Ask the Experts

| Canyon Country Magazine | 17 hours ago

Myles McNamara of Comfort Keepers In-Home Care

Question: Is in-home care an affordable alternative to finding a group home for your loved one?

Answer: Depending on the quantity of care that is needed, home care can be costly, as it is not covered by insurance, Medicare or Medi-Cal. Long-term care insurance will cover home care, but each policy is written differently, with daily and monthly maximums. Unless 24-hour care is needed, a customized schedule can be created for each budget, and strategically coordinate care so that our seniors can remain in the comfort of their own home, which is where most seniors would prefer to stay. If 24-hour care IS needed, and the budget will not accommodate 24-hour home care, then a Board and Care or Assisted Living Community may be the better option.

 Question: What kinds of services can an individual expect to receive with home care?

 Answer: A customized care plan is created for each client. But basically, home care includes most anything that doesn›t take a medical license, and includes assistance with all aspects of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). This can include personal hygiene assistance with bathing or showering, medication reminders, toileting assistance, meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation to doctor appointments and errands, etc. Sometimes companionship, to prevent isolation and depression, is one of the biggest benefits. Many of our clients are facing the challenges of Alzheimer’s or other dementia, and cannot safely be left alone, and a caregiver is the solution to allow them to stay in their own home.

Comfort Keepers can be reached at 661-287-4200.

William Sher of Vintage Watch Shop & Service Repair Center

Question: How do I know if my grandfather clock or pocket watch has value?

Answer: All clocks and watches have value. The difference between high value clocks and watches and low value is maker, year of production, model number, and overall condition.

Question: What direction do you see the industry going in regard to watches and clocks?

Answer: Antique, vintage and collectible clocks and watches in recent years have seen dramatic growth in value. Collectors and dealers are willing to pay top dollar for desirable pieces.

Vintage Watch Shop & Service Repair Center

18364 1/2 Soledad Canyon Rd

Canyon Country, CA 91387

(661) 388-5982

Flipping Homes with Dean Glosup

Question: Is the home sales climate right now a good time for flipping houses?

Answer: Yes, now is a good time to flip houses. The loans are experiencing some upticks on interest rates, and yet sales remain strong. The main criterion for buying and flipping houses is predicated on the fact that there are always situations that cause some sellers to want to quickly get rid of houses. Deaths in the family, probate, divorce, late payments and foreclosures are among the top reasons people want to be rid of a “problem house.” These reasons are the least obvious. Then there is the stinky house, which is basically an embarrassment for the homeowner. They do not want to show and sell normally. The best deals can be gained with homes like these.

Question: What’s the simplest thing you can do to a house to make it sell?

Answer: When selling a house, the easiest thing to do if the house is already looking pretty good (“good bones” we call it) is to stage a house. Empty houses do not sell fast or well. The yard can be dolled up for not much money and a fresh coat of paint can make or break an easy sell. It is also quite easy to look at a house and see beyond how it looks now and see it as done. So, plotting the most direct path to a beautiful landscape or overall look of a house makes it easy to fix as well as to sell.

Dean Glosup can be reached at 661-618-7015


Canyon Country Business Briefs

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 23, 2017

Sand Canyon Plaza
On February 21, 2017, the Planning Commission conducted the first in a series of meetings for the Sand Canyon Plaza Mixed Use project located at the northeast corner of Sand Canyon Road and Soledad Canyon Road. The project includes 580 residential units, 55,600 square feet of restaurant and retail space, and a 75,000-square-foot assisted living facility. The project will be heard by the Planning Commission at their March 21, 2017 meeting to discuss the environmental documentation for the project and address initial comments received at the February 21 meeting.

The Edge Martial Arts is now open at the Sand Canyon Shopping Center located at 16622 Soledad Canyon Road. The Edge combines martial arts instruction and mindset training, renewing and enhancing the traditional martial arts experience. Limited enrollment and smaller class sizes provide a personalized training environment where members can grow their skills.


In January, the City of Santa Clarita issued 47 film permits, which contributed to 92 film days, generating an estimated economic impact of $2,252,000.

The following productions were filming in Canyon Country in January 2017.

Feature Films
Miles – at Alliance Gas Station
Seether – at Sable Ranch

Television Shows
Crazy Love – at Sun Florist
The Last Man on Earth – at Alliance Gas Station
Murder Among Friends – at Sand Canyon area homes
Unusual Suspects – at Sand Canyon area home

Progressive – at Mountasia Family Fun Center
Subaru – at Rancho Deluxe
Trubiotics – at Santa Clarita Aquatics Center & Sports Complex

Hack Harassment – at Waller’s GymJam Academy

Santa Clarita Public Library

Read to a Dog
Children are invited to visit with and read to gentle therapy dogs at the library.

Thursday, March 2 and March 16
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Canyon Country Meeting Room
Behind the Scenes – Season 2
Explore aspects of the film and television industry as well as speak with those who have professional knowledge of creating. The topic this month is voiceovers and the special guest speaker will be Chris Taylor, a nationally known voice actor.

Wednesday, March 15
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Canyon Country Meeting Room
Canyon Country Book Club
“Rise of the Rocket Girls” Book Discussion
Join others for a librarian-led book discussion of “Rise of the Rocket Girls” by Nathalia Holt.

Tuesday, March 14
6:15 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Canyon Country Meeting Room

Friends of the Library Book Auction
All are invited to view and bid on a large selection of rare, collectible and unique books that are on display. A full 100 percent of the proceeds benefit the library.

Monday, March 6 – 13
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 Community Center

New Coffee, Tea, and a Movie (Ages 50+)
Join us for an enjoyable morning watching a movie while sipping coffee or tea. Bring your friends!

Mondays, March 6 – 27
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Boys’ Night In (Ages 8-12)
It’s time for the boys to play! This evening will be full of things boys enjoy, including playing a variety of sports and games like dodge ball, soccer, broom ball hockey and using the SMART ProTrainer. Dinner will be provided.

Friday, March 3
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Fee: $9 per person
Pre-registration is required

Family Dodgeball Night (All ages)
Get ready to go all out for a family Dodgeball competition. Throw, dodge and catch with the whole family while you learn the basic rules and techniques of Dodgeball, tournament style. This friendly game does not require experience, practice, or athletic ability to play. You can dodge, duck, dip, and dive as your family works hand-in-hand to beat the rest, to be the best!

Friday, March 17
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Pre-registration is required
Tiny Time Hour (Ages 2-5)
Get out and socialize at Tiny Time Hour! Join others for a morning of parent-led activities including art, toys, games and more. This program is designed to give you and your child an opportunity to socialize and connect with people – new and old. Whether you need a new play date spot or want to get out and make friends, Tiny Time offers you the chance to mingle and experience new things.

Mondays, March 6 – 27
9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

*A free membership card must be obtained in order to participate in Center activities. Membership forms are available online at santa-clarita.com/cccc or at the Center.
Spring Break at Canyon Country Community Center
(Ages 5-12)
Looking for something for your child to do during Spring break? You can join the city’s spring programs.
Space is limited and all children must be pre-registered in order to attend.

Online and Walk-in registration begins
Monday, February 27
8:00 a.m.

*Full Day Camp – The Full Day Camp includes both the Morning Camp and the Afternoon Camp options.

Monday – Friday, April 3 – 7
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
**Fee: $95 ($100 non-resident) per week

Morning Camp – Spring Spectrum Spectacular
Each day campers will put on their “science caps” as they enter the world of chemistry and make projects with chemicals. Then they will trade their “caps” in for goggles and explore the field of physics and create games and toys. Finally, participants will finish camp by suiting up and going into space to make a mini solar system, then travel back down to Earth to find fossils.
Monday – Friday, April 3 – 7
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
**Fee: $60 ($65 non-resident) per week

*Full day campers must bring lunch from home.
** A $25 materials fee is due to the instructor on the first day of camp for Options I-II.

Afternoon Camp – Spring BLAST
Spring BLAST provides a fun and structured setting for children during spring break. The Spring BLAST program offers an opportunity to participate in enrichment activities, crafts, and games.

Monday – Friday, April 3 – 7
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Fee: $25 ($30 non-resident) per week

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.

Canyon High School Teachers in Space Program

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 22, 2017

Two Canyon High School teachers will rise above all others within the next 12-24 months – literally. Michael Crawford and Lydia Gonzalez-Jimenez, both science teachers at Canyon, are going on a mission for NASA.
They are two of the 39 teachers from across the country, 12 from the William S. Hart Union School District, who have been chosen to participate in NASA’s Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program called SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. The missions will take place in 2017 and 2018.

The teachers will be onboard a Boeing 747 modified by NASA to become the world’s largest airborne observatory, with an effective telescope diameter of 2.5 meters (100 inches). Flying at altitudes between 39,000 to 45,000 feet, above more than 99 percent of the water vapor in the atmosphere, SOFIA makes it possible to obtain astronomical data that are impossible to obtain from telescopes on the ground.

“They are looking for teachers willing to do real astronomical research and then bring that knowledge, both about astronomy and the profession of being an astronomer, back to students so they, the students, learn more about the field of astronomy,” said Crawford, who has taught science and math for nearly 25 years, 18 at Canyon. “I have always tried to bring real world experiences to my students, and I expect this endeavor to be a rich source of new lessons for them.”
Julie Huffman, a Hart District science teacher on special assignment, is the liaison for the SOFIA project.

“Our Hart District teachers are over-the-moon excited and proud to be going on SOFIA,” Huffman said. “Working with NASA scientists to see far out into our universe and collect evidence is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we can’t wait to bring back to our students and community.”

The teachers will stay for a week at the NASA research facility in Palmdale, California, from which they will fly on two missions that will last 10-12 hours each. They will have an opportunity to interact with science teachers from all over the world as well as experts from NASA and the SETI Institute.

“The Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program gives science teachers a unique opportunity to witness research with all the blood, sweat, and tears as it really happens,” said AAA Principal Investigator Dr. Dana Backman. “These teachers can then convey to their students the wide range of professional expertise needed to support that research, from engineering to technology to mathematics, and perhaps see themselves someday in one of those roles.”

Prom Planning

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 19, 2017

This month, Canyon High School students will create a runway show where they preview the latest prom styles for classmates. It gives them a month to seek out the look they want for the April 22 prom. Golden Valley’s prom will be right on their heels on April 29, this year held at Madame Tussaud’s in Hollywood.

For dresses, a lot of the girls turn to Eugenia’s, a longtime local resource for all the high schools. Others head to downtown L.A. to the fashion district to seek out something they wouldn’t find in local department stores.

Of course, the winter formals the schools had a few months ago are also a great way to check out the latest looks. Bailey Moore of Canyon High School told us what she saw this year. “The majority of the guys wore dark colored tuxedos and the girls wore longer dresses, primarily matte black,” she said.

What are they doing with hair and makeup this year? For answers, Canyon Country Magazine consulted with Nicole Lorraine, a local hair and makeup artist.

“I think that the messy up-do is in still this year,” she said. “The loose curls and pulled-out braid are very trendy and popular. Beach waves are another favorite this year.”

Has anything changed, in terms of style?

“The last few years I have seen more of the formal style, the more ‘put together’ up-dos or half-up style,” she said. “This year is more of a messy/fun look.”

And for makeup? “This year everyone is loving the glowy/dewy finish,” the makeup artist said, “and full brows that are pushed upward and fluffy compared to last year’s carved out brow and contour.”

Jen Gerard of Gerard Cosmetics agrees that brows are full this year. “Full and sculpted brows are very in at the moment,” she said.

Gerard described other makeup choices also. “The hottest trends are glitter and metallics for eyes and lips,” she said. “Color-wise, I would use more nudes and pinks for teens. I also would go for a more natural look.”

Vandalism in Canyon Country

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 15, 2017

Early in February, deputies working out of the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station were called to an area of Canyon Country near Sierra Hwy and Sandy Drive to investigate reports of vandalism. Apparently, the suspect(s) had tagged several places underneath a bridge on Sierra Hwy near a pedestrian and bicycle path. After searching the area, three suspects were taken into custody that same day.

Vandalism is a serious, yet common, crime and depending on the monetary amount of damage caused, can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. For example, if the damage to the property as a result of vandalism is less than $400, the crime will likely be charged as a misdemeanor. If the damage is $400 or greater, the prosecuting attorney can decide whether to charge the crime as a misdemeanor or a felony.

Both misdemeanors and felonies can be punished with up to one year in county jail; however, a felony charge could result in the defendant spending time in state prison instead. Additionally, both felony and misdemeanor charges include hefty fines.

The individuals caught earlier this month could easily have escaped arrest had witnesses not called deputies when they saw something fishy.

The Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station urges anyone who sees something to say something. Non-emergencies can be reported anonymously by calling the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station at 661-255-1121 or 661-284-2-TIP. If the possible crime being committed is an emergency, such as a crime that involves another person being injured, witnesses should call 9-1-1.

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

Robinson Ranch is Venue for Zonta’s Women in Service Awards

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 15, 2017

Canyon Country is well represented this year at the Zonta Club’s annual Women in Service Celebration. Two nominees are residents on this side of the Santa Clarita Valley, and so is the event location: Robinson Ranch Golf Clubhouse.

Olive Bruins and Janice Murray are two of the 21 community volunteers who have been nominated by local non-profit organizations to be honored at the event. Friends and members of the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley will gather on Saturday, April 8 for a buffet brunch, and tickets are available for members of the public as well.

The first 50-year member of the Santa Clarita Valley AAUW (American Association of University Women), Olive “Olly” Bruins has actually been in the non-profit longer than that.

“At University of Maine our dean of women was on the national board of AAUW,” Bruins explained. “When we became seniors she made sure we all got a card to AAUW. … Eventually, I had it in the back of my mind. When I moved to Whittier they had a branch, so I joined.”

After graduation, Bruins taught first in Maine, and then in New York State. When she visited a former classmate in California, she liked it so much she applied for a job – and got it. After teaching in Bellflower and Norwalk, she moved to Santa Clarita and became an instructor at Arroyo Seco Junior High School until a position opened at the high school level. Bruins retired from the English department at Saugus High School after approximately a decade and a half.

At the local chapter of AAUW, she held various positions, including vice-president in charge of membership and was corresponding secretary at least 10 years. “I don’t know how many times I’ve done hospitality,” she said. “I helped out wherever I could.”

Her teaching career kept her busy, but she still found time to contribute. “I believe in everything (AAUW) does because, of course, it’s a very strong advocate for women and girls, and for equality,” Bruins said. “One of the outstanding things we do is to send girls to Tech Trek – that’s such a wonderful program. They go away to various colleges and universities for a week for a program that introduces them to science and math. … And we are, of course, hoping they move into those areas, because let’s face it, that’s where the jobs are.”

Olive Bruins

Janice Murray was nominated for the award by Circle of Hope, a charity dedicated to providing emotional, financial and educational support to those diagnosed with cancer in the Santa Clarita Valley. Murray serves on the executive board of COH.

“My mother and older sister who survived breast cancer are my motivation,” Murray said, “(and) my passion for helping women going through their battle with cancer.”

Working as host of “Non-Profit Spotlight” on KHTS AM-1220, Murray interfaces regularly with many of the charities she has been involved with as a volunteer. She was active at the Canyon Country Pinecrest School for more than eight years, which included chairing the auction/raffle during the Fall Festival, and managing the collection and accounting of all monies for the American Heart Association’s Jump For Heart and Hoops for Heart campaigns.

At Sulphur Springs Community School she read Dr. Seuss stories to first graders during the Read Across America campaign, and she was one of the founding members of the Community Advisory Committee for the development of the College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus, where she is still active.

“My parents and my Catholic upbringing drives my volunteerism!” Murray said. “My family of seven grew up in Watts, and my parents put five children through Catholic school on one salary! I always saw them helping out (and) volunteering at the school (and) church. I grew up with the understanding that we were very blessed and should help others less fortunate than ourselves.”

This is Murray’s first time nominated for the Women in Service award. “I feel so very honored to be among such a group of women much more deserving than me!” she said.

In addition to brunch, the event includes prize drawings, a marketplace featuring vendors whose merchandise supports women’s causes, and presentation of all 21 nominees and their nominating organizations. At the end of the program one of the honorees will be named the 2017 Carmen Sarro Community Service Award winner, representing outstanding service to her organization, to the community as a whole, and to Zonta’s goal of improving the lives of women and girls. The award is named for the late Carmen Sarro, a longtime Zonta member whose wide range of community service epitomized the well-rounded community volunteer.

Janice Murray

Tickets to the event are $45 per person if postmarked and paid before March 20, and $50 thereafter; March 27 is the final reservation deadline. Actual nominees are guests of Zonta. Payment can be made online at www.scvzonta.org/women-in-service or by a check made payable to Zonta Club of SCV Foundation and mailed to event co-chair Mary Ree at the address on the reservation form.

A New Opportunity for Learning

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 14, 2017

While Opportunities for Learning is known for making education more accessible, last month the local charter school took advantage of an opportunity of its own. Canyon Country’s OFL location moved to a bigger facility, near the Canyon Country Edwards Stadium Theatre.

“We have been serving the Canyon Country community for the last 15 years and wanted to stay as close to our original home as possible. Some of our students take public transportation or walk to our learning center, so we were cognizant of their needs when we decided on our new location,” said Julie Johnson, who has served as principal of OFL Santa Clarita Valley/Ventura for three years. Due to Johnson’s recent promotion, Canyon Country resident Candice Varner, who was principal of OFL Simi Valley, is now the new principal of SCV/V OFL.

“After 10 years in public education, I am looking forward to leading an instructional team that is dedicated to serving OFL’s diverse and unique student population,” Varner said.

Before opening the new facility, students attended class at OFL near the Vallarta Supermarket on Soledad Canyon Road. Most of the students who attend locally also reside in Canyon Country, and the new location accommodates the growing needs of the program.

“About two years ago, it became apparent that we needed not only more space, but updated space,” said Peggy Wilson, enrollment and outreach specialist. “More staff in specialized fields were added, and space was getting tight with resource teachers, continuing enrollment. … This space provides a larger learning environment as well as space for laptops, textbooks, smart-boards, and other educational tools that allow our students more access to technology and resources.”

Staff members, city leaders and associates celebrated the official opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Feb. 24. Johnson officially welcomed attendees before accepting certificates of recognition from Congressman Steve Knight, State Senator Scott Wilk, State Assemblyman Dante Acosta, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth and the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“Our student population remains steady in the Santa Clarita Valley,” Johnson said. “We serve a population of students who are looking for a school of choice that is different than a comprehensive high school campus. OFL works closely with the Hart district to recover students and return them to the district based on student needs and parent choice.”

Established in 1999, OFL is a free public charter school, serving students in grades 7-12 who have fallen behind in school, are looking to get ahead and graduate early, or simply desire a non-traditional learning environment. Via a blended learning model, students learn through independent study, small group (SGI) classes, online courses, one-on-one single-subject tutoring and hands-on, experiential activities. There are trips and cultural excursions available also, including scholarship trips to Washington, DC, Cuba, Italy and China.

For more information, call the Canyon Country OFL at 661-233-7889 or visit www.emsofl.com.

Andy Del Rio – Vargo Physical Therapy

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 14, 2017

Every town has one. That medical professional who is so well-known you only have to say his first name. He treats everyone you know and is esteemed by all.

In this case it’s Andy at Vargo Physical Therapy.

Whatever your insurance, whoever your primary care doctor is, you’re probably only a few degrees from Andrew del Rio, MPT.

Located near Chi Chi’s and Telly’s on Sierra Highway in Canyon Country, Vargo has been a fixture since the turn of this century. Always swarming with patients, they’ve had to knock down walls – more than once – to increase the facility’s size.

According to the Vargo website, “The original Vargo PT location, the Canyon Country clinic, opened its doors in 2000, has expanded twice and was completely renovated in 2011. It was here the company first implemented its unique approach to physical therapy – a combination of cutting edge technology within a truly community-centered focus including highly-trained therapists who make the time to care for each and every patient all in an open and friendly environment.”

Continuing with that mission are Vargo owners Andy del Rio and Jeff Vargo. The practice now has nine offices. In Canyon Country there are two therapists – Rosemary Conner and Andy – six aides and office manager Sarah Solis.

Vargo has a steady stream of repeat business, just one aspect that underscores how important the practice is in the community. They treat children as young as 6 years old, and del Rio says his oldest patient was 100.

“It’s not a sterile environment and everybody communicates about what they’re doing together,” del Rio says. “And they get better when they come.”

The team’s approach is hands-on. “We use our skill to keep your joints moving properly. “It’s crucial to recovery,” del Rio says, and “getting you back to what you love to do.”

If a patient needs treatment for an ACL, it may take six months. But if it’s something like a sprained ankle, he says, they have turned people around as quickly as a week.

“I’ll keep you here until you can return to your sport,” he says. “There’s no time frame on your therapy. You’re here until you’re done. I’m not going to kick you out of here just because I need a table.”

With a number of Biodex machines and isokinetic strengthening and testing apparatuses, Vargo’s therapists can measure muscle and tendon functionality. Clinicians at Vargo are educated and certified to “foster healthier connective tissue and long term healing of muscles and tendons,” Vargo says on its site.

The biggest challenge is treating someone with long-term problems, del Rio says. “Chronic pain cases are tough, ones that involve nerve damage, because of the unpredictability of the case,” he says.
Vargo treats a lot of the local Hollywood entertainment people, particularly stunt men and women. But another couple of groups they see are firefighters and police force personnel.

A resident of Fair Oaks Ranch, del Rio is connected to the community, supporting local athletic teams, such as the Canyon High School football team. But del Rio’s extra attention has turned toward home lately, as father to a 4-year-old girl and a baby boy born this month.
Perhaps all the well-wishing the popular physical therapist gets from his patients is their way to offer him a sort of “pass” to take some time off. If he ever takes them up on it, they know it’s not for long because of his strong connection to his patients.

That and the fact that Andy del Rio is that guy … the one everyone in town knows they can count on. And those that don’t know him yet probably will at some point.

Voice of a Vargo Volunteer

As a 17-year-old girl fresh out of my junior year of high school, I found it nearly impossible to find my first job. No one really wanted to hire a minor with little-to-no previous experience and, quite frankly, I was tired of filling out one application after the other. That’s when my mom suggested working somewhere as a volunteer.

The reason I wanted to volunteer at Vargo was because that’s where my brothers went for their sports injuries in years past, and physical therapy was something that really fascinated me. So, I mustered up a bit of courage and walked in the clinic hoping someone would give me a chance. I asked Vargo’s clinical director Andrew del Rio (or Andy, as people like to call him) if they needed a volunteer. I was so nervous I don’t remember much, but he did warn me about the towel folding (there was a lot!). I was ecstatic when I got a call that weekend asking me to come in on Monday. On my first day, I followed the workers around like a lost puppy, simply observing everything around me. Slowly I learned how to give ultrasounds, how to prepare an ice pack properly, and yes … how to fold the towels!

I loved the mix of people that came through the doors, from Canyon student athletes to kind senior citizens. My favorite part was sitting down with patients and asking them about their recovery, because I heard some pretty interesting stories from my time there, to say the least. I think PTs have an incredible job, because when people are recovering from injuries it’s often a long and tedious journey. I witnessed the impact that it made for the Vargo team to walk with patients through their exercises and ask them how they’re doing, making the healing process so much better overall.

The positive atmosphere is what stood out to me the most. Andy was always encouraging and his humor lightened the mood, and I think the whole team definitely reflected that energy. I wasn’t at Vargo for very long – just two or three days a week for that summer, but I am so thankful to have gotten a glimpse into the life of a PT. The experience has helped me have compassion for other people, which is something I’ve carried with me to my current job and will continue to carry to whatever’s next.

Canyon Country History Minute

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 12, 2017

Originally built as a one-room schoolhouse, Sulphur Springs Community School was a place of learning for the earliest families in Sand Canyon and the surrounding areas. Pictured are students with their teacher, Florence Mitchell, on graduation day in 1938. Mrs. Mitchell was the daughter-in-law of the first European Americans to settle in what was then called Soledad Canyon – Thomas and Martha Mitchell. The three girls pictured are (left to right): Madeline Warmuth (Davis), Mary Warmuth (Sathre) and a friend of theirs, identified as Darlene. (Photo courtesy of Mary Warmuth Sathre)

How to Decrease Your Chance of a Vehicle Break-In

| Canyon Country Magazine | February 27, 2017

by Robin Sandoval

Over the course of several weeks, a neighborhood along Jakes Way here in Canyon Country has been the target of a series of car burglaries. According to deputies at the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station, at least 20-30 cars have been broken into. The deputies went on to explain that the break-ins all happened in the same way, by smashing passenger side windows. Once the windows were smashed, property was stolen from inside the vehicles.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to get 100 percent assurance that you will not be the victim of crimes like this, but there are a few things you can do to deter would-be thieves from targeting you:

Remove your stereo face plate when you exit the vehicle. Stereos can’t be used without their face plates, and there’s no reason to steal a useless item – especially if it can’t be resold.
Get a car alarm. If you don’t have the money to install an actual alarm, you can purchase little blinking red lights that affix to your dashboard. Many actual car alarms use these to signify that the car is protected to dissuade thieves from breaking in. Having the light, even if you have no alarm, certainly couldn’t hurt.
Don’t leave anything that looks/is valuable in plain sight, even if you’re only going to be away from your car momentarily. If you’re the type who likes to keep things in your car, keep them in the trunk. Thieves like this rely on speed, and few, if any, are likely to pop the trunk once they break in. And never leave a bag, briefcase or purse on the floor.
Watch where you park. If you have exterior home lights with motion detectors, all the better. If not, park someplace that’s well-lit. The more visible your vehicle is, the less likely a thief is going to take a chance on it.


Local Crime

Grand theft of a vehicle was reported on Jan. 4 at 4:05 p.m. near Drycliff St. and Walnut Springs Ave. On Jan. 9 at 9:12 a.m. a petty theft allegedly occurred on the 18400 block of Sandy Drive.

There were thefts reported in the same area for several days in a row. On Jan. 11 at 11:34 p.m. a theft was reported near the corner of Jakes Way and Sandy Drive and again on Jan. 13 at 12:15 a.m. On Jan. 11 a theft was called at 11:42 p.m. on the 18000 block of Grace Lane, and another on Jan. 12 at 3 a.m. from the 18300 block of Jakes Way.
On Jan. 21 at 2:30 a.m. a burglary was reported on the 19400 block of Soledad Canyon Road. And another burglary was called in twice from the 26800 block of Oak Ave. on Jan. 22 – at 3:15 a.m. and 4 a.m.

On Jan. 29 at 2:30 a.m. a theft was reported on the 18799 block of Soledad Canyon Road. Two petty thefts were called in on Jan. 29 – one from the 19800 block of Blackbird Lane at 3:15 a.m. and the other on the 18900 block of Cabral Street at 4:30 a.m.



Why Rescue?

| Canyon Country Magazine | February 22, 2017

Canyon Country is in the middle of two active animal shelters – Castaic and Lancaster – so there is no need to look far and wide for a new pet. While going to a breeder sounds inviting, you can, literally, save a life by searching these kinds of facilities for a new family member.

“These are animals that have been on the streets or they came from someone breeding them or someone turned them in when they were no longer useful,” explained Sara Scott, adoption counselor at St. Bonnie’s Sanctuary in Canyon Country. “Going to a shelter instead of a breeder – they are animals that won’t get a home otherwise.”

St. Bonnie’s rescues mostly dogs and cats, but they have saved chickens from high-kill shelters also. “You can find all sorts of animals: turtles, tortoises, snakes, rabbits, even guinea pigs, and I’ve heard of shelters that get parrots,” she added.

When St. Bonnie’s rescues animals they keep them quarantined for a couple of weeks to be sure they aren’t sick, Scott said. She recommends that private adopters do the same. Plus, animals need a vet visit for vaccines, neutering or spaying, and micro-chipping. While rescue organizations can do the micro-chipping, individual owners should turn to a veterinarian.

“Micro-chipping is sort of an insurance; it’s not like a collar that can fall off,” Scott said. “But micro-chipping is there for life. It helps make sure the animal gets back to its owner.”

St. Bonnie’s Sanctuary is a part of Lange Foundation that was founded in 1993. Both locations rescue dogs and cats from city and county shelters and find them forever homes. Located in Sand Canyon, St. Bonnie’s has a large property that also allows for horses to be rescued as well. Visit Langefoundation.org.

Canyon Country Business Briefs

| Canyon Country Magazine | February 21, 2017

Citywide Film Statistics

In December, the City of Santa Clarita issued 37 film permits which contributed to 92 film days, generating an estimated economic impact of $1,982,500.

The following productions were filming in Canyon Country in December 2016:

Feature Films
Miles – at an area home and streets
Nostalgia – at Golden Triangle Self-Storage and Soledad Canyon Road

Television Shows
Diverted Eden – at a Sand Canyon area home
Guilty Rich – at an area home and Signal Newsroom
Murder Among Friends – at a Sand Canyon area home

Adventist Healthcare – at Rancho Deluxe

Disaster/Skateboard – at Santa Clarita Skatepark

Music Video
Belly “Re Up” – at Sierra Highway, Sierra Saloon

Canyon Country Community Center

Salsa Dance Night (Adults)
Find the perfect combo of Saturday night fun at Salsa Dance Night. This unique three-hour event starts out with a professionally-taught lesson that covers the basics of this dance style and then continues on to social dancing. It all adds up to a Latin-themed evening of enjoyment.
Saturday, February 11
Lessons: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Social Dancing: 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Santa Clarita Public Library

Movers and Shakers
Kids start with playtime, which includes many tactile activities to help them prepare for Transitional-Kindergarten and Kindergarten. After a group cleanup, storytime begins, including fun stories and songs.
1:00–2:00 p.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Canyon Country Meeting Room

Oscar Showcase
Join other residents for the Annual Oscar Showcase, where a free screening of an Academy Award nominated film is screened each week. Light refreshments will be provided.
1:00 p.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Canyon Country Meeting Room

Friends of the Library Bag Sale
For $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 blue Friends of the Library bag from a previous sale. The Bag Sale is held at all three branches.
Friday, February 10 – Wednesday, February 15
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Friends of the Library Bookstore

History Minute

| Canyon Country Magazine | February 19, 2017

It was the presence of year-round streams on the Sand Canyon property of Josephine and Jean Joseph Reynier in the late 19th century that nourished their grapes, which they grew to make wine. The Sand Canyon-Placerita Canyon area was home to cattle ranchers in addition to families like the Reyniers, who were sheepherders. In 1868, Jean Joseph homesteaded and later married Swiss immigrant Josephine Sambien. The couple built a Victorian house where they reared three children, all who attended Sulphur Springs School. (Photo courtesy of George and Gayle Starbuck)

Registration Opens for Walk to Benefit Michael Hoefflin Foundation

| Canyon Country Magazine | February 14, 2017

A Canyon Country-based non-profit benefiting kids with cancer is hosting a fundraiser for members of the community. The Michael Hoefflin Foundation will host the 7th Annual Walk for Kids with Cancer on Saturday, March 18, 2017, raising money to support families battling pediatric cancer.

Sponsored by Boston Scientific Corporation and Scorpion Internet Marketing, the annual fundraiser offers hope to those who may feel there is none. All funds raised from the walk go directly to support the Michael Hoefflin Foundation and its services. Last year’s event raised $95,000; this year, the foundation hopes to raise $100,000.

“The only way we can fight pediatric cancer is by banding together,” said Gillian Stone, executive director of MHF. “Every year, so many generous neighbors from throughout our community come to participate in and support this event. To all of you, we are forever grateful.”

Participants are asked to gather at 8 a.m. at College of the Canyons Cougar Stadium for registration on the day of the event. Registration is $25 and you may start your own team or join an existing one. You may also donate online toward this event if you are not able to participate.

The event is meant for everyone, regardless of fitness level. All participants receive a complimentary reusable grocery sack. Walkers who raise $100 or more will receive an event T-shirt. The event will begin at 9 a.m., with registration at 8 a.m. and it will take place rain or shine. No dogs are allowed.

For more information and to register, go to http://2017walk.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1167425.

Throughout the year, the Michael Hoefflin Foundation helps families in many ways, including providing gas and grocery assistance, support group meetings, and family outings – aid crucial to families dealing with the emotional and unexpected financial burden of cancer. The Michael Hoefflin Foundation is a public non-profit 501(c)(3) foundation serving children and families touched by pediatric cancer in the Santa Clarita and surrounding valleys. For more information, contact the non-profit at (661) 250-4100 or go to www.MHF.org.

Living Large in a Little House

| Canyon Country Magazine | February 14, 2017

While her friends may have longed to live in a mansion or pined away for a palace, Toni Shelton had a big dream of her own: a tiny house.

Inspired by such TV shows as “Tiny House Nation” and HGTV’s “Tiny House Hunters,” Shelton got in touch with one of the reality show contractors and hired him to build her “tiny dream house.”

“I designed it and had it built. It’s got a bedroom on the first level and a washer, stove, oven, hardwood floors and a barn door for my bathroom,” said the Canyon Country resident. “I have the tiniest house on wheels.”

At the moment, Shelton’s tiny house is without a home. It sits on a trailer in a storage unit until she finds a piece of land to rent where she can place her house and live in it.

Now that her four children are grown – her youngest, Carl, graduates from Canyon High School in a few months – she decided to move forward with the home she had saved her money to build.

“They didn’t believe me. They said, ‘Mom, you’re crazy,’” Shelton recalled.

The whole experience was brand new territory, and she wasn’t sure how to even begin, so she turned to her computer.

“I started doing some research online to find a builder. I saw a builder on HGTV and I was in awe of his work,” she said. “You could tell he put a lot of love in his work. It was like love at first sight. He was detail-oriented – from the wood to the light fixtures, to the flooring. I thought, ‘I’ve got to call him, I’ve got to call him.’”

That’s just what she did. Shelton contacted Doug Schroeder at Timbercraft Tiny Homes in Guntersville, Alabama. And though he was booked up, she got on his list and gave him a deposit.

The website for Timbercraft Tiny Homes reminds you why you might consider a house like Shelton’s, especially with taglines like: “Downsized living is all about making time for things that matter.”

The company customizes the tiny houses, taking 8-10 weeks for construction following the design phase. They also build bumper pull trailers from 16-28 feet long for hauling the houses, and customers have access to gooseneck trailers for up to 39 feet in length.

When Shelton heard it was built and ready to be picked up, she had a friend from Chicago fly in to drive with her to Alabama to get her new house – a 4,500-mile trip in less than three days. They hurried, because her friend had to return to work.

When Shelton first laid eyes on the house, she actually thought it looked large. It is 8 ½ feet by 24 feet, weighs 14,000 pounds and has two levels.

“We got stopped along the way, people were pulling to the side of us, following us, stalking us – it was like that the whole way,” she said.

That part of the adventure is over, and since November the house has been in storage.

“I’m still in awe of it,” she said. “I go and visit it like it’s a family member.”

It sleeps 5-8 people tightly, and when she moves in she will be downsizing quite a bit. Shelton will be moving from a 3-bedroom, 3-bath house to her 192-square-foot custom home. Luckily, she designed it with a lot of built-in storage, mostly for her shoes, clothes and photos, she said.

Shelton’s children live in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, but she is established here in Canyon Country. Shelton moved here because she had a friend who “lived in the area and loved it,” she said. “It’s family-oriented and safe for children.”

She has her own event planning/promotions/photography business. Shelton is also a prolific formal model, who has appeared in everything from billboards to music videos.

Right now, however, her attention is fixed on one appearance: finding the perfect home for her new house.

If you have some land available for rent, contact Toni Shelton by emailing Tsprodhouse@gmail.com.

February is American Heart Month

| Canyon Country Magazine | February 13, 2017

An annual proclamation brings awareness to the nation’s number one killer – heart disease – every February. In fact, President Donald Trump kick-started this year’s campaign on Feb. 3, 2017 through a written release from the White House Office of the Press Secretary. In it he encourages citizens to take the steps they need to prevent the disease.

National Heart Month was first declared by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, says the American Heart Association website.

“The death rate from heart disease in the United States has fallen dramatically since the 1960s, a significant public health victory,” said this year’s proclamation. “Despite this progress, heart disease remains a leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, and we must reduce its toll.”

There are reportedly more than 17 million deaths from heart disease and strokes every year. Researchers have made gains in early detection, which means more effective treatment options.

Santa Clarita will host one of L.A.’s Heart Walks in the fall. Through this fundraiser, over one million walkers raise money to fight cardiovascular disease and stroke. To learn more about the Santa Clarita Heart Walk, call Joshua Lomeli at (213) 291-7025.

For more information, visit the American Heart Association website at Heart.org.

A River Ran Through It

| Canyon Country Magazine | February 13, 2017

Mudslides were the latest war with nature experienced by Sand Canyon residents. The hardest hit were homes on and near Iron Canyon Road, as well as Sand Canyon Road all the way past Placerita Canyon.

Iron Canyon resident Kara Franklin was out of the area when news of the storm damage broke. “That’s when I came home an hour and a half later and saw my drive had four inches of sand on it from the crazy water rushing over the side walls of the washes,” Franklin said. “Never have I ever seen a greater amount of water flow in any given period of time. There was a clap of thunder, then my neighbor’s hillside broke and ran down to my guest house again … just like Christmas Eve. What a mess.”

Another Iron Canyon resident, Aurora Harris, shared her storm experience with Canyon Country Magazine:

It was a very stressful, long weekend that began with a downpour on Friday morning. Water was ponding in our yard, so I climbed over the fence into a neighbor’s yard to unplug a drainage channel that was backing up. I was standing in rubber boots, knee-deep in water, holding a metal shovel, when I heard the crack of thunder and saw lightening and my heart started pounding. It was then I heard a roar that sounded like a dozen freight trains and the ground shook. It was the sound of mud and water escaping from two large catch basins … built by the city which were now completely overwhelmed. I ran to the side of our property, which borders the creek, and for the first time saw a horrible wall of mud flow just like what we in the burn zone had been warned about. Chicken Little was right! The mud and rock was pouring down the creek at high speed, mounding up and churning like chocolate pudding over the ridges on the sides of the dip crossing and into the street and neighbors’ yards. It was so frightening and the sound deafening. I drove my two mini ponies into the upper paddock, because I was worried their corral next to the creek would be inundated. My husband came home from work early but could not drive home, as the mud had poured down both the street and the creek, and huge rocks and mud were blasting across Sand Canyon. Most of the properties along the creek were full of mud and rock. He parked the car and trekked home, crossing the creek on a high foot bridge.

Of course, authorities were on high alert, clearing as much as possible as fast as possible. The Iron Canyon area received attention throughout the storm. Aurora Harris continued:

The city was wonderful! We live on a private street, but they sent a troop of cheerful bulldozers, trucks and shovelers to dig us out and clear the roads. We spent all day Saturday talking with neighbors, sharing pizza, shoveling mud and sandbagging. Friends came to help. Everyone was concerned about the big rains expected Sunday and trying to figure out whether to evacuate or not, as the Sheriff’s Dept. personnel were coming around and telling us of mandatory evacuation. We bought plywood and straw bales, built mud-berms and filled sandbags and boarded up the best we could, helping each other dig out the mudded up drain ditches. I was imagining delicious chocolate mousse with every heavy shovelful. Boy, did I scoop it up — my back was so stiff later. Then I got to a spot where it was more like chocolate pudding and my boots stuck in the mud and I had to be hauled out. It was the same spot where my husband had gotten a tractor stuck in the mud.
Oh, what a worry — (deciding) whether to evacuate or not. Some of our neighbors could not leave because their creek crossing had washed out. One couple was living on “ground zero” near a side canyon in a very dangerous situation, and had been inundated with several feet of water, mud and rocks. They boarded up their entire house and moved in with a neighbor. Another neighbor told me, “It’s Armageddon! Boulders as tall as people are coming next. I can see them from my house!” Fortunately this did not prove true. 

Sunday we stayed home, as the roads were locked down and we played cards and drank Bloody Marys with several neighbors, occasionally checking on the creek. The wind was strong, (with) little rain. On the Doppler map the rain cell seemed to be over in Newhall. So, it was no surprise that a call came that afternoon saying two large trees behind our office building in Newhall had fallen, one onto the neighboring building, owned by the city. Yikes! But again, our city was a champ and helped cut one tree and Edison cut the other. So, in retrospect, we live in a great community and disasters are great opportunities to get to know your neighbors.

What happens next? Sand Canyon residents wait.

“The new rainfall will have no place to go but up and over the side, or continue eroding the sides and banks of these washes,” Franklin said. “That, in turn, takes away the soil to protect our properties.”

After years of drought, it almost makes you wonder if we should be careful what we wish for.

Charter School Doesn’t Fly

| Canyon Country Magazine | January 25, 2017

Parents and community members attended a meeting of the Sulphur Springs School District Board of Trustees last fall to request approval for Eagle Collegiate Academy Charter School, or ECA, which they hoped to open in fall 2017.

At the December 7 meeting of the District’s Board of Trustees, their petition was denied. “(The) ECA petition was not approved, which left many parents disappointed,” said ECA Parent Board member Rita Zelaya in an email.

“If you look at the petition, there are a certain number of elements that have to be in it,” explained Sulphur Springs School District Board President Shelley Weinstein. “We have to make sure the educational plan is viable and they can afford it. The whole rationale was, we didn’t feel it met the educational needs of our students.”

The California Dept. of Education declined a request by Eagle Collegiate Academy for a grant, Weinstein said.

The board’s agenda, posted online, spells out the shortcomings of the school’s plan. It reads, “Denial of the Petition is recommended on the grounds:

The Petitioners are demonstrably unlikely to successfully implement the program presented in the Petition;
The Petition does not contain the number of signatures required by statute; and
The Petition fails to provide a reasonably comprehensive description of all required elements of a charter petition.
Certain areas of concern were listed that were identified as having the greatest impact on the board’s decision to deny ECA’s petition. One of those issues was location. The report says, “Although the Petition states the Charter School plans to operate within the District’s geographic boundaries, it lists several different options for facility space, from open land with portables, to commercial buildings, to looking for other properties. This unfocused approach to securing facilities evinces a pre-planning stage, not a point where the Charter School is in a position to move forward in a concrete manner.”

The reply from the board also referenced ECA’s financial plan, calling it “incomplete” and citing “an inability … to establish a sustainable school.”

The potential for a negative balance (loss of $71,343 the first year and $63,866 the second year) is in the report. The budget in ECA’s proposal assumed 51 percent of projected students would qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch program, which the board’s report claims is inaccurate. And the projected salaries in the charter school’s proposal were set to begin at $50,000 for teachers in an International Baccalaureate, or IB, program; but the Sulphur Springs District report points out that the average teacher salary in the SSSD is $73,087.

The 19-page report with a comprehensive response to the petition brought by the charter school’s organizers is available to the public online. You can find it by visiting the district’s website at SSSD.k12.ca.us.

The Open Book: Canyon Country’s New Bookstore

| Canyon Country Magazine | January 24, 2017

You can easily read between the lines when you hear about a new arrival to the Food 4 Less shopping center in Canyon Country. A unique store called The Open Book has been a fixture in the Westfield Valencia Town Center Mall for three and a half years, and it’s only natural to make assumptions about the reason for the retailer’s move.

“We had to move, due to rising rental costs,” explained Elizabeth Whitlock, the district manager for the company’s four retail locations. “It’s a tough world for the survival of bookstores, but our independent book company is comprised of optimistic, hard working and passionate individuals who are determined to keep going!”

Staff members at The Open Book worked for quite a few months to find the Canyon Country location. “Something within our price range that could house our cultivated selection of titles, that has a kind and curiously-minded community, as well as an appreciation for high quality books at heavily discounted prices,” Whitlock described. “We are happy to announce that only one month before we had to close our doors, we found it!”

The Open Book will open in its new 6,000-square-foot store front later this month with an expanded selection and more bookstore events in the community.

“We have an artistic and creative staff that will be constructing a magical reading and shopping environment,” Whitlock said, “complete with custom signs, up-cycled book sculptures, an 1800s library-inspired antiquarian book lounge, and communal study tables that surround our event stage. This stage will play host to some of our classic events, such as the monthly open mic night, and will help us expand to poetry events, author signings, art showcases, and special story times.”

The Open Book will also have a larger children’s book section than it had in its Valencia location. “Our popular Sunday story times will continue to be a free event for families to enjoy stories, activities and snacks around a central theme each week,” she said.

The store carries books that appeal to every demographic, which Whitlock said is “the true beauty of books.”

She began working for The Open Book at age 19, bringing to the company a lifelong love of reading.

“My favorite aspect of working for this company is its ability to adapt and grow in an increasingly difficult industry, all the while keeping a consistent standard of good, old fashioned customer service,” she said. “We believe in the necessity of books and whether you are a new reader, looking to get into reading a bit more, or a well-read bibliophile, we want to assist your journey.”

After a soft opening aimed at January 20, the new store front will introduce regular hours and its “book buying program.” The bookstore hours will be Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m.-
7 p.m.

The Open Book is located at 19188 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country. For more information, call 661-255-1400 or visit www.theopenbook.biz.

Canyon Country History Minute

| Canyon Country Magazine | January 24, 2017

Sand Canyon resident Craig Branham was an All-American athlete in his native Arizona, setting a national record in the decathlon while competing for Pima Community College in Tucson. He turned to modeling for high-profile companies like Guess and Armani and toured with the late Gianni Versace. Pictured here is Branham performing his first job as a Hollywood stuntman. This Budweiser commercial aired during the Super Bowl in 1992 and shows Branham free jumping from building to building in downtown Los Angeles.

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.

New Business: MJ’s Tap House Grill

| Canyon Country Magazine | January 23, 2017

Like the drought relief from recent rains, Canyon Country’s thirst for more watering holes gets quenched by the arrival of new restaurants, especially those with crowd-pleasing flavors.

MJ’s Tap House Grill opened last month across the street from Home Depot, bringing more than just food and drink to our side of town. It is a big draw for sports fans (nine flat-screen TVs), and its unique “modern barbecue” recipes hit the table along with MJ’s signature offerings: craft beers.

About 95 percent of the beers come from local breweries, at least from the greater L.A. area, says Miguel Perez, who owns the bar with Iggy and Martha Trujillo. “I love craft beers. When I travel, I usually visit a local brewery. It’s growing so quickly as an industry,” Perez said. “And my passion has always been barbecuing.”

It is not a “Southern barbecue,” he explains. “We grill everything, not fried.”

The most popular offerings so far at the month-old restaurant are the tri-tip sandwich and the Iggy’s Burger,” which was, of course, a design of Iggy Trujillo. But the name, MJ’s Tap House Grill, came from Perez – that’s Miguel Jerome Perez.
In fact, the whole restaurant was Perez’ brainchild, including 14 craft beers on tap.

After 25 years in the mortgage servicing industry, including a vice president position at Bank of America, Perez left the corporate world because he always wanted to own a sports bar restaurant.  He doesn’t have a food industry background, but his partners do – and they shared his vision.

Iggy has a full-time job and Martha works at MJ’s in management. Luckily, her brother, Luis Arturo Mojica, was a contractor, because the owners took a former pizza restaurant across the street from Home Depot and transformed it into the warm, industrial style that is MJ’s Tap House Grill.

The fact it was previously a pizza restaurant meant it only took about two to three months to convert the facility, instead of about eight, according to Perez.

“I knew the Canyon Country area didn’t have this type of restaurant either,” he said.
The individuals in the kitchen are applauded by Perez for their originality. “Our chef worked at a lot of breweries and incorporates a lot of the craft beers in his dishes,” he explains. “For example, he made a bread pudding and made chocolate syrup with a chocolate craft beer.”

Patrons come from all walks of life, made clear by the eyes on the multiple screens, plus the presence of eight high chairs. The menus offer salads and flatbreads for vegetarians to join the meat-lovers, and MJ’s can seat over 100 people when you include the patio.

The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

MJ’s Tap House Grill is located at 20655 Soledad Canyon Road in Santa Clarita. Call (661) 250-7899 or visit MJstaphousegrill.com.

Things to Do Five Years Before Retirement

| Canyon Country Magazine | January 23, 2017

It has been said that retirement is something you plan and save for most of your working life. But when should you start making adjustments to that plan? The most crucial time, in my opinion, is a period just before retirement that I call “the red zone.” Here are some concepts I hope you will consider in the years leading up to you parting ways with the workforce:

1. Reduce risk. With retirement around the corner, consider shifting your savings to a safer place and away from places that can lose money. Preservation of capital should be the goal at this stage.

2. Quit chasing returns. Don’t try to hit “homeruns” with your retirement accounts. Start looking for accounts that don’t go backwards or charge high fees. Focus more on contributions and reasonable rates of return.

3. Review your insurance policies. If your house and car are paid off, you may not need all that coverage. Check with your insurance agent to see if you are over-insured in any area or if some savings can be found by bundling policies. If not, don’t be afraid to shop around with other companies.

4. Use your health insurance. If you have health insurance through your employer, take advantage of this benefit by having any tests or procedures done prior to leaving your job. This might be the most cost-effective way to get ahead of any health care issues on the horizon.

5. Find a hobby. Make sure you have a hobby or something that you are passionate about doing. This can be something as simple as a personal activity, or even a job that you couldn’t afford to take in the past.

Giving thought to these ideas as you near retirement can take away some of the worry that comes with this lifestyle change. Retirement is a journey that requires planning, so take the opportunity to fine tune it before you reach your destination.

Arif M. Halaby is a Certified Estate Planner in California and is President/CEO of Total Financial Solutions, Inc., a financial and insurance services company based in Santa Clarita, California, with offices extending to the San Fernando and Antelope Valleys.

Bark Beetle Infestation

| Canyon Country Magazine | January 23, 2017

Some residents of Sand Canyon inquired about bark beetle infestation in Canyon Country and some of the rest of the city, according to Fernando Mendoza with the City’s Urban Forestry Division, who sent a message through the Sand Canyon Homeowners Association. Instead of holding a community meeting, he offered the following information to homeowners regarding preventative measures to protect their private property trees.

As the State continues to experience an extended drought, our urban forest mortality rate continues to rise. Drought stressed trees equate to suitable host material for aggressive Bark Beetles which is resulting in higher tree mortality rates. Tree species predominantly impacted by Bark Beetle include Pine, Sycamore and Live Coast Oaks, affecting numerous City and privately owned trees throughout the community. Homeowners can prevent attacks to their private trees by taking the following steps:

• Avoid causing injuries to trees, such as knocking off bark, compacting/excavating soil near trees or disturbing the root system.

• Remove all trees that currently contain beetles. Removing trees promptly when they have been successfully attacked will reduce the pheromone (chemicals beetles use to communicate) source associated with attacked trees. All infested green material greater than 3 inches in diameter should be removed from the site, chipped or buried.

• During severe or protracted drought periods it may be prudent to use insecticides to protect trees not affected by bark beetle. Applied as a preventive treatment, certain insecticides are effective in preventing bark beetle attacks. Treatments should be performed by a commercial applicator.

• Watering your trees during severe or protracted drought periods can also give your trees a boost. Watering should occur early in the growing season by saturating the soil down to two feet near the outer edge of the tree branches. Be careful not to over water.

Residents with questions can email Fernando Mendoza with the city’s Urban Forestry Division at fmendoza@santa-clarita.com.

Canyon Country Business Briefs

| Canyon Country Magazine | January 22, 2017


Snap Fitness
Snap Fitness is now open at The Plaza at Golden Valley located at 19233 Golden Valley Road.
Snap Fitness offers state-of-the-art equipment, virtual classes, group training and 24-7 access. They have cardio equipment, free weights, squat rack, kettlebells, water rowers, and much more.


Canyon Country Community Center
The design effort for the new Canyon Country Community Center is scheduled to kick off in January 2017. The environmental review of the project is currently underway and it is expected that construction of the new center will begin in 2018.

When completed, the 6.5-acre site will include a 20,000-square-foot community center building with parking, recreational amenities, and traffic enhancements on Sierra Highway and Soledad Canyon Road. The plan also includes measures to improve access to the site by transit and non-vehicular means.

Some of the amenities planned for the facility and the property include a gymnasium, multi-purpose room, arts/crafts room, fitness room, kitchen, half-court basketball, community events garden, a multi-purpose field, a tot lot and more.


In November, the city issued 49 film permits, which contributed to 151 film days, generating an estimated economic impact of $3,824,500.

The following productions were filming in Canyon Country in November 2016.

Feature Films
Abilene – at Sable Ranch
All Star Weekend – at Alliance Gas Station, Sierra Highway
The Darkness Within – at a Sand Canyon area home

Television Shows
Crazy Love – at Sand Canyon area homes and streets
Flaked – at area homes and streets
Guilty Rich – at Sand Canyon area homes and streets
Holiday Rescue – at an area home
ScarePewDiePie – at Rancho Deluxe

USAA – at Toppers Pizza

UBM – at Sable Ranch

Still Photo
Pop Shots (Steve Agee) – at Rancho Deluxe


Santa Clarita Public Library

Digital Drop In
Need help with an eReader or other digital device?  Drop in for 20 minutes of one-on-one help.
Fridays 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Study Room A

Saturday Family Storytime
This new storytime is for all families looking for a free weekend activity. Miss Debby will read stories, sing songs, have crafts and playtime.
Saturdays 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Canyon Country Children’s Area

Get Your Craft On (Adults)
The Friends of the Santa Clarita Public Library invite you to explore your creativity and make a new art or craft project every month. DIY step-by-step instruction and materials will be provided for this free program.
Saturday, January 17
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Canyon Country Meeting Room

Bake a Cake
Families are invited to submit their own book-themed cakes for the 2nd annual cake decorating contest. Prizes will be awarded based solely on decoration, not taste. Cakes can be dropped off Friday, January 20 during open hours or Saturday, January 21 from 10:00-11:00 a.m. Public voting of the cakes will take place from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Prizes will be awarded just after 4:00 p.m. Prizes will be available to be picked up later.
Saturday, January 21
11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Canyon Country Meeting Room

It’s Game Time for Adults
Join others for an afternoon of Chess, Cribbage, Scrabble, Pictionary, Charades, Wii Bowling and much more!
Tuesdays 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Canyon Country Meeting Room

*Santa Clarita Public Library Winter/Spring Storytimes and Events began the week of January 9. 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 Community Center

You can “Get Fit” this month at the Canyon Country Community Center. Exercises are available for all ages.

Preschool Fitness Fun (3-5 yrs.)
It’s a morning of fun on the SMART ProTrainer Interactive Wall. Preschoolers will discover the fun of fitness, while learning to make decisions, problem solve, and get a great workout.
Wednesdays 11:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Fee: $5 per class

Cardio Kidz (5-12 yrs.)
A 45-minute class that is designed to stretch and strengthen the body while participating in a variety of high-energy activities. The SMART ProTrainer Interactive Wall will be used to enhance speed and reaction-time in various activities. Make sure to bring plenty of water and wear closed-toe shoes.
Saturdays 11:00-11:45 a.m.
Fee: $5 per class

POUND Rockout Workout (13+ yrs.)
Join others for a full body cardio jam session, combining light resistance with constant simulated drumming. The workout fuses cardio, Pilates, and plyometrics. Burn between 600 and 900 calories per hour, strengthen and sculpt muscles, and drum your way to a leaner, slimmer physique – all while rocking out to your favorite music. Bring your yoga mat and water.
Mondays or Wednesdays 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Fee: $60 for 8 weeks
Drop-In Fee: $10 per class

SMART Fitness Circuit (13+ yrs.)
You can burn calories while taking this SMART Fitness class. This hour-long class combines strength training, explosive plyometrics, and speed training, while using the SMART ProTrainer Interactive Wall. Each exercise option will have modifications for various fitness levels.
Tuesdays and Thursdays 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Fee: $5 per class

Low Impact Aerobics (Adults)
This “go at your own pace” class makes you feel great while obtaining cardiovascular fitness and a firm body.  Abdominal and legwork included. Wear athletic shoes, bring an exercise mat and 3-5 lb. hand weights.
Wednesdays and Fridays 8:45-9:45 a.m.
Fee: $56 for 8 weeks
Drop-In Fee: $7 per class

STAR Club SMART ProTrainer Circuit (Adults)
This 45-minute class is for adults with special needs. The class combines mild strength training while using the SMART ProTrainer Interactive Wall. Each exercise option will have modifications for various fitness levels. Caregiver attendance required at no additional cost.
Mondays 10:30-11:15 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.

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