ll make.

Also know that there is a possibility that, like the swallows that return to Capistrano, baby birds can and do return home to live with their parents in what is now called the “Boomerang Generation.” Statistics show that, currently, 34 percent of young adults 18-34 years old live at home with their parents.

Whether nest empty or full … a few simple changes and parenting yourself will be worth it – to find your own wings.

xo – t.

Non-Profit of the Week: Jack’s Angels

| Community | May 4, 2018

When Janet Demeter lost her son, Jack, to DIPG on July 30, 2012, she began a campaign to advocate for children battling cancer in the United States.

DIPG, or diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, represents a horrific death sentence for a young child. A malignant, diffusely infiltrating brain tumor, DIPG develops in the pons area of the brainstem, which is responsible for neural transmissions to and from the brain to the body, and is also in perhaps the most protected area of the body. DIPG is resistant to conventional medical chemotherapy treatments, and is inoperable. The median survival time, post-diagnosis, is nine months with radiation treatment, and long-term survival prognosis is less than 1 percent. Parents are routinely told to go ahead and make memories, and enjoy last moments with the child. Neil Armstrong’s daughter died of DIPG in 1962, and today’s standard treatment protocol and terminal prognosis have seen no change since then.

“It was a hope-obliterating experience … and to discover that there has been insufficient research activity for decades, literally, because ‘the numbers aren’t great enough for investors,’ as if this were a rationale for doing nothing … it’s terrible beyond my ability to explain,” said Demeter, an Agua Dulce resident.

She became all the more motivated when she discovered that brain tumors are the leading cause of death in kids with cancer, and that DIPG, a disease described to her as insignificant, is responsible for the majority of brain tumor deaths annually in the United States.

“It couldn’t have been a more clear case to fight for children with cancer,” she said.

Demeter organized The DIPG Advocacy Group, taking a group to Washington, D.C. last month to visit the offices of Congress in support of H.Res.69, the DIPG Awareness Resolution. Jointly introduced by Reps. Steve Knight (R-CA-25) and Jackie Speier (D-CA-14) in January of 2017, the resolution designates a national awareness day, May 17, for DIPG and encourages greater research consideration for children who are dying in the current medical research system, which, for those affected by pediatric cancer, is “unapologetically and systematically divested of concern,” Demeter said.

The Advocacy Group members who traveled to Washington, D.C. consisted of individual advocates, including Paul Miller, co-founder of the group from Littleton, Colo., the Psar family of Knoxville, Tenn. from the Julia Barbara Foundation, Melany Knott of Mt. Airy, Maryland, and her daughter Kaisy, who is in active experimental treatment for DIPG, and others.

H.Res.69 requires only a vote in the House of Representatives to instate DIPG Awareness Day, and thus far has 29 co-sponsors, Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-7) most recently, and also Andy Barr (R-KY-6), Duncan Hunter (R-CA-50), Jackie Rosen (D-NV-3) and Doris Matsui (D-CA-6). Yet, raising awareness can be slow-going, as the bill has not been considered by the Energy and Commerce Committee where it sits, and which controls its fate.

“After you find out there’s nothing that can be done, the grief begins; you remain in this world of suspended animation as you helplessly watch your child die,” said Demeter, who contributed to the text of the legislation along with conferring experts, Dr. Michelle Monje of Stanford University, Dr. Adam Green of the University of Colorado at Denver, and the Office of Congressional Relations at the National Cancer Institute. “Along the way you discover when you ask ‘why,’ the answer is the same everywhere you turn: ‘The numbers aren’t great enough for investors.’ The dying, and children, are clearly not priorities in our medical research system.”

For more information about the DIPG Advocacy Group, visit www.hres69.org, or their group page on Facebook. It is a grassroots organization with no corporate backing, just volunteering advocates, initiated by Jack’s Angels Foundation in Agua Dulce.

Powderpuff Fundraiser for Brain Cancer May 17

Vasquez High School students in Acton are preparing for their 6th Annual Powderpuff Football Game on May 17 benefiting Jack’s Angels, the local charity dedicated to awareness and research for DIPG, the deadliest pediatric brain cancer, and advocacy for children with cancer. The Powderpuff Game began in 2013 with then senior students Oren Dye and Brandi Beltrane, and newly appointed principal, Ty Devoe, who were inspired to create an event to benefit the new 501(c)(3) charity. Little Jack Demeter, just 3 years, 11 months old, died in July of 2012 from the effects of DIPG, and his mother, Janet, was determined to start something that would help lead to solutions to the disease.

With student and faculty coaching the girls on their football skills and a full cheer squad of enthusiastic young men with a flair for humor and exhibitionism, the first Powderpuff Football Game became annual entertainment.

“Each year the game has been exciting – I hope this year that we’re able to bring out more people to enjoy it!” Demeter said. “Many don’t realize that our community has been, in part, essential to the beginnings of the DIPG Awareness Movement, which is a powerful asset to childhood cancer awareness in our country today.”

Due to the leading support of Vasquez High School and a handful of private donors, Jack’s Angels has managed to raise greater awareness to pediatric brain cancer at the state and federal levels. In 2014, California passed the first-ever DIPG Awareness Resolution; last year, 22 states, including California, had such a resolution. Congressman Steve Knight (R-CA-25), who was state senator in 2014, introduced the first National DIPG Awareness Resolution to U.S. Congress in 2016 and again in 2017. The national consensus among the states in 2016-17 was May 17 as DIPG Awareness Day, as May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month, and so it was adopted by the National Resolution H.Res.69.

H.Res.69 suggests that pediatric and high-risk cancers have greater consideration in the research grant process with public and private funding sources. Currently, DIPG research is funded almost entirely by the collective work of foundations led by bereaved parents. Brain cancer is the leading cause of death in children with cancer; of those deaths, DIPG is responsible for the majority, yet it remains one of the least-funded areas of research.

This year, the VHS Powderpuff Football Game is on Thursday, May 17, the first nationally celebrated DIPG Awareness Day, made possible in part by the caring spirit of Vasquez High School. The event opens at 6 p.m., with the kick-off at 6:30 p.m. at Jorgensen Field, 33630 Red Rover Mine Road in Acton. The roving purple Mustang mascot usually makes an appearance, and tickets are on site only. For more information about Jack’s Angels, or H.Res.69, visit www.jacksangels.org, and www.hres69.org, or visit them on Facebook.

Hero of the Week: Ty Devoe

When Ty Devoe began his job as principal at Vasquez High School in the fall of 2012, his students became receptive to the idea of assisting Jack’s Angels Foundation. May of 2013 was the non-profit organization’s first “Art for Jack” music and art festival for kids, and Vasquez High School students did some notable pieces of art for the display. It was also the first year that student Oren Dye began the Powderpuff Football Game to raise awareness for DIPG.

Ty Devoe has made sure there has been a game in May each year since then. Proceeds from the game have kept the mission of Jack’s Angels alive.

“He’s a deeply kind, genuine and generous educator and friend to the kids and staff at the school,” said Jack’s Angels founder Janet Demeter. “I’ve only heard glowing remarks from colleagues and students over time.”

ASB director Amy Ciceri is also a solid supporter of the charity’s work, and student Garrett Musil is also spearheading the event this year.

Smuddes Smiling After 20 Years of Dentistry

| Community | May 3, 2018

When Drs. Kelly and Allen Smudde opened their practice in Santa Clarita in 1998, the city’s population was only about 130,000. As the area grew, so did their relationships with their dental patients, and this week the staff is celebrating the milestone.

To symbolize their gratitude to the community, to their patients and their team after 20 years, Drs. Allen and Kelly Smudde will take part in 20 acts of kindness during the month of May. They call it “a small thanks to all of those involved in helping the Smudde Family grow since 1998.”

Theresa, a registered dental assistant with extended functions, has been with the Smudde practice for two decades.

“Drs. Allen and Kelly Smudde are the most genuine and selfless leaders,” she said. “They continuously instill their qualities in all of us, (for) which we are truly grateful. They care about how we’re doing, how our families are doing, and never forget about important events going on in our lives.”

Comments from staff confirm that the Drs. Smudde are both attentive to the day-to-day experiences of their team members, rewarding them with spontaneous gestures of appreciation.

The dentists are also active in the Santa Clarita community. Philanthropies include donating to multiple charities, organizations, and local high schools. They team up with Operation Gratitude, a non-profit organization that has sent more than two million care packages to troops overseas, first responders, veterans, military families, and wounded heroes.

The Smudde office hosts an annual Halloween Candy Buy Back, paying children a dollar per pound in an effort to protect their teeth. A few months ago, the Smuddes hosted a Free Day of Dentistry, opening their doors to community members in need of dental work. Kelly and Allen Smudde have donated more than $1 million to causes in the Santa Clarita Valley, plus they have expanded their support to orphanages in undeveloped countries that lack access to dental supplies for basic oral health.

The Smuddes’ practice is Santa Clarita Advanced Dentistry, located on Tourney Road in Valencia.

When Grief and Loss Won’t Go Away

| Community | April 26, 2018

Grief and loss experiences catch most people unprepared. We simply are not taught how to handle loss, much less move beyond it, according to local grief counselor Jeff Zhorne.

Studies show the average person will encounter 42 potential loss experiences, ranging from death, divorce and breakup to moving, menopause and retirement.

“If these losses are not resolved appropriately, pain and melancholy begin to erode our mental and physical health and the lives of those around us,” said Zhorne, director of the Santa-Clarita based Grief Recovery Program. “It’s like a low-grade infection sets in.”

Loss on top of loss on top of loss, often beginning from the earliest ages, contributes to a collection of hurt, anger and mistrust over a lifetime, he said.

“Our aliveness and spontaneity are eaten away, relationships become limited and restricted,” Zhorne explained. “We become tentative and guarded. Some wind up isolating and withdrawing from the world.”

A longtime grief counselor, Zhorne cautions against “stuffing” your pain.

“Maybe it’s a sad movie or listening to a friend’s battle with cancer, and slowly you feel your throat tighten,” he said. “Feelings bubble to the surface and get lodged there. We tend to push those feelings right back down. ‘C’mon, heart, be still!’”
Many of those suffering from unresolved or suppressed negative emotions try to cope by going on missions to feel good.

“Some lose themselves in religious experience. Some people drown themselves in others’ problems, some drown themselves in alcohol,” Zhorne pointed out. “Some stay so busy they don’t have time to feel.”

Zhorne is personally and painfully acquainted with loss. Eighteen years ago his two children, ages 4 and 2, died in a tragic auto accident in England.

“It was terrifying,” he shared. “I was utterly helpless. I didn’t know where to turn.”

He describes the reaction of people when tragedy struck. They tried to help him with comments intended to comfort, but that actually backfired. They used phrases such as:
•Be grateful you still have your wife
•It could’ve been worse
•You just have to let go and move on

“Let go of what? Move on to where?” Zhorne asked himself. “I looked everywhere for help. Trouble was, most books either told me how I was feeling, which I already knew, or offered advice for getting through the day. I tried to intellectualize my grief and think myself well. But you can’t fix a broken heart with your head.”

After much education and training, Zhorne discovered Grief Recovery, a method of completion and emotional healing. Its mission is to help hurting people heal the emotional pain in relationships that have ended or changed.

Grief Recovery is learning how to freely express all the emotional truths connected with loss.

“Maybe it’s regret – wishing things had been different, better or more. Or unrealized hopes, dreams and expectations,” he said.

One of Zhorne’s messages is that grieving people aren’t broken; they don’t need to be fixed. They need to be listened to with dignity, honor and respect.

Individuals who have attended Zhorne’s grief groups provide feedback about the methods and results from working on their emotional journeys. Following a painful divorce, one woman who completed the program remarked, “I remember the first time I chose to call someone instead of eat. I could feel the strong pull toward the refrigerator, but I interpreted that as a pull toward love. So I called someone in the group. After going over to her house and feeling some real affection, some warmth, I wasn’t hungry anymore. Since that time, I’ve learned to do that more and more. I’m finding out it’s not really food I want at those times. It’s love.”

One of the aims, according to Zhorne, is an integration of heart and head.

“The brain says, ‘Be strong, be grateful, the past is over, keep forging ahead.’” Zhorne described. “But the heart has a logic all its own: ‘Stop and listen to me!’ or ‘The pain is all I have – don’t try to take it away from me.’”

The Grief Program offers a step-by-step method for addressing unfinished emotional business and moving beyond loss for those who tire of temporary pain relief and want to expand their lives and relationships.

“The result is being able to cherish fond memories of our loved ones, living or not living,” Zhorne said. “It’s a way to say good-bye to regret, age-old hurts and worry about the future.”

“I can’t say enough about how important this work is for everyone,” said a Santa Clarita woman who took part in the Grief Group. “We all suffer loss and regret. We even inherit grief. This program helped me to see all the elements of grief patterns and how powerful those feelings can be. I will use these tools throughout my life to get complete with loss and grief relationships.”

A free community presentation on The Grief Recovery Method will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 24 at the Education Center, Christ Lutheran Church, 25816 N. Tournament Road in Santa Clarita. For more information, call The Grief Program at 661-733-0692.

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Doug’s Rant – Video Edition

  • WatchDoug's Rant May 18, 2018
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