Canyon Country History Minute

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 19, 2016


Until 1945, teenagers from Santa Clarita traveled to the San Fernando Valley for high school. The 27-acre William S. Hart High School in Newhall was the first secondary school built in the SCV. Canyon Country residents attended Hart until 1968, when Canyon High School was built on Nadal Road in the North Oaks section of town (pictured at right). Golden Valley High School was built in 2004, graduating its first class in 2007.

Read more local history in the book “Canyon Country” by Martha Michael & released by Arcadia Publishing. It is available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Sam’s Club, Costco and ArcadiaPublishing.com.

School of Thought

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 14, 2016


Many, if not the majority, of local families say they settled in Santa Clarita for the quality of its public schools. But it is easy to overlook the fact that there are other choices for residents of the Santa Clarita Valley. From Santa Clarita Christian in Canyon Country to Albert Einstein Academy, which reaches from Valencia to Agua Dulce, there are thousands of students in classrooms outside the public school districts’ traditional neighborhood schools.
The Gorman Learning Center, a California public charter school – not a private, for-profit institution – opened its Santa Clarita Resource Center in Sand Canyon this month. Formerly the campus of Pinecrest School, the property was purchased by Dale Donohoe of Intertex and is now the home of Gorman Learning Center, which was founded in 1999. The charter school is not classroom-based and serves students in Los Angeles, Kern and San Bernardino counties. Home school families or those looking for alternative education make up its student population.
“Gorman has been serving students locally since its formation and proudly meets the growing demand for individualized schooling that is parent and student led,” said David Akers, president of the board of directors for Gorman Learning Center. “The Gorman model is a great alternative for the traditional home school family, young people with demanding schedules in entertainment and the arts or sports, or any student for whom the typical classroom based model is not a good fit.”
Offering “personalized learning,” GLC opened the resource center at the beginning of the month and expect to expand the school’s reach to include students in the San Fernando Valley and beyond.
“What’s great about the Resource Center is that while all students have a dedicated, state certified teacher guiding their studies, some choose to further enrich their learning at the center through one-on-one tutoring, instruction in performance and fine arts, and specialized teaching in high math, language, and science,” Akers said. Interested families can reach Gorman at 661-600-7276.
Another alternative to the public school system is Trinity Classical Academy. “Most parents don’t think they have any ‘choice’ when it comes to their child’s education,” said Wally Caddow, managing director of Trinity, a school with a Biblical worldview. “One picks a geographic location to hopefully ensure their children go to a good school. The past few decades has seen an increase in private school enrollment as more families become disillusioned with the culture and performance of many public schools. Private schools offer a unique level of investment, engagement and accountability that is typically not found in public schools.”
One religious school in the San Fernando Valley has been the choice for many families in Santa Clarita – Bishop Alemany High School.
“I believe that Catholic schools are the best choice for every child because it promotes discipline, faith and excellence,” explained Miguel J. Fletcher, MBA, director of marketing at Alemany. “These are core values and beliefs that every child should have. A child’s intellectual curiosity will be fostered and developed in our Catholic schools, which is key.”
Alemany has a global focus, serving a diverse community. There are students from China, France and Korea, among other countries.
“At Alemany we teach social justice and serving others. We have many students that are from other religions that attend our school,” said Fletcher, who calls Alemany the “premier Catholic high school in the San Fernando Valley.” “Parents want the best learning environment for their kids, and Catholic high schools are leading the way.”
Charter schools are public schools, explains the California Charter Schools Association website. “They are non-sectarian, tuition-free and open to any student who wishes to attend. Charter schools allow parents, teachers and the community to transform our public school system,” the site says.
Whatever your viewpoint, Santa Clarita parents do have choices when it comes to the education of their children. If going beyond the reach of your neighborhood public school is something that has your interest, the best advice may seem obvious – do your homework.

27th SCAA Art Classic at Hart Park

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 14, 2016

scaa logo

For almost 30 years, the Santa Clarita Artists’ Association has celebrated the talent of local artists at an annual gala. This year, the community is invited to enjoy the event with the non-profit group at Hart Hall on Saturday, October 15, 2016. The 27th annual Art Classic fine arts competition is presented by the SCAA and the County of Los Angeles. The gala’s venue, Hart Hall, is located inside William S. Hart Park in Newhall and will be held from 1:30-5 p.m. The doors will open for two periods of free viewing for the public on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and Sunday, October 16 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Gala guests will spend the afternoon viewing the art competition and nibbling on complimentary food and beverages, with musical entertainment by Jimmy Carnelli (See: http://www.jimmycarnellientertainment.com/ ).

Approximately 100 artists will be displaying their best work and awards will be presented that afternoon in all categories. There will also be a raffle for Fine Dining in Santa Clarita and a silent auction. In addition, an original artwork will be given to one lucky guest as a door prize drawing.

The mission of the Santa Clarita Artists’ Association is Making Visual Arts Visible, to promote the visual arts within the Santa Clarita Valley and to encourage members and the community to develop their artistic talents. SCAA offers three scholarships each year to promising high school art students. Additional funds raised at this event supports other art enrichment programs.

Tickets for the gala on Saturday afternoon are $25 each. For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.santaclaritaartists.org or call Cathy King at 661-607-6638.

View of Vista Canyon

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 14, 2016

vista canyon 2 (2)

“We are working on things every day!!” said Jim Backer, head of JSB Development, in an email requesting an update on the Vista Canyon project.

The community witnessed Backer getting the go-ahead last year, when the landscape started changing in the area between Lost Canyon, Sand Canyon and Soledad Canyon roads. Vista Canyon is a 185-acre mixed-use building project bringing retail, office space, housing and transit to the east end of the Santa Clarita Valley. Included in the project is a 10-acre city park with a River Education Center.

Phase I grading and infrastructure improvements are 90 percent complete, according to the developer. Residents can look for the second phase of improvements to continue, which is now approximately 50 percent complete and should be finished by the end of the year.

The fires caused a slight delay for the project – just a few days due to the shutdown of roads around the property, Backer said.

“We were grateful for the great work by the fire department to protect and preserve Sand Canyon and Fair Oaks Ranch surrounding us,” he said.

Currently, JSB Development has a number of plans submitted to the City of Santa Clarita for buildings that will begin construction in the fourth quarter of this year and into the next year.

Water and Vista Canyon
Visit the Vista Canyon website, VistaCanyon.com, and click on “What’s New.” You’ll get a play-by-play, mostly discussing water, which is a big issue, of course. What the website explains in recent posts is that water still surges beneath the ground along the Santa Clara River, though it looks completely dry to the onlooker. When Vista Canyon is completed, the project aims to educate the community and its visitors about the history, both physically, and in terms of its inhabitants.

A water reclamation center is one of the first things slated for completion. “Smart from the start!” is the cry from JSB Development, with a claim that Vista Canyon is the first new planned community in Los Angeles County to have a water recycling plant on-site to meet all of the community’s non-potable water needs. It will ultimately produce nearly 400,000 gallons of recycled water per day.

The developer calls it a “water factory,” where it will supply resources for landscaping, irrigation and other non-potable uses. The plan enables the plant to create more water than needed and, thus, provide water to other end users.

Donations Sought for Valley View Community Playground

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 13, 2016


The community is invited to be a part of a building effort in the Sulphur Springs Union School District. Children with severe needs within the district attend Valley View Community School, and the playground’s design should show it, say some community leaders.

Sulphur Springs Union School District Superintendent Dr. Catherine Kawaguchi gave a presentation to the SCV Rotary Club last month explaining the need for a universally designed play area. District leaders are applying the 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design™ to the project, which expands accessibility to people of all abilities and encourages physical and social activity through inclusive play.

The aim is for a play space with a developmentally appropriate design to address the needs of the whole child. There are several proposed designs for possible installation on the playground.

A 10-Panel A-Maze Funstation would provide tactile and sensory stimulation to engage young children, featuring interactive panels with motion and sound.

Tilt-N-Twirl would provide motion activities to develop kinesthetic awareness, hand-eye coordination and balance.

Stratascend Climber would create a place for peer interaction and social games while fostering whole-body muscular strength and flexibility.

Climb and Discover Cave would enable climbing and crawling adventures, designed for 6-month-old to 23-month-old children.

Sign Language Panel would allow children to gain awareness and learn some sign language in order to communicate with those who have auditory challenges.

Ship’s Wheel Panel would encourage imaginative play through interactive motion and visual elements.

Earth Awareness Panel would provide a template for children to learn about the world, supporting geography curricula including knowledge about continents.

Double Trapeze Rings would promote lateral movement, enhance hand-eye coordination and provide challenging ways for children to increase upper body strength.

Telephone Tubes would provide youngsters with a playground communication game while promoting social and emotional development.

Drum Panel would introduce music and sound to children, providing opportunities for students who are nonverbal to experiment with sound, engage with others and explore with cause and effect.

Button Step would provide a way to link components and offer a wide stepping surface that presents opportunities for balance and a sense of challenge.

Valley View is the site where all students with severe handicaps attend, from preschool through sixth grade. The Sulphur Springs Union School District is soliciting donations from members of the community to assist with purchasing the remaining play equipment for the children.

Contributions of $1,000 or greater receive their names on a dedication plaque. For more information, contact the District through the website: http://www.sssd.k12.ca.us/pages/SSSD.

Bow-Wows & Meows Pet Fair Brings Pets and Adopting Families Together

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 13, 2016

bow wow1

Hundreds of dogs, cats, kittens, and puppies will be available for adoption at the 16th Annual Bow-Wows & Meows Pet Fair next month. And the cost is as low as $30.

The pet fair will be held at William S. Hart Park in Newhall on Sunday, October 9 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The 2016 fair is sponsored by Ingolstadt West German Auto Specialists, Animal Medical Center, Pets-Global, Valencia Veterinary Center, and Scorpion.

All six Los Angeles County Animal Shelters will be offering discounted adoption fees of just $30 and their veterinary team will be on hand to answer questions from new adopters. Additional adoptions will also be available from Best Friends Animal Society – Los Angeles, St. Bonnie’s Sanctuary, New Leash On Life and Boxer Rescue Los Angeles (adoption fees and policies vary).

Every L.A. County pet is spayed or neutered, immunized and microchipped, and ready to go home immediately. Adopters receive a special, complimentary goody bag for their new family member, compliments of Bow-Wows & Meows sponsors and vendors.

“Adoption is the most humane way to bring home a new best friend and it’s the most cost-effective, too,” said Yvonne Allbee, founder of Bow-Wows & Meows, Inc. “Most of the dogs and cats at the fair were once part of a family, so they acclimate really well to being in a home again.”

Since it began in 2001, the Valencia-based Bow-Wows & Meows, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, has adopted out close to 1,900 pets at its annual fairs.

In 2015, Bow-Wows & Meows had a record-breaking 200 adoptions and Allbee hopes the fair exceeds that number this year. “Our goal is to send all the shelter trucks back empty at the end of the day,” Allbee said. “With the community’s help, we can make that happen.”

bow wowAdoptable_Kitten


Entrance to the family-friendly fair is free and activities include:

Agility entertainment from Disc Dogs at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
The Famous Fun Dog Show, with categories ranging from best vocalist and mystery mutt to pet-owner look-alike at 1:30 p.m. (Contestants can pre-register online via Facebook page at BWMPetFair).
Personalized ID tags and children’s bracelets
Huge “Super Raffle” with prizes at just $1 per ticket
Food Truck Court with dining options (including vegan and vegetarian)
Pet photographer & artists
Shopping opportunities ranging from premium pet food to fantastic pet accessories
Low-cost vaccines from TAGS (free Rabies shots)
Pet license renewals

Free parking on the grounds of Hart Park will be provided for the second consecutive year, thanks to parking sponsor Ingolstadt West German Auto Specialists in Canoga Park. Shuttles will transport guests to the fair entrance. Leashed, well-behaved dogs of all breeds are welcome to ride and attend with their owners.

Local pet lovers can help the fair succeed by spreading the word about Bow-Wows & Meows via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BWMPetFair), Instagram (bowwowspetfair) or Twitter (@BowWowsPetFair).

“Social media makes a big impact by bringing more adopters to the fair, helping us save as many lives as possible,” Allbee said.

Volunteers are also needed to help pass out posters and flyers in the community prior to the fair. For more information, please visit www.BowWowsAndMeows.org or email info@bowwowsandmeows.org.

Canyon Country Business Briefs

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 12, 2016

Film-reel web

Citywide Film Statistics
In July, the City of Santa Clarita issued 45 film permits, which contributed to 108 film days, generating an estimated economic impact of $2,751,000.

The following productions were filming in Canyon Country in July 2016.
Television Shows:
Blood Relatives – at Sand Canyon area homes
People Magazine Investigates – at an area home
Santa Clarita Diet – at an area home and Canyon High School
Shooter – at Sand Canyon area homes
Three Days to Live – at an area home
Television Movie:
The Wedding Do Over – at an area home
Still Photo:
Just Fabulous – at Sable Ranch

Upcoming Events
Canyon Country Community Center
“Dan The Magic Man” Family Night (All ages)
The Canyon Country Community Center invites you to a family magic show with Dan The Magic Man (Dan Jordan) featuring illusions, comedy magic, doves, and a magic bunny. This show will provide amusement and enjoyment for the young and the young-at-heart!
Friday, September 9
Seating at 7:00 p.m.
Show starts at 7:30 p.m.
FREE to Canyon Country Community Center members
Membership is free. Visit Santa-Clarita.com/CCCC to download a membership form and submit the completed form to Canyon Country Community Center for processing.

Santa Clarita Public Library
Unwind and Color
This adult coloring program is a relaxing and therapeutic way to de-stress while being creative. Coloring pages are provided.
Every Thursday
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
2nd Annual Author Dinner
The Friends of Santa Clarita Public Library are hosting their 2nd Annual Author Dinner featuring mystery authors. Tickets are $35, or $25 with a Friends of the Library membership and includes a catered dinner. Tickets are available at all three Santa Clarita Public Library Branches.
Saturday, September 24, 2016
6:00 p.m.
Old Town Newhall Library

Canyon Country Adult Book Club
Adult readers meet monthly to discuss books from all different genres and styles. This month’s selection is “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. Copies of the book are available at the Reference Desk.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
6:15 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Canyon Country Meeting Room

Teen Advisory Board Meeting (Teens Grades 7-12)
Make your voice heard! Be part of your local Teen Advisory Board. The Teen Advisory Board helps shape teen services at the library, provides leadership skills, and volunteer service hours. TAB meetings are held monthly during the school year, September through May (unless otherwise noted).
TAB members will assist in designing and implementing exciting library programs with other local teens in grades 7-12.
Friday, September 9, 2016
4:30 p.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Canyon Country Meeting Room

Visit www.santaclaritalibrary.com/ for more information and to view a complete listing of activities happening, including fall programming for children and teens at the Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library.

Hoefflin Foundation Hosts 23rd Annual Evening Under the Stars

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 12, 2016


The annual fundraiser for a local charity benefiting kids with cancer will move back to its previous event venue this year. The Michael Hoefflin Foundation’s Evening Under the Stars will take place on September 17 at the Mann Biomedical Park, located at 25104 Rye Canyon Loop in Valencia.

The gala always includes a large number of silent auction items and a live auction for the diners as well. Auction items this year include Dodgers Dugout tickets, a Michael Jordan signed shoe, a Sprinter van and driver for a week and a special escape weekend.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. Registration opens at 5:30 p.m. and dinner is served at 7:15 p.m.

The evening of dining, auction and entertainment accounts for nearly half of the non-profit’s operating budget. It plays a critical role in raising funds to help drive the foundation’s mission to provide support to children and their families facing the emotional and financial difficulties of pediatric cancer.

To attend An Evening Under the Stars,
call (661) 250-4100 or visit www.mhf.org.

Whole in One

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 12, 2016

RR during fire3

Robinson Ranch Plans One 18-Hole Course

For most people in Canyon Country, “getting back on the green” has had nothing to do with golf. After years of drought, followed by the fires of July, the natural surroundings have become a bit of an eyesore.

No one knows that better than Robinson Ranch Golf Club in Sand Canyon.

They shut down the “Mountain” course due to drought conditions before the fires, so it has become almost “useless,” aside from being home to a lot of wildlife. But in a strange twist, it’s the lakes on the course that provided firefighters with water to fight nearby flames. Homeowners near Robinson Ranch watched as helicopters lowered to fill hoses with water and ascended again to drop it on the nearby hills.

And in another twist, the fire didn’t descend upon the already-closed Mountain course (which would have been convenient), but instead, did damage to the healthier fairways and greens at Robinson Ranch – the “Valley” course.
“That fire did a toll on half of our golf course,” said Mark Kagaoan, head golf professional at Robinson Ranch.

Rewind back to the creation of the Sand Canyon area golf course. “When the designers designed this golf course there was a big lawsuit (between) Castaic Lake Water Agency and Robinson,” Kagaoan said, referring to a battle over hook up fees that left the golf course reliant on mostly well water. “Because of the drought, our well was really low.”

So management decided to channel its resources to the Valley course and cease to maintain the 18-hole Mountain course.

“Our goal was, number one, to have a good product to give our guests,” Kagaoan said, who has been at Robinson for 11 years. “It was going well, until a month later when the fire hit.”

Charlie Kong was interviewed for the job of general manager two days before the fire, Kagaoan said. The day Kong was supposed to meet the owner was the following Tuesday, and firefighters were still on scene at Robinson.

When the smoke cleared, and it was apparent that part of Robinson Ranch was burned, neighborhood rumblings cropped up, with homeowners wondering what would happen to the already declining business.

“Our reputation has diminished because of the drought,” Kagaoan admitted. “(The courses on the west side) have the luxury of recycled and reclaimed water. We don’t.”

The good news for people who live near Robinson Ranch is that management is regrouping and remodeling. They are planning an 18-hole “desert concept golf course,” according to Kagaoan. They are also doing an overhaul of the food services department, including Plexiglas around the patio for greater use during strong winds and inclement weather.

“We’re making the restaurant and the bar area more functional,” Kagaoan said. “We have the most beautiful clubhouse. Some of the concerns were we were always closed because we were such a busy wedding and event venue.”

They have two designated areas in case the restaurant is occupied by an event. One is the patio area, plus they are prepared to transform the downstairs grill into something a little more upscale for Sycamore Bar & Grill diners. They have hired a new executive chef, the golf pro said, named Cristian Ruelas.

“We need a restaurant,” Kagaoan said. “We need this out here.”

Dining is one thing, but what’s new for golfers?

“We now have a team in place where we are all on the same page. It’s all positive,” Kagaoan said. “There was such negativity before. The owner loves the golf course so much. The insurance is helping, plus he’s doing a capital investment to make this golf course better.”

The managing owner is Steve Kim, one of multiple Robinson Ranch investors.

“He is a golfer, he loves golf. He wants this place to succeed,” said the head golf pro.

Kim has, basically, handed the redesign to Mark Kagaoan and Charlie Kong.

“As a golf professional, I’ve never been on that side … but you know more than anyone else what your members want,” Kagaoan said. “With the blessing of the owner, we’re doing a complete desert concept. He said, ‘You guys know the golf business.’”

Kagaoan and Kong hired O & J Golf Construction, a company Kong had worked with before, and has a reputation for renovating high-profile courses.

“We want a golf course that’s not messing up the integrity of the golf course, Ted Robinson’s design,” Kagaoan said. “We’re changing the drought area, changing it so it’s visually better. We’re putting waste bunkers with decomposed granite, cactus. … It’s going to be desert golf in the forest – Angeles National Forest – right here in L.A. County.”

Kagaoan considers the experience having a hand in bringing a golf course back to life “priceless.” Kong has done similar work before at a previous course, and it was his idea to contract with O & J.

And in case you thought the team of three – Kim, Kong and Kagaoan – was short of a foursome, they have Theresa Coleman, the new superintendent at Robinson Ranch. Her duties include maintaining the course.

“She’s done an amazing job, especially after the fire,” Kagaoan said.

What will become of the former Mountain course?
“We have no plans,” Kagaoan said. “On our driveway we’re putting in trees to block it.”

The team originally planned to turn Mountain’s 18th hole into a short game facility, but decided against it. After the fire destroyed nine holes on the Valley course, they considered just letting golfers play the front nine twice while they worked on the back nine. But Kim wanted all 18 to match, so redesigning the whole course entered the plan.

The team decided to maintain the 18-hole golf course they had, but newly designed. Kagaoan noted that Robinson Ranch is the only championship golf course and restaurant in the area that’s public, not private.

How long will it take? The team expects to unveil the new Robinson Ranch Golf Club in late September or early October.

“We decided let’s just wait and do this right and open up when we’re ready,” Kagaoan said. “We want this big ‘wow’ moment. We want it to be a golf course that people can come to, a restaurant and bar area for locals to hang out.”

Canyon Country residents will watch as Robinson Ranch tees up for the unveiling of its newly designed grounds. After the changes to the clubhouse, food service, patio, and the links, most of the locals are hoping that, for Robinson Ranch, an upscale, functional facility is par for the course.

Back to School Safety Tips

| Canyon Country Magazine, SC Living | September 12, 2016


The school year has begun once again, and certain times of the day the streets will be occupied by students going to and from campuses across the valley. In the mornings and afternoons, things are going to get pretty busy, and drivers are going to have to take extra care. Here are a few tips to help you keep yourself and the people around you safe during these busy times:

Be careful not to stop in the crosswalk when you’re at a red light. Whether you’re looking to make a turn, or you’re just waiting for the green light, be careful to leave space for pedestrians. Stopping in the crosswalk can force them to go around by walking deeper into the intersection where other traffic is moving.
If you’re in a school zone and flashers are blinking, be sure to stop and yield to pedestrians, whether they’re kids or crossing guards. Additionally, take extra care when passing stopped vehicles in these areas. A car may be stopping to let a pedestrian cross, and if you try to pass it, you may find someone in your path.
If a school bus is stopped and has its lights flashing, don’t pass it! Stop and let it unload its passengers. The immediate area surrounding a school bus is the most dangerous for kids.
If you need to pass someone on a bicycle, make sure you do so slowly and leave extra space between you both.
Mind your speed. In some areas, the speed limit is reduced only while school is in session. If you’re driving around during the day, make sure you pay particular attention to the speed limit in these areas. Failing to do so can result in costly fines.
Odds are, if you’ve lived in the area for any length of time, seeing school children in a hurry is nothing new. Unfortunately, their actions on the streets can often be erratic and unpredictable. Be sure to pay attention to what’s going on around you. And kids, have a great school year!

Page 1 of 251 2 3 25