New Business – Window Genie

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 15, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

City Updates

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 15, 2019

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Route 66 Classic Grill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LeAnn Rimes at Route 66 during the Fire Hogs Fundraiser

Crowds at a Love Ride after-party

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

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

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

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

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

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

He has other examples too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 17, 2019

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

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

Highlighting the 2019-20 PAC schedule are performances by:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wicked Chicken

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 12, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cunchy’s Fruit

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 12, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Criminal Threats Lead to Investigation at La Mesa Jr. High

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 11, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrating College Graduates

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 10, 2019

Olivia on left, Angela on right


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

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


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



Ask the Expert – Real Estate – Craig Martin

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 10, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Business Briefs

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 9, 2019

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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.

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