Canyon Country Summer Bash June 14, 2019

| Canyon Country Magazine, Entertainment | June 9, 2019

It’s a block party everyone’s invited to! Canyon Country families will gather once again for the annual Summer Bash on Friday, June 14 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Luther Drive and Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country. It’s an evening of music, food, beverages and more.

The event is totally free and features inflatable sports games, a mechanical surfboard, a 25-foot inflatable Titanic slide and a tropical style obstacle course.

There are dinner options too – food for purchase from two food trucks and a dessert truck. Also, restaurants in nearby shopping centers will be open during normal business hours.

“We have heard from many residents who have attended Summer Bash in the past that they love the mix of family activities and entertainment, as well as the community atmosphere and enjoying time with friends and neighbors,” said Kevin Strauss, City of Santa Clarita communications specialist.

For more information, visit santa-clarita.com.

High Acheivers

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 8, 2019

Scott Davis
A graduate of Canyon High School and College of the Canyons, Scott Davis is now a United States Air Force Airman stationed in Pensacola, Florida. He completed basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio, Texas earlier this year. He earned an additional four units toward an associate’s degree in applied science through the Community College of the Air Force by completing the intensive, eight-week program, which included basic warfare principles, military discipline and many other skills.


Jack Ferry

A 19-year-old studying creative writing on the East Coast, Jack Ferry has earned a place on the Dean’s List at Emerson College in Boston, Mass.

“I chose Emerson because I fell in love with the spirit of inclusiveness and creativity the school offers,” he said. “I knew it was right for me the second I stepped onto campus, especially since it’s located in Boston. Both of my parents were born and raised there, and all of our family is still located in Massachusetts.”

A native of Canyon Country, Jack attended Sulphur Springs Community School, Sierra Vista Junior High and Canyon High School. Local teachers who made a difference in his life include: Sue Hoefflin, Mary Frances Trevino, Janet Yessayan, Michelle Garvey, Ruth Bird, Cheryl Hanks, Ron Kasdorf and Vicki Goodwin.

“I am really grateful that I was raised in Canyon Country, and I absolutely love California … but I like living in a big city on the East Coast,” he said. “I love having both coasts at my availability, bouncing back and forth for breaks and school and family trips.”

Barry Agin Takes The Stage

| Canyon Country Magazine, Entertainment | June 7, 2019

Describing the backstories of interesting local residents is always a priority at Canyon Country Magazine. And when it comes to the life of Sand Canyon resident Barry Agin, you could say it’s taken some dramatic turns.

He began acting at about 8 years old when his mother, a former actress, got him involved in theatre to help counteract shyness. He continued with it, but slowed down through college and didn’t pick it up again until his daughter was about 5 or 6 years old.

“She wanted to get in some local plays. They needed adults and found out I had a background in it,” said Agin, a 35-year Canyon Country resident.

He has appeared in some commercials and has an agent, but still considers acting an avocation. “It gives me a lot of creative pleasure,” he said.

His “day job” is in advertising, but about 10 years ago, Agin started appearing on the local stage in his free time.

“Canyon Theatre Guild is such a welcoming place,” Agin said. “So many times, half the cast has never done a show before. They’re extremely open to anybody – new people are welcome to audition.”

His favorite role so far at the CTG earned Agin a Goldie Award for “Best Leading Man,” and ironically, it was for his portrayal of a woman. In “Hairspray” he played “Edna Turnblad,” which was John Travolta’s character in the movie version.

He is currently appearing in Canyon Theatre Guild’s “Moonlight & Magnolias” as “Ben Hecht,” the screenwriter tasked with improving the “Gone with the Wind” script.

“I love getting back onstage,” Agin said. “The biggest challenge with ‘Moonlight & Magnolias’ is the physical requirements of it. It’s a physical comedy show and the director saw this at an extremely fast pace, a frantic pace – and the three of us are onstage almost the entire time.”

There’s another challenge to doing live theatre as well: making sure you’re keeping it fresh every single night.

“It’s very interesting because, especially with comedy shows, you find something new every time,” Agin said. “The first night the suspenders I had on got caught in the chair. Everyone thought it was planned. … Doing a live show, the thrill of it is anything can happen.”

Agin is one actor who never needs to say, “What I really want to do is direct.” He’s already there.

He directed Canyon Theatre Guild’s “Steel Magnolias” this year and last year he ended up replacing the original director of “Rex’s Exes.”

Strangely, Agin’s first order of business when he took over as director was to replace himself in a leading role. And he got another curve ball when “The Buddy Holly Story,” which preceded “Rex’s Exes,” was held over, truncating his time to get sets and everything together.

But it wasn’t too daunting for Agin, thanks to his theatre experience.

“I’ve been in shows where you practice in an abandoned liquor store and in two days get on the stage,” he said. “We are so lucky to have such a great facility here.”

And it helps that Agin has a broad skill set.

“As a director you’re pretty much responsible for everything,” he explained. “You need time for a stage manager, lighting – you’re recruiting people for all of that … setting the rehearsal schedule. The most challenging part is keeping all the balls in the air.”

He appreciates the high bar for both acting and directing. “When you challenge yourself and get it done it’s a really great feeling of accomplishment,” he said. “You get out of your comfort zone with a lot of these things. … But it’s worth it – everyone seems to enjoy it.”

Agin is impressed by the talent and tone of theatre participation in Santa Clarita.

“There’s a tremendous number of people that volunteer,” he said. “The endless hours people put into it – and the shows come out very professional.”

He also loves the camaraderie. “The adults and kids are equals,” he said. “It’s one of my favorite things about theatre – it brings people together.”

If Agin sounds calm in the midst of a storm, perhaps it’s his experience in the circus. But that’s a backstory that will have to wait for next time.

Above: Sanya Arnold and Barry Agin in Canyon Theatre Guild’s “Bullshot Crummond.”

Live Entertainment Review Canyon Theatre Guild

| Canyon Country Magazine, Entertainment | June 6, 2019

It’s been years since I took in a double feature. And not only that – I’m not sure I’ve ever seen two live theatre performances in one day … until a couple of weeks ago. I saw a matinee performance of “Moonlight & Magnolias” and went to the opening night of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” both at Canyon Theatre Guild in Newhall.

Moonlight & Magnolias
One of the things that attracted me to “Moonlight & Magnolias” is its relationship to “Gone with the Wind.” Being a big GWTW fan, I’m well acquainted with the characters, plotline and some of the off-camera drama of the 1939 “Best Picture” Academy Award winner.

Set in the office of David O. Selznick (who won “Best Director” honors from the Academy for GWTW), there are only three other cast members, including Selznick’s secretary, “Miss Poppenghul” (played by Linda Thompson), director “Victor Fleming,” and “Ben Hecht,” a screenwriter.

The play is a farcical account of Selznick’s efforts to save the film from its flawed script, but the characters are based on real individuals. The real-life Selznick did replace the movie’s original director – George Cukor – with Fleming, and he actually did hire Hecht to doctor the script.

Like most satires, it’s a hyperbolic depiction of true events, but the setup was historical. Selznick did practically hold the two men hostage for days while they worked on the screenplay.

The four actors in Canyon Theatre Guild’s production were all up to the level, especially their comedic timing. It’s hard to believe the three men – Michael Collins (Fleming), Barry Agin (Hecht), and lead, Paul Michael Nieman (Selznick) could memorize that many lines.

Audience members who will like M&M the most, I believe, are: those who like Hollywood inside stories; “Gone With the Wind” fans; and people who like physical comedy.

Like a lot of satirical material, you learn some of the back story by reading between the lines. At times the actors mimic GWTW characters from “Rhett” to “Prissy” and take calls from the likes of Hedda Hopper and Vivien Leigh.

Canyon Theatre’s production begins with a short screening of clips from “The Three Stooges,” which is an excellent tie-in to the type of humor you can expect in M&M. A lot of it involves falling, slapping and poking, so if you love Moe, Larry & Curly you’ll be laughing a lot in Newhall.

The Importance of Being Earnest
A jewel from the late Oscar Wilde, “The Importance of Being Earnest” is fun to see over and over again. The lead character is the apparently upstanding “Jack” (played by Christopher Flowers) who is guardian to “Cecily” (played by James Coblenz) and has an imaginary brother named “Ernest.”

Jack’s love interest is “Gwendolen,” (played by Keri Green) whose cousin is his best friend, “Algernon” (played by Matthew Fernandez). Because “Jack” goes by “Ernest” while in London, there is confusion, particularly when “Algernon” poses as imaginary brother “Ernest,” and Jack’s beloved, Gwendolen, states that she only wants to marry a man named “Ernest,” adding to the irony and general befuddlement.

Confused? You’re kind of supposed to be.

The Canyon Theatre Guild cast did a great job. They clearly worked on their British accents and delivered them believably. Some of the casting was unusual, but it added to the intrigue that Wilde was known for. The performance lived up to my expectations – amusing and fun.

Ask the Expert – Real Estate – Home Seller’s Missteps Selling your house faster and for more money

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 15, 2019

Hire a qualified realtor.
Your real estate professional needs to work with homebuyers in your specific area. Saving the commission money sounds good, but in the long run, they save 5 to 6 percent, but lose 10 to 15 percent on the final price they get for their home.

Why? You can’t market the home on a scale to attract multiple buyers. My clients’ homes get local, regional, national and international marketing. It’s Southern California – buyers want to move here from all over the world, so your home has to come up on Google.

Another reason you get less for your house is that most buyers think they can get a discount since you’re not paying a realtor. You don’t want to waste time on low offers. Exposure = demand = higher price.

Turn your house from living condition to showing condition.
This is one area that my clients get on my dime. I pay for a service to do the following:

Declutter and de-personalize the home, packing 30-40 boxes of items, loading them with additional furniture in a storage location like the garage.
Stage the home, clearing it out and reapportioning furniture for home shoppers.
Clean windows, carpets and the rest of the house.
Make it lighter by putting in brighter LED light bulbs and opening window coverings.

Change/fix anything loose or broken.
If door handles, faucets, shower heads and other fixtures don’t work properly, buyers assume the house hasn’t been maintained. It sells easier if it feels bright, open and spacious. Once they notice one problem they always look for another … and then they look for a discount.

Price the home right.
If a home is priced too high it tends to linger on the market for months, which means you are likely to end up getting less for it. But if it’s priced at or a little under market value, then you get more showings, which can lead to several offers, which can result in multiple counter offers. I pay for an independent appraisal to find out the market value before I put a home on the market. That way, when a lender has the house appraised we already know it will come in at value.

Go to my website: CraigMartinHomes.com and click on my Home Seller Catalog to find tips on preparing and marketing your home to get it sold fast and for a higher price. Or just give me a call and I will drop by for a free home evaluation.


Celebrate Memorial Day at Eternal Valley

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | May 14, 2019

The community will gather at Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary on Monday, May 27 to recognize the memory of those who served in the American military forces. Each year Eternal Valley hosts a Memorial Day celebration including patriotic music, speakers and an airplane flyover.

Last year Eternal Valley featured the memory of individuals who served in WWII and this year they will highlight the military who served in the Korean War.

“It’s a great way to honor the spirit of the day,” said Richard Nunally, Eternal Valley general manager. “The spirit of the day is to remember the reason we have freedom.”

Jerry Rhodes, secretary of SCV Veterans Memorial, Inc., wrote an explanation of the meaning behind Memorial Day:

Memorial Day began after the Civil War and was originally called Decoration Day, a day to place flowers on the graves of those who perished in that war. Following World War I, the day expanded to honor all those who have died in service to their country. It was commonly celebrated in May partly because of the abundance of spring flowers used to decorate the graves of servicemen. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act moved its date to the last Monday of May.

Each year the SCV Veterans Memorial committee and Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary present Santa Clarita’s Memorial Day ceremony. Beginning at 10:00 a.m., the ceremony will include a WWII vintage airplane flyover by the Van Nuys Condor Squadron and music by the SCV Concert Band under the direction of Tim Durand. Santa Clarita City Councilman Bob Kellar will be master of ceremonies and our keynote speaker is Iraq War combat pilot Mike Garcia.

Each year we emphasize one of America’s conflicts and this year we highlight the Korean War, often called “the forgotten war.” Korean War veteran John Coleman will be featured, along with bagpiper James Gilmore and vocalist Savannah Burrows. The Ronald Reagan Marine Corps League will be posting the Colors; Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 355 will be posting Military Branch flags; and the SCV Young Marines will place flags on symbolic grave markers.

Following the one-hour ceremony, local high school students will read the names of SCV deceased veterans engraved on our Veterans Memorial Wall.

Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary is located at 23287 North Sierra Hwy. in Newhall. There will be light refreshments following the ceremony.

American Legion Post 507 is hosting a mid-day lunch at their facility in Newhall. For more information about the ceremony or luncheon, call 661-259-0800.

Graduation, Drinking and Teen Statistics

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | May 14, 2019

According to a report from the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, research completed last year studied drinking patterns for eighth, 10th and 12th grade students across the United States which showed the following:
12th graders
30 percent drank in the past month
18 percent had been drunk
14 percent were binge drinkers
1 percent drank daily

10th graders
19 percent drank in the past month
8 percent had been drunk
9 percent were binge drinkers
1 percent drank alcohol daily

8th grade
8 percent drank in the past month
2 percent had been drunk
4 percent were binge drinkers
0 drank daily

Youth Obtaining Alcohol
The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health website has some other facts and figures about underage drinking:

Among underage drinkers ages 12 to 20, there were 37 percent who said they drank at home and 49 percent who reported drinking alcohol at someone else’s house. And 73 percent of them said they were drinking with more than one other person the last time they drank.

Among underage drinkers who did not pay for the alcohol they consumed the last time they drank (which was 71 percent of underage drinkers), one-third said the source was an unrelated person aged 21 or older. Fifty-four percent reported family and friends as the source of alcohol they consumed – parents/guardians were 27 percent, while another family member provided alcohol in 27 percent of cases. Another underage individual gave them alcohol said 17 percent of reports, and 7 percent took it from home, while 3 percent took it from someone else’s home.
Regardless of the source of alcohol, additional research from the Centers for Disease Control’s 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey reported that a survey showed that 87 percent of 12th graders, 72 percent of 10th graders, and 53 percent of 8th graders describe it as ‘fairly easy’ or ‘very easy’ for them to get alcohol. On a positive note, despite reported ease of obtaining alcohol, there’s a high rate of disapproval of binge drinking at all three grade levels: 87 percent of eighth graders; 80 percent of 10th graders; and 73 percent of 12th graders.

Legal Results of DUI
According to an online law and government website, HG.org:

It is illegal for underage individuals to consume alcohol while driving, and if found with a blood alcohol content of .01 percent or higher, he or she may face charges from California’s zero tolerance law. The resulting fine is up to $250 and the motorist loses his/her driving privileges for at least one year.

An underage DUI charge stems from an individual under 21 who is found driving with a blood alcohol content of .05 percent or higher. This can result in a license suspension of one year, a fine between $100 and $300, and the driver may be required to complete an alcohol education program.

A minor convicted of the Open Container Law means that the underage individual is found in possession of an open container of alcohol while in a motor vehicle. If he/she is accompanied by a parent and the transportation was necessary for the parent’s work, or the minor was instructed by his/her employer, parent or guardian to transport the alcohol, charges are different. But an Open Container conviction may mean jail time of up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000, plus the vehicle is impounded and the driver’s license suspended.

Responsibility.org; HG.org; CDC.gov

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May Day Call for Cure Local Parent Fights for Childhood Cancer Research

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 13, 2019

Janet Demeter of Agua Dulce took her seven-year fight to Capitol Hill on May 1, 2019 with a band of parents advocating for pediatric cancer research. After losing her 3-year-old son, Jack, to DIPG, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, which is the deadliest of pediatric cancers, she founded Jack’s Angels to bring patients closer to treatment by removing the disease from total obscurity. There has been no change in either treatment or prognosis since Neil Armstrong’s daughter, Karen, died of it in 1962.
“My main motivation for working for this cause has always been the experience we had, out of the gate, hearing that there were no solutions for my son because ‘the numbers aren’t great enough for investors’ – which was a clear message at the time,” Demeter says. “My son’s life had no value to the medical research system in place. I didn’t know that it was one of the most common and deadliest forms of childhood brain cancer.”

The DIPG Advocacy Group held meetings with both members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, bringing information and support from constituents and evidence of the vast number of affected families across the United States. House Leadership and members of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee are especially important, as these members decide the fate of H. Res. 114, which indicates the need for greater research funding for pediatric cancers in general.

Thanks to pressure from Demeter and others, May 17 has been named Brain Tumor Awareness Day.

Approximately 200-400 children are diagnosed with DIPG annually in the United States and it is considered a rare disease, as is every form of childhood cancer. As the leading cause of death in children in the United States after accidents and injuries, cancer strikes all ages, but brain cancer tops the list for pediatric cancer mortalities – and DIPG is responsible for the majority of those deaths.

For more information, visit DIPGadvocacy.org or JacksAngels.org.

Canyon Country Business Briefs

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 12, 2019

In March, the City issued 47 film permits, which contributed to 131 film days, generating an estimated economic impact of $2,889,000.
The following productions were filming in Canyon Country in March 2019.
Feature Films:
Ad Astra – Sand Canyon area home
The Lesson – Area home
Simple Man – Sable Ranch
Television Shows:
Bless This Mess – Placerita Canyon Road, Sable Ranch, Sand Canyon area home
S.W.A.T. – Sand Canyon Country Club
Toyota – Area Streets
Walmart – Walmart
Accident, Suicide or Murder – Sand Canyon area home
Nagual – Sable Ranch
Student Films:
The Art of Survival (UCLA) – Sierra Highway, Sierra Veterinary Clinic
Love Bites (Columbia College Hollywood) – Area home
Requiem of Anger (Columbia College Hollywood) – Area home
Someday, I Will (New York Film Academy) – Area home


Construction continues on the Canyon Country Community Center Phase I. Removal of the old Mint Canyon Channel has been completed in preparation for the installation of the new open/box channel. Rough grading of the site continues and the building pad for the new center has been prepared. In the upcoming months, expect to see the construction of the new Mint Canyon Channel, storm drains, the infiltration system and site grading!

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

On display through July 31, 2019
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
18601 Soledad Canyon Rd.
Santa Clarita, CA 91351

This exhibit features the art of local artist Christopher Darga. After working as an actor and sculptor in Los Angeles, Christopher picked up paints again in 2013, due to an inspirational gift from his wife. It was a set of instructional DVDs by the Santa Clarita painter Morgan Weistling. Christopher subsequently immersed himself into the world of oil painting.

To see more of Darga’s work, see facebook.com/ChristopherDargaFineArt.


May is Bike Month in Santa Clarita
Celebrate all things bike with free events!

Hit the Trail Community Bike Ride: Saturday, May 11
Bring the entire family to Valencia Heritage Park, located at 24155 Newhall Ranch Road, from 10:00 a.m. to noon, for a morning of bicycle fun! Enjoy a guided 4-mile or 9-mile bike ride along the city’s trail system, a family fun fair, tricycle races, food and giveaways.

Amgen Tour of CA Viewing Party: Wed. May 15
Join fellow cycling fans at B.J.’s Restaurant and Brewhouse at the Westfield Valencia Town Center, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to watch the Stage 4 recap of the Amgen Tour of California. Win cool swag and raffle prizes including gift cards and signed riders’ jerseys. Food and beverages are available for purchase. *Race recap starts at 7:00 p.m., so arrive early.

Bike to Work Day: Thursday, May 16
Ride your bike to work and win prizes and claim giveaways, all while getting to your job in a healthy and green way!
Amgen Tour of California: Saturday, May 18
America’s most prestigious cycling race is coming to Santa Clarita! Stop by the Valencia Town Center on Town Center Drive from 8:00 a.m. to noon to get front row seats to the world’s best cyclists! Don’t forget to stop by the festival and block party!
For more details, visit BikeSantaClarita.com

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

Canyon Country Community Center

Community Heart Health Fair
This free event will include health screenings, courtesy of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, including blood pressure monitoring, height and weight analysis, body composition analysis, oxygen saturation, carbon monoxide measurements, cholesterol tests, glucose tests, healthy nutrition and diet tips. No registration is required.
Friday, May 10
7:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Marvelous Mommies (4-14 yrs.)
Kids, let’s dance, play games and paint while making memories with the ladies of our lives. Light refreshments will be served. Registration is required and space is limited. Register at santa-clarita.com/Seasons.
Saturday, May 18
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Dynamic Daddies (4-14 yrs.)
Kids, bring the extraordinary man in your life and come play games and work on a fun DIY project for your home! Light refreshments will be served. Registration is required and space is limited. Please register at santa-clarita.com/Seasons.
Saturday, May 18
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Visit santa-clarita.com/CCCC or call (661) 290-2266, for a complete list of activities happening at the Canyon Country Community Center.
Santa Clarita Public Library

Storytime at the Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library will be on break for the month of May. Storytime will resume its normal schedule June 10 – July 25.

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

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

Birtwick Park Equestrian Center 3rd Annual Win Place Home Gala

| Canyon Country Magazine, Sand Canyon Journal | May 11, 2019

A barn party is coming to the Canyon – and your attendance supports the rescue of retired racehorses.

Birtwick Park Equestrian Center is hosting the 3rd Annual Win, Place, Home Gala and Silent Auction fundraiser on Saturday, May 18 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

In addition to taking in the atmosphere of a country-western celebration, you can shop from a large collection of auction items in the barn, where you can also see the horses you’re supporting. The auction will include hundreds of items for bidding and there will be a raffle to win two Disneyland one-day Park Hopper tickets (you have to be present to win).

Last year, more than 100 guests attended the event at Birtwick Park, which raised more than $11,000 for the non-profit. Beginning at 5 p.m. guests can peruse the silent auction, meet the horses, visit the crafts table, and buy food and drinks.

Located on Lost Canyon Road in Sand Canyon, the ranch has plenty of room for the family-friendly event, which will include the chance to see two miniature unicorns; free glitter tattoo and caricature from Taylor Entertainment; free psychic reading from Michael Mirth-Magical Entertainer; giant games provided by Joymode; scavenger hunt trivia game to win raffle tickets; a bounce house; a kid’s craft table; food provided by Jersey Mike’s; drinks provided by Firestone Walker and Garage Brewing Co.; a SynNutra booth and much more.

CJ Marinaccio, the founder/CEO of Win Place Home, Inc., created the non-profit after working at a racetrack in the early part of her career. When she moved to Sand Canyon she brought some horses with her and decided to begin taking them in to care for them after their life on the track. She gets them treated for injuries and lets them retire there.

“I worked at the racetrack from 2005 until 2015 and saw many horses come to the track and go from being treated like champions to being forgotten about when they were done,” Marinaccio said. “I decided to be in their lives in a different capacity. They had enough to help them on the track. They needed help getting off of it.”

The first boarder to move in to Birtwick Park with Win Place Home was Thorin in February of 2016. The nonprofit provides surgery when needed and finds adoptive homes for some of them.

When horses leave the electrified scene of the racetrack they have a vastly different lifestyle at Birtwick Park, which Marinaccio named for an estate in “Black Beauty.”

“When we get a horse we gently let them down from being a racehorse,” Marinaccio said.

Her horses eventually get a job to do at Win Place Home. “When they get off the track and can settle into just being a horse, it’s amazing how much their personality shifts!” the founder said. “And when they are put into a second job that they WANT to do they are so willing to please.”

Birtwick Park is located at 16257 Lost Canyon Road in Canyon Country. For more information about the non-profit, visit WinPlaceHome.org. Tickets can be ordered online at WPH.givesmart.com and auction items are available for bidding online before the event.

Has a Friend or Loved One Been Arrested in Canyon Country?

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 11, 2019

Here’s how to find them…
Finding out that someone you care for has been arrested can be gut-wrenching. What did they do? Where are they now? Are they okay? These questions and others can be incredibly difficult to deal with when you don’t know what to do.

Hopefully, you’ll never find yourself in a situation like this. But if you do, there are steps you can take to get the answers you need.

The First Three Days after Arrest

In order to find someone who has been arrested, you can use the LASD Inmate Locator tool. If you find no information in the first few hours after their arrest – don’t worry! First they’re booked and processed into the system, which can take anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours, depending on the sheriff’s station’s activity level.
Once an individual is booked and processed into the system, it’s likely they’ll remain at the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station for anywhere from one to three days – once again, depending on how busy it is. If the jail gets overcrowded or if an inmate has been there for about 72 hours, deputies will transfer them to larger, long-term jails in downtown Los Angeles. If the person you’re looking for is male, he will probably go to Twin Towers. If a female, she’ll be at the Lynwood Jail.

Three Days or More after the Arrest

If the defendant has been transferred and you’re still searching, it could be because they haven’t been properly booked into the jail yet. Upon transfer, inmates need to go through another round of booking and processing at the new location, and the jails in downtown L.A. are almost always busy. It can take as many as 24 hours to be properly booked and processed, and during that period the inmate may not show up on any locating tools.

Finding out someone you care for has been arrested can lead to a lot of questions, but there are steps you can take to find answers.

If for some reason you’re still having trouble locating your friend or loved one with the automated jail systems available to the public, you can always call us. We have worked closely within the jail system and with the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station for years, and a licensed, professional bail bondsman is available 24 hours a day to help you get the information you need. Our goal is to assist our clients and the community with a very difficult, stressful situation in the best way possible, and our consultations are always free of charge.

Teacher Appreciation in Full Bloom

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 10, 2019

by Karen Goodspeed

Canyon High School celebrated Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week earlier this month with the help of event stylist and owner of Trightymite Events, Dan Bennett. He helped to transform the office at Canyon High into a magnificent spring garden, complete with handmade trees of wisteria vines and a mural made up of a field of blooming tulips.

Bennett has been a resident of Canyon Country since 1967. Originally a chief information officer for several large banks, he discovered his natural talent and passion for event planning after hosting many birthday parties over the years for his daughter, Nicole.

With the mindset of wanting to create something spectacular while working within a budget, Bennett says, “I utilized my skill set in technology, business management and good, old-fashioned hammer-and-nails mixed with a creative mind to allow for a dream event to become a reality.”

The same skill sets are used for every special event he brings to life. His experiences and successes in the highly stressful banking world have prepared him for the logistical side of event planning, including working with a budget. That, coupled with his innate imaginativeness, is what allows each of his events to be not only unique, but affordable.

Through his work at Trightymite Events, Bennett has been giving back to the community, a tribute to his mother, who was a founding member of the Henry Mayo Holiday Home Tour and a PTA president at Sulphur Springs Community School. In fact, it was her efforts that placed fencing between the elementary school’s playground and the railroad tracks behind it.

Bennett honors his mother, who he lost to cancer at age 16, with his own involvement in the same schools he and his daughter attended. He has planned and designed several father-daughter dances and Teacher Appreciation Week events over the years for Sulphur Springs. And this year he eagerly helped to make the Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week at Canyon a truly memorable one.

From Martha Michael:

CHS Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week 2019
After bringing back a week of Teacher and Staff Appreciation festivities a few years ago, chairperson Karen Goodspeed brought her signature flair to the annual event earlier this month.

Parents provided breakfast for staff and teachers every day, including pancakes and made-to-order omelets. And on Friday, the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) brought lunch for CHS personnel.

There was outside support, including free meals for all 177 Canyon employees from Presto Pasta and huge discounts from Trightymite Events and Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches. Parents of Canyon High School students donated enough gift cards to award a dozen a day to raffle-winning staff members and one parent baked 150 cupcakes for the luncheon.

“Multiple parents were chipping in and participating,” Goodspeed said. “It’s amazing, because all you do is set up a table of donuts and coffee and they’re all so appreciative.”

Back at ya, Karen Goodspeed. The parents, teachers and staff at Canyon High School have appreciated your many years of service. You will be missed!

The Unshrinkable Riley Weinstein

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 10, 2019

She’s a Canyon High grad, a horseback rider, a dancer, a dance teacher, an actor, and “Miss Amazing California.” She’s also a longtime Canyon Country resident who lives life to the fullest.

Riley Weinstein, who turns 27 this month, doesn’t let anything get between her and her dreams – not even her disabilities. At the age of 2 she had a brain aneurysm followed by two strokes, which left her paralyzed on the left side. The next few years were devoted to helping her physically catch up to whatever level was possible.

Though she began with setbacks that would cause a lot of us to give up, Weinstein gained a forward momentum that never seems to stop.

“I had to relearn how to do everything – how to walk and talk – everything,” she explained. “That’s where dance came into my life. My mother was a dancer herself and got me into my first dance class at 5 years old.”

The expressive art form became a powerful force for Weinstein. “Dance is my passion,” she said. “Dance will never be out of my life.”

And in a show of tenacity, she didn’t stop at dance lessons.

“Growing up there were not dance classes for students with disabilities,” she said. “So, at the age of 14, I started my own dance class with the help of Becky Graham & Denise Redmond, owner and directors of Carousel Ranch, a therapeutic horseback riding center for students with disabilities.”

Weinstein rode at Carousel Ranch in Agua Dulce from about the age of 5 into her teens.

Love of Dance
“I started volunteer teaching at Vibe Performing Arts Center under the supervision of another teacher and then I went on to Santa Clarita School of Performing Arts, where I taught dance for students with special needs for about six years,” she said. “I also started benefit concerts called ‘Getting the Word Out,’ where we had singers, bands such as Malbec and BlueSky Reality, and we had Jerry Ferris who’s famous for ‘The Bachelorette’ and ‘Switched at Birth.’”

Ferris had emceed a Make a Wish Foundation event when an 11-year-old Riley Weinstein’s wish was granted to have her life story made into a documentary. The film premiered at The Grove in Los Angeles. He also emceed her dancing showcase called “INSPIRE,” and Weinstein has involved other celebrities in her projects, including Alex Frost of “So You Think You Can Dance” and actress/dancer/choreographer Zina Bethune.
Before Weinstein rented space independently at New World Dance, she was a student for about six years at the studio.

“There I was taught by Jessica Shull and started from a teen to adult dancing with her,” she said. “I remember getting so excited to see her every lesson and class because she was more than just a teacher to me, she was a mentor and friend.”

She also took dance classes from Brandy Thilesen, who was creative director, and Terry Bixler, who was owner of New World Dance at the time.

Bixler, who she calls her ‘Dance Dad,’ not only allowed her to teach dance to individuals with special needs, he has supported Weinstein throughout many of her endeavors, including the Miss Amazing pageant.

“He also let me choreograph in his studio whenever students and I needed it for my showcase events and let me use students from his studio,” she said. “I can’t thank this man enough for what he has given me. There’s so much more he has done for me.”

Weinstein is interested in teaching again, but needs to get a group of students together. She needs about 8-10 individuals with disabilities who are interested in taking a class, and she also needs to find a studio where she can rent space.
Calling her style “rhythmic jazz tap,” Weinstein teaches jazz techniques for the first half and tap for the second. “My class is not like any other tap class,” she explained. “Because I have students with disabilities, they learn rhythm and listening skills. Also a little bit of rhythm dance routines with tap.”

In addition to the Miss Amazing Foundation and Carousel Ranch, Weinstein is also involved with the Academy Of Special Dreams, an organization giving artists with disabilities an opportunity to show off their art.

Pageant Winner
“Miss Amazing is a pageant for young women and girls with disabilities and it’s to help them with confidence, learn social skills and basically just gain self-esteem,” the new statewide title holder explained.

Each participant chooses a “buddy” to help her throughout the day with makeup and hair and get her ready for the verbal introduction at the beginning of the pageant. Buddies also help girls practice their walk onstage, their talent and interview skills.

For the interview, participants meet with judges before the pageant. “Some participants do have mental disabilities, so (the judges) will ask them, ‘Do you have a dog? What’s its name?’ I get asked harder questions,” Weinstein said. “They asked me, ‘What makes somebody beautiful?’”

Part of the challenge also, she said, is that you don’t have a lot of time to answer. “The trick to these interviews is you have to basically have a conversation with them. They don’t like when you take too long to answer a question,” she said, pointing out the intimidating factors involved. “One of the judges won Miss Universe, so here I was talking to Miss Universe!”

The pageant participants walk in gowns with male escorts across the stage “and pose while they are saying our special qualities,” she explained. “This year my escort was pretty cute, so I liked that.”

Janice Dosh of Canyon Country was one of Riley Weinstein’s elementary school teachers and she recently reconnected with her former student, who invited her to attend the pageant.

“The Miss Amazing pageant provided such a favorable setting for all the contestants,” Dosh said, “fostering confidence and poise with a lot of positive attention from the audience.”

And because Weinstein has been crowned Miss Amazing in other divisions when she was younger, she knows how to prepare for the national competition held in Chicago in August.

“I’ve gained a lot of skills, I’ve learned a lot about being independent and learning leadership,” she said. “When you’re crowned you’re a leader to everybody else.”

The Gym
Weinstein’s “pageant buddy” was Sawyer Gordon, a trainer at Results Fitness in Newhall.
“Sawyer is my trainer at my gym … she’s also a friend,” Weinstein said. “She was an amazing buddy this year.”

Training with Gordon and others at Results Fitness has had a lasting effect, according to Weinstein.

“It definitely makes me feel a lot stronger,” she said. “I have a left-sided weakness from paralysis. … Having the physical limitations I do with my disability, (working out) makes the left side of my body a lot stronger. I couldn’t lift a kettle bell at first. I’m now lifting 40 kilograms. That’s like 80 pounds.”

Serving as a buddy was Gordon’s first experience with the Miss Amazing Foundation, which she admired for its message about empowering women.

“Riley has really inspired me,” Gordon said. “As a female athlete and a coach I always like watching people push themselves in whatever way they can, and these girls are doing that. … It doesn’t matter if you have a disability, you can accomplish what you want.”

And in more proof that Riley Weinstein can’t be stopped, she’s been acting for the last few years alongside Hollywood heavy hitters.

“Two years ago I did a show called ‘Scream Queens’ with Emma Roberts, Abigail Breslin, Lea Michele, Jamie Lee Curtis and John Stamos,” Weinstein said. “It was so much fun. I started out getting a guest role; then it moved on to a recurring role on the show.”

She said the show is available to viewers on Hulu. And last year she did a short film for the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge, where directors are instructed to cast at least one person with a disability. She played a part in a short film called “Ain’t Woke” by writer/director Cory Reeder.

“I played a teen millennial hit man with Debra Wilson,” Weinstein said. “It was a great experience. Cory Reeder and I are beyond friends. He took me to the red carpet with him last year for it. … He called me and asked me to be his date. He literally went over and beyond for me just casting me in this role.”

Weinstein said she is always looking for opportunities to do more acting.
“I’m hoping for this really big opportunity to do a role for Abigail Breslin. She is writing a show and she wanted to cast me in it to play somebody who is, like, goth, which I’ve never played before,” she said. “That would be so much fun. I love Abigail Breslin.”

Weinstein and her two siblings attended Sulphur Springs Community School, Sierra Vista Junior High and Canyon High School. She graduated in 2010.

She has a fraternal twin named Taylor who Riley says she’s “attached to for life.”

“We are totally the opposite from one another, but we are more than sisters – we are best friends,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine my life without my sister.”

She also has a younger brother whose name is Max.

“I loved watching him grow up,” she said. “I still always remember him as a little boy and am amazed how incredible a man he is becoming.”

Many would agree that Riley Weinstein could use the same adjectives about herself. In less than three decades she’s accomplished more than many of us do in a lifetime, and the sky’s the limit from here. Regardless of what happens at the national pageant in August, one can hardly describe her as anything but “amazing.”

Wendy’s Grand Opening

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | May 9, 2019

Canyon Country has the latest Wendy’s in the area. Where Mi Ranchito was previously located there now sits a new, state-of-the-art fast food restaurant.

“Dave Thomas, the Wendy’s founder, built the restaurant on quality,” said Shane Gray, vice president of marketing for Cotti Foods, which owns 101 Wendy’s locations. “That’s why we don’t use frozen beef; it’s all fresh.”

The Canyon Country Wendy’s is the fifth in Santa Clarita, with indoor seating and Wi-Fi capability. “Santa Clarita has been a great city to work. … We are excited to be part of the Canyon Country community,” Gray said.

The company created 45 new jobs and is committed to investing in local charity work. “We hold community fundraisers at all our locations,” Gray said. “Any charity can come to us and we give 10 percent of receipts to them when they host an event at Wendy’s.”

For the restaurant’s grand opening, they are offering free Jr. Frostys on May 10-11.

“We want to make sure every customer leaves with a smile,” Gray said.

The new Wendy’s is located at 19018 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country. It is open 9 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights.

May 3 Star Party at Canyon Country Campus

| Canyon Country Magazine | April 22, 2019

The semiannual spring Star Party is touching down on Friday, May 3 at the College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus. Students and community members of all ages are invited to attend and take a peek into our solar system.

The topic in focus for the evening will be planets that revolve around stars, known as “exoplanets.” As a part of the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, Dr. Jessie Christiansen searches galaxies and planets for conditions similar to Earth. Her presentation, “On the Road to a Billion Planets,” will carry attendees on an interstellar journey.

In addition to the fascinating presentation, the event will include interactive demonstrations from college faculty and students, activity tables, and a portable planetarium. Multiple telescopes will also be set up by local astronomy groups and students, allowing attendees to get a closer look at the night sky.

“We are once again looking forward to hosting this popular community event at the Canyon Country campus,” said Anthony Michaelides, dean at the Canyon Country campus. “Our Star Parties allow our students, faculty and staff to showcase the sciences in a variety of ways, and the timing couldn’t be better, with our new science building currently under construction and expected to serve students next year.”

The spring 2019 Star Party will take place from 7:30 to 10 p.m. on Friday, May 3 at the Canyon Country campus’ Carl A. Rasmussen Amphitheater. The Canyon Country campus is located at 17200 Sierra Highway.

This event is free and open to the public. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase on site. Families will not want to miss this stellar event.

For more details about the spring 2019 Star Party, visit the Canyon Country campus website: Canyons.edu/ccc.

Placerita Nature Center Programs

| Canyon Country Magazine | April 17, 2019

If it’s been awhile since you’ve communed with nature, or maybe just visited the local experts at Placerita Nature Center, the annual Open House is a good time to go. On May 11, 2019 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. the public is invited to see animal presentations, take hikes, pan for “fool’s gold” and participate in hands-on nature crafts. There will also be live music, caricatures, and the gift shop is open.

The annual event is free to attend and many families pack a picnic lunch for the day. The Placerita Nature Center has weekly events as well.

Every Saturday they hold a Family Nature Walk at 11 a.m. and a Native Live Animal Presentation at 1 p.m.
Every second Saturday of the month there is a docent-led Bird Walk starting at 8 a.m. for beginning to advanced birders. Bring binoculars, a field guide and water.

Every third Saturday of the month there is a Twilight Hike. The following is the Twilight Hike schedule:

April 20 at 7:00 p.m.

May 18 at 8:00 p.m.

June 15 at 8:00 p.m.

July 20 at 8:00 p.m.

Every third Sunday of the month there is a Community Nature Education Series held at 2 p.m. with a different topic each month. Check the website calendar for the current schedule.

Every fourth Saturday of the month there is a “Blooms of the Season” wildflower walk from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Every second Saturday of the month there is a “Nature Tots” program for children 3 to 5 years old from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Pre-Registration is required.

Placerita Nature Center is located at 19152 Placerita Canyon Road in Newhall. Call 661-259-7721 or visit Placerita.org.

Ask the Expert – Real Estate

| Canyon Country Magazine | April 17, 2019

What Mistakes do Homeowners Make When They Decide to Sell their Home?

This is such a great question. First, you should 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 to 6 percent and then get 10 to 15 percent less for their home.

One reason it doesn’t benefit them 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, this is Southern California and buyers want to move here from all over the country and when they go on the internet and look for homes in Canyon Country your home needs to show up.

Another downside to selling it yourself is that most home shoppers believe they can get the discount you are not paying to a realtor. And by not creating enough interest for the home, you invite low offers. Remember that exposure equals demand and demand equals a higher price for the home.

Another mistake 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 … I pay for my clients to get it done. To declutter and de-personalize the home, I have a stager that comes out and packs over 30-40 boxes of items and puts them with additional furniture and pictures, etc. in the garage. Then I have all the windows, carpets and home cleaned, as well as putting in brighter LED light bulbs, opening all window coverings and changing or fixing any items that may be loose or broken, like door handles, faucets, shower heads, etc.

This is so important, as you always want to make the home look like it has been maintained and feels bright, open and spacious, because once they notice one problem they always look for another – and then they look for a discount. Lastly, and perhaps most important, is to price the home right.
If it is priced too high it will not get the showings and linger on the market for months and you will end up getting less. But if you price the home at or a little under market value, then you will get more showings, which could lead to several offers, and a multiple counter situation means getting a higher price in the end.

Something that I do and pay for is an independent appraisal to find out exactly what the market value is before I put a home on the market. 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 my Home Seller Catalog for tips on preparing and marketing your home to get it sold fast and for a higher price. Or give me a call and I will drop by for a free home evaluation.


Canyon Country Kids ‘Come On Down!’

| Canyon Country Magazine | April 16, 2019

For the Lankford family, the game is always afoot. Johnny and Kelly Lankford of Canyon Country are not satisfied with just watching their favorite TV game shows from their family room. They have been part of live studio audiences several times and they don’t show any signs of slowing down.

The couple has been to “The Price is Right,” “Ellen’s Game of Games,” and “Winsanity,” where Johnny was chosen to be an active audience participant. And now, their kids have caught the bug.

Last month their daughters Kailey, 11, and Kiki, 5, had their game show debuts.

“We were all watching ‘The Price Is Right’ one day, and Kailey said, ‘When can we go on? Do they ever have kids’ days?’” Kelly explained. “So, I looked online and, ironically, it said they were taping ‘Kids’ Week Preschool Day’ on Kiki’s 5th birthday!”

That was just the beginning of the Lankford’s good luck. They got tickets and went to CBS, where hopeful participants were interviewed by the producer.

When he asked Kiki her favorite “Price is Right” game she screamed, “PLINKO!” And when asked if she could win anything in the world what would she want, and she screamed, “A NEW CAR!”

The producer told Kiki, “I like your energy,” so it wasn’t a huge surprise that when the taping began, the 5-year-old was the first name called to “come on down!”

Kelly and Kiki competed against two other parent-preschooler contestants standing at the bidding stations for the first round. Of course, each child was coached by the parent, but the preschoolers got to deliver their answers – which were guesses on merchandise pricing – into the microphones. When Kelly told Kiki to bid $9.99 on a product, the youngest Lankford leaned in to the microphone and announced, “9-9-9-9-9.” Responding to the comical answers the show was getting from young contestants like Kiki, game show host Drew Carey pointed out that “The Price is Right” never had kids that young competing before.

Kelly and Kiki won the round and went up onstage to play “One-Two-Three Blocks,” then advanced to spin the wheel, which sent them to the “Showcase Showdown.” (You’ll have to tune in on April 22 to see how Kiki did on that final round. Spoiler alert: It goes very, very well.)

“Trust me, it was amazing!” Kelly said.

A few weeks later was “The Price is Right Elementary/Middle School Day,” and the lucky Lankfords’ second win: Kailey was chosen to appear on the show. She brought her father, and because she was older, Johnny stayed seated when Kailey was commanded to “come on down!”

“When you’re sitting in those chairs waiting to hear your name, at that moment your heart stops – you have no idea,” said Kailey, who’s watched the show since she was 4 years old.

She stepped up to the bidding station and made it onstage. “I played the easiest game – it’s the ‘Vending Machine,’” she said, explaining that you have to choose the most expensive combination of products. Johnny weighed in from the audience and Kailey made her choice – she won the game, then headed for the wheel. Kailey’s spin didn’t send her to the Showcase, but she exited with prizes.

Neither Kailey nor Kiki are allowed to go back on “The Price is Right” for 10 years, but when the time comes, you can expect to see Kailey return to the stage. “I want to get on as many game shows as possible,” she said.

A student at Golden Oak Community School, Kailey has appeared on a television commercial as an actor. “I like being in front of people and showing my expressions,” she said. “I’m not one of those shy ones. I say, ‘Let’s go, let’s do this.’”

Kiki, whose real name is Kilani, attends Prime Time Preschool in Canyon Country, where she likes both the work and the teachers. “Miss Jennifer is nice,” Kiki said. “We read some books and do science experiments. We have sharing time and we go outside.”

Johnny and Kelly have lived in Canyon Country for 23 years. “What we love most is the beautiful mountains, plenty of shopping, our friends and family live here – and the weather, of course!” Kelly said.

Tune in to watch Kiki on Monday, April 22 at 10 a.m. on CBS and Kailey on Wednesday, April 24, also at 10 a.m. on CBS.

Business Briefs

| Canyon Country Magazine | April 15, 2019

In February, the City issued 45 film permits, which contributed to 74 film days and generated an estimated economic impact of $1,727,000.
The following productions were filming in Canyon Country in February 2019.
Feature Films:
Aimee – Area home
Television Shows:
S.W.A.T. – Area homes
Wheeler Dealers – Area streets
Apple – Santa Clarita Ballet Academy, Santa Clarita Skate Park
Army National Guard – Area streets, Sable Ranch
Dodge Ram – Vista Canyon project
Walmart – Walmart
Student Films:
Idols (USC) – Boracay Island Restaurant
Sunny Side Up (University of Applied Sciences, Salzburg) – Area home


Phase I of the Canyon Country Community Center is scheduled to begin construction in April! This phase of the project includes improvements to the Mint Canyon Channel, an infiltration system, storm drains and rough grading of the site to prepare it for the next phase, which will include the construction of the community center and site improvements. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on March 15, 2019 to kick off the beginning of construction for the project. For more information on the new Canyon Country Community Center project, visit santa-clarita.com/FutureCCCC.


Wendy’s Re-facade – The former site of Mi Ranchito at 19018 Soledad Canyon Road is currently being converted to a new Wendy’s location. Currently under construction, the developer anticipates construction will be completed in May.


On display through July 31, 2019
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
18601 Soledad Canyon Rd.
Santa Clarita, CA 91351

All of the work in this exhibit features the art of local artist Christopher Darga. After working as an actor and sculptor in Los Angeles, Christopher picked up paints again in 2013, due to an inspirational gift from his wife. It was a set of instructional DVDs by the Santa Clarita painter Morgan Weistling. Christopher subsequently immersed himself into the world of oil painting.

“From working for many years as a sculptor, creating busts of historical figures such as Sitting Bull, Geronimo and Abe Lincoln, painting seemed to come naturally,” Darga said. “Working three-dimensionally in clay helped me to transfer the observations of light and shadow into painting. The major challenge in painting was color and color values. I immersed myself in online courses and readings and gradually got a little better. I’ve always loved realism, whether in sculpture or painting. It is a wonderful feeling to capture the likeness of a person or animal. I admire the works of artists like Vermeer, Van Eyck and Rembrandt, as well as Bernini and Michelangelo.”

To see more of Darga’s work, see facebook.com/ChristopherDargaFineArt.


Canyon Country Community Center

Teen Night Out (13-17 yrs.)
This evening, we will be joining the iTEENS of the Newhall Community Center to work up a sweat with an evening of active games at the Canyon Country Community Center. Registration is required.

Friday, April 26
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Digital Drop-In (Adults)
This is an opportunity to ask topic-related computer questions and explore the world of technology. Computers are available and space is limited!
Tuesday, April 23
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

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


Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library

Kids’ Programs
Dia De Los Niños/Dia De Los Libros Festival
Saturday, April 27
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Join us at the Canyon Country Library for our annual Dia De Los Niños Festival! This year we are celebrating cultures from around the world, literacy and a kick off to our summer theme: A Universe of Stories! We will have live performances, crafts, activities, free stuff and special guests from the 501st Rebel Legion and the Saber Guild Star Wars costuming groups!

Teen Programs
Books & Battles: Dungeons & Dragons at the Library
Tuesday, April 23
4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Heroes needed! Come join us at the library for a D&D workshop. Learn the rules, create a character, bring a mini to paint, make a mini from art supplies or just come to talk about a shared love of D&D.

Adult Programs
New Release Movie Night
Thursday, April 25
5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Join us at the library this evening for a free showing of a movie recently released on DVD. Movie TBD.

Visit SantaClaritaLibrary.com for more information.

Parole – What is It?

| Canyon Country Magazine | April 15, 2019

Recently, SCV Sheriff’s Station deputies attempted to contact a vandalism suspect currently on parole and ended up being led on a high-speed chase on the northbound 14 Freeway. The suspect was a parolee from Acton who, during his attempt to flee law enforcement, hit an occupied CHP patrol vehicle in a head-on collision. The suspect continued to flee after the collision, and was able to elude a spike strip placed in the road before ending up in a single-car collision, from which he fled on foot. He was eventually apprehended and taken to the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station to undergo booking and processing.

Parole is a confusing concept for a lot of people. It’s often mistakenly used interchangeably with probation, though they’re actually two very different concepts. Probation is used as part of sentencing once a defendant is convicted of a crime. The individual can be sentenced to probation, jail time, or both. Generally, probation is part of someone’s sentence when a judge wants to reduce or eliminate the time they spend in jail.

The terms of a defendant’s probation will depend on the circumstances of the specific case involved, but for the most part, probation allows a defendant to avoid going to jail if they live within certain restrictions placed upon them by the judge. Sometimes a defendant’s probation is supervised by the court (usually in felony cases and referred to as “formal probation”) and sometimes it isn’t (“informal probation” is often used in misdemeanor cases). As long as the defendant does not violate the terms of the probation or commit any additional crimes, he/she will be able to stay out of custody. But if caught violating probation, the individual can be sent to jail for anywhere between one year and the entirety of their sentence.

Parole, on the other hand, is also a supervised program but it only applies to felony cases when the defendant has spent time in custody at a California state prison. Parole does not begin until the individual is released from prison, but it is similar to probation once the inmate is released. In order for someone to be granted parole, the inmate must agree to abide by certain conditions and limitations once released from prison. And they are required to do so for the amount of time set forth by the judge.

When paroled, an inmate will be assigned a parole agent who will supervise the inmate and ensure he or she is complying with the conditions of the parole. When inmates violate one or more of these conditions, they can be subject to a California parole violation and revocation hearing, during which it will be decided if the defendant should be allowed to remain on the street or to go back to prison. Once the period of their parole is over, they will no longer be supervised and will be able to live their lives as regular citizens.

Since the suspect in the vehicle chase undoubtedly violated his parole, it is likely he will be going back to prison. Unfortunately, since he broke several laws during the process of violating his original parole, he will probably face a much longer, harsher sentence this time around.

Wendy’s Comes to Town

| Canyon Country Magazine | April 13, 2019

Hungry meat-lovers will be glad to know a brand new Wendy’s will open on Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country as soon as next month. The restaurant is scheduled for a May 1 opening, but it depends on construction lag times and weather.

It generally takes about 120 days to build a Wendy’s restaurant from the time they break ground, says Shane Gray, vice president of marketing for Cotti Foods, the company that operates 100 Wendy’s restaurants nationwide including all of the Santa Clarita locations.

“This brand new, state-of-the-art Wendy’s will come with free Wi-Fi, mobile ordering and with all the comfort and convenience of a brand new Wendy’s restaurant,” Gray said. “Santa Clarita has been a great city to work with in developing Wendy’s restaurants. … We are excited to be part of the Canyon Country community.”

The company estimates it will create 40-50 new jobs locally with the opening of the Canyon Country Wendy’s.

“Wendy’s continues to serve up fresh, tasty hamburgers – never frozen – always fresh beef,” Gray added. “It’s (based on) the founding principles of the Wendy’s founder, Dave Thomas, who coined the phrase ‘quality is our recipe.’”

The new Wendy’s will be located at 19018 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country.

Canyon Cowboys Cornhole Tournament Benefiting CHS Softball

| Canyon Country Magazine | April 13, 2019

Families can play Cornhole and raise money for local softball this month at a tournament at Wolf Creek Brewery. Canyon High Cowboys Softball is holding a Cornhole Tournament to raise money for the program and anyone age 10 and up is invited to participate.

In addition to tournament play, there will be raffles, a silent auction, a food truck and live music by the Future X Husbands. Let’s Hang Mobile Boutique will be there selling women’s clothing and accessories and 10 percent of their sales will go to the softball program.

The tournament will be held on Saturday, April 20, 2019 at Wolf Creek Brewery, 25108 Rye Canyon Loop in Santa Clarita. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. and the tourney starts at 12 noon. The tournament lasts approximately three hours.
“In the past we have thrown adults-only fundraisers such as a casino/poker night,” said Serena Schaffer, Cowboys Softball treasurer. “This year we chose to hold a Cornhole Tournament instead, because it is a fast-growing game out here in the Santa Clarita Valley. It also gives us an opportunity to hold an event for all ages, so our student athletes can participate. And it gives us greater outreach to the community.”
The top three teams will be awarded prizes and registration is limited to 75 teams, or 150 people. The cost is $80 per team or $40 per person. You can become a spectator with the purchase of a $5 raffle ticket – no registration is needed.

Register online at https://www.longshotcornhole.com. For more information, visit canyonsoftball.org or email wearecanyonsoftball@gmail.com.

Cowboys Softball is a non-profit organization formed to support and provide for the Canyon High School Softball Program. All proceeds benefit the program to cover costs such as uniforms, transportation to games, tournaments, equipment and field maintenance and improvements.

Triumph Foundation 8th Annual Wheelchair Sports Festival

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | April 12, 2019

The public is invited to experience adaptive sports competition later this month at the Triumph Foundation 8th Annual Wheelchair Sports Festival. The two-day event features 15 adaptive recreational sporting activities, including wheelchair hockey, basketball, quad rugby (a.k.a. murderball), racquetball, baseball, hand cycling, SCUBA, curling, track & field, wheelchair skating (WCMX), and a wheelchair rodeo race. There will also be a Resource Fair featuring informational booths and exhibitors during the festival.

The Festival will be held at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex on Saturday, April 27 from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, April 28 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The nonprofit Triumph Foundation works to improve the lives of people living with disabilities. The nonprofit hosts the annual free event to introduce people to wheelchair sports who are newly injured and others with disabilities, including veterans and children. The Wheelchair Sports Festival also provides learning opportunities for the general public, showcasing people living with physical impairment in a way that members of the community do not often see. The goal is to bring together individuals of all abilities – able body and disabled alike – to take part in a weekend of free activities and games.

The Wheelchair Sports Festival is part of the Paralympic Gateway to Gold, a talent identification program that introduces Paralympic-eligible athletes to sports, acts as a pipeline to competition, and is often the first step toward the podium representing the U.S. Paralympic Team.

“This is Triumph’s major event of the year giving people with disabilities a chance to push the limits of their ability, play games with friends and family on a level playing ground, and enhances their quality of life through the benefit of exercise, sports and fitness,” said Triumph Foundation Founder Andrew Skinner, who suffered a spinal cord injury in November 2004 in a snowboarding accident and founded the organization in 2008. “People travel from all over California to attend this event and we are excited with the anticipation of over 1,000 people to participate this year.”

The Santa Clarita Sports Complex is located at 20870 Centre Pointe Pkwy in Santa Clarita.

Triumph Foundation is seeking community partners to help keep this a free public event. To become a Participant, Event Sponsor, or Exhibitor in the Resource Fair visit Triumph-Foundation.org. Participants can sign up at http://bit.ly/TriumphWSF2019.

Audrey’s Unicorns

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | April 12, 2019

Most would agree that the Varner family has rare qualities. Longtime Santa Clarita residents Candice and Chris Varner are well-known local educators with a reputation for maintaining a supportive role in the lives of their students, even after graduation.

But in a rare and challenging situation, the teachers have become the students, as Chris and Candice have been learning to navigate circumstances beyond their control.

Chris is both a teacher and the head football coach at West Ranch High School and Candice is the director of district relations for Opportunities for Learning. They also have five children, both adoptive and biological, who are in myriad sports and activities. While the inherent challenges of a large family would be difficult for anyone, the Varners had an additional setback last year when their oldest daughter, Audrey, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

The disease is rare and Audrey’s diagnosis at the age of 6 was also unusual. “What normally happens is you get a newborn screen where they check the genes and cystic fibrosis is one of those,” Candice explained. “Audrey’s adopted and those records weren’t transferred, so we don’t know if she was flagged for that or not.”

Audrey was hospitalized for pneumonia last year and she wasn’t improving after being treated with antibiotics. The doctors were unsure why, but hinted at the possibility of cystic fibrosis.

She was placed on the waitlist for Children’s Hospital and the Varners were grateful when she advanced to the top so they could access the hospital’s experts.

“Audrey had gotten a diagnosis of asthma and they didn’t think that’s what it was,” Candice explained. “They did gene testing. For cystic fibrosis you have to have a gene from both parents. If you only have one, you’re a ‘carrier,’ but if you have both then you have cystic fibrosis.”

It’s unimaginable for most parents to keep moving forward, even with a small family. But the Varners, in rare form, continue to handle it like troopers.

“My husband and I processed it differently,” Candice said. “I was kind of in denial. (I thought) ‘33,000 is such a small number, there’s no way.’ For me it was a gut punch, but for Chris, he had already processed it. Chris was really my rock with this.”

Support from competent medical professionals is also a big help.

“She has the most amazing team at Children’s Hospital,” Candice said. “We were lucky we were immediately connected with them. The support from them and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has been incredible.”

It’s a “family affair,” Candice said about handling schedules, treatment and difficult news.

“Audrey is the middle of five kids and we’re really blessed that our kids understand that Audrey takes sometimes a little more of Mommy and Daddy’s time because she’s sick,” she said. “I’m really proud of how my kids have rallied around her. It’s a Varner family thing.”

Candice said they remain open about the facts. “Yes, it’s terminal. There’s no cure and my kids know that,” she said. “There are times, like after a bad appointment, it’s nice to come home to a supportive atmosphere. When you don’t have any other option, you make it work. Cystic Fibrosis will not define her life.”

She calls the support from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation “amazing.”

“When Audrey first got her diagnosis I knew she was getting taken care of. I needed something to take care of me too,” she said. “The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation reached out to me and connected me with some other cystic fibrosis parents in Santa Clarita. It was amazing to talk to parents who knew what I was talking about.”

Through the Foundation, the Varners were introduced to the fundraiser Great Strides. “Right away, immediately, Audrey was the one who got so excited about it,” Candice said. “It made me feel better about the whole thing – raising money to find a cure for my daughter.”

The upcoming Great Strides event gave Chris and Candice a place to convert their emotion into action, and since there’s not yet a cure, more research is needed, which means more money is needed. So, they formed a Great Strides team – Audrey’s Unicorns.

For a family fighting an epic battle with unimaginable stakes, the unicorn seems an appropriate symbol. And with the help of friends, the Varners defied odds once again.

“We immediately dove into this,” Candice said. “They told me how we could grow a team and we were lucky – with the community and West Ranch High School and Opportunities for Learning, Audrey’s Unicorns had the largest team – and we did that in three weeks.”
There are various streams of funding during the Great Strides team-building process. Topper’s Pizza held a fundraiser for Audrey’s Unicorns, the largest the Valencia pizza restaurant had ever had.

“It’s amazing to see how people are coming out to support her,” Candice said. “The football team was there – Audrey sees the football team as 50 extra big brothers for her. As a parent, it was so incredible to see it reciprocated – the community, the football players out to support her.”

The day of the Great Strides walk was also an opportunity for people to show their support. “Just seeing everybody out there in Audrey’s Unicorn shirts … she was so excited to see people there,” Candice said. “She has a tutu and a unicorn headband – amazing to see this little girl empowered.”

This year’s local Great Strides 2-mile walk will be held on Audrey’s birthday – Saturday, May 11 – at West Creek Park in Valencia. Check-in is at 9 a.m. and the walk begins at 10 a.m. Register at Fightcf.cff.org/goto/AudreysUnicorns.

“It’s huge. There are activities, food, vendors and it’s really to raise awareness and understand that this is a struggle not too many people know about,” Candice explained. “There’s no federal funding for cystic fibrosis research. Cystic fibrosis doesn’t have a cure. We are optimistic that the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will continue the amazing research they’re doing.”

But as for the day-to-day coping, it’s of course not all rainbows and unicorns. “There are times I have to walk out of the room and have a good cry,” she said. “She sees sometimes up to eight doctors and specialists in a day. We like to do something special after; we usually go to Disneyland or something. If we can finish the day with something fun – she can remember, ‘I had churros and rode Space Mountain,’ rather than ‘I had to have blood drawn.’”

The Varner kids take the “Strawfie Challenge” to relate to their sister during her breathing treatment.

According to the Audrey’s Unicorns web page, there are nearly 300,000 Americans living with cystic fibrosis, and symptoms include difficulty breathing – similar to breathing through a straw. The medication is $300,000 a year, Candice said, grateful for the support from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “It’s very expensive to be sick.”

The work continues and so does the hope, especially for Audrey’s Unicorns, who are aiming to raise money for enough research to find a cure. Showing her resolve, Candice summed up her commitment to the cause: “We will walk until a cure for cystic fibrosis is found.”

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