About Michelle Sandoval


Michelle was raised right here in Santa Clarita and graduated from Canyon High School. She graduated from UCLA where she majored in English Literature and wrote for the college newspaper, the UCLA Bruin. She has written and worked for numerous publications in Santa Clarita, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. She is very passionate about the arts and culture world and can always be found at the theatre, art shows or live music events. She is also a huge Dodger fan – Go Blue!

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Six Flags Shines in Seasonal Spirit

| Community, Entertainment | December 24, 2019

The holiday season will be over before we all know it. With the hustle and bustle of Christmas behind us, why not treat the family to one last seasonal surprise with a trip to Santa Clarita’s very own six Flags Magic Mountain. Now through January 5, the popular theme park has transformed itself into a glittering wonderland of lights and holiday decor. It’s a great way to round out the holiday season and welcome in the New Year.

My family and I visited a number of theme parks for the holidays, and Magic Mountain was easily on the top list of our favorites. Living in Santa Clarita we find it easier than most to visit the park throughout the year, but if you’ve never experienced it during the holidays it really does undergo a transformation that is nothing short of magical.

During the day the park is adorned with holiday trees, wreaths, ornaments and other holiday decorations, but it isn’t until the sun goes down that the park really comes to life. Various areas have been adorned with thousands and thousands of holiday lights that brighten the night sky with whimsical Christmas spirit. You will be left in awe as you walk through this shimmering land of lights reminiscent of everybody’s glimmering trees or lighting menorahs.

Our beloved characters are there, helping to spread the cheer, and there are plenty of new seasonal eats and snacks available for tasting. Why not enjoy a churro, tamale, festive soup and a number of other holiday treats while covered in a canopy of Christmas lights?

All of the rides are open during this magical time, so when your 8-year-old nephews let you take a breath, make sure you give yourself a moment to take in all the beauty.

“Six Flags: Holiday in the Park” runs through January 5th. For more information, please visit www.sixflags.com.

The Merry Magic of “Holidays at Universal Studios”

| Entertainment | December 19, 2019

The magic of the movies is spreading festive flair at Universal Studios this season with a holiday celebration for people (and wizards and Ginches) of all ages. Running now through December 29th, the popular theme park is home to the Who’s of Dr. Seuss’ Who-Ville, and the whimsical characters of the Harry Potter world. Bursting with holiday cheer, and with a double dose of magic, a visit to the park offers the perfect sprinkle of spirit to light up any tree or menorah.

Before entering “Holidays at Universal Studios” guest can revel along Universal City Walk, with plenty of festive decorations and attractions to see. Once again, they will have their spectacular 40-foot tall Christmas tree on display donning over 200,000 LED icicles choreographed to the sounds of the season. There will also be free concerts and performances by talented street performers throughout the month. Also, take a moment to watch the dancing water fountain with its numerous streams of choreography complemented by red and green lights and holiday-themed music.

Once inside the park guests will be transported to Who-Ville, with a breathtaking “Grinchmas” tree twisting and curving 55 feet up in the air at the center of it all. Nightly you can partake in the Who-lebration with tree lighting ceremonies and snowball flurries. In this spirited village you can also take a photo with the Grinch himself, and his dog Max, as well as a number of Who-Ville residents who are all eager to meet you. Once you walk into this enchanted world created by Dr. Seuss, much like the Grinch, your heart will most likely “grow three inches that day.”

For a change of scenery, but brimming with just as much cheer, is “Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.”  Here you can celebrate the season in the village of Hogsmeade, which has been blanketed in holiday decor and brimming with seasonal themed food and entertainment. All the magic still very much fills the air; it’s just dusted with extra spellbinding spirit. Make sure you enjoy a deliciously warm Butterbeer as you walk along the cobbled streets, and keep your eyes open for the witches and wizards of Hogwarts singing carols with the a-cappella Frog Choir. The shops in this magical village are full of Christmas items — hand-crafted ornaments, snow globes, tree toppers and much more — that are perfect for any special last minute gifts to add to Santa’s bag.

My favorite part of “Holidays at Universal Studios” is the bewitching light show of “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle.” Once the sun goes down, the castle is draped with a dazzling light projection show allowing everyone to experience Christmas within the pages of the Rowling classic novels. The animated light show, along with musical scores from the films, will transport everyone to the enchanted world of these fantastical characters.

A trip to Universal Studios just wouldn’t be the same without a run in with the mischievous Minions. You will find these merry mischief makers at “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem” and “Super Silly Fun Land” where they will be gleefully spreading Christmas chaos.

The spirit of Christmas and the Holidays are very much alive this season and Universal Studios is being sprinkled with loads of festive cheer. Plenty of fun lies around every corner, bundles with colored lights, seasonal treats, holiday adornments and our favorite Universal characters. This is one holiday party you won’t want to miss.

“Holidays at Universal Studios” runs through December 29 at Universal Studios Hollywood, located at 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City. For information or tickets, visit www.universalstudioshollywood.com.

Descanso Gardens Lights Up the Night with “Enchanted Forest”

| Entertainment | December 5, 2019

December is upon us, and with it comes a blizzard of holiday events all over Southern California. Descanso Gardens is once again jumping on this festive sleigh ride with its annual lights extravaganza, “Enchanted Forest of Light.” As soon as the sun goes down, their grounds spark up with thousands of twinkling lights transforming the popular Gardens into a magical playground for the young and old alike. Shining through January 5th, Descanso Garden’s “Enchanted Forest” is one attraction you won’t want to miss.
Guests can look forward to 10 luminous exhibits located across the Gardens, all of them twinkling with brilliance. Located across a one-mile stretch of some of the most popular areas, not only are these beautiful to see, but most are interactive. Kids especially will be thrilled that they can manipulate the lights and sounds they encounter, making the experience extra magical.

Each exhibit shines in its own special way. Upon entering the grounds, you will encounter Flower Power, a large bed of lighted tulips in a variety of transforming colors. The flowers put on their own show, changing from color to color in a synchronized pattern. Beyond this you will find the Celestial Shadows by HYBYCOZO, spinning installations that hang from the trees and allow you to explore geometry through light and shadow. Take a moment here to admire the Camouflage House by contemporary sculptor Tom Fruin, which graces Descanso’s Mulberry Pond.

Lightwave Lake lies just beyond and here guests can control the lighted landscape. Watch as the water, shore and surrounding trees change colors with the touch of a button or a turn of a handle. This is a great time to take a small break at the welcoming Lakeside Lookout, located next to the Lake, which is cozy and warmed by a number of fire pits.

One of the most popular exhibits is the Luminous Lawn featuring Aqueous by Jen Lewin. These interactive pathways of light shine with illuminated interactivity and are a huge hit with kids and adults alike. There were hundreds of guests partaking in collaborative play across the Lawn, making the night glow with color.  Here you will also find a number of lit benches, and while they may look too pretty to sit on, feel free to take a seat while the kids wear themselves out.

There is so much to see at “Enchanted Forest.” So, whether you’re walking under a canopy of bright stars in the Starlight Garden, or making a wish on one of the dozens of red lanterns in the Garden of Good Fortune, you’ll go home filled with wonder from the twinkling exhibits.

If you’re worried about the weather, the Garden has a variety of hot beverages for sale that you can take with you during your adventure. There are also a variety of food and snack items if you find yourself hungry before or after. The gift shops are open and filled with seasonal surprises so make sure you take a look before heading home to pick up some last minute Christmas gifts.

We are lucky to live in such a festive city with so many wonderful winter attractions. Make it a point to visit Descanso Gardens during the holidays; they will make your seasonal experience glow with spirit.

Descanso Garden’s “Enchanted Forest of Light” runs through January 5th. For tickets and information call (818) 949-4200 or visit descansogardens.org.

Gazette Halloween Round-Up – L.A. Haunted Hayride Reinvents Itself for Even Scarier Season

| Entertainment | October 24, 2019

Now in its 11th year, the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride has come to be recognized as one of the premiere Halloween events around town. This year, more than ever, that title is very well deserved.
The Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group, led by Melissa Carbone, has revamped this 2019’s event, keeping some familiar staples but adding some new and frightening aspects to this spooky sensation. Their namesake, the Hayride, of course is still the star of the show, but there are plenty of new additions that will have you screaming long into the night.

Step into the eerie grounds of Griffith Park and visitors will be transported to Midnight Falls, a strange and undead town stuck in time, more specifically, Halloween of 1985. The town is holding its annual Halloween Festival and the grounds are lit with spooky lighting, grinning jack o’ lanterns and scary decorations galore. It might seem to be a joyous occasion at first, but just wait until you meet some of the locals; the City Councilman and the Pageant Queen will most likely greet you…whether you want them to or not. Here, amongst the dark and fog encased grounds, you will find the main stage with live entertainment, a psychic and all the ghoulish eats you could want. Midnight Falls is the center of the Haunt, and is surrounded on all sides by fright after fright.

The main attraction, the Haunted Hayride, this year will take you on an adventure through the horrors of the town. Pack yourself into a hay filled tractor with some other unfortunates and try to keep your eyes open as you are driven into the darkness where nothing but horror awaits you. The spirit of Halloween is very much alive here, spewing its various creatures out on its unsuspecting victims (that’s you). The atmosphere, the environment, the talented actors, everything blends together perfectly to make for a scary, good time.

The fun doesn’t end here though. There are three new mazes to wander through as well as old favorite Trick-or-Treat, where you literally knock on numerous doors asking for candy and are greeted by every creature under the moon.

New this year are Roadkill Ranch, a haunted maze through a barn and hay stacks, all infested with strange ranch hands. Also, Midnight Mortuary House, my personal favorite, which houses the Marlow family. Take a tour through the mortuary to see what sinister secrets the family has kept hidden for decades.
Those seeking more thrills after all these chills can opt to pay a small fee ($5) to participate in a variety of short escape rooms. Good luck getting out – they were pretty tricky!

The LA Haunted Hayride sure delivers the scares, but it can also be enjoyed by some younger folks. I saw plenty of families roaming the grounds, and I took my 9-year-old nephew. I would definitely recommend taking the little ones on the Hayride and through the Trick-or-Treat maze, the other two will need a bit more thought as they deliver the most scares. Regardless, everyone will have a blast exploring the town of Midnight Falls, whose deadly residents may be just that (dead), but are also quite friendly when it comes to the little ones.

This year’s event is well worth checking out. Not only are the new additions a ghastly good time, but the familiar frights continue to deliver. Spectacularly spooky, the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride is a MUST this Halloween season.

The LA Haunted Hayrides runs through November 2 at Griffith Park, located at 4730 Crystal Springs Drive in Los Angeles. For additional information, visit www.LosAngelesHauntedHayride.com.

The Canyon Theatre Guild’s New Show Will Have You Howling with Laughter Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery Now Playing

| Entertainment | October 10, 2019

Santa Clarita’s own Canyon Theatre Guild (CTG) has embraced the spooky season with their new production, Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, playing at the quaint and lovely theatre until November 3rd. Based off of Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” the show is a hilarious murder mystery that is equal parts mayhem and merriment. This is one show you won’t want to miss, there is no mystery about that.

Written by Ken Ludwig, known for works such as Lend Me a Tenor and Crazy for You, he has won multiple Tony awards and can boast his work has been performed in over 30 countries in more than 20 languages. Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery premiered in Washington D.C. in 1985 and has since been performed around the world. Now, the talented team at the CTG has brought the animated production to the lucky residents of the Santa Clarita Valley.

The show follows Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as they take the case of the Baskerville family who is having its male heirs killed off by a what appears to be a horror hound that roams the swamps at night. When the newest (and last) family member arrives, the two men set out to protect him and ultimately solve the mystery of exactly what is happening in the moors of Devonshire surrounding the Baskerville estate.

With a cast of five playing over 40 parts, you can expect plenty of non-stop, boisterous entertainment. I say five actors, but really, three of them take on the bulk of the roles, as two stick strictly to Holmes and Watson. Jeremiah Luther True (Holmes) and Matthew Thomas Stallings (Watson) do a fine job playing the super sleuth and his sidekick – they make a good team and share in the hilarious antics that dominate the production.

But it is the other three, Kirsten Rast, Eduardo Arteaga and Tanner Burghardt that are the true stars of this maniacal mystery. You’ll have a great time trying to keep up with them over countless characters, dozens of costume changes, kooky accents and tiresome stage activity. One thing is for sure though, they’ll have you howling with laughter the entire time.

Each and every one of them exemplifies a level of talent that is not easy to find on smaller stages at local theatres. When I wasn’t rolling in the aisles with laughter, I was left in complete awe of their star power. I can’t say enough about this trio’s comedic, passionate and radiant performances – I highly recommend you experience it for yourself. Each and every one of their performances will have you talking (and laughing) long after the curtain closes.

O Michael Owston directs this production, with Musetta Caing Hart serving as assistant director. What a joy it must have been for them to work with such a talented cast. And of course their crew, with who all of this wouldn’t have been possible.

Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery is a great way to celebrate the Halloween season with the family while taking in a local show. The arts and culture that can be found in Santa Clarita is abundant, and we are all very fortunate to have the Canyon theatre Guild at the heart of it.

For tickets and show times visit www.canyontheatre.org.

Haunted Halloween Round-Up – Fearful Fun at Six Flags’ “Fright Fest”

| Entertainment | October 3, 2019

by Michelle Sandoval
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the haunted holiday than to get out to Santa Clarita’s premiere theme park, Six Flags Magic Mountain, for their annual “Fright Fest.” I had the opportunity to attend the spooky happenings at the park recently, along with my brave little nephew, and we had an eerily entertaining time rubbing elbows with the ghouls and partaking in the numerous Halloween themed events scattered throughout the park. Open now through November 3rd, this Halloween Haunt boasts several mazes and designated scare zones with hundreds of monsters roaming the grounds to keep everyone cowering in fearful fun.

My nephew and I consider ourselves seasoned Halloween attraction enthusiasts (funny that he’s only 9-years-old), and “Fear Fest” is his personal favorite. Not only does the park go all out for the holiday, they also keep all of their regular attractions open throughout the evening, with the exception of Bugs Bunny World. They have also chosen to run a number of their most popular roller coasters in the dark, to keep the experience especially chilling.

Haunted mazes this year see the return of fan favorites Willoughby’s Resurrected, a Victorian mansion inhabited by evil spirits, and Red’s Revenge, where you will find yourself inside of a fairy tale that turns the tables on the bad guy. Also back are Condemned — Forever Damned, Sewer of Souls and Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising. A new addition to the haunted horde for 2019 is Vault 666 Unlocked, an abandoned antique store full of sinister oddities with a life of their own. I recommend not leaving the park without checking out Willoughby’s Resurrected, Red’s Revenge and Vault 666 – these three will surely leave you shivering in the night.

There are six scare zones thrown throughout the park, so if you’re at the theme park just to enjoy the rides, note that once the sun goes down it will be hard to navigate to the rides without running into some kind of macabre mayhem. Standout scare zones are the Witches Lair, where you will be lucky to make it out without some kind of black magic cast upon you, City Under Siege, where evil clowns run the streets, and Exile Hill, where your soul will be the most sought after commodity. Exile Hill is also where you will find Sliders of the Night, as these ghoulish fiends will scrape their way across the ground towards you leaving a trail of sparks behind them – my nephew gets an absolute kick out of these guys.

Those looking for some refuge from the screaming scares can head on over to Full Throttle Plaza towards the front of the park to experience VooDoo Nights, with live music and dancing. This dark party starts at 7 pm and goes full force until the park closes. There is also the High Sierra Hypnotist who performs two shows a night on select nights. Adventure seekers can become part of the show if they choose, and fall prey to the comical hypnotist who will make them partake in some hilarious acts.

Admission to the “Fright Fest” is an additional charge from a regular park ticket and can be purchased online or on site. You can also opt to purchase an Express Maze Pass which will allow you to skip the lines – take note this will only apply to the mazes, rides are not included.

Overall, we had a ghoulishly good time. Magic Mountain is already action-packed as it is – with some of the world’s most extreme rides, so the addition of these seasonal scares just adds to the adrenaline. “Fright Fest” is not recommended for kids 13 and under, so unless you have a pint-sized avid scare seeker, I recommend enjoying the park during the safety of the sunlight, and start making your way home once darkness starts to set in. Because beware – Six Flags has issued a jestful warning reminding us all that during “Fright Fest,” “There is no place to hide and the screams never die!”

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit: www.sixflags.com/magicmountain

The Gazette’s Haunted Halloween Round-Up

| Entertainment | September 19, 2019

Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights

Fall is right around the corner, and with it comes all the ghoulish gatherings the Halloween season has to offer. This being my absolute favorite time of year, I will be highlighting some haunted attractions in upcoming issues of the Gazette leading up to the big day on October 31. So, join me as I journey into the world of everything that goes bump in the night!

Kicking off the scares is Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, which opened up its ghoulish gates on September 12 for horror fans eager to get started on their spooky festivities. With 10 terrifying mazes, five shocking scare zones and a show by the Jabbawockeez created specifically for the event, this is one haunted happening you won’t want to miss.

The theme park boasts that Halloween Horror Nights “brings together the sickest minds in horror to immerse guests in a living, breathing, three-dimensional world of terror.” The majority of the attractions are based on popular film and TV properties from the past and present that are sure to please any horror buff.

This year the park once again has an impressive list of new haunts. Leading the pack are mazes based on Jordan Peele’s horror hit “Us,” Sony Pictures’ classic “Ghostbusters” and Netflix’s hit show “Stranger Things.” These three were all incredibly well-done, full of impressive special effects, masterful sets and props that transport you into their respective worlds, as well as plenty of scares waiting around each corner. Try and keep your wits about you, and definitely don’t close those eyes, because the attention to detail found in these mazes is excellent. The mastery and dedication of the creators found in these haunts is the ultimate treat in this bag of tricks.

There are also some ghoulish food offerings based on the latter two, including Slimer’s Dirty Water Hot Dog, Zuul’s Countertop Egg Sandwich, The Upside Down Burger and the Mindflayer’s Milkshake. Universal also converted an ice cream shop into Scoop’s Ahoy from ‘Stranger Things,” for those looking to step right into the world of “Eleven” and her trusty troop.

These three attractions may be the spooky stars of this season, but there are plenty of others that offer just as many flights and will be sure to please every type of horror fan. Two of my personal favorites were the “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” and “Creepshow” mazes, which touched on my ‘80s horror fandom.

Rob Zombie’s “House of 1000 Corpses” was perhaps the most disturbing haunt, which will delight fans of the director who is known for pushing the boundaries of horror into the most depraved crevices of the genre.

Halloween Horror Nights just wouldn’t be the same without a throwback to the classic Universal monsters. “Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man,” loosely based on the 1943 film, offers all the chilling nostalgia fans of these icons are seeking. Adding a modern twist to this maze is an original score composed by Grammy award-winning musician Slash.

Rounding out the frightening fun are “Holidayz in Hell,” “The Curse of Pandora’s Box” and “The Walking Dead.” All of them are worth a walk-through, but if you’re worried about being short on time, you might want to save these for the end.

Missing from the frightening fun this year was the Terror Tram, which was sorely missed. That being said, there was so much to do and see at this eerie event that the Tram was quickly forgotten. However, I do hope that it returns from the dead and we get to see it back next year.

For those looking for a short escape from the spooks, Universal is also keeping a handful of their everyday attractions open to the public. Make sure you check out the all new “Jurassic World — The Ride,” which just opened up this summer.

Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights will be open select nights through November 3, 2019. There are various ticket options, including express passes for those who want to skip the lines (I highly recommend this),  frequent fear passes for scare seekers who want to visit more than once, special private tours with a VIP guide and day/night combo packages.

I can’t think of a better way to step into the delightful darkness of this scary season than with a terrifyingly terrific trip to Halloween Horror Nights. You won’t find another event with satisfying scares that will literally leave you screaming for more.

“Halloween Horror Nights” runs through November 3 at Universal Studios Hollywood, located at 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City. For information or tickets, visit www.halloween horror nights.com.

For the Love of Music and Family – Detroit Musician Brings His Sound to the SCV

| Community, Entertainment | September 19, 2019

PHOTO: L-R: Chubby Checker, Little Richard, Tommy C.

Tommy C has lived in Detroit his entire life, where decades of musical success took root and continued to grow into the lucrative career he has now. Influenced by various types of musical styles, from Motown to rock ‘n’ roll, he started delving into the music world at the age of 7 and never looked back.

In the span of his extensive career, Tommy C served as the musical director for Chubby Checker for 10 years. He also played on stage with a number of musical legends such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Conway Twitty, Fats Domino, The Temptations and the Four Tops, among others. Over decades being influenced by the greats, who he credits for giving him the edge on how real rock ‘n’ roll should be performed, Tommy C now describes his personal sound as “a tribute to the greatest era of rock ‘n’ roll.”

I had the pleasure of speaking to Tommy C last week, and after just a few minutes I got the sense that he was a genuine, whole-hearted man with a strong passion for life. His evident love of music is exuberant and explosive, and you can just tell that he lives each day to the fullest.

Tommy C. and granddaughter Juney Bee

Now, however, Tommy C shares the dedication he devotes to his craft with something else – his family; more specifically, his adult son, Tommy Clufetos, daughter-in-law, Casey, and 2-year-old granddaughter, Juney Bee. So much so, in fact, that he has decided to pack up his life in Detroit and make the move to Santa Clarita in order to be close to the family members who live here.

When Tommy C starts to talk about his family something in his voice changes. The professionalism of this music man is still very much there, but you can sense that it slowly starts to melt away until you are left with a new Tommy C – father and grandfather. The love he expresses for his family is heartwarming, especially when he’s discussing his little granddaughter, who is already displaying musical talent of her own.

His son is no stranger to the world of music either; he started playing drums in his dad’s band at the age of 11 and had the

Tommy C and son, Tommy Clufetos

opportunity to accompany him on tour. Now a drummer for Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath, the younger Clufetos has molded a successful musical career for himself based on his father’s guidance and influence. And Tommy C could not be prouder.

Upon making the decision to leave Detroit for California, he quickly started putting together a new group of guys with some help from his son, which came to be called Tommy C and the Black Widow Grease Band. This team of talented Los Angeles musicians, who he describes as “highly adrenalized, high-octane rockers,” is ready to take the local music scene by storm, fronted by Tommy C’s Detroit Motor City style of rock ‘n’ roll.

They will be releasing a new studio album in May of 2020 titled “Hidden Treasures,” which Tommy C says will feature songs he loves, songs that hold a special place in his heart, along with some original music from the new group. The band will also be touring the West Coast, starting with a debut performance at the Canyon in Valencia on January 10, 2020.

What can we expect from a Tommy C and the Black Widow Grease Band show?

“If you see us, your kids will love it, you will love it and your grandparents will love it. Just come and forget your worries. You will leave smiling,” he says.

He truly believes that in order to put on a great show there has to be a lot of audience interaction, because “it’s all about the people – without them, there’s nothing.”

Tommy C is overall a charming man whose musical prowess is sure to elevate the already growing music scene in Santa Clarita. If his new sound and stage presence is anywhere near as energetic as my conversation with him, and as animated as he is when he talks about Juney Bee, we are all in for a performance of a lifetime.

For more information on Tommy C and the Black Widow Grease Band visit www.tommycbwgb.com.

Halloween Adventures: Part Two – Los Angeles Haunted Hayride and The Sinner’s Soiree

| News | October 29, 2015

As I headed into the middle of the month, creeping my way closer to Halloween, my haunted adventures continued with two more great attractions that are guaranteed to spook even the bravest of souls. One is a Los Angeles classic that will take you deep into the depths of Griffith Park, and another is a new haunt that will have you sipping cocktails with the devil himself. So, leave your fear at the door and embrace all the spooky celebrations happening in Southern California this year – they are some of the best yet.

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride
Now in its 7th season, there’s a very good reason why the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride is one of L.A.’s most popular Halloween attractions. Quite simply, the folks behind the horrifying haunt, Ten Thirty One Productions, live and breathe horror all year round. Whether they’re hosting an outdoor screening of a popular scary movie, or giving fans a truly frightening camping experience with their Great Horror Campout, the talented group, led by Melissa Carbone, knows how to do horror right.

This year’s hayride centers around a classic nightmarish villain – the Boogeyman. Their all new attraction will once again take you through the abandoned zoo that once called Griffith Park home, a lonely and desolate place all year round. Promising that the now 25-minute hayride will be bigger and better than ever, you and a group will be herded into a tight, fenced-in area before jumping into your transportation for the evening, a hay-padded tractor trailer. A new spin to this year’s ride is a dark curtain that closes the group off from the outside world. The fear of not knowing what is happening outside invokes real fear; this is when people huddled together the closest.

I was so scared that I closed my eyes every time the curtain went up, which makes no sense, since we were in pitch black darkness already.

The Boogeyman is this year’s theme, and since the term can be interpreted several ways, the Haunted Hayride team used it with a loose definition, introducing us to several “Boogeymen” along the way. You’ll encounter anything from ghostly children to blood-thirsty socialites, and from famous serial killers to dozens of nightmarish demons that are sure to haunt your dreams. As always, the props and backdrops are exceptional, the talent is horrifying, the costumes and makeup are phenomenal, all of this making for a truly terrifyingly fun experience. If you’re brave enough, open your eyes long enough to look at the path behind you as you leave each frightening scene. The monsters slowly following your trailer, eerily bidding you farewell will chill you to the bone.

A fun addition this year are the Trick or Treat tents, which will wash away the fond memories you have of going door to door collecting candy as a child. Knock on the door of about a dozen houses in this scary adventure, but don’t expect to get any chocolate. Teeth and vodka, however, are some of the more pleasant options, mostly you’ll be run off the porch by all sorts of maniacs, making for a very different trick or treating memory.

The “In Between Dark Maze” is back this year, and just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse… it does. I always try to opt out of this one, because it scared me so much a couple of years back, but I always end up getting coerced. This maze, which you go through in the dark (they usually give you lanterns, which the Hayride team decided not to do this year – NOT COOL) makes you creep and feel your way around an area that is almost impossible to navigate. This year you have to don clown masks (again, NOT COOL), and once inside, during the rare flash of light, you will encounter evil maniac clowns lurking around. To make matters worse, you never know who is actually out to scare you, since everyone is wearing masks! This particular maze is easily one of the scariest you will find in Los Angeles and one of the only ones that I can say honestly and legitimately scares me.

Before you make your way home, check out the Theatre Macabre, a hilarious show in the middle of Purgatory, the Hayride’s Haunted Village. The talented hosts will invite members of the audience up on stage to recreate classic scenes from horror movies. It is a nice change of pace from all the panic and terror around you.

The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride makes one thing clear this year — he may come in many shapes and sizes, differ from country to country and has existed in many forms through the ages. But, one thing is certain – the Boogeyman is real, and he is very much alive in Griffith Park this Halloween.

The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride runs through Oct. 31 at Griffith Park, located at 4730 Crystal Springs Ave in Los Angeles. For tickets and information, visit www.losangeleshauntedhayride.com.

The Sinner’s Soiree
“I like you, I’ll take you last,” said the Drunken Devil as he menacingly walked away from me, sipping his cocktail. Marketed as a haunted house extraordinaire, “The Sinner’s Soiree” is making its debut this year at the Think Tank Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles. Presented by Drunken Devil Productions, expect to dwell deep in the devil’s domain, an underworld filled with spirits and “spirits.” You might even find yourself at home in the Underworld, because once you’re there drinking with the devil, an eternity of damnation might not sound like such a bad thing after all.

It cannot be denied that “The Sinner’s Soiree” makes for a fun evening of drunken debauchery. Set in a Mardi Gras inspired lounge, guests can drink the night away as they mingle with a group of hellish minions in the Devil’s Den. You will encounter ghoulish burlesque dancers, maniac magicians and, of course, Satan himself. Guests can have the option to purchase VIP passes, which will give them special seating in the lounge and free drink tastings. We were treated to select beer and wine choices and a delectable coffee infused whiskey that alone was worth the trip. For an attraction that thrives off of sin and vice, there were definitely enough devilish enticements to stimulate all of my senses.

For those of you looking for a night of wicked indulgence, “The Sinner’s Soiree” will satisfy all of your sinister wishes. Unfortunately, for those of you looking for scares and frights, you will most likely find the maze lackluster, with a basic, simple design, scarce props and sets, and a small group of actors who rely entirely on cheap scares to make you jump. Small groups will be led through the maze, which is supposed to be your descent into hell, but once inside you’ll find it is neither hellish nor terrifying. In fact, you’ll most likely find yourself rushing through to get back to the cocktail party, which is where the real fun is.
That being said, I have to mention the great makeup and costumes worn by the actors – they were extremely well done. These beautiful, monstrous creations almost make you forget that making a lot of noise and jumping out at people from your hiding place in the dark, does not make for a successful haunt… almost.

Every haunted attraction has its strengths and weaknesses. What “The Sinner’s Soiree” lacks in professional haunt creation, scares and originality, it more than makes up for with their nightly cocktail party. I recommend “The Sinner’s Soiree” for a night of booze-fueled fun surrounded by other horror fans. You won’t get many chances to say you drank with the devil in a boozy underworld in the chic fashion district of Los Angeles. Bragging rights to that make this attraction more than worth your while.

“The Sinner’s Soiree” runs through Nov. 1 at the Think Tank Gallery, located at 939 S. Maple Ave, in Los Angeles. For tickets or information, visit www.drunkendevilproductions.com.

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Unveils the New Anubis Paintball Adventure

| SC Living | September 20, 2015

Over 200 Monsters, Mummies & Freaks Will Find Their Way On Board the Infamously Haunted Ship

Fear lives here at The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, as the torrid history of the haunted ship rises from the deep October 1 – November 1, 2015. In addition to Dark Harbor’s horrific new maze, Lullaby, which tells the tale of the ship’s youngest soul, Scary Mary, the annual fright festival is thrilled to unveil the all-new Anubis Paintball Adventure.

Those who dare will venture into the tombs of Anubis, the Greek Egyptian jackal-headed god of mummification and the afterlife. In Anubis’ underworld, guests will test their skills in an LED 3-D paintball battle against the most terrifying gaggle of mummies, monsters and myths.

The brand new Lullaby maze will take guests on a frightening voyage with Scary Mary, who has haunted the Queen Mary ever since her horrific drowning in the poolroom in 1952. Dark Harbor will also welcome the new Side Show of Freaks and Oddities and the Side Show Bar, which will bring guests up close into the grotesque world of freaks.

The Ringmaster, The Captain and their band of spirits, including Samuel the Savage, Graceful Gale, Half-Hatch Henry and Scary Mary, will be joined by over 200 grizzly monsters and ghouls that will plot terrifying tricks and treats throughout the season of fear. Dark Harbor’s signature haunts, Deadrise, Soulmate, B340, Circus, and the Voodoo Village, will be wrought with more horrific monsters than ever before.

Dark Harbor brings the true torrid tales of The Queen Mary to life, offering one of the most authentically terrifying experiences available. The annual event begins October 1 and continues to inflict fear on select dates through November 1. Ticket prices start at just $20 online, with Fast Fright, VIP Passes, and lodging packages available.

For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.queenmary.com/dark-harbor.

Heroes of the Week – Sara Jane and Chantal Chelin

| SC Living | December 13, 2014

Heroes 848 2New Leash on Life’s Lend a Paw program sent a special delegation and their two therapy dogs, Maverick and Bailey, to visit an extraordinary Santa Clarita family: the Hudgins. The following is an excerpt from a “thank you” note New Leash on Life received from Heather Hudgins after heroes Sarah Jane and Chantal Chelin brought therapy dogs to work with her children.

We just wanted to share some of the pictures from our wonderful visit from Bailey and Maverick. Sarah Jane and Chantal were so gracious with their Hereos 848 3time, and have such an amazing gift handling these beautiful dogs. It was such a blessing to our family to have this experience. It was the most engaged and happy we have seen our boys in a LONG time. It was the perfect distraction from their day-to-day challenges. It is amazing to see the connection that animals can make.

New Leash On Life has extraordinary volunteers, like Sarah Jane and Chantal. The healing power of the dogs and the bravery of families like the Hudgins combine to create improvements in the welfare of many. Contact New Leash on Life through the website: NLOL.org.

Non-Profit of the Week – New Leash on Life

| SC Living | December 13, 2014

Animals hold a special place in all of our hearts. Whether we have a lovable pet at home, or just have fond memories of growing up with a furry family friend, their little wet noses can always bring a smile to our faces. The unconditional love pets express toward their owners is unlike any other, and many times they become true family members. Many animals are lucky enough to have loving homes, but just as many find themselves in shelters across the world waiting to be chosen by a family. Those lucky animals that do get a second chance at a good life are, unfortunately, outnumbered by those that never make it out of a cage. Instead they are euthanized, becoming a statistic in the ever growing decline of animal shelters.

This is where great organizations that devote themselves to these animals step in and do everything in their power to make sure that all animals are given the fair chance to find a good home. New Leash on Life (NLOL) was formed locally in 1997 with a strong mission of “saving the lives of homeless animals and improving the lives of people.” After years of observing the shelter system deteriorate and countless pets die, a vision of a more effective system began to take shape. In March of 2002, the organization moved to a 13-acre facility in Placerita Canyon and established the E.R.A. Center for Education, Rehabilitation and Adoption, which serves as a safe haven for many companion animals. It is also a learning resource for children and adults, facilitating New Leash On Life’s vision of making Los Angeles a no-kill city.

Today New Leash On Life has been responsible for spaying and neutering thousands of pets, rescuing and placing over 5,000 dogs, and making a determined effort to educate the community about responsible pet ownership. The organization also has a rich history of search and rescue efforts in disaster relief throughout the nation, including Hurricanes Gustav, Katrina, Rita and the wildfires of 2008 in Southern California.

NLOL has also established the Lend A Paw program, which provides certified assistance and therapy dogs to better the lives of those experiencing mental, physical or emotional life challenges. The dogs and volunteers regularly visit special needs schools, nursing homes and even make individual house calls to provide healing for those in need. Make sure you read about our Heroes of the Week, where we share a story of two volunteers and their dogs that brought endless smiles to a little boy and his family.

New Leash on Life makes sure never to leave any dog behind for any reason. The non-profit does not discriminate due to age, a major reason why so many animals are still homeless. NLOL has established the Senior Sanctuary Program to ensure that older dogs who are less likely to find homes are placed with the appropriate families. In addition, the group also established the Mobile Pet Adoption Program to expand community awareness. Every week volunteers visit various areas to provide information and showcase the dogs looking to be adopted. This program has led to many new adoptions which, in turn, allows the organization to continue adopting new animals. The Pet Education Trainers Program is dedicated to teaching children about animal awareness and safety.

For more information on New Leash on Life, visit www.NLOL.org.

Chabelo’s Mexican Grill Brings Latin Spice to Santa Clarita

| SC Living | December 11, 2014

by Michelle Sandoval

Chabelo’s Mexican Grill promises to bring “the real taste of Mexico” to the SCV with the opening of a new restaurant in Castaic. Owner Jose Garcia has years of culinary training under a number of seasoned chefs and has been working in kitchens for more than 20 years. Now, with the opening of his own restaurant, he can take his extensive experience and pair it with original recipes for truly savory dishes bursting with authentic flavors and spices.

20141208_190954The family owned and operated business opened its doors this past August. Chabelo’s has an extensive menu to choose from with plenty of traditional Mexican dishes, specialty seafood platters and daily lunch specials for every budget. Hungry patrons can enjoy tamales, sopes, chile verde, all types of burritos, fajitas, delicious tacos and just about everything else from south of the border. Patrons can expect only the freshest ingredients, meaning no pre-cut meat and no packaged or generic spices.

Garcia spent many years working in Indian restaurants where he learned the importance of spices. “I have a huge knowledge of spices,’ said Garcia, “I season my food spice by spice. We make them all in house, making sure there are no artificial ingredients or preservatives. This is one of the important things I have learned working with so many great chefs over the years – the importance of spices.”

Cooking has always been a passion for Garcia. And while his influence comes from the many experienced chefs he has worked with, his recipes are original and unique.

“I like to learn and hear from other chefs, but my recipes are my own. I may use some I have worked with over the years but I have perfected them and put my own spin on them,” he says.

And Garcia understands that all taste buds are unique, so he is always willing to listen to what his customers want.

“No one will leave my restaurant unhappy. Customer service is very important, I will cook the food the way the customer wants it,” he said.

Garcia urges you to try his Steak Ranchero specialty when you dine at Chabelo’s. The dish consists of a four-hour marinated grilled steak with fried onion, bell peppers, garlic, homemade ranchero sauce and special spices, served with country potatoes and garnished with bacon, a dish he describes as rich and tasty.

You can find Chabelo’s in a small shopping center in Castaic, and while it is petite in size, it is big in heart. Raising two children here in the SCV, one of Garcia’s main reasons for opening Chabelo’s Mexican Grill was to be closer to his family, who provide him with the motivation he needs to be successful. Cooking all of the dishes himself, Garcia works alongside his wife, Laura, and together they strive to bring the taste of Mexico from their family to yours.

Chabelo’s Mexican Grill is located at 31822 Castaic Road in Castaic. Call the restaurant today at 661-775-2628 or visit www.chabelosmexicangrill.com. Mention this article for 20% off your whole meal!

Just a Few Fun Things to Do!

| Community | December 11, 2014

Saturday, 12/13, 1-4:15pm
Ice Station Valencia’s Family Snow Days
27745 N. Smyth Drive in Valencia

The Ice Station’s Family Snow Days are a fun opportunity for the entire family to play in snow, ice skate, drink hot cocoa, meet Frosty the Snowman and have a fun family holiday experience. They will be offering FREE beginning ice skating lessons at 2:00pm and 3:15pm. Kids: $12, Adults: FREE to play in Snow or $5 for skate rentals with child admission. Visit www.icestation.net for more information.

Saturday, 12/13, 8pm
Rockapella Holiday Show
SCPAC 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road in Valencia
Back by popular demand, the undisputed kings of contemporary a cappella continue to offer proof of their boundless ability to inspire and attract devoted fans, new and old. They’ve toured the globe, helped 10 million viewers find Carmen Sandiego on PBS, and have provided a funky, powerful soundtrack to several generations of vocal music fans. Now they promise to deck the Performing Arts Center’s halls with holiday favorites, uniquely Rockapella-style. Tickets are on sale at www.canyonsPAC.com or by calling 661-362-5304.
Saturday and Sunday, 12/13 & 12/14, 8:30-10:45am
Breakfast with Santa
SCSC Activities Center, 20870 Centre Pointe Parkway

Join Santa and Mrs. Claus for a great breakfast, holiday stories, arts & crafts, and much more! There will be plenty of photo opportunities so make sure to bring your camera. Everyone one year and older must present a ticket to attend, cost is $20 for residents and $25 for non-Santa Clarita residents. To register call 661-290-2261.

Sunday, 12/14, 1 pm
Bowling for Kids
Valencia Lanes, 23700 Lyons Avenue in Newhall

Taylor Kellstrom and the SCV Book Exchange proudly present the 3rd Annual Bowling for Kids Charity Event with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. Come out and bowl for $25 for 3 hours, including shoes, or buy a lane for $110 for up to 5 people. If you are not a bowler, come out and bid on the silent auction items. This year will include a 50/50 raffle, toy donations, and bowling award as well. Auction items last year included a signed hockey stick by an LA Kings player, UCLA football tickets, Clipper tickets, a foursome to Vista Valencia, free karate lessons, and many more other items. Any donation is appreciated! Lane and event sponsorships are available as well. For more information visit www.taylorkellstrom.com or call 661-287-0103.

Sunday, 12/14, 4pm
Santa Clarita Master Chorale presents “A British Holiday”
SCPAC 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road in Valencia

From cathedrals and cozy manor houses to the lively London streets of Charles Dickens’ carolers, the Chorale and Children’s Choir will celebrate English holiday music from all ages, including beloved British composer John Rutter’s exuberant “Gloria.” Tickets range from $11 to $29. Tickets are on sale at www.canyonsPAC.com or by calling 661-362-5304

Sunday, 12/14, 5-8pm
“Winter Wonderland”
The Church on the Way Santa Clarita, 23415 Cinema Drive in Valencia

Come and enjoy a “Winter Wonderland” where it’s all about snow, snow and more snow! There will be age appropriate areas for snow play. Stroll along the craft fair for gifts and decorating items. “Winter Wonderland” will feature a live nativity, an outdoor movie, and an opportunity to take pictures with Santa. Food trucks will be on hand for food purchases. Admission is free. Call 661-291-6000 for more information.

Thursday, 12/18, 3-4:30pm
SCV Senior Center Holiday Concert
SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market Street in Newhall

Get into the spirit of the holidays with SCV Senior Center’s Holiday Concert featuring the Silvertone Musicians, under the direction of John Swinford. Come and enjoy this free and holiday fun concert. Call 661-259-9444 for more information.

Bereaved Santa Clarita Families Join in 18th Worldwide Candle Lighting

| News | December 11, 2014

The death of a child is devastating and it’s important to the family that the child always be remembered. That’s why members of The Compassionate Friends (TCF) of Santa Clarita will participate in an annual worldwide event designed to honor the memories of all children, regardless of age, who have died. The Chapter is joining Sunday, December 14, 2014 with hundreds of organized memorial services around the world for The Compassionate Friends 18th annual Worldwide Candle Lighting, an event now believed to be the largest mass candle lighting in the world.

The local candle lighting will be part of a special service held at 6:30 p.m at the Canyon Country Park located at l7615 W. Soledad Canyon Road and will feature poems, selected readings, music, a slide show and performances with featured singers. Annually, tens of thousands of families, united in loss, light candles for one hour during the Worldwide Candle Lighting, held the second Sunday in December. Candles are first lit at 7 p.m., local time, just west of the International Date Line. As candles burn down in one time zone, they are lighted in the next, creating a 24-hour wave of light as the observance continues around the world. Candles will be provided to all who attend.

“This is our gift to the bereavement community,” says TCF/USA Executive Director Alan Pedersen. “The holiday season is an extremely difficult time of the year for families grieving the death of a child. This marks well one and a half decades the Worldwide Candle Lighting has united bereaved families around the globe as a symbolic way of showing the love we continue to carry for our children, even though they can no longer be with us physically. This candle lighting transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious, and political boundaries, as tens of thousands of families share in this worldwide memorial event.”

With the theme “…that their light may always shine,” the Worldwide Candle Lighting has grown larger every year with formal services last year in all 50 United States and Washington D.C., as well as at least 19 countries around the world. TCF’s national website, www.compassionatefriends.org, is expected to receive and post information on more than the 550 services submitted to and listed on its website last year. The website will also have a Remembrance Book open for posts on December 14 which, in a 24-hour-period, will receive thousands of tributes from family members and other caring individuals.

“Here, throughout the United States,” said Pedersen, “members of our 650 Chapters observe this day in differing ways, some alone, some with friends and family, and many in organized candle lighting ceremonies like the service planned by The Compassionate Friends of Santa Clarita. We invite everyone, whether or not they have suffered the personal loss of a child, to join in this moving tribute.”

To contact The Compassionate Friends of Santa Clarita, call Diane Briones at 252-4654 or Alice Renolds at 252-4374. For more information about the national organization and locations of its Chapters nationwide, call 877-969-0010 or visit TCF’s national website, www.compassionatefriends.org and the Santa Clarita Valley Chapter website www.compassionatefriends-scv.org. The Compassionate Friends has a presence in at least 30 countries and is the world’s largest self-help bereavement organization.

Wolf Connection Changing Lives through the Eyes of Wolves

| News | December 11, 2014

Most people associate wolves with the fictional “Big Bad Wolf” prevalent in folklore and fairytales. There are several versions of this character in various works, and he has become the archetype of a threatening and dangerous adversary. However, Teo Alfero, CEO and founder of Wolf Connection in Acton, sees these animals through a different set of eyes.

Embracing the wolf and working with the breed’s innate skill and intelligence, Alfero created a foundation with the purpose of using the animal’s deep intuition and natural balance to motivate and educate at-risk youths all over Southern California. The Wolf Connection has helped more than 500 children since its inception four years ago, and with the help of the community, the founder hopes to continue doing so for years to come.

Alfero comes from a long line of educators and congressmen, all huge supporters of youth development in his native country of Argentina. It was not until he reached his twenties that he discovered he possessed the same gene. After a stint in the Army he became a professional mountain climber and skier and eventually opened a rock climbing school in the ‘90s. This is where his first mentoring experiences involving youths came into play; from this point on he knew what his true calling was.

“I witnessed a young person feeling empowered by achieving a task they did not know they were capable of. I was nothing short of amazed,” he explains. “The idea to devote my life to helping others started then, it was an idea that would grow on hope.”

Five years ago Alfero adopted a wolf dog named Maya.

“She had the heart of a lion,” he says, “and unbeknownst to me, she had plans for me. I didn’t want her at first, I was very busy at the time, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer.”

Shortly after, he adopted two more wolf dogs to keep her company, and soon all the pieces started to fall into place. After much hard work and determination, the Wolf Connection was formed. The foundation falls under a life mission for Alfero, who has a passion for understanding human behavior and what drives it.
The organization has found a home in Acton since 2010. Currently, 29 wolves live on the premises and have been trained to work closely with children. The wolves go through 18 to 24 months of training and preparation before they come in contact with people, and the Wolf Connection is proud to be a “zero incident” facility. Aside from its on site education and empowerment programs, which consist of overnight camps and eight-week intervention sessions, the non-profit also welcomes schools and specific groups to the grounds weekly. In addition, staff members pay visits to local schools and group homes, spreading the word and importance of the organization.
Alfero strives to shed the wolves of any negative stereotypes. In fact, all of his wolves, and their parents, have never been in the wild. “I want to redefine the term ‘wild’; it does not mean aggressive or crazy or dangerous,” he says. “Rather, when we really look at nature, ‘wild’ means sustainable and collaborative, loveable and respectful. Trees, birds, rabbits are all wild and they all co-exist in a beautiful way. Wolves are some of the most misunderstood and judged, demonized animals in nature when, in reality, they are less aggressive than most dogs, they are gentle animals. What I would say to any parent or school principal with concerns about the wolves is to reach out to me and come out and see for themselves. Those beliefs are ingrained in the culture, so the only way to turn that around is to meet the wolves in person.”

Right now the Wolf Connection is facing a bigger challenge than the public’s opinion of wolves – funding for expansion. The foundation is currently leasing 28 acres in Acton that are not conducive to the future of the foundation. There are permit and environmental limitations for the full scope of the project (transitional housing for extended stays and retreat centers, etc.) that are maxed out at this location. In order to grow and reach his vision, Alfero hopes to purchase 165 acres at a different Acton location for the Wolf Connection, further in the mountains, surrounded by national forest. This new property is expensive and the organization needs the public’s help to reach a certain monetary demand by December 23 to secure the property ownership. Alfero is confident that the new facility will be an iconic destination for L.A. County, a place for groundbreaking intervention and animal therapy that will create jobs and garner attention for the region. If you would like to donate and help this great organization to continue to enrich the lives of our children and teens, visit http://igg.me/at/WolfConnection.

Alfero and his gifted pack of wolves, along with a great and highly trained staff, strive to continue helping young men and women from all walks of life learn about nature and conservation, all the while working through the challenges in their lives. They have been responsible for helping hundreds of children over the years learn to be of service by responsibly caring for another living being, while working towards becoming the kind of person they want to be. Alfero says, “A young person will definitely experience a transformation at the ranch, bonding and connection on a primal level that the wolves help them access. Behavioral problems are something the wolves will not put up with. Much like the youths, each wolf has a different personality, and together they will create a complex dance.”

For more information, or to donate, visit www.wolfconnection.org. To sign up for the Wolf Connection newsletter/updates text WOLFCONNECTION to 22828.

Phoenix girls Phoenix Teo & Ranger TeoPups Phoenix Ben

Business of the Week – Doggie Den Paw Spa, Four Paws Only!

| SC Living | December 5, 2014

Most of us treat our pets like part of the family. They bring us comfort, love us unconditionally, and even during their worst moments – chewed shoes, shedding, bathroom accidents – they are able to put a smile on our faces. It is important that our pets are well taken care of, which means frequent trips to the groomers to keep them looking and feeling their best. And if you are looking to treat your furry friend to a special spa experience, Doggie Den Paw Spa in Canyon Country offers pet luxury packages to fit any budget.

Owner Donna Littlejohn has over 30 years of experience grooming and caring for animals. She fondly remembers bathing her family dogs as a child in the backyard and bathtub, not knowing then that it would shape her life and eventually become a career. Over the years she has owned and cared for anything from horses to fish, and today is the proud owner of three precious pups. She genuinely adores all animals and loves being surrounded by them on a daily basis. She treats all of her furry clients like they are part of her own family, and knows every single one of them by name.

It is the compassion and understanding of our four-legged friends that makes Donna’s business exceptional. She strives to make the pet grooming experience more than the basic clip and snip by providing individual packages designed specifically for your pet’s needs. The Paw Spa offers washes with organic shampoos, leave-in conditioners for silky finishes and even “pawdicures” to keep nails healthy and clean. Her goal is to turn the primping process into a more specialized grooming experience, as well as offering services that will be manageable for the owner to maintain at home in between visits.

While the Paw Spa specializes in small breeds, Donna says that all different dog breeds, regardless of shape and size, are always welcome. She will even take care of house cats, which deserve to be primped just as much as our barking buddies.

With three decades of experience under her belt, and with the help of two qualified and certified grooming technicians on staff, Donna and her team are elevating the grooming experience. She believes in service and quality overall, and with an experienced, friendly staff, great natural products and genuine love of animals, it is no wonder she has an “A” rating with the L.A. County Animal Control.

Let the Paw Spa pamper your pets with a relaxing package unlike any other. Holiday gift certificates are available and Donna even offers a Grooming Card that will get you every tenth grooming for free! Christmas is right around the corner, so why not treat your pets to a genuine “spa experience”?

Doggie Den Paw Spa is located at 18350 West Sierra Highway and are open Monday through Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm and Saturdays from 8am-4pm. Call Donna at 661-251-3232 to schedule your appointment today.

Band of the Week – The Mary White Band

| SC Living | December 5, 2014

Band 847 2Mary White is a musical powerhouse. She taught herself how to play the piano, guitar and saxophone, has a soulful singing voice, and has collected numerous awards for her accomplishments over the years. She also has the business aspect of the trade down, with skills in composing, sound engineering, producing, songwriting and band management. All of this is channeled into her onstage performances, where her band’s musical energy radiates.

Mary has garnered a solid fan base with her passionate southern voice. She has also released an original CD titled “Change of Pace,” which is a mix of rock and country rhythm. Her reputation as one of Southern California’s most hallowed independent country artists is well deserved. She has performed all over the United States and was also chosen by the U.S. Armed Forces to entertain the troops in South Korea and Guantanamo Bay.

In addition to Mary White on vocals, saxophone, acoustic guitar and keyboards, band members include: Hugh Cline (musical director) on vocals and electric guitar; Shellie Dorman on vocals and bass guitar; Robert Heft on vocals, electric guitar and pedal steel; Aubrey Richmond on vocals and fiddle; and Rob Man and Chris Cooke on drums.

Mary and her talented group play every second Thursday of the month at Liquid Volume (26340 Diamond Band 847 1Place, suite 100) from 8-11 p.m. in Santa Clarita, as well as other venues in town and surrounding communities. The Gazette had a chance to speak to Mary and ask a few questions about her music and influences growing up.

SCG: In your own words, what is it about music that inspires you?
MW: I believe music is the most powerful form of art. It can make you dance, it can make you sing, it can make you cry, it can make you laugh, it can make you think, and it can transport you in time. You can hear a song and it can take you back to high school or a situation or event and you feel like you’re there again. Music moves the soul and touches the heart in ways I can’t even begin to describe. I feel I am so blessed to be able to create and write music. And then, on top of that, I get to share it with my family, friends and fans that come to our shows and support our creativity. I get to connect to a Source where all creativity comes from. Some call it The Universe, Energy, Great Creator. I prefer to use the word God. I never sit down and say, “I’m going to write a song today.” It just comes when Spirit is ready. And I just try to make myself available.

SCG: Describe your musical sound.
MW: Sometimes we like to use the word “philosophical country,” because some of the original music can make you go “Hmmm?” We’ll do songs about drinking, but we also like to do songs about thinking. Our “sound” can vary, depending on where we are. We have bass, drums, electric guitar. I personally play the acoustic guitar, saxophone and keyboards. We also have fiddle and pedal steel players that grace our stage periodically. My favorite is when we get to do our acoustic set—two acoustic guitars, bass and Cajon guitars and percussion. It’s a very organic and intimate sound.

SCG: Who were some of your musical influences growing up?
MW: My mother, grandfather and great grandmother, mostly. All three were choir directors at their church; my mother still is. I’m proud to say my grandfather was a world champion barber shop quartet singer and had a record contract with RCA. My great grandmother had perfect pitch and was a published songwriter at age 12. I think that’s where I get the songwriting from. Dolly Parton, Elvis and Janis Joplin have always moved me with their amazing stage presence and charismatic performance.

SCG: What can Santa Clarita residents expect from a live Mary White Band show?
MW: A guaranteed good time! When I started working with my band, one of the things I would say is, “If we have fun they’ll have fun.” And that’s what we try to do. We do cover tunes that range from Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton to Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash, Hank Sr. and Janis Joplin. We also like to throw in some fun Irish songs to mix it up a little. But, our favorite is doing our original music, which includes not only Mary White originals, but also originals from Coker/Cline, the writing team of our guitar player, Hugh Cline. We look forward to writing songs in the future with our bass player, Shellie Dorman, who just joined the band a year ago and has brought a lot to The Mary White Band Sound.

Make sure you mark your calendars for December 11 when The Mary White Band rocks the stage at Liquid Volume! For more information and upcoming shows visit www.marywhite.com or www.facebook.com/MaryWhiteBand.

Just a Few Fun Things to Do!

| Community | December 4, 2014

Saturday, 12/6, 9-4pm
Bubble Gamez Launch Party
Bridgeport Park, 23520 Bridgeport Lane

Join Bubble Gamez at a launch party this Saturday! Version 2 Development is proudly introducing Bubble Gamez to the SCV with the hope to make bubble activities a fun experience for the community. They will be playing 5v5 Bubble Soccer – CTF and offering a special introductory price of $15 per player, per game. Each game is approximately 35-40 minutes long and begin every hour. Spots are limited, so reserve them now. Make sure to review the participation requirements on the company’s website, as not everyone will qualify; for instance, players must be at least 16 years old to play. For more information, visit www.bubblegamez.com.

Saturday, 12/6, 9:30am-4:30pm
HMNMH “Holiday Home Tour”

The 34th Annual Holiday Home Tour will live up to its theme, “Holiday Memories.” Three local homes will thrill visitors with their festive holiday décor. Some of the highlights will be a Santa’s workshop, snowball collection, “A Nightmare Before Christmas” themed bedroom, and a “Nutcracker” themed room. The tour is open to adults and children over 12 and flat shoes are required. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 on the day of the event. For more information, visit www.henrymayogiving.com.

Saturday, 12/6, 9:30am-4pm
HMNMH “Holiday Home Tour” Holiday Boutique
Pico Canyon Elementary, 25255 Pico Canyon, Stevenson Ranch

Bring your friends and family to view a wide selection of creative and unique holiday items that will be for sale. Admission to the Boutique is free.  

Saturday 12/6, 10am-1pm
Snow Fest
Santa Clarita Valley YMCA, 26147 McBean Parkway in Valencia

It’s snowing at the Y! This Saturday the YMCA will be turned into a frozen winter wonderland for everyone to enjoy. There will be tons of snow, sledding, crafts, games, hot chocolate and more! This is a free event open to the entire community. Call 661-253-3593 for more information.

Saturday, 12/6, 12-4pm
Vintage Christmas
Heritage Junction at Hart Park and Main Street in Newhall

A Vintage Christmas celebration with activities at Heritage Junction and Main Street. The activities at Heritage Junction will feature an animal blessing, Santa Claus, kids’ craft projects, historic building tours, sweet treats, coffee and hot cider. Activities on Main Street will feature Christmas caroling and a holiday boutique. The Holly Trolley will provide free shuttle service between Main Street and Heritage Junction. For more information, visit www.otna.org.

Saturday -Sunday, 12/6 & 7,10am-3pm
Placerita Nature Center “Holiday Craft Fair”
Placerita Canyon Nature Center, 19152 Placerita Canyon Road in Newhall

Create and decorate your own holiday wreaths, centerpieces, candles and ornaments the Placerita Nature Center way, using fresh-cut greenery, pinecones and other natural treasures. This is a fundraiser with modest charges. Most crafts are $2 and wreaths start at $12. Cash and checks only. Visit www.placerita.org for more information.

Saturday, 12/6, 2pm
SCV Historical Society “Ancient Enterprises”
Old Town Newhall Library, 24500 Main Street, Old Town Newhall

The SCV Historical Society brings to life the earliest inhabitants of the Santa Clarita Valley, the Tataviam.  Dr. Laurie Solis, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at College of the Canyons will be giving the presentation “Ancient Enterprises: How the Prehistoric Tataviam Survived & Thrived in An Ancient Landscape.” Admission is free. Visit www.scvhs.org/ for details.

Saturday, 12/6, 2-8pm
Winter Magic Lighted Boat Parade
Castaic Lake, 32132 Castaic Lake Drive, Castaic

This annual lighted boat parade will light up the night as you and the family enjoy food and snacks, a visit from Santa and real snow to play in (bring your sled!). Help out the needy by bringing a canned food item (you will receive one raffle ticket) or an unwrapped toy valued at $10 (receive 10 raffle tickets).

Saturday, 12/6, 6pm
Veterans Plaza Christmas Tree Lighting
Veterans Memorial Plaza, 24275 N. Walnut Street, Old Town Newhall

Celebrate our servicemen, past and present, with this delightful Christmas Tree Lighting at Veterans Plaza. There will be caroling, hot cocoa, holiday treats and a placing of a wreath for our fallen servicemen by the SCV Young Marines. The Christmas tree is decorated with photos of our military members surrounded by red, white and blue lights. Call 661-799-8865 for more information.

Saturday, 12/6, 7pm
William S. Hart’s 150th Birthday Celebration
William S. Hart Park and Museum, 24151 Newhall Avenue, Newhall

The Friends of Hart Park have planned a special evening to celebrate silent movie star Bill Hart’s 150th Birthday! This special occasion begins with a candlelight tour of the Hart mansion all decked out for the holiday. The celebration moves to Hart Hall for wine, hors d’oeuvres and a wild and wooly birthday party featuring many different entertainers who would certainly have brought a smile to Bill Hart’s face. Become a member of Friends of Hart Park and your admission is free! Join at the Family Level or above and receive two (2) free tickets. Active members of Friends of Hart Park are entitled to one (1) free ticket. Members with family Level or above receive two (2) free tickets. As this is a “members only” event, be sure to join the FOHP or enhance your membership to a higher level to receive your free ticket(s). Reservations are required and can be made by phone 661-222-9542. Seating in Hart Hall is limited, so make your reservations early!

Sunday, 12/7, 9am, 11am, 1pm
Santa’s Village and Live Nativity Petting Zoo
His Way Church, 23670 Wiley Canyon Road in Ventura

Join His Way Church this holiday season for a fun Christmas play about thankfulness. There will be Santa’s Village and a live nativity petting zoo that will make a great backdrop for family photos. For more information, visit ehisway.org.

Sunday, 12/7, 2-5pm
Toys on Parade Dance
SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market Street, Newhall

The Sierra Hillbillies Square Dance Club will hold a “Toys on Parade Dance” at the SCV Senior Center. On her first visit to the club, Terry Sherrer will call squares and Anndrea Stephan will cue rounds. The club will be collecting new toys to donate to needy children for the holidays. Casual attire is always welcome! All community members are welcome to participate in toy donations between 2-5 p.m! For information, call 661-254-4272, visit www.sierrahillbillies.org or find the group on Facebook.

Tuesday, 12/9, 6-7:30pm
Internet 101 Workshop – The Basics & Beyond
SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market Street, Newhall

You will get tips to help you buy your computer during holiday sales! There will be easy instruction on accessing information and keeping in touch with family members. All questions answered! Special holiday rate of $5. Contact Robin Clough, rclough@scv-seniorcenter.org, 661-259-9444 for more information.

Just a Few Things To Do!

| Community | November 26, 2014

Thursday, 11/27, 9am-2pm
Giving Thanks Giving 2014
Newhall Public Library, 24500 Main Street, Newhall

This is a FREE community event which will provide a Thanksgiving meal, clothing shop, live entertainment, bicycle raffle, and crafts for the kids. For more information or to volunteer, go to www.southvalleyonline.org or call 661-259-1515.

Thursday, 11/27, 10:15am
Seniors Thanksgiving Feast & Party
Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, 22900 Market Street, Newhall

All Santa Clarita seniors are welcome. The doors open at 10:15am on Thanksgiving Day with dinner starting at 11am. The feast starts with appetizers, moves on to roasted turkey with all the trimmings, and finally apple or pumpkin pie a la mode for dessert. Boxed leftovers are offered along with a second boxed meal since the Senior Center is closed on Friday. Reservations are required. For more information call 661-259-9444.

Friday, 11/28, 8pm
“Miracle On 34th Street”
Canyon Theatre Guild, 24242 Main Street, Old Town Newhall

The holiday season has arrived at Canyon Theatre Guild with “Miracle on 34th Street.” You’ve probably seen the movie, but the stage production is even more heartwarming and fun for families. Kris Kringle takes a job as Santa for Macy’s and ends up in court needing to convince the jury that he isn’t incompetent, but the true Santa. Little Susan is convinced he is—are you? Tickets are $17 for juniors/seniors and $19 for adults. Shows are Friday–Sunday, check the website for times: www.canyontheatre.org.

Saturday-Sunday, 11/29 & 30 9am-4pm
Hart Holiday Boutique & Craft Fair
William S. Hart Park, Hart Hall, 24151 Newhall Avenue, Newhall

Take part in shopping fun at the 3rd Annual Hart Holiday Boutique & Craft Fair. You’ll find homemade crafts, fashion accessories, jewelry, gift baskets and much more. Admission is free. This event is hosted by Friends of Hart Park in cooperation with L.A. County Parks & Recreation. For more information contact aweing@parks.lacounty.gov.

Wednessday, 12/3, 5-10pm
Triumph Foundation Fundraiser
Route 66 Classic Grill 18730 Soledad Canyon Road

Join us for dinner, and 15% of the proceeds will be donated to Triumph. Plus we will have a silent auction, and it will be a fun get together for the holiday. 661-803-3700 www.Triumph-Foundation.org

Thursday, 12/4, 6-8:30pm
Swing Dance…Plus
SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market Street in Newhall

Enjoy swing music plus a variety of other genres amidst a holiday ambiance. Great refreshments & great fun! There will be a $5 cover charge. Call 661-259-9444 for more information.

Saturday, 12/6, 9:30am-4:30pm
HMNMH “Holiday Home Tour”

The 34th Annual Holiday Home Tour will live up to its theme “Holiday Memories.” Three local homes will thrill visitors with their festive holiday décor. Some of the highlights will be a Santa’s workshop, snowball collection, “A Nightmare Before Christmas” themed bedroom, and a “Nutcracker” themed room. The tour is open to adults and children over 12 and flat shoes are required. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 on the day of the event. For more information visit www.henrymayogiving.com.

Saturday, 12/6, 9:30am-4pm
HMNMH “Holiday Home Tour” Holiday Boutique
Pico Canyon Elementary, 25255 Pico Canyon, Stevenson Ranch

Bring your friends and family to view a wide selection of creative and unique holiday items that will be for sale. Admission to the Boutique is free.  

Saturday -Sunday, 12/6 & 7, 10am-3pm
Placerita Nature Center “Holiday Craft Fair”
Placerita Canyon Nature Center, 19152 Placerita Canyon Road in Newhall

Create and decorate your own holiday wreaths, centerpieces, candles and ornaments the Placerita Nature Center way, using fresh-cut greenery, pinecones and other natural treasures. This is a fundraiser with modest charges. Most crafts are $2 and wreaths start at $12. Cash and checks only. Visit www.placerita.org for more information.

Saturday, 12/6, 2pm
SCV Historical Society “Ancient Enterprises”
Old Town Newhall Library, 24500 Main Street, Old Town Newhall

The SCV Historical Society brings to life the earliest inhabitants of the Santa Clarita Valley, the Tataviam.  Dr. Laurie Solis, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at College of the Canyons will be giving the presentation “Ancient Enterprises: How the Prehistoric Tataviam Survived & Thrived in An Ancient Landscape.” Admission is free. Visit www.scvhs.org/ for details.

Saturday, 12/6, 6pm
Veterans Plaza Christmas Tree Lighting
Veterans Memorial Plaza, 24275 N. Walnut Street, Old Town Newhall

Celebrate our servicemen, past and present, with this delightful Christmas Tree Lighting at Veterans Plaza. There will be caroling, hot cocoa, holiday treats and a placing of a wreath for our fallen servicemen by the SCV Young Marines. The Christmas tree is decorated with photos of our military members surrounded by red, white and blue lights. Submit a photo of your serviceman by November 30 by mail: Prayer Angels For The Military, 21609 Oak Orchard Rd, Newhall 91321 or by email:prayerangelsforthemilitary@yahoo.com. Please include name, branch, rank and service or theater (if known). Call 661-799-8865 for more information.

Sunday, 12/7, 2-5pm
Toys on Parade Dance
SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market Street, Newhall

The Sierra Hillbillies Square Dance Club will hold a “Toys on Parade Dance” at the SCV Senior Center. On her first visit to the club, Terry Sherrer will call squares and Anndrea Stephan will cue rounds. The club will be collecting new toys to donate to needy children for the holidays. Casual attire is always welcome! All community members are welcome to participate in toy donations between 2-5 p.m! For information, call 661-254-4272, visit www.sierrahillbillies.org or find the group on Facebook. 

Up Close and Personal With Your KHTS Morning and Afternooon DJs

| News | November 26, 2014

KHTS AM 1220 has been Santa Clarita’s “Hometown Station” since 1989. After changing ownership a few times, today the station has become the vibrant voice of the community. As the only local radio station in town, its repertoire includes a mix of news, traffic, sports, adult contemporary hits and themed shows from local businesses, such as our own “The Gazette Radio Hour” every Friday from 1-2 p.m.

KHTS also has a knack for hiring talented SCV residents as radio personalities. Two of the most colorful individuals are George Cummings and T-Katz. Tune to the station on weekday mornings and let George soothe you through the morning commute. Listen in with T-Katz for your drive home and let her eccentric persona help you wind down after a long day. You can also catch the lively duo every Friday at noon when they host “Friday Matinee.” During the weekly show they share with their listeners interesting happenings in town and deliver live interviews with a bevy of guests.

Both George and T-Katz are fantastic in their own right, offering personal perspectives on local and national news in their respective time slots. Charismatic to the core, and quite different, personality-wise, they shine alone and as a team. So, read on, and get to know the morning and afternoon voices of the SCV a little better.

KHTS George 1Wake Up with KHTS Morning DJ George Cummings
Morning commutes can be the absolute worst; the traffic here in town alone is enough to drive someone crazy. This is why it is important to find a relatable morning DJ who will get you through to the afternoon. For many Santa Clarita residents, that DJ is George Cummings, radio personality for the Morning Show at KHTS. So, grab a cup of your favorite morning coffee and let’s take a moment to delve into George’s story.

Aside from the music blaring from it, George never had much interest in radio in his youth. He stumbled upon a broadcasting program at the college where his girlfriend (now wife) attended, and before he knew it, he was going to school full-time. George soon became program director of his college radio station, as well as the morning DJ. After completing his courses, he needed to find a steady income that would support him and his new wife, and a full-time, unpaid intern position at a Los Angeles radio station wasn’t going to cut it. He was hired by a mobile DJ company after impressing them with his college radio bits and this ended up turning into an eight-year career. At the same time, he also worked at several odd jobs and eventually started his own web marketing company, which is still active today. There was a 20-year time gap from when George graduated college and his current gig at KHTS, but it all goes to show that if you’re good at something you will always find your way back … and for the past four years, he has been doing exactly that.

“It was serendipity, actually, that drew me back into radio. My wife, Margie, and I were announcing the SCV 4th of July parade, when Robin Strickland walked by to say hello. Robin had worked for the station for several years, and she mentioned to me that there was an opening to fill the morning show DJ slot. I sent Jeri Seratti-Goldman a resume and hastily prepared aircheck (Sort of an audio resume, for lack of a better term), and scored an interview,” George explains. It wasn’t smooth sailing from there, though considering how long he had been away from the microphone, there was some rigorous interview activity to follow. George continues, “Jeri wasn’t overly impressed with what she heard in my aircheck, but I somehow won her over during the interview … at least enough to get a one-hour show from 9-10 a.m. to start. She thought I’d been away from radio too long and needed to get my “chops” back. I slowly continued to win her over, and within a few months took over the helm as the Hometown Morning Show host.”

George’s artistic inspiration goes back to his childhood, when he remembers his mother always playing the radio at home. He soon learned that he could not relate to any of the personalities, therefore the music was somewhat lost on him. It wasn’t until he was 15 that he discovered KROQ, which was back then a small, unknown, punk rock station.

“KROQ is a powerhouse in radio now, but back then, they were really the first radio station to have DJs who sounded like regular people,” says George. “They had a ‘relatability’ factor that was missing from other stations. I always think back to ‘Jed the Fish’ for my inspiration. He was off-beat without trying to be funny, and still very entertaining.”

A typical weekday for George starts at 4 a.m., allowing him a solid hour for what he refers to as “Zen time.” Then, between 6 and 9 a.m., he is on the air bringing listeners updates on happenings in the Santa Clarita Valley. For new listeners, they can expect a mix of traffic, news, information, entertainment, interviews, and music from the Hometown Morning Show. George’s goal?

“To get you up, get you out, and get you to work while keeping you in a fairly good mood. I do my best to keep the show light, fun and informal, but still informational,” he says.

Catch The Hometown Morning Show with George Cummings on KHTS 1220AM Monday – Friday from 6am-9pm.

KHTS T-Katz 2Take an Afternoon Drive with KHTS DJ T-Katz

For many of us with local commutes, we have often tuned into KHTS on our drives home and heard the voice of a quirky female DJ coming through the speakers. Broadcast radio is all about voice and personality, but this week The Gazette will be putting a face to a familiar voice and giving you a bit of insight into her life outside of the station. T-Katz is so much more than the host of your afternoon drive. She is a mother, an artist, an author, a philanthropist, and overall, just an outstanding female powerhouse.

T-Katz has been the Afternoon Drive-Time personality for over a year now, but has also co-hosted the “Friday Matinee” for almost two. One Friday afternoon she was doing impersonations for the KHTS staff and the Station Manager offered her the Afternoon Drive position. She thought he was joking, but the next day she got a call from station owner Jeri Serrati-Goldman with a serious offer.

“As a long-time actress, singer, writer and someone who never met a microphone she didn’t like … I was officially intrigued,” says T-Katz. “So, I started training. Station Manager Kyle Jellings and 30-plus year veteran radio personality Verna McKay led me through my paces for weeks. For me, the talking isn’t the hard part of the job: timing the log, juggling the interviews, researching and updating traffic reports every 10 minutes (on RAINY days, especially) and taking traffic tip phone calls … holy mother-of-pearl, it’s challenging! But, it’s also the most wonderful thing I’ve ever done.”

She moved to Santa Clarita in 1995 after searching for the right place to raise a family. After extensive research (a binder three inches thick, to be exact), she chose the SCV.

T-Katz explains, “The SCV deal was sealed the day I sat in a diner over breakfast and read some local information—every single day and night there were opportunities to serve the community here: academic, civic, spiritual, charitable … you name it! I’d never seen anything like it. There was definitely something in the Santa Clarita water and I wanted to be part of it. Right away, I became involved with a mom’s group (Mothers Unlimited, Inc.) and I’m still friends with women I met from the first Halloween events at the Sheriff’s station and Lombardi Ranch. Over the years, I worked as a volunteer at my children’s schools, whether at the academic level, arts and/or sports, and loved every minute of it. I’ve been a music and performance coach to hundreds of kids over the years, and I’ve been grateful to have their families become a part of mine.”

So, what can KHTS listeners expect from T-Katz on the Afternoon Drive-Time radio show? Local news, traffic, weather, sports, “Entertainment Tonight Radio Minute” with Mary Hart, interviews and, of course, your favorite music, but what makes the show unique is the charisma and soul she brings to the radio. She humbly sums it up in one word—heart.

“For me,” she explains, “every aspect of what I’m asked to give to our hometown (traffic, news stories, events) needs to have a human heartbeat attached. [My listeners] are going to hear my heartbreak, my sympathy and my feelings on a topic—no matter what it is.”

You can catch T-Katz Monday through Friday from 3-7 p.m. on KHTS AM 1220.

Non-Profit of the Week – South Valley Church

| SC Living | November 25, 2014

Heroes_South ValleyMembers of South Valley Church devote themselves to “helping people find and follow God.” Aside from their worship services, which include solid Biblical teachings with real-life lessons, they offer a number of educational classes where children can learn and grow. The Church deserves to be recognized for its everyday commitment to the families in Santa Clarita, but with Thanksgiving right around the corner, The Gazette wanted to highlight some of the charitable efforts that go above and beyond this time of year.

On November 27 South Valley Church will host Giving Thanks Giving, a free Thanksgiving dinner event open to everyone in the Santa Clarita Valley. Held at the Newhall Public Library from 9am to 2pm, the popular feast is now in its 10th year. Originally created by Roger and Shannon Hasper, former owners of Newhall Bicycle Company, the tradition was taken over by the church after the Haspers moved out of town. Since its inception, it has turned into a large community event with food, a large clothing drive and entertainment.

Due to many new regulations put on them by the City of Santa Clarita, the small church was left with the majority of the costs for the event. Staff members have been receiving generous donations from the community to help offset the costs, which have become very expensive over the years. With a mindset of “The Feast Must Go On,” they worked hard to make sure that this event continued its annual tradition, which has been such a comfort to residents of all walks of life.

While Giving Thanks Giving benefits many needy families in our community, South Valley Church Pastor Kevin Pisano wants to stress the point that the event is open to everyone in Santa Clarita. “It’s a really great multi-faceted community event. It’s for people in need, and for others who just want to be with other people on the holiday. It gives people a place to serve, others a place to get fed and clothed, and also just gives people a place to go and be in the company of others. We’ve had so many local college students attend who are unable to go home during this time and thank us for giving them a place to go,” he explains.

So join South Valley Church this Thanksgiving and celebrate the holiday with good food, great spirits, and new friends.

For more information visit www.southvalleyonline.org.

Just a Few Fun Things To Do

| Community | November 20, 2014

Friday, 11/21, 6:30-8:30pm
Western Family Hoe-Down
Santa Clarita Valley Family YMCA
26147 McBean Parkway in Valencia

Yeee Haw! Round up the little ones, ‘cause the SCV YMCA is throwing a rootin’-tootin’, good old-fashioned hoe-down. Join them as they rustle up some family fun with games, crafts, dancing and a campfire with s’mores. The cost is $7 per child and it’s open to everyone, so feel free to invite all the cowpokes you know! For more information call Ryan Fowler at 661-253-3593.

Friday – Sunday, 11/21-23, 12pm
Festival of Trees
The Valencia Industrial Center
24700 Avenue Rockefeller in Valencia

The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley will be hosting the 12th Annual Festival of Trees this Friday through Sunday. With over 35 professionally decorated trees between 7 and 9 feet tall, 50 amazing themed tabletop trees and over 100 gingerbread houses, you will be awed and inspired. There is a holiday shopping boutique the this weekend and a community stage with performances all weekend as well. Visit www.scvbgc.org for more information.

Friday-Sunday, 11/21-23, 8pm
“The Illusion”
SC Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons

Pulitzer Prize winner and National Medal of Honor recipient Tony Kushner brings his sophisticated style and breathtaking language to the French Baroque’s most powerful romance. “The Illusion” is a wildly entertaining tale of passion and regret, of love, disillusionment and magic. For tickets call (661) 362-5304 or visit www.canyonspac.com.

Friday, 11/21-23, 8pm
Sherlock Holmes and the Adventures of the Suicide Club
The Repertory East Playhouse
24266 Main Street in Newhall

This mystery unfolds deep in the heart of London, behind the impassive facade of a windowless house, as some of Europe’s most powerful men gather to play a game. The game is murder, and this is The Suicide Club. But the club has a new member, Sherlock Holmes: brilliant, brooding, the greatest detective in the world. Why does Holmes wish to die? Can his friend Dr. Watson save him? It’s a new stage thriller featuring the famed sleuth in a tale full of mystery, romance, twists and chills. The show will run weekends through December 13. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for students and seniors. For tickets, purchase online at www.repeastplayhouse.org or call 661-288-0000.

Saturday, 11/22, 8am
11th Annual Jacob Zamora Sporting Clays Memorial Shoot
Oak Tree Gun Club
23121 No. Coltrane Avenue in Newhall

This event is a shotgun sporting clays shoot. The cost to shoot is $60 for adults and $30 for youth; the price includes a T-shirt and lunch. There is also a prize for the top shooter! Following the shoot is a raffle with thousands of dollars worth of prizes. All proceeds benefit local high school scholarships and the Newhall California Highway Patrol Explorer Post 5. For more information, visit www.jzmf.org.

Saturday, 11/22, 10:15-12pm
Gingerbread House Workshop
23743 Valencia Blvd. in Valencia

Just in time for the holidays! Learn techniques that will make your house unique. The workshop will be led by local pastry chef Theresa Frederickson. No registration, but limited places, so arrive early. The demonstration is a great way to get ready for the Friends of Santa Clarita Public Library’s 2nd annual Gingerbread contest, which is free and open to the public. All ages are welcome. Gingerbread houses must be completed and delivered to the Valencia branch on 12/5 from 4-7pm. For more information, visit www.santaclaritalibrary.com/gingerbread-house-contest/.

Saturday, 11/22, 4-10pm
Combat Radio/ Westfield Town Center Mall Christmas Concert
24251 Town Center Drive, Valencia (Near the turnabout and Pottery Barn)

Combat Radio in partnership with Westfield Valencia Town Center presents “A Very Westfield Holiday Charity Concert.” Featuring a stellar lineup of musicians and headlined by ‘80s themed “Boingo Dance Party” with several original members of Oingo Boingo, the concert will feature local acts as well as band members from Blondie, Sex Pistols, Beyonce, Prince and more! The concert is being held to give back to families in need this holiday season. In addition to the concert, they will be collecting toys for local families in need. Bring unwrapped toys valued between $10 to $15 in exchange for raffle tickets There will also be a silent auction to raise money for non-profit groups. The event is free. For more information, visit combatradionow.com.

Sunday, 11/23, 10am-12pm
Alternative Gift Fair
The Santa Clarita United Methodist Church
26640 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus

The second annual Alternative Gift Fair will take place this Sunday, where those who attend may donate to local and worldwide non-profits like Habitat for Humanity, Heifer Project, Bridge to Home, Family Promise, and the Food Pantry, to name just a few. Those who donate will receive a card describing the non-profit organization and that card may be given as a gift to those on your Christmas list. Support local and worldwide non-profits while improving the lives of others who are not on anyone’s gift list. Call Diane at (661) 259-9799 for more information.

Sunday, 11/23, 11/30 & 12/7 2pm
Meet the Dancers from The Nutcracker
Local Libraries

For residents who are not able to attend Santa Clarita Ballet’s annual performance of “The Nutcracker” this year, the dancers will still be available at some upcoming meet and greets. Attendees will be able to ask questions and pose for pictures with the costumed dancers on three upcoming dates at three different libraries. On Sunday, November 23 they will be at the Jo Anne Darcy Canyon Country Library, 18601 Soledad Canyon Road. On Sunday, November 30 they will appear at the Valencia Library Branch, 23743 W. Valencia Boulevard. On Sunday, December 7 the dancers will be available at the Old Town Newhall Library, 24500 Main Street. For more information about the “Meet the Dancers” Nutcracker event, visit santaclaritalibrary.com or contact Coordinator Robin Hoklotubbe at (661) 799-6135 or via email at rhoklotubbe@santaclaritalibrary.com.

A Tale We Want to Believe Comes to Santa Clarita – “Miracle on 34th Street” Live On Stage at the Canyon Theatre Guild

| SC Living | November 13, 2014

Santa Clarita residents, are you ready for a holiday miracle? This holiday season, the Canyon Theatre Guild will bring the iconic 1947 film, “Miracle on 34th Street” to life onstage. In this enduring holiday favorite, a cynical little girl named Susan meets a funny old man named Kris Kringle, who claims to be Santa Claus. Susan has been taught that the jolly old man doesn’t exist, but is drawn to the charming and loveable fella. When her mother, Doris Walker, hires Kris as the Macy’s holiday Santa and he becomes Susan’s neighbor, she gets to know this kind and funny old gentleman – and she begins to question her disbelief.

Kris eventually wins Susan over and we watch her blossom into a caring, joyous child. But – oh, no! A disdainful Macy’s vocational counselor plots to have Kris shanghaied to Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital, and Kris ends up in a court competency hearing. A small girl’s belief in Santa and the magic of the holiday is at stake in a climactic courtroom decision. In the end, this formerly cynical child and the funny old man named Kris Kringle teach a cold, materialistic world that, yes, there really is a Santa Claus and that the holiday season is not about how much and many. It’s about generosity of spirit, graciousness and caring for others, traits that always reward us heartily.

Miracle on 34th Street is a tale that we want to believe in. It creates hope. It gives us back our childhood knowing and fills us with that elusive feeling that miracles do indeed happen … right here in Santa Clarita. The cast is exemplary, the theatre fun and festive. So, bring your family to the Canyon Theatre Guild this December and become a part of this heartwarming holiday story.

Performances are Friday & Saturday at 8 p.m. on Nov. 28, 29, Dec. 6, 12, 13, 19, 20; Saturday & Sunday at 2 p.m. on Nov. 30, Dec. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21; weeknights at 7 p.m. on Dec. 16, 17, 18; and ​Sunday evening at 6 p.m. on Dec. 21. ​Tickets:​ Jrs/Srs – $17 and adults – $19. Call the Canyon Theatre Guild Box Office at 661-799-2702 for reservations.

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