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Thanksgiving Day

| Canyon Country Magazine | November 15, 2017

When you gather with family for Thanksgiving this month, recognize the weight of history that comes with it. It may even enhance the rich flavors of cranberry, turkey and pumpkin. Think back to 1621 and imagine the feast shared by the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians. For the first 200 years after that first “Thanksgiving,” colonies and states celebrated individually, but in1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day in November.

Recipe for Squash Casserole
Considered by Southern Living to be one of their top 50 Thanksgiving recipes, serve up veggies a little bit differently this year with a squash casserole.
4 lbs. yellow squash, sliced
1 lg. sweet onion, finely chopped
1 cup freshly shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbl chopped fresh basil
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 lg. eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups soft, fresh breadcrumbs, divided
1 ¼ cups freshly shredded parmesan cheese, divided
2 Tbl. butter, melted
½ cup crushed French fried onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook yellow squash and sweet onion in boiling water to cover in a Dutch oven 8 minutes or just until vegetables are tender; drain squash mixture well.
Combine squash mixture, freshly shredded Cheddar cheese, next 5 ingredients, 1 cup breadcrumbs, and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Spoon into a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
Stir together melted butter, French fried onions, and remaining 1 cup breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over squash mixture.
Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until set.

COC Canyon Country Campus 10-Year Anniversary

| Canyon Country Magazine | November 14, 2017

In honor of its 10-year anniversary, the College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus hosted an open house celebration on Saturday, Oct. 14.

Kids enjoy activities at the event

Nearly 300 people attended the event, which featured campus tours, food trucks, chalk art, children’s activities, student exhibits, a portable planetarium, a Makerspace exhibit and many other engaging activities.

“It was very exciting to celebrate our 10-year anniversary with our community,” said Dr. Ryan Theule, vice president of the Canyon Country campus and grants development at the college. “The campus has benefited from invaluable community support these past 10 years and has become a vital part of College of the Canyons. As we reflect upon where we have been and where the campus is headed, we are proud that the campus has provided substantial academic and workforce training for our valley.”

Guests enjoyed the amazing vocal stylings of local country music star Savannah Burrows, the 2016 winner of Santa Clarita’s 35th Local Nationwide Country Showdown Contest.
A variety of self-paced and guided activities were also part of the open house festivities, including a guided garden walk highlighting the trees, plants and wildlife that are native to the Canyon Country campus.

“Our garden walks are a great opportunity to introduce visitors to the diverse flora at the Canyon Country campus,” said Anthony Michaelides, dean of campus services and operations at the Canyon Country campus. “This popular event attracts people of all ages.”

Savannah Burrows entertained the crowd

To commemorate the campus’s 10-year anniversary, a variety of events and student-centered activities are planned throughout the year to help celebrate and continue the progress at COC’s comprehensive second campus.

“We look forward to continue celebrating this milestone with our community, staff, and students, and we know that the next 10 years will be tremendously exciting,” said Theule.

For more information about events related to the Canyon Country campus’s 10-year anniversary, visit www.canyons.edu/ccc10.

51 The Next Level

| Canyon Country Magazine, Sand Canyon Journal | November 14, 2017

At last month’s “Top 51” event hosted by The Signal at Sand Canyon Country Club, community members from 10 different categories of service were recognized. While some awards presentations feature individuals who are influential in their neighborhoods and towns, the Top 51 winners are chosen for their level of involvement in the community, say event leaders. The goal is to inspire others to greater volunteerism and build stronger bonds among residents and their causes.

The Santa Clarita Valley Signal vice president and editor Jason Schaff poses with Gillian Stone after she wins her award in the non-profits category during The Signal’s 2017 Top 51: The Next Level event at Sand Canyon Country Club in Canyon Country on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. Ryan Painter/The Signal

Sand Canyon residents Chris and Sue Hoefflin were in attendance with a table filled with associates of their nonprofit organization, the Michael Hoefflin Foundation. MHF president, Gillian Stone, was a winner in the “Nonprofits” category. Stone has been at the Foundation for six years, inspiring growth and dedication to the charity, which benefits families battling pediatric cancer.

The Santa Clarita Valley Signal vice president and editor Jason Schaff poses with Jasmine Foster after she wins her award in the education category during The Signal’s 2017 Top 51: The Next Level event at Sand Canyon Country Club in Canyon Country on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. Ryan Painter/The Signal

Sand Canyon resident Jasmine Foster was a “Top 51” winner in the “Education” category. She is public relations liaison for College of the Canyons, notifying members of the community and bringing attention to programs, events and notable individuals. Her volunteerism includes furthering the causes of SCV Habitat for Heroes, the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center and the William S. Hart Union High School District.

The top award went to Taylor Kellstrom, a 27-year-old realtor and owner of SCV Book Exchange. He founded “Bowling for Kids” in 2012 to raise money for the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital, and he serves as board president for Circle of Hope. He is a motivational speaker for high school and college students and the entrepreneur is creating a free workshop for teens who want to start their own businesses.

Another award winner was Steve Kim, owner of Sand Canyon Country Club, formerly called Robinson Ranch Golf Club, where the event was held. On top of donating $150,000 to the SCV Senior Center’s capital campaign, he is transforming his Sand Canyon business venue, earning him “Top 51” recognition in the “Economic Development” category. The entrepreneur began his career in his home country of South Korea, but expresses gratitude toward the United States for the opportunities he has had in the last few years.

The event was held at Sand Canyon Country Club where, in addition to 27 holes of golf, there is a 25,000-square-foot clubhouse with new furnishings inside and on the patios. Guests crowded the resident-favorite terrace lounge and sampled from a variety of food while listening to live music by Dole-Humphries, a duo who won an award in the “Hospitality Philanthropy” category.

 

New State Preschool Program at Leona Cox

| Canyon Country Magazine | November 13, 2017

Community leaders gathered last month for a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the opening of a California state funded preschool on the campus of Leona Cox Community School in Canyon Country. The first of the preschools in the Sulphur Springs Union School District was opened in 2002 at Mint Canyon Community School and Canyon Springs. In the fall of this year Leona Cox became a third site for the preschools.

The schools offer early learning for low-income families as well as students in the special education preschool program. Collaboration between teaching staff of all preschool programs ensures continuity of topics as the children move between classrooms.

The State Preschool Program director, Mary Mercogliano, cut the ribbon with a few of the students. Other leaders in attendance included Julie Escalante, the preschool program’s site supervisor; State Assemblyman Dante Acosta; Sulphur Springs Union School District board members Shelley Weinstein, Kerry Clegg and Denis DeFigueiredo; Superintendent Catherine Kawaguchi; school psychologists JoAnne Broutt and Gina Fu; Paul Frisina, director of special education; Kim Tredick, director of curriculum and instruction; Leona Cox principal, Heather Drew; and assistant superintendents, Michele Gookins, Josh Randall and Kathy Harris.

Registration for next year begins on February 1, 2018. For more information, call Leona Cox Community School at 661-252-2003.

Visitors got to see the preschool in action

The ribbon-cutting with two students, board members, district personnel and dignitaries

Students sang two songs for the attendees

L-R: Mary Mercogliano, Shelley Weinstein, Heather Drew and Catherine Kawaguchi

In a Dream World

| Canyon Country Magazine | November 13, 2017

The Cea family is living the dream.

Their journey to the United States from their home country of El Salvador is slightly different from the stereotypical, “climb the ladder of success to homeownership” definition a lot of us have.

“For me, the American dream is to have freedom, not to have things,” David Cea explained. “It’s the freedom to go wherever I want. … If I want to go out at midnight for a coffee, I can do that.”

When they tell their story of becoming naturalized citizens, it involves leaving some of the nightmares of El Salvador for the dream of America.

“My wife was kidnapped right in front of me,” David said. “She was alone in El Salvador and the civil war was really bad. Three times the rebels took everything. They treated her (badly), almost killed her, looking for money and other things.”

In Mexico, David was chased and shot at during one of his five driving trips to El Salvador and back between 1986 and 1989. But the final straw for the couple, who were married in 1984, was when Carolina was in the car in front of David at a stoplight, and a rebel opened her car door and got in the backseat. She was abducted, robbed, and then released.

“That was the moment my wife decided to move to the U.S.,” he said. “She wasn’t excited to come here (before that) because she’s the oldest of four kids and after her mom passed away she was the ‘mom’ of the house.”

When David first got his green card in 1982 he arrived in Cudahy, California, near Bell Gardens, where he said he spent time “working, working, working.”

“You don’t know the system, you don’t know the language,” he described. “You have to start working and you don’t have an education.”

David returned to El Salvador in 1984 to get married and stayed until 1986, when the family lived part of the time in both countries.

Not only did the Ceas immigrate legally, they continue to share the dream with family members.

“It takes over 12 years,” David said of the process to obtain a green card.

David and Carolina’s nephew, Ricardo, is returning to San Salvador next month after living with them for two years. Carolina’s sister and her family recently arrived, hoping to stay and become naturalized citizens as well. This Christmas, the Cea’s home will add one more couple to the mix when Ricardo’s parents arrive.

David and Carolina settled in Canyon Country, where they have lived in the same house for more than 20 years. Their son and daughter, Josue and Ana, grew up attending Mitchell, Sierra Vista Junior High and Canyon High School. They both attended College of the Canyons and graduated from California State University, Northridge. One of their grandchildren, Andrew, now attends Mitchell as well.

“One of the reasons we came to Canyon Country is it’s a better place to raise my kids,” he said. “We found it’s not a perfect city, but way better than most of L.A.”

David is the ninth of 10 children and currently has three sisters, one brother and his 98-year-old mother living in the United States. He became a U.S. citizen in 1996 and Carolina in 1999.

David is the pastor of Spanish Ministries at Grace Baptist Church in Saugus and described his congregants as immigrants from approximately 15 countries in Latin America.
“They all really appreciate this country,” he said. “They are trying to live, enjoy and reach some goals,” he said. “We’re looking for something we don’t find in our country — freedom, peace, a job, and honesty.”

David agrees that many natural-born Americans take it for granted.

“I teach that we come to be a better citizen, to contribute to society and to the economy. This country has been wonderful. It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better,” he said. “For me, it’s a blessing to be here.”

American Experience

| Canyon Country Magazine | November 11, 2017

It’s been a little more than two years since Ricardo Hernandez Rivera got on a plane in El Salvador and came to Canyon Country. And he’s gone a long way since then — completing two degrees at COC on a student visa, working as an English tutor, maintaining a 3.9 GPA, and landing jobs writing for Cracked.com and Creators Media, an entertainment website.

Ricardo Hernandez Rivera in 1999 with his parents, Jose and Briseida, and his sisters, Maria Jimena and Anna Gabriela

Graduating next month from College of the Canyons, Ricardo expected to transfer and begin working on a four-year degree, but he has to return to his home country. He will join his two sisters, Maria Jimena and Anna Gabriela in San Salvador, while his parents — Jose Ricardo and Briseida del Carmen, who just got their green cards — will come to the United States.

Like their son, Jose and Briseida will live in Canyon Country with Ricardo’s Aunt Carolina and Uncle David Cea.

The 25-year-old Ricardo is graduating from College of the Canyons next month with an associate’s degree in both Communications and Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. But he did not wait to enter the workplace. He has been writing for Cracked.com and he even wrote a movie pilot. He has articles posted on Cracked with titles like “6 Things You Won’t Believe Were Built by a Single Person” and “5 Heartwarming Stories to Restore Your Faith in Celebrities.”

Despite his success, it has not been a road to riches for Ricardo.
“For my last semester, I have had to turn to GoFundMe, the crowd sourcing platform, since my family, all of whom are still back home in El Salvador, are experiencing financial difficulties,” he explained. “I was supposed to transfer to USC, my good grades and extracurricular the perfect fit for their Communications program. However, I will now be returning to El Salvador at the end of the year, because I cannot afford it.”

Naturally, it’s disappointing for Rivera.

“I’m doing well in school, so I know I have the potential to continue, but it’s a blow,” he said. “But over there … it’s much, much cheaper.”

The hard-working student initially rode the bus to COC, but saved money from his on-campus job as an English tutor to purchase his own vehicle. He spends no time feeling sorry for himself; in fact, Rivera is grateful for the opportunity he has had to live in Canyon Country with his aunt and uncle. He acknowledged that they have “sacrificed a lot to keep me in (their) house (rent free!), and … know the effort I have put in, and how I have little to nothing to show for it.”

Armed with his two degrees, the media journalist is looking at universities in El Salvador and is in contact with some potential employers.

On top of the many contributions Rivera has made to the community, we can benefit from his perspective as an international visitor. Before he moved here two years ago he had only been in the U.S. for a brief vacation.

“Coming here was culture shock. I guess I expected everything to be like in the movies. They paint a perfect picture of Hollywood and Los Angeles,” he said. “But people are very friendly. I fell in love with the people, the lifestyle, but not the weather.”

Living in the United States has left an imprint on Ricardo Rivera that goes far deeper than the temperature outside. “It’s much safer than back home,” he said. “I keep hearing people my age say, ‘There’s nothing to do.’ But I like it … very peaceful and quiet.”

The Best of Canyon Country!

| Canyon Country Magazine | November 10, 2017

Best Plumber
All American Plumbing & Repairs Service
Service to customers ranks above everything else for All American Plumbing, which services customers in Agua Dulce and the surrounding areas. “It’s a pleasure to serve my community,” says Hadi Hillo, owner of the 13-year-old company. “I go above and beyond to provide my customers with quality of services.”

All-American Plumbing & Repairs provides a variety of services (all things water, sewer, gas). They respond to many types of concerns, including a clogged sink or a main water repair, and re-pipe of multiple units.

“I work with my customers’ needs and schedule, and as the owner/operator, my customers always are receiving top-notch service and 20-plus years plumbing experience,” Hillo says.
(661) 298-7000

Best Car Wash
Canyon Car Wash
Thank you to Canyon Country Magazine and its readers for the honor of Best Of! We are honored that every year we are washing and detailing more and more residents’ cars. Canyon Car Wash is not only the largest and most comfortable feeling car wash in the area, our new tunnel equipment now washes cars faster and more thoroughly than ever before, even the RV customer. Our managers and staff are experienced in this business and live in the SCV.

Many of our customers are in our Unlimited Wash Program – for only $19.99/month a customer can get the Best Exterior Wash ($9.99 value) as many times as desired and for $39.99/month can get Unlimited Full Service Best Car Wash ($24.99 value).

Again, we thank Canyon Country for the honor of Best Of! And we will work to hold the title for many more years.
Jeffrey Paul, president
18727 Soledad Canyon Rd.
661-250-0399

Best Auto Repair
Euro Performance
Integrity is the top priority for the staff of Euro Performance in Canyon Country. Josh Monteagudo, the youngest owner in the auto repair alley behind TJ Maxx, is straightforward with customers, giving accurate service quotes, quality parts and reasonable estimates. He educates drivers, explaining the solution, and encouraging proper maintenance.Though his shop specializes in European cars, they repair domestic and Japanese models as well.

“We don’t want them spending unnecessary money in the future,” he says. “We want to make it a good experience for our customers when it comes to car care, instead of a nightmare, where you get thrown an unexplained invoice. We try to go the extra mile by explaining the invoice and answering any questions or concerns to our customers because, after all, we want them to leave satisfied with our prices and the service done.”
27264 Camp Plenty Rd., Suite 150
661-250-0055

Best Dentist
Mint Canyon Dental
Patients claim the office is always clean and relaxing at Mint Canyon Dental. Dr. Maria Lozada uses the latest dental technology and maintains experienced, friendly staff at the Canyon Country office.
17752 Sierra Highway
661-360-9006

Best Hardware Store
Paul’s Paint & Hardware
The team at Paul’s Paint & Hardware has an average home improvement work experience of more than 25 years, enabling them to provide the best and most consistent customer service. It also means customers see the same faces on a regular basis.

“A typical visit may start by advising one of our customers on how to replace the fill valve in a toilet, and may end with a friendly conversation about one of Canyon Country’s current events or the latest sporting event,” says owner Paul Dell’Olio. “One of the most gratifying things for us is seeing the smile and relief on a customer’s face when we help solve a troubling issue, or when we have a product that they haven’t been able to find anywhere else.”

They make and repair screens, and have a high level of expertise in paint color matching and coatings consulting. They can also keep their prices low, as a member of the nation’s second largest hardware co-op, Do it Best Corporation.
18597 Soledad Canyon Road
661-252-1572 • Paulspaintandhardware.com

Best Dry Cleaners
Canyon Cleaners
With dry cleaning services and expert stain removal, this state-of-the-art cleaners turns out residents’ wardrobes quickly and safely. Friendly staff members accept your toughest projects, and they even handle wedding gown cleaning and preservation.
18635 Soledad Canyon Road
661-298-3927

Best Pet Groomer
Whiskers Mobile Grooming
With four trucks driving an estimated 1,400-1,600 miles a week, Whiskers Mobile Grooming is meeting the needs of pets all across the SCV.

“Having a mobile business, we get to know our clients on a more intimate level,” says owner Toni Arnold. “Seeing the joy that the pets bring to my clients’ lives brightens my day.”

Arnold’s groomers work to always make their “clients” (the dogs) happy. “We all truly love pets and want the dog to be as comfortable as possible in the grooming process,” she says. “I take great pride in only having experienced, talented groomers.”
661-298-4074

Best Veterinarian
Adobe Veterinary Hospital
Clients of Adobe Veterinary Hospital get to see the same doctor and all their favorite office staff every time they visit. Dr. Robert Mushkot has been practicing at Adobe Vet Hospital since 1991.

“I think what sets our business apart is our personal feel to our hospital,” says Dr. Mushkot. “We like to create relationships with our clients and their animals.”

The whole staff at Adobe Vet Hospital enjoys working in Canyon Country and being a part of this small, but growing, community. “We love being able to see familiar faces. We have a lot of clients who have been part of this community for so long that they not only know our staff, but they know each other as well.”
17787 Sierra Highway
661-251-3710 • Adobevh.com

Best Thrift/Resale Store
Hope of the Valley
It’s the only one of its kind in the TJ Maxx shopping center. The huge amount of space in Hope of the Valley Thrift Store allows for a massive volume of resale clothing and household goods to become available to community shoppers. You can see customers leaving with bags full of everything from vintage outfits to large framed artwork any day of the week.

When you shop at Hope of the Valley Thrift Store, you contribute to thousands of individuals and families in need. Proceeds from the faith-based non-profit’s stores bring food to the hungry and help operate two shelters. Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission serves thousands of meals and provides thousands of nights of housing every year.
19379 Soledad Canyon Road
(661) 673-5951 • Hopeofthevalley.org

Best Attorney
The Werner Law Firm
For more than 40 years, The Werner Law Firm has been providing Santa Clarita residents the legal guidance they need. The family business opened in Canyon Country in 1975 with L. Rob Werner. Now Rob’s son Troy is continuing the tradition.

When the firm first opened, the building still had a hitching post for horses. “Occasionally, people would ride to our office and stop by for advice,” says Rob. “We are still happy to help with any questions, so if you’re ever in the area, please feel free to come by!”

Troy grew up locally and attended Canyon High School. “We are intimately familiar with the area and it is nice to be able to serve clients in Canyon Country,” he says. “We hope to serve Canyon Country for another 40 years and beyond.”
27257 ½ Camp Plenty Rd.
800-752-9937 • WernerLawca.com

Best Pharmacy
Costco
Not only do residents rave about the low prices at Costco Pharmacy, the prescription management is streamlined and the customer service is good. You can even fill your prescription online and have it delivered to your house!
18649 Via Princessa
661-250-2845

Best Chiropractor
Linda Chenaur, DC
As the chiropractic practitioner at Valencia Spine & Nerve Institute, Dr. Linda Chenaur provides a range of services and holistic treatment. Patients turn to her for sports injury, personal injury, work-related injury, headaches, back and neck pain, and symptoms such as fatigue.
Valencia Spine & Nerve Institute
25060 Avenue Stanford #290
661-799-0644

Best Hair Salon
A Style Above
You can’t meet many Canyon Country residents without running into a “regular” of Manuela Carlson’s at A Style Above. Her customers rave about her speed and know-how, plus she’s known for her honest feedback to clients of all ages. You get completely personal service at this small, but busy shop, which is located across the street from Piccola Trattoria, just off Sierra Highway.
18333 Dolan Way, Suite 106
661-251-5655

Best DJ
DJ Greg Barbacovi
He was the SCV’s first disc jockey in the 1980s and you still see him at events throughout the area. For the last 17 years, Greg Barbacovi, known as DJ Greg, has shown his strong suit, which he describes as “sizing up an audience and anticipating what they want to hear before they even realize it.”

Between weddings, private parties and clubs, listeners get rock, country or hip hop, depending on the crowd. He’s also a nationally known Motocross announcer.

“I take pride in generating a happy, fun-loving ‘vibe’ when spinning and, apparently, your readers appreciate my efforts,” he says. “I DO take requests, and work hard to mix in even the dumb or outrageous ones, so they sound good to the whole audience.”
661-839-7111

Best Breakfast
The Halfway House Cafe
Personalized service is what the Halfway House is known for, where customers even get to interface with friendly cooks when they sit at the counter. And the food is fresh, not frozen, from chicken fried steak and potatoes to soups and salsas, plus fresh-squeezed OJ.

“It never ceases to amaze us just how interesting people’s lives are,” says manager Sally Moore. “We love to hear all the stories from customers, their achievements, celebrations etc., and unfortunately their sad ones. We receive just as much support from our customers as we give to them.”

The Halfway House began as a trading post in the early 1900s, then started serving up food in the 1930s. It is also the site of many films, TV shows, commercials and music videos.
15564 Sierra Highway
661-251-0102

Best Gym
UFC Gym
UFC Gym stands for Ultimate Fighting Championship, but the competitive training you get is enveloped in a team spirit that’s unifying and fun.

“Our gym is family-oriented,” says Michael Lindsay, franchise owner. “UFC Gym encourages youth participation, so we are often the event a family can all do together. … We are not a fight gym, but a facility utilizing boxing, kickboxing, and the like to help regular people gain fitness, confidence, self defense and motivation.”

Members are known by name, never just an account number and workouts are changing so the body never adapts or gets bored.
18655 Soledad Cyn
661-425-4576

Best Happy Hour
Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing Co.
In the 19 years since Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Co. opened in Canyon Country, happy crowds have learned there’s a lot more than beer and sports screens to enjoy. It is a full service restaurant with a vast menu of salads, sandwiches, pastas, wraps, and a full catering menu.

“I believe we have the best pizza in Canyon Country, and people keep coming back, even though there are restaurants opening all around us,” says Greg Harrison, Oggi’s manager.

The restaurant has almost the same staff that has been there for years. “We like interfacing with clients in Canyon Country because of the fact that as a staff we get to know the majority of our clients,” Harrison says.
18810 Soledad Canyon Road
661-252-7883

Best Lunch
Mi Tierra
It’s both a Mexican restaurant and grocery store, unassuming at first, but a familia favorito. The food is authentic, using family recipes from the old country. Customers describe the dishes with words like “rico” (rich) and “deliciosa” (delicious).

It’s family-friendly, inviting all ages every day, and people who just happen to find it when blazing down Sierra Highway find that it makes its mark on them. A recent review said, “I have never tasted better fish tacos in my life.”

There is take-out service, fresh food—plus you can get some shopping done!
27540 Sierra Highway
661-299-5344

Best Dinner
Love Sushi & Roll
A huge local favorite among Canyon Country residents, Love Sushi uses fresh products and large portion size to please patrons at the restaurant. Customers also rave about presentation of the dishes at the authentic Japanese eatery.
18521 Soledad Canyon Road
661-299-6526

Local Football Star Heads North by Northwest

| Canyon Country Magazine | November 3, 2017

Doubles Down on Citizenship and Prospects

Professional football player Drew Wolitarsky was number 21 on the Canyon Cowboys, number 82 on the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, and now he is number 80 on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, playing in the Canadian Football League.

But in the hearts of many Canyon Country residents he’s still number one.

While at Canyon High School he broke records as a wide receiver, cracking the ceiling on total receiving yards and total number of receptions among all California high school football players that came before him. His stats took him north to Minnesota, where he found a place among the top 10 receivers in Gopher history for his performance. Then he went prospecting north of the border to begin his professional career. His mother, Audrey, is originally from Canada, and Drew decided to take advantage of his dual heritage. All he needed was the paperwork proving his Canadian citizenship.

“Once we got all of that figured out, my agent started contacting teams and letting them know that I was eligible to play in the CFL,” he explained. “You do not have to be a Canadian citizen to play in the CFL, but it is a large advantage to be Canadian because there have to be a certain number of Canadians on the field at all times.”

He got the citizenship papers in time for the supplemental draft and was chosen by the team in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

There are many Americans playing in the Canadian Football League, said Wolitarsky, who did not give up his American citizenship in the process. He described the game in the CFL as having many different rules, but the basis of scoring and receiving first downs remains the same.

“I would say that the difference from college to the CFL is not as drastic as it was from high school to college,” he said, adding that in both cases it involves learning a new offense and the intricacies of the playbook. “The game slows down when there is less you have to process, and the more you can simply react. The style of play was a little funky at first to get down. It just takes a lot of repetition and getting a feel for motioning before the ball is snapped. I’m a lot more comfortable with it now and have pretty good timing!”

When asked to describe what he left behind, Wolitarsky has a lot of praise for the Canyon Cowboys staff.

“I miss playing for Canyon because it was simply fun. There was no business attached to it,” he said. “It was just people who wanted to play and coaches who coached because they wanted to see their kids go on to do great things. I really miss my coaches from the early years. They were great motivators and definitely helped guide me to where I am today. Teachers are underrated — both in the class and on the field. I can attest to that!”

At the University of Minnesota, Wolitarsky had as much success in the classroom as on the field, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English.

“I miss the community in Minnesota — people my age, students, friends,” he described. “Everything was close and all my friends were within a small vicinity. I miss just being with my old team. I know I will get to that same place with my new one, but after four years in college you get pretty tight with all your teammates, and I miss that feeling.”

The CFL season differs from the NFL, partly due to the expected temperatures nearing -40 degrees (Fahrenheit and Celsius). He currently practices up to four days a week and sometimes has games that are less than seven days apart. But the season ends soon, lasting six months total, and many of the players have off-season jobs.

As Wolitarsky is new to the team and its lifestyle, he isn’t sure what the off-season will look like for him. But year round, he is likely to focus on the interpersonal side of life.

“One of the main reasons I play is to form friendships and constantly improve myself, both on and off the field,” he said. “I would say my expectations have been happily met, although not easily!”

Carve Out Time for Halloween

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | October 7, 2017

Whether Trick-or-Treating or hosting a Halloween Party this year, there are plenty of places to enjoy this spooky holiday…

Gilchrist Farm
Every day in October there’s a pumpkin patch party at Gilchrist Farms in Saugus from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. You can pick out pumpkins for purchase and on weekends enjoy: Mule Drawn Wagon Rides, Pony Rides, Face Painting, Pumpkin Decorating, Fall Farm Crafts, Live Entertainment, Caramel Apples, Roasted Corn on the Cob, Food Trucks, the Petting Zoo, Straw Slide, Pig Races, Chicken Splat Bingo and free Goat Milking Demonstrations each Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. You get free entry to the Straw Bale Maze if you bring a donation to the SCV Food Pantry from the non-profit group’s website: scvfoodpantry.org/HowtoHelp/NeededItems.

Gilchrist Farms is located at 30116 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus. For more information, call 661-645-2517 or visit www.gilchristfarm.com/harvest-festival.

Trunk or Treat
This family-friendly holiday event on Sunday, October 29 from 5-6:30 p.m. brings community members together to trick-or-treat from decorated cars! Santa Clarita United Methodist Church is inviting residents and friends to come—costumed or not—to collect candy from cars in the parking lot. It’s a safe event for kids to trick-or-treat and includes a maze and food for everyone. Santa Clarita United Methodist Church is located at 26640 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus. Call 661-297-3783 or visit SCUMC.org.

Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest
Watch certified scuba dive teams carve masterpieces under water at the 10th Annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest! Every year, the City of Santa Clarita hosts this unusual event, held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 28 at the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center, located at 20850 Centre Pointe Pkwy in Santa Clarita. The community is invited to watch it live on big screens and enjoy crafts, games and trick-or-treating. Call 661-259-2489 or find the event on page 22 of the Seasons Catalog at Santa-Clarita.com/seasons.

PumpkinLiner Train Rides
The Fillmore & Western Railway is “dying to see you” board their vintage train for the annual PumpkinLiner day trips. There are departures Saturdays and Sundays beginning October 7 at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. taking passengers to “The Patch” to pick out pumpkins for purchase. There are added attractions this year for $3 that include a haunted house, antique carousel, jolly jumpers and hay rides. Vendors will be onsite so you can enjoy tri-tip sandwiches and other eats, while the kids get face paiting, a hay maze and more. Tickets range from $10-$22 and lap children under age 2 are free. There is also a Zombie Hunter Train Ride and a Haunted Hayride Family Dinner Train in October. Fillmore & Western Railway is located at 364 Main Street in Fillmore. For more information, call 805-524-2546 or visit FWRY-blog.com.

Mary Purdy – Teacher of the Year

| Canyon Country Magazine | October 6, 2017

If you created a song from the life of newly retired choir teacher Mary Purdy it would sound a lot like the last verse of Huey Lewis’ “Heart of Rock & Roll.” Only her lyrics would be “Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, New Mexico, California, Elsinore, Morro Bay and San Fernando.”

Mary Purdy was always going places — even from childhood, moving a lot thanks to being a pastor’s daughter — but when she began her career in music education she made sure the kids were going places too. Not only does she have numerous students from her 26 years at Canyon High School who went on to study music in college, but she literally took them places — a lot of them — from her first year as Canyon’s choir director. She led choir trips to: Hawaii, New York, Chicago, Orlando, Washington, D.C., Sacramento, Boston, San Antonio — some of those more than once.

“I attended three trips: a Mexico cruise, Orlando Disney tour and Vancouver,” said former student Danny Jaramillo, who graduated in 2004. “I had such an amazing time on all three.”

As many of her former students will contend, Mrs. Purdy didn’t need a change of scenery to keep it lively. It’s what happened in the classroom day-to-day that made a difference for them.

“She has helped in more ways than she knows,” Jaramillo said. “I credit her with the reason my voice has grown into what it is today. She gave me a rock solid foundation of skills that I still use to mold my ‘instrument’ whenever a piece of music I need to learn comes up.”

Jazz vocalist Natalie Mendoza, 25, said it was one of her last days in Mrs. Purdy’s class that inspired her to become part of multiple college choirs.

“I remember singing with Madrigals in rehearsal and feeling my voice open and fill out in a round and resonant way that I hadn’t quite felt before,” Mendoza described. “Mrs. Purdy heard this difference and stopped the rehearsal for a moment to tell me in front of the choir that I had finally started singing with my true classical sound and that I would sing that way in my college choirs. I hadn’t even considered singing in choir in college at that point, but her words propelled me into the notion that music would inevitably be a part of my college career. I became a music major, studying both classical and jazz voice, singing in five different choirs during my college years.”

Purdy earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from California State University, Northridge, and in 1977 got her first teaching job in East Los Angeles at Stevenson Junior High School. In 1981, she joined the William S. Hart Union School District as a teacher at Sierra Vista Junior High. Nine years later, Purdy began teaching English at Canyon High School, and took on the choirs, which were, at the time: Women’s Chamber Ensemble, Concert Choir with about 35 students, and Treble Choir, which was for beginning singers. The small, exclusive group, Madrigals, met in the evenings. In 1994 she added the Men’s Chamber Ensemble.

This year has been a big one for Mary Purdy. She retired in June and was recently recognized as the William S. Hart Union School District Teacher of the Year. While her excellence in the classroom is rewarded by Hart leadership, what her students remember is that her classes were anything but “business as usual.”

“I remember, quite vividly, that Mrs. Purdy would spray the contents of her water bottle on you if she heard you playing ‘Heart and Soul’ on the piano,” Jaramillo said. “The people ‘in the know’ would always stop what they were doing and look to watch her reaction when someone unknowingly played the trigger song. It was comical!”

Andrew Taban of Canyon Country has similar memories after four years in the classroom with a teacher he calls “feisty.”

“If you said something out of turn she would chase you and spray you with water,” he said. “One time I ran out of the room to escape. When I went back in the classroom, my backpack was soaking wet.”

There was a different vibe in choir than in other classes, students say. It may be, in part, because music is an elective, but it had everything to do with Purdy’s style.

“I think that most people would think every day in my classroom was pretty crazy,” Purdy said. “We did a lot of laughing each day.”

The biggest takeaway for her students, however, was her generosity of spirit, and the benefit to them personally.

“She didn’t care who you were, she wanted to be there for every one of her students. … She loved every single one,” Taban said. “We adored her.”

The choir room doors were open for teens to spend their free time, and she developed relationships with students that continued after graduation.

“Mrs. Purdy and I share a birthday and EVERY SINGLE YEAR I receive a birthday card in the mail from her that is signed “birthday buddy,” Mendoza said. “She called me that in high school.”

But Purdy’s playfulness had substance.

“Besides the obvious music skills … I learned how to be an adult as a student under her guidance,” explained 30-year-old Jaramillo. “Empathy, punctuality and personal responsibility are three poignant character traits that I can say she nurtured in me!”

That positive feedback might be enough for a lot of retirees to, deservedly, consider it a job well done and relax. But that isn’t Purdy’s way. She keeps moving, no matter what.

“I haven’t finished cleaning out closets, so I’m not bored yet!” Purdy joked. “I have to say that it is really weird. I don’t miss getting up at 5 a.m. or going to faculty meetings (no offense, Jason!) or professional development that has nothing to do with what I teach. I like being able to read my Bible every morning and the newspaper at my leisure. However, I really miss seeing the kids and making beautiful music with them.”

Mary Purdy has been “making beautiful music” with her husband, Wally Purdy, for 44 years. They have planned a trip to Hawaii and a cruise to see the fall colors in New England (a time of year educators rarely get to travel, she points out).

Mary and Wally, who is executive vice president at the Bank of Santa Clarita, checked with the State Teachers Retirement and found that she would receive the optimum benefit by retiring in 2014. But, that year was the groundbreaking for a brand new Performing Arts Center on the Canyon High School campus.

“Since I had been involved with the design from the beginning, I wanted to see all that planning come to fruition,” Mary Purdy said. “I wanted to be able to perform in it for one entire year, so that was when I retired.”

Canyon High School’s new choir teacher, Kelly Caswell, is a Valencia High School graduate and was one of Mrs. Purdy’s student teachers.

“I knew that she was a person who knew the program and would work with the established traditions and would have a long, successful career at Canyon High School,” Mary Purdy said. “When she came to meet these kids, they fell in love with her immediately. She is talented, nice, fun, kind, caring, everything you would want in a choir teacher.”

Canyon students will never again join Mrs. Purdy onstage for a teary farewell singing “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.” And they’ll never again watch Mrs. Purdy navigate such choir tour snafus as the time the door to their airplane door broke off (resulting in 110 students finding alternate transportation to NYC).

But they will make memories with Ms. Caswell, while Mary Purdy keeps moving in her own, new direction. So far that means daily walks with friends, helping her mother-in-law and singing at Grace Baptist Church and the Santa Clarita Master Chorale.

And while the “heart of rock & roll is still beating” for Huey Lewis & the News, Mary Purdy’s heart is still beating the way it always has … filled with purpose and generosity, impacting whoever gets the pleasure of her company, wherever she goes from here.

Tattoo Artist Has Designs on New Building

| Canyon Country Magazine, News | September 28, 2017

Like some of his clients who spend time researching and designing the tattoo they hire him to create, Adam Guyot looked at his options and is happy with his choice. After 23 years since he opened his doors, the Canyon Country business owner is moving Eternal Art Tattoo down the road to Flying Tiger Drive.

Like other businesses in his building on the northeast corner of Soledad Canyon Road and Sierra Highway, Guyot had to find a new space to set up shop. The City of Santa Clarita is taking ownership of the buildings on the east side of the 18400 and 18300 blocks of Sierra Highway in order to construct a new Canyon Country Community Center.

The news was not welcome initially, at least by most of the tenants.

“That’s how I felt at the beginning as well,” Guyot said. “I’ve been here 23 years and being told I had to up and move — I wasn’t too happy about it.”

His prospects were perhaps more slim than some of the other business owners, partly because he needed specific zoning criteria. And that’s where he feels the City of Santa Clarita is coming through for him.

“At first I thought they were going to just run us out of town,” he said. “The city is really helping us with the whole move. And they’re allowing us to stay open there until we’re in the new location.”

While it may not sound like much, being allowed to stay at 18438 Sierra Highway through the waiting period involved could add up to survival for Guyot’s shop.

“My biggest concern was (that) I have five other artists,” he said. “As of this month the city is actually my landlord.”
Guyot turned in Conditional Use Permit paperwork last week, which is two months before they can actually do construction.

“We wanted to stay local. I love this place,” said Guyot, who was born and raised in Canyon Country. “I think our clientele will be able to find us.”

Not only is the city offering financial assistance for the move, the City of Santa Clarita is supporting Eternal Art as a co-applicant for the conditional use permit, or CUP, at the new business address.

“It’s the same building where the (Canyon Country) Community Center is currently,” Guyot said.

Among other phases of the process, Guyot is waiting for approval by the health department and the plans to be drafted by an architect, followed by engineering before construction begins. He is hoping, assuming even, there will be no interruption in business.

I hope we get this place built and once it’s turnkey ready, we lock the door here and unlock the door there,” he said.

After the move—for as long as the current building is still standing, the city’s Planning Department will allow a window painter to direct customers to the new address for Eternal Art Tattoo.

 

And in a sort of symbiosis, Guyot plans to donate his time to the efforts of the community center, perhaps painting a mural or teaching art classes to kids after school. It’s a way to give back, considering he was a Canyon Country student too, first at Honby Elementary, then Sierra Vista Junior High, and later Canyon High School.

Guyot also participated in ROP (Regional Occupational Program) classes at Saugus High School and Hart High.

“It was a graphic arts program. I’d go from Canyon and go work with Mr. Shaw at Saugus, then Gary Lindberg at Hart,” said the 44-year-old Guyot. “I learned the whole printing industry.”

In 1995 he opened his own business after years learning his craft as a tattoo artist. “I wanted to try it on my own,” he said. “I knew that I could do it and have a place that people could feel comfortable.”

According to Guyot, the cell phone store already moved up the street, which he said was “uneventful.” The city helped them with that move. And the auto repair garage is having some issues with zoning, because the business requires bays and lifts, etc.
“It’s hard to find a spot to reopen,” Guyot said about the City of Santa Clarita’s help. “They’re being fair. You can fight them in court for three years or you can play ball.”

Ask the Experts

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 6, 2017

Flipping Homes with Dean Glosup

How has flipping homes changed in the last 10 years?

Flipping houses has dramatically changed, mostly due to the uncertainties in the market. Several large swings in pricing, along with stiffening credit requirements, make a new world for purchasing houses. Though certain homeowner problems are still basically the same, probate, IRS tax issues and foreclosures will always be out there. But buying a house requires being able to think out of the box. In my case, spending 30 years in the mortgage market helped me to identify issues that have to be fixed in order to make a house marketable, title-wise.

What’s the biggest mistake people make when they aim to maximize their home’s value before flipping it?

The biggest mistake in prepping a flip for sale is to spend too much money on the fix-up. Many times, clean-up can actually be better than a full blown new house all rehabbed. This, of course, depends on the age of the house. They normally need some sort of upgrade every 20 years or so. One can stage a house and have much more success than spending a fortune fixing it up and then trying to sell an empty house.

Dean Glosup
661-618-7015

 

Real Estate – What are the Top 10 ways to prepare your home to sell quickly and for more money?

I am surprised by how many homes I see that could sell quickly and for more money if the seller added a little more preparation. After showing a home to buyers, they often complain about at least one detail that could have been a simple fix to make the home more appealing.I am surprised by how many homes I see that could sell quickly and for more money if the seller added a little more preparation. After showing a home to buyers, they often complain about at least one detail that could have been a simple fix to make the home more appealing.
Top 10 things that buyers complain about and how to address them:
De-clutter. Pack extra items in boxes and store them in the garage. Also, remove furniture that is unnecessary or too big for the room. It will make the rooms look largerDe-personalize. You want buyers to imagine themselves living in the home, so remove family photos and other personal items. Buyers may be alienated by religious, government or items from sports teams.Paint/touch-up. After living in your home for years the walls will have scratches or marks, and you may have colors that are too bright for buyers. It is cost effective to have fresh paint in the main rooms, but make sure the color is neutral so it appeals to the majority of buyers.Repair small items. Fix or tighten things that could make the buyer feel the home was not maintained. Make sure door knobs and locks work, including faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms. Tighten all door hinges and handles and make sure all light bulbs work, etc.Clean and sparkle. Have a professional clean the whole house, especially the bathrooms and kitchen. Also, have the tile and carpet professionally cleaned. Buyers may assume your house is newer than it is this way.Fix that shower. A common complaint from buyers is that the shower looks dirty, gritty and used. Clean the mildew from tile with a professional product, and touch-up the grout and caulk the seams. Also, put in a new shower head. It’s only $50 and will make all the difference. Lighting. Change dated light fixtures. Put lighted fans in the bedrooms and a chandelier in the dining room. Also, change out missing or burned out bulbs, making sure they are the proper wattage for the fixture. This will brighten the room and make it look more spacious.Open those window coverings. All drapes, blinds, shutters etc. should be opened to let in light so they can see outside the home which makes the rooms look and feel bigger. And make sure to have all the windows cleaned inside and out. Landscape/curb appeal. Trim trees and bushes and liven the home by putting in fresh plants and flowers. Also, trim the lawn and add water a few weeks before listing the home. This makes the vegetation look green and inviting.  Professional walk-through. Have a real estate agent go through the home and advise you on your home’s specific needs. I enjoy the process of preparing a home to sell and I include specific items on this list at no extra charge.

CRAIG  MARTIN       REALTY ONE GROUP       661-361-6843

Update! What’s in a Password? Everything New!

Hello Readers,
Last month I answered the question, “What tips do you have for password security?” But, just as the world evolves, so does technology in the digital age.

You would be wise to think about and apply this new update for password security in your daily digital life. In my last post, I recommended the status quo practice of creating passwords that are: complicated; using numbers, questions marks and hash marks; and changed regularly. I also suggested you use different passwords for each app and website.

But the day after I posted, new thoughts about passwords were announced by technology advisor Paul Grassi at NIST — the National Institute of Standards and Technology — suggesting that you keep “passwords simple, long (16 or more) and memorable. So if you can picture it in your head, and no one else could, that’s a good password.”

Use your password in a sentence, choosing content that is long and easy to remember, like hobbies, vacation spots, favorite stores, and even your own daily sayings that you use (you get the idea). This new thought is about you staying one step ahead. Grassi says “these guidelines help users create longer passwords that are harder for hackers to break.”

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my security awareness posts for you, your family and your business. Whew, okay — there you have it, and remember —
Think before you click!

Tina Louise Penn
Cloud Technology Specialist
VoIP Certified Technician
888.871.6584 (O) 661.210.9222 (M)
www.cloudplusservices.com
WBENC # 2005125700,
CPUC #15040072

Sulphur Springs School District 2017-2018 Year Begins

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 5, 2017

Canyon Country Magazine reached out to Sulphur Springs School District Superintendent Dr. Catherine Kawaguchi to find out what’s new this year. The SSSD has four individuals taking new posts as principals:

Heather Drew, principal at Leona Cox Community School. She was the assistant principal last year at the school.
Julie Martinez, principal at Canyon Springs Community School. She was an assistant principal in the Eastside School District.
Eric Guerrero, principal at Sulphur Springs Community School. He was an assistant principal in the Eastside School District.
Dr. Marie Dacumos, principal at Mitchell Community School. She has more than nine years of administrative experience, from being a principal to coaching other principals.

Special Projects for this coming year include:
-Implementing a new English Language Arts Adoption. “We had over 80 teachers pilot two programs last year, and then together they worked to select Benchmark Advance as the new curriculum that will be used in our classrooms,” Dr. Kawaguchi said. “The curriculum is aligned to the California State Standards and all of our teachers have been trained to use this program.”

-The 2nd Autism Program at Leona Cox Community School. Last year the first such program opened at Leona Cox. “We are excited to be able to offer a state-of-the art program for our children,” the superintendent said.

-A state preschool program at Leona Cox. “This program will also allow our children with special needs to have the opportunity to be mainstreamed,” she explained. “It is critical that we work together to continue to provide the best for our children, no matter what their needs are, and Sulphur Springs is committed to doing this.”

-Construction at Pinetree Community School using Measure CK dollars. “We want to thank our voters for supporting (us) with the passage of this Measure, since it will support the construction of new classrooms to replace portables, construction of a Learning Center that will house the Library, Multi-Media Center and Makerspace lab for all the students, and a new administrative building,” Dr. Kawaguchi said. “We have also constructed a new playground for the children that is open to the children now.”

Sulphur Springs School District was founded by Thomas and Martha Mitchell and their neighbors, the Langs and the Stewarts, back in 1872. The district continues its history of almost 150 years of expansion and development according to the needs of local residents.

Dr. Kawaguchi added: “We are excited about this coming year, and we look forward to working and collaborating with our families to continue to bring an excellent education to all of our children.”

Back to School Safety: Stranger Danger

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 5, 2017

It’s nearly Autumn, and children are heading back to school. If you haven’t already, it’s time to discuss with them how to deal with confrontations with strangers.

Kids encountering strangers on their way to school is really nothing new, and the vast majority of those people are just benign members of the community who are out and about. Unfortunately, the intentions of some people aren’t as innocent as others. Your kids need to know how to proceed if they find themselves in a situation in which they feel uncomfortable.

It’s best to begin teaching your kids about strangers when they’re little, but it’s never too late to have the talk. When dealing with younger children, it’s usually best to teach them to distinguish between “safe strangers” and the unsafe variety. Some “safe strangers” include police, firemen, teachers and other vetted school faculty. Other types of “safe strangers” could be those who happen to be working in a shop, or even the bus driver. For example, if your child feels uncomfortable or is being followed and can’t find a police officer, tell him or her to go into the nearest business and ask for help. The employee will serve as a witness and, therefore, a deterrent if the person following your child is up to no good. And the employee can always call the police if necessary.

Another good tip is to make sure your children know to never, ever approach a stranger’s vehicle. No matter what the person may say to lure a child, kids need to know that they’re under no obligation to interact with someone they don’t know.

“Safety in numbers” is an old saying, but it’s still true today; walking to and from school alone can be dangerous. If your child walks to school (or even to the bus stop), try and get together with other parents in the area and have your kids all walk together. A group of children is much less likely to be accosted than a child walking alone.

Ultimately, keeping our children safe is the responsibility of the whole community. Whether you have children or not, keep an eye out. If you see anyone suspicious in the neighborhood, or if someone is harassing children, call the police.

If you have questions about any Canyon Country bail related subject, or if you want to suggest a topic, visit Robin at www.santaclaritabond.com or call 661-299-BOND (2663).

Evening Under the Stars Gala Benefits Kids with Cancer

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 4, 2017

For almost a quarter of a century the Michael Hoefflin Foundation has hosted a local fundraiser bringing hundreds of residents together for food, entertainment, and a common goal — to fight childhood cancers.

This year’s 24th Annual Michael Hoefflin Foundation Evening Under the Stars gala dinner and charity auction will be held on Saturday, September 16, 2017. The event will be held at Mann Biomedical Park beginning at 6 p.m. Attendees will enjoy a dinner catered by Salt Creek Grill, live music, and the opportunity to bid on hundreds of unique auction items.

Although the Michael Hoefflin Foundation focuses on fundraising efforts throughout the year, Evening Under the Stars is critical 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.

“We are grateful for the support of our community, whether at our 5K earlier in the year or the amazing efforts by people such as Roy Wiegand, who recently ran in honor of one of our recently lost angels,” said Gillian Stone, MHF’s executive director. “This is our chance to give the community that we so appreciate a beautiful, memorable and hopefully inspiring evening, and let people know about why we need the support we do.”

Honorary chairs are Jon and Mardilan Giorgio of Gothic Landscape, and this year’s entertainment is the third appearance by the Kelly Rae Band, a high-energy country band that has been delivering crowd-pleasing performances around the world for more than two decades. The band is comprised of seasoned musicians who have performed with such names as Tanya Tucker, Rascal Flatts, Bobby Bare and Trick Pony.

The Michael Hoefflin Foundation for children’s cancer is a public nonprofit 501(c)(3) foundation that provides financial and emotional support to children and their families in the Santa Clarita and surrounding valleys. The organization strives to educate the public and provide grant funding for innovative research to accelerate progress in the fight against pediatric cancer. To find out more about the event, visit www.mhf.org for ticket information and to discover what the Michael Hoefflin Foundation is doing in the community.

College of the Canyons Canyon Country Campus 10 Years Later

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 4, 2017

The College of the Canyons Canyon Country Campus has many reasons to celebrate this fall 2017 semester. Not only is the campus offering one of its largest class schedules ever, with more than 260 class sections, but it also marks the campus’ 10-year anniversary.

“It is hard to believe that it has been a decade since the Canyon Country campus first opened its doors,” said COC Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook. “As a true embodiment of College of the Canyons’ pioneering spirit, the Canyon Country campus has blazed trails of success by expanding access to higher education in the eastern Santa Clarita Valley.”

In the past 10 years, the 70-acre campus has offered more than 5,000 classes and has served more than 50,000 students. In fact, nearly 73 percent of the college’s 2017 graduating class completed at least one course at the Canyon Country campus.

To commemorate the campus’s 10-year anniversary, a variety of events and student-centered activities are planned to help celebrate and continue the progress at COC’s comprehensive second campus.

Students, staff, and community members are invited to attend the following upcoming events:

*Community Open House Anniversary Celebration – Saturday, Oct. 14
*Joint Associated Student Government (ASG) and Board of Trustees Meeting – Wednesday, Oct. 25
*Star Party – Friday, Oct. 27

“We are very excited about the events we have planned to celebrate this momentous milestone in the history of the Canyon Country Campus,” said Ryan Theule, vice president of the Canyon Country Campus. “The Canyon Country campus has experienced tremendous growth in the past 10 years and with the construction of the new Science Center on the horizon, we look forward to continue meeting the needs of our students.”

The second permanent building to be built on the Canyon Country campus, the Science Center will be located in the middle of the campus, serving as a focal point for students and first-time visitors. The approximately 52,000-square-foot building will primarily be for physical and biological sciences, housing eight labs, a large 70-seat lecture room, lab prep space, seven lecture rooms, three computer lab classrooms, 22 faculty offices, as well as 17 group study rooms and several meeting spaces. Construction for the approximately 22-month-long project is slated to begin this year.

The greatly anticipated Science Center will be funded in part by Measure E, which local voters approved in June 2016.

Future construction projects slated for the Canyon Country campus include a Student Services/Learning Resources building, housing offices and programs. The four-story building will be opposite the Science Building at the center of campus and will also include space for the library and The Learning Center (TLC).

“The Canyon Country campus is filled with innovative students, staff, and faculty who will continue to make this amazing site thrive,” said Theule. “With their passion and dedication, we are excited about the many opportunities ahead at the Canyon Country campus.”

The Canyon Country Campus opened on August 27, 2007 with more than 3,500 students, exceeding its five-year enrollment target on opening day.

Since then, the campus has expanded access to higher education in the Santa Clarita Valley with 18 associate degree offerings and 13 certificate programs. The campus also regularly offers more than 100 classes each semester in high-demand evening, weekend, hybrid or accelerated formats to meet the needs of working students.

Each semester, campus enrollment regularly reaches between 4,000 to 5,000 students, with an average of 170 faculty teaching in approximately 300 classes that span an average of 40 academic disciplines.

For more information about the fall 2017 semester at the College of the Canyons Canyon Country Campus, visit http://www.canyons.edu/ccc.

Elks Roast Jay Larkins in 50th Anniversary Celebration

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 2, 2017

Elks Lodge 2379 is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout the year, and this month they are recognizing member Jay Larkins.

A roast will be held in his honor on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at the Elks Lodge in Canyon Country, and members are inviting the community to attend.

“The roasters have been investigating avenues to sully Jay’s good name, reputation, accomplishments, background and anything else they can muster up,” says Elks public relations director Grace Elliott. “It has been rumored that the roasters are having a difficult time pinning down any negative information to malign Jay, so they are fabricating stories!”

Called a “Southern Gentleman” by some members, Larkins can expect to receive barbs from Elks hierarchy, his wife, Ginger, and a surprise community leader. At least a few will likely center on his years as a director for the TV show “Entertainment Tonight.”

“What about his good manners, his great wit, wonderful sense of humor, his successful career as a producer and director, his dedication to his family, friends and to all his philanthropic endeavors?” Elliott asks. “In fact, Jay has been seen walking around shouting, ‘What was I thinking to agree to let these so-called friends, and even Ginger, make unkind, untrue, yet comical comments about me?’”

If Larkins is like previous members roasted by fellow Elks members, he will also be taking mental notes of the abuse he is enduring … and waiting for the opportunity to return the “favor.”

The Jay Larkins Elks Roast will be held on September 9, beginning with a social hour at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

Elks Lodge 2379 is located at 17766 Sierra Highway in Canyon Country. The cost is $20 and includes a “build your own burger” dinner.

Guests are limited to adults only, and attire is western casual. Contact the Elks office at 661-251-1500 for tickets and information.

Cajun Belle Unmasks a New Owner

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 1, 2017

Last year, a Canyon Country night spot made headlines when it became a “Bar Rescue” assignment, where reality TV show expert Jon Taffer, among other things, changed its name from Grinders to The Cajun Belle.

This year, the Mardi Gras themed bar is changing hands. Stacey Shaw is bringing more than 25 years of bartending experience to the business, and literally “pouring” her own ideas into the already busy bar.

“I’m keeping everything pretty much the same — the only thing different is there’s a lot more stock there,” Shaw said. “There’s going to be an expanded collection of beers and spirits.”

She’s put more than $3,000 and hours and hours into her new business. “I saved and saved — my goal was to buy my own bar,” Shaw said.

She signed up with a brokerage firm, which sent her an alert when The Cajun Belle went up for sale. A main feature she was looking for was a bar with a full liquor license. “One of the big draws was the entertainment license, because you can have live music,” Shaw said, tying it to her expertise. “I actually have a degree in sound engineering.”

The Cajun Belle will host a big event on Saturday, September 2 beginning at 10 p.m. Members of the community who are over 21 are invited to the bar to hear “Arizona Bay,” a tribute to the band Tool. There is no cover charge, and there will be pizza and wings for purchase.

Shaw plans to showcase local bands and hold frequent “80s nights.” There is karaoke with DJ Donnie Do every Thursday and Saturday 9 p.m.-1 a.m., except when there’s a special event. And she’s a huge L.A. Kings fan, so customers will be tuned in during hockey season. The Cajun Belle is open every night from 4 p.m.-2 a.m. and it is located at 18283 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country. For more information, see The Cajun Belle’s Facebook site or email Stacey Shaw at THECBelle@gmail.com.

Vote for Best of Canyon Country

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 1, 2017

It’s not too late! Vote for your favorite businesses in Canyon Country! Show some love to the best of Canyon Country – here’s the link!

 

Best of Canyon Country

Canyon Country Business Briefs

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 21, 2017

Citywide Film Statistics
In June, the City of Santa Clarita issued 40 film permits, which contributed to 113 film days, generating an estimated economic impact of $2,733,500.
The following productions were filming in Canyon Country in June 2017.
Features:
Villa Capri – Sand Canyon Country Club
Television Shows:
Blood Relatives – Sand Canyon area homes
Corrupt Crimes – Sable Ranch
The Last Ship – Sable Ranch
Rhett & Link’s Buddy System – Rancho Deluxe
Sharp Objects – Sand Canyon area homes
Shooter – Friendly Valley Community Center
Storage Wars – Private Mini Storage
Unusual Suspects – Sand Canyon area homes
Commercials:
LT Xtreme – Sable Ranch
Internet/Web:
CVNT5 – Mint Canyon Lodge, Mom Can Cook

PLANNING UPDATE

Planning approved a new restaurant located at 19025 Golden Valley Road. Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen will be located at the Golden Valley Plaza shopping center. An opening date has not been determined, though the applicant has submitted for building permits.

UPCOMING EVENTS
Canyon Country Community Center:

Big Band Dance
You are invited to join us for an evening of dancing to the music of the Big Band Era. Come and enjoy a live band as you JUMP, JIVE, and SWING the night away. Be sure to dress in your best DAPPER DUDS.
Saturday, 8/12
Lessons: 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Social Dancing: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Karaoke Night
Calling all karaoke lovers! Got a voice and want to show it off? Join us for a fun night of music for the entire family — solos, groups, and even staff performing a wide variety of songs for this special family night. Having fun while bringing the family together is what it’s all about! Space is limited!
Saturday, 8/18
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Having Fun with Phonics and More
(3-5 yrs.)
A is for Apple and F is for Fun! Children ages 3-5 years old can acquire great pre-reading skills through games, stories, activities, and crafts. Parents can have fun with their child as they learn the alphabet.  This is a parent participation class.
Tuesdays, 8/22 – 8/29
10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Fee: $5 per class

Visit santa-clarita.com/cccc or call (661) 290-2266 for more information and to view a complete listing of activities happening at the Canyon Country Community Center.

 

Santa Clarita Public Library:

Stuffed Animal Sleepover
Bring your favorite stuffed toy for some fun crafts. Then, leave your stuffed buddy behind for a library sleepover. Return the next day to see what your buddy did in the library while you were away. (Note: No people will be sleeping over at the library.)

Saturday, August 19
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Canyon Country Meeting Room

 

Friday at the Movies
Adults are invited to join us at the library every Friday afternoon for a free afternoon showing.

Every Friday during August
1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Canyon Country Meeting Room

Wii for Adults
Adults are invited for Wii games! WiiSports, Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros. and more!

Saturday, August 12 and 26
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Canyon Country Meeting Room

Friends of the Library Bag Sale
For only $7 you can fill a book bag with any books in the bookstore and you get to keep the book bag! All proceeds benefit the library. Save $1 by bringing in your old blue Friends of the Library bag from a previous bag sale. Bag sale is at all three Santa Clarita Public Library branches. Sale is open to the public on Saturday, August 12 at 12 p.m. and ends when the library closes on Friday, August 18. Members Only Pre-Sale begins at 10 a.m. Not a member yet? You can join, on the spot, for the special price of only $5. Visit SantaClaritaFOL.com for more information.

Saturday, August 12
12:00 p.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Friends of the Library Bookstore

Visit SantaClaritaLibrary.com for more information and to view a complete listing of activities happening at the Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library.

 

Canyon Country History Minute

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 17, 2017

It was 1976 when Odie Fox opened his first storefront in Canyon Country — Fox Feed. Originally from Oklahoma, he went west during the Great Depression and began working in the hay fields of the Imperial Valley. In this photo from the 1940s, Odie (left) and his friend are loading up hay for a delivery. Odie purchased more modern trucks over the years and in the 1960s and ‘70s his son, Jerry Fox, joined him, delivering hay to dairies and later building the store on Sierra Highway.

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.

 

Carousel Ranch Hosts Heart of the West Fundraiser

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 16, 2017

Guests at the 21st Annual Heart of the West fundraiser on August 26 will get more than food, beverages and the chance to take home unique auction items. They can spend the evening playing casino games, plus get the chance to see the riding prowess of several Carousel Ranch clients.

Children with a wide range of needs who receive equestrian therapy at Carousel Ranch get the chance to experience the physical and emotional benefits of riding and caring for horses. For some, it’s a feeling of freedom they don’t get because of missing limbs or limited balance, and for others the exercises on horseback work to relax muscles and improve motor skills. Guests to the Heart of the West fundraiser get to witness their joy as they demonstrate the work that the fundraiser is supporting.

Salt Creek Grille will cater dinner and the evening will include live music and dancing. Tickets are $85 per person for general seating, and $175 for VIP seating.

There are also opportunities ranging from a “Buckaroo Sponsorship” for $300, which is general seating for two people, to a “Hero’s Heart Sponsorship,” which costs $7,500 and includes reserved VIP seating for 12 individuals.

For more information, visit CarouselRanch.org/heart-of-the-west.

Ask the Experts: Real Estate, Cyber Security, Homeowners Insurance

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 16, 2017

When is a good time to buy a home?

It’s the American dream to stop paying rent and own a home. Many people wait to buy real estate, but the truth is, you buy real estate and wait. There are many benefits of owning a home and, in the long run, it is the truest way to build stability and wealth for your future.

In many areas of Canyon Country, you can still buy a home with a payment equal to what you would pay for rent, yet get all the benefits. With mortgage rates at historic lows and with loans such as VA no money down and FHA 3.5% down available, now is the perfect time to buy a home.

Most of a home payment comes back to you over time. Let’s take the typical entry-level home in Canyon Country, which goes for around $450,000. If you put down 3.5 percent on an FHA loan you would only need $15,750 down and you can also receive that as a gift from family as well. The loan balance at current rates would be a payment of around $2,000 plus add property tax, home and mortgage insurance, and your total payment is around $2,690 a month, which is about what it would cost to rent currently.

Now let’s look at the additional benefits and savings:
Income tax benefits – By deducting loan interest and property tax on your income tax return you can save approximately $500 a month.
Principal reduction – On a 30-year loan approximately $600-$700 a month would go towards paying down the loan and building equity at the start.
Appreciation – Historically, homes have gone up an average of over 3.8 percent per year over the last 60 years. Over time, you could get back up to $1,425 monthly.
So, just by looking at only three of the benefits, you can see that your $2,690 monthly payment minus income tax benefits of $500, principal reduction of $700 and appreciation of $1,425, you would be getting back $2,625. That means your monthly home payment over time should only cost you $65.

Also, with inflation and current rents going up at 8 percent a year, you would save an additional $215 a month after the first year by paying a fixed rate mortgage instead of a rent increase. And with capital gains benefits you would pay no tax on the profits of up to $250k for a single person and $500k for a married couple. That means that if you sold the home in 30 years for $950,000 it would all be tax exempt.

By putting down $15,750 to control a $450,000 home that is saving you $2,625 a month, or $31,500 a year, you get a return of 200 percent a year on your home investment, where you can also live. That is why a homeowner’s net worth is 36 times that of a renter, and 95 percent of people’s wealth usually comes from owning a home.

Many of my clients are renters and first-time buyers, and I work with several lenders that have these kinds of programs to help them get qualified.

Craig Martin / Realty ONE Group / 661-361-6843 paid advertorial

What tips do you have for password security?

Keep your passwords private — never share a password with anyone else. Do not write down your passwords on that little yellow “post-it note,” for instance, right there on your PC for everyone to see.
Use passwords of at least 16 characters or more (longer is better).

Use a combination of upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers and special characters (for example: !, @, &, %, +) in all passwords.

Avoid using the names of people or pets, or words found in the dictionary. It’s also best to avoid using key dates (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.).
Substituting look-alike characters for letters or numbers is no longer sufficient (for example, “Password” and “P@ssw0rd”). A strong password should look like a series of random characters.
If you have a desktop or laptop and your screen is full of application icons that require passwords, I suggest you use a reputable password management system. These types of password managers have helpful features to boost your security. First, they encrypt all your login information and other types of data that you might often hand over to a website, such as your address or credit card information. This allows you to not only keep your personal data secure, but organize the dizzying array of passwords that many of us have to manage. Second, many password managers generate unique, complicated passwords that are extremely difficult to crack. Through these two functions, password managers ensure that you have the strongest possible password, and do the hard task of “remembering” your passwords for you. Any password manager you use should, ideally, perform both of these security functions, which saves you time in having to create new passwords for each application.

Think Before You Click!
Tina Louise Penn
Cloud Technology Specialist
VoIP Certified Technician
888.871.6584 paid advertorial

Are all homeowners insurance policies the same?

No, they can be very different, and you want to be sure your insurance professional has access to the most comprehensive coverage available.

Homeowners will sometimes assume they only need “fire insurance,” which is actually “hazard insurance,” the minimum insurance you need to cover the mortgage. It doesn’t cover water damage, theft, vandalism, lightning, weight of snow, etc.

Homeowners insurance covers a lot more. In my 28 years of experience I’ve only lost maybe one home a year due to fire. But about 95 percent of my clients’ claims are for water damage. A good homeowners package covers everything you’d normally expect in your home, with the exception of flood and earthquake.

Water damage, which is separate from flood damage, includes such problems as damage from broken pipes within the house. Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover true flooding, which is what flood insurance covers. Flooding involves rising water from an outside source, such as rain coming down too fast, where storm drains can’t handle the volume.

A homeowners package policy, not just fire insurance, covers the estimated value to rebuild a house. Land is not included. Coverage A is your dwelling. Coverage B is separate structure, such as fences or a barn. Coverage C is personal property. Coverage D is loss of use, when you are not able to occupy your house due to a covered loss. Coverage E is liability, which includes someone getting hurt on your property. Coverage F is medical, for guests who hurt themselves where you aren’t necessarily liable for it.

If your agent says you only qualify for Covered California, it is only the bare minimum. Make sure the agent you choose represents a company offering a policy with the widest parameters possible. When these clients come to me, nine times out of 10 I’m able to place them with a more complete homeowners policy; it’s one of the advantages of representing several different companies.

Robb Nelson can be reached at 661-296-5123
paid advertorial

Shop Soledad: McDonalds Re-Opens

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 15, 2017

If the last time McDonald’s got you in the door was when they declared that “You Deserve a Break Today,” it’s been awhile. But whether the burgers and fries were your favorite teen take-out or you like its healthier 21st century fare, McDonald’s is (still) your kind of place.

The Canyon Country McDonald’s, at 18850 Soledad Canyon Road, just got a $2 million facelift, which residents will see in the middle of this month.

“This is not what most people would think of as a typical McDonald’s,” said Jay Schutz, the owner/operator of several McDonald’s restaurants, including the newly remodeled Canyon Country location. “Elements of the décor and layout are part of the new ‘Vision 2020’ for McDonald’s and they encompass all the newest elements McDonald’s currently offers worldwide.”

The forward design is part of an international rebranding campaign and the famous restaurant’s corporation aims to update all McDonald’s restaurants in the United States. That put the Canyon Country site on the list for a major remodel project.

Closed April 30, construction was supposed to take six weeks and has now exceeded 3 ½ months, Schutz said. “I wasn’t that concerned about closing, but I was very skeptical that the job could be done in six weeks. We did a lot of structural repairs to the building, and there are so many cool elements inside.”

There is a brand new play place, a state-of-the-art outdoor patio, customized wall graphics, Wi-Fi, and customers can step up to a kiosk to place an order. They also included a “fast casual” feature, where you take a number from the kiosk and a server delivers the food to your table.

There are changes to the drive-thru as well. Now the west side has two drive-thru lanes and a pass through, rather than parking. The new quick-service drive thru has a full LED computerized menu board and there’s a mobile ordering feature with curbside pickup. McDonald’s also has Uber Eats scheduled to be released in Santa Clarita this fall, Schutz said.

The hours are changing too. The McDonald’s dining room is open inside from 5 a.m.-10 p.m. seven days a week, with the drive-thru open until 2 a.m. seven days a week.

“We understand there are a lot of people who work graveyard shifts,” Schutz said, “and since we serve breakfast all day, it will be helpful for them to count on us to be there for them, whenever they need us.”

Much like his restaurants, Schutz needs little down time. He didn’t let a break in operation for construction at the Canyon Country restaurants take his employees out of the workforce. He temporarily moved many of them to the Via Princessa McDonald’s and paid them to do volunteer work at Santa Clarita non-profits. Some of them offered mentoring and tutoring at the Boys and Girls Club, while others assisted at the Senior Center, SCV Food Pantry and Bridge to Home.

“I wanted to retain my employees, because they’re very valuable to me,” Schutz said.

Manager Sergio Rizo has been working for Schutz for 20 years. And McDonald’s is looking for additional team members, said the owner, who said he pays a higher wage — the county standard of $12 an hour. Next July it will go up to $13.25 per hour.

The menu is changing all the time, but there were no specific changes associated with the remodel. “For people who haven’t been to McDonald’s in a long time, the menu will look new to them,” Schutz said. “Our food has no preservatives or hormones or antibiotics … the chicken nuggets are all white breast meat, and we’ll have organic apple juice any day now.”

McDonald’s sells “best in class” Tyson chicken and there is a whole new line of taste-crafted sandwiches. Customers can get fresh Pico de Gallo, fresh guacamole and Sriracha burgers also.

But after the doors open this month, a report from locals that the new McDonald’s offers a “Good Time, Great Taste” isn’t the end game, said forward-thinking Schutz. “Now Via Princessa will undergo its own transformation,” he said.

If you check in with Schutz at the first of the year to ask about the toll of more construction work, remodeling costs and personnel shuffling, it’s possible his answer will have a ring of familiarity to you. Especially if he responds with: “I’m lovin’ it!”

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