Canyon Country Business Briefs

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 13, 2019

In June, the City issued 39 film permits, which contributed to 90 film days, generating an estimated economic impact of $2,004,000.

The following productions were filming in Canyon Country in June 2019:
Television Shows:
America’s Top Dog – Sable Ranch
Atypical – Starting 9 Batting Cages
Mayans MC – Area street, Mountasia Family Fun Center
Murder for Hire – Area home
Recreation #2 – Sable Ranch
Scrawny to Brawny – Fair Oaks Park
Dweller – Sable Ranch
SRRL – Sand Canyon area home
CAR – Area streets, Santa Clarita Skatepark
Chevy – Mountasia Family Fun Center, Rancho Deluxe
Walmart/Capital One – Walmart
Student Films:
El Narco (New York Film Academy) – Church of the Canyons
Super Roomies (New York Film Academy) – Area home


Phase I of the Canyon Country Community Center project continues to make progress on the corner of Soledad Canyon Road and Sierra Highway. As Phase I nears completion later this year, residents will see the final touches put on the Mint Canyon Channel, as well as construction of the site’s infiltration systems and completion of the rough grading. Phase I is scheduled to be completed at the end of this year. Phases II and III are expected to begin construction after the first of the year and take approximately 18 months to complete. Phases II and III include the construction of the community center building and site improvements.

For more information on the new Canyon Country Community Center project, visit santa-clarita.com/FutureCCCC.


The public outreach process for the Inclusive Play Area project included three public outreach meetings at Canyon Country Park. The public meetings were ‘open house’ style, allowing the attendees to learn about the project, share their thoughts and ideas on the project with City staff and the consultants, vote on play elements and review and comment on the preliminary and revised designs.

Construction will begin in September 2019 and the grand opening of the City’s first Inclusive Play Area will take place by the end of this year.

For more information about the new Inclusive Play Area project at Canyon Country Park, contact Elena Galvez at (661) 255-4911 or egalvez@santa-clarita.com.


The Ground Beneath Me; Not Above Me, So Enjoy Life
On display Aug. 2 to Dec. 3, 2019
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
The images in this display were created by a local photographer who had cancer and radiation treatment, but did not let that stop him from making art. Through the difficult ordeal, the artist continued to photograph, create art, appreciate nature, live and love life.

This exhibit hopes to remind everyone to stay positive, have a good attitude and continue to live life to its fullest.


Concerts in the Park
The City of Santa Clarita’s annual Concerts in the Park, presented by Logix Federal Credit Union, continue. The 30-year-old program takes place in Central Park on Saturday nights at 7:00 p.m. through August 24. Voted the “Best Live Entertainment in the Santa Clarita Valley in 2018,” you won’t want to miss exciting shows still to come from Mirage – Visions of Fleetwood Mac, Grateful Shred, The Replicas and Erotic City, and a Tribute to Prince!

Be sure to bring your blanket and chairs to these free events and see what residents love about it. You can get more information on the entire Concerts in the Park lineup by visiting santa-clarita.com/concerts.

25th Annual River Rally and Environmental Expo
You and your family can help clean a portion of the Santa Clara River – the longest free-flowing river and one of the last two natural river systems remaining in Southern California.

Be a part of the solution for a better environment by helping to preserve the river’s natural beauty and variety of wildlife. To date, thousands of volunteers have collected more than 445,000 pounds of trash and debris from the Santa Clara River and its tributaries!
Saturday, September 21
Newhall Community Center
22421 Market Street
8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
More information: http://greensantaclarita.com/calendar/river-rally/

Canyon Country Community Center

iTEENS (12-18 yrs.)
iTeens is a teen after school program. Local youth have the opportunity to participate in homework help, leadership development, team building and more.
Mon through Fri beginning Aug. 19
3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Teen Night Out (12-18 yrs.)
Drop-in and work up a sweat with an evening of Dodgeball, Wii, or computers in the Tech Room. Bring a friend! Activities will be structured; membership and participation is required.
Friday, August 30
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday Drop-N-Play (5-12 yrs.)
Drop in and enjoy structured play and fun activities on Saturdays. SMART ProTrainer Interactive Wall,
computer time, arts and crafts, games, and more are available. Membership is required.
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Tiny Time Hour (1-5 yrs.)
Get out and socialize at Tiny Time Hour! Join us for a morning of parent-led activities including art, toys, games and more. Whether you need a new play date spot for your child or want to get out and make friends, at Tiny Time you can mingle, have fun and experience new things.
Mondays, August 19 and 26
9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

DoodleBugs (2-4 yrs.)
Come and enjoy a fun parent/child participation class. Children and parents will engage in a multitude of sensory activities, crafts, stories and songs.
Fridays, August 23 and 30
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Fee: $5 per class

Adventures with Food (3-5 yrs.)
Cooking activities that integrate reading, math, science and healthy living. Focuses on measuring, mixing and tasting new foods. Parent attendance is required.
Wednesdays, August 21 and 28
10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Fee: $5 per class

Preschool Fitness Fun (3-5 yrs.)
Enjoy a morning of fun on our SMART ProTrainer Interactive Wall. Preschoolers will discover the fun of fitness, while developing their gross motor skills. Participants will practice and improve skills such as spatial awareness, locomotor coordination and rhythmic skills.
Wednesdays, August 21 and 28
11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Fee: $5 per class

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


Get ready for the start of the school year at the Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library! Although programs are on break for the month of August, you can still explore new worlds, find volunteer opportunities, connect with the Friends of the Library and much more.

Discover resources offered by the library for kids, teens and adults and see how you can get involved in the community. Regular programs will return to the Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library on September 9.

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

Sand Canyon Country Club Hotel & Resort Where does it stand?

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 13, 2019

An email went out to Sand Canyon homeowners at the beginning of April 2019 informing the neighborhood that the original Notice of Preparation, or NOP, for the property – formerly Robinson Ranch – had been amended. The email from Hai Nguyen, associate planner for the City of Santa Clarita, informed residents of the revised NOP and gave them the opportunity to give him feedback over a one-month period.

A meeting was called for May 21, 2019, offering interested parties the chance to go to Sand Canyon Country Club to meet with Nguyen and Steve Kim, who has owned the 77-acre golf course for approximately three years. About 50 residents gathered at the site for a short tour and general briefing.

Before all attendees had assembled, Kim told a few residents who arrived early, “This used to be a 36-hole golf course. Because water has always been an issue, we changed it to a 27-hole golf course, which is plenty, because the golf population has dropped significantly, as you know. Not many people play golf anymore.”

The project site is located at 27734 Sand Canyon Road at the northeast corner of Sand Canyon Road and Robinson Ranch Road.

According to the NOP, the proposed project would result in the replacement of existing open space that was formerly a part of the Mountain Course of Robinson Ranch Golf Club with a new resort and spa consisting of the following:

Main Hotel: three-story building with 241 rooms/keys totaling approximately 165,000 square feet, and back of house and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing space in the Main Hotel basement totaling approximately 23,000 square feet
Wedding Hotel: three three-story buildings with 81 rooms/keys totaling approximately 50,000 square feet air conditioned space and 17,500 square feet of open non-air-conditioned space with an outdoor wedding ground and pergola
View Villas: 14 two-story villas with 56 rooms/keys totaling approximately 110,000 square feet

The Sand Canyon Homeowners Association Board of Directors drafted a list of “major concerns” with the proposal, which was sent to residents in the area: (SC=Sand Canyon and RR=Robinson Ranch)

Primary reasons that the SCCC Resort is a seriously inappropriate project for the Sand Canyon Community.

  • Dangerous. The project is dangerous to Sand Canyon residents and resort guests/workers because:
    Currently, there is no way to quickly and safely evacuate SC residents, and resort guests and workers, from the canyon in the event of a wildfire. Adding hundreds of hotel occupants and staff will only exacerbate the already existing and dangerous evacuation problem.
    Even if a 2nd access road across the Santa Clara River is added to service the SC and the resort, the number of people and vehicles involved in an evacuation would still radically slow evacuation of SC residents on SC Road and at the intersection of SC Road with Lost Canyon Road, increasing the risk of death and injury to residents and resort visitors.
    If the resort is used to ‘shelter in place’ firefighting resources will have to be devoted to the resort instead of saving SC residences and fighting spread of the fire. Shelter in place is a last resort and not a first line of fire defense.
    Building any high-density facility in a high-risk fire area such as Sand Canyon is simply irresponsible, especially as climate change and drought periods have increased, and will continue to increase fire risk in the area.
    Sand Canyon Special Standards District (SCSSD). The resort is inherently incompatible with the purpose of the SCSSD, which is to “maintain, preserve and enhance the rural and equestrian character of Sand Canyon.” The resort would be a high-density, purely commercial and non-rural use in direct conflict with the purpose and intent of the SCSSD standards.
  • Zoning. (It is) incompatible with Sand Canyon zoning, which is low-density residential throughout Sand Canyon (1 or 2 acre min. lot size). Resort would be a high-density commercial use completely incompatible with the zoning that applies to all other areas of Sand Canyon. Most Sand Canyon residents live here BECAUSE of the zoning and SCSSD protections against commercial uses and developments like the proposed resort. Consistent zoning protects community character and property values.
  • Water. The resort will require significant and enormous water volumes to operate even in drought periods, using resources that would otherwise be available to existing residents and businesses.
    Cumulative projects an impermissible burden on infrastructure. When analyzing this project and its effects on SC (and the Sand Canyon 14 freeway on and off ramps), the other current and planned projects must be taken into consideration. The Vista Canyon project and Sand Canyon Commercial Plaza (NE corner of Sand Canyon and Soledad) are already underway and contain hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail, office and residential square footage. When the Mancara project is factored in along with Ted Robinson’s land, hundreds of acres of development are going to cause unmanageable and dangerous overloads on the existing infrastructure. Simply put, this project cannot be looked at in a vacuum.
    Open Space Conversion. (It) takes away 75 acres of Open Space that SC residents were specifically promised as part of the Robinson Ranch Golf Course approval. The RR golf course project approval included dedication of acreage on the RR property to be Open Space, which was an essential element of that approval to many SC residents who otherwise would have opposed the RR golf course.
  • Traffic. The resort itself (even when one does not consider the other projects) will add substantial traffic to Sand Canyon Road, from resort guests, workers and service vehicles, when SC is already very busy and backed up at Lost Canyon Road many times during the day to traffic diverting (due to Waze and Maps) from Hwy 14, school traffic, and other local traffic use.
  • Noise. The resort would have noisy outdoor activities for most each day and into the night, including a water park, outdoor pools, outdoor wedding venue and sports courts, which will impact surrounding neighborhoods and wildlife in the National Forest Area adjacent to SCCC. Hotels require large delivery trucks and trash trucks that bring noise at odd hours.
  • Lights. Night lighting at the resort will impact surrounding neighborhood and wildlife in the adjacent National Forest Area.
  • Viability. If the resort fails, which many think is likely due to weather, setting and lack of nearby attractions that would be of interest to potential guests, and expected of a 5-star resort, the buildings will be a blight in the community, with no alternative use that is compatible with SCSSD or surrounding zoning.
  • No Development and Hotel Management Experience. The current owner has already stated his intention to “run” the hotel himself. Simply put, he has no hotel or development experience. His lack of experience in running a golf course has already created unfortunate results. Further, the current ownership has no experience in developing such a large project. The inevitable missteps and mistakes will have drastic impacts on many unintended victims (the SC residents) who will have to live with those impacts for dozens of years.
  • Negative Impact on Property Value. Buyers looking for a new home will avoid homes near Hotels and Commercial Properties due to noise, transient activity, increased traffic, and potentially unwelcome events. Homeowners who must sell could become “distressed sales.”

DUI Pleas – What are They?

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 12, 2019

Recently, a Santa Clarita man arrested in February for causing a fatal crash in Canyon Country while driving under the influence returned to court to undergo pretrial proceedings. According to reports, J. Austin was driving through the intersection of Soledad Canyon Road and Sand Canyon Road when he failed to stop for the red light. Doing so caused a collision between Austin’s truck and a Hyundai in the middle of the intersection, killing the 21-year-old driver, Megan York.

Austin is being charged with one felony count each of gross vehicular manslaughter, DUI causing injury, and driving with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08. He is due to return to court on August 8 to continue pretrial proceedings.

Alcohol-related collisions that result in the death of one or more people are always tragic and difficult to hear about – especially because they’re avoidable – and the law comes down hard on drivers who cause them. In Los Angeles County very high bail amounts are set, including mandatory jail time.

However, when driving under the influence doesn’t involve serious injury, death, or property damage, it’s possible for some drivers to “plea down” and receive lighter penalties than those typically associated with a DUI.

One of those pleas is known as a “dry reckless” and occurs when a defendant who is charged with a DUI agrees to plead guilty to reckless driving instead. This plea is advantageous to the defendant because their record will show that they plead guilty to reckless driving, as opposed to a DUI, and no mention that alcohol or drugs will be included on their record. Because of that, a “dry reckless” is not a priorable offense. That means that if the defendant is later charged with another DUI, the fact that they have a “dry reckless” on their record won’t cause them to face harsher penalties the way having a previous DUI would. In California, the more DUIs a person has on the record, the harsher the penalty for each subsequent offense.

As strange as it may seem, a “dry reckless” is preferable to a DUI for several reasons, most of which have to do with the difference in the severity of the penalties involved with each offense. A “dry reckless” typically involves a shorter county jail sentence, smaller fines, a shorter probation period, and no mandatory court-ordered license suspension.

Another possible plea when charged with a DUI is a “wet reckless.” While more serious than a “dry reckless,” a “wet reckless” is still preferable to a straight DUI. With a “wet reckless” plea, the driver still pleads guilty to reckless driving as opposed to DUI, but it’s noted on their record that alcohol or drugs were involved. A “wet reckless” is a priorable offense, just like getting a DUI, so if a person with a “wet reckless” on the record gets a DUI, the penalties will be harsher.

“Dry reckless” pleas aren’t common, and are typically only available when a person’s BAC is close to .08 percent and the prosecution doesn’t have good evidence against the driver. Most prosecutors prefer to offer a plea deal for a “wet reckless” instead, because alcohol was involved and “wet reckless” convictions are priorable offenses.

But who wants any type of DUI charge on their records? The lesson here is to make the right choice first and never drink and get behind the wheel of a vehicle. You’re taking more than just your life in your hands.

What steps should I take to buy a home?

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 11, 2019

Many people ask me what they have to do to buy a home, so I put together a short list of items to consider when you decide it’s the right time for you to make a purchase.

Check your credit score: This is super important and can be the difference between buying now or taking 6 to 12 months to get your score up. Your credit score will be a factor in the loan you qualify for, as well as the interest rate and cost of mortgage insurance. It’s also good to check for errors that can be fixed quickly because a Federal Trade Commission study found that one in four people identified errors on their report. The first thing I do with clients is pay for a credit report and go over it with a qualified lender.

How much can I afford? This is where you will need to talk to a qualified lender. They will usually look for a total debt load of no more than 43-50 percent of your gross monthly income, depending on whether it is a Conventional, FHA or VA loan. This is the debt-to-income ratio and it includes the mortgage and other debts like a car loan, student loan and credit cards. I offer all my clients a free consultation with my lender to find out how much they can afford and what the interest rate will be.

Down payment: The standard down payment for most mortgages is 20 percent of the cost of the home. If you can do this, your loan costs and mortgage will be lower, you get a better interest rate and you avoid the cost of mortgage insurance, which can save hundreds more a month. It is hard to save that much, but if your credit score is good you can also qualify for 3 percent down on a Conventional loan and 3.5 percent down on an FHA loan. Military vets that qualify can put 0 down and have no mortgage insurance costs. Also, remember that any deposited funds will have to be seasoned in your account for 60 to 90 days. The good news is that you can also receive the funds as a gift from a family member.

Finding a home: Now that you have good credit and have a deposit ready, based on what you can qualify for, it is time to locate a home. I truly believe in finding a local real estate agent who is an expert in the neighborhood you choose. Most agents get compensated from the selling side and there should be no agent fees when you purchase. Just beware of any agency compliance fees and ask your agent to waive them if they come up. And since using an agent is FREE to you, there should be no excuse in not using one to help you find the perfect home.

Benefits of an agent: Finding the right agent to help you in the home buying process will be very beneficial. I specialize in that process and all of my services are FREE – I offer a loan consultation and credit report, as well as up to $5,000 towards your closing costs and a FREE local MOVE when I help with your home purchase.


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Hougo – We Go Visit to Antarctica becomes couple’s numbrrrr 7 continent

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 10, 2019

While Jim and Gwen Hougo are enjoying their time here at home these days, they are happy to share their former adventures with us.

One of our best trips was back in 2008 when we explored our seventh continent on Planet Earth: Antarctica.

We left on New Year’s Eve to fly to Buenos Aires boarding a plane with 10 flight attendants and about 40 passengers. (I guess not many people fly on Dec. 31, but when we returned the flight was full.)

We were treated like royalty. It included a wonderful tour of the beautiful, old city of Buenos Aires, where we learned – among other things – all about the tango, of course.

After a few days we flew up to Iguazu Falls in Brazil. This natural wonder is made up of about 200 waterfalls altogether, making it the biggest waterfall system in the world. It is huge, even when compared to Niagara Falls. After exploring the falls and the surrounding jungle for a few days, we flew to the tip of South America to board a 200-passenger Norwegian Ice Breaker.

Going across Drake’s Passage to Antarctica is one of the roughest waterways on earth. Basically, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are colliding with each other. The waves came over the top of our seven-story ship, and we were advised not to leave our rooms. Even lying on our beds, my husband got thrown out – now that’s rough.

Our ship was able to stop at seven places on the Antarctic. The only living animal in this cold spot is the adorable penguin. But you must be careful, because these little guys can take off your finger if you try to pet them. We went in groups of eight and were limited to two hours. Tourism is very controlled to protect the environment. All countries work together to ensure that protection.

One of the places we stopped is called Deception Bay and is actually the partially sunken caldron of a volcano. We went to shore on rubber zodiac boats and before we left the ship we had to put on rubber boots and walk through disinfectant. On shore the crew dug down a couple feet in the sand and the hole filled up with warm water heated from the volcano. Then they invited us to go for a swim in the Antarctic Ocean (32 degrees). From there we could jump out of the water and into the newly dug spas of warm water on the beach. I did it. And for all the chills and goose bumps, I received a nice certificate. My husband thought I was crazy!

This Norwegian ship had been making the same trip for 20 years, but the ice has been melting. Therefore, on this trip the ship was actually able to cross over the “Antarctic Circle.” For that, we earned another certificate that said, “Since man first stepped on this continent in 1902, less than 100,000 people have been known to cross over the Antarctic Circle.” That made it pretty special.

We ended our cruise by going up the fiords of Chile and spending a few days in Santiago and added an additional week to our trip to go see the wonders of Easter Island. It is 1,150 miles off the coast of Chile and was annexed by the country in 1866. Easter Island is most famous for its nearly 1,000 extant monumental statues, called “mo’ai” by the early Rapa Nui people. It is amazing to learn how they carved and then moved these giant stone statues.

Then the best part of any trip is returning to beautiful Canyon Country, to find family and friends are OK. One of the nicest things about this adventure was the extreme contrast of places we visited and the different cultures we experienced. My husband and I feel very blessed to have an opportunity to see the many treasures on this incredible planet.

New Businesses

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 9, 2019

Neme’s Beauty Nails

When Nemecia Frias of Canyon Country saw a retail space become vacant near Taco Bell, she considered whether or not she should open her own business. A licensed nail technician for five years, Frias recently opened Neme’s Beauty Nails where she offers manicure and pedicure services, including acrylics and gels.
She is currently looking for a licensed nail technician so she can serve more clients in the shop.
When asked about the highpoints of her job, Frias singles out the artistic aspect of designing nails. “I truly love everything about my job,” she says.
A native Californian, the five-year Canyon Country resident has a lot to say about this side of the Santa Clarita Valley.
“I love the fresh air we breathe here and the friendly people,” she says. “It’s very peaceful and quiet … many beautiful views.”
Neme’s Beauty Nails is located at 18917-B Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country; 661-523-7099. It is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sundays by appointment only.

Love Ramen

Opened August 1, 2019, Love Ramen is a different style of Japanese food for fans of Asian cooking.

“We want to bring something new to this area,” said restaurant manager Kevin Wong. “They don’t have anything like Love Ramen in this area.”

Wong describes ramen as a popular style of Japanese food that’s a variation on restaurants serving sushi. He compares it to beef dishes such as steak versus hamburgers.

“We have a lot of different tastes,” Wong said. “We ask customers, ‘What do you like – spicy or juicy?’ We can make many kinds of tastes. We do the traditional Japanese ramen and our service is friendly and our chefs are professional. You will have a fantastic experience here.”

Though Canyon Country’s Love Ramen is brand new, the restaurant is located in three other towns and the company plans to open more.

Love Ramen is located at 18635 Soledad Canyon Road, Suite 104 in Canyon Country; 661-367-6899. The restaurant is closed on Mondays and open: Tuesdays through Thursdays 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (closed for one hour and reopens) 4 p.m.-9 p.m. On Fridays it is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturdays 12 noon-10 p.m.; and Sundays 12 noon-9 p.m.

In Memory of Paula Cox

| Canyon Country Magazine, Sand Canyon Journal | August 9, 2019

Sand Canyon lost a favorite daughter last month. Paula Palmer Cox passed away in her home while surrounded by loved ones. She was the widow of Clement Cox, who died in 2014. The couple met in Sand Canyon as youngsters, and four generations of the Cox family have lived on the same property dating back to the early 20th century.

Next month look for an article about the Cox family
and their influence on our community.

Antelope Valley Fair Sweet Delights & Carnival Lights

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 9, 2019

The Antelope Valley Fair provides an opportunity to get back to basics every year. It always features friendly farming competitions, photographic and artistic presentations, and concerts that take you back to your youth.

Among the musical acts at this year’s AV Fair are REO Speedwagon, Gabriel Iglesias and Charlie Daniels. But, for others who don’t have memories tied to one of these specific artists, there are many more concerts. The 2019 lineup includes:
Collective Soul
Gin Blossoms
Sir, Please
Christian Nodal
Lupillo Rivera
Travis Tritt
Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy
Williams and Ree
Grandstand seats are free for all concerts with paid AV Fair admission and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. There is specialized seating as well:

Gold Circle – $80
Front Track – $55
Back Track – $30
Standing Room Only – $22
There is free grandstand admission for the Figure 8 Race and Rural Olympics with Fireworks, but there is an admission fee (no free seating) for the Monster Trucks/Demo Derby, also held in the arena.

This year’s tagline for the 10-day fair is “Sweet Delights & Carnival Lights.” There are youth exhibitors, some showing livestock and others creating artwork or displaying table settings. Animal competitions for juniors include the Model Chicken Coop contest, a Junior Dog Show, and an Organic Fed Hog Show.

Residents of all ages enter similar categories of competition. The livestock barn includes cows, lambs, goats and pigs, and there’s the Antelope Valley Open Llama Show at the fairgrounds. Among the competitions involving llamas, there are categories for kids. The Llama Display Contest honors exhibitors who use attractive, innovative display techniques to promote llamas. There’s also a Llama Costume Contest open to all ages.

Some of the good, old-fashioned fair exhibits are part of this year’s activities as usual: Baked Goods and Confections; Canned and Preserved Foods; Clothing, Needlework, Quilts and Textiles; Antique Glass; Ceramics and Pottery; Porcelain and Cloth Dolls and Teddy Bears; Miniatures; Wearable Fashion; Photography; and Table Settings.

Admission prices range from $9 for juniors to $35 for unlimited ride wristbands, but there are many opportunities for free admission. There are special days set aside with free admission for seniors, members of the military and others.

The Antelope Valley Fair dates are August 16-25 and it is located at 2551 West Avenue H in Lancaster.

For prices and dates with special admission, plus more information about the 2019 Antelope Valley Fair, visit AVFair.com.

Deborah Rocha on the Move

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 17, 2019

Like many horse lovers, Deborah Rocha keeps things moving. The ambitious founder of SRD Straightening Reins has kept the equine therapy nonprofit operating for eight years while teaching full-time in the Saugus Union School District.

She’s also had to move the organization’s horse ranch a number of times, mostly due to the charity’s financial limitations. And she’s at it again.

After a brief time in Sand Canyon, SRD Straightening Reins has moved to Davenport Road on the border of Canyon Country and Agua Dulce.

And Rocha’s moved on in other ways. She retired from teaching on June 14 after 34 years, which means she can devote herself even more wholly to the work of the nonprofit.

“I’m going to take a leap of faith,” Rocha said. “I think there’s a huge need. And I can’t stand by and do nothing.”

It’s hard to imagine Rocha “doing nothing,” but she explained what she meant by the statement.

“I was looking at where I was and what I was doing, and I couldn’t do either well,” she said. “The Board has been very supportive.”

SRD Straightening Reins is a 501(c)(3) offering interactive therapies to improve adolescent and teen mental health and well-being.

She recently had six youth working with SRD – ages 11 to 17 – who had been suicidal.

“We know when we get the kids to the ranch and into counseling, we can get them to stop self-medicating,” she said, “and get them back in a regular school setting.”

SRD is working with the Hart District, with the kids who aren’t in a place where they can be in a school setting. Rocha is also working with youth who are a part of the foster care system, some of whom are homeless.

The ranch where SRD currently operates is only an acre, so the nonprofit is open to other property options. Like most charities, SRD always needs more resources. Ninety-five cents on the dollar goes directly to programs for the kids, Rocha said.

They have scouts who establish projects on the ranch, which is volunteer labor. A Girl Scout troop helped to plant ground cover. Volunteers from Real Life Church in Valencia created fire clearance around the property and contributed to perimeter fencing for additional privacy.

Rocha is working on sustainability with funding and tackling some of the organization’s short-term and long-term goals, but it’s difficult to obtain government money such as grants.

“Here’s the challenge – when you look at city grants, they want to give you money for a new program, not for operations,” Rocha explained. “Then the Board has to decide, ‘Do we start a new program and stop one that’s working?’ We say no.”

But the animals have to be fed.

“We have some animal sponsors that offset the cost,” she said. “Our feed bill is anywhere from $1,400 to $1,700 dollars a month. And we do get a discount on vet bills.”

They recently had a goat that got sick and died while several kids were on the ranch. Rocha said it’s the type of event that offers a therapeutic opportunity. In this case, there were foster children in the program who had recently lost their mother and it opened some doors for discussion.

“The animal isn’t the only piece. It’s the trained clinician, the equine specialist. They ask, ‘What’s the animal doing and why?’” Rocha explained. “The opportunity to be with a herd of animals gives them time to reflect where they are and what they’re doing.”

Part of the process involves building the confidence to work with a 1,400-pound animal.

“Even the chickens – it’s them being present where they are and the trained staff being able to capitalize on that,” Rocha said. “They can redirect: ‘What do you mean you don’t know how to communicate? What do you think the animal is saying to us?’”

Because of the safety issues involved in working with large animals, those who enter the program have to gain control of any drug or alcohol addiction before they can access services at Straightening Reins. But anyone Rocha can help through the program, she does.

“We don’t turn anybody away if somebody needs services,” she said. “One comes from as far away as Long Beach.”

Most Straightening Reins clients are age 10 to 19, she said, but currently there are individuals in the program age 5 to 23 who are getting horse therapy.

“We’re seeing more in their late teens to early 20s,” Rocha said.

She said they’re employing three foster youth and seeking employment for seven at-risk young people.

When contacted, individuals can start therapy within 72 hours. Part of the advocacy at Straightening Reins involves becoming informed about the person’s school system, the day program and any doctors the family is working with. And it extends to everyone involved, from survivors who have lost someone to siblings of someone battling mental illness.

“It’s coming together,” Rocha said. “I’m not giving up on these kids.”

New Business – On The S’paw

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 17, 2019

The health and welfare of the pets in her care is a prime concern for Veronica Ochoa of On The S’paw, a new grooming shop on Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country.

“I usually like to take my time with my dogs, not only to make them look nice, but also so they can feel comfortable and not feel too rushed,” she says. “The purpose of grooming animals isn’t just to improve their looks.”

When asked some of the advantages of seeking the services of a professional groomer, Ochoa points to the health benefits for the animals.

“I would advise owners to keep their dogs and cats clean, not only for the physical appearance, but for their health as well,” Ochoa says. “When owners don’t keep their pets maintained, it could hide some health issues such as dry skin and other skin problems. When they are groomed, both the groomer and the owner can find this and be aware of the condition the pet is in.”

She began her pet grooming career bathing animals for about four months before taking on more responsibilities and learning the trade. After she garnered some experience and built her confidence, her role expanded from the bathing and brushing aspect to handling the scissors for the clipping part of the service.

“Since I first started working with dogs and cats, I enjoyed my job and … I have not stopped for almost 18 years,” says Ochoa, who has worked at Precious Pets here in the Santa Clarita Valley, Heart to Heart in Sylmar and both Tender Touch and Puppy Palace in Granada Hills.”

It’s a family affair at On The S’paw. Ochoa’s husband, Juan, comes in to help her bathe the dogs and her oldest daughter, Kimberly, helps at the reception desk, taking calls and making appointments. Her 8-year-old daughter, Fernanda, vacuums the hair and helps keep the shop clean.

“The hardest part is making sure that I can meet the client’s expectations, because everyone wants the best for their pets,” the business owner said.

On The S’paw is located at 18930 ½ Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country; 661-309-6264.

Hougo – We Go

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 17, 2019

For most of us, the closest we get to becoming world travelers is to stream the Netflix series “Planet Earth” on our iPads. But for Jim and Gwen Hougo, it’s been a way of life for the last 17 years. Since retiring in 2001 they have brought their total travels to 48 United States and 97 countries.

Sound impossible? For some of us, it probably would be.

“I spent 30 years teaching in Canyon Country and got to work with some of the most wonderful families,” Gewn Hougo said. “I am still in touch with many of my former students through the wonders of Facebook. One of the things I most enjoy is sharing my travel adventures.”

They didn’t hit the road immediately after retiring, but postponed their first trip, as the attacks of 9/11 occurred just a month after they hung up their hats.

“My husband, who worked for Lockheed for 34 years, always had traveling on his ‘bucket list,’” she said. “(We) were scared about the future, as were most Americans. But eight months later we took off in our new motor home for four months to explore our beautiful country. I think we visited 26 states, 325 museums, and many national and state parks. Let me tell you, we have one incredibly beautiful country with wonderful people.”

But their travels haven’t stopped at the U.S. borders.

“Then I took my retirement trip for a month in Australia, and three weeks in New Zealand,” she said. “We discovered this whole world is full of beautiful places, fantastic people and wonderful adventures. My fellow Sulphur Springs teacher, Mrs. Burleigh, and her husband joined us for a fun time. We also stopped off for a week in Tahiti to break up the long plane ride.”

Their next adventure took them to South Africa for 42 days.

“We got a little, 18-foot motor home and in a tour with nine other couples explored this amazing country,” she said. “It was in 2002, so Nelson Mandela was stepping down and the country was struggling with the upcoming elections. … The inequality of white and black Africans made for great social confusion.

“The animals in Krueger National Park provided the safari experience and the modern and wealthy society gave us much to explore.”

The couple has racked up so many miles of exotic travels that it’s hard to make a distinction among favorites. “It depends on what you consider important,” Gwen Hougo said. “For history, nothing beats Egypt and China. For pure beauty, New Zealand and Tahiti are hard to beat.”

She also finds a lot of common features across the globe. “We do have beautiful memories of exciting adventures,” she said: “Every place in our incredible world has something special to share with a traveler with an open mind.”

New Business – Panacea

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 16, 2019

One of the first of its kind in Santa Clarita, Panacea is a new business that just opened its doors in Canyon Country. It is a store carrying a range of CBD merchandise, meaning they are hemp plant products, which have the same benefits as the cannabis plant but with no psychoactive effects.

“We opened a month ago and have been building a loyal customer base from the community,” said store co-owner Nare Hami.

The products at Panacea are derived from hemp, and not cannabis, therefore none of their products have the ability to get you high. They carry sublingual oils, pain creams, edibles, skin care, disposable pens, vapes, pet treats and more.

“There’s a difference between marijuana and cannabis, CBD and hemp,” Hami explained. “The products we carry are derived from hemp. Legally, CBD products can carry up to .3 percent THC or less and this does not get you high. People do not realize the benefits it has as far as medicinal use goes. People who have tried it and done their research swear by it.”

Panacea’s clientele are individuals who want to avoid taking chemicals and relying on medication with negative side effects.

“Our target customers would be anyone looking for the link to good living,” Hami said. “Generally the customers that purchase CBD are dealing with arthritis pain, fibromyalgia, anxiety, insomnia, or just an imbalance in their system.”

Humans and other mammals have an endocannabinoid system, and proponents of CBD claim it helps to balance all of the body’s systems, creating homeostasis.

“This means the CBD attaches to receptors in your body and helps maintain a balance in each system,” Hami explained. “People don’t realize the positive effects CBD has on humans and pets. They quickly assume it is like marijuana and (aren’t) informed.”

Hami said it was curiosity that drove her family to become involved in the business.

“For a year now, we started reading every article there was about CBD and finding anything CBD related to see what it really was,” Hami said. “The business is run by our family and we all have tried CBD for a long time for different reasons. I personally use it for chronic back pain and anxiety and it has changed my life. I went from not being able to drive without having anxiety to driving all the way to San Diego and back alone without a single trace of panic.”

In the short time Panacea has been open the family has liked its reception. “Our customer base has been very satisfied with CBD, but everybody reacts differently,” Hami said. “What works on me may not work on you and it is always recommended to check with a doctor before using CBD, especially if you are taking any medication.”

Skyline New Home Development

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 16, 2019

When you drive down Sierra Highway and look up to the west, the new homes you see on the ridge are part of the Skyline development, which held its grand opening last fall.

There are approximately 1,200 home sites, according to Lyndsay Fuller, Pardee Homes director of sales and marketing. At press time there were about 150 homes sold and 20 are already occupied.

“We just did a survey of buyers so far and it was staggering how many people responded about the location and views,” Fuller said. “Also, the open space and having breathability.”

Some of the advantages to Skyline, Fuller said, is the presence of a community center, which was ready on opening day.

“It’s like having a resort amenity in your backyard,” she said, “with cabanas, a state-of-the-art gym with Peloton bikes. The gym is about 1,200 square feet.”

Like a lot of housing developments, residents have access to a clubhouse they can rent out for parties. There is an outdoor area with built-in barbecues totaling 3,800 square feet of common space. There’s a coffee bar on site and the coffee bar doubles as a welcome center for the home sales office.

The Lookout is a community space for recreation, fitness and entertaining and a second recreation area is planned for 2021/2022. People can connect with the neighborhood at pools and playgrounds, a bocce ball area, as well as the workout room and coffeehouse.

“You can go to the coffeehouse and get information about all four neighborhoods,” Fuller said. “We staffed it with a barista who is also a licensed sales professional for home buyers starting their home search.”
The neighborhoods are:

Sola: 1,882-2,225 square feet
Celestia: 2,001-2,596 square feet
Mystral: 2,600-3,132 square feet
Lyra: 2,861-3,506 square feet

“Skyline is unique,” Fuller said. “We took home a silver award at the (California Building Industry) Gold Nugget Awards.”

There are several dry creeks, one near the gym, and their focal points use reclaimed water. In the children’s area there’s a splash pad near the pool and a water tower system with buckets.

Fuller explained that Skyline has progressive features that appeal to millennial home shoppers. For instance, there is a butterfly garden you can only access through the paseo system which you “stumble upon while on a hike,” she said.

The paseos connect all the way down to the proposed elementary school, which will be the newest addition to the Sulphur Springs School District when it opens in the future. And the road for vehicle use connecting Whites Canyon to Sierra Highway is set to open this fall.

To visit Skyline you can drive to the office at 29049 Stratus Street in Santa Clarita. It opens every day at 10 a.m. except Wednesdays, when it opens at 1 p.m. It includes access to the model homes and the amenities.
Visit LifeatSkyline.com.

Is Making Concentrated Cannabis Still Illegal?

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 15, 2019

Deputies at the SCV Sheriff’s Station received a call on Saturday, June 22 warning them of a “huge party” that was to take place at a location in Canyon Country. Upon their arrival, the deputies discovered the location to be vacant. However, they did discover what appeared to be the remnants of a marijuana concentrate lab. They detained three people at the location for further questioning.

Under California Law, concentrated cannabis is regarded as marijuana. As such, the legality of it is somewhat nuanced, thanks to the medical and recreational marijuana laws. That being said, the making of marijuana concentrate is covered under California Health and Safety Code 11358 HS. As of Jan. 1, 2018, cultivating marijuana for recreational use became legal under California Law. That is, California residents are now legally allowed (under state law, not federal law) to cultivate up to six marijuana plants for personal recreational use. It must be grown in a secured indoor location or, where legally permissible, a secured area outdoors, subject to all local regulations. The reason that concentrated cannabis counts as “cultivating marijuana” is because, under California Law, “cultivating” means to plant, cultivate, harvest, dry or process marijuana. Making concentrated cannabis counts as “processing” marijuana.

However, if an individual cultivates more than six marijuana plants, it becomes a crime. For most defendants, cultivating more than six plants is a misdemeanor with the possible penalties of up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $500. However, the penalties get harsher if a person is caught cultivating more than six plants and fall under one or more of the following categories:

Registered sex offender
Prior criminal record, which includes at least one violent felony
People with at least two prior convictions of cultivating more than six marijuana plants
People who violate certain California Environmental Laws during the process of cultivating their marijuana
Any defendant who falls into at least one of these categories faces a penalty of 16 months to 3 years in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

For defendants who are facing their first or second charge of cultivating marijuana and it can be proven that the cultivation was for personal use only, it’s possible that they will be eligible to have their sentence suspended if they undergo a drug diversion program instead. If they complete the drug treatment program, their charges will be thrown out, and therefore cease to exist for the most part, and it will not need to be listed on any housing, job or other applications.

New Business – Window Genie

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 15, 2019

If you ever wished your windows were magically clean and clear, you can move on to your next two wishes now. Canyon Country’s newest arrival is Window Genie, a company with the tagline: “We clean windows and a whole lot more!”

“Above all, we are a service business – complete customer satisfaction and repeat business are our primary goals,” said Kelly Ford, who opened the business with her husband, Joe. “Our variety of services are geared to help homeowners maintain the value of their investment.”

Window Genie cleans screens, tracks, and sills offering a “no-streak guarantee.” The company is the largest national provider of window film (solar protection, security and decorative) and they also clean solar panels to help maximize efficiency. Services include pressure washing most every exterior home surface including cement, pavers, stucco, brick, wood, roofing materials, pavers, and siding. And their expertise also includes cleaning rain gutters and downspouts.

Homeowners in Canyon Country for 25 years, the Fords like engaging with the community, leaving the corporate world behind. “We have developed the most amazing network of neighbors and friends – there is a real sense of community here,” Kelly Ford said. “We have watched this valley grow and prosper while still managing to retain a ‘small-town’ feel – in Canyon Country, most particularly.”

The Window Genie franchise concept is owned by Neighborly Brands, a premier provider of services focused on repairing, maintaining and enhancing customers’ homes and businesses. In the SCV it includes Mr. Rooter, Mr. Appliance, Mr. Handyman, Molly Maid and Rainbow International. Also, through “Window 4 Wishes” franchise partners contribute to their favorite causes in their communities across the nation. For Window Genie of Santa Clarita those include Alzheimer’s research, veterans’ support and animal rescue organizations.

Contact Window Genie by calling 661-568-6768 or visit WindowGenie.com/santaclarita/.

City Updates

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 15, 2019

In May, the City of Santa Clarita issued 35 film permits, which contributed to 90 film days, generating an estimated economic impact of $2,251,000.

The following productions were filming in Canyon Country in May 2019.

Television Shows:
Mayans MC – Area street
What Just Happened – Sable Ranch
Select – Sable Ranch
Triple SUV Test – Todd Longshore Park
Music Video:
Joji “Sanctuary” – Rancho Deluxe
Student Films:
Death Warrant (Columbia College) – Area home
Requiem of Anger (Columbia College) – Area home


Phase I of the Canyon Country Community Center project is currently under construction and includes improvements to the Mint Canyon Channel, installation of the infiltration system, building pad preparation and rough grading of the site. Currently, the contractor is working on improving the channel which a portion will be boxed allowing park amenities over the top of the channel. Phase I construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2019 at which time Phase II, the community center building and site improvements, will begin.

For more information on the new Canyon Country Community Center project, please visit santa-clarita.com/FutureCCCC.


The Ground Beneath Me; Not Above Me, So Enjoy Life
On Display August 2 to December 3, 2019
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
The images in this display were created by a local photographer who had cancer and radiation treatment, but did not let that stop him from making art. Through the difficult ordeal, the artist continued to photograph, create art, appreciate nature, live and love life.

This exhibit hopes to remind everyone to stay positive, have a good attitude and continue to love life.

Concerts in the Park
I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want – you and your family to come to Central Park to enjoy the City of Santa Clarita’s annual Concerts in the Park, presented by Logix Federal Credit Union! Concerts in the Park turns 30 this summer and returns to Central Park on Saturday nights at 7:00 p.m. through August 24. Voted the Best Live Entertainment in the Santa Clarita Valley in 2018, you won’t want to miss exciting shows from Queen Nation, the Surf City Allstars, The Replicas and much more.

Be sure to bring your blanket and chairs to these free events. You can get more information on the entire Concerts in the Park lineup by visiting santa-clarita.com/concerts.


You don’t have to be a space cadet to blast off on an adventure this summer at your local Santa Clarita Public Library branch! The 2019 Summer Reading Program, “A Universe of Stories,” will inspire readers of all ages to learn more about the fascinating realm of space and space exploration. This free program includes challenges for readers of all ages and intergalactic themed events and activities through July 27. Interested explorers can sign up at SCVSummerReading.com.

Summer Reading Program events taking place at the Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library in July:

LEGO Block Party
Monday, July 15
3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Bring your family to our LEGO block party! We supply the blocks, you supply the imagination. This program is for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. All materials provided.

Stitch the Stars
Tuesday, July 16
5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Learn the art of embroidery and stitch your own constellations! This program is geared toward adults and seniors.

Intergalactic Soap & Bath Fizzers
Wednesday, July 17
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Clean off that moon dust with some homemade galaxy soap. Come create your own galaxy themed soap or bath fizzers!

DIY Craft: Flowers/Pom-poms
Thursday, July 18
3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Join us and improve your handcrafting skills with your kids! Learn to make DIY flowers and pom-poms out of yarn, crepe and tissue paper. We will be making flower bouquets and you may bring a vase if you’d like. This event is for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. All supplies provided. Limit two flowers and/or pom-poms per child.

Light-Up Wands – STEM Magic!
Thursday, July 25
3:30 p.m.
Celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday by making your own light-up wand! Create your own one-of-a-kind wand using simple circuits. All materials provided while supplies last.

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

Route 66 Classic Grill

| Canyon Country Magazine, Sand Canyon Journal | July 15, 2019

George Thomas knows what he likes. And when he makes a decision, he doesn’t let challenges stop him.

It’s been 20 years since he opened Route 66 Classic Grill in Canyon Country. And that’s after a 25-year career on the Los Angeles Police Force.

It’s pretty safe to say he likes big projects – He’s even built more than one home in Sand Canyon.

“I moved out here in 1973 when I became a Los Angeles policeman,” Thomas said.

He lived about 12 years in Valencia before buying a lot on Saddleback Road where he and his wife at the time turned their ideal floor plan into a reality.

“We’d go to new construction sites like Circle J and go through models and take pictures of things we liked,” he said. “We kind of put our pictures together and showed it to the architect and after a lot of drawing and redrawing, we had it built.”

The Thomas family was extremely content with their design – they even used the floor plan when they built their next house – only in reverse.

“We loved that floor plan,” he said. “We were constantly having people approaching us wanting to buy the plans and build a house.”

Knowing what he likes came in handy for George Thomas when planning his restaurant – another first for him. He liked the ‘50s diner theme and wanted it to involve cars. At first he looked into the Hudson’s Grill franchise, but consultants urged him to create his own restaurant.

“I knew very little going in and I just listened to everybody. I was like a sponge – anybody who had anything to say about what I should do,” the restaurateur said. “I’ve been absolutely blessed.”

Whatever he did, the Santa Maria native knew one thing would be on his menu: Santa Maria tri-tip.

“I grew up barbecuing with my dad on oak wood – he did it for Kiwanis and American Legion,” he explained. “In Santa Maria the Chamber even has a barbecue museum, which goes back to the 1800s when the cattle ranchers would go to big auctions there. They would barbecue their beef and compete for who had the best beef.”

Thomas grills tri-tip every day on oak wood at Route 66 and he said it’s a customer favorite. He also has a trailer that does off-site grilling for events.

When it came to decisions about his new restaurant’s location, he was considering Stevenson Ranch. “Because my boys grew up in Canyon Country and went to Canyon High School, I decided to do it here,” he said.

George Thomas’ son Rick and his L.A. County Fire “Strike Team” during one of the local fires

LeAnn Rimes at Route 66 during the Fire Hogs Fundraiser

Crowds at a Love Ride after-party

Thomas’ sons, now both grown and working as firefighters, played football at Canyon High, and George Thomas is one of the parents who was pivotal in getting Coach Harry Welch to return to the school. Thomas and others also garnered the funds to erect a sign reflecting the field’s new name: Harry Welch Stadium.

“I was point man for getting the stadium named for him,” he said. “We passed the hat among big fans of Harry’s and paid to have the sign made.”

But it’s the tip of the iceberg when you consider Thomas’ support of local causes.

You can see the massive attendance at Route 66 Bike Nights, which are every Wednesday, and the parking lot is packed during monthly car shows. Thomas has the longest running bike night and car show in Santa Clarita history.

And in this facet as well, Thomas knows what he wants: for local nonprofits to benefit.

“A man wanted to put on a California State Arm Wrestling Championship,” Thomas explained. “I said we’ll do it under one condition: benefit a local nonprofit.”

He has other examples too.

“There was a car accident on Soledad where some young men got killed, so I called Canyon High School and asked the principal if there was anything I could do,” he said.

Thomas was directed to Safe Rides, a nonprofit organization offering teens free, safe rides home on weekends after partying. For 20 years all of the proceeds from Route 66 car shows went to Safe Rides, which is now closed, so the shows are benefiting Rotary Club.

“Safe Rides was a perfect fit for us because it’s about kids driving safely,” Thomas said.

Two of the business owner’s favorite events were the tribute to 9/11 and a special event honoring a military man from Canyon Country.

“A local Canyon High School graduate became a Navy Seal,” Thomas said. “I met his parents and I was so impressed by hearing his story. He was constantly deployed and they never knew when he was coming home. We recognize (soldiers) when they’re injured or killed, but not while they’re alive.”

So, Thomas organized a “welcome home party” for the young man which drew approximately 500 attendees. It included a low flyby from a Van Nuys Condor Squadron.

“When I asked if they’d do (the flyby) they said, ‘Absolutely.’” Thomas said. “I told them to drive back up to Route 66 for dinner after returning to Van Nuys and they did – to meet the (man of honor).”

The list of events and fundraisers goes on and on. There have been so many, in fact, that Santa Clarita Planning Commissioner Dennis Ostrom called Route 66 Classic Grill the “entertainment hub for this side of the valley.” Thomas likes that reputation.

And even when it comes to the future, George Thomas knows what he wants. His two boys and four grandchildren live in the Santa Clarita Valley and he’d like to spend more time with them. Also, six years ago he started riding his bike, as many as 20 miles a day.

But while he is contemplating retirement, he won’t abandon the goals of Route 66 Classic Grill. He wants the friendly staff and popular food choices at the restaurant to thrive … and for the events to continue.

The Beach Boys, Rick Springfield, David Spade and Travis Tritt Included in 2019-20 Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC) Season

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 17, 2019

If the 2019-20 Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC) season is any indication, there’s no reason to leave the Santa Clarita Valley in search for quality entertainment from internationally acclaimed acts and artists.

The PAC’s lineup features a wide range of performers and musicians, as well as family-friendly programs, as part of its College of the Canyons Presents season.

Highlighting the 2019-20 PAC schedule are performances by:

Grammy Award-winner Rick Springfield — Sept. 13, 2019
Comedian David Spade — Oct. 19, 2019
The Beach Boys Christmas Tour — Dec. 4, 2019
A Charlie Brown Christmas Live — Dec. 18, 2019
Laser Spectacular Featuring the Music of Pink Floyd — Jan. 11, 2020
Grammy Award-winner and country music legend Travis Tritt — Feb. 18, 2020
Llama Llama Live — Feb. 9, 2020

Other acts and artists visiting the PAC this season include: Red Hot Chilli Pipers; Santa Clarita International Guitar Festival; Stunt Dog Experience, Dinosaur World Live!

“This year’s PAC season is one not to be missed,” said Lindsay Gambini, PAC director. “We are very excited to offer high-quality entertainment for audience members of all ages.”

As in years past, the PAC will also host a number of College of the Canyons theatre, music and dance department productions, as well as other community group performances.

PAC series ticket package sales will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 11.

Individual ticket sales will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, June 17.

Tickets can be purchased online, over the phone, or in person at the PAC box office.

For more information about the PAC 2019-20 season or to purchase tickets, visit www.canyonsPAC.com or call the PAC box office at (661) 362-5304.

Wicked Chicken

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 12, 2019

It’s hard to determine whether Matt Reeser’s business ideas are the chicken or the egg. Already a local franchise owner of Code Ninjas Santa Clarita, a STEM center that teaches kids to code by making their own video games, Reeser’s newest business was recently hatched after years of gestation.

He worked at Wicked Chicken while a student at San Jose State University and became such a fan of the food that he kept a plan on the back burner to open one someday. His enthusiasm is obvious – when Reeser’s in Northern California he’ll sometimes go hours out of his way to get a meal at Wicked Chicken.

The new Wicked Chicken is located in the Centre Pointe Marketplace near Starbucks. Its specialty – wings and unique sauces – make up just a part of the menu. Options include burgers, chicken sandwiches and sides such as freshly cut fries, sweet potato fries, tater tots, fried zucchini and mozzarella sticks. And the restaurant makes its own ranch dressing.

Reeser was committed to making his Wicked Chicken dream come true. “This is either going to be great, or it will become my personal kitchen where I can have Atomic Wings any time I feel like it,” he said. “Either way, it’s a win-win situation.”

Adult beverages are served at Wicked Chicken as well. Matt Reeser and his wife, Wendy, are supporting local breweries by carrying their craft beers.
The couple, who moved to Santa Clarita in 2003 to raise their children Jarrett and Giselle, want to support more local efforts. Sports teams are invited to get in touch with them to organize restaurant night fundraisers. They will give back a percentage of the sales to organizations needing support.

The family is involved in church and other community activities; Matt has been a volunteer, coaching both baseball and soccer, while Wendy currently serves on the board of the Canyon Football Booster Club. She has also served on the Sulphur Springs Community School and Santa Clarita Council PTA boards for many years.

Matt and Wendy met at San Jose State University and later moved to North Carolina, where he majored in business administration while on scholarship playing football at Wingate University.

A serial business entrepreneur, Matt serves as president and CEO of Tri Source International, LLC, which is headquartered in Valencia and connects U.S. companies with global markets to outsource their corporate business functions.

Wicked Chicken is located at 26583 Golden Valley Road in Santa Clarita. Call them at 661-259-9464 or visit WickedChickenWings.com.

Cunchy’s Fruit

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 12, 2019

If you yearn for the fresh fruit of summer, you’ll be happy to know that Canyon Country residents can get it year round. A few months ago, Cunchy’s Fruit opened on Camp Plenty Road and it’s the aim of the Alanis family to meet the cravings of locals with a menu of fresh fruit options.

Some of the most popular offerings are gaspachos and aguas frescas – and Cunchy’s combinations can involve 28 different types of fruit. Other items on the menu include milkshakes, green juices, fruit bowls and specialized creations such as Diablitos and Chamangos.

Fidel and Josefina Alanis and their four daughters, Valeria, Alondra, Jackie and Juliette, have operated a food truck for 10 years. They do events and participate in several Farmers’ Markets, including Santa Monica and Torrance.

“The reason we decided to open up a store is because the customers were asking where they could find us during the week,” said Jackie Alanis, who is a business management student at California State University, Northridge. “As a family we decided maybe it’s time to open an actual store.”

If the name “Cunchy’s” sounds a lot like “Crunchy’s,” there’s a reason for that. First of all,

the name “Crunchy’s Fruit” was taken, Jackie said. But on a more personal note, when Josefina was about 3 years old she had trouble with pronunciation, saying “cunchelito” instead of “conchelito,” for instance. So, they started calling her “Cunchy.”

“Everything we have here is made from actual fruit. There’s no powder or artificial flavoring,” Jackie said. “Our shaved ice is made from scratch – pure strawberries, watermelon, cucumber and lime. What we’re known for is our gaspachos, which include five different fruits: watermelon, mango, jicama, cucumber and pineapple. It’s served with freshly squeezed orange juice and lime juice and three salsas we make ourselves.”

The recipes came from Michoacan, where Josefina’s grandmother passed them to her daughter, who passed them to Josefina. And now they’re being shared with others.

“It’s like a fruit cocktail, but when you try it, it enhances all your taste buds. Something sour, something tangy,” Jackie said. “Everything is so refreshing and everything is natural.”

A former student, Jackie grew up in Canyon Country attending Cedar Creek, Sierra Vista and graduated from Canyon High School in 2017.

As it turns out, the family business coincides with Jackie’s career trajectory. “One day I’d like to make this a franchise,” she said.

Cunchy’s Fruit is located at 27219 Camp Plenty Road in Canyon Country. Hours may change for summer, but are currently: Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.- 8 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; and Sunday 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Call 661-360-7950 for more information.

Criminal Threats Lead to Investigation at La Mesa Jr. High

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 11, 2019

Recently, a student was detained after it was discovered he had made written and verbal threats to shoot students at La Mesa Jr. High School in Canyon Country. The investigation began when a written threat to shoot up the school was found scrawled on a bathroom wall. Over the course of the investigation, detectives learned that a student had also made a verbal threat to do the same. Currently, investigators are trying to determine if the student who made the written threat also made the verbal threat.

At press time, no charges have been filed. However, in cases like this where charges are filed, it’s often under PC 422.

Under California Penal Code 422 PC, California’s “Criminal Threats” Law, it is illegal to willfully threaten to commit a crime that will result in great bodily injury or death to another person, with the specific intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing, or by means of electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying out the threat.

In order for a threat to qualify for a criminal threats charge, the threat must be made in such a way that the person being threatened believes that the threat is real, and is put into a state of fear because they feel they are in imminent danger.

Some examples of behaviors that may yield a criminal threats charge include, but are not limited to:
Threatening to shoot someone while holding a gun
Texting someone with whom you have an issue (an ex, old boss, one-time friend, etc.) and saying to the person, “Watch your back” (or something similar)
California Penal Code 422 PC is a “wobbler” which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history. Generally, the misdemeanor penalties include up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Felony penalties include up to three years in California state prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Finally, if the defendant makes threats on more than one occasion, or against more than one person, or pursuant to different objectives, the individual may face the above penalties for each threat that was communicated.

Celebrating College Graduates

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 10, 2019

Olivia on left, Angela on right


Olivia Tiano
Graduating this year with a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences, Canyon High School graduate Olivia Tiano will continue her studies at Gannon University. She is in a one-year master’s degree program in Occupational Therapy.

Angela Tiano
Earning a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, Fullerton in Human Services with a minor in Spanish, Angela Tiano is continuing her education by completing the requirements for a career in nursing. She is a 2015 graduate of Canyon High School.


Emily Arden Goodspeed
A 2015 graduate of Canyon High School, Emily Goodspeed earned a Bachelor of Science degree from USC in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. She will enter Brown University in the fall, continuing her education to earn a master’s degree in Public Health.



Ask the Expert – Real Estate – Craig Martin

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 10, 2019

This is a question I am asked all the time. Should I stage my home before I sell, and what are the benefits? From my experience, the nicer the home looks and the more move-in ready, the faster it will sell and for a higher price. Many buyers today just have enough for the down payment and not much left to fix up a home before they move in. Making the home look move-in ready may net you up to 20k more in the sale. That 20k to the buyer is only around $100 a month more in the payment, or around $3 a day. So, just the perception to the buyer that the home does not need work is worth that extra $3 a day. The truth is you don’t have to spend too much to make the home look 20k more valuable.

First thing to do is de-clutter. This will not cost you anything and in just a few days with some effort you can make the home look cleaner and more spacious just by packing items into boxes and moving them (along with any extra furniture) into the garage or a storage unit. The next thing you want to do is paint. This is cheap if you do it yourself and buy the paint in 5-gallon buckets. Use a neutral color that most buyers find appealing and paint the whole house, if possible, or at least the walls that are dark in color. This alone will brighten up the home and make it feel clean, fresh and larger.

Now that you have de-cluttered and painted, which should have cost you no more than a thousand dollars and less than a week of time, you are ready to stage the home. Staging is important because it can maximize the space and make the rooms look more inviting. The problem with some homes is that the furniture can be bulky, older and outdated, or items are in the wrong rooms, which makes buyers wonder if they can make the space work if they purchase the home.

All the stagers I work with can make each room look inviting and are able to maximize the space to make most buyers feel comfortable and confident with the value of the home. I have had many homes that, once staged, sell faster and for more money than those that were not. The only issue is that staging can cost between $2,500 – $5,000 per home. But if you spend 3-5k, total, and get 20k more for your home, then it’s a win, with an additional 15k profit!

But what if you can get the staging, paint and guidance on what to de-clutter for FREE? As a realtor, for every home I sell I include all of this for free, because it helps them get the home sold quickly and for more money.

Business Briefs

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 9, 2019

In April, the City of Santa Clarita issued 57 film permits, which contributed to 160 film days, generating an estimated economic impact of $3,849,500.

The following productions were filming in Canyon Country in
April 2019:
Feature Films:
Arranged Marriage – Area home
Dweller – Sable Ranch
Television Shows:
Bless This Mess – Sable Ranch
Criminal Minds – Area roads, Rancho Deluxe, Sable Ranch
Deputy – Area street
Extreme Measures – Sand Canyon area homes
Holey Moley – Sable Ranch
Light as a Feather – Santa Clarita Skatepark
Straight Up Steve Austin – Sable Ranch
Still Photo:
US Census 2020 – Area homes
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center – Fair Oaks Park
Student Films:
At Peace (New York Film Academy) – Area home
Death Warrant (Columbia College) – Area home
The Husband Stitch (New York Film Academy) – Area home
Red Clover (CSUN) – Area home
Unforgettable Night (New York Film Academy) – Area home
Wendigo (American Film Institute) – Sable Ranch


Progress continues on the Canyon Country Community Center project.  Phase I is currently under construction and includes improvements to the Mint Canyon Channel, installation of the infiltration system, building pad preparation and rough grading of the site.  Currently, the contractor is working on improving the channel which will include a portion to be boxed, allowing park amenities over the top of the channel.  Phase I construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2019 at which time Phase II, the community center building and site improvements, will begin.
For more information on the new Canyon Country Community Center project, please visit santa-clarita.com/FutureCCCC.


The City of Santa Clarita held a second public meeting at the end of May to show residents the updated concept design of the Inclusive Play Area coming to Canyon Country Park. The updated concept design incorporated comments and feedback provided by residents at the City’s first public meeting in April. These meetings enabled residents to ask questions and offer input for the Inclusive Play Area, which will be the first of its kind built by the city. More information about the Inclusive Play Area at Canyon Country Park, including renderings and construction timelines, will be shared by the city as soon as they are available.


On display through July 31, 2019
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
18601 Soledad Canyon Rd.
Santa Clarita, CA 91351
All of the work in this exhibit features the art of local artist Christopher Darga. After working as an actor and sculptor in Los Angeles, in 2013 Darga picked up paints again due to inspiration from a gift that he received from his wife. The gift was painting instructional DVDs by the Santa Clarita painter Morgan Weistling. Darga was inspired and subsequently immersed himself into the world of oil painting.

To see more of Darga’s work, visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/ChristopherDargaFineArt.

­Canyon Country Summer Bash
Mark your calendars! The 2019 Summer Bash is heading to Luther Drive on Friday, June 14 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Summer Bash will once again transform Luther Drive into a family-friendly block party experience, complete with live music, food trucks, a beer garden and fun, family activities. Entrance to the event is FREE!

Concerts in the Park
Logix Federal Credit Union is sponsoring the City of Santa Clarita’s annual Concerts in the Park. Turning 30 this summer, Concerts in the Park will return to Central Park on Saturday nights at 7:00 p.m. from July 6 to August 24. There will be shows from Queen Nation, the Surf City Allstars, The Replicas and much more. Be sure to bring your blanket and chairs to these free events. You can get more information on the entire Concerts in the Park lineup by visiting santa-clarita.com/concerts.


Girls’ Night In (6-14 yrs.)
It’s time for the girls to shine! This evening will be full of dancing, crafts, games and making new friends! Dinner will be provided.
Friday, June 7
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Fee: $9 per person
Saturday Drop-N-Play (5-12 yrs.)
Drop in and enjoy structured play and fun activities on Saturdays. The SMART ProTrainer Interactive Wall, computer time, arts and crafts, games and more are available.
Saturdays,  June 1 – June 29
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Social Bridge Club (50+ yrs.)
Join others and play “Bridge” in a fun, friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Beginners, intermediate and advanced players are welcome. Partners are not required; tables formed as you arrive.
Thursdays, June 20 and 27 – No program on June 13
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Club 50 Fridays (50+ yrs.)
If you are 50+, now is your chance to spend more time with friends doing activities you all enjoy! Club 50 includes diverse activities designed for mature adults. Socialize while nurturing your talents and skills and enhancing the quality of your life.
Friday, June 28
9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Coffee, Tea and BINGO (50+ yrs.)
You can socialize, play BINGO and win prizes. Bring your friends!
Fridays, June 7 and 21
9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Ventura Harbor Village Excursion
The City of Santa Clarita has a summer excursion to Ventura Harbor Village and Harbor Cove Beach.
Saturday, July 13
8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Arrive by 8:00 a.m., as the bus will depart promptly at 8:30 a.m.)
$10 per person
Departure Location: Canyon Country Community Center                                18792 Flying Tiger Drive                                 Santa Clarita, CA 91387

Pack your sunscreen for a day at Harbor Cove Beach or dine and shop at Ventura Harbor Village.
Participants decide how to spend their time, as there is no set schedule.  You can bring beach towels, chairs, and more! Parents must attend with anyone 17 and younger. Space is limited.  Last day to register is Wed., July 12.


Storytime at the Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library will resume its normal schedule, running June 10 – July 25.

The annual Summer Reading Program will begin on June 10. All ages are encouraged to join and earn prizes for reading! All three library branches in Santa Clarita will also be hosting special programs throughout the summer for children, teens and adults. More information available on the library’s website and in each branch.

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

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Doug’s Rant – Video Edition

  • WatchDoug’s Rant June 22
  • WatchDoug’s Rant June 15