Onyx Coffee Co.

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 21, 2017

Canyon Country residents have a new drive-thru to pick up their favorite wake-up beverage on the way to work. ONYX Coffee Co. is serving up specialty coffees from the kiosk next to Feathers Photo and across from Route 66 Classic Grill on Soledad Canyon Road. Owners Mike and Sonia Cruz have a “bi-coastal partnership” with Buddy Brew to bring unique beverages from “Cold Brew” to “Chai Tea Lattes.” ONYX Coffee’s chai tea comes from Northern India, a perfect backdrop for the new business’ tagline: Be bold, be brave.

Their specialties are lattes, espresso, chai, green tea, and you can order drinks any of three ways: hot, iced, or frozen.

“We’re not just the normal drive-thru. Our menu includes premium craft roasted coffee from the top 2 percent of quality beans, versus other roasters,” said Sonia. “We’re continuing to add new items to our offering while providing the very best quality traditional coffee and tea drinks.”

In addition to Buddy Brew Coffee, the couple has aligned themselves with other partners to offer the newest drinks. ONYX also serves up pastries from local vendors to go with your favorite beverage.

“Our mission is to serve the community the best specialty coffee drinks and the best customer experience in the area,” Sonia said. “We envision ONYX Coffee Co. being a positive impact to people in and beyond Santa Clarita!”

The Cruz’s partner, Raquel Pullaro, traveled all the way from Florida to help them with their opening July 1. “We had family and friends drive long distances to join us, and the support from the community was tremendous,” Sonia said.

The couple said they are planning a grand opening celebration in September, adding: “Lots of work to do, but first coffee!”

Summer hours at ONYX Coffee Co. are Monday through Friday 6:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Saturdays/Sundays 7 a.m.-5 p.m. They have a customer loyalty program that gets you a free drink after the purchase of eight.

ONYX Coffee Co. is located at 18715 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country. Find the business on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The Pie Tin

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 21, 2017

Next month when you smell the scent of freshly baked pies, it means the Jardine family opened its oven doors for customers to get a taste of their new business: The Pie Tin. Troy, Laura, Alexis and Morgan Jardine are completing the groundwork for an August opening of a pie shop with a pickup option and seating as well—inside and out—where locals can sip coffee or tea while they take their time enjoying their sweet or savory pie order.

The Pie Tin is a nod to Laura Jardine’s grandmother and her father, who played important roles in her childhood in Salt Lake City, Utah. “Basically, it goes back to the history in my family,” said Laura. “Pies were a big part of my family when I grew up.”

When the Jardines moved to Santa Clarita, she went on a community-wide search for standout pies, but fell short. “People were trying to find me a good pie,” Laura said. “When we researched to open the shop we found that the closest pie shop was 30-40 miles away.”

She acknowledged the risk involved when “creating a business from scratch” instead of opening a franchise.

“It’s a little nerve-wracking, but super, super exciting,” said Laura, who works for the City of Santa Clarita and has a background in marketing and banking, while Troy has experience in the food industry.

Their daughters, Alexis, 22, and Morgan, 18, are already deeply involved in The Pie Tin business. One is handling social media and setting up coffee suppliers, while the other is handling the furniture suppliers. The most challenging aspect so far, according to Laura, is coordinating delivery of equipment and shipments, arranging to be on site to receive them, yet not in the way of the contractor.

The banana cream pie is her favorite, and pecan is a close second. Followed by blueberry, she added.

But for Laura, the baked goods they serve up won’t be the only thing warm and sweet about the pie shop. “Having a place for the community to go and feel welcome,” she said. “Obviously, the quality of the products will be amazing, but they will come back for the experience, if nothing else.”

While The Pie Tin’s customers will be looking for their favorites on the menu, they’ll also be hoping that sitting in the shop with free Wi-Fi and freshly baked pie will be a little slice of heaven too.

The Pie Tin is located at 26555 Golden Valley Road in Santa Clarita. Visit ThePieTinSCV.com.

Matt Davis: Gold Medal Mentor

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 19, 2017

It is rare to find a teenager with the time and attention for others. And it’s even more unusual when it’s a student athlete/ASB member giving to his special needs peers.

But when you fast forward six years and you find him, once again, coaching and mentoring developmentally disabled kids and adults, the young man deserves a medal.

Last month, Matt Davis took home the gold … or at least his team did.

Davis is a team player, a quality he passes on to players in the S.N.A.P. football program, a part of the larger Special Needs Athletes & Peers Sports program. It enables participants to gain experience on the field playing flag football with experienced young players who coach and fill the quarterback position for them.

“The goal is to make sure that all the athletes have fun and feel a part of a team,” Davis explained. “I got involved with S.N.A.P. when I was 16 after being invited by a couple of my Canyon High football teammates, Coley Apsay and Kyle Webster.”

Earlier this year, Davis was again invited by a friend to become a part of the Special Olympics. Canyon High School graduate and former quarterback Miles Fallin asked him to help coach one of the basketball teams. But when the season was nearly over, there was something new pulled out of the playbook. Fallin performed a successful “handoff” to Davis — the entire team.

“Miles had to leave for college and he left me as the head coach,” Davis said. “However, I had two other assistant coaches in Don Zennie and Erik Fallin (Miles’ father) who have been involved in Special Olympics for over 20 years. I would not have been able to do it without them.”

Not to worry — the Santa Clarita Valley “Makos” were running on all cylinders. Davis, his coaches and their team came in first place at the Southern California Special Olympics in Long Beach, earning the gold medal.

“It was all due to the hard work the athletes put in,” Davis said. “We won all three games, but more importantly, everyone got to play and had a ton of fun doing it.”

The winning team was made up of 11 athletes: Michael Goodman, Glen Griffith, Max Parrish, Jason “Bulldog” Carreon, Kevin Ross, Jesse Corralejo, Jereth Suede, David Escobedo, Colbert Williams, Brian “Dallas” Dahl, and Eric McGhee. Both Jereth Suede and Colbert Williams had previously been a part of Davis’ S.N.A.P. program as well.

“As far as the future is concerned, I am hoping to be able to coach floor hockey in the upcoming winter,” said the 22-year-old. “Serving individuals with special needs is something that I truly enjoy and I am extremely blessed to have made friends with the athletes I’ve coached.”

Hiker Heaven

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 18, 2017

You’ve walked 20-30 miles a day for several days and you’re hot, sweaty, exhausted and you have a nasty thirst. Then you come upon a large plot of land with shade, fresh water, showers, bathroom facilities and dozens of fellow travelers.

Sound like heaven?

It’s “Hiker Heaven” to more than a thousand Pacific Crest Trail travelers every year, thanks to Agua Dulce residents Jeff and Donna Saufley. Their 2-acre property has been a respite for PCT travelers since 1997, and numbers have swelled to a high of 1,600 visitors in one season.

Hikers visit the Saufleys as early as mid-March when the first “thru hikers” come into the Santa Clarita Valley, most originating from the PCT trailhead in Campo, California at the Mexican border. Hiker Heaven is about a mile off the trail, so those who hear about it can simply walk to the Saufleys’ home and get a two-night stay along with the Saufleys’ generous system of assistance.

“We provide a safe place for them to stay, where they can put down their packs and meet up with other hikers who are behind and in front of them on the trail,” Jeff Saufley said. “They find a soft spot and set up their shelter. We do have a guest house with a couple of bedrooms, but most camp out in the yard.”

The Saufleys wash the hikers’ clothes for them and provide access to gear stores and doctors’ offices, with help from others who volunteer time and resources to serve the hiking community. One of Jeff’s colleagues with a limo service brings a 15-passenger van to their house to offer rides to stores such as Walmart and REI.

How do hikers know about the Saufleys’ facility? They contact them through their web page — Hikerheaven.com. “A large, large majority of them hear about it as they’re hiking the trail,” Jeff said.

Most of the Hiker Heaven guests have a re-supply box sent to themselves there, so the Saufleys’ garage is turned into a makeshift post office during the season.

“They’re such a well-behaved group of people,” Jeff said. “We’ve had zero problems at all. The majority of them are young kids, in their 20s and mostly guys, but an increasing number of women.”

Jeff and Donna used to offer these services by themselves, driving hikers, washing their clothes, etc. But the numbers in the ‘90s were a manageable 250 people per year. As it grew, they reached out to the hiking community for help.

Volunteers come for two weeks or a month and do chores such as laundry, cleaning bathrooms and showerss, and picking up items that are laying around.

“Everything has to be super, super organized,” Jeff said. “They work here for free just because they want to give back.”

Jeff attributes some of the surge in the PCT’s popularity to the book and movie entitled “Wild.” He said he has met hikers from Europe and Asia who actually came to California to hike the trail after seeing the movie.

“I’d say about 50 percent of the 1,400 hikers this year were from Europe or China or Japan,” Jeff said. “You meet very interesting people from all over the world.”

Though there’s no charge to stay at Hiker Heaven, guests often contribute to offset such expenses as daily water deliveries during the height of the season, plus laundry soap, toilet paper and rented port-a-potties.

And if you miss the good ol’ days when campfires were legal in California, the Saufleys are one step ahead. They sometimes pull permits to enable hikers to gather around a fire pit they built in their yard.

This year the Saufleys shut their doors on June 30 after no fewer than 1,400 hikers overnighted there. After hiking season it’s time for Jeff and Donna to hit the trail. In fact, the couple has been “section hiking” the PCT (not completing the trail in one trip). Donna has hiked 1,400 miles of the PCT so far, Jeff said. The couple plans to be in Oregon and Washington in August this year.

Though the season is over, there are some things you can pretty much count on. When spring rolls around, the usual throngs of weary travelers can be seen pacing through downtown Agua Dulce, making their way to the home of these “trail angels” once again, for a little piece of Hiker Heaven.

Conquering the Divide

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 18, 2017

It was a year ago that we met Garret Hernandez, a new graduate from Golden Valley who began at the border of Mexico in a little town called Campo and proceeded to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, known as the PCT. In about half a year, Garret completed the approximately 2,650-mile hike through California, Oregon, Washington, and ending in Canada. So, of course, it was time for a new adventure…

After completing the Pacific Crest Trail on Sept. 14, Santa Clarita resident Garret Hernandez has begun his latest adventure – taking on the even more grueling, 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail, or CDT.

During his 22-week journey on the PCT, Garret, 18 at the time, met people from all over the world and said he had the time of his life. His months on the trail gave him a new optimism, he said.

He experienced the help of complete strangers time and time again, town after town, whether it was a ride, a meal, a place to stay, or even with his laundry. Complete strangers stepped up repeatedly, opening their homes to him and the other hikers, he said.

“He left a boy and returned as a man,” said his mother, Kelly Hentzen.

Hiker tradition is to give each other trail nicknames that completely replace their legal ones while on the long journey. Once anointed, PCT travelers are encouraged to keep their new monikers throughout their hiking careers — so, basically, for life. Garret was given the trail name “Scrapbook” on the PCT because of his prolific documentation and photographic skills.

Traversing the PCT, Garret said, was an experience like no other that left him with indelible memories, but he sometimes worried about how difficult it would be to return to everyday life. Some have trouble with the transition back to life off the trail, at times due to depression.

But Garret had no such hurdles; he jumped right back into his pre-trail life. He returned to his job at the UPS Store on Golden Valley Road in Canyon Country within a week of returning home, and shortly after that, began planning his next hike.

It didn’t take long before he was preparing to hike the Continental Divide Trail which runs from Mexico to Canada as well, but through the Rockies and San Juan Mountains, reaching elevations as high as 14,270 feet along the way. On this latest adventure, he is hiking through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

The CDT, along with the PCT and Appalachian Trail in the east, form what thru-hikers call the Triple Crown of long-distance hiking in the U.S. The CDT is by far the most difficult of the three, with only about 150 hikers attempting to thru-hike, and only around 30 actually completing the full 3,100 miles each year, according to The Continental Divide Trail Hiking Guide.

Garret departed on his latest adventure on April 20, lighting out from Crazy Cook Monument at the Mexico-New Mexico border. For most of the walk through the “Land of Enchantment,” he’s been hiking 20-30 miles per day in 90-degree weather, with little shade, he said.

Once again the Golden Valley High graduate is hiking unsupported, which means he carries all his own gear, supplies, food and water. He must also know how many days’ worth of food and water he’ll need until the next resupply location, which can range anywhere from four to five days.

And, as he did last time, the now-19-year old is funding his own adventure entirely, but this time he is also hiking to support the Alzheimer’s Association. He has raised more than $500 for the organization, and although that was his original monetary goal, he hopes to continue to raise awareness for the association during his journey. He’s expecting it will again take between five and six months to reach Canada, depending on snow levels.

Garret forged ahead, leaving Chama, New Mexico and heading toward Pagosa Springs, Colorado, where he then needed snowshoes and an ice ax to tackle the snowy conditions there. On this stretch, he said, numerous hikers pull off the trail hoping for snow levels to drop, as many have been injured.

Through this section Garret had been travelling with a group of three other experienced hikers. In late May, as they were cautiously navigating the trail through the snow with a cliff on one side, the trail gave way beneath them, Garret said. Two hikers in his group fell; one was able to catch himself immediately with his ice ax, while the other fell approximately 600 feet.

Although scraped up, badly bruised and very sore, he survived, and after a week of recovery, they were back on the trail. In late June, Garret reached Breckenridge, Colorado — mile 1,255.8 — and headed to Grand Lake, Colorado, which is mile 1.386.9, to join other hikers in town for the Fourth of July.

You can continue to follow Garret’s journey on Instagram @hikingguygarret.

Ask the Experts

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 17, 2017

Real Estate

Planning Your Summer Move

Planning your move for the summer can be a little tricky, as you are juggling plans, competing with higher demand for homes and trying to get settled before school begins. Don’t worry — with a little bit of planning and organization you can make it happen without all the stress.

First, keep in mind that this is the Santa Clarita Valley, where most families move in the summer to work around school schedules. Start your home search a little early, just to see the current inventory. I recommend starting by late March or early April in order to beat the rush and guarantee yourself more options.

All of this also depends on whether you are currently renting or you own your home and have to sell it first. If you are renting, the process is much easier, as it isn’t contingent on selling a home. If you start your search early, when you see the perfect home you have several that you can compare it with to feel comfortable. Don’t wait to put in that offer — be aggressive and go after it, otherwise it will be gone.

Now, if you have a home to sell, get it on the market no later than April. It’s a good idea to get your home into escrow first in order to have the leverage to purchase your new home. If you price it right it should sell quickly, and then make it contingent on you finding and closing your new home. This will give you the time to find a new home and have it close concurrently with your sale.

Another option to give yourself more time after you close is to have a “rent back contingency” added. This can give you an additional 30-60 days to stay in your home after the close of escrow. So, if you sell your home in May and it closes in June, you can stay in the home, paying rent until your new home closes in August, and sometimes with the new buyer even paying your rent. This may seem a little confusing, but I specialize in helping families with their summer move.

Craig Martin – Realty One Group 661-361-6843


What is cyberbullying?
One of the most common cybercrimes in the world, cyberbullying is responsible for causing catastrophic effects on victims, including death. Even international celebrities, business moguls and politicians have fallen victim to cyberbullying in one way or the other. Cybercriminals don’t hesitate to engage in offensive behaviors such as stalking, hurling insults, posting hurtful posts/images/videos on the timelines of victims, and even sending abusive texts/emails/messages online. Stalkers can make an individual’s life miserable due to their tendency to intimidate, instill fear, offend or harass their victims. As a matter of fact, there have been cases where people committed suicide after being cyberbullied on their social media accounts.

What do you do about identity theft?
Criminals are becoming smarter with the advancement of technology, using hacking, phishing and malware to engage in identity theft for financial benefits, personal vendetta, or to taint a person’s reputation. Cybercriminals use their skills to gain unauthorized access to your personal information — name, date of birth, photographs, address, bank accounts, pin numbers, or national social security details. They use your personal information to commit all sorts of crimes: fraud, intimidation, wiping out bank accounts, claiming government benefits, acquiring property or lodging fraudulent claims. Identity theft can be quite distressing, both emotionally and financially for victims.

Tina Louise Penn is a cloud technology specialist and VoIP certified technician. You can reach her at 661-210-9222 or visit Cloudplusservices.com.
WBENC # 2005125700

Window Cleaning

Why should a homeowner hire an expert to wash their windows, as opposed to simply washing their windows themselves?
The professional window cleaners do a better job cleaning the windows, screens, and tracks. It saves you time — everyone is busy. If you have the experts clean your windows regularly they will function much better, in terms of ease in opening and closing your windows. And regular service by a professional will extend the life of your windows, screens, and tracks.

To prevent hard water damage, you should have your windows cleaned, because hard water builds up and creates stains on your windows.

For your safety, the professionals know how to reach high windows with their ladders, and walk on your roof properly. In addition, professional window cleaners have other equipment so they can reach windows that cannot even be reached with extension ladders. To enjoy clean windows year round you should have your windows cleaned inside and out every year, and have a professional clean your exterior windows every six months.

Even though you might think it is obvious, it’s a world of difference with clean windows! Your house really will seem bigger and brighter.

Why should someone have their gutters cleaned out and how often do you recommend?
The main reason to clean your gutters is to avoid water damage to the home, which can be caused by backup to the downspouts, or blockage in the rain gutter. This can cause damage to the roof, the drywall, and/or your exterior siding. For your safety, allow the professionals to handle reaching high gutters on your home.

Regarding frequency, homeowners should clean their gutters every year or two. However, if the home is surrounded by nearby trees, the homeowner should consider doing them even more often to avoid any blockage or damage to the home.

Scott Knight owns All Seasons Window Cleaning; 661-219-1197. Visit Allseasonswc.com.

Carpet Cleaning

What are the advantages of dry carpet cleaning over wet carpet cleaning?

The dry process cleans carpets from the bottom up. Other carpet cleaning pushes everything down and relies on suction to remove it. We pull over 80 percent of pollens, allergens, dust mites, and hair just through our extraction vacuuming.

Also, there’s no wet carpet when it’s done, of course. You can walk on it immediately. The process consists of a plant-based material and it acts as a sponge. As we run our machines over the carpet, it brings up the dust and pollens, everything that settles down.

There are four HEPA filters in the machine that trap the miniscule particles. It’s dry, so there’s no chance of mold and there’s also no musty smell. There won’t be any soap or chemical residue left behind. That means the carpet will stay cleaner longer. Wet carpet cleaning acts like a magnet to new grime. In a lot of cases, people who only have theirs cleaned once a year, their carpet gets dirtier and dirtier every year.

From excessive steam cleaning, carpets can be damaged. And then we can come in and become a type of restoration process to get it back to a normal state.

Is the cleaning process different for different types of flooring?

We have various brushes for different floors. We change brushes for a wool carpet vs. area rugs, and for delicate carpets we use a very soft brush. For tile and grout we use a thicker brush, but the process is the same. We do upholstery, we do wood floors. We don’t go in and do repairs. Wood floors absorb grime just like tile or anything else. We don’t take the finish off, but we clean the soiling/grime off and we use a different machine for wood floors.

To contact Jeff and Tammy Golf at Truly Dry Carpet Cleaning, call 661-476-7775 or visit trulydry.com.


Wolitarsky Feels the Draft in Canada

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 16, 2017

Folks who followed the football success of former Canyon Country resident Drew Wolitarsky watched him advance from the Outlaws in the Pacific Youth League to breaking records at Canyon High School. Then they had to turn on their televisions to watch the wide receiver at the University of Minnesota for the last four years, but fans should stay tuned. This season they can watch him play on TV again by just changing channels.

You could tell Wolitarsky’s athletic talent would take him places, but talk about long bombs — his latest catch is north of the border with the Canadian Football League, or CFL. He is now number 80 on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

And in a hint of irony, it was July Fourth, the birthday of the United States, that new Canadian Drew Wolitarsky and his Canadian mother, Audrey, set out from Minneapolis to his new home in the province of Manitoba.

Drew had applied for Canadian citizenship on May 31 and in just one day it was processed and his certificate was sent out to him on June 1.

Joining a team out of the country was no “illegal procedure” for Wolitarsky (pun intended), partly thanks to his lineage.

“In order to play in the CFL and have a better opportunity to stay in the league I needed to get my Canadian citizenship, and as my mother was born in Montreal I had the access to my citizenship in Canada,” Drew said. “So, once we got all of that figured out, my agent started contacting teams and letting them know that I was eligible to play in the CFL.”

You do not have to be a Canadian citizen to play in the CFL, but it is a sizable advantage to be Canadian, because there have to be a certain number of Canadians on the field at a certain time, he explained. On Tuesday, June 27, the recent University of Minnesota graduate took a call from the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who confirmed they had drafted him.

“I’ve been to Canada several times growing up and was just in Montreal to see the place where my parents grew up together. (I have) a lot of roots in the Great White North,” Drew said. “As someone who enjoys writing, I like to be able to pull things from memory of places I›ve been and sights from where I’ve lived.”

Drew Wolitarsky’s team is more than 2,000 miles from Montreal in the province of Quebec, where his parents — John and Audrey — met as teenagers.

“I’ve never been to the prairies,” John said. “It’s always fun to travel to stadiums to see your boy play!”

Audrey was charmed by her visit. “Winnipeg has some really cool attractions,” she said, “including an adorable French neighborhood that I can tell will be my son’s favorite hangout.”

There are many Americans playing in the Canadian Football League, said Drew, who did not give up his American citizenship in the process. The teams are made up of various aged players, some over 30 years old, with families, and others close to Drew’s age of 22.

“I like to be on the move,” he said. “I came to Minnesota to gain a different perspective and familiarize myself with a different way of living. So, moving again is something I’m very excited about.”

In addition to establishing a new home, of sorts, Drew has to adapt to his new job, which includes memorizing a large playbook. Football in the CFL is a similar game, but has many different rules, he said, but the basis of scoring and receiving first downs remains the same.

“From green and gold to maroon and gold and now to blue and gold, I’m proud of Drew for his dedication and hard work,” said John Wolitarsky. “He’ll be a great ambassador to the Blue Bombers and the CFL.”

Canyon Country and Fire Season

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 26, 2017

The temperatures are steadily rising and summer will soon be here. As we move into the hotter parts of the year, it’s important we take extra care when dealing with items that could cause a fire. Several wildfires have already sprung up this year, and more are sure to follow. Luckily, these fires have been relatively mild, and haven’t caused people to lose their homes — an all too possible occurrence, when it comes to wildfires.

Those who live in high-risk areas can take action to protect their homes in the event of a wildfire. Clearing potential fuel sources, such as dry or dead plants, up to a 100-foot perimeter around your home can greatly reduce your home’s risk, as can removing any overhanging foliage. The biggest risk by far doesn’t come from actual contact with a fire’s flames, but from burning embers, which can travel up to a mile or more. Be sure you have ember-resistant vents outside your home, as well as Class A roofing.

Last, but not least, keeping safe during fire season doesn’t just include taking precautions to protect your home, it also means being careful not to light a fire yourself. With the 4th of July less than a month away, people are going to be tempted to light them off. It should be known that fireworks of any kind (even the “safe and sane” variety) are illegal in Canyon Country, the rest of Santa Clarita, as well as other unincorporated areas surrounding this valley. Anyone caught in possession of, selling, buying, or using fireworks could face thousands of dollars in fines, as well as jail time. If one were to start a fire as a result of lighting fireworks, the penalties would be even more severe.

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

Ask the Expert – Real Estate

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 24, 2017

With Craig Martin

What is the typical mistake homeowners make when they decide to sell their home?

First, always hire a qualified realtor who knows the area and works with buyers looking to move to your neighborhood. Some homeowners want to save the commission and sell it themselves, but in the long run they save 5-6 percent and then get 10-15 percent less for their home. One reason is because they can’t market the home on a scale to attract multiple buyers. When I advertise a home, I make sure it goes out on a local, regional, national and international marketing plan. Remember that this is Southern California, and buyers want to move here from all over the world, and when they go on the internet and look for homes in Canyon Country, your home needs to come up. Another reason is that most buyers feel like they can get a discount when you are not paying for a realtor. And by not creating enough interest for the home, they will always want to put in a lower offer. Remember that exposure equals demand and demand equals a higher price.
The other mistake that sellers make is not preparing the home to show. You want to make sure that the home goes from living condition to showing condition. This is one area that I specialize in and that I pay for to get done. First, make sure to declutter and de-personalize the home. I have a stager that comes out and packs over 30-40 boxes of items, including furniture, pictures, etc. in the garage. Then I have all the windows and carpets cleaned, put in brighter light bulbs, open all window coverings and fix loose or broken door handles, faucets, shower heads, etc. You always want to make the home look maintained and feel bright, open and spacious. If they notice one problem, they always look for another, and then they look for a discount.
Lastly, and most importantly, price the home right. If a home is priced too high it will not get the showings and linger on the market for months, so you will end up getting less. But if you price the home at or a little under market value, you will get more showings. This leads to several offers, which will give you the opportunity to have a multiple counter situation, and you end up getting a higher price in the end. Something that I pay for is an independent appraisal to find out exactly what the market value is before I put a home on the market. Because, in the end, when a lender has the house appraised we already know it will come in at value!

Visit CraigMartinHomes.com and click on “Home Seller Catalog” to get tips on preparing and marketing your home to get it sold faster and for a higher price.

Mugzey Muzic Ladies Night Out

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 22, 2017

If you stopped by the post office on the afternoon of May 12, you probably noticed the crowd filing into the store a few doors down. If you walked a little closer, you would also see people enjoying live music, fried chicken, and a guy in drag. Suddenly, your errands took a strange turn. But for Mugzey Muzic, that might as well be just another Friday afternoon.

Most people walk into a music store to pick up guitar strings or a song book. Mugzey is a music store by day, but on special evenings it doubles as a spectacle of live music and entertainment. Friday night was Ladies Night Out, a free event featuring talented local musicians and headlined by Mrs. Smith, the shredding comedian-musician-drag queen featured on America’s Got Talent.

If you attended, you most likely bumped shoulders with the famous inventor of the wah-wah pedal and rock ‘n’ roll sound pioneer Del Casher, who happened to show up sporting a red turtleneck-sailor hat ensemble. After entertaining the crowd with old stories and wit, he strapped on his guitar and began an impromptu jam-session with a 13-year-old drumming prodigy. You know — Mugzey things.

For the price of a cup of coffee, you could enter a raffle to win an Ibanez electric guitar. And for the price of attending, you could grab a plate of food and mingle with fellow music lovers … or just listen alone in the corner with your chicken leg.

Mugzey Muzic hosts events like these frequently, maintaining a tight community of local musicians and music fans from all around the Santa Clarita Valley. To find out more about Mugzey Muzic and events, visit their website at www.mugzeymuzic.us or visit their facebook page.

The Santa Clarita Housing Market

| Canyon Country Magazine, Sand Canyon Journal | June 21, 2017

Supply and demand is driving our local market, same as it is the national market! In some price points and areas in the Santa Clarita Valley there is not even one month’s supply of inventory. In fact, there is zero inventory. In May 2017 there were 395 homes that sold and 15 of them sold for $1 million or more, however there are currently 69 homes in Santa Clarita for sale in that same price point, which is approximately 4.6 months’ supply. In the $400,000-$499,000 and the $500,000- $600,000 range, the demand in SCV is the highest; there were 96 homes in those price points closing escrow in May.

National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said, “Prospective buyers poured into the market to start the year, and while their increased presence led to a boost in sales, new listings failed to keep up and hovered around record lows all quarter. Those able to successfully buy, most likely, had to outbid others, especially for those in the starter home market which, in turn, quickened price growth to the fastest quarterly pace in almost two years.”

Bill Banfield, the vice-president of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans offered an assessment of recent trends also. “Home values were pushed higher once again by the demand for housing, outpacing the stock of available homes,” he said. “While sellers are obviously thrilled, as their investment continues to grow in value, this trend could make homebuyers set their sights on smaller homes or less pricey neighborhoods. I would encourage homeowners who are considering listing their home to take advantage of the opportunity they have in this sellers’ market.”

Tracy Hauser

661-254-2055 – Office 661-755-1960 – Direct

23929 Valencia Blvd Suite 311
Santa Clarita 91355

Elks Lodge Commemorates 50 Years of Sharing and Caring

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 20, 2017

by Phyllis Walker

The 1960s were a time of change in the Santa Clarita Valley, which was then a rural area with a climbing population and an increasing commercial presence. The growth brought a need for increased business services, education and volunteer service organizations. The 1960s were a time of change in the Santa Clarita Valley, which was then a rural area with a climbing population and an increasing commercial presence. The growth brought a need for increased business services, education and volunteer service organizations.

The year 1967 was a pivotal one for Santa Clarita. Community leaders felt the need for a local Elks Lodge and residents wanted a college of their own. Both became realities that year. On November 15, 1967, Elks Lodge 2379 was chartered, and on November 21, 1967 residents voted overwhelmingly to create College of the Canyons.

During the summer of that year, the idea for the master-planned community of Valencia was also born, which would lure young families from over the hill with homes priced at approximately $25,000. The Valencia Industrial Center was just beginning to be developed. The single-screen Plaza Theater in Newhall and the Mustang Drive-in off Soledad Canyon Road were the only local cinematic venues at the time.   The Interstate 5 Freeway cut a vital swath through the Santa Clarita Valley on its way to becoming California’s most important roadway, connecting north with south, border to border. Plans were moving forward for the State Water Project reservoir in Castaic, as well.

L-R, Jim Williams, Bruce Fortine, Robert Tallent,
Nathan Beverly and Bob Gill

In 1966, Gayle Dillenbeck contacted members of various Elks Lodges, including Bob Gill from the Santa Monica Lodge, and said, “The SCV community is growing and needs a Lodge of its own!” A local Lodge concept was born at a meeting in Charles Dillenbeck’s home. There were 258 members initiated to create Elks Lodge 2379, with Gayle Dillenbeck as Exalted Ruler, on November 15, 2017. The 12 remaining Lodge charter members are:  Ned Belding, Nathan Beverly, Norman Charbonneau, Bruce Fortine, Bob Gill, Gale Hildreth, Eddie Long,  Harry Nelson,  Robert Tallent, Gordon (Buzz) Tripp, Jim Williams, and Don Young.   Six of these individuals still reside in the SCV area and five of them — Nathan, Bruce, Bob, Robert and Jim — convened as a panel on May 11, 2017 to share historical memories of these early days. (Buzz, the sixth member still living in the area, could not attend.)

Nathan Beverly, a member of  the San Fernando Elks Lodge in the ‘60s, talked of dancing to big name dance bands such as Harry James. “Dancing and five-dollar steaks were great times!” he said.

Bruce Fortine shared his memories of community growth. His mentor, Bill Bonelli, was owner of the Saugus Speedway (where stock cars raced), which is currently the site of the Saugus Swap Meet. While COC was forming, 72 candidates ran for five board trustee positions, and Bruce was one of those elected. He remained in that position until this year. One of his stories involved a meeting at Universal Studios to visit fellow trustee Edward Mull, and discovered upon arriving that Mr. Mull had the high-ranking position of head of the legal department at Universal.

Bob Gill said it was his friend Ed Dillenbeck, owner of the former Dillenbeck’s Market at the corner of Sierra Highway and Soledad Canyon Road, who approached him to become a local Elks member, and the rest is history. As Lodge bartender, Bob recalled famous American Western swing musician Tex Williams, known for a popular fusion of ragtime, Dixieland jazz and American country music, sitting at the Lodge bar. Bob always had Wild Turkey whiskey available for Tex, he said.

Robert Tallent said, “Upon release from the Navy in 1966, I owned a service station in Palmdale and worked from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m., seven days per week, with only two days off work during the entire year.” Robert was asked to join the new Santa Clarita Elks and attended when he could.

Jim Williams was a member of the Van Nuys Lodge first. He told the group in attendance about first moving to SCV, when his wife asked, “Just where is that place?”

Roy Rogers, American singer and actor and one of the most popular Western stars of his era, and wife Dale visited the Elks Lodge. Cliffie Stone, American country singer, musician, record producer, music publisher, and radio and TV personality, was a visitor from time to time, as well.The Elks organization is a national fraternal order, with more than 2,000 lodges and approximately a million members across the country. Elks Lodges are places where neighbors come together, families share meals, and children grow up. Elks invest in their communities through programs aimed at helping children grow up healthy and drug-free, and meeting the needs of today’s veterans, while improving the quality of life. Elks Care-Elks Share!

Today, Elks Lodge 2379 has 689 members led by Exalted Ruler Maurice Hamilton.

“It is an honor to be serving the lodge and community during our 50th year celebration and to have the opportunity to enthusiastically set the tone and direction for the next 50 years serving the Santa Clarita community,” Maurice said.

For more information about the Elks 50th Anniversary, their programs and projects, contact Phyllis Walker at 661-251-1172 or visit www.Elks.org.

Garage Chronicles

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 20, 2017

The lack of live comedy venues in Santa Clarita is no laughing matter. For Tommy McGuan, creator of Garage Chronicles, it definitely is.

Garage Chronicles is a nomadic pop-up comedy series that transforms the garages and backyards of residents into free stand-up shows, with drinks and music between comics.

Tommy McGuan

Although watching a show in a stranger’s garage next to some old paint cans might not sound like the most desirable place to take your hot date on a Saturday night, Tommy McGuan, comedian and producer of Garage Chronicles, finds that this home-grown hospitality provides a fun, welcoming environment for comics and audiences alike. So far, they have put on seven performances in the Canyon Country and L.A. area.

“[The hosts] open their homes and let us invade their space with a lot of strangers,” McGuan said. “It’s like a family party. It’s safe space to do material, with an accepting audience.”

McGuan, along with co-producers Douglas Moomjean, Danny Plom, and Dylan Lloyd, realized that getting around the bureaucracy of entertainment establishments takes the pressure off comedians performing. A problem most comedians face, according to McGuan, is that most stand-up venues require that the comedian performing sells a certain number of tickets in order to get paid, and in some cases, if those requirements are not met, the comedian will be unable to perform. “I’ve heard horror stories from [comedians] who didn’t bring enough people,” McGuan said.

The uniqueness of the event has created interesting and memorable experiences for those who participate. McGuan explained that during one event, the police came to the door due to a noise complaint, leaving the comedians to do their sets without microphones. When one woman began to perform her set, raccoons began to climb over the wall behind her, and she performed 10 minutes of material with wild raccoons in the audience — and no microphone.

Garage Chronicles also brings the show directly to the community, filling the gap in the entertainment scene that many find is lacking in the Santa Clarita Valley — and being a Canyon Country native, McGuan knows this all too well. “People in their 20s and 30s in SCV are bored,” McGuan said. “There’s not a whole lot for us to do here without having to drive to Hollywood.”

Although many find Canyon Country to fall short in the entertainment department, the creators of Garage Chronicles are always surprised at the amount of generosity its residents provide. At their most recent event, the homeowners served up food and drinks at the event, for which McGuan and his fellow comedians were extremely thankful. The event is funded by a small tip jar next to the performers, and usually expenses fall on the shoulders of these artists, who aren’t necessarily well off.

For more information about Garage Chronicles, future performance dates, or to offer your home for the event, contact Tommy McGuan at Mcguan92@gmail.com. To check out Tommy McGuan’s comedy and future events, visit his website at TommyMcGuanComedy.com.

A Four-Star Road Trip Around Canyon Country

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 19, 2017

by Alan Ferdman

For as long as I have lived in the Santa Clarita Valley, and even when a portion of Saugus was renamed Canyon Country, our community members have “shouted out” wanting upscale amenities to be built in our area. But, thinking about it, Canyon Country has today, and has had in the past, some really outstanding activities and restaurants. If you have lived in our area long enough, I’m sure you remember Frontier Days, Tips and Cal-Islands, to name just a few. Maybe when KHTS wrote their infamous “April Fool’s Day” article about a toll booth being set up on Soledad Canyon Road and Camp Plenty charging drivers to go west, it should have been set up to charge residents going east, entering Canyon Country. Why? Because, as a blending of different neighborhoods, Canyon Country has it all. Plus, guess what? It is about to get even better. If you want to see for yourself, you can follow my short Four-Star Road Trip.

My trip started after I met a friend for lunch at the Backwoods Inn. On leaving the parking lot, I could see the grading in process across the street, in preparation for a road to be built linking the top of Plum Canyon to Sierra Highway.

Appropriately named Skyline Ranch Road, this new collector road provides access to a project of approximately 1,200 houses. The project is in the unincorporated county and was approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2010. The project includes a park and an elementary school, as well as the donation of approximately 1,700 acres, north of the project, as open space. But Pardee Homes scored a big hit with Skyline Ranch’s neighbors when they announced a 60-foot buffer around the newly-planned project, thereby eliminating connection to existing residential streets and preventing cut-through traffic becoming a problem for existing residents.

Onward to stop number two, I turned left (going south) on Sierra Highway and drove to Golden Valley Road. Park Vista will be built on the southeast corner, adjacent to Green Mountain Drive.

As an update, from the first time this project was presented to the Canyon Country Advisory Committee almost seven years ago, Montezuma Land Development acquired property west of the proposed project to Sierra Highway. This enabled the project plan to provide a collector road, which has a main entrance on Golden Valley Road and a secondary entrance on Sierra Highway. Currently planned, there is no connection to Green Mountain, thereby eliminating any concern about “cut through” traffic.

With the motto “Living Life to its Fullest,” the Park Vista project provides a selection of housing dubbed “neighborhoods.” Also to be provided is a community park. While the park serves recreational purposes, the design and construction accommodates mitigation of a slide area currently threatening homes on Green Mountain. It is a win-win for the Park Vista project and the adjacent community.

To get to stop three, I turned left on Golden Valley Road, drove across the newly-widened Connie Worden-Roberts Memorial Bridge, turned left onto SR-14 and exited at Sand Canyon. Turning left on Sand Canyon and driving to Soledad, I was at the location of the Sand Canyon Plaza project.

You might remember hearing that a Vons Market would be built on the site of the manufactured home park on the northeast corner. But after the Vons project fell through, new plans were drawn for an even better project making use of recycled water for both irrigation and a small lake. The shoreline will accommodate upscale restaurants with facilities for outside summer dining. The project also includes several varieties of living accommodations, including an assisted living facility, which will be the only one of its kind on the east end of the valley. Primary entrance to the project is on Sand Canyon, with a secondary entrance on Soledad Canyon Road. Upgrades to both Sand Canyon and Soledad Canyon Road are in the plan.

For the final stop of my tour, I turned left on Soledad Canyon one more time and drove to Kenroy Avenue. I then turned left and parked to take in the view on the south side of the river, where extensive grading has been taking place in preparation for construction.

Vista Canyon is planned as a live, work, walk and ride community providing a new Metrolink Station, parking structure, a housing mix consisting of apartments and homes, a hotel and a town center. Vista Canyon’s main amenity will consist of a tree-lined “Main Street,” which ends at an open-air plaza. There will be shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues for your shopping, dining and cultural enjoyment. Also planned are areas of passive and active open space along the Santa Clara River, as well as bike, pedestrian and equestrian paths.

It looks like Main Street in Newhall will be getting some competition. When it happens, do you think the City of Santa Clarita will sponsor events here in Canyon Country similar to those they sponsor in Newhall? We will just have to wait and see.

So ends my short Four-Star Tour of Canyon Country — I hope the trip gave you a positive vision of the future. Canyon Country is a mixture of neighborhoods within Santa Clarita, which just seems to get better with the passing of time. I moved here a very long time ago, when Sierra Highway was one lane in each direction. The SR-14 had yet to be connected from the San Fernando Valley to Sand Canyon and there was a general store at Soledad and Sierra Highway. Even though a lot has changed since then, Canyon Country remains a great place to call home and I don’t plan on moving, as long as I can get up in the morning, go out on my front lawn, look down and see grass.

Golden Grizzlies – GVHS Senior Standouts

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 18, 2017

When you talk to the top students in Golden Valley’s class of 2017, there is an obvious irony: They are from different ethnicities, yet it’s their diversity that unites them.

Valedictorian David Chung and salutatorians Dachelle Alo and Justine Reblando had some common experiences as students in the SCV. They all attended Golden Oak Community School, La Mesa Junior High School and, finally, Golden Valley. And like most American high school students at the top of the class, they all took a large number of advanced placement and honors classes.

Their common ground didn’t end with graduation, however. All three are headed to schools in the University of California system.

David Chung
Entering UCLA as a regent scholar — which means he is in the top 1.5 percent of incoming students — David Chung is majoring in molecular cellular developmental biology. If it sounds like his goal is medicine, you may be underestimating him. He hopes to go to medical school, but do research as well with an M.D./Ph.D.

“I’ve been interested in biology since I was 6. I just like it,” David said. “My AP biology teacher, Gary Williamson, showed me that there’s a lot more to biology than what I knew.”
But when it came to personal inspiration, it was La Mesa Junior High School band teacher Jeffrey Stephan who influenced David.

“He was always passionate about his teaching and everything he did with the students. He taught life lessons,” David explained. “He showed me encouragement to find what was interesting, and (taught that) when you’re doing something you have to work hard at it.”

David played clarinet through high school, going from section leader to drum major of Golden Valley’s marching band by his senior year.

The 18-year-old still refers to a frequent quote by Stephan, which is often attributed to Thomas Jefferson: “I’m a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” David’s experience in band was so positive, in fact, he is considering an audition for UCLA’s wind ensemble or symphonic band.

But music wasn’t David’s only activity in high school. He was the academic decathlon president and is a three-year volunteer at Henry Mayo Hospital. He also served as the district vice-president for the city’s student board of the American Red Cross.

This summer, David will make his first trip to his parents’ home country of South Korea. He was born in Los Angeles and lived in Glendale, moving to Santa Clarita in time to begin first grade at Fair Oaks Community School. He has a strong appreciation for the wide range of ethnicities he was exposed to through his classmates.

“I feel like, in general, Golden Valley seems to be a little more diverse and because of that, we tend to be more friendly with each other,” David explained. “It makes it so that all the students are kinder. The overall atmosphere of the school seems more relaxed.”

Justine Reblando
Another senior standout headed for UCLA, Justine Reblando plans to major in chemical engineering. When asked about teachers who made an impact, Justine has a long list.

“Mr. Galarza, Mr. Montanio, Mr. Suarez, Mr. Kirkland, Dee, Mrs. Bricker, Mrs. Werts, Mrs. Coleman, Mr. Printz, Mr. Moskal, Mr. Williamson, and Mr. Stimac,” she said in an email, adding that she is grateful for her other Hart District teachers as well.

When asked how it feels to be one of Golden Valley’s two salutatorians, Justine described it as a “great honor.”

“Something that truly enabled me to become a top student was the support from my friends and family, as well as hard work,” she explained. “For one, I would not have been competitive and passionate about pursuing higher education had it not been for my friends who continuously challenged the way that I think, and pushed me to be my very best, since I always thought of them as my rivals. They never let me fall below my true potential and always pushed me harder to raise the bar and triumph over any challenges.”

And in case her mature outlook made you forget she’s still a teen, Justine added, “Shout out to Haut Cheat Oh Partee and Pbs – you guys know who you are.”

Justine points to an ironic source of her success — she was shaped for the better by situational and personal detractors.

“Dedication and pursuing my own interests amidst the naysayers and the disbelievers formed me into a stronger student and a stronger person,” she said. “I was never the smartest person in school, but one thing that really made me stand out was my hard work. Even though I struggled in certain areas at school, I chose to be persistent and to work harder in subjects that I was weak in.”

This determination formed a kind of work ethic for Justine. “If you choose to fail, failure will be inevitable,” she said. “But, if you look failure in the eye and put in the effort to succeed, it will all be worth it. It is about being honest with yourself and following the only path that you can take, regardless of what everyone around you is doing.”

Justine attended three other elementary schools before enrolling at Golden Oak Community School after her family moved to the Canyon Country-Newhall area. And it is to her extended family she expresses her thanks, including her parents, sister, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

“The never-ending support meant a lot to me,” Justine said, directing comments to her family members. “It was a long and difficult road to get here, but thank you for sticking with me throughout this whole time and giving me the freedom to do so.”

When she wasn’t working on scholastic performance, Justine volunteered with the City of Santa Clarita and served with the Newhall Optimist Club to help them with their local activities. She continues to reach out, hoping her advice will build a positive future not just for herself, but also for those around her.

She said: “Stay optimistic, find your passion, and happiness will eventually follow.”

Dachelle Alo
A lot is happening in the life of salutatorian Dachelle Alo. For one thing, when the 17-year-old leaves for University of California, Irvine in September, the rest of her family is moving too. They are staying in Santa Clarita, moving to a house nearby, while she studies computer science.

Her favorite subject in school was AP Calculus and she played tennis at Golden Valley for two years. Her coach, Josh Stimac, would later be Dachelle’s economics and AP government teacher, making a lasting impact on her as a mentor.

“He treated students with respect and he emphasized the importance of the family and of happiness,” Dachelle said.
At Golden Valley she became involved in Key Club, Junior Optimist International and was a member of the California Scholarship Federation. Her junior year, Dachelle and her friends started a LINK Club, which stands for Liberty in North Korea.

“We raised awareness for people in crisis over there,” she said. “We had fundraisers to help resettle refugees in South Korea.”

Dachelle is of Philippine descent, and was born in Alberta, Canada. Her family moved to California when she was one year old.

In her free time, Dachelle enjoys playing the piano and guitar, but it’s her favorite aspects of technology that drive her plans for the future.

“I’ve always been a visual person, so I’ve always liked the design of things like Instagram, things I use on a daily basis,” she said. “It inspired me to major in computer science.”

Dachelle has specific goals following her education, mainly enhancing user-friendliness in the technological world.

“I want to be a designer or engineer at Google, improving the interaction between humans and technology,” she said. “Improving the little aspects of technology to make the experience enjoyable.”

Like her classmates, Dachelle feels the diversity at Golden Valley benefits everyone.

“I’ve been exposed to a lot of different cultures and languages,” she said. “We’re all open and accepting of each other and it’s really cool.”

Flying High with Chandler Jackson

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 17, 2017

During the teen years it is not uncommon to watch the trajectories of young people point skyward, and many adults take pleasure in seeing them soar to greater and greater heights.

Chandler Jackson is the kind of 19-year-old who takes that literally. As a full-time flight instructor, he soars over the east side of the Santa Clarita Valley regularly, teaching men, women and youth as young as 13 what they need to know to become amateur pilots. He has been flying since he was 12 years old and this year began teaching what he knows.

“My father works in sales and marketing for an airline. My uncle’s a pilot. My aunt was a flight attendant and my grandmother was a flight attendant,” Jackson said. “So, I’ve always been around the airline industry.”

An Agua Dulce resident and a Vasquez High School student for his first year of high school, the young pilot’s training ground was the east side of the SCV, including Agua Dulce Airport.

“Agua Dulce has a pretty long runway and is surrounded by a lot of mountainous terrain,” he said. “It’s in a small valley, but the runway is just over 4,000 feet, almost a mile.”

Jackson also commented on the fact it has a fairly new look, including hangars that resemble red barns. “The runway is resurfaced, and it has nice painted lines,” he said. “It’s maintained really well.”

Though his family moved to Valencia and he graduated from West Ranch High School, he typically teaches students at Agua Dulce Airport and in Antelope Valley at William J. Fox Airfield, known as Fox Field, which is about five miles northwest of Lancaster.

Right now he has about 10 full-time students, plus some who are part-time, mostly in their 20s or 30s, but ranging in age from 13 to 65.

“You need to be 16 to fly by yourself and 17 to get your flying certificate,” Jackson said.

The young flight instructor is usually up in the air six days a week, with his day beginning at 5 a.m. “The best block for a lesson is usually the morning between 7 and 9 a.m. when the wind hasn’t kicked up yet and it’s not too hot,” he said.

Because of his proximity to Edwards Air Force Base, Jackson often has aerospace engineers taking lessons, and he sometimes gets international students. “I have an Australian student and another from Brazil; plus, I had one from Holland,” he said.

While pilots three or four decades ago were, stereotypically, white males, often in their 60s or 70s, Jackson sees the field becoming more diverse. Only about one-quarter of his students are females, but a number of agencies and associations are working on drawing more women into the industry.

The best candidate for a pilot’s license is “someone who pays a lot of attention to detail,” he explained. “There’s a lot of information you have to take in — looking for other airplanes in the sky, making sure the engine is running right. So if you find yourself going around the house and being OCD about how you clean it, you’re a good candidate.”

But even the most conscientious pilot wannabes have a lot to learn, which is one reason Jackson pays close attention during lessons.

“Usually once a day I’ll have a wakeup call. But, you’ve got to let them make mistakes,” Jackson said. “Every time they’re doing something, maybe coming in to land, I’m making a split-second evaluation, and if it’s not going to break something, I’ll let them do it.”

He would like to become a career professional pilot, and is looking at corporate aviation — flying private jets. But he also wants to continue teaching, because it forces you to study and stay proficient.

“Once they get their first private license, no restrictions, everybody gets complacent, thinks they’re invincible,” he said. “I’ve had a few run-ins with weather. That’s all what experience will teach you.”

The farthest Jackson has flown so far is St. George, Utah and San Francisco. He plans to fly to North Carolina soon, because his student purchased a plane there and needs to pick it up.

The 19-year-old’s bucket list includes a trip to Seattle to fly a float plane. And looking back at his accomplishments for the first 19 years of his life, it isn’t beyond the imagination to expect Chandler Jackson’s future dreams — whatever they are — will someday take flight.

College of the Canyons Marketing Student Beats the Statistics

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 15, 2017

When Jeanny Olivares, 22, crossed the stage at the College of the Canyons commencement ceremony, she received two associate degrees in marketing and accounting, which she earned in just a year-and-a-half.

The achievement was remarkable in and of itself, especially when you consider that most students take two years or more to earn one degree. But her accomplishment was even more notable because of a setback she experienced that forced her to make a detour through COC.

In the fall of 2013, her father nearly died from an aortic dissection, which is a tear in the inner layer of the aorta.

“The doctors told my family it was a miracle for him to survive,” said Olivares, who graduated from Canyon High School in 2013.

An engineering student at the University of California, Merced at the time, Olivares was forced to return home to live with her parents in Canyon Country and put college on hold.

“It set me back in college because my dad is who provides for my family and my mom wasn’t working at the time,” Olivares said.

A year and a half later, Olivares was able to get back on track.

She enrolled at COC for the spring 2015 semester because of its affordability and proximity to home and made up for lost time. With the help of the college’s winter and summer session classes, Olivares was able to quickly complete all the required coursework for her two associate degrees.

“Thankfully, COC provided me with the financial aid to continue getting my education here,” said Olivares.

To help pay for the cost of textbooks, which can cost more than $1,200 a year, Olivares took a job in the college bookstore in order to benefit from the employee discount.

Born to Salvadoran immigrants, Olivares joins a growing number of graduates who are boosting the degree completion rate for Latino students at College of the Canyons. As reported by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office’s 2017 Student Success Scorecard, the degree completion rate among Hispanic students at College of the Canyons is 74.5 percent, a significantly better rate than the statewide average. According to a 2015 report by the Campaign for College Opportunity, only about 39 percent of Latino undergraduates taking classes at a California community college earn a degree within six years.

“COC has helped me accomplish my goals by providing me with opportunities that I didn’t know existed,” said Olivares, who was a member of the student Advertising Club and a marketing intern in the college’s Public Information Office. “COC has helped me become better prepared for CSUN.”

Olivares’s decision to pursue a career in marketing was inspired by a marketing class she took during the spring 2016 semester.

“It was such a different class compared to any other class I’ve ever taken,” said Olivares. “It was so much fun and it let me put both my creative and business sides into one subject.”

With the help of the Cooperative Work Experience Education program, or CWEE, Olivares had the chance to gain real-world marketing experience as a paid PIO marketing assistant under the direction of Wendy Trujillo, director of advertising and social media at the college.

“I feel extremely lucky that Jeanny found our intern posting and applied,” said Trujillo. “She has been an invaluable asset to the department and has added a youthful voice and opinion to our marketing efforts.”

Olivares assists Trujillo with the college’s social media presence on Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter, and helps create ad campaigns.

“I have learned how marketing campaigns work and how much time and thought has to go in them for them to be successful,” said Olivares of her PIO internship. “I learned that time management is key. Time management is a really huge component that goes into everything that is done in PIO. It has also helped me with my schoolwork and how I now manage my life.”

Olivares will be transferring to California State University, Northridge in the fall to study marketing with the goal of becoming a market researcher or digital strategist.


Party in Canyon Country – Annual Summer Bash Set for June 23

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 15, 2017

Canyon Country doesn’t need a coastline to celebrate summer in a big way. Everyone is invited to the Annual Summer Bash on Friday, June 23 on Luther Drive in Canyon Country. Like a giant block party, families will gather from 6-10 p.m. for food, live music, beverages and activities. The Summer Bash will include a beer garden provided by Route 66 Classic Grill and dinner options from two food trucks and a dessert truck. Restaurants in nearby shopping centers will also be open during normal business hours.

The Summer Bash will feature inflatable carnival games, a mechanical shark, a 20-foot inflatable slide and a boot camp style obstacle course. Entrance to the event is free and open to the public.

The event’s coordinator has worked on the Summer Bash in the past and says he’s seen the annual celebration grow in popularity.

“We have witnessed a steady increase, as more and more individuals from the public keep returning every year,” he says, “and a growing (number) are new patrons who never heard of the event, but love the fact that we put this on for the public.”

City staff members set up the event in the parking lot of the Edwards Canyon Country Stadium Theatre and invite the participation of all the surrounding businesses, Beck says. Some set up booths to play an active role.

For more information about Canyon Country’s biggest block party, search “Summer Bash” on Facebook or on Santa-Clarita.com, or you may call Summer Bash Event Coordinator Joel Beck at 661-250-3720.

Tips for Keeping Your Home Safer This Summer

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 17, 2017

Summer is fast approaching, and the weather’s heating up just as quickly. As a matter of fact, a lot of people out there like to open their doors and windows during the summer, and would-be burglars are well-aware of this. During the summer, residential burglaries tend to increase because people are prone to leaving their windows, garages, and doors open and forget to close them.

Below are a few tips to help reduce the likelihood that your home will become a target:
Don’t leave your garage door open if you aren’t in it to keep an eye on things. It’s very easy for someone to walk up and take expensive power tools, bicycles or other pricey items from your garage. If you don’t have a clear view, keep the garage door closed.
If you have gates on either side of your home, keep them locked.
Use motion lighting to brighten up the dark areas around the outside of your home. If there’s a window or side of your home that’s shrouded in darkness at night, install a light that covers it. Thieves are far less likely to try to break in if their handiwork will be in plain view.
Get to know your neighbors. When you’re familiar with your neighbors, you can watch each other’s homes when you’re away and pick up any mail or newspapers that show up.
There are many new security tech items on the market, such as camera doorbells. These allow you to see who’s at the door from anywhere you are (not just from home). By using an app on your phone, you have the ability to see who is there, while allowing you to talk to them in real time and record them on video.
You can also get involved with the neighborhood watch programs in your community. Sometimes it just takes a few people coming together to keep crime away from their immediate area.

Unfortunately, there’s really no way to remain 100 percent safe, but following these few simple steps can significantly reduce your chances of having your home broken into, whether this summer or any time of the year.

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

Ask the Experts

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 16, 2017


If a sink is clogged, are there any home remedies you suggest, such as Drano?

We’ve found a few easy steps to keep those drain lines flowing free. Read the following suggestions.

Install a disposal that suits your family’s needs. The smallest one is probably not the best fit for a multiple member family.
Turn on the water and put just a handful of food in at a time. Listen for the disposal to change its sound as food is broken up before adding more. Do not pack food in your disposal.
On a monthly basis, put a tray of ice and a small amount of lemon juice into the disposal and run it to keep blades sharp and disposal clean and smelling fresh.
Never dispose of stringy vegetables or pack pasta in the disposal.

Never use drain cleaners for stoppage in the line. It will only waste your money and can be dangerous to your plumbing system and the plumber repairing it.

What is the most common plumbing problem, and how can a homeowner minimize the chance of it occurring?

The most common problem we see is kitchen drain stoppage, which is mostly caused by the garbage disposal being used improperly or the homeowner having the wrong size of unit.

The key to using a disposal is water. We find most people don’t use enough water with the disposal and let it run long enough to completely break up the food. Plumbing systems were designed to carry waste that has already been digested or degraded, and although a disposal is a useful tool, much care should be taken in breaking down the food completely so it washes away with water.

Hallway Plumbing
26352 Ruether Ave., Santa Clarita        CSL#962937


What is the best way to store an antique/heirloom watch?

Try a standard watch box. Watches should be stored separately from one another to avoid wear caused by friction. Keep automatic watches on winders. Or consider repurposing a cigar case. And put extra valuable watches in a safe.
Does the presence of gems on your watch or watchband affect the value?

If a collectible watch is set with “after market” gems, then yes, it does affect the value. If the gems are set by the factory, then a watch is worth more than those added after the fact.
Vintage Watch Shop & Service Repair Center
18364 1/2 Soledad Canyon Rd.
Canyon Country, CA 91387

Real Estate

What is curb appeal?

It’s that first impression you get when you drive up to a home that makes it stand out. Curb appeal is critical when selling. I have had buyers decide not to even go in to see a home because of the lack of curb appeal. Paint the exterior, upgrade the front door, put in a fence, manicure the lawn, trees and add plants and flowers. Make the home feel alive and inviting. Every time I sell a home for a client I bring in my gardener and pay to have them clean up the front of the home by trimming bushes and adding plants, flowers and mulch before I have my photographer take high resolution pictures for my virtual tour. Most buyers want the same impression they get when their friends and family first see their new home. It gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment and helps validate their home choice.

Which areas of Canyon Country are the hottest right now?

Right now Canyon Country 1 and 2 are selling fast. Mainly because these are areas with prices for first-time buyers that generally have no Mello Roos and no HOA. These homes are selling between $400- $500K and you get a community with great schools, parks and dining. Last week I put over seven offers on homes in this area alone. Right now I have too many buyers and there are not enough homes on the market for the demand. The last two homes I sold in the area had offers the first day for over the asking price. If someone wants to sell at this time, I can have their home sold before they even start packing.

Craig Martin
Realty One Group

Pest Control

What can homeowners do to minimize the chance of getting a rat infestation on their properties?

Here in the SCV we have a very healthy Roof Rat population. They are always a threat, and at all times of the year. Homeowners can do a lot to prevent rats from entering the house, including:
Take a flashlight and a ladder and walk around the exterior of the home to look for any open areas.
Look especially at all the vents, and most importantly, the AC line! We find this is almost always the main access point for rats in the attic.
Carefully use a ladder to access the roofline, using a flashlight to see up and under any roof returns or dark corners for signs of rodents (e.g., droppings or black rub marks).
Identify any overhanging trees and other bushes and shrubs that touch the roof or obscure any vents. Rats love to climb the trees, jump on the roof and, once there, they can chew through wood and stucco to get inside.
It is best to not leave dog food out overnight. Also pick up the dog poo with increased frequency, and try to maintain the dog area better.
If the attic is overwhelmed with rat droppings and other debris, consider having the insulation replaced, or at least cleaned up and sanitized.
Consult a professional for any assistance in this endeavor.

Is there a “season” for bugs, such as ants?

The summer months are prime time for ants, especially July and August. Argentine Ant colonies are very large — up to a million ants, at their peak. In the winter months the colonies are smaller so they do not need as many resources, such as water, but in the summer they need a lot of water in order to survive. They have a hard time finding enough outside, so that is why you find them entering the house, mostly looking for water. The fix is simple for a professional. It can be done with a non-invasive ant bait inside and a perimeter treatment that establishes a barrier.

Joseph Wilson
All Pro Pest Control, Inc.

Santa Clarita Canyon Cowboys Youth Football

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 13, 2017

A local team of parents, football alumni and community leaders pulled together to create a youth tackle football organization that is “all inclusive.” According to Michael Haiby, the president of the new Santa Clarita Cowboys Youth Tackle Football organization, kids and youth ages 6-14 can get on a team regardless of experience and at a nominal cost.

“By keeping our overhead down and with community support and corporate sponsorship we are able to offer the, by far, lowest registration fee (at $300) in Santa Clarita,” Haiby said. “The immediate goal of the organization is to fill strong teams by facilitating a robust recruitment program where athletes can play for as little as  $20 out of pocket.”

A Disneyland raffle fundraiser enables families to raise the remainder of the $300 total registration fees, Haiby said, adding that most youth football programs in the area cost close to $450.

Registration is open now and available to all youth football players in the entire Santa Clarita Valley plus residents of outlying areas without restriction due to geographic boundaries.

“Santa Clarita Cowboys is a nonprofit organization which fosters the development of community youth by providing education for the advancement of athletic skills and sportsmanship,” Haiby said.
A part of the Valley Youth Conference, goals of the Santa Clarita Cowboys also include a commitment to schoolwork.

“We truly believe that academics and athletics go hand in hand with our student athletes,” Haiby said. “We want to develop student athletes who can look forward to continuing their endeavors in high school and go on to college.”

The leaders of the new organization include former football parents whose kids are grown and they want to coach youth football as a way to give back to the community.

“We have coaches who are currently coaching in our high school district and able to make some time as well to coach for Santa Clarita Cowboys,” Haiby said. “We have coaches (who) have experience playing D1 college football, such as Cade Apsay (University of Colorado quarterback) and … we’ve got San Diego State University and the Oregon Ducks represented. Then we’ve got some coaches who are parents of current Santa Clarita Cowboys players who bring to our program their years of football experience. We are also fortunate enough to have student leaders involved in our football program, such as the varsity high school football players who put on a demonstration for the entire Santa Clarita Cowboys organization in the weight room last month.”

Practice has begun already and will run through the summer months. The youth football game season is close to the same as the NFL season.

In an effort to make registration easy for aspiring players, there is weekly registration available — every Saturday in 2017 from 2:30-3 p.m. at Toppers Pizza, located at 18417 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country. Families can also register with any team manager at practice.

For more information about the Disneyland fundraiser, go to SantaClaritaCowboys.org and click on the “Documents” button. For more information about the program, visit www.SantaClaritaCowboys.org.

Cowboy Football Camp
Players are all invited to attend summer football camp through the program from June 12-14, 2017. The non-contact football fundamentals skills camp welcomes beginners through proficient players of all ages. The fee is $55 and the camp runs from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

The camp is conducted by Canyon High School Football Coach Rich Gutierrez and his staff. It will be held at the CHS football stadium.

Kids age 6-7 only register at the camp at 8:45 a.m. on the first day of the camp — not online. All older players can register through the Santa Clarita Summer Seasons Brochure, also available online at Santa-Clarita.com/seasons.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 10, 2017

Whether you drive a car, truck, SUV, RV or something else, we all need to be mindful that we are sharing the road with motorcyclists. Two-wheel drivers are 27 times more likely to die in traffic fatalities than in other vehicles, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Motorcycles aren’t as visible as large cars and trucks, so drawing attention to the issue is a step in reducing the risks by reminding individuals on the road to be more aware of the presence of motorcyclists.

Canyon Country resident Alan Ferdman took his Harley to Arizona Bike Week and shares his journey with us this month. Read on:

April was vacation time, and I decided to pursue one of my favorite activities — a motorcycle road trip. Together with a couple of friends, we were ready to get started at 6 a.m. on a Wednesday morning. In the spirit of diversity, we thought about how to symbolically “smoke-‘em peace pipe” so that one Indian plus two Harleys could leave Santa Clarita in harmony for a ride to Arizona Bike Week in Scottsdale.

We had decided to take the shorter, 420-mile route and ride straight through. Leaving early put us through Los Angeles before traffic hit a rush hour peak and by the time we passed Palm Springs it was clear sailing, er … uh … riding. We stopped about 150 miles into our journey for gas and breakfast. Then we continued on the I-10 to Chiriaco Summit. We had been on this route several times before, and normally it would have been getting pretty hot by now. But we were in luck and even though the weather was mild and perfect for riding, we stopped anyway for a leg stretch and an ice cream.

If you have never visited Chiriaco Summit, I recommend you take the time to stop off and visit the General Patton Memorial Museum. There are a lot of heavy metal military vehicles outside and an impressive amount of memorabilia inside the building. Oddly, it’s free to go into the museum building, but you need to pay to go into the Tank Yard.

Then, it was on to Scottsdale. We checked into the hotel and decided to go to Gilligan’s for wings and a margarita. I have to admit, when we got back to the hotel after eight hours on the road plus dinner, we were pretty whipped and crashed early that evening.

Thursday we were up early for breakfast and a charity ride. Then it was off to Westworld of Scottsdale for the main Bike Week event. As you might expect, there were the normal vendors, bands and beer. But then, an amazing aspect was revealed. I entered a large, almost empty building, with what seemed like a 40-foot ceiling, and in the middle of the building a motorcycle launch ramp and landing ramp were set up. Four daredevils on dirt bikes rode up the launch ramp and were catapulted high enough to touch the ceiling before landing on the second ramp. One of them went so far as to do back flips on his bike while in the air. It was all good, but I still chose to keep my Harley’s wheels on the ground for the rest of the trip.

Friday we took a ride to Cave Creek, where four blocks on the outskirts of the town had been reduced to one lane in each direction, allowing motorcycle parking on both sides of the street. There were vendors, music, saloons and friendly riders everywhere. We met some locals, ran into some friends from Agoura Hills and spent the day. Do you think in the future we could do something like this in Santa Clarita? I sure hope so.

Saturday it was off to the Phoenix Bikefest, sponsored by the Law Tigers. We heard they had a drive-through bar and didn’t think that was legal in Arizona. As it turned out, they didn’t have a “drive-through bar,” but did have “a bar you could drive through.” Believe it or not, the bar was set up with a motorcycle lane right through the middle of the bar, with bikes continually riding through. There were vendors, bands, friendly people and no admission fee. As you might also expect, the event was packed.

Next, we decided to do a little exploring. Using our smart phones, we tried to find the nearest Moose or Elks Lodge. In this case, there turned out to be a Lodge in Wickenburg. It is a great place, with a really cool, old, dark wood western bar. But, something across the street was what got me thinking about Santa Clarita. There on display was a restored, and well cared for steam locomotive, kind of like the one we have at Heritage Junction in Newhall.

Other aspects of the trip made me think of home as well. Scottsdale and the surrounding areas have been growing by leaps and bounds for several years. Traffic has grown to a point where the streets are full of cars all times of the day, on both weekdays and weekends. It seemed like everywhere we went we were running into traffic circles, seemingly placed just to make life more difficult. Traffic lights were synchronized, so every time you got a green light, you could watch the next light turn red. Travel at the speed limit and you could be sure to stop at every light. To keep the lights in front of you green, you would have to drive 10 to 15 MPH below the speed limit, and nobody did that. Next, going through residential areas I observed house after house with a rock front yard. I began to wonder if this would be the future for us in Santa Clarita. Something to think about.

Anyway, all good things must come to an end, and on Sunday we decided to take the desert route home in two stages. First, it was Scottsdale to Laughlin. Going up the state on Highway 60 is a beautiful ride. Mostly one lane in each direction after you leave Surprise, Arizona provides you a good view of the area. The desert was in full bloom with wildflowers everywhere. I am not going to mention how we were greeted by the yellow butterflies, but we did bring many home with us.

We headed for the Pioneer Hotel in Laughlin, where I was introduced to the Prime Rib Room at the Riverside Hotel. If you like prime rib and pass through the area, I recommend you try it. After that, it was off to the bar at the Colorado Bell, where a really great Motown band named “Touch of Silk” was playing.

Monday morning we started the ride home, and by early afternoon I was back in Santa Clarita. We had traveled about 1,400 miles, kept the painted side up and had a great time. Like I said, motorcycle road trips are one of my favorite ways to travel. I am looking forward to climbing on my Harley again soon and starting off on my next two-wheel adventure.

Sand Canyon Country Club

| Canyon Country Magazine, Sand Canyon Journal | May 10, 2017

Sand Canyon residents have watched the changes at Robinson Ranch unfold over the last couple of years, anxiously awaiting its final transformation. It began with closure of the Mountain Course due to drought conditions. Then there were the fires, followed by floods.

Owner Steve Kim had the weighty decision to create a direction for the necessary redesign after half the holes on the Valley Course were burned in the Sand Fire. He and his team took a drought-friendly approach, choosing to build a “desert concept” style for the golf course. While designing the outdoors, the owner also redecorated the clubhouse, which now has crystal chandeliers and new furnishings in the Sycamore Bar & Grill.

And last month he changed the name. Robinson Ranch is now Sand Canyon Country Club.

“Everything is kind of changing after the fire and so much rain,” Kim said. “The fire caused us to close down. Now we are making it a 27-hole course.”

Sand Canyon Country Club will have three nine-hole courses—Mountain, Valley and Desert. Valley and Desert are open and the Mountain Course is still being constructed.

“To conserve water we’re doing a lot of things,” Kim said. “Like synthetic turf. And we’re making it a desert course.”

There are 30 spots on the driving range, which has synthetic turf, and will soon be covered by solar panels for additional shade.

“We got (the) permit and it’s being fabricated,” Kim said.

There are special promotions with various tee times, some as low as $35 per player, which are spelled out on the Sand Canyon Country Club website. Lessons and membership are offered also, and there are tournament packages available.

Indoors there were both physical changes and an effort to make the facility more community friendly, head golf pro Mark Kagaoan told Canyon Country Magazine in March. “We have the most beautiful clubhouse,” he said. “Some of the concerns were we were always closed because we were such a busy wedding and event venue.”

Steve Kim said that changes to the patio, including Plexiglas, mean the Sycamore Bar & Grill can remain open during most of the events held at the venue.

“Now we have a fireside patio, so it’s a separate room covered with glass,” Kim said. “Occasionally, unless it’s a big wedding, the restaurant will be open.”

Sand Canyon Country Club can hold functions with as many as 300 guests. There is live music on weekends and the Sycamore Bar & Grill holds events such as taco night and wine tasting.

What began as a course designed by Ted Robinson, Jr. was eventually owned by Kim and a group of investors — until last month. Now Kim owns the 400-acre property completely.

Its final phase should take about two years. Kim is planning to expand the club to become a resort, complete with a 100-room hotel, a spa and tennis courts. The plans will be submitted soon for the project, he said, a vision he compares to the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.

But in the meantime, Kim’s message to locals is: “Just come in.” Even the name change is his way of communicating his desire to build a sense of community.

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

From Kim’s perspective, Canyon Country residents are invited to step up to the tee and become a part of the changing landscape at Sand Canyon Country Club — both inside and out.

The 29th Annual Memorial Day Event – Eternal Valley Memorial Park

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | May 9, 2017

Rosie the Riveter and other heroes from World War II will be remembered on Monday, May 29, 2017 at Eternal Valley’s 29th annual program. The community will gather for the tribute to veterans at 10 a.m. at Eternal Valley Memorial Park & Mortuary, 23287 N. Sierra Hwy in Newhall.

The celebration begins with a fly-over by vintage planes from the Condor Squadron completing the Missing Man Formation, which symbolizes veterans who lost their lives. The Marine Corps League of Simi Valley and the Vietnam Veterans of America will present a flag ceremony this year.

Guests will hear music from the 1940s and World War II memorabilia will be on display, including uniforms from members of the WAVEs. They will also honor the lost by reading the names on the Veterans Memorial Wall at the conclusion of the Tribute to Veterans.

A light lunch will be served, hosted by Eternal Valley Memorial Park. Golf carts will carry visitors to and from the ceremony site and the parking areas.

For more information, contact Sharon Ventrice at ten.labolgcbs@ecirtnevs or call at 661-755-8629.

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