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Ask the Experts

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 6, 2017

Flipping Homes with Dean Glosup

How has flipping homes changed in the last 10 years?

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

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

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

Dean Glosup


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

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

CRAIG  MARTIN       REALTY ONE GROUP       661-361-6843

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sulphur Springs School District 2017-2018 Year Begins

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 5, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to School Safety: Stranger Danger

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 5, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evening Under the Stars Gala Benefits Kids with Cancer

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 4, 2017

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

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

Although the Michael Hoefflin Foundation focuses on fundraising efforts throughout the year, Evening Under the Stars is critical in raising funds to help drive the foundation’s mission to provide support to children and their families facing the emotional and financial difficulties of pediatric cancer.

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

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

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

College of the Canyons Canyon Country Campus 10 Years Later

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 4, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elks Roast Jay Larkins in 50th Anniversary Celebration

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 2, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cajun Belle Unmasks a New Owner

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 1, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vote for Best of Canyon Country

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 1, 2017

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


Best of Canyon Country

Canyon Country Business Briefs

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 21, 2017

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


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

Canyon Country Community Center:

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

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

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

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


Santa Clarita Public Library:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Canyon Country History Minute

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 17, 2017

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

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


Carousel Ranch Hosts Heart of the West Fundraiser

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 16, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 16, 2017

When is a good time to buy a home?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What tips do you have for password security?

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

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

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

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

Are all homeowners insurance policies the same?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shop Soledad: McDonalds Re-Opens

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 15, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

College of the Canyons Fall 2017 Semester Offers Career and Academic Options

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 14, 2017

It was 10 years ago that the College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus opened, and it has continued to expand its reach in the community. The fall semester schedule of classes will be one of the largest in the campus’ history.

Registration is currently underway, providing students with access to more than 290 class sections in a wide range of academic subjects and career education disciplines.

“This fall we are offering one of our largest selections of courses, coordinated to assist students with completing their educational goals,” said Dr. Jerry Buckley, assistant/superintendent and vice president of instruction at the college. “Our system of assessment and placement in English and math also ensures that students can quickly and successfully complete general education requirements to earn a degree or transfer to a four-year university.”

With approximately 40 academic disciplines taught on campus each semester, the Canyon Country campus provides students with access to a wide range of transfer preparation and career/technical education classes.

The campus’s fall 2017 schedule also includes a variety of accelerated and alternative delivery courses, such as hybrid, short-term, evening and weekend classes.

New offerings include chemistry classes, as well as a weekend-only business administration associate degree for transfer pathway.

Eighteen different associate degrees and 13 certificates are available to students wishing to take classes exclusively at the Canyon Country campus, as well as those who take classes at the college’s two campuses or online.

At the college’s Valencia campus, the fall 2017 schedule of classes is also robust, with more than 1,900 class sections in a wide range of academic subjects and career education disciplines.

Fall semester classes begin Monday, Aug. 21, and run through Saturday, Dec. 9.

Enrollment fees at all 114 California Community Colleges will remain at $46-per-unit, as mandated by the state of California.

Students and community members interested in attending classes this semester are encouraged to visit www.canyons.edu in order to view the current schedule of classes and take the steps necessary to enroll.

About the Canyon Country Campus
When the Canyon Country campus opened its doors in 2007, the college welcomed more than 3,500 students, exceeding its five-year enrollment target on the very day it opened. The campus offers high-quality instructional programs, supportive student services and meaningful community partnerships. In the past 10 years, the campus has offered more than 5,000 classes and served more than 50,000 students. The campus is poised to transform with new permanent structures planned, including a groundbreaking for a new Science Center expected in the current anniversary year.

The Canyon Country campus also hosts a wide variety of events throughout the year, such as the Star Party, which is a biannual event that allows community members to learn about astronomy-related topics from experts under the night sky. To celebrate the campus’s 10-year anniversary, a variety of events and student-centered activities are planned to help celebrate and continue the progress at COC’s comprehensive second campus. For more information about the fall 2017 semester at the College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus or the upcoming 10-year campus anniversary, visit http://www.canyons.edu/ccc.

Canyon Country Business Briefs

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 26, 2017

Citywide Film Statistics
In May, the City of Santa Clarita issued 46 film permits, which contributed to 128 film days, generating an estimated economic impact of $3,426,000.

The following productions were filming in Canyon Country in May 2017.
A Doggone Mystery – Sable Ranch
A Star is Born – Friendly Valley HOA Property
Deadly Exchange – Sable Ranch

Television Shows:
Betrayed – Sand Canyon area home
Blood Relatives – Sand Canyon area home
Corrupt Crimes – Sable Ranch
House Hunters Family – Area home
Hype Up – Santa Clarita Sports Complex
One Mississippi – Sand Canyon area home
Sharp Objects – Sand Canyon area homes
Shooter – Elks Lodge, Sand Canyon area home
Transparent – Sable Ranch, Sand Canyon area home
Unusual Suspects – Sand Canyon area home

Messy Kid – Area home
Robotics Project – Area home

Young Adult (American Film Institute) – Sable Ranch


Canyon Country Community Center

National Dance Night Out (All Ages)
Does your family love to dance? Got some moves you want to show off? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, then come and participate in this fun and interactive night. Bring the whole family to laugh, move, and “get down” as you enjoy the company of others who love music and dancing just as much as you do! This event is held in conjunction with our nation’s National Dance Day (NDD), which encourages Americans to embrace dance as a fun and positive way to maintain good health and fight obesity. Space is limited!
Friday, 7/28
7:00-9:00 p.m.

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

Santa Clarita Public Library

The Santa Clarita Public Library is hosting “Build a Better World” Summer Reading 2017, where children, teens, and adults are invited to take part in the free program. Read books, complete missions and earn digital badges and prizes.

Summer Staycation
Teens can make cool crafts, play board games, and hang out with other teens in the air conditioning.
Monday, July 17, 24
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Canyon Country Teen Area

Build a House with the Three Little Pigs
Children will listen to a story and join in on building a house of straws, sticks, and bricks.
Thursday, July 20
4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Canyon Country Meeting Room

Adults and families can watch a martial arts demonstration by the Gold Medal Martial Arts Performance Team consisting of multiple State & World Champions, the GMMA Performance Team. They will be displaying weapon, kicking, and board breaking skills.
Tuesday, July 25
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
Canyon Country Meeting Room

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


Avoiding ‘Petty Theft’ from Your Automobile

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 26, 2017

Over the past month or so, Canyon Country has seen a spate of petty thefts occur at various dates and times around the city.

Petty theft is covered under California Penal Codes 484(a) and 488 PC and is described as the unlawful taking of property worth $950 or less. If something is stolen worth more than $950, it’s usually charged under a different law — PC 487 — California’s grand theft law.

A few of these thefts happen when thieves simply open unlocked cars and steal items that are inside. Crimes like this are pretty common and are usually the result of opportunity just “presenting itself.” To thieves, it’s much easier and less conspicuous to open an unlocked car, grab any valuables inside and walk away than it is to smash a window or be seen struggling with a door lock. That being the case, would-be thieves are known to actively search neighborhoods and parking lots for cars with open windows or doors they can easily get into.

Locking your doors when you leave your vehicle may seem obvious, and to most folks it is, but it’s something that can easily be forgotten when you’re in a hurry or your mind is preoccupied.

To reduce the chance of falling victim to petty theft from your vehicle, make sure you always double check that your car doors are locked when you leave, park in well-lit areas at night, alarm your car, and try not to leave anything visible in your vehicle. CDs, sunglasses, shoes — it doesn’t matter. If you leave something of value in your vehicle in plain sight with the door unlocked, you’re leaving yourself at significant risk.

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 661-2299-BOND(2663).

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).

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