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Always Advocating Alan – September 11, 2001: Never Forget

| Opinion | September 7, 2017

by Alan Ferdman

Sometimes important dates slip by, but next Monday should not be one of them. I hope we will all come to think about what day it is, what happened and why it is important to keep the memory of 9/11 alive.

Another year has passed since September 11, 2001, when 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four jetliners for use as weapons of destruction. This evil team crashed two of the aircraft into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and the last, Flight 93, crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside, when passengers yelled, “Let’s Roll” and bravely attempted to take back the plane. In less than two hours, the two World Trade Center buildings collapsed and the Pentagon Outer Ring had been severely damaged. Approximately 3,000 people died, and over 6,000 innocent people were injured in the worst foreign attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor.

I remember exactly where I was when it happened. It was early morning. I was getting ready for work and, as normal, had my bedroom television tuned to the news. I was surprised to learn a first plane had hit one of the World Trade Center buildings. At the time, the newscasters did not know if the crash was caused by a horrific accident or something else. But then, as we watched the second plane impact the second building, the motive became clear. This was a terrorist incident. It was an attack on our country and our way of life. The event ended my rush to get to work, as I sat on the edge of my bed, watching the drama unfold in disbelief. I remember being angry, disheartened, and upset, all at the same time, knowing there was nothing I could do to change what was occurring before my eyes.

But then, I started thinking about the need I was feeling to show solidarity with my friends, neighbors and the rest of the country. Up to that time, I was one of the citizens who put out my American flag on holidays. I retrieved my flag and immediately set it in its holder on the front of my house. Right then, I made a pledge. Flying an American flag only on holidays was going to change. I am proud to be an American every day and, as such, an American flag would fly in the front of my house every day.

Well, I finally did get ready for work and headed to JPL in Pasadena, only to find the facility was on lockdown and closed for the day. Making the drive back and forth gave me time to think. I wanted to do something more than just flying a flag.

I decided the American flag, put up in the front of my house, would fly for an entire year. Each morning I go out to my front atrium for some “wake up” coffee and look at my flag. As my flag becomes weathered and torn by the wind, it serves to remind me of all the brave men and women around the world who devote their time, energy, and sometimes their lives protecting our freedom. I have since put up a permanent flag pole and I replace my flag each year on the morning of September 11. I do not retire my flags, because like those individuals who have served our country, I believe my flags also deserve a place of honor and remembrance. Each year, when taken down, my flag is marked for the year it flew, carefully folded using the appropriate triangle method and placed in a special container, hung on the wall in my home office in clear view. On

The ten flags on display

the 10th anniversary of 911, the Santa Clarita Elks Lodge hosted a remembrance of that fateful day. As a part of the event, I provided a display of my 10 flags, allowing them to fly again, representing an unbroken daily reminder of those who perished, those who were injured and those who came running toward danger to help others in need. I intend to bring my flags out again, to fly and be seen, on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

You might wonder why I am so passionate about remembering and highlighting such a terrible event. It comes from realizing that time goes by very quickly. In an instant, 16 years has gone by. When I was growing up, I remember all the times I was made aware of December 7, 1941. Even though it was a year before I was born, our “Greatest Generation” made sure the attack on Pearl Harbor, “a day that will live in infamy,” would remain vividly clear in our minds, as an example of why America needs to stay strong and ready to defend our freedom. Today, I realize my oldest grandchild was very young and my four other grandchildren were not even born on September 11, 2001. The message for our country to stay strong and ready to defend our freedom is no less true today than it was when I was growing up. Yet, today, I notice a trend of the news media marginalizing our history, as well as, our country’s accomplishments. In recent years, Pearl Harbor and 9/11 don’t even seem to get front page coverage in many of our newspapers. I think that is just wrong.

So, even though on September 11, 2001 there was nothing I could do to change what was happening, I realize today is different. While I may be a member of the “Silent Generation,” I will not be silent about remembering September 11, 2001, Pearl Harbor, Independence Day, or other important American historical dates and stories. I refuse to accept Facebook representations of our history, particularly those written by individuals who only take one word and use it to forward their own agendas. I will continue to study our history in order to factually understand our past leaders, celebrate our successes and learn from our missteps.

We live in the greatest country the world has ever known and I have no desire to move to the one in second place, whichever one that might be. We are all Americans, no matter our race, color, creed, religion or political party, and we always band together in time of need.

So, make me proud on Monday. Take a moment to pray for and remember all those who died, were injured or were impacted in any way by the events of September 11, 2001. But, most of all, be strong and never forget.

Vote for Best of Canyon Country

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 1, 2017

It’s not too late! Vote for your favorite businesses in Canyon Country! Show some love to the best of Canyon Country – here’s the link!


Best of Canyon Country

Doug’s Rant

| Doug's Rants | August 31, 2017

Writer’s Cramp:

As I sit down to peck away at the keyboard, it’s hard to concentrate on normal ranting stuff with the horrible mess happening in the Houston area. Hopefully, by the time you read this, things will have improved down there. For now — I’ll have to grasp the slogan from my Arizona Wildcats of “BEAR DOWN!” and get this done.

Do I?

Do I need to get a new life? It seems my life is fairly consumed with news and information from various media (mainly politics, some sports), which I use to help assimilate my thoughts for this space each week. Imagine my shock when I come across folks who aren’t like me. Examples: “I can’t believe what the media is doing to Trump” … “What are they doing, I haven’t been following it.”  “What do you think we should do about North Korea?” … “Why, what’s going on with them?”  “It could be worse; we could be living in Houston” … “Oh yeah, someone was telling me about that, I don’t follow the news.” “You don’t follow the news? How do you live a meaningful life?” (My wife did say she was glad football is starting so “Fox News” wouldn’t be on so much.)

But, you know what? These are all normal, well-adjusted people who just don’t care or want to know what is going on outside of the important realms of their lives. Could it be these folks don’t want to know what’s going on in the world so they can live a carefree life — and who can blame them? (It reminds me of what my mom, who has Alzheimer’s, said: “I don’t have problems anymore, because I don’t remember them.”)

Could this work for me? Should I chill out, relax, quit following this stuff and start writing a puff gossip column? (A friend from high school in Tucson who reads the rant on SantaClaritaGazette.com said, “Dude, you’re gonna die from a heart attack if you keep this up.”) Should I give up this weekly diatribe and retreat into blissful retirement? (That ain’t happening, I’m in the newspaper business!)

Naw, I’m not changing. I’ll be the guy writing this stuff until my last breath (or last coherent thought), doing my tiny part trying to save the world (or at least some of the people in Santa Clarita) from the horrible, nonsensical, emotion-driven, liberal, progressive, absurdly back-ass thinking!                                       

Defend This!

 I want to thank The Signal newspaper for helping me to alleviate my writer’s cramp by publishing the column by a young man entitled “In Defense of Millennial Snowflakes.” It’s a good thing I ate lunch a while ago or I may have lost it.

He wrote: “Certainly it is true Millennials have had a tougher time growing up than previous generations — our high rates of depression and anxiety show this. This is perfectly understandable, however, for we also face tremendous burdens that our parents and grandparents did not.” (See what I mean about losing my lunch?)

He goes on:

“So to the Trump-tie wearing bully boys of the older generation, my message is this: Know that when you call kids snowflakes you speak from a place of weakness, not strength, and implicitly admit your own ignorance of the world around you.” 

I don’t have the time, space or emotional energy to counter each of these ridiculous statements, but I’m most certain any person with even a loose grip of reality, including Millennials I know, can see the snow flaking, delusional blame game this represents.

“But they far too often prefer the lazy route of condescension, insults and scorn — and when conservatives take this posture, they place their boot on the neck of kids today, spit in the eye of our ancestors, and weaken the social fabric of this great country.”     

How’s this for a “lazy route of condescension”: GROW UP AND GET OVER IT. I don’t have a clue how this will “place my boot on the neck of kids,” or “spit in the eye of our ancestors,” and lord knows, I don’t want to weaken social fabric, but this type of nonsense is what heightens the proof that snowflakes flourish in our land today. It’s like when our president was elected and Millennials across America went into a paranoid frenzy of crying and needing the comfort of safe spaces to exist. Or when someone spray paints the name Trump on a campus sidewalk and the reaction from students requires mental wellness intervention.

He finished with:

“One cannot engage in such dastardly behavior and make any claim to patriotism, maturity, good sense, principle, constructive citizenship, basic ethics, moral hygiene or human decency.”   

 Good gosh, I have no claim to basic ethics, good sense or human decency? I didn’t realize I am such a wretch of a person! Talk about condescending insults, these comments reveal this writer is snow blind and can’t see his way through the snowflakes to realize this is the typical hypocrisy that liberals frequently fall into when they can’t handle the unfairness of life. I’ll say it again — Get Over It!         

 Another Shot across the Bow:

 I’ll tell you one thing “non-news” people should pay attention to, and that’s the test missile North Korea fired a few days ago. That one flew right over Japan and was their 16th test of the year. All Americans need to recognize that the chances of a terrible war on the horizon are growing with each passing day. This war could make the Houston tragedy look like a picnic on the beach.

If we do something preemptive you can bet the liberals will scream that President Trump is a war hawk and is overreacting to these missile tests. OK, so what do we do, let North Korea keep playing Russian roulette with missiles until one hits that is dirty and strikes somewhere, killing thousands of people, and then react?

It’s an incredibly agonizing decision our president has to make, but do we want to see death and destruction on our soil or somewhere else? If the deranged boy dictator keeps playing with his dangerous toys, something will need to be done to prevent major harm to us and it won’t be pretty at all when it happens.

 Cut the Crap and Get It Done:

On Wednesday President Trump started his campaign to enact badly needed tax reform. In my opinion, this is the number one reason the guy got elected and for a very good reason. It is such a no-brainer how much this would help each and every one of us, including many Trump-haters out there. It’s pretty simple and laced with common sense. More money in our paychecks and more money for businesses to expand and grow, creating new jobs equals a huge WIN-WIN! It’s time we pull our heads out of our butts and realize that one of the highest business tax rates in world does nothing but harm the economy.

With all of the common sense permeating through this needed reform, you know it’s going to face “horse excrement” objections from both sides of the aisle. The big cry will be the debt increase. The thing is, the guys who will do the screaming haven’t given three rips about the debt as it has been careening towards $20 trillion over the last several years. Why not let the tax cut horse out of the barn and see if GDP growth doesn’t start a flood of additional revenue into the treasury coffers? Come on, just try it, please just try something different and not allow your hate of Trump or your own egotistical selfishness get in the way of helping us!

Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan need to put on their very big boy pants to ensure this gets done. We don’t want to hear sniveling excuses from them as to why it’s so hard and takes so long! Cut the crap, get it done or get the hell out of the way and give someone else a chance!

 Quote of the Week:

 I want to see days and weeks of coverage about Dickinson, Texas, a town that is approximately one-third Black, one-third Hispanic and one-third White. I want to see editorials discussing how neighbor helped neighbor, regardless of race, sexual orientation or which statues they think are appropriate. I want to see nightly discussions of the human response to seeing their fellow man in need. I want to see video of a white, good-old boy helping a black man and his family onto his boat so they can escape flood waters. I want to see video of a Hispanic man whose parents were migrant farm workers helping a white man and his family onto his boat. I don’t want to hear how Trump supported or antagonized anything. I want to see these things because they are actually happening right now in Texas. This is America today. That’s what I want to see.

 You are purveyors of negativity and divisiveness because that’s what gives you ratings and income. You intentionally deceive us. Because in all this human suffering along the Texas coast, you don’t even see that love and decency abound in America. Maybe you do, but that won’t make you as much money will it?  (Facebook Post)

 Letter to the Ranter:


It looks like the Democrats have added a new page to their playbook and that is to tear down Confederate statues. Then they can blame Republicans and Trump branding us as racists and supporters of the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremists. They have become hysterical about this issue and they seem to have lost their collective minds!! We can then have many more episodes like the one in Charlottesville. These statues have been around for over a hundred years or more in most cases, why now? Collusion and Russian interference in the election has been the Dems mantra for the last year and the reason why Hillary didn’t win. This hasn’t worked. My question when I saw the violence and melee in Charlottesville were one, “Who were these people”? and second, “Where were the police”? Why did the Mayor give the order to stand down and why didn’t the Governor call in the National Guard if the police couldn’t handle this? Just have to blame Trump and the Republicans and brand them as supporters of these extremist groups. Why were these leftist groups, Black Lives Matter and Antifa held accountable for their part in this. Oh, I guess you cant’t blame the left as their motives are admirable. Since all of these Confederate statues are Democrats, the present day Democrats should think again about pulling them down, wouldn’t you think. Phyllis


Administrative Personnel Changes at Local Schools

| Community | June 23, 2017

In an arrangement looking a little bit like musical chairs, William S. Hart Union High School District administrators are assuming new positions at a number of sites. An assistant principal at West Ranch High School is replacing the principal at Rio Norte Junior High, who is taking a newly vacated principal position at Saugus High School. At the same time, two junior highs and two high schools will receive new assistant principals.


Audrey Asplund was named principal of Rio Norte Junior High School, a site where she served as a seventh grade teacher for 10 years before becoming assistant principal at West Ranch. Prior to working in the William S. Hart Union High School District, Asplund taught history and special education in the L.A. Unified School District.

Vince Ferry is leaving the role to Asplund, as he will replace retiring Saugus High Principal Bill Bolde.


“I am excited and honored to serve as the next principal of Rio Norte Junior High School,” Asplund said. “I am looking forward to partnering with students, families, teachers and staff in preparing students for success at the next level. I also aspire to continue the rich learning traditions established by the Rio Norte staff and leadership, including Mr. Vince Ferry who has been an outstanding principal.”

Asplund received a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in education from UCLA, and a master’s in educational administration from California State University, Northridge. Asplund and her husband, Dave, have three children in college who all attended local public schools.

Ferry was a Hart District special education teacher for nine years, as well as assistant principal and director of the Associated Student Body program at Valencia High School. He was named principal of Rio Norte in 2014.


Robert Fisher, a teacher and coach at Golden Valley since 2006, will become an assistant principal at Canyon High School. While at Golden Valley he served in many different leadership positions, including athletic director, department chair, administrative intern, and induction support provider. Previous to that, he taught and coached at Royal and Agoura high schools. Fisher has a bachelor’s degree in social science and a master’s degree in education from California Lutheran University.


Kristin Hinze will become an assistant principal at West Ranch High School. She started for the Hart School District as a substitute teacher from 2005 – 2008, when she moved to Arroyo Seco Junior High to teach special education, serving as a seventh- and eighth-grade inclusion teacher and SC-1 math teacher. Hinze was a member of the professional development team, intervention coordinator, and administrative intern during her time at Arroyo Seco. In the fall of 2014, she moved to Canyon High School as a special education teacher for students with emotional disturbance. During the 2015-16 school year, Hinze became the head softball coach and ASB director at Canyon. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies from California State University, Northridge and her Master of Arts in educational leadership from the University of La Verne.



David Miles joins Rio Norte Junior High School as an assistant principal, excited to be returning to his hometown district after beginning his education career in the Bay Area. As a teacher and department chair at Oak Grove Middle School in Concord, he helped to guide the English department’s implementation of the Reader’s Workshop model and also became the school’s AVID coordinator and teacher. Most recently, he was vice principal of College Park High School in Pleasant Hill, where he oversaw the ASB, English Language Development, attendance, and technology development programs. He is passionate about helping teachers take their next step with educational technology and supporting student inquiry and collaboration. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Point Loma Nazarene University and his Master of Arts in educational leadership from the University of California, Berkeley.


Paula Saavedra will become assistant principal at La Mesa Junior High School. First teaching grades two through five, both Spanish bilingual and English general education classes, during Saavedra’s time as a classroom teacher, she became a certified trainer of Thinking Maps, providing district-wide training to staff and strategies for differentiation in the classroom. She has served as an assistant principal at a middle school for the last three years, serving as the special education, ELD, English, math, and history administrative liaison at her site. Saavedra holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, a master’s degree in education, and a Spanish bilingual credential from UCLA. She also earned a Master of Arts in educational administration and an administrative credential from California State University, Northridge.


In related news, Assistant Principal Catherine Nicholas will move from Arroyo Seco Junior High to Canyon High School, and Assistant Principal Fayanne Bakoo will move from Rio Norte to Arroyo Seco.





Party in Canyon Country – Annual Summer Bash Set for June 23

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 15, 2017

Canyon Country doesn’t need a coastline to celebrate summer in a big way. Everyone is invited to the Annual Summer Bash on Friday, June 23 on Luther Drive in Canyon Country. Like a giant block party, families will gather from 6-10 p.m. for food, live music, beverages and activities. The Summer Bash will include a beer garden provided by Route 66 Classic Grill and dinner options from two food trucks and a dessert truck. Restaurants in nearby shopping centers will also be open during normal business hours.

The Summer Bash will feature inflatable carnival games, a mechanical shark, a 20-foot inflatable slide and a boot camp style obstacle course. Entrance to the event is free and open to the public.

The event’s coordinator has worked on the Summer Bash in the past and says he’s seen the annual celebration grow in popularity.

“We have witnessed a steady increase, as more and more individuals from the public keep returning every year,” he says, “and a growing (number) are new patrons who never heard of the event, but love the fact that we put this on for the public.”

City staff members set up the event in the parking lot of the Edwards Canyon Country Stadium Theatre and invite the participation of all the surrounding businesses, Beck says. Some set up booths to play an active role.

For more information about Canyon Country’s biggest block party, search “Summer Bash” on Facebook or on Santa-Clarita.com, or you may call Summer Bash Event Coordinator Joel Beck at 661-250-3720.

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