Spring Art Festival and Sale at Le Chene

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | March 28, 2015

SAF photo (3)

SAF SP018The beauty of Le Chene French Cuisine, a Zagat-rated restaurant noted for its exotic foods, wines and setting SAF photo (4)outside of town, is amplified each year with the presence of artwork.

The Santa Clarita Artists’ Association will hold its 3rd annual Spring Art Festival and Sale on Sunday, April 26, 2015 from 10-4 p.m. at Le Chene. It is a one-day-only exhibit, which is free to the public and will include approximately 40 SCAA artists showing various art mediums in the garden level of the restaurant.

Art demonstrations are included in the festival with all pieces available for purchase. Proceeds to the non-profit organization, SCAA, will go to benefit a high school scholarship program and other art activities. An elegant brunch or lunch may be purchased at the restaurant during this show as well. Reservations for the restaurant are recommended at (661) 251-4315.

Le Chene French Cuisine is located at 12624 Sierra Highway in Agua Dulce.

For SCAA Festival inquiries call (661) 252-7639. Also visit www. Santaclaritaartists.org.scaa logo


Special Olympics Host Town Chair Jackie Hartmann

| Canyon Country Magazine, News | March 28, 2015

Some members of the Special Olympics Host Town organizing committee: (left to right) Tom Hartmann, Jackie Hartmann, Suzanne Vanvakaris, 
Maureen Spindt, Gary Spindt, Becky Sill and Mark Latner

In the days leading up to the Special Olympics World Games this summer, four delegations of international athletes will arrive and spend time in Santa Clarita. It’s a tall order – preparing for 150 individuals from other countries, housing and feeding them and providing amusement for them and their coaches.

But, don’t worry – if anyone can tackle the job, Canyon Country resident Jackie Hartmann can. She is the Special Olympics Host Town Chairperson for

Keri Hartmann helped her mother, Jackie, purchase 60 sets of sheets for the visiting Special Olympics athletes.

Keri Hartmann helped her mother, Jackie, purchase 60 sets of sheets for the visiting Special Olympics athletes.

Santa Clarita.

“There is a volunteer group of 15 that have worked together for the past six months to plan the activities, meals, sports training, transportation and accommodations for the 150 athletes that will be in Santa Clarita,” said Hartmann. “They will be staying at The Master’s College, who has been very welcoming and supportive. The committee has had to secure 150 sets of sheets, blankets, pillows and towels. Some have been bought while on sale, some donated, and some secured at estate sales. Right now my home is being taken over by linen!”

Santa Clarita will serve as a Host Town for individuals competing in the Games, held July 25-August 2, 2015, from El Salvador, Faroe Islands, Malaysia and the Philippines. More than 7,000 athletes from 177 countries will be welcomed to communities throughout Southern California. Those four delegations will spend July 21-24 in and around Santa Clarita as they become acclimated to the time zone and explore Santa Clarita.

“Each of the Host Towns were able to request the countries that they might like to host. I did some research and found that the City of Santa Clarita has two ‘sister’ cities, one in Equador and one in the Philippines. So, I requested those two countries,” said Hartmann. “We will be hosting the Philippines along with three other delegations, the Faroe Islands which has a population of 50,000 and is located between Norway and Iceland, Malaysia and El Salvador. We are so excited to learn about the culture of each of our delegations.”

The Host Town program in the SCV is a collaboration between the City of Santa Clarita, local sponsors and the local Host Town organizing committee of volunteers. Events are being planned for the athletes through raised sponsorship dollars. The activities include a dance party with local Santa Clarita Special Olympics athletes hosted by Real Life Church; a picnic at Six Flags Magic Mountain; prepping for their individual sports with personal trainers at Afterburn Fitness and The Master’s College; and participating in a parade inside Westfield Valencia Town Center. With support from The Master’s College, Lockheed AERO Club, American Trust Escrow, Real Life Church, Poole and Shaffery, LLP, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Afterburn Fitness, CAM Foundation and numerous individual donors, the Santa Clarita delegates will participate in a variety of special events planned just for them.

“There will be approximately 20 Master’s students who have volunteered to be with our athletes for the four days they are here, and then they will be volunteering at the World Games,” said Hartmann. “They are going to prepare the dorm rooms, handle daily cleaning, and assist the athletes with whatever they need. It will be a cultural diversity experience for the students.”

To learn more about how to get involved with the Santa Clarita Host Town, visit LA2015.org/host-town/santa-clarita.

“The Host Town program gives each community an opportunity to showcase to the world what makes them special, but more importantly to provide citizens with a better understanding of intellectual disabilities that will lead to acceptance and inclusion for all,” said Patrick McClenahan, president and CEO of LA2015. “Long after the World Games are over, the memories of those three days spent in the Host Towns will leave a lasting legacy for Special Olympics Southern California and everyone who was touched by our athletes. We are thankful to all participating Host Towns and their tireless volunteers for opening their doors – and their hearts – to our athletes and coaches.”

The Host Town program has been an important element of Special Olympics World Games since 1995. The experience has left a lasting impression on the local communities in Ireland, Japan, China, Greece, South Korea and the United States, all of which have previously organized Host Town programs as part of the Special Olympics World Games.

About the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015)
With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games – being staged in Los Angeles July 25 – August 2, 2015 – will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. The event will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region. The Opening Ceremony, to be held July 25, 2015 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators. For more information on the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.LA2015.org and on social media with #ReachUpLA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Canyon Country Business Briefs

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 27, 2015

City of Santa Clarita Logo web

The La Cocina restaurant under construction at the corner of Golden Valley Road and Sierra Highway is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
A total of 190 out of 315 units have been completed at Villa Metro near Saugus Speedway, across the street from the Santa Clarita Metrolink station. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
Construction of a 5,000-square-foot Toppers Pizza restaurant is set to begin at the intersection of Soledad Canyon Road and Sierra Highway.
The City Council approved a project to improve the appearance of center medians throughout the city by removing median turf and replacing it with more drought tolerant plants; however, Whites Canyon was excluded from these efforts.
A Whites Canyon Beautification Plan is in the works to enhance the medians along Whites Canyon Road. The project is currently in its outreach phases, with the city to host a workshop this spring for residents to learn more about current plans and provide feedback.
The newly constructed, 100,000-square-foot medical facility located at 17901 Soledad Canyon Road, next to Facey, remains for lease or sale as the project nears completion this spring. Work on the project, which began in 2007, was delayed due to impacts of the recession.
The city has completed initial community outreach efforts for the future 6.5-acre Canyon Country Community Center. A site planning workshop will be scheduled in late April, with the date and time to be determined.
The Vista Canyon development project, a 185-acre site near Lost Canyon Road and Sand Canyon Road, is set to break ground this spring. The project will include a 950,000-square-foot employment center and town center for the eastern Santa Clarita Valley, consisting of 1,100 dwelling units, a new Metrolink Station and Bus Transfer Station, a new city park and recreation facilities and amenities.
The city held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Golden Valley Bridge Widening over State Route 14 on March 18. The project is expected to be completed by summer of 2016.

These productions were filming in Canyon Country in the last quarter of 2014 through February 2015:

Student Films:
“The Safe Cracker” (New York Film Academy) – at a business on
Camp Plenty Road
“Lion of Judah” (USC) – at Pacific Crest Park

Reality Television:
“Tabloid” – at Dominique’s Jewelry and a Sand Canyon area home
“Killer Kids” – at Sand Canyon area homes
“Date My Truck” – at Rancho Deluxe and Sable Movie Ranch
“Utopia” – at Sable Movie Ranch

“Sons of Anarchy” – at a Sand Canyon area home
“The Review Show” – at Super 8 Motel
“Bones” – at Rancho Deluxe

Television Movie:
“The Arrangement” – at a Sand Canyon area home
“Deceived” – at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex and a Sand Canyon
area home

JC Penney – at a Sand Canyon area home
Verizon – at a Stetson Ranch area home
Motel 6 – at Alliance Gas Station
Subway – at the Soledad Canyon Road Subway
Hasbro – at Sable Movie Ranch
Nissan Cargo Van – at Fair Oaks Park
Liberty Bank – at Dominique’s Jewelry


End of the Trail Means Beginning of Changes

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 27, 2015

house on corner

When the City of Santa Clarita purchased a house in Sand Canyon this month, some residents saw it as a means of blazing new trails, while others viewed it as the end of the trail – literally.

The property on the southwest corner of Sand Canyon and Lost Canyon Road is situated in a prime spot for planned developmental changes in the area. A roundabout is slated for the four-way stop there, which is the edge of the Vista Canyon project, a development set to break ground this year. It is also a key parcel to join the Sand Canyon Master Trail with other City-owned space, likely to connect that community with other parts of the City.

“We’re very excited about it. It’s definitely going to enhance the multi-use trail plan and provide safer routes to school,” said Barbara Blankenship, the City of Santa Clarita’s acquisition specialist. “And it’ll be part of the intersection improvements there.”

The transaction came just weeks after a meeting was held by the Sand Canyon Community Board of Directors, which brought City officials and residents together to get the 20-year-old trails project back on the City’s radar.

“We’ve never abandoned these projects … it’s just timing,” said Blankenship. “So when the opportunity came up and someone put the house up for sale … we are vigilant about trying to get all this connectivity.”

The serendipitous timing joining demand with opportunity was noticed by more than one resident.

photo 2“When the house came on the market, several canyon folks whispered in my ear that SCHOA (Sand Canyon Homeowners Association) should buy it,” said Ruthann Levison, SCHOA board member. “Of course, SCHOA could not do that. So, I suggested to both (Council Members) Bob Kellar and Laurene Weste that the corner would make a great trailhead to connect our Sand Canyon Trail to the Open Space in Placerita Canyon, and that would benefit the entire eastern portion of our City. I also suggested to them that the planned roundabout for that corner would need more room – and then I prayed. The City & God both listened. The trails meeting brought the Sand Canyon Trail back on the radar screen, so it certainly didn’t hurt. End result: ‘home run!’”

Eventual construction on the newly purchased property will serve as part of the roundabout, also the Sand Canyon Trail plan, and the “overall beautification of that corner,” said Blankenship. “It’s the gateway into Sand Canyon. And having the two schools there, it definitely would benefit the traffic patterns.”

According to Blankenship, the design process has not been implemented yet; however, it is clear that, because the City does not typically have a use for a single family home, especially a structure built in the 1950s, big changes are ahead.

“There are some rough roundabout concept ideas,” said Blankenship. “We own six and a half acres on the north side across from the property. We’re just glad we own another property that includes the trail, includes the roundabout and improves traffic patterns, also providing safe rides to school.”



| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | March 27, 2015


While most people can come up with dozens of happy Christmas memories, it may take some time to recollect memorable Easter moments. But, it isn’t for lack of trying. Every year, Santa Clarita is host to numerous events to celebrate, such as Richard Rioux Park in Stevenson Ranch, where residents will gather on Easter Sunday, April 5 at 10 a.m. for a community Easter Egg Hunt, a live band, concession stands and a celebration of the meaning of Easter. The City of Santa Clarita always hosts the Eggstravaganza Easter Egg Hunt in Central Park in Saugus. This year it will be held the day before Easter at 10 a.m. And for water lovers, the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center will host its 7th Annual Splash & Dash Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 4 at 10 a.m.

quarterbethlehemAn even earlier hunt is held at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 27265 Luther Drive in Canyon Country. The 5th annual Eggventure Egg Hunt will take place from noon to 2pm on Saturday, March 28, 2015. The event is for toddlers up to 10-year-olds and there is no charge for the event, but donations of canned foods are welcomed on behalf of Help the Children, Santa Clarita.

For those of us who like to stay inside, there is always the prospect of an Easter movie marathon, especially with the prevalence of streaming practically anything we want into our homes. A quick search of favorite Easter films brings us back to oldies-but-goodies such as “The Robe” (1953), “Ben-Hur” (1959), “Jesus of Nazareth” (1977), “King of Kings” and many more.

The deepest meaning of Easter is, of course, its religious meaning as a Christian holiday. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, this year on March 29. It is a celebration that commemorates Jesus making his triumphal entrance into Jerusalem a week before his crucifixion. It comes from the Bible, in the book of John, chapter 12, verse 13. Worshipers wave palm fronds in recognition of the ones placed in Jesus’ path when he rode the donkey into Jerusalem. While it is a less common practice, some churches save the palms and burn them the next year on Ash Wednesday, which is the day that launches the Season of Lent.

Easter Sunday is, of course, the big day. But, wait – there are a few more important days first. Three days before Easter is Maundy Thursday, which commemorates the Last Supper. That is the last time Jesus sits with his disciples before he is arrested and crucified. Next is Good Friday, of course, when Jesus was crucified and buried.

On the third day Jesus arose, which is a phrase you hear on Easter Sunday, which is usually the Sunday with the highest church attendance, by the way. It is the pinnacle of the Christian faith, that Jesus is the Christ and was resurrected that day. It is debated as to which actual date or time of year it occurred (just like Christmas), but the commemoration remains the same. The story of Easter is found in the book of Mark, chapter 16. There is probably no better time to read the account than the Season of Lent. Happy Easter!sixthhopevineyardhalfhotc


Unintended Medical Consequences of Teen Drinking As if Dying isn’t Enough

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 19, 2015

teen drinking

by Cary Quashen

According to the medical journal Lancet, a study commissioned by the British Centre for Crime and Justice Studies found that alcohol is more dangerous than illegal drugs like heroin and crack cocaine. Experts evaluated substances including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana, ranking them based on how destructive they are to the individual who takes them and to society as a whole.

Researchers analyzed how addictive a drug is and how it harms the human body, in addition to other criteria like environmental damage caused by the drug, its role in breaking up families, and its economic costs, such as health care, social services and prison. Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamines, or crystal meth, were the most lethal to individuals. When considering their wider social effects and harm to others, alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the deadliest. But overall, alcohol outranked all other substances, followed by heroin and crack cocaine. Marijuana, ecstasy and LSD scored far lower.

When drunk in excess, alcohol damages nearly all organ systems. It is also connected to higher death rates and is involved in a greater percentage of crime than most other drugs, including heroin.

By now you are wondering why I am sharing this information with you. As a high risk teen counselor, I know alcohol is a drug of abuse. And our teens are drinking. One only needs to walk though Santa Clarita’s Youth Grove Memorial at Central Park to see how many teens and young adults were killed as a result of impaired drinking –theirs or someone else’s. And if you visit my adolescent intensive outpatient programs and residential treatment centers, you will understand that alcohol is a drug as surely as cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana and other drugs of abuse.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, alcohol use by persons under age 21 years is a major public health problem. Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States, more than tobacco and illicit drugs, and is responsible for more than 4,300 annual deaths among underage youth. Although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years old drink 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States. More than 90 percent of this alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinks. On average, underage drinkers consume more drinks per drinking occasion than adult drinkers. In 2013, there were approximately 200,000 emergency room visits by persons under age 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol.

Drinking Levels among Youth
The 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that, among high school students, during the past 30 days:
35% drank some amount of alcohol
21% binge drank
10% drove after drinking alcohol
22% rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol

In 2013, the Monitoring the Future Survey reported that 28 percent of eighth graders and 68 percent of 12th graders had tried alcohol, and 10 percent of eighth graders and 39 percent of 12th graders drank during the past month.

The Teenage Brain and Alcohol
A person’s brain does not stop developing until his or her early- to mid-20s, and adding alcohol to the mix is a recipe for disaster.

The brain goes through numerous changes during adolescence, and alcohol can seriously damage long- and short-term growth processes. Frontal lobe development and the refinement of pathways and connections continue into the mid-20s. Damage from alcohol at this time can be long-term and irreversible. In addition, short-term or moderate drinking can impair learning and memory far more in youth than in adults. Adolescents need only drink half as much as adults to suffer the same negative effects.

Here are some quick facts about alcohol use and the developing brain:
Alcohol impacts both behavior and brain function differently in adolescents and adults.
Adolescents are more vulnerable than adults to the effects of alcohol on learning and memory.
Alcohol affects the sleep cycle, resulting in impaired learning and memory, as well as disrupted release of hormones necessary for growth and maturation.
Alcohol affects all parts of the brain, which affects coordination, emotional control, thinking, decision-making, hand-eye movement, speech and memory.
Adolescent drinkers perform worse in school, are more likely to fall behind and have an increased risk of social problems, depression, suicidal thoughts and violence.
Binge drinking is extremely dangerous for adolescents, given that their brains are especially vulnerable to alcohol-related damage.
People who begin drinking in their early teens are not only at greater risk for developing alcoholism sometime in their lives, they are also at greater risk for developing alcoholism more quickly and at younger ages, especially chronic, relapsing alcoholism.
Need I say more? Let’s stop teen drinking. Beyond being illegal, it’s killing our kids.

Cary Quashen is a nationally recognized drug educator and intervention specialist. He is the founder of the Action Family Foundation Parent and Teen  Support Group Programs, and the Action Family Counseling Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs.


New Business: Phat & Juicy

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 19, 2015


by Martha Michael

Christopher Champion, his wife Kenya and son Christopher

Christopher Champion, his wife Kenya and son Christopher

Entrepreneur Brings Burgers
Has Chicken & Waffles on the Back Burner

The latest restaurant opening proves that Canyon Country is on the front burner, as far as the City of Santa Clarita is concerned. Phat & Juicy, a successful hamburger eatery, used to serve it up in Valencia, but made its comeback on the east side of the SCV.

“The City had asked me if I’d be interested in bringing the business back,” said Christopher Champion, who owns Phat & Juicy with his wife, Kenya. “We really needed something like this. We felt we had a really good business to bring to Canyon Country.”

And Champion knows the business. Phat & Juicy’s has been open at the Inglewood location since 1986.

“It’s homemade taste at a fast food pace,” said Champion. “Just like grandma would do it.”

Many of Phat & Juicy’s unique burger combinations, such as the “Grandma Burger,” which includes a mixture of bell peppers, onions and egg, really are family recipes. The idea for the business came naturally, a couple of decades ago when Champion was working in the music industry.

“One day my dad and I were driving around wondering where we could get a nice, juicy burger,” said Champion. “Then we thought, ‘Why don’t we just make our own?’”

Phat & Juicy staff members order fresh meat and produce every day, and they make their own seasoning and make homemade chili that Champion hopes to market.

“Eventually we’re going to go retail with it,” he said.

The restaurant’s top seller is the “King Burger,” its popularity drawing customers from Palmdale and other locations outside the SCV.

“Even the ‘little old lady from Pasadena’ orders that burger,” said Champion.

Another favorite is the “Royal Burger” and the “Grandma Burger,” which is a big seller “because it’s something different you can’t get everywhere,” said the business owner.

Phat & Juicy has healthier fare as well, such as turkey burgers and turkey chili, some of which “costs” only six points for customers on Weight Watchers.

Champion grew up in South Los Angeles and lived in New York; he has worked as a DJ and previously owned a chicken franchise, among other careers.

“I’ve always been entrepreneurial,” he said. “My father was a hard working country boy. I was the first to be an entrepreneur.”

It has always been important for Champion to give to the community. While living in New York, he created and contributed to opportunities for inner city youth, mostly sports and scholarship programs.

“We found a way in Brooklyn to keep kids positive,” he said. “It was our way of giving back a little bit.”

The Inglewood Phat & Juicy does catering for a lot of inner city programs, and Champion plans to make sure the newest restaurant offers something extra to the Santa Clarita community. He has lived in the SCV for more than 10 years, and his nine-year-old son, also named Christopher, is active in school and sports in Valencia.

Now making an impact in Canyon Country, Champion hopes the location of his new business, including the exposure on the corner of busy streets Soledad Canyon Road and Sierra Highway, will mean he can serve up fresh food to a growing crowd.

Phat & Juicy has a bigger plan to make that happen. Start lining up for chicken and waffles.

Phat & Juicy is located at 27598 Sierra Highway in Canyon Country; (661) 673-5898.


Gorgeous Water-Wise Gardens

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 19, 2015


by Jane Gates
jane1Don’t let the drought make you give up on your landscape. Believe it or not, the weather changes are allowing us to open our minds about gardening possibilities here in the inland chaparral of Santa Clarita. A new type of gardening can not only help us save on water use, lower utility bills and reduce maintenance, but it can help us create a gorgeous garden.

Now that drought-tolerant gardening is finally becoming an acceptable landscape practice, climate impact is demanding even more from the home gardener. The image of desert rock-and-cactus landscaping still garners the winning image of water-wise gardens, but doesn’t appeal to everyone. Others may not be fond of the newer wild California, Mediterranean or Texas native-look. There are a fair number of books available to offer local (and imported) plant varieties to help open the mind. And the latest wisdom for saving water has us busy removing lawns. (And although we may be programmed to think of the emerald sward of lawn as being beautiful, the truth is that it is downright boring when compared to so many other things we could be doing in our gardens!)

Now it’s time to go one step further. To really save on water (money, waste and upkeep), we need to become more imaginative. That means adding more jane3than plants to our artistic palette. And there are limitless materials that can be used with or without planting material to turn a garden into an eye-catching painting that is both low (or even devoid of) water and easy maintenance. In this day of too-little-time-to-garden, easy maintenance is crucial to bringing back people – especially the younger generations – to the garden and landscape design.

It’s time to recycle junk into art, add rock, metal, gravel and tumbled glass as ground-covers, explore drought-tolerant plants from all over the world, and convert unused space into fun or functional areas – sports, entertainment, meditation, child play and much more – that will need no irrigation or fussing. Add a splash of fun with creativity and a few less-conventional materials and we might even have a mind-changing way to make our properties into pieces of art that are useful with minimal upkeep!

jane2Here are some ways you can enjoy making your landscape
Design your landscape to match the local environment.
Participate in gardening; don’t just turn on technology. Gardening is rewarding in many ways and it’s good for your health!
Stop and appreciate the magic and beauty of your natural surroundings. Observation can help us see how well organized and thrifty Mother Nature is with water distribution. And it’s fun!
Apply water to areas that are useful and productive, then turn the rest off!
Add reminders: alarms and timers will help you avoid accidental floods when using a hose.
Mulch the top of your soil. Mulches, whether bark, stone or anything else, can slow water evaporation, while making your garden more attractive, suppressing weeds and protecting plants from extreme temperature changes, as well as helping to hold water in the soil for plant roots.
Add features to your garden that require no water, like patios, walkways or a dry riverbed.
Choose decorative plants that require minimal water, like natives or Mediterranean or Australian plants.
Check out the newest inventions to help minimize water use, like weather-based irrigation controllers, drip irrigation systems, low volume sprinklers and more.
Decorate your garden with water-catching devices like rain barrels or cisterns to take advantage of any rainfall we do get.
Call for an expert for new ideas or feedback on your own ideas.


College of the Canyons has “Measure M” Bond Audit Affirmed

| Canyon Country Magazine | February 23, 2015


The Santa Clarita Community College District’s Measure M community oversight committee voted to accept the results of an independent audit of the college’s Measure M general obligation bond funds.

The audit confirmed the college spent funds as authorized in the bond approved by voters, and did so in compliance with all laws and accountability measures set forth in Proposition 39, the California Constitution, and mandated by California education code.

As well, the audit verified that bond funds were not spent on general administration or operational costs.

“For eight years running College of the Canyons has earned a clean Measure M audit, reinforcing its reputation for appropriately managing its bond funds,” said Sharlene Coleal, assistant superintendent/vice president of business services at the college.

Local voters approved the $160 million general obligation bond Measure M in November, 2006. 

Since its passage, Measure M bond funds have been used on a wide variety of major facilities projects and campus expansions at the college including the construction of the Canyon Country campus and the creation of the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center.

Other projects include the construction of the Applied Technology Education Center (ATEC) at the Canyon Country campus, the dramatic expansions of Mentry Hall and the Library/TLC (The Learning Center) at the Valencia campus, and the recently completed Canyons Hall student services/administration building and College of the Canyons Institute for Culinary Education.

The college’s next phase of bond-funded construction is scheduled to take place in Canyon Country and includes plans for the campus’ next three permanent buildings. 

With resources available from Measure M, the college has already secured the money needed to qualify for state-matched funding that will jumpstart construction in Canyon Country. However, future construction plans are contingent on the state placing a statewide facilities construction bond on a future ballot. Efforts are under way in the Legislature to do so in November 2016.

The District currently has $20 million in bonds to be issued at a future date, after issuing $80 million in bonds in May 2007, $35 million in bonds in May 2012, and $25 million in bonds in September 2014 (after the audit was performed).

By supplementing the bond funds with earned interest and roughly $132.6 million in state match and other sources of construction funding, an estimated total of $303.3 million in projects are planned.

“We are proud of our record of clean audits, which confirm that we continue to deliver on the promises made to voters when they approved the bond,” College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook said. “Santa Clarita expects us to create a college that is capable of delivering cutting-edge education and training that allows students to achieve their goals. We’re exceeding their expectations through the resources they entrusted to us through Measure M.”

Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Co. LLP, conducted both financial and performance audits, covering the fiscal year ended on June 30, 2014. 

In its report the firm noted no adjustments, audit findings, questioned costs, or instances of noncompliance associated with the bond — further confirming that all funds have been spent appropriately. 

The firm issued an unmodified opinion, the best rating possible.

The audits were presented to the district’s Measure M Citizens Oversight Committee at its January 15 meeting.

For more information about Measure M or the district’s Measure M Citizens 
Oversight Committee, visit www.canyons.edu/Offices/PIO/MeasureM/.


Focus SCV Active Sports Apparel

| Canyon Country Magazine | February 23, 2015

focus front

by Martha Michael
If you looked through a lens at Canyon Country’s retail landscape, you would see something new come into view. Focus SCV opened recently in the Edwards Cinema shopping center, bringing to the east side of the valley a supply of clothes and accessories for the active young adult and teen crowd.

“We are a lifestyle apparel store with an emphasis on skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, etc.,” said store owner Christopher Duran. “There is nothing like this type of store over here. Active, Val Surf – they’re on the west side of the valley. Now the kids have somewhere to come to; they don’t have to drive to the mall.”

A few of the new action sports shop’s biggest sellers so far are Primitive skateboards and Oakley sunglasses, but largely, Focus is a small chain of stores promoting the Focus Apparel line of clothing, a company based in Oxnard, Calif.

“I don’t own Focus Apparel, I met them through working in the business. They are professional snowboarders, professional skateboarders, professional motorcycle riders,” explained Duran. “They approached me and, in collaboration with them, I promote Focus Apparel.”

Duran established the new shop in a center with a lot of foot traffic, especially with the movie theatre as an anchor.

“It’s a tough process (choosing a location). We wanted somewhere with high traffic. We felt this was the best shopping center, close to Canyon (High School), close to Golden Valley,” said Duran.

The store owner likes his retail neighbors and hopes to partner with them to host events. He already knew a few of the other retailers, such as the owner of California Vape and George Thomas, owner of Route 66 Classic Grill.

“I grew up playing baseball with George’s kids,” said Duran. “In the summertime I’d like to work together with Route 66, Cupid’s, Oggi’s, Cali Vape, and Sandy (of Studio Bijoux) … and Dickey’s Barbecue just opened up here.”

Focus is hosting a skateboard competition (tentatively set for March 7, pending approval) in the parking lot. “We’ll bring our pro skaters, Focus sponsors, invite local kids … we’d like to hold one once every month or couple of months,” said Duran.

Duran grew up in Canyon Country and attended Pinetree Community Elementary School. “I’ve lived in Santa Clarita since 1996, and I’ve seen the city grow a lot,” said Duran. “This is a local store, we’re friends with the community.”

Duran has sales experience of his own, plus he’s tapping the guidance of a friend who owned a store in the mall and has managed both Active and Val Surf. “He’s giving me a little bit of guidance,” said Duran. “We call him ‘Boss.’”

With a little help from his friends, Duran is creating more definition for Focus SCV, coming into greater contact with the kids and young adults of the community, while Canyon Country residents watch it take shape.

Focus SCV is located at 18718 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country. Store hours are: Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (661) 713-8016 or visit www.focusapparel.com.

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