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Santa Clarita Gazette and Free Classifieds is a locally owned weekly publication. Each week you will find news, opinion, sports and more plus over 200 classified ads online and in print! Each week’s issue is printed and distributed on Thursdays and Fridays, the full edition is also here on the web site on Thursdays as a page flip. All of the articles and classified ads are online and display ads are printed and appear on various pages of the web site to correspond with the print ad.

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Posts / Recent blog posts

Santa Clarita Named a Silver-Level Bicycle Friendly Community

| Community | 15 hours ago

Santa Clarita is One Of Six Cities in The Nation to Move Up to a Silver Designation

The League of American Bicyclists honored the efforts of Santa Clarita to build better places to bike with a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award, being one of the six cities in the nation to move from a bronze-level to a silver-level recognition during this round of judging. The award recognizes the City for its commitment to creating transportation and recreational resources that benefit residents of all ages and abilities while encouraging healthier and more sustainable transportation choices.

“Santa Clarita is among the few cities that are leading the nation when it comes to important livability factors that people want where they call home, like safe and accessible places to bike,” said Bill Nesper, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists. “Santa Clarita joins 53 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Communities as part of the movement toward more vibrant, healthy, sustainable and connected places. Our nation and the globe are facing complex public health and road safety challenges, and we’re proud that Santa Clarita and communities like it are embracing bicycling.”

The League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly America sets the standard for how communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and accessibility while allowing them to benchmark progress toward making biking better. With this latest round of 53 new and renewing awardees, there are currently 488 Bicycle Friendly Communities throughout the nation. The silver BFC award recognizes Santa Clarita’s commitment to improving conditions for cyclists through investments in infrastructure, education programs and bike events.
“We are fortunate to live in a community where opting to ride a bike for transportation and enjoyment is safe and easy,” said Mayor Marsha McLean. “In addition to the City’s expansive trail system and numerous safety enhancements designed to make biking even safer, we will continue to develop and improve the bicycling experience and look forward to continuing to receive honors as one of the most bicycle-friendly communities in the nation. We are proud of this incredible honor.”
More than 850 communities have applied for recognition by the Bicycle Friendly Community program, which provides a roadmap to making biking better for communities of all shapes and sizes. While the award process considers very visible elements such as bike infrastructure, other efforts are considered including education, encouragement and enforcement. The rigorous application process is an educational tool in itself and includes an opportunity for local bicyclists and active transportation advocates to provide input on their experiences and perceptions of bicycling in their community.

The five levels of the BFC award – diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze, plus an honorable mention category – provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve. Awarded communities must renew their status every four years to ensure that they not only maintain existing efforts but also keep up with changing technology, national safety standards and community-driven best practices.

To learn more about the BFC program, visit bikeleague.org/community. To learn about all things biking in Santa Clarita, please visit bikesantaclarita.com.

Cranberry Meatballs with Reyes Winery 2010 Merlot

| Entertainment | 18 hours ago

It’s that time again for our members to have their quarterly choices and a lunch. Our wine club consists of four shipments a year in March, June, September and December.

There is no fee to become a member, only a commitment that you will remain a member for at least four shipments. With every shipment you have the option of either having it shipped to you or picking it up at the winery.

This weekend is our member pick up party which we offer to all of our members free of charge. It allows two members to have lunch and a glass of wine each. If they wish to invite friends, it’s $15 perperson. Every lunch includes wine pairings. I choose one white wine and two red wines, and one of the three is always a new release.

This quarter my three wines of choice are 2010 Reyes Merlot, 2014 Reyes Muscat and 12-year-old Agua Dulce Delight (new release). This would make an amazing holiday gift for a wine lover!

Now, I had to think about what to serve for lunch.

As I was putting together dinner recently, I realized we have so many leftovers from Thanksgiving. I thought it was time to reincorporate them into a meal. Back in 2012, I published my cranberry sauce recipe (reyeswinery.com/spicycranberrysauce), I then mixed my cranberry sauce with a few other ingredients and created a BBQ type of sauce to serve with my meatballs (which I mentioned last week). I served it with a mushroom pasta and broccoli. During this dinner, I realized this would be perfect to serve this weekend for our quarterly member lunch! It will pair with the 2010 Reyes Merlot.

Reyes 2010 Merlot pairs perfectly with my pumpkin hummus, it also pairs well with pork chops with a cinnamon jerk rub, Toscano cheese dusted in cinnamon and many things you might enjoy during Fall. It has won silver awards from the 2012 O.C. Fair Commercial Wine Competition and the 2012 Long Beach Grand Cru Wine Competition. Plus, bronzes from the 2012 Los Angeles International Wine Competition, Sunset International Wine Competition and the 2013 San Diego County Fair Commercial Wine Competition.

Cranberry Sauce Meatballs

Ingredients
2 cups of spicy cranberry sauce
(http://reyeswinery.com/spicycranberrysauce.)
1 cup of 2010 Reyes Merlot
1 cup ketchup
3 tbsp light brown sugar
Juice of one lemon

Directions
In 3 qt cast iron Dutch oven, place ingredients in pan and cook on medium heat on the stove.
Cook until it boils, 5-10 minutes.
Turn the heat down to low and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
Stir in meatballs (http://reyeswinery.com/meatballs-and-2016-renaissance-by-reyes-sangiovese)

Serve with 2010 Reyes Merlot.

Santa Clarita Ranked in the Top 5 Percent of Cities in State Auditor’s Fiscal Health Analysis

| News | 18 hours ago

The City of Santa Clarita was ranked in the top 5 percent of fiscally healthy cities according to a recent report from the California State Auditor. The report analyzes the fiscal health of 470 cities based on 10 financial indicators. Santa Clarita received a low-risk designation and received perfect scores in the categories of liquidity, general fund reserves, and in both pension and other post-employment benefits obligations, receiving a total combined score of 92.77.

“Under the leadership and financial stewardship of our City Council, we pride ourselves on fiscal responsibility, and we continue to maintain a healthy and sustainable budget,” said City Manager Ken Striplin. “This report demonstrates that we have been successful. There is no doubt that the City is in good financial standing and we will continue to do all we can to ensure that it stays that way through our conservative budget practices.”

As part of the state’s high-risk local government agency audit program, the state auditor aimed to identify cities that could be facing fiscal challenges by assessing their levels of risks using various financial metrics primarily found in each city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year 2016-17. Some of these metrics included cash position and liquidity, debt burden, financial reserves, revenue trends, pension and other post-employment benefits obligations, among others.

Using information published by each city, the auditor placed high-, moderate- or low-risk designations on each city with regard to fiscal confidence. The analysis concluded with 18 cities receiving high-risk designations, while 236 cities received moderate and 217 cities received low-risk marks.

SCV Water Celebrates 25th Anniversary of its Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant

| News | December 5, 2019

It was 25 years ago this December when the former Castaic Lake Water Agency completed the Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant. The plant had an initial capacity to treat 30 million gallons per day. This more than doubled the capacity the agency had at the time — 25 million gallons per day — from the Earl Schmidt Treatment Plant, located near Castaic Lake.

Both plants treat imported water. Providing roughly half of Santa Clarita’s water supply, imported water flows from the Sierra Nevada mountain range through the Delta in Northern California before travelling through the California Aqueduct to reach the Santa Clarita Valley. The Rio Vista facility treats this imported water before it enters the distribution system and is served to customers.

Here are a few interesting facts about the Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant:

In 1991, the former Castaic Lake Water Agency held a ground “blasting” ceremony to mark the beginning of construction of the Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant.

In 2011, the plant expanded its capacity and doubled the amount of water that could be treated per day from 30 million gallons per day to 66 million gallons per day.

It took 876 days (April 27, 2009 – Sept. 19, 2011) to complete this expansion.

If needed to meet demands, SCV Water has the land and capacity to eventually double the Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant capacity again, to 120 million gallons per day.

The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency (SCV Water) is responsible for ensuring that Santa Clarita’s drinking water (imported and groundwater) meets all standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California state regulatory agencies. Annually, their water quality staff performs over 20,000 tests and analyzes samples from 64 drinking water sources for more than 285 drinking water contaminants.

Customers can see how well their water performed against the federal and state standards in the annual Consumer Confidence Report, which can be found at https://yourscvwater.com/waterquality/.

Caroling Cruises and Winter Whale Watching with Island Packers

| Entertainment | December 5, 2019

Island Packers, boat concessionaire of the Channel Islands National Park, provides scheduled whale watching excursions from Ventura and Channel Islands Harbor. They are currently offering gift certificates that can be purchased by telephone now through the holiday season and mailed to the customer or to someone of their choosing. Trips can be booked online for family and friends during the holiday season. Island Packers offers a half-day, non-landing whale watch as well as an all day trip that lands on Anacapa, Santa Cruz or Santa Rosa Island. One-hour caroling cruises will also be available from Dec. 7 through Dec. 23.

The Pacific Gray Whales are normally sighted in the Marine Sanctuary near Anacapa and Santa Cruz Island starting mid December. This mammoth migration of over 20,000 whales covering 6,000 miles is a major attraction in Southern California. Thousands view the huge mammals from vantage points along the shore or aboard commercial and private boats.

Island Packers has the following trips available:

Half-Day Winter Whale Watch Trips (no landing), almost daily Dec. 26 through April
$38 adult, $34 senior, $28 child
3½ hours mid channel or near the Channel Islands for the Pacific Gray Whale migration.

Half Day Island Wildlife Cruises (no landing), frequent weekends and selected dates year-round
$38 adult, $34 senior, $28 child
North shore Anacapa Island wildlife cruise up close to view Arch Rock, lighthouse and sea lion rookeries.

Three Quarter Day Island Wildlife Cruises (no landing), selected dates fall and summer months
$57 adult, $53 senior, $42 child

One-hour Holiday Caroling Cruise in Ventura Harbor, 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
$16 adult, $13 senior (55+), $10 child
Caroling on board through the marinas and the Ventura Keys, as passengers enjoy the holiday lights with family and friends.

Ventura Harbor Parade of Lights Cruise and Fireworks, Dec. 13 and Dec. 14
$35 adult, $32 senior, $25 child
Cruises depart at 6 p.m., 6:20 p.m. and 6:40 p.m. for approximately 2½ hours to view the holiday lights and boat parade, ending with an onboard view of the fireworks display.

Anacapa Island landing trips, selected dates
$59 adult, $54 senior, $41 child
Take a guided hike or hike on your own the 1½ mile loop on the east end of Anacapa Island.

Prisoners Harbor and mid Santa Cruz Island landing trips, selected dates
$59 adult, $54 senior, $41 child
Other special trips landing on Santa Cruz with The Nature Conservancy to be announced for spring and summer. Prospective destinations include: Cueva Valdez Anchorage, Willows Anchorage and Fraser Point.

Santa Rosa Island landing trips, three or four days per week
$82 adults, $74 senior, $65 child
Hike from Becher’s Bay into the interior of Santa Rosa Island 2 to 5 miles (moderate)
Cruise into the Painted Cave (ocean and weather permitting and captain’s discretion)
Cruise the western Santa Barbara channel and the north shore of Santa Cruz Island.
Ocean and weather permitting, view the Painted Cave

Campers have the option to camp on all the islands to which Island Packers is scheduled to run, and they also offer some inter-island camper shuttles to one or more islands while camping. Check their website for schedules and dates.

Advance reservations are advisable by calling 805-642-1393 or on their website at www.islandpackers.com. Also available in the Ventura location are souvenirs, books, T-shirts and sweatshirts that make a nice addition to a gift certificate.

State Sen. Wilk Gets High Marks for Voting Record on Animal Welfare Bills

| Community | December 5, 2019

State Sen. Scott Wilk, representing the 21st Senate District, has received an “A” grade from PawPAC, an organization dedicated to the passage of humane laws and the election of humane legislators.

“Thank you to PawPac for being a steady advocate for issues that protect our animal population. PawPAC’s engagement on these types of issues makes a difference,” said Wilk. “As the parent of two four-legged, furry kids, it is hard to fathom someone intentionally hurting or endangering them, but sadly that does happen far too often. As an elected official, I am proud to stand for common-sense legislation that will protect our animals from harm.”

Wilk has carried legislation to crack down on animal abusers (Senate Bills 1198 in 2018 and 580 in 2019). He has also carried legislation to expand the pool of animal blood donors in California (Senate Bill 202 in 2019) and improve conditions for animals that donate blood.

“PawPAC does good work for the animals of California,” said Wilk. “I am one human that is honored to have my efforts recognized and will continue to advocate for policies that support the humane treatment of animals.”

Founded in 1980, PawPAC was the first organization dedicated to the election of candidates for state office in California who are committed to the well-being of animals. PawPAC’s state legislator scorecard can be found on their website.

Help Keep Siblings Together

| Community | December 5, 2019

Children’s Bureau Info Meetings Teach Interested Families about Foster-Adoption

Foster care and foster-adoption are meaningful ways for individuals and couples to fulfill their dream of parenting. Children’s Bureau offers a comprehensive foster care and adoption program that brings families together for a lifetime. The agency is in need of resource families for children in foster care while reunifying with birth families or to provide legal permanency by adoption.

In Los Angeles County alone, the foster care population exceeds 21,000 children with 200 of those foster children waiting for an adoptive family. Many of these children are siblings in need of families who are willing and able to keep them together. In fact, Children’s Bureau turns away at least 10 sibling sets weekly due to lack of families.

“Children’s Bureau focuses on keeping siblings together whenever possible,” said Amy Heilman, Children’s Bureau’s Director of Foster Care and Adoption. “The sibling relationship is a strong and important long-term bond in the life of a child. We see that children adjust better and find more success in life when they join a family with their siblings. It takes away that worry about the safety of their brother or sister. The child can then focus on adjusting to the family they have joined and their new environment.”

Although we find loving families for more than 300 at-risk children and finalize 100 adoptions annually, the need continues for more individuals and families to become resource parents, especially ones who are able to accept siblings. Resource parents (foster and adoptive) are concerned about the well-being of children and their families. Resource parents protect and nurture children, meet children’s developmental needs, support children’s relationships with their birth families and do all of this as a member of a professional team.

Children’s Bureau welcomes every individual regardless of race, age, religion, disability, marital status, ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression to become a resource for children. Qualifying families receive training and support throughout their journey.

Children’s Bureau now also offers a fee-for-service Domestic /Independent Adoption Home Study Program for families seeking the adoption of an infant whose birth mother is making an adoption plan for her newborn child.

Discover if you have the willingness, ability and resources to take on the challenge of helping children in need. A monthly information meeting is being held Saturday, December 14, 2019 from 10:00 AM to Noon at Children’s Bureau, 27200 Tourney Road, Suite 175, Valencia, CA 91355. To R.S.V.P. or for more information, please call 661.208.4212 or email us at RFrecruitment@all4kids.org. An application may be downloaded from the website.

Licenses: Magnolia FFA 197805422, Palmdale FFA 197800281, Adoption (all) 197805428

The Best Candidate for California’s 25th Congressional District

| Opinion | December 5, 2019

by John Smith

I have read and re-read all the comments about what everyone has said about each candidate, but all the reasons have been either personal or biased without consideration of what is best for all the constituents in the 25th district. I have not been involved in primary politics for many years, but after watching the last election, the debates and all the rhetoric why Steve Knight lost that election, I knew it was time to get involved. Frankly, the only reason we lost that seat was a very ineffective campaign and the fire it takes to win an election. Steve Knight lacked the fire it takes to win, and we all witnessed it, but people are still making excuses. Those excuses sound like Hillary’s list of excuses for losing to President Trump. And speaking of President Trump, that is another reason Knight lost — he lost the base by separating himself from the president. Not only are there YouTube videos, I also personally heard Steve Knight at various functions running away from the president on many issues.

You all have heard those comments, but just to trigger your memory, here are a few of the anti-Trump issues or, as I call them, the Romney candidate! Steve Knight endorsed DACA and said he would sign it immediately, which — oh by the way — is against our current laws, and in four years in Congress never once authored or recommended any new or changes to a terrible immigration law. He also said he was against Trump building cages and separating children. Again, Steve somehow did not know that Obama built those cages, but he was unaware that nearly 70% of those caught coming through our porous border were being brought by child and sex traffickers and the administration wanted to put those children with their rightful family member. That is what generated the 24-hour DNA test. But the cages are no more, as Trump has built new and improved facilities, no thanks to guys like Knight in Congress. But this was not all his fault since Ryan was the worst speaker! When Knight was asked, “What if the House goes to the Democrats in 2019, what will be the impact on the administration?”, Knights response was, “Not much different than with the Republicans in charge. The American people are resilient and will adapt quickly.” Now we see that is all impeachment. Another weakness is the Second Amendment as Knight supports many liberal policies concerning gun sales. I could find no record of Knight ever visiting the border to get a firsthand knowledge about the crisis, and that was one of my personal evaluations to see just how serious a candidate is by seeing and talking to the Border Patrol. I have been there many times and donated as well to build that wall.

Mike Garcia has also been to the border and got detailed briefings about the problems and the solution, something no other candidate has done. Knight disagrees with the president on many issues and he openly admits that, so in my opinion that makes him an ineligible candidate for Congress. We need and want someone with the guts to support the president on his agenda. So, if you vote for Trump, you cannot vote for someone who disagrees — otherwise, vote Democrat! The only choice is Mike Garcia!

It’s Time for All 50 States to Matter in Presidential Elections

| Opinion | December 5, 2019

by Dr. John R. Koza

Here’s one safe prediction for the 2020 presidential campaign. Twelve so-called “battleground” states will once again command nearly 100 percent of the candidates’ general-election time and attention. The remaining 38 “spectator” states will be totally ignored because they have voted for the same party over the past five presidential elections. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact has been enacted into law in 15 states and the District of Columbia. Those 16 jurisdictions possess a total of 196 electoral votes – just 74 shy of revolutionizing the way we elect our president by making every voter politically relevant. The Compact would guarantee the presidency to the candidate receiving the most popular votes across all 50 states and D.C.

The reason presidential campaigns are concentrated into only about a dozen states is that existing “winner-take-all” state laws award all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate getting the most popular votes within that state. Candidates see no reason to campaign for votes in states where they are so far behind that they cannot possibly win – or where they are so far ahead that they cannot possibly lose.

In 2016, almost all (94%) of general election campaign events occurred in the 12 closely divided battleground states where Donald Trump’s percentage of the two-party vote was in the narrow eight-point range between 43% and 51%. In 2012, 100% of general election campaign events occurred in 12 battleground states where Mitt Romney’s percentage was between 45% and 51%.

Unfortunately for our nation, policymaking becomes distorted when presidents base important decisions on the interests of the small handful of politically friendly states. And battleground states receive seven percent more presidentially controlled grants, twice as many disaster declarations, and disproportionately more presidential waivers and exemptions.

With a keen eye toward the Rust Belt, free-trader George W. Bush imposed steel quotas. Environmentalist Barack Obama largely ignored the 2010 Gulf oil spill in the waters off reliably red Louisiana and Mississippi until tar balls washed up onto the shores of the battleground state of Florida. Donald Trump imposed tariffs and exited the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Paris Climate Agreement understanding that his Electoral-College majority came via 44,000 votes in Pennsylvania, 23,000 in Wisconsin, and 11,000 in Michigan.

It is also important to understand that today’s system of electing the president was not created by the 1787 Constitutional Convention. It was not debated at the Constitutional Convention or mentioned in the Federalist Papers. The Constitution left the choice of how to award electoral votes to the states, stipulating: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors….” Only three states used the winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes in the first presidential election in 1789.

Widespread adoption of winner-take-all came after Thomas Jefferson lost the presidency by three electoral votes in the nation’s first competitive presidential election in 1796. Jefferson lost because presidential electors were chosen by district in Virginia and North Carolina, and he lost one district in each state to John Adams.

In 1800, Jefferson wrote Virginia Governor James Monroe, “it is folly and worse than folly” for Virginia not to adopt a winner-take-all law to prevent Adams from receiving any future electoral votes from their home state. Likewise, Adams’ supporters in Massachusetts repealed the state’s district system so Jefferson would not receive any of their electoral votes. By 1832, the dominant political party in almost every state had passed a winner-take-all statute to maximize its clout and stifle the state’s minority party.

We can’t change history, but we can affect the future to benefit our great nation. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact would make every vote equal throughout the United States and ensure that every voter, in every state would be politically relevant in every presidential election.

Copyright 2019 by Dr. John R. Koza, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons, Inc., newspaper syndicate.

Dr. John R. Koza is Chair of National Popular Vote.  He is lead author of the book “Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote.”

Evil, A Force to Reckon With

| Opinion | December 5, 2019

by William Tozzi
Hearing the news about the shooting incident at Saugus High School was very distressing. My heart aches for the victims and their families. It’s beyond my comprehension what could have been going on inside the mind of the shooter. It makes me wonder what is going on in the city, the state, the country and the world to cause something so awful. I also question what might be happening to all of us. Can we be so preoccupied with all the physical problems in our lives that we fail to recognize unstable mental conditions and their related warnings? Whatever happened to the morality and the good that used to embrace us? What caused love and affection to be replaced by hate and anger? Why do we frown on and disregard common sense? Why haven’t we even come close to finding a solution to end these senseless and irrational acts of hate, murder and violence?

This tragic event was caused by a callous act of an unbalanced individual. This incident was just one instance of how evil is becoming more commonplace and widespread. Throughout history, the force of evil has been active on this planet. It was here before guns, bombs and knives. It was here before sticks, stones and fists. Evil has been around since the dawn of creation.

Evil is an integral force of the universe and will always remain with us. It’s the worst part of human relations. The purpose of evil is to tear all of us apart. Fortunately, we also have good, whose purpose is to bring unity, kindness and love.

Without good, there wouldn’t be evil, and vice versa. Good and evil are opposites and cannot exist without each other. If it wasn’t for evil we would never know or understand the concept of good. We have the freedom to choose between the two. Accordingly, we are destined to live our lives according to which one we choose.

Can we ever stop evil? Based on all the historical evidence, the answer appears to be no. We know the force of good can balance the force of evil, but it will never stop it. Evil is an indestructible and unyielding force. We can enact more stringent laws, focus on curing mental illness, raise awareness about depression and address morality. But none of these actions will ever deter anyone whose dysfunctional mind is hell-bent on creating havoc and devastation. Evil is an eternal force in the universe and will be with us no matter what we do. Stopping it would be the equivalent of negating gravity or reversing the rotation of the galaxies. Evil is a very powerful force. It’s real and it’s alive. It must never be considered a myth, an antiquated religious concept or an illusion. Evil can easily find its way into an illogical mind as well as into a sane mind.

All of us must learn that evil is part of life and we must teach our children to be aware of that fact. They must be taught how to deal with intimidation and bullying, just like they must deal with natural disasters, sickness or accidents. They must learn to be physically, mentally and spiritually strong. All of us must constantly be made aware that hate and violence have no place in our world.

I hope and pray with all my heart that these kinds of tragedies will never happen again and that we will have found a way to end them. But, in my mind, I know we must deal with reality. I know, as sure as the sun will rise every morning, evil will raise its wicked head again, and there will be another tragedy, followed by another, and another. Evil will live on, yet it can never conquer us, because good is also a vital part of the universe. It’s a never-ending battle. We must remain vigilant. Even all of our advanced technology is no match for evil.
I believe the current political climate could be a factor causing much of this violence and hostility. I base this on all the misinformation, hatred and lies being spit out and condoned by the media. It is causing mental instability and adding to our epidemic of depression and hopelessness.

I view depression as an imbalance in life, a disliking of the manner one is living and a realization one’s needs are not being met. Drugs may help but may not be a permanent solution. But a modification of one’s lifestyle, which is causing all the pain and stress, may be an answer. We become depressed by living a life we cannot seem to control. By learning to accept the things we cannot change, and learning to change the things we can, we will begin lessening our depression and anxiety. We must learn to count our blessings and be grateful for what we have. It’s a simple thought, but a powerful message.

Even the alleged threat of global warming loses its impact when compared with the real threat of evil, which is causing extinction of the world as we know it. Defeating evil, with its associated hate, violence, murder and suicide, should be our foremost concern.

William Tozzi, Golden Pen Writers Guild, Santa Clarita, CA

Letters and Responses

| Opinion | December 5, 2019

Response to Alan’s column last week, November 29, 2019 from Anne Marie Whalley

Alan Ferdman, to answer to your article, does anyone on this Earth have the recipe to be a parent? I have three daughters. There were no tried-and-true methods available to parents on how exactly to raise a child. I did it with the knowledge of my parents and some books that I read. It was interesting to go through the phases of development of three children.

Now, we have grandkids who, not long ago, asked me how my life was when I was their age. When I described my youth to them, they wanted to follow my path. They wanted to play outside. They wanted to do well at school. They wanted to love their parents, like grandma did. So, we developed artistry and craft together. They could play outside under the surveillance of grandma. We did arts, crafts, read a lot and we even wrote stories and illustrated them.

My kids decided that it was time for their kids to have a telephone at an early age, since it was necessary for their kids to communicate with them at any time. I did not agree with that policy, although I understood the current peer pressure to do so. When I was young, I did not follow the peer pressure. I had a mind of my own.

No one listened to me, and some of our grandchildren seem to do nothing else besides looking at their telephones in all of their free time. Bye-bye to the time spent sharing with their grandparents in physical activities, pursuing nature and other pleasures of childhood as we knew it.

I have something against parents not carefully monitoring and guiding their children’s free time. When my kids were young, TV was limited to one cartoon for 20 minutes a day. My kids played on the playground, practiced sports, listened to music, danced, practiced their skills of learning at school and did homework.

My grandkids do well at school, and I am the type of grandma who still continues to monitor their grades. But good grades do not mean that a child feels that life is good. So, to compensate for what is missing in their life, my husband and I have decided one thing: when the grandkids visit us, we limit and monitor their phones and we have conversations. At the beginning, the children did not want to visit us that often. It was boring for them to communicate with adults. We did not call them; we left them alone.

Today, the adolescent grandkids are looking up at us for our guidance along the way. They hug us. They tell us about their grades and they are looking for conversations again. They spend more time with us, and it is more quality time since they became closer again. It is still not as often as we would like to, but because they have changed their ways, I call them again and tell them how amazing they are. I even play mean and stern. They know that I am joking, and my jokes make them think.

One grandchild did not believe in God because God took her father away from her when she was very young. Today, she begins to ask questions about religion and even goes to church and likes it. I discovered also that she has a mind of her own and that she will not follow her peer pressure for certain things. That makes us happy.

The other grandkids are in their learning process vis-à-vis their grandparents. They are working hard at school, but we monitor them via phone. As I said, good grades do not mean that a child does not go through a hard time. I can recognize in their voices that something is not right with them, and they are sensitive kids. What we taught them before is anchored in them, and we continue to supervise them.

Adolescence is an important time for kids. Their hormones are changing, and we need to take it seriously. A child is a future man or woman. A child needs communication with their parents, grandparents and peers. I do not think that I still have all the ingredients to educate a child, but I can pass my knowledge to the parents and their children.

I dislike what the progress has done to our kids, but I am not someone who spends time negatively. I look at the problems and try to resolve them. I do not know what the future of my grandchildren will be, and now the only thing I can do for them is to always communicate with them and use their progressive tools, like the telephone, to keep an eye on them.

Remember, a voice with its silences, its happiness and its surprises is a tool to be monitored. I learned that here when I left my mom behind, who was an old woman at the time, to move with my husband to the United States. My only tools to communicate with her were written letters and phone calls. I have learned so many details with those ways of communication. I use them today with my grandkids.

Dear Doug:
Your Nov. 29 issue’s “Puzzlement” section notified readers that Christy Smith’s campaign sent a press release to the Gazette that she has been endorsed by some union, apparently hoping the topic would be printed. Incredible! This elected representative for the district that holds your business, your home and the residences of many, if not all, of your employees, publicly besmirched the Gazette and led the charge, with her gang-mentality minions, to shut you down by, for one, intimidating advertisers. That is some representative! The fact that she or someone on her behalf would dare send that to your publication proves there lays more arrogance than common sense and good judgment.

You asked readers, “what would you do?” If I answered that honestly, my answer would have as much chance of being published as Smith’s press release. You were wise to toss that press release in the trash.

Speaking of intimidation, Katie Hill made the Gazette’s front page again with yet another interview. As I wrote recently on another publication, Katie Hill is channeling Hillary Clinton — she takes no responsibility and does not go away.

Hill made some striking comments:
“We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard and recognize that no matter how despicable we think someone is, they’re still a human. You really can’t dehumanize them like this.”

With those words, I am reminded of Hill’s campaign when her fans were indescribably cruel to opposing candidate Steve Knight. The words and comments on Facebook for the entire campaign were intentionally demeaning and certainly vile. Most of them would not have been printed in a decent publication. Dehumanizing? Knight is a decent and good man with a nice family, and the trash was undeserved. We don’t have enough space to discuss those words as they relate to our president.

“What we have to think about is this isn’t just happening to me,” Hill said. “This is happening to women and girls across the country. I was asked about this all the time on the campaign trail by really young teenagers and girls who experience cyber-bullying in different capacities and who are saying ‘What are you going to do about this?’ and we don’t have an answer for that, so we need to figure out that fight.”

That statement conjures up a big question. Just how many “women and girls across the country” are photographing such behavior, making it available to be seen? And we are not talking about one or two pictures. As for “figuring out how to fight”, consider not doing it!

“We also need to see it as a tactic that is constantly used by the right,” she said. “I think that’s something that we see on attacks against women, not just high profile women but women across the board. These kinds of attacks are meant to silence you, demean you, and show that you do not have power, so for me it was important to show that that’s not going to work.”

That is a profound statement — “the right” attacking women. We all know about Hillary’s Bimbo Squad attacking Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and more. Or, how about Sarah Palin, Tulsi Gabbard, Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, Kellyanne Conway and actually any and every woman in Trump’s circle? That is but a few. Hill demonstrates ignorance of the fact that it is a staple of the left and many Democrats to “silence…demean…and show that you do not have power.” Moreover, that tenet is not limited to women.

Where was Katie Hill when women on the right were being attacked the last three years?

The real victims are California’s 25th District and its residents. Hill invited Christy Smith to be her replacement. Smith was and is mum on the attacks of women on the right as well. For this and her voting record for tax increases, etc., the 25th will not be improved with electing Christy Smith.

Hill is muddying the waters of whining. She resigned before any House investigation findings were announced. The public is not being told how long that investigation went on; it was announced there would be one, and shortly after that Hill resigned. The only charge that could handicap her keeping her seat was the allegation of the affair with a male who worked for her. Her admitted affair with a woman on her campaign isn’t “illegal.”

Blame is being thrown a lot of directions when it doesn’t take any time past one thought to know who had the photos and texts in their possession. Hill herself said that she was surprised this didn’t come out sooner. Wow! Yes, the timing is a huge mystery. It would be naïve to think that someone didn’t have at least some of the information with that thing called opposition research. Further, did the Democrats not look into the candidate they feverishly promoted with publicity and millions of dollars?

Betty Arenson
Valencia

 

I had to roll my eyes when I read Lee Barnathan’s column of 11/27 that one of our local Progressive ideologues was all in on Elizabeth Warren for President. Warren is a candidate whose whole adult life was based on lies. She lied about her ancestry to get a high paying, 6 figure job, as a Professor at Harvard. She lied about being fired from a job for being pregnant. She lied about her parents having to elope because her Grandparents were xenophobic against Indians. She lied about her son attending private schools. And, her biggest whopper of all, there would be no middle class income tax cut to pay for her 20.5 trillion dollar Medicare tax plan. Then there are her other Progressive Pandering budget busting fantasies of free public college tuition for all; forgiveness of all outstanding student debt; reparations for Blacks; and a new “Green Deal” plan that would cost between $50 – $90 TRILLION dollars between 2020 and 2029. Giving the choice of “voting for my foot” as Stephen Daniels was quoted or voting for Trump, I vote for Trump.

Max Morgan
Valencia

Let the Games Begin!

| Opinion | December 5, 2019

by Dale Paule

Every time I hear a politician or “journalist” end a long diatribe about some issue that he or she has been asked to comment upon, it usually ends with, “Let me sum it up for you this way … ,” as if they had to break down a difficult mathematical problem for a child by simplifying it. “If Farmer John had two apples, and the Republicans stole one, how many apples would Farmer John have left?”

I believe it is this one thing, this talking down to people, that angers people the most. Unfortunately, it’s only one of the examples of gamesmanship in the second oldest profession in the world, the sport of politics. I refer to it as a sport because that’s how it’s conducted. They’re either a player on the Red Team or the Blue Team, and “We the People,” are just the fans, there only to cheer them on while being openly ignored because we are not “on the team.” And the “journalists,” well, they are the referees and the ones who decide who’s winning and who’s losing the game.

But rather than using a scoreboard to keep track, they use polls, which have the effect of either energizing or demoralizing the fans, depending upon which team the referees are rooting for to score points that particular day. And instead of touchdowns to score points, the teams use the old “Breaking news flash” called a bombshell to expose some horrific offense one of the teams is accused of having committed. When this happens, the cheering section takes over and predicts the likely damage and outcome of the event. The cheering section represents the comic relief part of the game and are made up of a never-ending supply of pundits, who rush to microphones and TV cameras for the opportunity to pontificate upon the whole thing, or to sum it up for us!

The only time these politicians alter their looking-down-their-nose attitude toward the rest of the lowly masses in the country is when it’s time for the masses to place their “X” next to that “gifted” one’s name on a ballot. Then they suddenly lose the coat and tie, roll up their sleeves, stick a hay-straw between their teeth and pretend to be, “just like one of ya’ll!” It’s worth noting that it only requires an “X” to cast the vote, almost as if having to actually write in the voter’s preference using big words like, “I hereby submit my vote for [insert “gifted’s” name here],” would be too complicated.

Well, the sport of politics has been played for a very long time, ever since politicians wore togas and fed the losers to the lions, and I don’t expect anything will change it very much as long as it continues to draw players, fans and money, especially lots of money. Certainly a few scribbles in a newspaper column criticizing them isn’t going to change it.

Am I saying all politicians, journalists and pundits are guilty of this kind of behavior? Of course not, but there are just enough to make it seem like it.

However, considering they no longer feed the loser to the lions, and we can watch it all from the comfort of our recliner and not have to sit on a cold, stone seat in some drafty coliseum, I’d say that’s progress. The part that isn’t going to change though, is that human nature part. Even those politicians who wore togas were aware that, while it was mainly a good system of government, it wasn’t without fault. The main fault has been stated this way: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely!”

And that, my friends, just about sums it up!

Live Music

| Entertainment | December 5, 2019

Live Music this week in SCV!
Dec 6, Fri
6–8pm Alchemy in Valencia Monaco Piano
7–9pm Rock Inn Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Hyatt Valencia lounge Various artists Live music
8–11pm The Local Pub n Grill Nick Horn Pop & orig
8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock
8–11:30p Vincent Hill Station Overdrive on the patio Classic rock
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Galo Pacheco Acoustic CR

Dec 7, Sat
12:30-3:30 Backyard Grub n Brews Mojo Filter Blues Blues mix*
6–9pm Vincent Hill Station Crystal Whiskey Country
6:30–9p Pocock Brewery Special ticked event 2 bands
7–10pm Hyatt Valencia lounge Various artists Live music
8–11pm Wine 661 Various artists Live music
8–12m VFW 6885 Right Side Up band Classic rock
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Sean Wiggins & Colin CR, pop, orig
9–12m Rock Inn Freddie’s Bomb Factory & Waves of Steel
* Saugus Strong fundraiser – special event
Dec 8, Sun
10a–2p Saugus Swap meet Brothers & Others Live music
3–7pm Vincent Hill Moldy Marvin’s open mic Various
5–9pm Amer Legion Newhall SCV Blues Society Jam with Primal Kings *
5–9pm VFW 6885 Magnolia Drawl Country
5:30–8p Vincenzo’s Newhall the Will Call band Classic rock
6 – 9pm Black & Blue Sunday Night jazz Jazz
* Blues Jam is also toy drive for Toys For Tots! (Admission is $15 toy or $10 donation)

Dec 10, Tues
6–8pm Alchemy in Valencia Monaco Piano
7 – 9pm Rock Inn (Lake Hughes) Just One Guy Acoustic

7–10pm Bergie’s steakhouse Harry Orlove & friends Blues mix

Dec 11, Wed
6–8pm Alchemy in Valencia Monaco Piano
6–9pm Tomato Joes Cyn Ctry James Hackett Classic rock

Dec 12, Thurs
6–8pm Salt Creek Grille Laurence Tamez Sax
6–8pm Alchemy in Valencia Monaco Piano
6–9pm Tomato Joes Cyn Ctry Daphne Winters CR & folk
6:30–9p Brewery Draconum The Gamblers duo Acoustic
7–10pm Bergie’s steakhouse John Davis Travelin’ Band Fogerty
8–11pm Black & Blue Dueling pianos Piano

Dec 13, Fri
6–8pm Alchemy in Valencia Monaco Piano
7–9pm Rock Inn Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Hyatt Valencia lounge Various artists Live music
7:30–10p Vincenzo’s Newhall Calling Kings band Live music
8–11pm The Local Pub n Grill Nick Horn Pop & orig
8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock
8–11:30p Vincent Hill Station Benny Thomas on the patio Country
9–12m Rock Inn (Lake Hughes) Alan Wright Band Blues mix
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Lance Allyn Acoustic CR
9–1am Doc’s Inn Frankly Speaking Rock classics

COC Refunds Bond Debt

| News | December 5, 2019

College of the Canyons refunded $31 million of outstanding general obligation bond debt. The district’s taxpayers will have cash flow savings of $8.3 million over the next 23 years. This represents an overall savings of 12.96 percent of the bonds that were refunded.

“The Santa Clarita Community College District worked quickly to take advantage of the current low interest rates to refund the bonds and save local property owners money in the process,” said College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook. “Due to the college’s solid credit ratings, our bonds always attract interest from strong and stable investors.”

The Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees, which oversees the college, voted on Wednesday, Nov. 6 to refund these particular general obligation bonds from Measure M. The sale was completed on Thursday, Nov. 14.

This is the third time in six years the college has refunded bonds in an effort to lessen the tax impact on property owners. A 2016 refunding yielded $35 million of savings, which represented more than a 23 percent reduction. That refunding also lowered taxes for area property owners.

The Government Finance Officers Association, a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing guidance to improve government management, advises that agencies should consider refunding bonds if they can save taxpayers at least 3 percent. The college district’s overall savings of 12.96 percent of the bonds that were refunded indicates how advantageous it was to refund now.

“The Measure M and E Citizens Oversight Committee applauds Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook and the college’s staff for their efficient actions to maximize the bond funds to improve the college’s two campuses,” said Nick Lentini, chair of the bond oversight committee. “Their proactive approach in working with professionals in the bond management industry has repeatedly provided savings to Santa Clarita Valley taxpayers.”

Measure C, which local voters passed in 2001, funded a number of significant facilities improvements at College of the Canyons, including the cost of acquiring 70 acres of land on Sierra Highway to build the Canyon Country Campus, and constructing the Hasley Hall classroom and computer facility, the Aliso Hall and Aliso Lab science facilities, and the Pico Canyon Hall performing arts classroom and rehearsal spaces.

The funding provided through Measure M, approved by voters in 2006, helped the college complete a number of facilities projects, including construction of all the initial buildings at the Canyon Country Campus. It also qualified COC to receive state matching funds used in building the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center that now offers more than 40 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Other key projects included the Culinary Arts building, the Mentry Hall classroom expansion, The Library and Learning Center expansion, the Applied Technology Education Center at the Canyon Country Campus, and the Canyons Hall student services center.

Together, Measure C and Measure M qualified College of the Canyons to receive $56.2 million in construction funds from the state. Colleges that have local bond funds available are given priority when applying for state funding.

USC Men’s Basketball Freshman Making Early Impact

| Sports | December 5, 2019

by Diego Marquez

The 2019-20 USC Men’s Basketball roster features six true freshmen players, but none have been more impressive in their total body of work through their first nine regular-season games than forward Onyeka Okongwu.

The Chino Hills High School alumnus and four-year varsity player leads the team in scoring, rebounding, blocks and field-goal percentage. He is averaging 17.9 points, nine rebounds, 2.9 blocks and a field-goal percentage of 61.6%.

Okongwu began his Trojan career with back-to-back double-doubles in a 20 point and 13 rebounds debut against Florida A&M and followed it up with a 20 point and 10 rebounds outing against Portland. The most impressive stat was that he just missed out on a triple-double with eight blocks against Florida A&M.

In a 91-84 road-win against Pepperdine Okongwu was almost automatic at the line sinking 17-of-21 free-throws for a season-high 33 points.

The most recent game in the Orlando Invitational on Sunday, the first-year Trojan recorded his fourth career double-double pouring in 27 points on 12-of-14 shooting to go along with 14 rebounds in a 15-point, 77-62 win against Harvard to win third place. He averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in the three-game Orlando Invitational.

The Trojans are currently 7-2 overall and will face TCU in Forth Worth at 6 p.m. on Friday.

Press Buries Trade Deals

| Opinion | December 5, 2019

by Rob Werner

Let’s face it — the American press is no longer American. Major newspapers like the New York Times and networks are owned outright by foreigners or international corporations, or at least subject to their influences.

There was a time when the press reported news not in alignment with their political bias. News, after all, was news. Modern news organizations have political agendas. So, if a political leader is on the hate list, you can be assured that the press will attempt to display everything that leader does in a negative manner.

When President Trump started criticizing our existing trade agreements with Mexico, Canada and China, among others, the press readily criticized him for engaging in conduct that would disrupt trade, hurt companies, cause an increase in the cost of things and diminish our economy. If you believed the press, you would have concluded that Trump would be unsuccessful in negotiating better trade deals.

While the press still hammers the president on his “disastrous” attempts to achieve a better trade deal with China, they generally ignore the fate of the new trade deals signed between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. There is little disagreement that these trade deals would improve U.S. standings in international trade. But the trade agreements require the approval of Congress. The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives has stalled and continues to stall consideration of approval of the trade agreements. The press, traditionally the watchdog of the public interest, intentionally downplays the stall.

The new trade provisions increase the required percentage of automotive components built in America. It raises the required minimum foreign wage to $16. This not only makes the U.S. more competitive, it also boots the standard of living in Mexico and deters China from shipping such goods to us through Mexico. The trade deals have new provisions protecting intellectual property and expanding our dairy exports to Canada. There are provisions for additional tariffs and many technical changes designed to level the playing field and expand production and manufacturing in this country.

So, what motivates the Democrats in Congress and our news media to downplay, delay and discourage the approval of the trade deals? For the Democrats, it’s simple. They were predicting a new recession and, depending on how the infinite investigative efforts to get rid of President Trump play out, they may need an economic downturn to ensure his defeat in the next election. These trade deals may further boost manufacturing and trade and unacceptably boost our economy. It makes you wonder if the financial collapse of 2008 was intentionally engineered by the Democrats as a means of creating political power.

For some reason, the Democratic party has its greatest success in areas of perpetual failure, economic collapse and poverty. President Roosevelt taxed businesses out of existence and created massive dependency on government assistance while, at the same time, the Depression was prolonged for almost two terms of his presidency, finally ending at the outbreak of World War II. Many people viewed him as their savior. Look to every city and state that turns from productivity to chaos, and you will find the public turns toward a Democrat again and again without recovery.

We are constantly being bombarded by the media on all our electronic devices. The bias is so obvious, it is laughable. They report as agents for the party. Sometimes, even they should have the guts to report on what’s good for our country. The news media needs to stand up and constantly blast Congress for its failure to approve the trade agreements.

On the Town with Jason Downs

| Entertainment | December 5, 2019

Greetings fellow Santa Claritans, and welcome to a column that’s all about having fun around town! This was a week of Thanksgiving and travel for a lot of us…so, let’s commiserate, shall we?

Here’s what I got up to: A long line at the Food Pantry in Newhall, a longer line on the way to Big Bear and lots of amazing food in between!

It’s a time for giving thanks and a time for just plain ol’ giving…and I, for one, have a lot to give thanks for, my friends. I have amazing children for one. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving I took my two kids, my nephew and one of their school friends to the Food Pantry in Newhall where the The Rotary Club of Santa Clarita was giving away 300 turkeys to those in need this holiday. As a proud member of the club myself, I had signed up to help hand them out. They were thrilled to have my kids along as well. We went to work unloading all the frozen birds as hundreds of folks waited in a long line that disappeared around the corner.

We put the turkeys in bags that included some other Thanksgiving necessities and then began handing them out one by one. My kids took turns heaving over a very large turkey to each of the folks that stepped up. “Happy Thanksgiving,” they’d say with a smile, always getting the same sentiment in return. At the end of all the hustle and bustle, each of the kids I’d brought walked away feeling a sense of pride. I often include them in volunteer work but they continue to seem surprised that it can be so much fun and make them feel so good. They are learning how important it is to look your neighbors in the eye and lend a hand when needed. What better lesson for kids on Thanksgiving? I was proud of them and proud to be a part of the Rotary Club who’s out there doing what we can to make a difference in this great community.

Then we went to work cooking up our own feast for the extended family on the big day. It was my wife at the helm and the rest of us her sous chefs. She’s a marvelous cook and we got to indulge in all the favorites including broccoli cornbread and the star of the evening (aside from the turkey, the stuffing and the mashed potatoes), mouthwatering butternut squash soup. Ooooh, mama.

After a lovely Thanksgiving, we jumped in the car on Friday to head up to Big Bear. Yes, we knew there was a winter storm that dumped two and a half feet of snow on the area the day before, but we had made reservations the previous year (we enjoyed our last visit immensely) and there was no course for a refund so off we went. Apparently, half of Southern California was in the same predicament because it was a looooooong crawl, my friends. The only route that hadn’t been closed by the storm was the north eastern passage through Palmdale, Victorville, and the Lucerne Valley…and that is where we spent the next twenty-eight hours. We got all the way to within fifteen miles of Big Bear, essentially the base of the mountains in Lucerne, when traffic simply stopped. After sitting completely still for over an hour we were finally informed that the road had been closed due to an accident involving an eighteen-wheeler and an RV. Sounded bad, so we got a room nearby.

The next morning we set out and joined the long line of cars at the base of the mountain once again…a mere fifteen miles from our destination. Seven hours later, we finally arrived. (All I can say is, thank goodness we had The Da Vinci Code audiobook to listen to.) Twice we were stopped for so long I was able to take a nap at the wheel! My son periodically walked along beside us and built snowmen on the embankments. Other families piled their kids out of the car, bundled up like mini marshmallows, and pulled them along in snow sleds to pass the time. Bathroom breaks had folks one after the other skipping for nearby trees and bushes.

And never once did anyone in my family complain…other than myself. If they had not all been so set on spending time in Big Bear I would’ve turned around. But no, they were determined, and therefore I was determined.

After the first four hours of inching forward at an average of 2mph, we learned that snow chains were the entire reason for the hold up. We knew snow chains were “required” so I had a pair in the car just in case, but having spent forty years back east dealing with snow and ice (and never once using chains) I felt confident we should wait until the last minute to see if they really were necessary. And they were absolutely not. Turned out they were not only unnecessary but also a huge hinderance. For those folks who put the snow chains on, going up a steep mountain on which the roads were perfectly dry and clear, the chains actually gave them LESS traction. Cars were spinning their wheels until their frustrated drivers had to pull over a second time to take the chains off!

Having said all that, we still had a wonderful time. Once we arrived we ate at an incredible Mexican restaurant called El Jacinto…perhaps not eating the entire day had something to do with it, but I’ve never enjoyed an enchilada more! The next day we ate at Fire Rock Burgers and Brews and man, oh man, did it hit the spot! I ordered something called ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ and I was down for the count, friends. It was nothing short of transcendent! A reimagining of chicken parmesan, it had fried mozzarella sticks on top of the chicken, then marinara, then mozzarella, then arugula! Man, oh man! And the beer-battered fries were out of this world, to boot! The Fire Rock decor is old school rock ‘n’ roll and the owner has a real penchant for clever design. Light fixtures were made out of dangling vintage microphones and old cymbals, trash receptacles were made of glittering drum sets, and most notably, the beer tap was made out of a huge amplifier whose knobs had been replaced with brass spigots. So cool!
And let me ask you this: Have you ever had a frozen chocolate-covered Twinkie? Well the ingenious folks at North Pole Fudge have invented a crowd favorite with this masterpiece! I was mesmerized by the delectable process pictured below.

As you can see, even after the ordeal it took to arrive, Big Bear delivered in a big way for us and we didn’t regret a single moment. We’ll be back again next year!

Stunning view of Big Bear Lake from our room, icicles and all!

So, there it is for this week, friends. Always feel free to let me know what you like doing around town so I can check it out and write it up. (reachjasondowns@santaclaritagazette.com)

Until next time, bon voyage, break a leg, and bon appetit!

Santa Clarita Public Library to Host 13th Annual Family Literacy Festival

| Community | December 5, 2019

The Santa Clarita Public Library is partnering with the SCV Education Foundation and SCV Water to host the 13th annual Family Literacy Festival. This year’s festival, with the theme “Adventure by the Books,” will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Old Town Newhall Library, located at 24500 Main St. The free event will celebrate literature, music, dance and crafts.

The day will be filled with fun activities and performances designed to inspire artistic expression. Christopher Ramirez, with Freedom Drum Circle, will kick off the festival at 9:45 a.m., and performances by Mariachi Zapopan and other local musicians will follow. Local nonprofits, schools, artists and education enthusiasts will host interactive stations, and attendees will have opportunities to win prizes and giveaways. Some of the activities will include story time with the mayor at 11 a.m., free face painting, bounce houses, costumed character photo opportunities, the farmers market and much more.

No RSVP is required to attend. Free parking can be found at the Old Town Newhall Parking Garage, located at 2551 9th St. For more information about the 13th annual Family Literacy Festival and other Santa Clarita Public Library events, visit SantaClaritaLibrary.com or call (661) 259-0750.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | December 5, 2019

This past week a 23-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident was arrested for driving in excess of 100 miles per hour. A 25-year-old unemployed Newhall resident was taken in for battery with great bodily injury. A 41-year-old unemployed Palmdale resident was booked for forgery of a public or corporate seal. A 32-year-old unemployed Saugus resident was arrested for refusing to leave a property upon the owner’s request. A 50-year-old mechanic was taken in for false imprisonment. A 22-year-old dishwasher from Thousand Oaks was booked for causing death or great bodily injury while evading a police officer.

DUI arrests include:

19-year-old unemployed Santa Ana resident
37-year-old driver from North Hills
34-year-old maintenance worker from Castaic
69-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
24-year-old construction worker from Santa Clarita
25-year-old grocery store employee from Saugus
35-year-old contractor from Agua Dulce
41-year-old dishwasher from Newhall
26-year-old graphic designer from Lancaster
20-year-old Canyon Country resident
28-year-old hostess from Brooklyn, New York
25-year-old sales representative from Santa Clarita

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

31-year-old self-employed Newhall resident
26-year-old Canyon Country resident
34-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
30-year-old unemployed Sylmar resident
34-year-old roofer from Agua Dulce
58-year-old welder from Canyon Country
37-year-old Victorville resident
30-year-old painter from Dixon
28-year-old Lancaster resident
19-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
36-year-old construction worker from Santa Clarita

Holiday Festivities and More at the MAIN

| Entertainment | November 29, 2019

Tickets are on sale now for a variety of film, theatre, comedy and music shows at The MAIN during the month of December. The MAIN, located at 24266 Main St. in Old Town Newhall, is Santa Clarita’s newest multi-use arts center.

The 10 by 10 Variety Night occurs on the first Thursday of the month and features music, film, storytelling, magic, comedy and more. Ten performers, from a variety of genres, are selected to perform a 10-minute piece of their choosing. Comedian Mary Gallager will perform this month. The show is on Thursday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. and is free to attend.

Comedy Mashup returns to The MAIN on Friday, Dec. 6, at 8 p.m. This monthly show is half stand-up comedy and half improv, featuring comedians and improvisers from all over Los Angeles. Performing this month is a cast of local up-and-coming comedians. There will also be improv and games from “Your Favorite Cast.” Tickets are $10 presale and $15 on the day of the show.

The Society Comedy Troupe will bring its hilarious and energetic team improv show to The MAIN on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 8 p.m. Similar to the TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” the performers ask for audience participation while creating improvised music, comedy and scenes. Grab your friends for an evening of laughs at this show that’s appropriate for all ages. Tickets are $15.

Olive Branch Theatricals is back with its production of “A Cowboy Christmas Carol.” This show is a rip-roarin’ twist on the classic Dickens tale, offering music, dancing and lots of holiday spirit. Shows are on Dec. 13, 14 and 20-22 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 15, 21, and 22 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15.

On Dec. 19, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., enjoy a free art reception featuring the newest exhibition at The MAIN, titled “It’s All in Your Head,” by artist Christopher Flores. “It’s All In Your Head” is a phrase that serves as a reminder that individuals in our contemporary society are often disregarded for the sake of the greater good — a false attempt at utilitarianism. When we belittle the experiences of the individual and tell them, “It’s all in your head,” their complex thoughts and emotions are not acknowledged as important and are instead treated as a self-serving indulgence that retains little value in an increasingly materialistic world. Attendees at this reception will enjoy light refreshments and have a chance to meet the artist.

The MAIN’s monthly Note by Note live music night is back. This is a free music event that delights audiences with a variety of genres. Bands, duos and soloists will perform a wide range of styles, including rock, folk, Celtic, Americana, blues, jazz, country, experimental, western and more. This month, check out Wardencliff Jazz Quartet, a group of talented young musicians. The show is on Thursday, Dec. 26, at 7 p.m. and is free to attend.

Adult beverages will be available for purchase at select shows, in addition to concessions. Learn more about these events and purchase tickets to shows by visiting AtTheMain.org/tickets.

Metrolink to Host Santa and his Helpers on the Holiday Express Train on Three Sundays in December

| Entertainment | November 28, 2019

The laughter of children and a hearty “Ho, ho, ho,” will be heard aboard trains as Metrolink offers the Holiday Express Train for a family-friendly seasonal experience on three Sundays in December. This interactive train ride will feature carolers, holiday characters and a visit from Santa and his elves. The Holiday Express Train runs on Dec. 1, 8 and 15 in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

“When people board the Metrolink Holiday Express Train, they will have a joyous time on festively-decorated train cars and a chance to take photos with holiday characters and spend time with Santa and his helpers,” said Metrolink Board Chair Brian Humphrey. Stephanie Wiggins, CEO of Metrolink, remarked, “Trains bring out the kid in all of us, and kids of all ages love train travel. We are excited to celebrate the season with our Metrolink Holiday Express Train and sharing the fun and festivities with families as they have a unique holiday experience.”

On Dec. 1, the Holiday Express Train will depart the Metrolink Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo station at 11:50 a.m. for a non-stop scenic ride along the Orange County coastline, returning to Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo at 1:20 p.m.
On Dec. 8, the train will leave from the Simi Valley station at 11:50 a.m. for a non-stop ride along the Ventura County hillsides, returning to Simi Valley at 1:05 p.m. Also on Dec. 8, the Holiday Express Train will depart the Burbank-Downtown station at 3 p.m. for a non-stop ride to Newhall, returning to Burbank-Downtown at 4:15 p.m.

On Dec. 15, the Holiday Express Train rides again, leaving the Rancho Cucamonga station at 11:50 a.m. for a non-stop ride to Covina, returning to Rancho Cucamonga at 1:05 p.m.

Tickets for each holiday ride are $20 per person. Children two-years-old and younger ride free, provided they sit on a parent’s lap. A limited number of tickets are available for each trip. Only passengers with valid Holiday Express Train tickets will be permitted to board. Each car will have assigned seating, so families and groups can sit together. Tickets for the Metrolink Holiday Express Train can be purchased only at metrolinktrains.com/holidaytrain.

Ticketholders should arrive 45 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time to receive boarding bracelets and enjoy refreshments and holiday music.

In the spirit of the holidays, Metrolink encourages Holiday Express Train riders to bring a new, unwrapped toy for donation to the Metrolink toy drive in partnership with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s holiday toy drive. Attendees can also bring socks for the homeless, which will be donated to the following charities:

Los Angeles Mission
Orange County Rescue Mission
San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership
Ventura County Rescue Mission

Metrolink is the largest commuter rail agency in California and the third largest in the United States, operating seven lines along a 538-mile network that travels across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

Live Music

| Entertainment | November 28, 2019

Nov 29, Fri
6–8pm Alchemy in Valencia Monaco Piano
7–9pm Rock Inn Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Hyatt Valencia lounge Dole – Humphries duo Rk, pop, bl
8–11pm The Local Pub n Grill Nick Horn Pop & orig
8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock
8–11:30p Vincent Hill Station The Fulcos band Classic rock
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Galo Pacheco Acoustic CR

Nov 30, Sat
6–9pm Vincent Hill Station Z – Band CR, bl, ctry
6:30–9p Pockcock Brewery Future X Husbands Classic rock
7–10pm Hyatt Val – Great Pacific Vinyl Gypsies Classic rock
7:30–10p Vincenzo’s Newhall Indie Rose & Space Rat 2 bands
8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Horn Acoustic CR
8–12m VFW 6885 Debra Lee band Country
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Sean Wiggins & Colin CR, pop, orig
9–12m Rock Inn Right Side Up Classic rock

Dec 1, Sun
10a–2p Saugus Swap meet Urban Soul Live music
3–7pm Vincent Hill Moldy Marvin’s open mic Various
4–5:30p St Stephen’s Church Scenic Hills Singers Christmas
5–9pm VFW 6885 Lee Harper band Country
5:30–8p Vincenzo’s Newhall Right Side Up Classic rock
6 – 9pm Black & Blue Sunday Night jazz Jazz

Dec 3, Tues
6–8pm Alchemy in Valencia Monaco Piano
7 – 9pm Rock Inn (Lake Hughes) Various artists Acoustic 7–10pm Bergie’s steakhouse Deep Fried Daddys Classic rock

Dec 4, Wed
5:30–8p Vincenzo’s Newhall Golden Valley Jazz Jazz
6–8pm Alchemy in Valencia Monaco Piano
6–9pm Tomato Joes Cyn Ctry James Hackett Classic rock

Dec 5, Thurs
6–8pm Salt Creek Grille Laurence Tamez Sax
6–8pm Alchemy in Valencia Monaco Piano
6–9pm Tomato Joes Cyn Ctry Daphne Winters CR & folk
6:30–9p Brewery Draconum AlanWright band Blues mix
7–10pm Bergie’s steakhouse Tommy Peacock + Feathers Funk rock
8–11pm Black & Blue Dueling pianos Piano

Dec 6, Fri
6–8pm Alchemy in Valencia Monaco Piano
7–9pm Rock Inn Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Hyatt Valencia lounge Various artists Live music
8–11pm The Local Pub n Grill Nick Horn Pop & orig
8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock
8–11:30p Vincent Hill Station Overdrive on the patio Classic rock
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Galo Pacheco Acoustic CR

What Wine Goes Well with Thanksgiving Leftovers?

| Entertainment | November 28, 2019

by Beth Heiserman, Reyes Winery

Every year before Thanksgiving, I generally give suggestions as to what wines pair with our turkey dinner, yet this year I have chosen not to. I have decided to a pairing with the leftovers. Every time we prepare and cook dinner, we seem to make more than two of us can eat, therefore we have leftovers. Thanksgiving is notoriously known that we seem to have an abundance of leftovers. A few years ago, I remember when my mom made Thanksgiving dinner, she decided to purchase a 14lb bird. That amount generally feeds about 10 people, yet there were just three of us. My mother learned that from my grandmother who couldn’t decide how many pies to buy one year for 12 of us and chose to get 8. I guess, I am not too far behind them.
For breakfast or brunch, I would suggest 2010 Syrah to enjoy with a brunch quiche that has shredded turkey, dried cranberries and leftover dressing. Even a frittata with turkey and butternut squash, turkey and sweet potato hash casserole or biscuits and turkey gravy.

For lunch, one of my favorite leftovers is a turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce and cream cheese. It is best when the bread is toasted, and the cream cheese starts to melt a bit. My other is a roll up that has turkey, stuffing, cranberries and gravy as the dipping sauce. Reyes 2010 Syrah will compliment well with these two sandwiches.

A pot pie with turkey and vegetables with rosemary, thyme and sage is another great dish to make from leftovers. Savory bread pudding prepared from leftover stuffing, turkey and maybe adding fresh spinach and mushrooms can be quite tasty too. Many casseroles can be baked with leftovers and fresh vegetables and no one will notice they were even leftovers to begin with.

The 2010 Syrah is the perfect wine to pair with turkey. It has aromas of fresh raspberries, plums, dark chocolate and a taste of smoky berries. The delicious wine has won silver medal at the 2012 Los Angeles International Wine Competition and the 2013 San Diego County Fair Commercial Wine Competition. Plus, bronze medals at the 2012 San Francisco International Wine Competition, O.C. Fair Commercial Wine Competition, and the 2013 Sunset International Wine Competition.

Coming up, I will be having an event, “Thanksgiving Leftover Tasting” on November 30th. Reyes 2010 Syrah will be featured for this tasting event. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and hope to see you soon.

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