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Posts / Recent blog posts

Best of Canyon Country 2019

| Canyon Country Magazine | 3 hours ago

The winners are:

Breakfast: Crazy Otto’s

Lunch: Dickey’s
18742 Soledad Canyon Road

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit

For nearly five years, Dickey’s has been serving up BBQ to Canyon Country residents, sometimes on their way to the movies next door or after they look around at a car show.

It opened in January of 2015 drawing hungry customers who want the popular brisket or pulled pork meals, which are smoked between 12-14 hours.

“The mac and cheese are awesome,” said Pauline Robles who owns the local Dickey’s with her husband. “And our BBQ beans. The ribs have become popular too – St. Louis style pork.”

Soft-serve ice cream is always free with the purchase of a meal, and children eat free on Sundays.

“I have a lot of regulars from church and school,” she said, adding that there are members of many churches who come by on Sundays – not just from the church around the corner.

Some of their customers show up when their favorite meals are the “Deal of the Day,” such as pulled pork on Mondays and three-bone ribs on Tuesdays, etc. Deals come with two sides and a drink.

“My favorite is brisket and ribs. I make sure it’s cooked, smoked to the right texture,” Robles said. “I work seven days a week to make sure the store has the same quality.”

Dickey’s is open every day 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and they only close on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
18742 Soledad Canyon Road

Dinner: Chi Chi’s Pizza
27117 N. Sierra Hwy
661-252-4405, ChiChisPizza.com.

While Canyon Country residents have a favorite Chi Chi’s here in town, there are four Chi Chi’s locations in a franchise that began more than 60 years ago. The Miccolis family is still making customers happy with fresh egg pastas, salads and pizzas.

The Chi Chi’s Choice Pizza is a customer favorite (sausage, mushroom and bell pepper) and antipasto salads always get rave reviews. What residents may not know is that there are a number of seafood dishes on the menu, including the fresh and authentic cioppino with crab, mussels and shrimp.

Chi Chi’s regulars love the cream sauces, such as the fettuccine Alfredo, but the main staple – Chi Chi’s meat sauce – is the secret to their success. (Chi Chi’s continues on page 22)

While the restaurant stays current, adding items to the menu – from business lunches to sliders – it’s the fact that you can still sit down and order up the wholesome Italian dishes you count on that make it a community favorite.
Chi Chi’s
27117 N. Sierra Hwy
661-252-4405, ChiChisPizza.com.

Chiropractor: Ron Bittle at Peak Performance

Car Wash: Canyon Car Wash
18727 Soledad Canyon Rd

Always giving 100 percent to their customers, Canyon Car Wash is a hometown favorite because of their standout service to Canyon Country residents. With rising popularity, they are washing and detailing more and more cars for locals every year. Canyon Car Wash uses state-of-the-art tunnel equipment and completes the process faster and more thoroughly than ever before. The facility is also built for servicing the RV customer.Managers and staff are experienced and they live here in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Canyon Car Wash
18727 Soledad Canyon Rd

Dentist: Terri Nguyen (owner of) Canyon Country Dental Group
26877 Sierra Hwy, Santa Clarita.
661-251-2002, CanyonCountryDentalGroup.com.

When Dr. Terri Nguyen opened Canyon Country Dental Group more than 15 years ago, she brought a fresh approach and a modern practice to the area. Her hard work has focused on maintaining a friendly staff and she remains accessible to patients.

There are currently three general practice dentists and four specialists who work for the group. There are two dental hygienists and patients have access to orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics and oral surgery at the location.

“We welcome all new patients and accept most major insurances,” says operations manager Keneisha Sellers. “And if you don’t have insurance, we offer an exam and cleaning for $59.”

While making small-town friendliness a priority, Canyon Country Dental Group has also sought to stay current where technology is concerned. The practice will soon have a Cone Beam Panoramic machine, which can take CT Scans and other 3-D imaging.

And there’s another new development – the office is now taking appointments on Saturdays.
Canyon Country Dental Group
26877 Sierra Hwy, Santa Clarita.
661-251-2002, CanyonCountryDentalGroup.com.

Hairdresser/Salon: Bob’s Canyon Country Barber Shop
18234 ½ Soledad Canyon Road,

For 50 years, Bob’s Canyon Country Barber Shop has been offering good, old-fashioned barbering to the community. Bob Ruiz has been working at the chair since then, and became the owner in 1973. About 75 percent of the barber shop’s customers are regulars who have stayed with Ruiz and the four other barbers for 20-25 years.

There are no appointments – you walk in and take your pick of haircuts, shaves and you even get a head massage. “We give them good service and we take care of them,” the owner said. Right now they’re creating a lot of short fades, plus they still do a lot of flat tops, mostly for police officers.

Bob Ruiz has lived in Piru and driven in to Canyon Country daily since 1968. And the schedule at Canyon Country Barber Shop is one reason he has succeeded.

Open just five days a week, the barbers are happier because unlike some shops, no one is working Sundays or Mondays. That means everyone has the same days off and there are two in a row, as opposed to barbers who have to cover seven days a week by taking different days off.

Ruiz believes it eliminates friction and keeps the atmosphere peaceful and smooth. “It keeps the barbers a little happier,” he said, explaining why all five of them have been at the shop at least 25 years. “If barbers are happy, they aren’t going to move.”

Bob’s Canyon Country Barber Shop
18234 ½ Soledad Canyon Road

Veterinarian: Sand Canyon Animal Hospital
16524 Soledad Canyon Rd., Santa Clarita
(661) 261-8888

For two years, residents of Sand Canyon have had a veterinary staff and pet hospital just a stone’s throw away. Sand Canyon Animal Hospital is located in the Vons shopping center, offering comprehensive physical exams, parasite prevention, lab work, nutritional counseling, specialized care for senior pets, balanced vaccines, lost pet microchip ID and other services.

More than just a technologically advanced veterinary office, Sand Canyon Animal Hospital staff members are pet owners themselves, as well as experts in surgical care. To streamline the process, the animal hospital has made it easier to get an appointment. You can make a non-emergency appointment request online.
Sand Canyon Animal Hospital
16524 Soledad Canyon Rd., Santa Clarita
(661) 261-8888

Pet Groomer: Chris’ K-9 Clippery
19413 Soledad Canyon Road
(661) 251-0011, Chrisk9clippery.com

The staff members at Chris’ K-9 Clippery treat customers like family, welcoming all breeds of dogs and cats. Professional groomers offer “bath & brush,” as well as complete grooming for your pets. They also offer teeth cleaning and nail clipping. This previous winner of the “Best Groomer in Canyon Country” award has been a go-to resource for the community for nearly 30 years.

“We love our dogs. We love what we do,” said Chris Anderson, owner of Chris’ K-9 Clippery. “We’ve been doing it so long it’s second nature to us. We treat them like they’re ours.”

If a feline needs special attention, the groomers refer them to someone who specializes in the care of certain breeds. “Whatever’s in the best interest of the animal,” Anderson said.

Chris’ K-9 Clippery has three self-service tubs, so you can groom your own animal. While most of the self-serve clients are dogs, there have been a few unusual clients, such as pigs.

One of the business owner’s favorite experiences, she said, is when police officers with K-9 units come in to use the self service.

There is a discount for service dogs, service personnel and military members. Anderson also offers free nail clipping for the pets of senior citizens.
Chris’ K-9 Clippery
19413 Soledad Canyon Road
(661) 251-0011, Chrisk9clippery.com

Thrift/Resale/Vintage: Goodwill

Pharmacy: CVS
19424 Soledad Canyon Road
(661) 251-5444

It is one of the largest pharmacies in Canyon Country, juggling both the filling of prescriptions and the sale of thousands of goods. The management at CVS Pharmacy credits a dedicated group of employees who do a great job of taking care of their customers’ needs and embracing the company’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health.
19424 Soledad Canyon Road
(661) 251-5444

Dry Cleaners: Rainbow

Auto Repair: Canyon Auto

Hardware Store: Paul’s Paint & Hardware
18597 Soledad Canyon Road
(661) 252-1572

When Paul Dell’Olio moved Paul’s Paint & Hardware to its location on Soledad Canyon Road near Vallarta, the store became more central and accessible to residents of the entire Santa Clarita Valley. A longtime resident, Dell’Olio offers his customers personal attention, providing them with both expertise and consistent service.

There’s no big box bureaucracy at this hardware store, which is also a Benjamin Moore paint distributor. Paul’s carries plumbing, electrical, tools, paint and garden/sprinkler supplies, plus you can have keys cut in the store. Paul’s Paint & Hardware makes screens onsite also.

He carries products for DIY projects, and contractors turn to Paul’s for interior and exterior paint. The store carries specialty coatings for paint contractors.
Paul’s Paint & Hardware
18597 Soledad Canyon Road
(661) 252-1572

Real Estate Agent: Anthony Bedgood at Kellar-Davis

Grocery Store: Ralphs
19340 Soledad Canyon Road
(661) 252-6226, Ralphs.com

There’s a lighter, brighter atmosphere in Canyon Country’s Ralphs, thanks to the store’s latest remodel. There are also new features that boost convenience and freshness.

“New floors, new décor … it looks really great in here,” said Ralphs Store Manager Christine Shipley.

The produce department is the customers’ favorite, resulting in the highest sales among various sections of the store.

“It is always fresh, it’s vibrant, full of colors, fresh and clean,” Shipley said. “Seafood is another high producing department for us. We have a great variety of fresh fish. The same goes for our service meat case – fresh daily.”

The pre-sliced packages at the service deli are freshly sliced throughout the day. Ralphs just installed a new self-service soup bar and a grab-and-go section, where busy moms can find healthy lunches.

“You can pick what you want without having to wait in line. It’s a great addition to the store,” Shipley said. “And we have great, friendly employees.”
19340 Soledad Canyon Road
(661) 252-6226, Ralphs.com

Best DJ: DJ Greg
DJ GREG Barbacovi

For several decades, Greg Barbacovi, known as “DJ Greg,” has been sharing his talents with residents of the Santa Clarita Valley. He was the DJ for The Broadway at the grand opening of Santa Clarita’s mall in the ‘80s. He played music and hosted Monday Night Football at nightclub Genesis and was entertainment manager at the former Ranch House Inn during the ‘90s.

He’s also hosted Wednesday night’s dance party at Mabel’s Roadhouse for nearly two decades. But more than just spinning music, Barbacovi’s interest extend to events such as Bark for Life and Red Bull Day in the Dirt.
“I’ve helped plan thousands of live events, ranging from weddings to reunions to dirt bike races,” DJ Greg said. “SCV’s American Cancer Society has made me their ‘voice’ … and I’ve done many events for the Arthritis Foundation, Parkinson’s Moving Day, and the City of Hope. So from backyard BBQs to five-star weddings at the Biltmore, I offer my clients experience and versatility.”
DJ GREG Barbacovi

Best Tattoo Studio: Revenant Tattoo

Sunny, the Singing Principal

| Canyon Country Magazine | 5 hours ago

by Natalia Radcliffe

Principal by day, singer by night. Almost sounds like the premise of a movie script, doesn’t it?

Monica Balbuena leads a double life – one as administrator and another as performer.

She is a Canyon Country resident who is the principal at the West Valley Occupational Center by day. But at night, she lets her hair down and becomes Sunny the Singing Principal, an energetic, enthusiastic vocalist with a love of performance.

Balbuena started singing in her early 30s – at first, just in her role as mom.

“The only time I would sing would be with my boys in the car,” said Balbuena. “Our favorite song to sing together was ‘La Isla Bonita’ by Madonna.”

Unfortunately, when her children became older, they lost interest in singing with their mother. It was after this that Balbuena started to pursue other avenues to express herself.

And it was not easy.

“I always enjoyed singing, but I was too scared to let it come out,” she said.

One day, she was at the Acapulco restaurant with some friends. During their happy hour, people could sing karaoke. Her friends tried to persuade her many times to get up and perform a song.

“It took about five times to work up the nerve to say I’ll try it,” said Balbuena. She joked that all it took was a margarita to give her some liquid courage and, since then, she has never looked back.

Performing karaoke certainly can come with some interesting stories.

“While singing, I’ve had a girl barf in front of me,” said Balbuena. Also, “while singing, I’ve been breaking up fights.”

Many artists inspire her, like Julio Iglesias and Cyndi Lauper. “I loved her style, and eccentric way of dressing,” explained Balbuena. “I try to be a fun singer.”

Some of her favorite songs to perform are “Gypsy” by Fleetwood Mac, “Pontoon” by Little Big Town, and “Do You Want to Dance?” by Bette Midler.

She also enjoys singing newer songs such as “Shallow” performed by Lady Gaga from the movie “A Star is Born.”

Genre, era, it doesn’t matter when it comes to picking a song.

“I sing songs I like. I have no rules,” Balbuena said.

Locally, she enjoys singing karaoke at places such as Medrano’s in Canyon Country, Bergie’s at the entrance to Sand Canyon, and the Moose and Elks lodges, both on Sierra Highway.

As a result of karaoke, she joined a cover band called Cherry Cream, who she sang with for 12 years. They came up with the name, she said, because it was the drummer’s favorite flavor of coffee at 7-Eleven.

“We didn’t take ourselves too seriously,” she joked.

The band worked professionally, covering artists like Pat Benatar, Sheryl Crow, Fleetwood Mac and Melissa Etheridge.

If there is one group Balbuena would aspire to cover, it’s Heart, a famous rock band from the 1970s. “I could never sing this song, but if I had a magic wand, I would want to sing their song ‘Magic Man,’” she said.

In August, after a five-year hiatus with her projects, she decided to team up with a friend who plays the guitar and keyboard, and perform at The Junkyard, a restaurant in Simi Valley.

When she retires, it will be from her job as principal. She is not planning to slow down where her music is concerned.

“I’m going to retire in a few years and … I hope to pursue doing musical theater,” said Balbuena.

Specifically, she is planning on auditioning locally, at Canyon Theatre Guild in Newhall.

She isn’t limiting herself to musicals, though, as she has another very important role.

“I’ll have more time to dedicate to my music,” Balbuena said, “as well as being a grandmother.”

Renovations to COC Science Lab Funded

| Community | October 18, 2019

For years, College of the Canyons has planned to make renovations to Boykin Hall, a 44-year-old science laboratory facility on the Valencia Campus. In a bipartisan effort by state lawmakers, the funding is now coming in.

“As one of the college’s oldest buildings, Boykin Hall has been long overdue for a renovation,” said Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook. “We are so grateful to receive state funding to modernize the building that has served as the bedrock for the college’s science programs. Moreover, we appreciate the leadership and dedication of both Senator Wilk and Assemblywoman Smith, who worked diligently on behalf of their districts to ensure this much-needed funding was included in the state budget.”

The 2019-20 state budget includes $397,000 that will fund preliminary plans and working drawings for the renovation project. The funding comes from Proposition 51, the 2016 statewide facilities construction bond.

“I am very excited about what this means for the college’s future,” said Wilk. “We need to make the investments required to remain competitive in fields such as science and engineering. We have the moral obligation to give every opportunity to the next generation to succeed.”

Throughout the recent 2019 legislative session, Senator Wilk and Assemblywoman Smith advocated for increasing the amount of Prop. 51 funds made available for community college construction projects, and worked to ensure College of the Canyons was included for funding in the 2019-20 state budget. Both legislators visited the campus Monday to present a check from the state for the funding.

“The college has been very ambitious in meeting its goals of serving a student population that has increased dramatically, so it meant a lot to us to bring this across the finish line,” said Smith. “This funding will help ensure that existing facilities are up to date as the college continues to grow.”

The classrooms and laboratories in Boykin are used to teach physical sciences, biology, and chemistry. The renovation project will encompass all three floors of the building, and includes bringing the concrete structure up to current seismic safety standards. Interior and exterior space will be reallocated to make more efficient use of the facility, and expand work stations to accommodate more students.

The total cost of the Boykin Hall modernization is $9.4 million.  Of that, the state is expected to provide $4.4 million in Prop. 51 funding in the 2020-21 budget, in addition to the $397,000 already received.  The college’s share of the project – $4.6 million – will come from Measure E, the local bond approved by Santa Clarita voters in 2016.

First Annual Ghostly Tales at the Old Depot

| Entertainment | October 18, 2019

It’s the time of year when residents like to take in some of the more macabre back stories around town. This year you can hear some tales and benefit local nonprofit theatre groups at the same time.

The Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival and Open Wings Theatre Company are inviting the public to “Ghostly Tales at the Old Depot” in Newhall on the night of Saturday, October 26, 2019.

This 90-minute experience puts you in the middle of one of Santa Clarita’s most historic sites. Theatrical scenes will unfold before you, with original and published works including Edgar Allan Poe, Shakespeare, and more. You will hear tales of actual encounters and mysterious stories of murder and betrayal that took place a century ago, yet still seem to haunt the people of this town.

It is a family-friendly night of chilling tales. Also, the outdoor trail is fully wheelchair-accessible. Seating will be limited throughout the tour, so expect to be standing for about an hour, though the distance covered is short, so walking is minimal.

The event will take place at Heritage Junction Historic Park, located inside William S. Hart Park. Tours will begin every half hour beginning at 6 p.m., with the last tour at 8:30 p.m.

It is a fundraising event and all proceeds go to Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival and Open Wings Theatre Company. The cost is $25 plus an Eventbrite fee, and tickets include a hot apple cider and sweet treat. Many more refreshments will be available for purchase, including funnel cakes, popcorn and a variety of seasonal snacks and beverages. There will be live music as well.

Heritage Junction Historic Park is located at 24101 Newhall Avenue in Santa Clarita. For more information, email info@scshakespearefest.org.

Free Art Reception Saturday

| Entertainment | October 17, 2019

The public is invited to attend a reception opening an art exhibit featuring 12 members of the Santa Clarita Artists Association. “All Creatures Great and Small” will open on Saturday, October 26, 2019 at La Galeria Gitana in San Fernando and will run until November 22, 2019.

Visitors are welcome to attend a reception at the studio from 6-9 p.m.

Local artists offered the following reflections about the art that is on display in the exhibit:
• Jerry Cowart – “This photo, called Mustang Rumble, is of two Mono County wild horses I took for a book I just finished.” Etsy.com/shop/PhotosbyJerryCowart

• Nicole Wilde – Regarding The Ethereal Egret – “My photography/digital artistry is about the emotional life of animals, the interconnection of all beings, and the unseen magic that surrounds us all.” Photomagicalart.com
• PJ Hackett – “My pastel painting, Kitty and Quilt, depicts a favorite pastime of a beloved pet.”

• Therese Verner – “My oil painting is called Bunnies in Poppy Field.” FineartbyThereseverner.com

• Meryl Goudey – Regarding Wings and Petals – “A Swallowtail butterfly brought me joy as I visited Ventura Harbor!” Meryldenise.artistwebsites.com

• Lon Goudey – “This photo shows a lioness receiving some TLC on a warm afternoon.”

• Lynda Frautnick – Regarding In My Element – “I work primarily in alcohol ink and love the vibrant colors and unpredictable nature of this interesting medium.” Lyndafrautnick.com

• Olga Kaczmar – “Amur Leopard is a pastel. Once I get the eyes correct, they come alive.” Fineartamerica.com/profiles/olga-kaczmar

• Mardi Georgio – Regarding Ladybug Pillows – “I enjoy painting ladybugs, bees, butterflies and dragonflies from macro photography where you can see the shine, fuzz and transparency of these insects. Their world is so interesting to me.” Mardilanleegeorgio.com

• Dody Rogers –  Santaclaritaartists.org/dody-rogers
• Patty O’Hearn – Santaclaritaartists.org/patty-ohearn
• Jeanne Iler – Facebook.com/Jeanne.iler

La Galeria Gitana is located at 120 N Maclay Ave., Suite E in San Fernando. Free parking is available in the rear. Gallery hours: Tuesdays Noon-6 p.m., Wednesday – Saturday Noon-4 p.m. For more information, call Angela Phillips 818-898-7708 or visit GaleriaGitana.com.

“Bums and Boxcars”

| Opinion | October 17, 2019

By Dale Paule

I come from an era when the Country was finally beginning to recover from the “Great Depression.” It was still not uncommon however, to see ragged men, and even women sometimes, huddled together in a boxcar as a train clickity-clacked it’s way through our town on a cold winter day.

They were the few remaining among those who had lost it all in the, “Crash of ’29,” and were continuing to drift across the country, in hopes of finding better luck, and work, somewhere, anywhere!

But among those honest, “Hobo’s,” as they were called, there were also a few who had no interest in looking for work; not when they could “Bum” a nickel or two out of some unsuspecting citizen; or worse, steal it from them. It’s not clear where the term, “Bum” came from, but it was a derogatory word back then, and except when referring affectionately to those, Brooklyn Dodgers, as “dem Bums,” it wasn’t something you ever wanted to be called.
These days, we refer to the many who are unemployed through no fault of their own, as “Homeless;” not Bums, or even Hobos.

But, like apples, there are some good ones, and some rotten ones, and plunking them all in the same basket wouldn’t be fair, so let me stress that I’m referring here, only to the rotten kind; the Bums! Which just happens to land me on the intended point of all this scribbling.

Back then, Bums often escaped work, and just as often, the Law, by catching a ride in a boxcar on a passing train heading out of town—the fastest one, and farther away the destination the better !
If they were a skilled Bum, they’d managed to score a couple of dollars from a few of the town’s citizens before vamoosing. And if they were also lucky, the boxcar chosen would have a nice warm bed of straw to keep them comfortable on their journey. Back then, that would have been considered, “Livin’ high!”
But my, oh my, how things have changed since those, “Good Old Days!”

Today, trains still have boxcars, and they still criss-cross the country, but with that change, came a new kind of train; one that’s even more popular, and a whole lot more comfortable; it’s called the, “Gravy Train,” and like those former Bums, those who catch a ride on it seek escape from the drudgery of hard, honest work, and as before, sometimes even the Law.

The big difference this time is, they’re doing it in style and comfort.

Those catching a ride on this “Gravy Train” won’t be settling for just some crummy bed of straw; no sir, from now on, it’s nothing but the best for these Bums.

And the best part of all about this train, is that it guarantees it’s passengers a virtual paradise of lifetime luxury, and wealth at the end of the line!

Now, that’s what I call, “Livin’ High!”

But wait!

“Sounds expensive; where do they get all that money to pay for the ride on this, “Gravy Train?” you ask.

The answer to that, fellow citizen, can be found on the stub of your weekly paycheck in that little section entitled, “Tax.”

And, “Who the Hell are these people riding that “Gravy Train?” you ask again.

I’m sure you’ve already guessed the answer to that, but for the benefit of the terminally naïve out there, they are the “Career Politicians,” who’s entire lives are spent aboard that, “Gravy Train.”

But to me, they’re just the same old, “Bums!”

Pineapple Hummus

| Entertainment | October 17, 2019

by Beth Heiserman, Reyes Winery

Last week, I wrote about our 2010 Reyes Merlot and what pairs the best with it, in my opinion. I have had many requests for this recipe. This is a great appetizer to serve at a Halloween party, Thanksgiving or even at any get-together. Every year, it seems pumpkin-spiced foods come out earlier and earlier. I must say, fall is my favorite season.

I have written many times about the 2010 Reyes Merlot. I feel this is the perfect wine to pair with pumpkin spice. Last year at the Merlot vertical, I paired a chocolate pumpkin cupcake with pumpkin spice M&M’s. Also, butternut squash-topped shepherd’s pie, spicy sausage and pumpkin lasagna along with pumpkin pecan bread pudding would be delightful when paired together. Next week on October 26 we will hold the annual Merlot vertical tasting. You might see one of these special fall recipes to pair with one of the Merlots.

I enjoy cooking and baking … it relaxes me. Everyone always tells me that I do too much, but I love it. Creating and elevating recipes is what I love. Even tonight, for dinner I opened a bottle of the 2010 Merlot to enjoy with my meal. I made farro with wild mushrooms, asparagus, onion and celery with chicken. Farro is an ancient grain with a nutty flavor. I prefer it over brown rice. And for dessert, I brought bananas back from Kauai and baked them in the oven with pure Hawaiian sugar and a touch of pumpkin spice. Every dish always has a splash of wine. My farro had the 2013 Renaissance by Reyes Sauvignon Blanc and the bananas had a splash of Reyes White Delight.

1 15- ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
¼ cup tahini
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of olive oil
¼ cup of 2013 Renaissance by Reyes Sauvignon Blanc
2 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon of sumac (or paprika)
½ teaspoon pumpkin spice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (I get the pumpkin-spiced ones at Trader Joes)
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
In a small saute or saucier pan, on a medium heat, saute the garlic in the olive oil for about 3-5 minutes.
Add 2013 Renaissance by Reyes Sauvignon Blanc and continue to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Place all the ingredients (except the pumpkin seeds, parsley, sumac, salt and pepper) into a food processor and blend until smooth. If your hummus is a little thick, thin it out with a little more olive oil.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds, sumac & parsley. Drizzle with a dash of olive oil.

K-HUG-FM Rocks Santa Clarita and Around the World

| Entertainment | October 17, 2019

by Harry Parmenter

KHUG 97.5 FM is the little engine that could, can and is. The station launched nearly three years ago by Henry Urick from his ranch in Castaic. It’s been growing leaps and bounds with its blend of rock, pop, R&B and a lethal dose of blues after dark. Now, thanks to the power of internet radio, KHUG can be heard in 168 countries around the world, while continuing to expand its reach in the Santa Clarita Valley and beyond.

An entertainment industry veteran with an illustrious resume with consummate knowledge of radio spectrum, his day job has been to develop new digital technology that will benefit industry. Urick’s passion for broadcasting also drove him to carve out a niche with a unique musical pastiche fueled by his love of music and radio.

While he hasn’t quit his day job as Chairman of VIE Technologies, he has undertaken a labor of love borne of a Father’s Day gift from his son to create, program, produce and engineer the growing community radio force that is KHUG-FM, 97.5 on your dial, as well as across the globe on streaming radio apps. Just tell the ubiquitous Alexa, “Play K-H-U-G Radio” and you’re in business.

Henry took a few minutes out of his schedule to speak with the Gazette about all things KHUG (www.khug.rocks).

Gazette: What kind of music can someone expect when they discover your station?
Henry: KHUG rocks out by playing classic hits and deep cuts by day, with a rich blend of blues at night that is well-seasoned with a pinch of old school R&B. Listeners tell me these songs represent the sweet spot for rock and blues.

Gazette: Did the station really start out as a way for you to hear your music collection in your car when you were driving around? How was that the first time around?
Henry: Well, as a lifelong TV exec, I’m accustomed to working with megawatts, but KHUG was granted a low power community license. So my expectations were modest at best, thinking it would fade at the bottom of the hill in Castaic. I initially played my personal music collection, as I was the first and only listener. However, the FCC permitted KHUG’s antenna to be located on a tall ridgeline overlooking the SCV. FM radio signals flourish when antennas are placed high up. So I was stunned when driving through the Costco parking lot in Canyon Country with KHUG booming in my pickup. I looked at my son and said, “Holy crap, Todd, this is the real deal.”
Gazette: Tell us about the reach of the station right now in the SCV and your plans to grow it in L.A. County?
Henry: Geographically, the SCV is a huge bowl, and KHUG fills much of that bowl, but there’s some hilly terrain to contend with. We’re working to have KTCN 88.3 sign-on in Acton, which includes a repeater on Mt. Wilson, where listeners in Pasadena, Glendale and Los Angeles can tune in. The target is January.

Gazette: For the uninitiated or technologically challenged, how does streaming radio work and how do you find KHUG in the 168 countries you can be heard in?
Henry: A digital stream can be routed wherever the internet goes, and that’s virtually everywhere. Apps like TuneIn and Simple Radio direct the KHUG stream to your computer or smart phone. Half of online listeners are in Southern California. But it’s astonishing that the other half is international in 86% of all countries on the planet. I guess somebody likes the music. This is mighty humbling.

Gazette: How do you select the songs for the station? You seem to seamlessly cross genres unlike most typical stations I’ve ever heard.
Henry: The short answer is, I go with my gut. I’m passionate about music, and am a student of what’s played live at local venues. If you get out in the SCV, you’ll hear a predominance of classic rock and blues. The Canyon Club took off like a rocket by booking classic rock acts. Bistros like Bergies in Canyon Country have been attracting loyal devotees to hear the blues for the last seven years, which was started by Chuck Strong and Skip Van Winkle.

Gazette: How is the SCV live music scene developing?
Henry: Thanks partly to the redevelopment of Newhall, more music venues are sprouting up. SCV residents are getting off the couch and creating a more diverse music scene. KHUG wants to encourage more of this growth. The SCV Jazz & Blues Fest was the best attended ever in its 25th year. The SCV is blossoming beyond a bedroom community, developing a distinct music culture. That’s huge!

Gazette: As a proponent of local music in the SCV, who are some of the artists you like to hear around town?
Henry: The array of local talent is impressive. Teresa James and the Rhythm Tramps are 2019 Grammy nominees who just released their best album ever. It’s incredible to have the KHUG jingle composed and recorded by these Grammy nominees. The SCV Blues Society, which has amazing volunteers, sends local bands to the International Blues Challenge, and for two years in a row, local bands placed in the top 3 in a field of over 200 competitors, so hats off to Artur Menezes and Celso Salim. The Blues Society is sending Jim Gustin & Truth Jones, as well as Crooked Eye Tommy in 2020. There are many more to mention, including Chuck Strong / SRBQ, Kelly Z, Alan Wright, and the Primal Kings. That’s all that can fit in one breath, but there’s a list on the KHUG website.

Gazette: Do you ever get listener requests? Would you like to get more?
Henry: Great question. There’s a constant flow of positive emails, focusing on the station. Our listeners have an incredible passion for the music. I melt every time I open their emails, which are so warm and personable. I answer every single one. It would be great if professionals who know social media would consider volunteering to help get the word out about KHUG.

Gazette: What kind of radio did you listen to when you were growing up?
Henry: There was the local top 40 station, but I wanted more, even at age 14. WLAC in Nashville beamed in late at night and I’d secretly listen with headphones under my pillow. WLAC heavily influenced white kids like the Allman Brothers. I listened in Pennsylvania, while they listened in Florida. The Allmans would go on to innovate a new genre called Southern Rock. I also loved the Memphis stations while in college. They mixed everything together, and I thought that was the norm. When I moved to LA, I noticed the limited playlists designed to capture a 2% wedge of the audience. Maybe they make money doing this, but it sounds hollow and unsatisfying to me.

Gazette: You are a busy tech executive, you almost singlehandedly run KHUG; what is it that gives you the most pleasure about what you’ve done creating this radio station?
HENRY: I am deeply touched by KHUG’s listeners. Their personal sentiments and passion make it all worthwhile. Most listeners learn through word of mouth, so there’s something going on that feels special. This music is worth curating and conserving. I guess we’ll see where it all goes!

Impeach Trump!

| Opinion | October 17, 2019

by Rob Werner

Since Trump got elected, politicians, intelligence agencies, news and entertainment medias have called for Trump’s removal. FBI agents allegedly made attempts to utilize the 25th amendment to declare the president “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office…” and thereby removed from office.

Early on, the press gave Trump a mountain of publicity, figuring him the easiest Republican to beat.

It’s reported the Obama administration authorized spying on Trump. They assumed they would get dirt on the guy and could control him. The Democrat party and the Clinton campaign paid an old intelligence agent to manufacture an incriminating report on Trump regarding Russian influence. The FBI utilized it when he took office. Mueller’s congressional testimony following his report makes it clear that the goal of the Special Counsel’s investigation was to cause the removal of the President from office. Why else would Mueller have refused to investigate the origin, purpose, bias or reliability of the Steele Dossier which had been utilized to get the CIA and courts interested in subpoenas and hearings.


Over five years ago, Trump was known as a billionaire and entertainment celebrity. He had a long history of recognition for compassion and promotion of equality for minorities and women. He received humanitarian awards with Rosa Parks and Sister Teresa. Reverend Jesse Jackson admired him. He put women in charge of businesses. He fought for equality in housing and non-discrimination in sports clubs. In his home city of New York, he rescued the city in the development of Central Park and after 911 paid for cleanup. Oprah Winfrey and other celebrities treated him kindly and respectfully. John Kennedy Jr., his good friend, believed Trump could be president.

Like many celebrities, he has divorces. Yet his ex-wives respect him. Unlike others, his kids are successful and not druggies or idle rich. A daughter converted to Judaism and he embraced not only the daughter but his son-in-law and grandchildren.


Although he declared himself, Republican, in a previous decade, he could have been Democrat. His major campaign themes, controlling illegal immigration, promoting factory jobs, attacking China trade practices and getting out of other people’s wars were themes of previous Democrat campaigns. But his support of these themes has been repeated over many years – he believes this stuff.

He is neither a traditional Republican nor libertarian. He has no issues spending large sums to fight disasters or to assist welfare. He thinks that government should fund programs such as the Special Olympics. He wants to rebuild our infrastructure even if we don’t have available funds.


Trump defeated Hillary; therefore, he must be a racist, anti-Semite and fascist. Everything he says or does must be spun negatively.

We must be able to finds something in his life that can be twisted against him. If investigators are given unrestricted access to every financial deal he has made, every tax statement and every other document and individual connected to him, then something is bound to show up. Don’t start impeachment proceedings but an inquiry, so that there can be a relentless search for anything we can claim is impeachable.

The important thing is not to investigate or discuss any corruption unless its focus is Trump. Any defense he raises must be utilized against him. Remember if he is removed from office, we can also remove Pence, and Nancy Pelosi is next in line to be president.

On the Town with Jason Downs

| Entertainment | October 17, 2019

Greetings fellow Santa Claritans, and welcome to a column that focuses on having fun around town…especially after such a tense week of fire in the southern hills. We are so thankful to our first responders and fire fighters who do such an amazing job. Because of them we are able to sleep safe and still enjoy all the area has to offer.

Here’s what I got up to this week: a fire detour, Bow-wows & Meows in Hart Park, and yumminess at The Local and Lady Di’s.

Due to the Saddle Ridge fire and the resulting road closings, myself, along with many of you, were rerouted to make our various commutes. I was heading to Culver City to do some voice over work at Sony Pictures and could NOT cancel. I left an hour earlier than usual thinking (naively) that three hours would be enough time to get me there by 10am.

I headed west on 126, moving very slowly at ten miles an hour or less, until Fillmore, then it was smooth sailing until I reached the 101. Once there, I was rerouted to Pacific Coast Highway, down to Santa Monica, and finally to the 10 Freeway. Believe it or not, I made it to the studio by 10:20am and because the stars were on my side the session began twenty minutes late. Phew! Made it!

Once back on the road to Santa Clarita Valley, I was rerouted to the 210, then north on Foothill Boulevard. This serpentine stretch took me up and over miles of wild desert mountains until I came to Placerita Canyon Road and finally recognized where I was. From there it was just a hop and skip through Canyon Country and Newhall to arrive home.

Here’s where I’m going with all this…we live in a stunningly beautiful place. The circle of life is a bit different than where I come from back east with their snowstorms and hurricanes as opposed to our brush fires and earthquakes, but it can be just as treacherous at times. However, my detour took me through lush orchards and ripe fields, misty Malibu canyons; over majestic rocky peaks and along the awe-inspiring ocean. This is a magnificent place to live. And like the first responders back east who are up before dawn masterfully clearing streets of snow and repairing power lines and treating accident victims, the professionals in our area bravely face the heat and the smoke so that we may fully partake in all this incredible land has to offer and continue about our lives.

For this, we say thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

Another group of friends who bring a lot of joy to our lives have four legs and lots of fur! Despite the semi-smokey air, hundreds of folks showed up at Hart Park in Newhall on Sunday to celebrate their family pets (and even adopt some new family members) at the Bow-Wows & Meows Pet Fair. Vendors were giving away pet toys, doggie treats, and selling all kinds of fun fare. It was a feast for the eyes and frenzy of furry legs. Below is the Uribe Family posing for a fun photo with their adorable pitbull, Willow. (Willow was not supposed to be looking at me!)

Another highlight were the pugs puckered up at the kissing booth. That’s right, the line seemed to stretch a hundred feet for a chance to rub noses with the Belle of the Ball. (She even painted her nails pink for the occasion.)

And since we were there, I never miss an opportunity to see more of the William S. Hart Museum if I can help it. I love history and I love a good western tale…the Hart property is redolent with both. We popped into the nearby Bunk House (which I had never been inside before) where Mr. Hart lived for many years before he built his dream villa atop the hill. He purchased the structure in 1912 and it is still full of Mr. Hart’s saddles, clothing, poker table, and memorabilia, along with many untouched pieces of furniture and appliances of the era…most of which appeared in his films. Yes, he used the bunk house as a location many times over the years as well as a haven for his friends wishing to flee the city. On your next visit, close your eyes and imagine Douglas Fairbanks and Wyatt Earp walking the floors beneath your feet…imagine the conversations that took place within those walls!

The photo below is of Mr. Hart’s custom-made saddle that he used up until his death in 1946.

I could have stayed much longer, but to spare my wife, we set off to try out a new-ish restaurant over on the Old Road called The Local Pub & Grill. Talk about the perfect spot to have some comfort food and play some games while watching football on a Sunday afternoon! We loooooved it. Check out the incredible freshly made Bavarian Brauhaus Pretzel with cheese below (and the look on my son’s face):

We threw down our Uno cards and tore into that thing like we were Oliver Twist. As an entree, my wife ordered the Local Charity Burger, which is true to it’s name (10% of the cost goes to benefit local charities) and is delicious to boot. My daughter and I shared chicken and waffles with strawberries and maple syrup. Oh yes. It was hard to tell if the cheering was coming from us (about how yummy the food was) or from the other patrons hooting for the Rams. The cacophony was all delightfully intermingled!

And then, as if that wasn’t enough, we ambled next door to Lady Di’s where the sweet treats are quite literally to ‘Di’ for. (Especially with all the Halloween themed goodies.) We got a candied apple the size of my son’s head and some scrumptious cookies to put us over the top. My fav was a chocolate chip cookie with crushed Oreo’s replacing the chocolate chips!

How fortunate we are to have these kinds of fun, frivolous choices, yes? As scary as it is, and sometimes tragic, a nearby fire and the folks who protect us from it can remind us just how lucky we are.

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!

Trump Stonewalls the Constitution, Democrats Say ‘Bring it On’

| Opinion | October 17, 2019

by Dick Polman

The constitutional crisis has officially arrived. To the surprise of nobody with a cognitive intellect, Donald Trump has hauled us to this treacherous precipice. The good news is that the House Democrats, empowered by the midterm voters to hold Trump accountable, are eager to prevail in the historic showdown to come. And their strategy is a win-win.

Have you read the letter, authored by Trump’s legal eagles, which decrees that the White House will refuse to cooperate with the impeachment probe? As government documents go, it’s a doozy. The lawyers’ Trump armbands are wrapped so tight their brains have been starved of oxygen. The result is a smorgasbord of recycled MAGA catechisms.

My favorite claim is that the current impeachment inquiry is “constitutionally illegitimate,” despite the Constitution’s Article II provision that grants the House sole power to hold our highest officials accountable – a provision that traces it origins to 14th-century Britain.

The letter also claims that a House impeachment probe can’t be launched unless the full House votes to launch it, but the Constitution says no such thing, not one word. Remember when Republicans prided themselves on being “strict constructionists” who took the Founders’ words literally?

There’s also some whining in the letter that the impeachment inquiry seeks to “overturn” Trump’s election, when in truth the whole point of an impeachment inquiry is to examine presidential abuses of power after an election. If Trump’s lawyers (and Trump) were to enroll in a remedial history course, they’d learn that Richard Nixon was targeted for impeachment in 1974 despite the fact that he’d won the 1972 election in a 49-state landslide.

House Democratic leaders, having digested and spat out the letter’s various Orwellian tidbits (the impeachment probe “threatens grave and lasting damage to our democratic institutions”), are actually fine with the fact that the ultimate battle has been joined. Their win-win goes something like this:

Since they already have the goods on Trump’s most blatant impeachable act – he sought to extort Ukraine for domestic campaign dirt against Joe Biden – anything they get from new documents and Trump witnesses would be gravy. And if the Trump regime stonewalls on delivering documents and witnesses, then presto, that’s further grist for an article of impeachment detailing obstruction of justice. As suburban Philadelphia congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said on Tuesday, “the more obstruction there is, the more quickly this (inquiry) moves.”

Trump and his lawyers want to sucker the House Democrats into a long court fight over the documents and witnesses, hoping to run out the clock to 2020. But the Democrats don’t need to play that game, so they won’t. Trump wants to stiff the inquiry? Fine. Intelligence panel chairman Adam Schiff said that stonewalling would be “yet additional strong evidence of obstruction of the constitutional functions of Congress.”

Trump is so anxious to hide the damning truth about his Biden dirt-digging (as the documents and witnesses would reveal) that he clearly prefers to take the hit on obstruction of justice. That’s how badly he is cornered. And there’s zero evidence that stonewalling the inquiry will win over the electorate. A national poll, released Tuesday, says that 58 percent of Americans support the House inquiry, and only 38 percent oppose it. This past spring, those percentages were virtually reversed.

And another new poll, released Wednesday morning, is even more brutal for Trump: 50 percent of registered voters support Senate conviction and removal.

Granted, it strains credulity at the moment to believe that the Republican Senate would throw him out, since they hail disproportionately from red states overfilled with bitter-end MAGA fans. But it’s already highly plausible that a craven Senate exoneration would leave obstructionist Trump seriously or mortally wounded by the stink of his smoking gun.

So, it’s game on. As the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson penned, “Things are in the saddle/ And ride mankind.” And for once, the Democrats are snapping the reins.

Copyright 2019 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, writes at DickPolman.net. Email him at dickpolman7@gmail.com

Lakers Debut Less Than a Week Away

| Sports | October 17, 2019

by Diego Marquez

The Los Angeles Lakers open up the 2019-20 NBA Season in less than a week as they play host to in-town rivals, the Clippers on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at Staples Center and there is already a buzz about what the franchise can do with the roster they built this offseason.

On top of acquiring All-Star Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, the Lakers also acquired complementary pieces like, three-point specialists Danny Green and Troy Daniels, defensive stalwart Avery Bradley, along with veteran players DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard and Jared Dudley.

Among those named, there have been some pleasant surprises so far, as some players have turned some heads during the Preseason.

In Monday’s game against the Golden State Warriors, Howard was the one that looked to be in mid-season form and back to his old self finishing the night with 12 points, 13 boards (four of which where offensive), six assists and four steals.

Rookie’s Zach Novell Jr. produced impressive stat lines as the former scored 22 points on 6-of-13 shooting (3-of-8 from 3-point), 7-for-8 from the free-throw line, four rebounds, one assists and one steal in 33 minutes of action.

Demetrius Jackson came off the bench and scored 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists, one steal and one block in 24 minutes on the floor on Monday.

The Lakers conclude the preseason with two more games against the Warriors, tonight at the Staples Center and on the road on Friday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Chase Center in San Francisco. Both games tip-off at 7:30.

Carly Pearce to Appear at The Canyon

| Entertainment | October 17, 2019

Local audiences will enjoy the sound of chart-topping singer/songwriter Carly Pearce Friday night at The Canyon in Valencia. Her tenacious spirit fuels her textured vocals and honest lyrics in such songs as her new single “I Hope You’re Happy Now” with Lee Brice. Pearce’s highly-acclaimed debut album “Every Little Thing” on Big Machine Records features the GOLD-certified No. 1 title track and Top 15 hit “Hide the Wine.”

Born into the sound of Kentucky bluegrass, Carly Pearce has never known a moment that country music wasn’t her destined path. She began touring at 11 years old and at 16 she quit high school for a job performing at Dollywood. Since then, she’s defied odds as her Number 1 debut “Every Little Thing,” which designated Carly as the highest charting solo female debut since July 2015 and joining an elite group of only three women to accomplish this feat in the last decade.

Her blockbuster ballad steered a chart-topping trifecta on SiriusXM’s “The Highway” that also includes “If My Name Was Whiskey” and “Hide The Wine.” Carly’s new single “I Hope You’re Happy Now” is a duet with Lee Brice that she wrote alongside Luke Combs, Jonathan Singleton and Randy Montana. The bold offering follows “Closer To You” and showcases another sound from Carly’s anticipated sophomore album, slated for 2020.

Adding slots on major tours with Blake Shelton, Rascal Flatts, Luke Bryan and currently Jason Aldean, Carly has become “country’s ‘it girl’” (ABC Radio) in pursuit of her childhood dream. In 2018, she won both the CMT Music Awards’ “Breakthrough Video of the Year” and Radio Disney Music Award for “The Freshest! – Radio Disney Country Best New Artist,” plus picked up 2019 nominations for iHeartRadio Music Awards’ “Best New Country Artist,” ACM Awards’ “New Female Artist of the Year,” CMT Music Awards’ “Female Video of the Year” and is currently vying for CMA Awards’ “New Artist of the Year.”

A loyal advocate of country music’s legacy and future, Carly has celebrated more than 70 invitations to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. She is currently featured in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s “American Currents: The Music of 2018” exhibit and partnered on a new four-part video series – “Unbroken Circle: Exploring Country Music History with Carly Pearce” – that connects the genre’s eras.

The Canyon is located at 24201 Valencia Blvd #1351 in the Westfield Town Center Mall. Tickets are available at CarlyPearce.com.

Join the Santa Clarita Artists Association for their 30th Anniversary Art Classic and Gala Fundraiser

| Entertainment | October 11, 2019

The Santa Clarita Artists Association is inviting all Santa Clarita residents to their 30th Anniversary Gala. The Gala will take place on Friday, November 1 at the Hyatt Regency in Valencia. During the day from 10 am – 4 pm the Art Classic is free and open to the public. This includes an art show, artist vendors, artist demonstrations, musical entertainment and a silent auction. From 5 pm – 9 pm is the Gala, a $25 ticketed event, featuring a live auction, silent auction, appetizers, no host bar, entertainment, an art show and awards.

Come and meet Santa Clarita’s local artists and support the Arts in our community.

All art is for sale.

With your patronage SCAA gives several scholarships to Santa Clarita high school seniors pursuing a major in the visual arts.

We are looking forward to seeing you at the Art Classic and Gala!

Gala Tickets available on Evitebrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/santa-clarita-artists-association-30th-annual-art-classic-gala-tickets-64517961961.

Are you an artist interested in entering the Art Classic competition? Last day to enter is October 15. Go to : https://www.santaclaritaartists.org/.

The 6th Annual Cancer Survivor Celebration of SCV

| Community | October 11, 2019

The SCV will celebrate the 6th Annual Cancer Survivor Celebration on Sunday October 20 from 1:00pm – 4:30pm at The Residence Inn by Marriott. This event will raise money for the local non-profit Circle of Hope, Inc.

Whether you are undergoing treatment, a cancer survivor, loved one, friend, or you’re wanting to get holiday photos done before the rush, this event is an opportunity to connect with each other and celebrate milestones, said Brooke Edwards, owner of Brooke Ritter Photography and event organizer.

“Circle of Hope is an incredible resource for our community,” she said, “and my hope is that this annual fundraiser will create awareness of this resource and raises money to benefit families battling cancer through educational and financial support.”

There will be fun for the entire family. Guests will enjoy a variety of vendor booths, enjoy snacks, take portraits, win raffle prizes, play games and be surrounded by lots of fun and love. This year, Brooke Ritter Photography will raffle off a year of free portraits. There will be a Cupcake & Candles celebration honoring survivors at 2:30pm.

The Tree of Love will be featured again this year. It is a 30×30 hand painted tree on canvas in which cut out leaves and butterflies with the name of loved ones are placed onto the tree. Leaves represent cancer fighters and survivors, and butterflies are to honor those who have passed.

“This event meant everything to me. Putting the leaf on the Tree of Love as a survivor was a turning point in my life, it gave me my power back,” said Kimberly Richardson, a survivor from last year’s event.

The host of the event, Brooke Edwards of Brooke Ritter Photography, is partnering with French Photography to capture beautiful portraits for attendees.

The Residence Inn by Marriott is located at 25320 The Old Road in Santa Clarita.

Big Band Swing Concert on October 18 at College of the Canyons

| Entertainment | October 11, 2019

The College of the Canyons music department and the award-winning COC Studio Jazz Ensemble and Lab Bands will present their opening season concert “Big Band Swing” on Friday, October 18th at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC).

The ensembles will share the stage with dynamic vocalist, Katherine Lench-Meyering and renowned jazz arranger and bandleader, Gary Urwin to fill the PAC with music from the 30s, 40s and 50s.

“One of the pleasures of making music is being able to share it with friends and family,” said KC Manji, COC music director and the jazz band’s director for the performance. “We always love playing music but it is the sharing and smiles we enjoy the most. You will enjoy the energy and musicality Katherine brings to every song and the musical arrangements by Gary Urwin. Dirk Fischer will help relive some the old standards that are sure to bring back memories from years past.”

Lench-Meyering and Urwin will bring fresh renditions to some of the biggest old-time favorites of the Swing era, such as “Moonlight Serenade,” “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” “In the Mood,” and “Tisket -a- Tasket.”

The “Big Band Swing” concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 18th on the PAC main stage.

General admission tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for COC students and senior citizens. Tickets will be available at the PAC box office on the evening of the concert.

Canyon Country Campus to Throw Star Party

| Entertainment | October 10, 2019

On Friday, October 25th, the fall 2019 Star Party at the College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus will be doubly significant as it coincides with the college’s 50th anniversary and Apollo 11’s historic moon landing.

To that effect, COC professors Dr. Erik Altenbernd and David Michaels will present the talk “It’s Rocket Science: The 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing & the History of the Space Race!”

“We are very excited to welcome new and returning attendees to our 20th Star Party,” said Ryan Theule, vice president of the Canyon Country campus. “Please join us for a fascinating talk about the Apollo missions and rocket science under the stars.”

The event, which is free and open to the public, will include a variety of interactive displays and activities presented by college clubs and organizations.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to gaze at the stars through the multiple telescopes set up by local astronomy groups throughout the evening.

The event will also feature a classroom-size planetarium, which will allow attendees to learn more about astronomy through projected images of the night sky

“Our star parties allow the local community to interact with our students, faculty and staff in a fun and educational setting, and in this case, to celebrate 50 years in space along with the college’s 50th anniversary,” said Anthony Michaelides, dean of campus services and operations at the Canyon Country campus.

The fall 2019 Star Party will be held from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, October 25th, at the Carl A. Rasmussen Amphitheater located on the Canyon Country campus.

Food and beverages will also be available for purchase on site.

For more details, visit www.canyons.edu/canyoncountry

Your Health and Well-Being – Practical Ways to Stay Healthy “Inside and Out”

| Community | October 10, 2019

A workshop, hosted by Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley, will help participants learn about practical ways to stay healthy from “inside – out.” The workshop is designed to provide effective ways to improve health, concentration and productivity at home and work. Topics include: how to increase energy through nutrition; exercise in small spaces; what you put on your skin is absorbed by your body and healthy and inexpensive meals for the family. The workshop will conclude with sharing wholesome prepared food.

This free LifeForward workshop is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, October 19, at Valencia Methodist Church located at 25718 McBean Parkway in Valencia.

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) –Edna Dimataga-Fernandez, Founder/CEO and Dr. Roger De Sesa, DC, CCWP, Health and Well-Being Expert of the Wellness Institute share their expertise in how to improve you and your family’s health and well-being.

Previous workshops in the series have helped women and attendees learn how to improve relationships and communicate more effectively, increase feelings of self-worth, select career options and pursue meaningful employment, deal with anger management and stress, set budgets and manage money, valuable income tax information and advice before, during and after a divorce. Workshops are designed to help participants believe in their unlimited power and potential, build the skills necessary to succeed and be the powerful women they are meant to be. All are welcome.

Zonta offers nine free LifeForward workshops, on a monthly basis (dark during June, July and December), in collaboration with Single Mothers Outreach, Domestic Violence Center, Returning Women Veterans and Veterans’ Wives and the Los Angeles County Department of Child & Family Services serving foster mothers. KHTS AM-1220 is a co-sponsor of the series with Zonta.

Workshops are organized by topics developed from surveys and inquiries showing expressed interest and needs. Flyers and a schedule of upcoming workshops are posted on www.scvzonta.org for individuals who are interested in a particular topic. Participants are not required to register in advance, however free childcare is available through Single Mothers Outreach (SMO) and the number of children must be registered at least one week in advance – call SMO (661) 288-0117 for more info.

Raging Moderate – You Can’t Do That

| Opinion | October 10, 2019

by Will Durst

All of Washington is vibrating like the foam on a latte in the cup holder of a convertible jeep riding railroad tracks over a bridge. Republicans are scrambling to hold together their diverse coalition of rich white men frightened about the next election and well-to-do white men worried about the next election. Democrats also seem mildly engaged, which to them borders on a frenzy.

It’s all due to the substantial evidence that Donald Trump conspired to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless President Volodomyr Zelensky agreed to assist in the upcoming election by digging up dirt on Joe Biden’s family. A great way to resolve this would be to launch an investigation into corruption activities by all family members of the executive branch of government, past and present, but that’s probably not going to happen.

The proof of Mr. Trump’s malfeasance consists of texts, emails, depositions, multiple whistleblowers and a little thing called Trump’s own admission. Either he doesn’t believe he can commit a crime, doesn’t think anybody cares, or considers himself untouchable (stemming from the fact that lately, nobody wants to touch him).

The problem with swimming with Trump is he’s constantly pooping in the pool and expecting everyone to pretend not to notice while smiling at the honor. Then he pees from the high board and calls it liquid gold. And still his enablers are surprised when they get out and no one will lend them a towel.

It was bound to happen: you cut enough corners, eventually all you’re left holding is a hole, hopefully big enough to hide in. Which is what all of his staffers and appointees are looking for right now as the investigation spreads like basement mold.

He then didn’t just double down, he quintupled down by publicly threatening to ask China to do the same thing. First he leverages Ukraine, then China, who’s next; Wakanda? Ruritania? Fredonia? He’s already got Absurdistan’s support, aka: Fox News.

Why does Trump have to dig up dirt on anybody when he has plenty Trump branded dirt in his own back yard? Obviously, he’s not going to give away his extremely valuable dirt for free, but couldn’t he lend Biden a couple of wheel barrels full at 10 percent interest?

The man has never heard the words, “You can’t do that.” From anybody. Ever. Whether it concerned legal, ethical, moral or strategic matters. He’s Billy Mumy in that Twilight Zone episode. Either you agree with what he wants or suffer the consequences. Hopefully he’ll hear, “No, I’m sorry, you can’t betray your oath of office, you’re fired” from the American people soon.

But right now, the president is double-dog daring Congress: “Yeah, I did it, and I’ll do it again, and who’s going to stop me? You? Right, you and what army?” Even though he’s under intense fire for abuse of power, the House of Representatives – controlled by Democrats – decides this information is so critical, they immediately spring into action…and take a two- week recess.
But in the middle of October, when they get back, Congress is expected to buy a one-way ticket on the Impeachment Train without any idea of where it’s going, when it’ll get there or how much it’s going to cost.

And as usual, checked bags are extra.

Copyright 2019, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, “Durst Case Scenario,” please visit willdurst.com.

City to Celebrate Artober with Full Lineup of Arts Events ARTober to be Held in Honor of National Arts and Humanities Month

| Entertainment | October 10, 2019

The City of Santa Clarita will celebrate ARTober this month, in honor of National Arts and Humanities Month. Santa Clarita community members are invited to join in during the month-long arts extravaganza by participating in a variety of arts and humanities-related events.

ARTober started with enriching cultural events this past week, including the Hart of the West Native American Pow Wow and Craft Fair on October 5 and 6, at William S. Hart Park, and a Caribbean Dance JAM Session on October 10, at the Newhall Community Center.

The celebrations will continue with new art exhibits, including “Springs Prints” in the First Floor Gallery at City Hall featuring photographs by the Santa Clarita Valley Photographers Association, and The MAIN’s newest exhibit “Three Projects: Small, Medium, and Large” by local photographer Ted Dayton. All are invited to attend the Artist Reception for Dayton at The MAIN on October 17, at 7 p.m.

On October 19, the City will host a dedication ceremony for the City’s newest art piece titled “Inertia” at the Santa Clarita Skate Park. Later in the day, residents can experience festive fall art at the Underwater Pumpkin Carving event at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center at 6 p.m.

The month will conclude with the City’s Arts Symposium on October 26, at The Centre, where artists and art-lovers can participate in panels and sessions that cover a variety of topics from the cinematic, visual and musical arts.

The City is pleased to host an exciting lineup of arts and humanities events this ARTober for community members of all ages to enjoy. For more information about ARTober, including a full calendar of events, please visit santaclaritaarts.com.

2019 VIA Award Nominees Announced

| Community | October 10, 2019

The 2019 Valley Industry Association Awards will be presented at the VIA Black & White BASH on Saturday, October 19th at the Hyatt Regency Valencia. Awards are given to those individuals and members of distinction deserving in one of three categories: VIA Business of the Year, VIA Rising Star and the Connie Worden-Roberts Volunteer of the Year.

The Connie Worden-Roberts Volunteer of the Year Award is awarded to an individual affiliated with VIA for a minimum of two years and has demonstrated strong support of the organization through committee involvement or chairmanship, member recruitment, fundraising and/or the creation of increased visibility for the organization.

The VIA Rising Star Award is awarded to a member who has been with the organization no less than 12 months and has shown substantial new growth and visibility through the development and launch of a new product or service, significant increases in job creation and/or building expansion.

The VIA Business of the Year Award is awarded to a cornerstone VIA member business affiliated with the organization no less than five years and who has demonstrated consistent support not only for the organization but to the business community and the Santa Clarita Valley as a whole.

Nominees for the Connie Worden-Roberts Volunteer of the Year Award:
— Ed Masterson, SOS Entertainment
— Mariella Masuda, Hyatt Regency Valencia
— Fabienne McGeever, Simpatico Systems
— Kim Thomson, SCV Relocation Services
— Sue Tweddell, Primerica
— Steve Youlios, Jersey Mike’s

Nominees for the VIA Rising Star Award:
— KKAJ, Certified Public Accountants
— SCV Senior Center (Bella Vida)
— Thrivent Financial | Jeff & Melanie Meyer

Nominees for VIA Business of the Year:
— Nola Aronson’s Advanced Audiology
— Hyatt Regency Valencia
— Jersey Mike’s Subs
— Mission Valley Bank
— The Signal/Signal Multimedia

In addition, the VIA Vision and Inspiration Award will be given to a school within the William S. Hart Union High School District in recognition of active involvement in the Connecting to Success program, a privately-funded half day conference offering important workplace readiness skills to high school students. The award is VIA and the VIA Education Foundation’s highest honor in recognition of the communication, collaboration, and collective efforts in furthering Connecting to Success. Starting in Spring 2020, the curriculum will be available to every sophomore class student in area high schools and teaches young people the necessary skills to bridge from student life to work life, and to be successful once they enter the workforce. The program connects business leaders to a future employment pool that will be ready for the demands of a job. There are an unlimited number of $20 Little Black Book sponsorship opportunities available, which sends one high school student to VIA’s workplace-readiness Connecting to Success program.

“The VIA BASH has become one of the must-attend business events in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Teresa Todd, Chairwoman of the Board. “This year, the signature gala transforms into a ‘Night to Remember’ inspired by Truman Capote’s infamous social event of 1966.”

Capote aspired to create an occasion that brought together a diversity of guests from his little black book to create visual unity using the most severe of color palettes: black and white attire. Guests at VIA’s Black & White BASH will enjoy themed décor while dancing to the high-energy sounds of Crowd Theory Entertainment, a cover band offering a unique and memorable alternative to the conventional live music experience. Black or white attire is encouraged. Proceeds from the event benefit the VIA Education Foundation, Connecting to Success program.

For tickets, visit www.via.org/via-bash or contact the VIA office at admin@via.org or phone (661) 294-8088.

Latin Grammy Nomination for COC Professor

| Community | October 10, 2019

College of the Canyons music professor Yalil Guerra has received a Latin Grammy nomination in the Best Classical Album category for his album “Cuba: The Legacy.”

Even though the Cuban-born composer has been nominated for a Grammy eight times, the news still came as a surprise.

“I cried when I heard about the nomination on the morning of the announcement,” said Guerra. “This album represents a milestone in my career since it is the first symphonic album I have in my catalog.”

“Cuba: The Legacy” includes Guerra’s Symphony No.1 ‘’La Palma Real” along with “Intrata,” a piece composed by his mentor, Aurelio de la Vega. The album was recorded during a memorable session last year in Havana, Cuba by the National Symphony of Cuba.

“The experience was incredible and magical,” said Guerra.

Guerra, who has taught at the college for three years, says he feels an enormous responsibility to share his passion for music with students.

“Every single word, any piece of knowledge, or advice that I teach comes from my love of music,” said Guerra. “I always encourage my students to develop a bigger curiosity towards good music, focusing on the best things we have inherited from our past, the jewel of human civilization: the arts. I am extremely honored to work at College of the Canyons and to serve the Santa Clarita community.”

This is the third Grammy nomination for Guerra as a producer by the Recording Academy. He took home the prestigious award in 2012 for his piano work in “Seduccion.”

“This nomination sends a message to the world about hope and how hard work and persistence can be rewarded by your peers and supporters in general,” said Guerra. “It also tells a story of passion and love for what I do, and this love is the energy and light that keeps my musical career alive and moving forward.”

The 2020 Latin Grammy Awards will take place on Thursday, November 14th at the MGM Las Vegas hotel.

John Brennan and the Destruction of America’s Intelligence Service

| Opinion | October 10, 2019

by Rob Werner

John Brennan, born 1955, was an immigrant blacksmith’s son and CIA Director from 2013-2017. He joined President Carter’s CIA team in 1980. His entire career was in intelligence and his reported assets were $33,500,000.

During consideration for Director he disclosed his 1976 Communist vote for President when Russia was the Soviet Union. If true, he was given a pass by someone with similar sympathies. This was before double agents Aldrich Ames (CIA) and Robert Hanssen (FBI) were discovered. From 1975-76 Brennan studied Arabic and learned about the Muslim religion in Egypt. Maybe, despite Carter’s liberal views, Brennan was offended by his Christianity.

Brennan served as the daily intelligence briefer for President Clinton from 1994-1995, Chief of Staff to CIA Director Tenet from 1999-2001 and Deputy Executive Director from 2001-2003. In 2008 he became Obama’s man in Homeland Security and had substantial influence and ability to secure the employment of like-minded people in the intelligence service.

He shared with Obama the view that one should not refer to Jihad when referring to terrorists and had a much different opinion of Muslim terrorism and communism than former White House National Security Adviser, Retired U.S. Army Lt. General, Michael Flynn, who unabashedly referred to Jihad terrorists. Flynn, a Democrat, was Director of U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012-2014. Flynn believed that more attention should be concentrated on communist countries.

Brennan, a progressive, mixed partisan views with CIA duties. He wanted to pick his President and was so upset over Trump’s election that he rarely addressed him as such. Trump’s National Security Advisor sent him into panic mode. Flynn knew the system and the people; heads were bound to roll. So, Brennan peddled the dossier generated by Fusion GPS via the former spy Christopher Steele, which had been sponsored by the Clinton campaign and the Democrat National Committee, and claimed there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. He did this even after he knew Steele had not been in Russia for 10 years and the unreliability of the document. He also got help from the FBI to get rid of Flynn.

There is no evidence that Flynn had been involved with any collusion; but encouraged by Brennan, the FBI manipulated him into pleaded guilty to lying on a question. This issue is currently being challenged, but the press has long since concluded he is a felon and he can no longer do damage to the people they support.

Recent revelations of former Vice-President Biden and his son’s corruption and ill-gotten gains in the Ukraine have been overshadowed by the Democrat’s new claim that Trump raising the issue was an impeachable offense. Intelligence whistleblower rules were recently secretly modified to permit hearsay. A whistleblower, still in violation of the new rules, met with the Democrat committee leader prior to filing a charge.

Brennan, still running the show, tweeted, “A reminder to federal officials. There is no limit on the number of individuals who can use the whistleblower statute. If you think you were involved in unlawful activity as a result of a directive from Mr. Trump or someone doing his bidding, now is the time to report it.”

Was Brennan planted as a sleeper for the Communists in our CIA? Was he recruited by Muslim radicals while in Egypt? Is his wealth the result of ill-gotten gain? Fact checkers will tell you there is no evidence of any of these things. Without an investigation, we will never know. Many will not tolerate an investigation because they are afraid of what it might reveal.

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