Wear it Pink

| Canyon Country Magazine | October 8, 2018

It’s a campaign with thousands of participants worldwide. Breast Cancer Awareness Month reminds individuals everywhere to get mammograms and to contribute to research in an effort to reduce the instances and deaths from the disease.

The annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure was the first to distribute pink ribbons, marking the symbol for breast cancer with the color pink.

There are many local events this month to promote awareness:

4th Annual Ride for a Cure
October 12 at Santa Clarita Athletic Club
5-7 p.m.
Participants will spin while DJ Mark Anthony and instructor Janet Jaycee lead the way. 661-200-1200.

Eat, Drink and Raise Funds
October 15 at Rattler’s Bar B Que
A portion of receipts go to Sheila R. Veloz Breast Center. Rattler’s is located at 26495 Golden Valley Road in Santa Clarita. 661-251-4195.

Eat, Drink and Raise Funds at StoneFire Grill
October 16 at StoneFire Grill
A portion of receipts go to Sheila R. Veloz Breast Center. StoneFire is located at 23300 Cinema Drive in Valencia. 661-200-1200.

Breast Cancer Awareness Lecture
October 17 at the SCV Senior Center
1-2 p.m.
Henry Mayo Hospital nurse navigator Heather Kellis Young, RN will inform attendees about prevention, detection and treatment. Free. SCV Sr. Center is located at 22900 Market St. in Santa Clarita.

The Daily Harvest Cafe and Juicery
October 20 at The Daily Harvest
This family owned and operated restaurant will donate 10% of its sales to the Sheila R. Veloz Breast Center. The Daily Harvest is located at 22722 Lyons Ave, Ste. 6 in Newhall. 661-383-9387.

Breast Cancer Awareness Lecture
October 23 at Henry Mayo Fitness and Health
5-6 p.m.
HMNMH nurse navigators Mara Shay, RN and Heather Kellis Young, RN will present information about prevention, detection and treatment. Free. Henry Mayo Fitness and Health, 24525 Town Center Dr. in Valencia. 661-200-1300.

Wolf Creek Brewery Community Pints
October 30 at Wolf Creek Brewery
4-9 p.m.
Live music, food trucks and Wolf Creek’s brews are available and a portion of sales goes to the Sheila Veloz Breast Center. Wolf Creek Brewery is located at 25108 Rye Canyon Loop in Valencia. 661-294-9977.

Principal for a Day

| Canyon Country Magazine | October 8, 2018

The most memorable non-profit fundraisers are those that involve engaging with others, and the annual Principal for a Day event is based on a partnership that brings local business and public school personnel together.

This year, principals in the Sulphur Springs and William S. Hart school districts will welcome visitors on October 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., offering them a personal view of the administrative duties on campus.

Sponsored by the SCV Education Foundation, it offers business and community members an opportunity to work closely with a Sulphur Springs or William S. Hart District principal. Those who donate to the non-profit foundation get the chance to spend October 12 with a principal or with other district leaders such as superintendents, capping the experience with a luncheon at The Centre in Santa Clarita.

At this year’s awards luncheon, the non-profit will induct Tom Lee and Donna Avila into the SCV Education Foundation Hall of Fame. Lee was the founding chairman of the SCV Education Committee in 1984 and is being recognized as a Legacy recipient of the Hall of Fame. Avila worked for the City of Santa Clarita until recently and was an integral part of connecting businesses, government and schools for numerous years.

“Principal for a Day is a great opportunity to show a community member all of the great things going on at our local schools,” said Julie McBride, principal at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School. “In addition to including our community member in our morning announcements, I always plan for a day to observe a variety of classrooms at our school. As an elementary school principal, it is an opportunity to show off everything from kindergarten students working on collaborative projects on iPads to sixth-grade students working in Google Classroom. The students love to meet the Principal for a Day and our community members enjoy seeing students in action in the classrooms.”

McBride remembered one year hosting City Council member and former mayor Bob Kellar as Principal for a Day at her school. It happened to be the date of the school’s monthly spirit assemblies, so Kellar jumped in and helped with handing out awards to the kids, as well as meeting all the parents present.

“Principal for a Day is a fantastic way to show off our local schools to our local community members,” McBride added. “We have amazing schools in the Santa Clarita Valley, and the Principal for a Day program gives us the opportunity to develop positive relationships with our community. Ultimately, these ongoing relationships with local business and community members will benefit all of our students.”

For more information, or to participate in Principal for a Day, visit http://www.scveducationfoundation.org/pfad.

New Business – Stuff and Things

| Canyon Country Magazine | October 7, 2018

If it’s been awhile since you had a package to mail, you may not have noticed the changes in the Canyon Country Post Office shopping center.

Most of the businesses remain the same, and they’ve always included a wide-ranging assortment of industries – Mom Can Cook, Santa Clarita Valley Pawn Brokers, Molly Maid, Caramba Sports Bar, Santa Clarita Center for Spiritual Living, and others.

The newest business on the block is fitting in nicely with its neighbors, bringing the same eclectic spirit to its showroom floor. Stuff & Things is a new “bargain boutique” in the space where Vintage Watch and Clock Repair used to be. A father-daughter team took over the space about six months ago when they simply brought their eight-year-old eBay business to a brick-and-mortar location.

It’s fitting that the store is situated in the space that was once occupied by Vintage Watch & Clock Repair, because the walls of Stuff & Things include displays of clocks sitting beside artwork, tapestries, mirrors and other items.

Known for its “bargain prices,” there are some vintage, pre-owned goods, but much of the merchandise is new.
There is a non-stop flood of customers driving into the parking lot, and those who like to hunt for treasures make a point to stop in. The store also gets a lot of “regulars” checking in for specific items, where new merchandise hits the floor at least every week.

There are antiques, furniture, trinkets and gifts, new kitchenware, jewelry, bikes, and a surprise hit – musical instruments. They don’t accept donations and it’s not a thrift store.

Stuff & Things is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. On Saturdays there is usually a “sidewalk sale” with specials.

The store is located at 18364 ½ Soledad Canyon Road. You can reach Stuff & Things by calling 661-450-7581 or reach the shop through social media – Facebook and Instagram: @stuffandthings661.

Greeting Customers: ‘How may I help you?’

| Canyon Country Magazine | October 6, 2018

by Ken Barnes

A colleague of mine once came to the office very upset, asking me, “Do I look like a shoplifter?” He was in a store earlier that day and one of the associates asked a simple, everyday question, one asked by nearly every customer service practitioner: “How may I help you?”

I suggested to my colleague that the store associate probably wanted to help him navigate his way around the store, and he responded with, “Do I look like someone who wouldn’t know his way around a store?”

As a minority, he doesn’t feel comfortable when he’s approached by store personnel who ask if they can help him.

While teaching a customer service training session to mid-level managers, I asked them what they thought about that simple question, “How may I help you?”

Below are some of the answers given by the participants in that class:

  • It makes me feel welcomed.
  • It is disrespectful, as though you are inadequate.
  • I don’t see anything wrong with it.
  • As a minority, that question makes me feel like I am being profiled.
  • I think they should wait for the customer to ask for help first.
  • The attendant is asking if I know why I am in the store!
  • It depends on how it is asked.
  • To me, it amounts to hustling.

Participants in the class could not agree on the usefulness of that favorite question, but they agreed that the associate’s tone, attitude, posture, and the general body language and expression are critical. The participants also agreed that asking the question with aggression does not help.

I asked the class which question we should ask in place of “how may I help you?” The following were some of the answers given:

  • Hello Sir/Ma’am; how may I be of service to you?
  • Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.
  • Welcome; let me know if I could be of any assistance.
  • Hello; let me know what I can do to make your visit worthwhile.
  • Hello; I hope you are finding everything you need. Please let me know if I could be of any assistance.

It is crucial for all customer service practitioners to note that more than half of your customers will return based on a superior customer service experience. Traditionally we believe that if we dress well, smell good and smile to our customers we will win them. That is true, but we also need to exhibit knowledge about the product we sell, as well as the industry involved, and walk customers to the products they are looking for.

Again, where we most often drop the ball is in how we acknowledge the customers. Anytime a customer is made to feel hustled, unwelcomed, aggrieved or threatened during the acknowledgment stage, it’s a strike against us. From there, no amount of customer service will change the negative impression created about the store, shop, or eatery.

Note that little things go a long way to make a customer your raging fan. One of them is how you receive them.

Ken Barnes, MBA, DBA, is a management consultant with Specializations in Entrepreneurship and Business Management. You can reach him at kbreginc@gmail.com

Runners Join the 3rd Annual SPACEROCK Trail Race

| Canyon Country Magazine | October 6, 2018

Sometimes referred to as the final trail-running frontier, the annual SPACEROCK Trail Race returns this month to Vasquez Rocks in Agua Dulce. Hosted by New Global Adventures, it’s a half marathon, 10K or 5K race available to the public on October 13, 2018.

With the iconic Vasquez Rocks as a backdrop, participants will run across the former filming location of famous TV shows and movies, including “Star Trek,” “The Flintstones,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Planet of the Apes,” and many classic westerns. The “out of this world” SPACEROCK Trail Race enables you to “explore strange, new trails, to seek out new life and new experiences, to boldly run where no one has run before.”

With three choices, runners of many levels of ability are welcome to join others in passing through rock formations and for longer distances into the canyons and the iconic tunnel going under the 14 freeway.

The starting point is located at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park located at 10700 Escondido Canyon Road in Agua Dulce, beginning at sunrise, 6:00 a.m. Parking will be off-site and participants will be shuttled to the race staging area. Check the website for complete event details. You can read more about the race at SPACEROCKTrailRace.com, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Creators of the event also host the VALENCIA Trail Race (valenciatrailrace.com) in the hills of Valencia, Calif. and the Sugar Daddy Half Marathon (sugardaddymarathon.com) held on Father’s Day weekend in Santa Clarita.
“Our organization believes it is important to give back to the world,” says founder Terry Majamaki. “While our event’s focus is about giving runners an amazing race experience, we also want to give back to our local community and, when possible, to those in need around the world. By running in these races you will be supporting the local Wildlife Waystation, Global Adventure Kids and ChowChow.org.”

Headquartered in Southern California, New Global Adventures is a global service of software, media and event entertainment specializing in creating unique, one-of-a-kind experiences for the athletic and athletic industries around the world. Visit NewGlobalAdventures.com.

Gilchrist Farm Pumpkin Patch and Harvest Festival

| Canyon Country Magazine | October 6, 2018

by Natalia Radcliffe

Families have the chance to celebrate fall and the Halloween season at Gilchrist Farm’s Harvest Festival and Pumpkin Patch.

It is open from September 29 through October 31 every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and admission is free.

During the week, there are Pony Rides and Wagon Rides available from 2-6 p.m. There is also a Straw Bale Maze and Petting Zoo that is open all day, as well as the chance to pick out and purchase a pumpkin. There is a Farm and Garden Tour at 4 p.m., and a Goat Milking Demonstration at 4 p.m. and again at 5 p.m.

The weekends are filled with more activities and sights to see, including a Straw Slide, Pumpkin Sling Shot, Chicken Splat Bingo, Horse Rides, Face Painting, and Live Entertainment. On weekends the Goat Milking Demonstrations are at 9 a.m. Pig Races will be held at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
For the crafty at heart, there are Fall Farm Crafts and Pumpkin Decorating. Food lovers can enjoy Fundraiser Bake Sales every weekend along with Carmel Apples, Roasted Corn on the Cob, and Food Trucks on the premises.

There is also a Marketplace where you can support local vendors selling handcrafted items, homemade goodies, specialty wares and more.

You can get free entry to the Straw Bale Maze if you donate to the SCV Food Pantry. Lists of possible donations are available at http://scvfoodpantry.org/HowtoHelp/NeededItems.aspx.

Gilchrist Farms is located at 30116 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus. For more information, visit www.gilchristfarm.com/harvest-festival.

Best of Canyon Country 2018 RESULTS!

| Canyon Country Magazine | October 5, 2018

Best Breakfast
Crazy Otto’s Diner
It was the 1970s when Otto Lindsel left the Pacific Northwest and headed for Southern California, retired from working as a cook for lumberjacks. He decided to share his experience by opening Crazy Otto’s in Antelope Valley. The diner style restaurant expanded to Canyon Country in 2015.

Crazy Otto’s is known for its big portions, not unlike those a lumberjack would like, and for its friendly customer service. Unlike major chain diners, servers at Crazy Otto’s get to know their customers, many of whom are “regulars.”

The food is American, and it’s open for breakfast and lunch. While you dig into your pancakes that fan over the edges of your plate or your gigantic burger and fries, you can enjoy eclectic wall hangings, from railroad tracks to license plates.
Crazy Otto’s Diner
19132 Soledad Canyon Road
Canyon Country, CA 91351

Best Lunch
Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Co.
Still a robust business after two decades, Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Co. has a solid regular crowd, some whose visits revolve around the time their favorite game is on TV. There’s a natural mix of beer choices and meal options to go with its many sports screens. The restaurant and bar offers salads, sandwiches, pastas, wraps, and a full catering menu. Oggi’s “regulars” get to know the servers, so there’s a happy familiarity for customers.
Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Co.
18810 Soledad Canyon Road
Canyon Country, CA 91351

Best Dinner
Piccola Trattoria
Truly authentic Italian food is not easy to come by, but thanks to the Caruso family, Canyon Country has it available every night of the week. Owner Angie Caruso brings her Sicilian roots to the business, serving up homemade pastas, desserts and fine wines at Piccola Trattoria since 1993.

“We make everything fresh and aren’t the speedy option; but we, more importantly, try to provide the experience and the atmosphere to enjoy a great meal with family or friends,” said Graziella Terranova. “Our restaurant is family owned and operated. We pride ourselves in continuing to improve and learning more about what diners expect and what they want and then implementing those improvements.”

The dinner menu has traditional Sicilian offerings with fresh seafood, salads, cheeses and a variety of sauces. Desserts at Piccola Trattoria are handmade, as well, and you can take in the ambience either indoors or on the patio.
Piccola Trattoria
18302 Sierra Highway #107
(661) 299-6952

Best Happy Hour
Casa Vieja
On weekends the parking lot is full at this “Best Of” winner, where loyal customers may be found at least once a week. Casa Vieja serves up authentic Mexican dishes, using quality meats and produce in warm and spicy food. Some people go for the tequila in top notch margaritas and other bar drinks. Serapes and sombreros on surrounding walls make the experience a colorful one.
Casa Vieja
18401 Soledad Canyon Road
(661) 252-9804

Best Thrift Store
Just eight months old, Whimbys is a thrift store that works with local schools and youth programs, providing monetary donations based on the sale of donated merchandise, helping local non-profits with their fundraising efforts.

Owner Tracey Moss opened the shop after seeing her sons’ school fundraising needs. Whimbys gives local schools and youth programs an easy and lucrative way to raise money year round.

“We have a great selection of vintage and antique items and we strive to have good quality merchandise at fair prices,” Moss said. “People walk into our doors as customers, but they leave as friends.”
19371 Soledad Canyon Road
Canyon Country

Best Hardware Store
Paul’s Paint & Hardware
Most of the homeowners on the east side of Santa Clarita have had the chance to meet Paul Dell’Olio, owner of Paul’s Paint & Hardware, which is centrally located, with good visibility to drivers on Soledad and residents of Shangri-La.

Customers get the personalized experience of a locally-owned store instead of a big box bureaucracy. A Benjamin Moore paint distributor, the store carries plumbing, electrical, tools, paint and garden/sprinkler supplies, plus you can have keys cut in the store. Paul’s Paint & Hardware makes screens onsite also.

He carries products for DIY projects, and contractors turn to Paul’s for interior and exterior paint. The store carries specialty coatings for paint contractors.
Paul’s Paint & Hardware
18597 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country
(661) 252-1572


Best Dry Cleaners
SCV Cleaners
After more than 50 years in the business, Albert Naber knows the industry secrets to quality dry cleaning, laundry and tailoring. He first learned tailoring in Rome before moving to the U.S., where he met his wife, Antoinette.

The husband-and-wife team launched SCV Cleaners 10 years ago, and now there are two locations – one in Valencia and the other on Golden Valley Road in Santa Clarita. They pride themselves on offering friendly service here in their own community, where they’ve lived for 30 years.
SCV Cleaners
26547 Golden Valley Road, Santa Clarita
27674 Newhall Ranch Road, #25, Valencia

Best Chiropractor
Dr. Jennifer Vaccaro
New Life Chiropractic and Wellness
With both chiropractic care and nutritional protocols, Jennifer Vaccaro, DC, BS, LMT, CKTP, provides her patients a personalized treatment for a range of needs and a broad range of ages. Her oldest patient was 98 and her youngest was just a few hours old.

“We offer at our practice an unrushed, relaxed, full-body experience,” she said. “Our staff treats each patient with the utmost care for every specific need we see.”

Treatments at New Life include essential oils and various other healing compounds. In her 10 years of practice, Dr. Vaccaro and her staff have worked to ensure that patients leave feeling relaxed and refreshed.
New Life Chiropractic and Wellness
18352 Soledad Canyon Road

Best Auto Shop
None’s Tires
You can choose new name-brand tires or quality used tires from a long list of manufacturers including: Goodyear, Hercules, Firestone, Sumitomo, Dunlop, Pirelli and Kelly Tires.

The staff members at None’s aim to produce a more comfortable ride for customers, plus you can bring your car in for maintenance and repairs. In addition to new and used tires, None’s offers brake services, suspension repairs, tune-ups, air conditioning repairs and wheel alignments.

The shop is open seven days a week and has automotive products and services for all types of cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, and commercial vehicles. None’s also has roadside service 24 hours a day. The emergency number is 661-414-2144.
None’s Tires
17205 Sierra Highway
Canyon Country, CA 91351
Phone: (661) 298-1730

Best Pharmacy
It is one of the largest pharmacies in Canyon Country, opening back in 2006 on Soledad Canyon Road. The CVS chain of pharmacies has been serving customers since the 1970s.

The staff members fill prescriptions while also supporting the sale of thousands of goods. “We’re your one-stop shop for all your needs,” says CVS store manager Jodi Skelton.
The management at CVS Pharmacy credits a dedicated group of employees who embrace the company’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health.
19424 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country
(661) 251-5444

Best DJ
DJ Greg Barbacovi
Greg Barbacovi, known as “DJ Greg,” has been sharing his many talents with the SCV for decades. He was the DJ for The Broadway at the grand opening of Santa Clarita’s mall in the ‘80s. He played music and hosted Monday Night Football at nightclub Genesis and was entertainment manager at the former Ranch House Inn during the ‘90s.

He’s also hosted SCV’s longest-running dance party every Wednesday night at Mabel’s Roadhouse for nearly two decades. But more than just spinning music, Barbacovi is involved in such upcoming events as Bark for Life, the Fire/Police National MX Series and Red Bull Day in the Dirt.
“I’ve helped plan thousands of live events, ranging from weddings to reunions to dirt bike races,” DJ Greg said. “SCV’s American Cancer Society has made me their ‘voice’ for the past 10 years, and I’ve done many events for the Arthritis Foundation, Parkinson’s Moving Day, and the City of Hope. So from backyard BBQs to five-star weddings at the Biltmore, I offer my clients experience and versatility.”
DJ Greg

Best Tattoo Studio
Revenant Body Art
Tattoos, piercing and permanent cosmetics are available at Revenant Body Art in Canyon Country. It is a custom studio, following safety standards that are above and beyond the Los Angeles County Health Department’s regulations. There are piercings of almost any kind at Revenant, from lobe, cartilage and septum to tagus, daith and helix, plus many more. They abide by the safety standards set by the Association of Professional Piercers (safepiercings.org) and carry the highest quality, biocompatible metals, including implant grade titanium and 14k or higher solid American gold. All of the jewelry comes with a lifetime manufacturer guarantee.

You can visit the website to find price listings and to book an appointment.
Revenant Body Art
27125 Sierra Highway #316
Canyon Country, CA 91351

Best Dentist
Dentistry for Kids and Adults
Like the name says, Dentistry for Kids and Adults offers general dental services for all ages. The Canyon Country practice opened in May of 2002, and the four dentists and their large staff members continue to meet the needs of local residents.

Drs. Gina Dorfman, Alexander Lee, Jeffery Proniloff and Sarah Kent described their dental practice: “When you walk through our doors, you will immediately feel the difference. Our amazing and passionate team is dedicated to providing exceptional dental care in a relaxing environment. We strive to make your dental visits as easy and as comfortable as possible.”
Dentistry for Kids and Adults
18635 Soledad Canyon Road #108

Best Dog Groomer
Bark Avenue Grooming & Boutique
In addition to turning shaggy dogs into pampered and groomed pooches, Bark Avenue has merchandise in its boutique and also offers pet sitting services. Belynda Raine has owned the Canyon Country business for two years.

“I’ve had a fondness for animals all my life,” she said. “I’ve had iguanas, turtles, pigs, birds, cats, and my newest pet is a snake. However, my real passion is working with dogs.”
Bark Avenue Grooming & Boutique
17737 Sierra Highway

Best Car Wash
Water Wheel
Offering a full service car wash and detailing, this 36-year-old company was the first of its kind in Canyon Country. Its rustic exterior makes you think of the waterwheels of yesterday, turning continuously, as staff members also work hard to serve others.

Water Wheel washes most vehicles, from exotics to RVs, horse trailers and boats. Said manager Alex Naber: “Thank You for letting us serve the community of Santa Clarita.”
Water Wheel Car Wash
27567 Sierra Highway

Best Veterinarian
Tami Theis, D.V.M., at Pet Stop
Whether you think of Pet Stop as a store with veterinary services or a veterinarian with a store, Dr. Tami Theis and her staff have been serving Canyon Country and the surrounding community since May of 1993.

“We are a one-stop shop for products and services (grooming, outpatient services),” Dr. Theis said. “Most people are surprised to find out we do full-service dog grooming, as well as outpatient vet services.”
Tami Theis
26870 Sierra Highway, Unit B-1


Al-Umma Center Muslim Worship in Canyon Country

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 12, 2018

Most of us learn as early as elementary school that it’s best not to judge a book by its cover. Of course, the principle applies to making assumptions based on external appearance, and sometimes adults need a reminder that differences among people are, in part, what make life interesting. However, there are many more aspects that people have in common, which may escape our notice.

As Canyon Country has mirrored the growth of the Santa Clarita Valley as a whole, its human landscape has broadened. As the number of residents grows, so does the breadth of cultures, food sources and religious opportunities.

When you pass Al-Umma Center on Sierra Highway, less than a mile north of Soledad Canyon Road, you may not know that it is a place of worship if you aren’t acquainted with Islam. The Muslim mosque was established in 2013 and occupies the property that used to be a tile and granite store. It was originally the area’s first feed store, said Majub El Arabi, a founding member of Al-Umma Center, who said they chose the name for the mosque to give it a connotation of a community center.

“From time to time we have family nights, where we invite the community and bring food and have a movie for the kids. And we have a youth group with a lot of activities,” El Arabi said. “We saw Canyon Country as a developing area. What better way to serve the community than to establish a center in the eastern part of the valley.”

There are hundreds of mosques in Southern California, three in Santa Clarita. Al-Umma Center was opened to serve the eastern side of the valley, which enables Muslim worshipers to find one conveniently close to their homes and workplaces. It is an added convenience during their five prayer periods per day, called “Salat.”

Each prayer time has an Arabic name: Fajr, Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha’a. There are a certain number of “Rakaas” for each period of prayers, which is an act where Muslims bow, prostrate on the floor. The floor at Al-Umma Center has markers (photo above), which guide the body placement of worshipers so they face Mecca.

The local congregation gathers together on Fridays for prayers and reading verses from their holy book, the Quran, which is written and recited in Arabic. They hear sermons from fellow members, which are delivered in English.

“Most of our community is not Arab-speaking,” El Arabi said. “The Muslim world is made up of, roughly, 1.8 billion people, but the Arab world is only about 400 million. People mix up Muslim and Arab. Arabs don’t have to be Muslims.”

El Arabi and his family are Americans, and he brought his three children to his native country of Libya many times. He believes it would benefit this country if each young person could travel overseas.

“I think it would enlighten them,” El Arabi said. “They would be better-rounded people and appreciate more what we have. We always think the world revolves around here, but there’s a whole world out there. We are a very small part of the world.”

El Arabi moved to the United States to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a degree in engineering. A job in the oil industry brought El Arabi to Santa Clarita in 1982. His children, now grown, attended local public schools and grew up in this community, where the prominent religions are Christianity and Judaism.

“Most of our friends are non-Muslims and they are the greatest people in the world,” said El Arabi, who sits on the board of trustees for Al-Umma Center. “We create these places not to convert people, but so people can worship. … Faith is more on the individual. The spiritual part of it is personal.”

The mosque sees its biggest numbers during fasting months, called Ramadan. Based on a lunar calendar, the last Ramadan was in June-July of 2018.

“The Muslim religion requires the faithful to fast for one month during the daytime, from sunrise until sunset, and in that month we gather together at the mosque for more prayers,” El Arabi explained.

During Ramadan, the congregation comes together to break the fast, after sundown. Members take turns hosting the nightly meal in the outdoor area at Al-Umma Center. There are sometimes 200-250 people who attend those events.

“We hosted an interfaith event one night and we had 25-30 guests who were non-Muslims. People were very amazed at how lively the place is,” El Arabi said.

In addition to the simple lack of exposure Americans have had to the beliefs of Islam and the message of the Quran, El Arabi points out the image portrayed in the news, particularly when reporting a terrorist attack.

“The media doesn’t do a good job,” he said. “Every time there is a terrorist, they show people praying. … They’re contributing to the ignorance of people. … Islam does not condone any of this.”

It has been smooth sailing for Al-Umma Center’s experience in Canyon Country so far.

“We’ve never had any issue at all,” El Arabi said. “One of the things that was really gratifying was when we went through the permitting process. The city sent out a letter to people within 500 feet from the boundaries of the mosque property to see if they had an objection. … They had to include hundreds of (apartment) units. If somebody says no, they don’t have to justify it. … When they sent the letter, nobody objected.”

The Muslim congregation sometimes gets letters of approval from individuals in town, saying they are happy to have the Center here. “By and large, we’ve been good neighbors to them and they’ve been good to us,” El Arabi said.

18th Annual Bow-Wows & Meows Pet Fair

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 11, 2018

Hundreds of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens will be available for adoption at the 18th Annual Bow-Wows & Meows Pet Fair to be held at Newhall’s William S. Hart Park on Sunday, October 14, thanks to the partnership of L.A. County Department of Parks and Recreation and L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control. The 2018 fair, sponsored by Pets Global, Inc. (Zignature Dog Food & Fussie Cat), Valencia Veterinary Center, Ingolstadt West German Auto Specialists and Happy Pets Veterinary Center, kicks off at 11 a.m. Since it began in 2001, the Valencia-based Bow-Wows & Meows, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has adopted out close to 2,500 pets at its annual fairs, which see attendance in excess of 10,000 people each year. Dogs of ALL breeds are welcome to attend the pet fair, provided they are on non-retractable leashes and are well-behaved. All dogs must be 18 weeks or older and fully vaccinated to attend.

There is no breed discrimination at the Bow-Wows & Meows Pet Fair. All seven Los Angeles County animal shelters will be offering discounted adoption fees of just $30 and their veterinary team will be on hand to answer questions from new L.A. County adopters. Dedicated county shelter volunteers, who will also be available to the public, will share their knowledge about the animals, as well.

Every county shelter pet is spayed or neutered, immunized, micro-chipped, and ready to go home immediately. Adopters receive a special, complimentary “I’ve Just Been Adopted” bag for their new family member, compliments of Bow-Wows & Meows sponsors and vendors.

“Adoption is the most humane way to bring home a new pet and it is the most cost-effective, too,” said Yvonne (Allbee) Hanson, founder of Bow-Wows & Meows, Inc. “Most of the dogs and cats at the fair were once part of a family, so they acclimate really well to being in a home again. Families often speak of a very special bond that develops with their adopted pet and many claim it to be one of the greatest things they have done.”

Hanson speaks from experience, having adopted shelter dogs and cats herself.

In 2017, Bow-Wows & Meows adopted out 179 shelter and rescue animals. Fair organizers are looking to break their 2015 record of 200 adoptions this year at the October 14 event. “Our goal is to send all the shelter trucks back empty at the end of the day and with the community’s help, we can make that happen,” Hanson said.

Entrance to the family-friendly fair is free, and activities include:
Amazing entertainment by The Sundance Dog Team, World-Acclaimed Dog Acrobatic Show at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
The famous Fun Dog Show, with categories ranging from best vocalist to mystery mutt and pet-owner look-alike at 1:30 p.m.
Huge “Super Raffle” with fantastic prizes ranging in value from $50 up to $4,000 – at just $1 per ticket
County pet license renewals
Food Truck Court with delicious dining options (including vegan and vegetarian)
Shopping opportunities ranging from premium pet food to fantastic pet accessories
Talk with service vendors such as veterinarians, pet sitters, groomers etc…
Low-cost vaccines from TAGS (free rabies shots)
Pet photographer, caricature artists, photo booths and more

Free community street parking will be available in the surrounding neighborhood areas, including the Metrolink parking lots. Local pet lovers can help the fair succeed by spreading the word about Bow­Wows & Meows via:
* Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BWMPetFair)
* Instagram (bowwowspetfair)
* Twitter (@BowWowsPetFair)

“Social media makes a big impact by bringing more adopters to the fair, helping us save as many lives as possible,” Hanson said.

For more information, visit www.BowWowsAndMeows.org or email info@BowWowsAndMeows.org.

Ask the Experts

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 11, 2018

Arborist Chris Miller

What do homeowners typically do wrong, when it comes to watering their trees?

Homeowners make mistakes in both directions: You can damage a tree from not watering it enough, of course, but you can also drown a tree from watering it too much.

A lot of times when people put in new trees, they think they need to water them a whole lot and that’s when they end up drowning them. The root system needs to breathe oxygen from the soil. You want to water to the end of the branches – at the drip line – which is sometimes 10 feet from the trunk. When roots go out and away from the trunk, that’s the end of the pipeline, which is where you catch the most roots. Some roots are close to the trunk, but the majority are out searching for minerals and water.

We recommend a 3-foot penetration of water, because that’s how you get 90 percent of the roots watered. The top section of the soil is the organic layer – roots stay up toward the top for water, minerals and the oxygen they breathe. The deeper they get, the less they get of all three.

Between watering, let your tree dry out. Your palm trees and things like that can take more water because they are tropical plants. And some soils will drain better than others. Use the school of common sense: If you have rocky or sandy soil you need to water more often, but with clay soil you don’t need to water as much. If trees aren’t getting enough water you’ll see their leaves curling up, because they perspire through their leaves.

Chris Miller is a certified arborist and district supervisor for Tip Top Arborists of Santa Clarita. For an arborist consultation, call 661-902-9930 or visit tiptoparborists.com

What Steps Should I Take to Buy a Home?

Many people I talk to are always asking me what they have to do to buy a home. I put together a short list of items to take care of before making a purchase.

Check your credit score: This is super important and can be the difference between buying now or taking 6 to 12 months to get your score up. Your credit score will be a factor in the loan you qualify for, as well as the interest rate and cost of mortgage insurance. It’s also good to check for errors that can be fixed quickly because a Federal Trade Commission study found that one in four people identified errors on their report. The first thing I do with clients is pay for a credit report and go over it with a qualified lender.

How much can I afford? This is where you will need to talk to a qualified lender. They will usually look for a total debt load of no more than 43-50 percent of your gross monthly income, depending on whether it is a Conventional, FHA or VA loan. This is called the debt-to-income ratio and it will include the mortgage and other debts like a car loan, student loan and credit cards. I offer all my clients a free consultation with my lender to find out how much they can afford and what the interest rate will be.

Down payment: The standard down payment for most mortgages is 20 percent of the cost of the home. If you can do this, your loan costs and mortgage will be less, you will have a better interest rate and you will avoid the cost of mortgage insurance, which can save hundreds more a month. Like a lot of first-time buyers, it is hard to save that much, but if your credit score is good, you can qualify for 3 percent down on a Conventional loan and 3.5 percent down on an FHA loan. Military vets that qualify can put 0 down and have no mortgage insurance costs. Also, remember that any deposit funds will have to be seasoned in your account for 60 to 90 days. The good news is that you can also receive the funds as a gift from a family member.

Finding a home: Now that you have good credit, you found out what you qualify for, and have a deposit, it is time to find a home. I truly believe in finding a local real estate agent who is an expert in the neighborhood that you are interested in moving. When you are buying a home, most agents get compensated from the selling side and there should not be a cost to you. Just beware of any agency compliance fees, and ask your agent to waive them if they come up.

Benefits of an agent: Finding the right agent to help you in the home-buying process will be greatly beneficial. All of my services are free and I offer, at my expense, a loan consultation and credit report, as well as up to $5,000 for your closing costs and a free local move when I help you buy a home.


SEAson of Learning for Canyon Country Teen

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 10, 2018

Like the summer vacations of some of her classmates, Hermione Quintos took in ocean views, experienced life on an island and sampled exotic foods.

No, she wasn’t on a Caribbean cruise or hitting the beach in Hawaii. The 15-year-old Golden Valley student spent a week discovering sea life through marine biology research and tasting such delicacies as kelp. These experiences were part of an exclusive educational opportunity on Catalina Island – the USC Sea Life Grant/Wrigley Marine Lab, which involved fewer than 20 students selected from across the nation. It’s a partnership with the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations and Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies through USC’s Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

The Sea Grant tagline is “Science serving our urban coast.” The program includes island and ocean exploration, student research and presentations, as well as STEM activities. Over the course of the week, students work with local researchers, conduct their own research projects, snorkel, kayak, explore the marine protected areas around the island, learn about careers in marine science, and build their own remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).
“We went on little trips, like kayaking and night circling,” said Hermione, a lifelong Canyon Country resident who attended Cedarcreek Elementary School, La Mesa Junior High and is now a junior at Golden Valley High School. “We saw a ray, a horn shark, an eel and flying fish. One of the instructors said it was rare to get to see (a flying fish), and a big one ended up smacking him in the chest.”

The students’ activities were “learning lab” experiences, such as swimming at night and witnessing the naturally occurring bioluminescence in Fishermen’s Cove. All of the participants had glow sticks attached to their snorkel masks, adding bursts of color to the water and making it easier for counselors to monitor the teens.

The weeklong course, including travel, is free for the students and it is focused on reaching under-represented communities in the sciences. It is designed to both provide new and challenging scientific experiences and the chance to meet people with similar interests and passions. The teens design and build an ROV from scratch using PVC pipe, wires, and a sheet of instructions, so the students learn the basics of soldering, wiring, and engineering.

“Personally, I wanted to go there to get a better understanding of things that affect nature,” said Hermione, who plans to pursue veterinary medicine. “That trip enabled us to understand not just animals, but also the microorganisms that affect them, and diseases, as well.”

When asked what was her most valuable takeaway, Hermione said, “Understanding there’s so much more to nature than when you’re on the mainland. It’s usually ignored as insignificant, but it affects you entirely.”

Hermione’s week on the island has given her food for thought. “I plan to change not only how I live, but the way I eat fish,” she said. “Change my lifestyle – what products I use and foods I eat, pertaining to animals.”

The teen hopes that more students get to experience programs like the Sea Life Marine Lab.
“Most people don’t know there isn’t just one program, there are many,” she said. “Whether you’re wealthy or not, there are so many opportunities if you look for them.”

As for Hermione Quintos’ future, there are many places it could lead. But we know that for next summer – she’s looking for another program.

Back to School Safety Tips

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 8, 2018

It’s the time of year when kids go back to school, and during our morning commute the Canyon Country streets will be bustling with kids of all ages. There’s also likely to be extra congestion as buses pick up and drop off passengers. Drivers need to slow down and pay attention this time of year, as there will be children on the streets.

According to the National Safety Council, there are a few things you should keep in mind during the times of day when children will be traveling to and from school.
Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at an intersection. It could force pedestrians to step into areas where traffic is moving to get around your car.
Yield to pedestrians when you’re driving in a school zone – especially if there are flashers blinking.
Watch for children in school zones, near parks, and in residential areas, because younger kids are prone to darting out from between cars.
Never pass a vehicle that’s stopped for pedestrians (especially a bus) because there may be people crossing in front of it.

If you’ve lived in or near a school zone for a while, you’re probably used to all of this by now. But for a lot of people, it can be jarring to suddenly have to change how you drive because children are flooding the streets on the way to school. Luckily, it’s really only the early morning and mid-afternoons that most children are going to be out.

Last, but not least, hectic mornings and afternoons are times when child predators are more likely to strike. If you see something that seems strange, don’t hesitate to call the police. Kidnappings don’t happen often, but they do happen, and the sooner the police can be informed, the better.

Christine Hermann – Local Ball of Fire Thanks First Responders

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 7, 2018

It wasn’t a five-alarm fire that Station 107 responded to 36 years ago, but it did send five men to a near fatal accident on Flowerpark Drive in Canyon Country. A day before her 13th birthday, Christine Hermann lay in the middle of the street, knocked unconscious and bleeding from her ears after being hit by a speeding car in her own neighborhood. Those first responders in 1982 went on to many years of service in the fire department, never knowing if Hermann had survived. It’s a fact she wanted to do something about, and she did it last month.

The firefighters were each invited to a luncheon at Fire Station 107 on Soledad Canyon Road, where Hermann could communicate her gratitude to them and present them with a copy of a book she wrote about her life since that day.

“My story was not complete until I could thank you,” a teary Hermann said to the three men who attended, while current firefighters and television media looked on. “This was the highest priority, because 36 years had passed … and it’s so dear to my heart to be able to thank these men.”

Speaking into KTTV reporter Susan Hirasuna’s microphone, Hermann was able to thank them in front of a wider public audience. The first responders that helped her 36 years ago were: Captain Pete Casamassima, firefighter paramedic Jim Bettencourt, firefighter paramedic Gary Dellamalva, engineer Terry Butler and firefighter Rich Ward. (Butler and Ward could not attend the luncheon.)

Hermann’s memoir, entitled “Because It Didn’t Kill Me,” tells about her experience emerging from a coma and living with a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. As cathartic as it was authoring the book, Hermann wasn’t done until she completed this final chapter: meeting the men who saved her.

“It’s amazing. I’m just blown away that this meeting is actually happening,” she said. “I didn’t expect it was going to be that formal. … I actually wanted to just thank them and meet them. Gary Dellamalva told me, ‘We learned in training when a patient is bleeding out of their ears that it’s usually really grave and they’re probably not going to make it.’”
Because they spent years responding to calls, two of the firefighters didn’t specifically remember Hermann’s incident until last year, when they were contacted to meet her. Except for Dellamalva.

“I remembered it vividly because I was new,” he said, stating several times that the seriousness of the accident left him assuming her prognosis was likely to be poor. “I didn’t know the outcome. I didn’t want to know.”

Hermann’s recovery was, in fact, much better than expected. She relearned a lot of the skills she had lost due to the head injury.

“When I came out of the coma I didn’t realize what happened to me,” Hermann explained. “In research for my book, documents said when people have TBI (traumatic brain injury) they remember what they could do before the injury.”
Hermann could recall, and she wanted to quickly return to her activities, which included horseback riding, gymnastics and soccer. She had trouble accepting her limitations, and even tried to escape from one of her hospital stays.

“I had it all planned out in my mind,” she said. “I got out of my bed, I was crawling down the hall, and the nurse found me.”

Her reason for writing the book was to make others aware of the lifelong limitations a victim of TBI experiences.

“For a lot of people with TBI, the physical injuries heal, but the cognitive ones remain,” she said.

Hermann has been denied disability because her handicaps aren’t evident. She has a bachelor’s degree from Point Loma Nazarene University and a master’s degree from California State University, Northridge. She became a teacher, which makes her look good on paper, but that’s where her injuries held her back.

“Substituting was easy – I’d just follow the lesson plans,” she said. “They were already organized for me.”

But she lacks the organizational skills to handle her own classroom. “Here I am, 48 years old,” Hermann said. “I’d like to be in a career I could do professionally, but my brain can’t organize. … I’m now working at a grocery store and writing my books.”

She’s actually working on her fourth children’s book. It’s a project she can more easily concentrate on completing, now that the last chapter of her memoir is done – showing her gratitude to the first responders who saved her life.

“I’m glad I got to thank them,” Hermann said. “They ‘re taken for granted. They play such an important role. They save lives and they help dreams come true.”

Canyon Country Business Briefs

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 7, 2018

In July, the City of Santa Clarita issued 47 film permits, which contributed to 126 film days, generating an estimated economic impact of $2,978,000.

The following productions were filming in Canyon Country in July 2018.
Television Shows:
Laff Mobbs Laff Tracks – Sand Canyon area home
Santa Clarita Diet – Area home
Too Old To Die Young – Sand Canyon area home and streets
Unbelievable – Backwoods Inn
You’re the Worst – Rancho Deluxe
Feature Films:
A Bride’s Revenge – Sand Canyon area homes, Sand Canyon Country Club
Dole – Rancho Deluxe
Esurance – Area home
Facebook – Sand Canyon area home
Student Films:
Children of Gold (New York Film Academy) – Area home
Cross Words Together (New York Film Academy) – Area home

See photos on page 29!


The City of Santa Clarita’s Slurry Seal project, a component of the Annual Road Rehabilitation Program, will begin slurry seal work along Soledad Canyon Road, from Sierra Highway and Sand Canyon. The work will start prior to the end of August, but will run through mid-September. Construction hours will be from 8:30 p.m. – 4:30 a.m.

In addition, Caltrans started its nightly road closures along Sierra Highway, between Friendly Valley Parkway and Newhall Avenue, for re-pavement work on August 20. This work will run through mid-October. All work will be completed in the late evening through the early morning, and will clear out before heavy commuter traffic starts.


You can join the City of Santa Clarita for the 2018 River Rally, which is a community event for groups, families, students and individuals to contribute to the beauty of the city. Your commitment to our community and the desire to protect and preserve the Santa Clara River is much appreciated by city leaders.

The 24th annual River Rally River Clean-Up and Environmental Expo will be held Saturday, September 22 from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. This year’s location is off of Wiley Canyon Road, near the Via Princessa Bridge, east of Orchard Village Road.

All participants, regardless of age, must pre-register as volunteers through the city’s volunteer registration system. Visit GreenSantaClarita.com and click the River Rally slide, or select River Rally in the calendar and events section. If you need assistance with online volunteer registration, email volunteers@santa-clarita.com or call 661-250-3708.Registration is open until 2:00 p.m. on Friday, September 21, so please register early.


The Vision of Gary Friedman
On display through October 5, 2018
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
18601 Soledad Canyon Rd.
Santa Clarita, CA 91351
The solo art exhibit “The Vision of Gary Friedman” features several neo-impressionistic landscapes, cityscapes, and abstracts done in a unique, warm palette style. The award-winning painter and teacher has studied with the world’s top watercolor talents, has traveled extensively, and tutored and exhibited locally for the past several years.

Mr. Friedman was also the band director at Arroyo Seco Junior High School from 1976 to 2011. When not painting, traveling, or teaching, Gary plays music with the bluegrass band The Flaw and jazz with the Go Jazz Big Band and David Peter’s jazz combo.


Canyon Country Community Center

Family Dodgeball Night
Get ready to go all out for the family dodgeball competition! Throw, dodge and catch with the whole family while you learn the basic rules and techniques of tournament style dodgeball. This friendly game does not require experience, practice or athletic ability to play. You will dodge, duck, dip and dive as your family works hand-in-hand to beat the rest and be the best.
Friday, September 21
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

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

Santa Clarita Public Library
The following FREE Events will be held at the Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library.

Library hours:
Mon – Thurs: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Friends of the Library Bookstore Sale
September 6 through September 9, 2018 during normal library operating hours.

The Friends of the Library bookstores located in all Santa Clarita Public Library branches will be offering 50 percent off the regular price for any item in the bookstore. The sale applies to hardbacks, softcovers, pocketbooks, audiobooks and videos. Proceeds benefit programming for the Santa Clarita Public Library.

Fall Storytimes are Back!
September 10 through November 15, 2018
For specific program dates and hours, visit SantaClaritaLibrary.com.

The popular Fall Storytimes are back. Join other families for storytimes catered to different age groups, including: Baby and Toddler, Just for 2s and 3s, School Readiness Storytime and Bilingual Storytime.

Donate Food to Reduce Library Fines
September 1 through September 30, 2018

During the month of September, the Santa Clarita Public Library, in partnership with the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry, will be offering Food for Fines, a month-long program allowing customers to donate food items (each item counts towards $5 of waived fees) to remove up to $20 of overdue library fines or replacement card fees from their account. Donations are being gathered for the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry, a local non-profit that works to collect and distribute donated foods to those in need in the community.

Stuffed Animal Sleepover
Drop off: Thursday, September 20, 2018
Event: Friday, September 21, 2018
4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Drop off your favorite stuffed animal for a sleepover at the Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library on Thursday, September 20 between 3 and 4 p.m. Then return the next day from 4-5 p.m. for a storytime and slide show of their adventures!

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

Andrew Skinner of Triumph Foundation Talks Spinal Cord Injury Research

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 7, 2018

Researchers at University of California, San Diego released a report this summer showing progress in clinical trials treating spinal cord injuries. Scientists were able to successfully create stem cells that could be applied to injuries of the spine, which makes it more possible to advance to human clinic trials in a few years, according to UC San Diego’s website.

It is good news for Canyon Country non-profit Triumph Foundation, which offers resources to victims of paralysis from disorders and injuries. But the timeline for results is unknown.

“Typically, with these types of studies they first go into a Phase 1 period, which involves a very small test sample,” says Triumph founder Andrew Skinner. “The main thing is not to see if it helps, but to make sure they don’t have any adverse effects from the treatment.”

After implanting stem cells in human subjects and they find it does not cause harm, it clears Phase 1 and moves into a second phase.

“That’s where they’ll start testing for actual results,” Skinner says. “The sample size is larger, but is certainly not open to the public.”

Researchers work with specific facilities, he says, as well as targeted participants, in order to achieve the type of data they need.
“Then, once it clears that, it goes to the third phase,” Skinner says. “That’s when it gets more exciting, because it’s right before the FDA is really serious about opening it up to public use. It is a long way out.”

Skinner, who is also the victim of a spinal cord injury, cautions his clients about becoming overly hopeful.

“It’s super exciting,” he says. “But I’ve been injured for 14 years (and) they’ve been saying the cure is five years away for a long time now.”

Research so far has been primarily for the newly injured, he says. The hope is that early intervention can actually prevent someone from becoming paralyzed.

“They were inserting stem cells into people just two or three days after injury,” he explains. “Almost everybody who suffers a paralyzing injury does regain a certain amount of function from the initial prognosis. What you don’t know is if they would have had the same recovery anyway. It’s kind of a subjective thing.”

When Andrew and Kirsten Skinner started Triumph Foundation, the standard procedure for non-profits was to raise money for research. But they wanted to improve the lives of spinal cord injury victims themselves.

“One of the reasons we started it was that we thought, ‘What about people’s day-to-day experience?’” he says. “We were encountering people who needed things like a wheelchair ramp … practical, quality of life things.”

Research is always on Skinner’s radar, however. “It’s certainly a conversation in our community,” he says. “On a personal level, we don’t want to hold our breath for this cure that may be coming some day. We want to live each day now to the fullest.”
Researchers contact Triumph for candidates willing to take part in their studies, and the Skinners stay updated, though not “in the thick of it,” he says.

“The big thing that we try to stress to people is, ‘Don’t spend tens of thousands of dollars traveling outside the country for treatments that are untested and do not have a scientific basis,’” Skinner explains. “There are a lot of people who prey on people who are suffering and give them hope.”

And another down side, he says, is if a spinal cord injury victim does take part in these unofficial trials, they will likely be excluded from any subsequent trials going on in the United States.

“There are a lot of developed countries that are very actively pursuing treatments and cures,” Skinner says. “It’s just not here yet.”
2nd Annual Superheroes Triumph 5K

The Triumph Foundation is hosting a run, walk & roll on Saturday, Sept. 15 from 7-11 a.m. The 2nd Annual Superheroes Triumph 5K will take place at Lake Balboa Park, 6300 Balboa Blvd. in Van Nuys.
Runner perks include a finisher’s medal, bib, and of course, a cape! All of the proceeds benefit Triumph Foundation to forward its mission to help people triumph over paralysis.

Costumes are encouraged – in fact, the best dressed caped crusader will win a prize. Registration and packet pick-up begins at 7 a.m. and the race begins at 8:00 a.m. sharp. Community members may enter by visiting Triumph-Foundation.org or email Randi@Triumph-Foundation.org.

Canyon High Hits 50

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 7, 2018

by John Boston

There are few dates in local history that are such clear lines of demarcation. The year 1968 was one of them. There were no cell phones. No cable. No texting. No personal computers. Dancing in the style today would get you arrested, no ifs, ands or buts. The Santa Clarita Valley was primarily farm and ranchland and the population was about 1/12th of what it is today.

But, the valley was growing, in leaps and bounds. Valencia was just a year old. Canyon Country was formed on Nov. 1, 1963, along with a long-forgotten rodeo and festival called Frontier Days. Up until the fall of 1968, there was only one high school in town — Wm. S. Hart High. Back then, its school colors were different — a classy maroon and grey. A couple decades earlier, Hart almost became the Cowboys themselves. A parents’ committee voted 8-to-6 to call their mascot the Indians. Second place? The Hart High Buckaroos.

And then came the green and the gold — Canyon.

Sept. 3, 1968, right after Labor Day, the school doors flung open. Kids from way up Sierra Highway, from the ritzy ranches of Sand Canyon to the new, affordable housing of North Oaks wandered the modern halls and the brand spanking new school. Not too many people know this, but Gene Hartley was the first principal of Canyon and the answer to an obscure trivia question. Hartley was the only person to be principal of two high schools simultaneously — Hart and Canyon. He oversaw the construction and staffing and hired C.T. Haan as Canyon’s first official principal (and district superintendent), a decision not too popular amongst some.

Haan initiated a few experimental educational programs, including modular classrooms and volunteer classes. For a short time, students could choose to go to whichever classes felt compelling.

“It was an interesting time,” said Bill White, principal at Canyon in its early years. “We were cutting deals with the community to get things donated, walls painted, construction designed and completed. We built that terraced amphitheater. We also got involved with the Alamos. … I’m sure you know how they ended up.”

Tony and Susan Alamo ran what appeared to be a Christian ministry up Sierra Highway and took in wayward youths. The Alamos donated money and labor to build Canyon’s bleachers. A while later, the Alamos were indicted on a variety of charges, from kidnapping to human trafficking.

Absolutely no discussion on Canyon is complete without mentioning Harry Welch, the legendary prep football genius who led Canyon on The Streak, that impossible string of 46-0, four CIF titles in a row and a state championship. He is considered one of the greatest coaches in American history. Appropriately, Welch’s great-great-great-grandfather ordered the shelling of Union troops at Fort Sumter, starting the Civil War in 1861.

“I suppose the thing that defines Canyon for me is the camaraderie,” recalled Elaine Foderero, a jill of all trades for decades there. “All the teachers and staff were so personally involved and loved their jobs.”

Foderero was asked what will Canyon and education be like in the year 2069 — when this year’s graduating class holds their 50-year-reunion.

“Technology is running at breakneck speed,” she said. “There’s no way to predict what will be the unimaginable. But Santa Clarita will end up like the San Fernando Valley. All spaces will end up being filled. But one thing of which I’m certain: Canyon and the SCV’s schools will continue to be the best in the nation and our kids will end up ruling the world.”

Ask the Experts

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 13, 2018

Arborist Chris Miller

Which kinds of trees are most flammable, and is there anything we should keep in mind during fire season?

A dead tree, or one with a lot of dead tissue on it, is a really flammable tree. Palms, if they haven’t been trimmed or if they have old fronds on them, are more apt to catch fire. And pine trees have a lot of oil in them, so they’re apt to flare up at times, especially if they have dead needles in them.

How do we know if a tree is dead or not?

To identify a dead tree, I look to see if branches have flexibility or if they are brittle. If the whole tree has no green leaves, or if the leaves are crispy brown and your yard is green, the tree may be dead. Also, if the bark on the trunk is cracking or falling away from the trunk, it’s another indication it’s either dead or dying. If you can break off a small limb, because it’s crispy and brittle versus having some flexibility in it, nine times out of 10 it’s going to snap. I call it my “snap test.”

Chris Miller is a certified arborist and district supervisor for Tip Top Arborists of Santa Clarita. For an arborist consultation, call 661-902-9930 or visit tiptoparborists.com.

Top 10 Ways to Prepare Your Home to Sell Quickly and for More

I’ve seen many homes that would sell more quickly and for more money if only the seller spent a little time and money preparing it. I seldom walk out of a home with a buyer who doesn’t have complaints about at least one item that could have been a simple fix to make the home more appealing.
These are the top 10 items that buyers complain about and how to address them:

  1. De-clutter. All extra items should be packed in boxes and stored in the garage. Remove furniture that is unnecessary or too big for the room. Remember you are moving, so start packing and get those items out of sight. This will make the rooms look larger.
  2. De-personalize. You want to make the buyer feel like they can see themselves living in the home. It’s important to remove all pictures of your family, or any personal items.
  3. Paint / touch-up. After living in your home for years the walls will look worn and your colors may be too bright for the buyers. It is very cost-effective to have a fresh coat of paint in the main rooms. Also, make it a neutral color to appeal to the majority of buyers.
  4. Repair small items. Fix or tighten items that could make the buyer doubt the home was maintained. Make sure all door knobs and locks work. Fix or change faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms. Tighten door hinges and handles and make sure all light bulbs work.
  5. Clean and sparkle. Have a professional cleaner come in, and pay extra attention to the bathrooms and the kitchen. Also, have the floors professionally cleaned. You will be surprised how much better it will look, and the buyers may think it is only a few years old.
  6. Fix that shower. I get the most complaints from buyers about how dirty, gritty and used the showers look. Clean the tile and mildew with a professional product. Also, touch-up the grout and caulk all of the seams. This will help seal the shower and make it look newer. And don’t forget to put in a new shower head. It’s only $50 and will make all the difference.
  7. Lighting. Change those dated light fixtures. Put a fan in the bedrooms and a nice chandelier in the dining room. Small upgrades go a long way to adding value. Also, change out missing or burned-out bulbs, as this will help brighten the room and make it look more spacious.
  8. Open those window coverings. Make sure to open all drapes, blinds, shutters, etc. to let the light in and see outside the home. It makes the rooms look and feel bigger. Also, have the windows cleaned inside and out.
  9. Landscape / curb appeal. Make sure you can see the home by trimming trees and bushes, and make the home look alive by putting in fresh plants and flowers. Also, trim the lawn and add more water a few weeks before listing the home. This will make the vegetation look green and inviting.
  10. Professional walk-through.If you’re selling your home, it is always a good idea to have a real estate agent go through the home to help and advise you on your home’s specific needs.

CRAIG MARTIN       REALTY ONE GROUP       661-361-6843


Sponsored Content

Canyon Country Business Briefs

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 11, 2018

In June, the City issued 43 film permits, which contributed to 123 film days, generating an estimated economic impact of $3,140,000.
The following productions were filming in Canyon Country in June 2018.
Television Shows:
Bless This Mess – Sable Ranch
Camping – Sierra Highway
Shooter – Sand Canyon area home
Too Old To Die Young – Sand Canyon area homes Twisted Sisters – Sand Canyon area home
Feature Films:
International Falls – Arco Gas Station
Into the Darkness: Treehouse – Rancho Deluxe
Miss Coordinator – Sand Canyon area home
2018 TTC Certified – Rancho Deluxe
Geico – Friendly Valley Country Club
Walmart – Walmart (Carl Boyer)
Student Films:
Aurora (New York Film Academy) – Area home
You Again (Columbia College) – Area home, Begonias Lane Park


The new Canyon Country Community Center is scheduled to begin construction in 2019. The new center will provide programing opportunities for all age groups and will include park amenities such as a play area, half-court basketball, open turf areas, walkways and landscaping. The City Council is excited about providing these amenities for the community with the center and park area.


Planning is signing off on the new Facey/Providence building, and the tenant would like to be open for business in August. The project is located south of the intersection of Mammoth Lane and Soledad Canyon Road. Prior to occupancy, a new traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of Mammoth and Soledad.  This is phase 1 of the development. Phase 2, which includes a drive-through food establishment along with a freestanding building for retail and service businesses, will be developed in the future.

Bodhi Leaf Coffee House is taking over a former pizza place at 26910 Sierra Highway, Unit D-2.


The public is invited to join the City of Santa Clarita for the 24th Annual River Rally Clean Up and Environmental Expo, held on Saturday, September 22 from 8-11 a.m. at the section of the Santa Clara River off of Wiley Canyon Road, east of Orchard Village Road. Volunteers will be given bags and gloves to help clean trash and debris from a section of the river and are encouraged to participate in the Environmental Expo afterwards to learn more about conservation and pollution prevention programs. Register at GreenSantaClarita.com.


The Vision of Gary Friedman
FREE exhibit on display through October 5, 2018
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library
18601 Soledad Canyon Rd.
Santa Clarita, CA 91351
The solo art exhibit “The Vision of Gary Friedman” features several neo-impressionistic landscapes, cityscapes, and abstracts done in a unique, warm palette style. The award-winning painter and teacher has studied with the world’s top watercolor talents, has traveled extensively, and tutored and exhibited locally for the past several years.
Mr. Friedman was also the band director at Arroyo Seco Junior High School from 1976 to 2011. When not painting, traveling or teaching, Friedman plays music with the bluegrass band The Flaw and plays jazz with the Go Jazz Big Band and David Peter’s jazz combo.


Canyon Country Community Center

CCCC Sock Hop (Adults)
You are invited to join others for an evening of dancing to the music of the 1950s. Come and enjoy your favorite boogie-woogie, doo-wop, and rock and roll classics as you dance the night away. Greasers and Pink Ladies are welcome!
Saturday, August 25
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

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

Santa Clarita Public Library
The following will be held at the Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library.

Lego Block Party • Monday, September 10 • 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Books & Battles: Dungeons & Dragons at the Library
Wednesday, September 5 and 26 • 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Teen Advisory Board
Tuesday, September 11 and Friday, September 28 • 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Escape Room – “Break into the Principal’s Office”
Friday, September 14 • 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Thursday Crafts
Every Thursday in September • 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Afternoon at the Movies
Friday, September 7 and 21 -1:00 p.m. • 3:30 p.m.
Digital Drop-In: Get Help Using Digital Devices
Friday, September 14 and 28 • 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Unwind and Color for Adults
Monday, September 10 and 17 • 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Visit SantaClaritaLibrary.com for more information and to view a complete listing of activities.

Country Singer Cam to Open 2018-19 Santa Clarita PAC Season

| Canyon Country Magazine, Entertainment | August 8, 2018

Cam, Christopher Titus and Veronica Swift to Perform at the PAC

The Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC) will kick off its 2018-19 season with the headlining performances of Cam, Christopher Titus, and Veronica Swift.

Hailed as the next big female powerhouse in country music, Cam, who is currently on tour with Sam Smith as his opening act, is bringing her impressive vocals and heartfelt lyrics to the Santa Clarita Valley.

The Grammy Award-nominated country music singer will take the PAC stage on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018.

Cam’s music is reputed to strike a balance between whimsy and wise, which has garnered the San Francisco native a growing fan base and the attention of the music industry.

The 33-year-old’s song “Burning House” was nominated for a Grammy Award for “Best Country Solo Performance” in 2016.

On Saturday, Sept. 8, Christopher Titus will perform “Amerigeddon,” a stand-up comedy show that tackles politics with across-the-aisle humor. With the goal of uniting the country one audience at a time, Titus is brutally honest and hilarious. This show is intended for mature audiences only.

A 23-year-old jazz superstar in the making, Veronica Swift will take the stage on Saturday, Sept. 22. Swift’s superb technical skill and depth of feeling wowed judges Dee Dee Bridgewater, Al Jarreau and Patti Austin at the 2015 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition where Swift won second place.

Other acts and artists visiting the PAC this season include: Chinese Warriors of Peking; Villalobos Brothers & Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles; Peter Gros, wildlife expert from the original Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom; Catapult; and Ann Hampton Callaway & Liz Callaway in “Sibling Revelry.”

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.

For more information about the PAC 2018-19 season or to purchase tickets, visit www.canyonspac.com or call the PAC box office at (661) 362-5304.

It’s Hot, Hot, Hot in Canyon Country!

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 8, 2018

We all know summers in Canyon Country are hot, but we make due. As temperatures hit the triple digits, it’s important to remember that too much heat and too much sun can be hazardous to your health. Plus, with more daylight and the increased focus on getting cool comes an increase in thefts.

This year, summer came roaring in, leaving a lot of us scrambling to find ways to beat the heat. If you ever find yourself in the position where your only thought is to cool down, make sure you’re paying attention to what you’re doing, or you could easily find yourself the victim of a crime.

For example, if you plan to be in your backyard, make sure you don’t leave doors or windows in the front of the house open. Not all home invasions occur while the owners are away. An open garage with nobody around can be pretty enticing to an intrepid young burglar looking for a quick score. The same thing goes for your car. Locking your car doors may seem like the most obvious thing in the world, but when it’s pushing 105 and you’ve got ice cream melting in the back seat, it can be an easy thing to forget. There are folks out there who walk around at night checking car doors to see if they’re locked. Perpetrators will often pass on locked cars, but for those that aren’t …

On the whole, Canyon Country is a safe and inviting place to live, although crimes do occur now and again. By being cognizant of what you’re doing, and not leaving yourself vulnerable, you can greatly reduce the risk of becoming a victim.

Night Shift – Kimberly Night Takes the Roads Less Traveled

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 7, 2018

Kimberly Night has traveled some unexpected roads, first bringing her to Canyon Country, then winding her way through an education at College of the Canyons, and finally, onto the college faculty.

Her field of expertise? Automotive Technology.

Night grew up in a small Northern California city, but moved to L.A. County for greater career opportunities and an abundance of activities. She and her husband, Christopher, decided to move to the Santa Clarita Valley for the schools. Their family, which includes two daughters, Victoria, 14, and Piper, 4, settled in Canyon Country for four years until recently purchasing a house in the San Fernando Valley.

Night decided the next part of her journey would be to expand her education, so she began considering what she wanted to study.

“I thought about the things I loved to do and what I found myself doing on a regular basis,” she said. “Being that there are no careers in buying shoes, working on and improving vehicles is my next biggest passion. So I vetted the schools offering automotive courses around the L.A. area.”

After sitting in on classes at each school she considered, Night chose College of the Canyons, and completed 60 percent of her general education requirements at the Canyon Country campus. It is where the automotive program is housed, so all of the core classes for that certificate are offered there. (She was awarded a pin, which she wore at her graduation, signifying that she took more than half of her classes on COC’s east campus.)

“I already knew quite a bit about vehicles, so I needed schooling to polish up my skills and help me with the more advanced skills required for modern vehicles,” she said. “I took the automotive and engineering courses, getting my degree in Automotive Technology MLR (Maintenance & Light Repair). I was the first female to complete the Associate of Arts degree in Automotive Technology at College of the Canyons.”

That wasn’t Night’s only “first.” While in her final semester of college, she was invited to do an internship at the Los Angeles Police Department. “I was excited to work LAPD garage, see how their shop ran and what opportunities may be available in the future,” she said. “The employees within the motor transport division of LAPD were amazing. … They had never had a female on the shop floor working before. So, my first day on the job was quite exciting for everyone.”

The office staff embraced the trailblazer, placing her name on one of the lockers in the women’s restroom.

“The sweet gesture made me feel welcome and like part of their team,” she said. “The office employees, along with the shop employees, were all waiting in anticipation to see if I would know what I was doing or if I would even do the task at hand. Of course, I did have the knowledge necessary and I did complete the job.”

It would not be the first workplace where Night would have to prove herself, but it was one of the friendliest. “Throughout my time there, no matter which facility I was at, it felt like home,” she said. “As big as the LAPD Motor Pool is, the employees within it are so inviting and pleasant to work with. I was genuinely excited and happy to go in each day to work with the employees at LAPD.”

With plans to complete her bachelor’s degree in the next couple of years, Night was thrilled to become a member of the COC faculty.

“Everyone at College of the Canyons is very forward-thinking and trying to stay in the forefront of their department’s area of focus,” she explained. “As I was finishing my degree, the faculty and staff at COC encouraged me to go for a position within the college.”

Night recently taught the Summer Institute Automotive course at the Canyon Country campus, which is a program that gives students going into grades 6-8 a chance to learn and experience what it is like inside various professions. In her automotive camp the young teens were able to work in the shop, just as adults would.

“My students assembled a working four-cylinder engine, which they took home,” Night said. “While these students do not yet drive, they learned about common roadside emergencies and how to properly respond to them.”

They constructed rolling vehicles from snack cakes, candy, crackers, marshmallows, etc. and held a competition to see whose car would roll the farthest. “The winning car was actually quite impressive,” Night said.

College of the Canyons’ Automotive Technology Department will expand its community education in the near future, according to Night. There is a course for women planned, as well as a course designed for teenagers as they become new drivers.

“This course will go over maintenance, handling, roadside emergencies, red flags and the like,” Night said.

Canyon Country residents, as well as other members of the community, can take advantage of the opportunities. And, of course, they’re likely to find Kimberly Night at the front of the class – at least some of the time – because College of the Canyons has learned that when trying something new, it’s smart to put someone on the job who knows the way.

Hoefflin Foundation Celebrates 25 Years of ‘An Evening Under the Stars’

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | August 7, 2018

A non-profit that was founded in Canyon Country and for many years held its annual fundraiser in Sand Canyon has a long, successful history of improving the lives of families fighting pediatric cancer.

The Michael Hoefflin Foundation will hold its 25th “An Evening Under the Stars Benefitting Kids with Cancer” next month, an event that brings together hundreds of Santa Clarita supporters and raises thousands of dollars for the non-profit organization. Many of the community members from the first event and early days of the Foundation are, once again, volunteering for the event as it marks a significant anniversary.

The charity’s roots are in Canyon Country. The event was held in the backyards of Sand Canyon residents in its early years, including the inaugural An Evening Under the Stars in 1993 at the home of Carl and Jeri Goldman. The fundraiser has brought numerous musicians to Santa Clarita as feature entertainment, from Christopher Cross to Eddie Money.

This year’s entertainment will be Kenny Cetera’s Chicago Experience, featuring Kenny Cetera, a former touring member of the original band, Chicago. It will be held on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 6 p.m. at Valencia Country Club.

The Valencia Country Club is a new location for An Evening Under the Stars. Attendees will enjoy a dinner catered by the golf club and the opportunity to bid on many unique auction items.

The chairman of this year’s event is Scott Schauer, owner of the Santa Clarita Soccer Center, who has been involved with the Foundation for more than 20 years. Visit www.mhf.org for ticket information and to discover what the Michael Hoefflin Foundation is doing in our community.
The Michael Hoefflin Foundation for children’s cancer is a public non-profit that provides financial and emotional support to children and their families in Santa Clarita and surrounding valleys. They strive to educate the public and provide grant funding for innovative research to accelerate progress in the fight against pediatric cancer.

Vista Canyon’s Developing Story

| Canyon Country Magazine, Sand Canyon Journal | August 6, 2018

The most common question developer Jim Backer receives from local residents is: “When will the Vista Canyon project be done?”

And like his 185-acre property between Soledad Canyon, Lost Canyon and Sand Canyon roads, Backer’s answer is anything but short and sweet. But he’s happy with the progress, and he feels the market is receptive to the types of amenities Vista Canyon is bringing to Canyon Country. Those include 1,100 residential units, nearly 1,000,000 square feet of commercial space, a new Metrolink station and more than 21 acres of recreational areas.

To begin with, much of the base utilities – sewer, water, storm drain, etc. – are getting completed on the west side.

“It’s really looking good over there,” Backer said. “They have the underground parts done, mostly. It’s coming along, making good progress.”

The first project completed will be the water reclamation plant, which should be finished in October or November of this year.

“It’s required to be operational before we start,” Backer said. “SCV Water is eventually going to have a pipeline for the excess water and they’ll build a tank.”

There’s a ramping up phase, Backer said, because there are a number of people who have to sign off on the plant.

Transportation Stations
“A lot of good things happened at Metrolink this month,” Backer said in mid-July. “Ninety-five percent of the drawings are completed.”

Money from the California gas tax has been allocated to construct a new Metrolink train station at Vista Canyon – $9 million, actually. Of course, that money could be jeopardized if the ballot initiative to repeal the 12-cent gas tax increase passes in November. City of Santa Clarita leaders have been working to acquire grants for the station’s construction, and part of its financing is on the shoulders of Backer’s company.

“They’ve never had another developer contribute to a train station like we have,” Backer said. “None of the other three train stations ever had significant developer contributions like ours has. The city is working on getting it funded and we’re optimistic it will be in the next two years.”

A bus transfer station that’s a part of the Vista Canyon project is scheduled to commence construction later this year, he said.

Office Space
One of the earliest aspects of the Vista Canyon project is construction of office space, which will be operational by the end of the year, Backer said. And apartments should be available a year later.

“When people see activity there, and Metrolink starts to be a reality, it’ll excite the office crowd,” the developer said.

There will be 650,000 square feet of office space and 165,000 square feet of retail stores. And with another 130,000 square feet for a hotel, Vista Canyon is almost 1 million square feet.

Most of the retail store space is on Lincoln Place, which starts at the river and goes to the train station. The development will be a mix of professional tenants and possibly big tenants who relocate here.
This fall, the project will encompass a structure where apartment dwellers and office space employees can park.

“That’s going to happen,” Backer said. “We’ve done the conceptual design which is leading to permanent design, which is in process. It gets a lot of scrutiny … making sure the radius is correct, and making sure they can get horse trailers through there.”

The testing process for the size of the roundabout involves constructing it larger than the actual size of a horse trailer, he said. JSB Development expects it to be completed next summer, but it’s based on the approval process. Of course, it will be easier to build when kids are on a break from school.

Jefferson Vista Canyon is the name of the 480-unit luxury apartments being constructed on the west side of the property by JPI, a company specializing in multi-family residences. The east side of the property is being sold by JSB to a builder who will move forward with the sale of new single-family homes. “That’s moving along; they’re in escrow,” Backer said. “We have roads with curbs on them now, and eventually they’ll have pavement and landscaping.”

“Assuming the deal closes in fall, we’re probably starting construction on the park late this year or early next year,” Backer said. “The park takes about six months or a little bit more.”

The bridge over the Santa Clara River bed is a few years away. “We’ve designed the bridge and submitted it to the city for review check,” Backer explained. “We will build that sometime between now and April of 2020. And it’ll take about a year to build.”

Most residents are aware of other Canyon Country building projects, as well. JSB Development sees them as fellow contributors to the improvement of the east side of the Santa Clarita Valley.
Sand Canyon Resort Hotel & Spa
Jim Backer shared his thoughts on other projects, such as the former Robinson Ranch Golf Club, now Sand Canyon Country Club. Owner Steve Kim is in the planning stages of an expansion into a resort hotel and spa.

“I applaud some of the vision for what’s going on there to make it more accessible to people, to build on what’s there,” Backer said. “It’s a great property, the topography and everything else.”

What Jim Backer and his associates have learned in the years leading up to Vista Canyon’s fruition is that the community matters.

“Mr. Kim (owner of the Sand Canyon Country Club) is in a neighborhood that wants to have input,” Backer explained. “His success here is going to be dependent on his ability to have community support. … The key is it’s taking into consideration good ideas and the needs of the community and the needs of the project.”
The developer said he disagrees with some residents who are concerned with further construction. “I don’t see it as the traffic generator that some people think, if it’s designed sensitively and there’s appropriate parking and access,” Backer said. “You have to see how the plan comes out in the end.

He doesn’t see the planned resort as a competitor to Vista Canyon. “I think it can be very complementary to what we’re doing,” Backer said. “It’s positive for that side of town. If Mr. Kim builds on what he has in a positive way, we would certainly support that.”

Sand Canyon Plaza
Tom Clark, the developer of Sand Canyon Plaza, is in regular communication with the JSB Development team.

“I think he’s getting pretty close to starting,” Backer said. “He’ll have some services there on his side of the freeway, and we have a pretty easy connection to him, so people living either place who want to go to the other – there’s some real opportunities over there for being really eco-sensitive.”

Backer has seen a lot of changes in Canyon Country in the nearly 15 years since Vista Canyon was in the idea phase. “Fair Oaks, Skyline – it’s creating energy and I think it’s turning out well,” he said. “With quality projects you get services and people have places to live and recreation and retail.”

So, how does Jim Backer answer the question, “How long will Vista Canyon take?”

He says: “People will be amazed from now to about 30 months from now, that 80 percent is built in the next three years.”

Free Fair Fun at 80th Annual Antelope Valley Fair and Alfalfa Festival

| Canyon Country Magazine, Entertainment | August 5, 2018

“Holy Cow We’re 80 Now!” is this year’s tagline for the Antelope Valley Fair, held August 17-August 26, 2018.

On top of the usual AV Fair/Palmdale Auto Mall Concert Series, which is featuring Chaka Khan & Sheila E. on opening night, there are some important things you should know…

New This Year

Antelope Valley Fair App – Download tickets, view a map, find food, rides, etc.

The Backyard – Hang out for beer and wine, a little corn hole, bocce ball and more.

Youth Film Festival – Watch short films that are written, directed, shot and edited by local youth.

‘80s Flashback Party – On Saturday, Aug. 26 from 7-11 p.m. Dress, dance and act like you did in the ‘80s at the Corona Cantina Stage

Free Fair Fun


  1. Free Grandstands to all the Palmdale Auto Mall Concerts
  2. Picture with Alfie
  3. Jr. Livestock Auction
  4. Download the Fair App
  5. Home Arts Entries in the Van Dam Pavilion
  6. Fair pins at the inFAIRmation Booth
  7. Rally Kia Arena Event: Figure 8 Race and Rural Olympics
  8. Fireworks Show after the Rural Olympics
  9. Rural Museum
  10. Pig Races
  11. Wild Animals
  12. Science Exhibits
  13. Ag Mechanics
  14. Shopping in the H.W. Hunter Pavilion
  15. 4-H Projects
  16. Petting Zoo
  17. Goat Mountain
  18. Dancing at Various Stages
  19. Big Wheel Ride with Concert Ticket
  20. Line Dancing
  21. Special Baking Contests every day
  22. Photo Opportunities
  23. Clowns
  24. Get hypnotized
  25. Balloon Animals
  26. Rotary Club of Lancaster Book Drive
  27. Grace Resources Canned Food Drive
  28. Vote in the People’s Choice Food Competition
  29. Read a Book with a Queen
  30. Wine Tasting at The Backyard on Tues. 8/21

For all the regular AV Fair details, such as dates/hours/prices/entertainment, visit AVFair.org.

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Doug’s Rant – Video Edition

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