May 3 Star Party at Canyon Country Campus

| Canyon Country Magazine | April 22, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Placerita Nature Center Programs

| Canyon Country Magazine | April 17, 2019

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

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

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

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

April 20 at 7:00 p.m.

May 18 at 8:00 p.m.

June 15 at 8:00 p.m.

July 20 at 8:00 p.m.

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

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

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

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

Ask the Expert – Real Estate

| Canyon Country Magazine | April 17, 2019

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

This is such a great question. First, you should always hire a qualified realtor who knows the area and works with buyers looking to move to your neighborhood. Some homeowners want to save the commission and sell it themselves, but in the long run they save 5 to 6 percent and then get 10 to 15 percent less for their home.

One reason it doesn’t benefit them is because they can’t market the home on a scale to attract multiple buyers. When I advertise a home, I make sure it goes out on a local, regional, national and international marketing plan. Remember, this is Southern California and buyers want to move here from all over the country and when they go on the internet and look for homes in Canyon Country your home needs to show up.

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

Another mistake sellers make is not preparing the home to show. You want to make sure that the home goes from “living condition” to “showing condition.” This is one area that I specialize in … I pay for my clients to get it done. To declutter and de-personalize the home, I have a stager that comes out and packs over 30-40 boxes of items and puts them with additional furniture and pictures, etc. in the garage. Then I have all the windows, carpets and home cleaned, as well as putting in brighter LED light bulbs, opening all window coverings and changing or fixing any items that may be loose or broken, like door handles, faucets, shower heads, etc.

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

Something that I do and pay for is an independent appraisal to find out exactly what the market value is before I put a home on the market. In the end, when a lender has the house appraised we already know it will come in at value!!

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


Canyon Country Kids ‘Come On Down!’

| Canyon Country Magazine | April 16, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Business Briefs

| Canyon Country Magazine | April 15, 2019

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


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


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


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

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

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

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


Canyon Country Community Center

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

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

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

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


Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library

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

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

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

Visit SantaClaritaLibrary.com for more information.

Parole – What is It?

| Canyon Country Magazine | April 15, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wendy’s Comes to Town

| Canyon Country Magazine | April 13, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canyon Cowboys Cornhole Tournament Benefiting CHS Softball

| Canyon Country Magazine | April 13, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Triumph Foundation 8th Annual Wheelchair Sports Festival

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | April 12, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Audrey’s Unicorns

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | April 12, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Support from competent medical professionals is also a big help.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vision to Be Organized

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 25, 2019

With the popularity of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” you’ve probably done some self-examination to decide if a little change is in order. But if applying the KonMari method sounds overwhelming, it’s possible you just need a little help.

There are a lot of circumstances that might lead you to reach out to Canyon Country resident Christie Johnson:

If your “junk drawer” is a closet
If you’re the only child of a hoarder
If you’ve got mass quantities of something you defend with “What if…”
If inviting Marie Kondo to your house would make her cry

There are plenty more reasons to call a professional organizer like Johnson, and the bonus you get is she trains you to use new practices to make it easier for you to go forward without a repeat of untidy habits.

Vision to be Organized is the name of Johnson’s business, which involves her working side-by-side with you to create systems of organization that work for you. She is an objective party, able to put ownership of your belongings in perspective, while remaining sensitive to your needs and desires.

“That is a part of me as an organizer – I’m sentimental for my clients,” Johnson explained. “Other organizers might say, ‘You don’t need it anymore, it’s not doing anything for you.’ I will say, ‘Let’s document the story.’”

The clutter part of it gets addressed later in the process. Johnson approaches the client to suggest that the documentation is enough without holding onto the physical items, which may be furniture, like rocking chairs, or home goods, such as teapots or handkerchiefs. She’ll ask, “Do we really need it to document the story, or is there someone else in the family who could use it?”

One of the hurdles for an individual who has trouble parting with things is their attachment. “Why they have it in the first place, why they bought it, why they received it into their house,” she explained. “They ‘can use it someday’ or ‘why should they get rid of it if they don’t need to?’”

The majority of Johnson’s clients have read the book by the new Netflix star Marie Kondo about increasing your joy by decreasing clutter.

“Most of them have multiple organizing books in their house,” she said. “But applying the methods to it is another thing – it just doesn’t click.”

Perhaps none of us need another reason to de-clutter, but it’s helpful to be reminded of the advantages.

“Obviously, a kind of clear space, in the sense you have room to move around, so you don’t trip on anything or stumble,” Johnson said. “And health-wise, it contributes to cleanliness, because a lot of (knickknacks) bring dust into the house as well.”

She brought up another downside to ignoring the new trend toward tidiness: “The agony of throwing things in the spare bedroom and just closing the door, and then you don’t ever really have a spare bedroom available for a guest – which is impractical.”

Johnson’s home is nowhere near the image some people have of a stark, austere, sparsely-furnished house belonging to a professional organizer. She decorates with quilts, Swedish horses and plenty of memorabilia, mostly honoring family heritage, complete with a “genealogy wall” along the stairwell.

The most common articles that she’s seen residents purging are clothing and electronics. And for the latter, by the way, Johnson recommends smashing your hard drive.

One of the bigger challenges with clutter that people have is excessive paper. “Bills and receipts, trying to get away from the piles and files and the file cabinets,” she said. “If they feel uncomfortable getting rid of old papers, like tax returns, they can scan them.”

Originally from Nebraska, Johnson moved to California to work in the fashion industry, hoping for a Hollywood wardrobe connection. When it didn’t pan out that way, she ended up in retail management, later leaving the chore of working nights, weekends and holidays to launch her own business.

A scrapbooking fan during the ‘90s craze, she worked in a crafting store and found herself organizing a lot of photos as a part of assisting locals with their scrapbooks.

“They’d say, ‘There could be more photos, but they’re in that guest room’ or in ‘that closet’ or in ‘that drawer that’s messy and disorganized,’” she said. “And I’d say, ‘I can help you tidy that up.’”

That led to organizing various spaces in her clients’ homes in search of photos, and she realized she could expand her scrapbooking business, also noting the rise in organizing shows on TV. Next she found an industry affiliation to join – National Association of Professional Organizers.

She’s active in NAPO, including the Los Angeles chapter and a virtual chapter of the association. She also attends and speaks at conferences in and out of California.

Johnson will teach a class at the SCV Family History & Genealogy Fair at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, at 24443 McBean Pkwy in Valencia, on March 23. The conference is free and open to the public and will run from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. For more information, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/scv-family-history-and-genealogy-fair-2019-tickets-55138466638.

Her trajectory got its start early. Johnson’s first job was at a pizza restaurant, where she earned an award for “most organized.” Later, her interests and experience contributed to her current expertise and, like her colleagues, she developed a specialty. There are organizers with narrow specialties, including: photo books; video transfers; memory boards; kosher kitchens; and eco-friendly organizing.

The job of a photo and genealogy organizer requires a certain amount of flexibility, as there are ongoing shifts in the technology market. And sometimes it’s the client, especially those who struggle with ADD or OCD, she said. Tasks can get bogged down when they spend too much time making decisions about one small item or if they have way too much to wade through.

“I don’t specialize in hoarding, though I have worked on the TV show twice,” Johnson said.

As an assistant to another organizer, her first gig on the A&E series “Hoarders” involved a young woman whose mother had passed away.

“She was trying to keep the memory of her mom alive, and she had young children and wanted them to remember,” Johnson said. “There were photos involved, so I came on to help her work through some of the photos and some of the memorabilia even.”

The second hoarding project was a mother and two daughters whose household had deteriorated due to personal setbacks.

“The mom went through a divorce and she had some health issues, so her life just stopped,” Johnson explained. “As we peeled back the layers you could actually see the stuff in the house get younger and younger. The top layer was the girls’ recent boy craze and the bottom was their toys and baby clothes.”

But the job wasn’t as difficult to endure as it sounds, she said.

“It wasn’t dirty or dusty – it wasn’t bad, it was just layers of their life,” she said. “A team came in and everybody specialized in something different. Someone specialized in kids, someone in paperwork, someone in organizing the kitchen, someone for closets. We all came in and as soon as we knew what we needed to do, we gravitated to that.”

You could sense the family’s relief at the end of the job, Johnson said, but those scenarios can spark problems in the future, with a likelihood of recidivism. “We’re in there for two 8-hour shifts, and then we leave,” she said. “They didn’t learn the skills … they need training.”

She’s worked with various clients for 10-15 years now, witnessing growth along the way. “When I have the same client over time, their lives change,” she said. “The system they had set up may no longer be needed, so that needs to be changed. Like when they used to pay with paper, now it needs to go online.”

Johnson’s business has also experienced change since she launched it.

“Back then there wasn’t that much information about (organizing). They’d call me because they’d say, ‘I can’t walk in my house’ or ‘I can’t find this,’” she said. “Now there’s a lot of knowledge and information put out there – the books, the shows, your best friend getting organized and you not being organized … people are more aware of it than they were 10 years ago.”

The upside to it is that now it’s not as hard to get the client sold on the job.

As far as the reason some people need help with organization is due to many factors, she said. “There’s a genetic component and also lifestyle, and exposure you’ve had, education or no education,” she explained.

Johnson has guided people through the latest DNA testing, as well, but warns that family secrets sometimes pop up.

“I have a client who’s adopted and wanted to do the genealogy to find out who her birth parents are,” she said. “As I hand her the test, I tell her, “As long as you know it could find you siblings and other relatives.”

Johnson’s client responded affirmatively. “She and I are hoping for something very exciting,” she said.
For Canyon Country residents, living in a fire zone means they have an added incentive to put genealogy documents and photos in a safe place.

“It’s not just fires – it’s earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes – it affects everyone,” Johnson said, adding that people everywhere should scan their genealogy materials and put scans into a cloud service, such as Dropbox.

It’s the dual benefit to the whole process – absence of clutter and protection of valuables.

When asked her greatest satisfaction, Johnson said, “When we have the photos in beautiful books or they’ve all been scanned and all the scanned information is given to family members.”

Visit visiontobeorganized.com.

PC 273(a) – Child Endangerment

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 20, 2019

Residents of a Canyon Country apartment complex got a scare recently when they witnessed a small child standing dangerously in front of an open window and banging on the screen. According to eyewitnesses, the little girl was heard screaming and crying as she pounded against the screen of a second-story window. With the sliding glass open, the flimsy screen was the only thing keeping the child inside the apartment.

Neighbors quickly phoned 911, and emergency response teams were dispatched to the location. Deputies from the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station were attempting to get into the apartment through the door, but were having trouble, so a fire truck with a ladder was brought in to get the girl to safety. Fortunately, one of the deputies was able to gain entry to the apartment and get the girl from the window. The child appeared to have been left unattended and, once located, her parents were both arrested and charged with child endangerment. They were taken to the SCV Sheriff’s Station to undergo booking and processing and were held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Child endangerment is covered under California Penal Code 273(a) PC and is defined quite simply as willfully exposing a child to pain, suffering, or danger. Anyone can be charged with violating PC 273(a) – not just parents.
More often than not, the charge is pressed against an adult who has a child under the age of 18 in their care.
Per its definition, child endangerment may sound a lot like child abuse, but they are, in fact, two different things covered by separate penal codes. Child abuse is covered under California Penal Code 273(d) and is described as imposing physical injury or cruel punishment on a child. The major difference between child endangerment and child abuse is that, in cases of child endangerment no actual harm has to happen to the child. In cases of child abuse there typically needs to be some sort of injury to the child.

Child endangerment can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history (if any). If charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include misdemeanor probation and/or up to 6 months in county jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines. For felony charges, the penalties include 2, 4, or 6 years in California state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 and/or at least 4 years of formal, felony probation.

Vista Canyon Update

| Canyon Country Magazine, Sand Canyon Journal | March 20, 2019

Canyon Country Magazine checked in with Stephen Valenziano from JSB Development to find out the status of Vista Canyon, which is the property in the Sand Canyon/Lost Canyon area. The first phase, building the water reclamation plant, is pictured.

“The Water Factory is complete – equipment now being tested and certified,” he said in an email. “We will operate the Water Factory for 18-24 months before turning it over to the City of Santa Clarita.”

It is scheduled to be operational in June or July.

“The first three-story commercial office and retail building is about eight weeks away from completion, with initial proposals and leases under review,” Valenziano said. “Street paving, sidewalk and curbs, street lights, etc. is now underway.”

And what’s next?

“Bridge design is 95 percent complete,” he added. “The City has redirected a grant and will be building the bridge, with reimbursement coming from future developer bridge & thoroughfare fees. Road intersection work is beginning in summer /fall, with actual bridge construction beginning in spring 2020.”

The city bus transfer station construction will start in a few months, according to Valenziano. Grant funding for the new Metrolink station is nearing completion and station design is 95 percent complete. Station construction may start as soon as late 2019 or early 2020. Over the next 5 to 7 years, the balance of 650,000 square feet of offices, 165,000 square feet of retail, a 200-room hotel and approximately 400 luxury multifamily units will follow in the Town Center portion of the project.

How has the rain affected the Vista Canyon schedule?

“It has been a difficult winter for construction projects,” Valenziano said. “The rain has caused us, and all other builders throughout Southern California, some delays.”

Dallas builders JPI purchased the west side of the Vista Canyon development and construction is now underway for 480 luxury multifamily units.

The east end of Vista Canyon is in a land sale transaction with a major national homebuilder, which is scheduled to close at the end of the month. They will build 245 small-lot, detached homes for sale and the first models are scheduled to arrive in October.

Look in the April issue of Canyon Country Magazine for another update … and possibly an announcement!

National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day is March 29, 2019

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 20, 2019

You see them when you drop off your dry cleaning, call out a plumber and have your trees trimmed. But the local business climate is benefited when you also choose a mom and pop company for other needs, such as clothes shopping, auto parts and hardware.

March 29 is Mom and Pop Business Owners Day, where communities everywhere focus on local companies that can more easily survive when we shop with them.

“When you own a small business, you pour everything into it,” said D.W. Cookie Co. owner Devar Ward. “It’s more value to the customer and to the mom and pop. Every dime counts, everything that comes in counts. It’s a way of supporting your own community.”

According to the National Center for Business Journalism, it’s the Small Business Administration, or SBA, that determines what falls into that category. It’s industry-specific, so in some cases the size of a business is based on the number of employees the company has, but in other industries it’s based on total receipts.

The agency considers “economic characteristics comprising the structure of an industry, including degree of competition, average firm size, start-up costs and entry barriers, and distribution of firms by size,” the website says. “It also considers technological changes, competition from other industries, growth trends, historical activity within an industry, unique factors occurring in the industry which may distinguish small firms from other firms, and the objectives of its programs and the impact on those programs of different size standard levels.”

An article on NationalToday.com offers support for celebrating small business.

“Our economy couldn’t run without small mom and pop businesses,” it says. “They create economic growth and provide almost 70 percent of all new jobs in the country. That’s why every year on March 29 we acknowledge the more than 27 million small businesses in this country by celebrating National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day.

Rick and Margie Segel put the “holiday” on the calendar in honor of their parents, who ran a successful hat shop. They launched the business in 1939 and it grew to a 10,000-square-foot shop earning $2 million. The emphasis is on “long hours, hard work and dedication” that small business owners pour into their work.

Local business owner Karitza Gladden of Roast & Perk in Canyon Country also keeps her parents’ efforts in her thoughts. They had a restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, which means she knows the “fine print of running a business,” including the daily perseverance involved.

One of the biggest challenges, Gladden says, is “introducing a brand new brand, and gaining customers’ trust,” which can lead to success in standing out against the sometimes bigger names available.

That’s precisely the idea behind the national day of recognition.

“Mom and Pop shops bring fresh ideas to the marketplace,” the article says. “In today’s economy, when you can find the same products in every Big Box in every city, it’s refreshing to find something new which everyone else hasn’t discovered yet.”

“With big businesses all the stuff is automated now,” Ward said. “Sometimes the only interaction with a person you can get is that human interaction of a mom and pop shop.”

Paul Dell’Olio of Paul’s Paint & Hardware in Canyon Country finds his greatest satisfaction in providing that contact.

“There are many differences between mom and pop and big box stores, but number one for us would have to be when a customer walks into our store, we smile, we help and we care – enough said,” Dell’Olio commented. “Owning your own business is a lot of hard work. The reward is all the wonderful relationships we’ve developed with our customers over the last 25 years.”

One of the other good reasons to support small business is that their success gets poured back into your community.

Gladden makes a point to hire high schoolers, so they learn to feel comfortable with people, learn a trade, and experience work in the real world.

And during a recent season of fires, Roast & Perk, which is located in the Canyon Country Theatre complex, facilitated the collection of supplies for first responders.

The benefits go both ways, Gladden says: “Even though we are small, we are still receiving a lot of love from the community.”

The website encourages everyone to “share the love” with small business owners, suggesting creative ways to pay tribute to mom and pops. The most obvious one is to “shop local,” of course. And the second is to share what you’re doing on social media. The more attention these businesses get the better.

You can also simply drop a note to your favorite business owners thanking them for their hard work. After all, you may not otherwise have access to those extra soft cookies or custom made T-shirts.

The Great Outdoors

| Canyon Country Magazine, Sand Canyon Journal | March 19, 2019

Life in Sand Canyon is never dull, especially with dramatic changes in weather this year. It’s been a wet winter, so Canyon Country Magazine checked in with some of our neighbors…

Wildlife Waystation

The Wildlife Waystation has reached out to supporters more than once for assistance. The constant rain has caused mudslides and flooding that’s affecting the lives of the hundreds of animals living at the sanctuary.

An email went out on Friday, March 1 from the Wildlife Waystation saying:

Thank you for supporting us! You’ve made a big difference this week helping to address our water, heating and repair needs. We are incredibly grateful.
We asked for your help this week because it is a very challenging time right now and our resources are strained. Also, since it is National Justice for Animals Week, we wanted to share with our friends and supporters some of the issues we face while providing the very best quality of life, which all animals deserve.

We›re asking one last time for your help this week. We have a large population of animals — much larger than most municipal zoos. A significant portion of our animals are geriatric or have special needs. Medicine is expensive. Analysis is expensive.  And, treatments are expensive.

The Wildlife Waystation has a full-time veterinary team providing daily care. Most sanctuaries rely on contracted veterinary support services to care for animals weekly, or even monthly in some cases.

For more information about the nonprofit animal sanctuary, call 818-686-6681 or visit WildlifeWaystation.org.

Placerita Canyon Nature Center
They have had a lot of water in Placerita Canyon, but the Nature Center is doing very well, says Evelyne Vandersande, editor of the nonprofit’s newsletter, “The Rattler.”

“There is no major problem with the stream, but it is running, and we love to see kids coming to play in the water,” Vandersande says. “I am sorry to say that we just received the news that the Canyon Trail won’t be open any earlier than next November. We had hoped it could be sooner.”

The Placerita Canyon Nature Center is planning its annual Open House, held on May 11, 2019.

Regular Programs
Every Saturday the PCNC offers a Family Nature Walk at 11 a.m. and a Native Live Animal Presentation at 1 p.m. There is no charge for these programs.

Every second Saturday of the month there is a docent-led Bird Walk starting at 8 a.m. for beginning to advanced birders. Bring binoculars, a field guide and water.

Every third Saturday of the month there is a Twilight Hike. Here’s the schedule:
March 16 7:00 pm

April 20 7:00 pm

May 18 8:00 pm

June 15 8:00 pm

July 20 8:00 pm

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

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

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

Canyon Country Resident Receives Award from PCNC

The annual Paul Levine Cup was presented to Placerita Canyon Nature Center docent Suzy Hermann of Canyon Country.

“Suzy’s attention-grabbing techniques while making a classroom presentation and unique educational approaches while teaching children is exactly what the Paul Levine Cup represents,” says an article in “The Rattler.” “Suzy motivates children in a way that enables them to understand and appreciate the natural features of Placerita Canyon. Many children come away saying they had the best day of their life.”

Originally from La Canada, Hermann became enamored with the outdoors as a youngster.

“My brother and I could wander the canyons, climb trees, throw rocks and just plain run around exploring all there was to enjoy outdoors,” she says. “It’s always better outdoors. We had dogs, cats, rats and snakes to keep us busy.”

She graduated from John Muir High School in Glendale and entered the nursing program at Pasadena City College. It was a chance meeting at a gas station where she jumped out of her car and hollered, “Hi ya, handsome!” that led to a 55-year marriage, the birth of a son and daughter – and now three grandchildren as well.

The Hermann family moved to Canyon Country when it was still called Saugus, where she heard about the Placerita Canyon Nature Center Associates and became a member.

Life took her away from the PCNC during the years of playing softball and soccer, coaching sports, teaching swimming, teaching Sunday School, all while putting in 50 years of nursing.

“I always intended to return actively to the Nature Center and eventually did,” Hermann says. “All I had to do was retire, which came about six years ago. … For me, the best part of being a docent is time spent with the kids, enlightening them with new knowledge about the beauty of animals, plants, ecology and how to enjoy and value all that nature presents, and helping them realize that nature is not to be feared, but to be protected, while hungrily exploring it all.”

Second Annual MakerSpace Festival Arrives at College on March 23

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 19, 2019

Makers and innovators of all ages are invited to stretch their imaginations and ingenuity at the second annual SoCal MakerSpace Festival. Come celebrate creativity, resourcefulness and invention on Saturday, March 23 at the College of the Canyons.

The family-friendly festival will feature hands-on STEAM activities, free workshops and exhibitions of the latest cutting-edge technology, including 3-D printing, lasers and coding.

“We are very excited to bring the MakerSpace Festival back to the Santa Clarita Valley and the surrounding Southern California community,” said Andy McCutcheon, dean of the college’s School of Humanities, which oversees MakerSpace. “We hope this event sparks the imagination and creativity of attendees of all ages.”

Several keynote speakers will also be presenting and food trucks will be parked onsite.

The MakerSpace Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Valencia campus at the main entrance. Parking will be free in all lots.

Admission is free and open to the public.

Created by Maker Media, the first MakerSpace Festival was held in the Bay Area in 2006. Since 2016, College of the Canyons has operated two MakerSpace locations at its Valencia and Canyon Country campuses.

Both of the COC MakerSpace facilities have been designed as collaborative learning areas which give users free access to tools, materials, technological resources, skills training and a variety of entrepreneurial opportunities.

For more information about the MakerSpace Festival, visit socalmakerspacefestival.org, email christopher.walker@canyons.edu or call 661-362-3601.

Ask the Expert – What Steps Should I Take to Buy a Home?

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 18, 2019

by Craig Martin

Many people ask me what they have to do to buy a home, so I put together a short list of items to consider when you decide it’s the right time for you to make 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 the debt-to-income ratio and it includes 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 lower, you get a better interest rate and you avoid the cost of mortgage insurance, which can save hundreds more a month. It is hard to save that much, but if your credit score is good you can also 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 deposited 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 and have a deposit ready, based on what you can qualify for, it is time to locate a home. I truly believe in finding a local real estate agent who is an expert in the neighborhood you choose. Most agents get compensated from the selling side and there should be no agent fees when you purchase. Just beware of any agency compliance fees and ask your agent to waive them if they come up. And since using an agent is FREE to you, there should be no excuse in not using one to help you find the perfect home.

Benefits of an agent: Finding the right agent to help you in the home buying process will be very beneficial. I specialize in that process and all of my services are FREE – I offer a loan consultation and credit report, as well as up to $5,000 towards your closing costs and a FREE local MOVE when I help with your home purchase.


Canyon Country Business Briefs

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 17, 2019

In January, the City of Santa Clarita issued 32 film permits which contributed to 75 film days, generating an estimated economic impact of $1,645,000.
The following productions were filming in Canyon Country in January 2019:
Television Shows:
9-1-1 – Babies R Us (vacant)
Murder Loves Company – Sand Canyon area home
NCIS – The Conservation Station
S.W.A.T. – Sand Canyon area home
Ford Co-Pilot 360 – Sable Ranch


Phase I construction plans, which includes the rough grading of the site, Mint Canyon Channel and storm drain improvements, and the installation of an infiltration system, are scheduled to begin in late March. They scheduled a groundbreaking ceremony at the project site for Friday, March 15 at 10 a.m.

Phase II of the project, which includes the future Canyon Country Community Center building itself, is planned to begin near the end of 2019, as soon as Phase I is complete. For more information on the new Canyon Country Community Center project, visit santa-clarita.com/FutureCCCC.


Planning has approved an Architectural Design Review (ADR) to allow for the Dog Haus restaurant to construct a new 1,240-square-foot outdoor patio attached to an existing building in the Plaza at Golden Valley. Improvements include new seating with a canopy, built-in seating and new railing.


On display March 19 through July 31, 2019
Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library, 18601 Soledad Canyon Rd.
Santa Clarita, CA 91351
All of the work in this exhibit features the art of local artist Christopher Darga. After working as an actor and sculptor in Los Angeles, Darga picked up paints again in 2013, due to inspiration from a gift that he received from his wife – painting instructional DVDs by the Santa Clarita artist Morgan Weistling. Darga was inspired and subsequently immersed himself into the world of oil painting.

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

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


Canyon Country Community Center

Get Your Game On at Family Dodgeball Night! (All ages)
Go all out for our Family Dodgeball competition! Throw, dodge and catch with the whole family tournament style. This friendly game does not require experience, practice or athletic ability to play. Come dodge, duck, dip and dive, as your family works hand-in-hand to beat the rest to be the best!
Friday, March 15
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Girls’ Night In (6-14 yrs.)
It’s time for the girls to shine! This evening will be full of dancing, crafts, games, painting fingernails and, most of all, making new friends! Dinner will be provided.
Friday, April 5
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Fee: $9 per person

Line Dance Night (18+ yrs.)
Line Dancing is a fun way to dance without a dance partner. Dancing styles covered in this special night will include routines like the Electric Slide, Cowboy Charleston, Black Velvet, Tush Push and more. Beginners welcome. Taught by D.J. Mike Bendavid.
Saturday, April 6
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Fee: FREE – No Registration Required

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

Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library

Children’s Programs:
Art for Little Hands
Art activities for toddlers and their families.
Friday, March 15
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Teen Programs:
Escape Room – A LepreCON Job
It’s almost Saint Patrick’s Day, and you’re determined to have genuine leprechaun treasure at your Saint Paddy’s Day party. You’ve discovered his treasure hold and tonight you’re going to steal it ALL!
Friday, March 15
3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

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

Film Screenings at Congregation Beth Shalom

| Canyon Country Magazine, Entertainment | March 16, 2019

A place of worship isn’t normally a venue for screening movie entertainment, but for the leadership at Congregation Beth Shalom’s monthly film series, being outside of the mainstream is a good thing.

“Five years ago, the CBS Film Series started as a way to bring wonderful and little known independent films to the community,” said Suzannah Warlick. “The two movie theaters in Santa Clarita typically show the same big budget blockbusters, (but) independent films don’t have those same budgets for publicity. They’re usually confined to film festivals and other venues you have to be in-the-know to find.”

The public is welcome to attend. And to get a taste of how unique the event is, among the movies they’ve screened are “Land of Milk and Funny” about an American Jewish standup comedian bringing colleagues to Israel and “93 Queen” about a Hasidic lawyer who creates the first all-female ambulance corps in New York City.

The CBS Film Series was designed to bring these diverse and lesser-known films into the public eye. At Congregation Beth Shalom’s first screening they only had 19 people in the audience, but it’s grown exponentially since then, so now they can typically expect about 100 people at the monthly event.

“With audience members spreading the word and bringing their friends, the film series even attracts people from neighboring communities as close as the San Fernando Valley and as far as Los Angeles,” Warlick said.

And the value is also a big draw. For the price of a $5 ticket, you get lunch and popcorn along with the movie.

“It’s a terrific way to meet new people and broaden your film horizons,” Warlick added. “We try our best to bring directors, producers, or relevant speakers to accompany the film for a Q&A. If we can’t make that happen, we still give the audience interesting information so they come away with an even better understanding of these amazing movies.”

The most recent film the group screened was “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast,” which has a score of 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The film featured Carl Reiner’s interviews with 90-year-old celebrities to get their insights about life. Dick Van Dyke, Kirk Douglas and Betty White were among those in the movie.

To stay informed about the Congregation Beth Shalom Sunday movies, you can get on a list to receive updates by emailing them at cbsfilmseries@gmail.com. You can also “like” the CBS Film Series on Facebook. Or you may also join more than 1,000 members on the Santa Clarita Monthly Independent Film Series Meetup group on Meetup.com.

East Side Night Life

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 15, 2019

Priority Ground: Music Open Mic Night
Friday, March 29 (7:00 – 10:00PM)
Priority Ground-Your Mailbox Direct, 20605 Soledad Canyon Rd., Canyon Country
A new Coffee House is hosting a monthly Open Mic Night. You will hear a variety of musical styles and you can participate as well. Musicians will sing and play LIVE. Snack specials along with a selection of PEET’S Coffees will be available. Listeners can hang out inside or outside.

St. Clare’s Fish Fry – Fridays
St Clare’s Catholic Church
19606 Calla Way in Canyon Country
The folks at St. Clare’s Catholic Church have gotten together for many years to prepare a Fish and Chips or Fish Taco Dinner for the community for Lent. It also serves as a fundraiser for local charities. You can eat there or get your order to go.
Fridays until Easter – 4:30-8pm

VFW Post 6885
16208 Sierra Highway, Canyon Country
Saturday (8PM-midnight)
Mar. 16 Big Coyote
Mar. 23 Servants of Soul
Sunday Afternoon (5:00-9:00PM)
Mar. 17 Chad Watson & Pam Lowe
Mar. 24 Breakfast w/Barbie
Mar.31 Susan Rey

Vincent Hill Station Restaurant & Saloon
553 Sierra Highway, Acton, CA
Mar. 15 Seventh Switch 8 PM
Mar. 16 Chrystal Waters 6 PM
Mar. 17 Open Mic 3 PM
Mar. 22 Overdrive 8 PM
Mar. 23 MILES 2 GO 6 PM
Mar. 24 Open Mic 3 PM
Mar. 29 Fulcos 8 PM
Mar. 31 Open Mic 3 PM

Bergie’s Bar & Grill
16404 Delone Street, Canyon Country, CA
Blues Tuesdays (7:00PM –10)
Mar. 19 In Memory of Skip Van Winkl
Mar. 26 Dallas Hodge
Thursdays SRBQ (7:00 PM-10)

Sand Canyon Real Estate Expert – What is it About Sand Canyon?

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

Yes, it is true, I have lived in the same home in Sand Canyon for 40 years and, God willing, that is where I will finish out my days. Simply said, it has been a wonderful place to call home for so many years. My neighbors are all great, many of whom have lived on my street – Ravenhill – even longer than my wife Kathy and I have.

Has Sand Canyon changed over the decades? I would have to say “yes.” There are twice as many homes today as there were in 1979.

So, what is it about Sand Canyon that makes it such a special place to live and raise a family? I believe there are a couple of reasons.

First off, there are the thousands of magnificent oak trees that line, virtually, every street in Sand Canyon. They bring a beauty to the area that is hard to find elsewhere.

Next, I would say the “special standards district.” There are no curbs, sidewalks or streetlights in Sand Canyon, with the exception of safety issues. That is to say, the neighborhood is rural with large lots, most of which exceed an acre.

Also, the Canyon is nearly surrounded by the National Forest, which adds even more to the beauty of the area.

Shifting gears, I’ll discuss the home sales market. Presently, there are 23 homes on the market in Sand Canyon with the average days on the market totaling 166. Of those homes on the market, only three are priced under a million dollars with the highest at $3,999,000, which is 13,000 square feet on over 8 acres. Over the last year, 37 homes sold and currently seven are in escrow.
You might like to know that sales of vacant land has been slow. There are many great opportunities for land, with 13 presently listed for sale and four having closed in the last 6 months.

Here is the bottom line, as I see it: There is no crisis in real estate, as prices are holding steady, in Sand Canyon in particular.

The last quarter has been a bit slow, but then, the end of the year and going into the new year is always slow, compared to the rest of the year. We are going into the best time of the year to sell or buy a home.

Also, don’t overlook the possibilities of building your dream home on one of the many beautiful lots that are on the market. Interest rates are still great. Does anyone remember the Jimmy Carter years?

Here’s looking forward to a great 2019!
Bob Kellar
Kellar Davis Real Estate

Joyriding Charges in Canyon Country

| Canyon Country Magazine | February 18, 2019

On January 29, 2019 a vehicle was reported stolen near Whispering Leaves Drive and Sierra Highway in Santa Clarita. When deputies located the vehicle, they attempted to make contact with the suspect, but he ran from them. A containment area was set up and the suspect was caught less than an hour later. He was arrested under suspicion of unlawfully taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent, as well as two other warrants, including vandalism and violation of a domestic court order.

Driving or taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent is covered under California Vehicle Code 10851 VC. It can be charged when someone drives or takes a vehicle without the owner’s consent, and with the intention of depriving the owner of the vehicle for any length of time. VC 10851 is often referred to as “joyriding,” because it isn’t quite the same as grand theft auto (GTA) which is covered under California Penal Code 487(d)(1)PC.

The two crimes are similar in many respects in that they both involve taking someone else’s car without the owner’s permission. The major difference between the two revolves around how long the suspect intended to keep the vehicle. Generally, when someone steals a car with the intention of depriving the owner of it permanently (whether by keeping it themselves or selling it), the person will be charged with GTA – a straight felony. If, however, a person takes a car without permission with the intention of keeping it only for a short while, it’s more likely they will be charged with joyriding – which is a “wobbler.”

A lot of California crimes are “wobblers,” which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal record. When “joyriding” is charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000. If charged as a felony, the potential penalties are increased to 16 months to 3 years in county jail.

Ask the Expert – Top 10 Ways to Prepare Your Home to Sell Quickly and for More

| Canyon Country Magazine | February 16, 2019

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 prospective buyers 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. I include specific items on this list at no extra charge.

Canyon Country Business Briefs

| Canyon Country Magazine | February 15, 2019

In December, the City of Santa Clarita issued 34 film permits, which contributed to 89 film days, generating an estimated economic impact of $2,103,500.
The following productions were filming in Canyon Country in December 2018.
Television Shows:
Are You Sleeping? – Friendly Valley
S.W.A.T. – Bistro DK
Taste – Area home
Untitled Suits Spin-off – Backwoods Inn
Young Sheldon – Area streets
Feature Films:
A Mother’s Deception – Sand Canyon area homes
Butter – Rancho Deluxe
Dell – Sable Ranch
Volkswagen – Area streets
Music Video:
MISSIO – Sable Ranch
Still Photo:
Ford Transit – Vista Canyon


Phase I construction plans are currently out to bid and include the rough grading of the site, Mint Canyon Channel and storm drain improvements.  In preparation for construction, a number of trees that would be impacted by the channel construction have been removed. It is anticipated that Phase I will begin construction in April of this year.

Canyon Country Community Center
Teen Night Out (13-18 yrs.)
This evening, we will be joining the iTEENS at the Newhall Community Center to work up a sweat with an evening of dodgeball, Wii or computers in the Tech Room. Bring a friend! Activities will be structured. Membership and participation is required.

Friday, February 22
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Boys’ Night In (8-12 yrs.)
It’s time for the boys to play! This evening will be full of sports like dodgeball, soccer, broom ball, hockey and games using the SMART ProTrainer Interactive Wall. Dinner will be provided.

Friday, March 1
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Fee: $9 per person

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

Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library

Children’s Programs:

Make a Sweet Treat
Wednesday, February 20
3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Have fun making candy sushi!  This free program is for children in kindergarten through sixth grade.  Participation limited to supplies on hand.

Teen Programs:

Chocolate Olympics
Friday, February 15
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Celebrate post-Valentine’s Day by joining Chocolate Olympics at the Library! Using different types of chocolate candy, you’ll participate in fun games that test your athletic skills in interesting ways. Compete for prizes!

Adult Programs:

Pencil Me In
Monday, February 25
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Join us the last Monday of every month to work on your planner, whether it is for work or personal use. Supplies are provided, but feel free to bring your own.
Supplies: stickers, washi tape and more.

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

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Doug’s Rant – Video Edition

  • WatchDoug’s Rant June 22
  • WatchDoug’s Rant June 15