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‘Sweets’ Art Exhibit in the First Floor Gallery of Santa Clarita’s City Hall

| Community | June 25, 2020

The public is in for a treat with the Santa Clarita Arts and Events Division’s “Sweets” art exhibit in the First Floor Gallery of City Hall. The artwork will be on display for all to enjoy from June 22 through September 11, 2020.

Currently exhibiting in a virtual gallery, “Sweets” will be the first in-person exhibit at City Hall that is open to the public since coronavirus (COVID-19) closures. The artists featured in the exhibit were asked to submit their favorite sweet treats in art form. The call for entries resulted in 31 selected pieces of art by 16 different artists. Some of the delightful work featured in the gallery depicts macarons, cupcakes, ice cream, honey and many more delectable treats.

The City of Santa Clarita encourages residents to view all of the tasteful art virtually or in-person. To learn more about the Santa Clarita Arts and Events Division, upcoming galleries, community art resources and more, visit SantaClaritaArts.com.

Doctor’s Diary – COVID-19/BLM : Blacklisted

| Community | June 18, 2020

By Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.

Growing up, I was an athlete going to the Olympics! Never happened.

I read enough to get by, but mostly magazines, newspapers, and mesmerized by O. Henry, the short story guru. Picking up a novel was never my cup of tea, and still isn’t. Now though, I read voraciously.

Every morning, I get the newspapers, and where is the first place I sift to?: Letters to the editor (LTEs). To me, letters are short stories, typically limited in word-number by the newspaper. Some reiterate the news, but most bring a creative interpretation of life, making you mad or even cry. LTEs are opinions representative of those living around us, whether you agree with them or not.

I have always been a whistleblower, even more recently when it came to healthcare and older adults. For fear of truth, I was blacklisted with my writing kept out of local newspapers and magazines.

Still, my “snippets” get posted or published. Why? Because concerned and open-minded citizens realize “free speech” is a stalwart of democracy. So honor this ideal, and respect each other for it.

Getting through this pandemic, and navigating BLM will depend on it.

End of LTE.

Signed: O. Henry surrogate

The City Of Santa Clarita Presents The Patriotic Pee-Wee Parade

| Community | June 18, 2020

The City of Santa Clarita is presenting the first Patriotic Pee-Wee Parade, in which residents are encouraged to design and build a miniature parade float, then capture a photo of it to be shared in an online photo gallery.

Mini float submissions should be a small version of the traditional decorative floats we often see on or pulled by vehicles during a parade. Submissions should not be any larger than three feet long and three feet wide. Use materials around your home like construction paper, recycled materials, action figures, flowers and more to build your unique float. Pee-Wee parade float entries are due by Friday, June 26, at 11:59 p.m. The mini floats will be voted on by the public in a variety of categories. Interested participants will submit their entries online in their category of interest. The City is also seeking a pint-sized Grand Marshal to announce the float category winners and prizes on Friday, July 3.

For the Grand Marshal role, parents or guardians are asked to submit a photo of their interested child or teen in their most patriotic attire. After the entry deadline on June 19, the voting period for submissions will begin on Wednesday, June 24, and it will continue through Wednesday, July 1.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the city is unable to have a traditional Fourth of July parade in Santa Clarita this year, but that won’t stop our community from engaging in the fun and festivities that the Fourth of July brings. The Patriotic Pee-Wee Parade allows the community to come together, while staying apart, to enjoy the unique miniature floats that our businesses, organizations and residents will design. The city encourages all to get involved, showing off your patriotic, innovative and fun mini float creations in one of our most memorable Fourth of July parades yet.

For more information, rules and to submit an entry for Santa Clarita’s Patriotic Pee-Wee Parade, visit Santa-Clarita.com/PeeWeeParade.

City To Partner With Santa Clarita Runners On Virtual 5k/10k

| Community | June 18, 2020

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and in the interest of public safety, the annual Independence Day Classic Races put on by the Santa Clarita Runners on the Fourth of July have been canceled. However, the City of Santa Clarita and Santa Clarita Runners are partnering to bring the yearly 5K and 10K races to participants virtually for free.

Those interested in running the virtual 5K or 10K can register for free through Active. Runners will be able to complete the distance – 3.1 miles or 6.2 miles – anywhere they choose over the Fourth of July weekend. Once a runner has completed the race, he or she will submit the finishing time through Active to be scored after the event.

Whether you want to rack up the miles in your neighborhood or go for a long run through the city’s off-street trail system, you get to choose the course. All you need to do is register online, run your race and have fun.

For the past 30 years, the Santa Clarita Runners Club has donated all proceeds from the Independence Day Classic Races to high school cross country programs in Santa Clarita. Consider donating so high school runners can continue to receive needed financial support.

For more information about the Fourth of July Virtual 5K and 10K and to register, visit santa-clarita.com/4thRun or contact the city’s Arts and Events division at (661) 250-3787.

Doctor’s Diary – Re-opening, How Safe Are You?

| Community | June 11, 2020

Once your doctor makes a diagnosis, a treatment plan is made. Will it be surgery, medication, or other evidence-based guideline promoting longevity or diminishing suffering?

For example, over the past 50 years, control of hypertension has increased life expectancy while diminishing heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease. Starting a patient on medication is not simply flipping a coin. Taking a good history, doing a worthy physical exam, and knowing how compliant a patient might be helps in making that decision.

For COVID-19, isolation by staying home was meant to “flatten the curve.” Now though, how do we “re-open” communities safely? Like in medicine, are there evidence-based guidelines that might help?

No.

How do you know the business where you buy food or eat-out with your family will be safe? Has the barber sterilized the scissors, or the church de-sanitized the pews correctly? What makes a business owner believe they have devised the correct way to prevent viral exposure?

Medicine long ago was standardized using evidence-based information, yet the behavior of COVID-19 is still unknown, and therefore not easy to contain.

Re-opening should not be simply flipping a coin.

Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.

Doctor’s Diary – COVID19 – We’re in this together

| Community | June 4, 2020

The 1996 movie Independence Day was a futuristic lesson in unity when the world fought for survival. Race, nationality, religion, social status, gender, educational level, nor political party played a role in this battle. We were one.

Similarly, when admitting patients to the hospital, I gather a team together strategizing a plan toward healing and returning them home. Patient well-being is the sole focus of the team, without any predilection or prejudice.

The world now faces a new challenge of COVID-19, while simultaneously an old illness of racial injustice lingers on…both taking human lives.

Those who divide, threaten, insult, and incite hate and animosity lack skill in leadership. When we work united as a team, we flourish. Divided, we fall.

“Black lives matter”, and our souls must be inspirited in this belief. But it also means fighting together, waving the same banner, supporting everyones efforts, and sacrificing for the common good.

Those who can’t or won’t do this, must be left behind. For those of us who move forward and win this battle, our next fight will be “All lives matter.”

Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.

City’s New Virtual Disc Golf League to Begin in June

| Community | May 28, 2020

Dust off your disc, breathe in the fresh air and get ready for a new competition from the City of Santa Clarita’s Adult Sports Office! The all-new Virtual Disc Golf League, which will kick-off in June, will pit Santa Clarita’s best disc golfers against one another and allow new players to sharpen their skills in a fun, safe and free environment.

Registration for the Virtual Disc Golf League runs from June 1–26, 2020, and players must sign up online at santa-clarita.com/DiscGolf prior to the deadline to be accepted into the league. Once registered, all players will be required to complete two rounds of disc golf at the Central Park course prior to the end of the day on June 26, and report their scores by email to [email protected]

After registration closes, all preliminary scores reported will be used to assign players into groups for league play. The number of registered players will be used to determine the number of groups in the league. Players will compete against others in their group over the course of the league season and the winner of each group will win a prize when the competition is completed.

The Virtual Disc Golf League is open to players of all skill levels and will officially begin on Sunday, July 5, using a singles stroke play format and will continue for one month. Players will be required to submit a one-round score on the Central Park course each week. Adult Sports staff will adjust basket locations every other week to create new course configurations as the competition progresses.

For more information about the Virtual Disc Golf League, visit santa-clarita.com/DiscGolf or contact the Adult Sports Office at (661) 290-2240.

Doctor’s Diary – COVID-19: Mother Nature’s Vote

| Community | May 28, 2020

As a physician, I am dismayed the COVID-19 healthcare problem has been tossed into the political arena. Americans are dying, and critical decisions must be made to manage this disease.

When I make a medical decision, the repercussions can be immediate, and judged by whether the patient lives or dies.

When elected officials make a decision to utilize masks, separation, isolation, or a vaccine to halt the spread of COVID-19, repercussions are not always immediate, and can be judged later at the voting booth.

Because the coronavirus does not survive well in summer heat (it is already 90 degrees in our valley), Mother Nature could decrease COVID-19 spread giving us a false sense of statistical security before it rises up again in Winter.

Ironically, Mother Nature might be a deciding factor in the November election. Should it remain warm through election day, it could benefit the President diminishing the virus. But if we have an early Winter with colder temperatures, the virus could proliferate boosting his opponent.

Mother Nature might get a vote this year, but I’d rather have her stay out of the political arena.

Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.

Canyon Theatre Guild Announces 2020 Scholarship Winners

| Community | May 28, 2020

The Canyon Theatre Guild, an iconic non-profit arts organization, is celebrating their 50th anniversary which includes awarding five $500 scholarships to graduating High School seniors pursuing higher education.  For the past 20 years, the theatre has awarded scholarships to high school graduates and enjoyed seeing those students apply them towards their educational goals.  The winners were chosen based on a personal essay and letters of recommendation.

The 2020 Canyon Theatre Guild Senior Scholarships winners are:

Lydia Botello – The Mercy Holiday Scholarship
Robin Haggenmiller – The Mike Levine Scholarship
Xavier Provens – The Darel Roberts Scholarship
Laine Matkin – The Patti & Greg Finley Scholarship
Travis Roy Rogers – The James Robinson Scholarship

With recent COVID-19 impacts on college admission, the Theatre believes in supporting and helping our students during this uncertain time and easing the process as much as possible for our high schoolers who are faced with unprecedented challenges.

“Thanks to the support of our patrons, we are beyond excited to offer these scholarships to such deserving seniors.  Winner selection was tough, as we were impressed with all of the applicants, and are beyond pleased to know these young people are out there and ready to take on the challenges of the future,” said Jennifer Teague, Director of Youth Programs and Administration.

Whether providing senior scholarships, offering workshops to the youth of Santa Clarita, or creating an outlet of entertainment for the family, the Canyon Theatre Guild exudes a passion for supporting the community and believes this year’s recipients will do the same.

TimBen Boydston, the Executive and Artistic Director of the Canyon Theatre Guild said, “Due to the amazing generosity of our Canyon Theatre Guild patrons, we were able to award $2,500 worth of scholarships this year.  It is very gratifying, especially during this unique time, to be able to help five incredible seniors as they take the next step in pursuing their dreams.”

For more information about youth programs offered by the Canyon Theatre Guild, contact Jennifer Teague at [email protected] or (661) 799-2700 during business hours.

The Canyon Theatre Guild is located at 24242 Main Street, Newhall, CA 91321. You can reach the Canyon Theatre Guild at the box office by calling (661-799-2702).

The City of Santa Clarita Presents ‘Art in Isolation’ Virtual Art Gallery

| Community | May 21, 2020

The City of Santa Clarita’s Arts and Events division has announced the launch of “Art in Isolation” as their latest virtual art exhibit. The virtual gallery showcases the artwork of 40 unique artists. Each piece of art has been created or inspired by quarantine, isolation and ongoing social distancing.

The 40 talented artists have submitted their work from California to states along the East Coast, Ukraine and Istanbul. The call for entries drew in 130 works of art of various forms, including paintings, drawings, printmaking, photography and more. The final 59 selected pieces spotlight the creative processes and inspirations while staying home and practicing social distancing.

During the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many lives have impacted to varying degrees and art provides a way to express and cope with those impacts. City of Santa Clarita Arts and Events Manager, Phil Lantis, furthers this sentiment in stating that, “Not only is art a healthy outlet and form of expression for those impacted by the current pandemic, but the virtual gallery presentation is also an innovative way to bring people together, from all over the world, safely at this time.”

Individuals are encouraged to virtually stroll the “Art in Isolation” gallery at Tiny.cc/Artinisolation. For more information about upcoming virtual art events, resources and more, visit SantaClaritaArts.com.

Hero of the Week – Bernadette Boylan

| Community | May 21, 2020

Bernadette Boylan, Supervising Social Worker at Children’s Bureau and resident of Santa Clarita, works each day to promote the best interests of children in foster care who have joined Resource Families throughout the Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys.

“I feel most fortunate to be part of a large team of professionals who work diligently to help Resource Parents to protect and nurture children, meet children’s developmental needs and address delays, support children’s relationships with their birth families, and connect to safe and nurturing relationships intended to last a lifetime,” said Boylan. “Each day is a new day to strive for the best possible outcome for every child who enters our foster care and adoption program,” she added.

However, Bernadette reminds interested adults that “there are many, many children that Children’s Bureau can’t help because there are not enough families to call upon. Also, it is very difficult and challenging to find families for older children and sibling groups.

If you have ever thought about becoming a resource parent, this poem by Forest Witcraft may encourage you to make that call: “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove . . . but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”

If you have the willingness, ability and resources, consider applying to become a Resource Parent with Children’s Bureau and provide a child the opportunity to experience stability, safety and well-being. A new online orientation is now available. Email your request to [email protected] or call 800-730-3933. The website www.all4kids.org/programs/family-foster-care-and-adoption/ also has a form where you may sign up to receive the orientation or to request more information.

Santa Clarita Public Library Now Offering Temporary Curbside Pick Up

| Community | May 21, 2020

The Santa Clarita Public Library has just introduced a new temporary curbside service at all three branches for residents to pick up physical library materials they have placed on hold online. This contact-free pickup method allows residents to drive to a designated parking spot and call (661)259-0750 to have library staff prepare and deliver their items to a curbside table.

Residents participating in curbside service should have their library card number or driver’s license number available to redeem their hold items. Participants should allow up to 15 minutes for items to be delivered to the curbside table. Residents are asked to stay in their vehicle until library staff has retreated past the marked red safety line, as social distancing procedures are strictly followed.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has required city staff to think further outside the box to continue delivering the services that residents desire or need. Library staff has been hard at work to create a safe solution for residents and employees. In addition to curbside delivery, residents should be aware of the increased sanitation efforts of the Santa Clarita Public Library to ensure continued safety whenever you check-out an item. When handling any library materials, library staff have made it a priority to wear face coverings and gloves. Library staff is also taking any returned materials and placing them in quarantine for three days. Last, the Santa Clarita Public Library is continuing to increase its contact-free services, including the eLibrary, Virtual Storytimes, Virtual Game Nights and more.

If you have any questions about the new curbside library service and additional offerings, email [email protected]. For regular updates on Library operations, events, services and more, visit SantaClaritaLibrary.com.

58 Years Strong

| Community | May 21, 2020

At 92, one would probably have retired but Family Medicine physician, Lawrence Leiter, M.D. continues to provide care amid the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Since the announcement of the virus in early March, Dr. Leiter’s office remains open to provide his patients continued access to healthcare.

Serving the Santa Clarita Valley and Canyon Country since 1962, Dr. Leiter is well-known and beloved by the community. Patients of all ages find Dr. Leiter to be caring and compassionate.

While his office remains open, Dr. Leiter also connects with his patients using tele-medicine – a virtual appointment visit that allows patients to interact with their physician using a smartphone, tablet or computer.

The incorporation of state-of-the-art technologies is no surprise to Diana, a member of the community, “Dr Leiter continues to thrive in the ever-evolving healthcare industry. It’s been quite inspiring to watch him perform alongside his younger peers. His loyal patients prove him to be successful in combining a traditional practice while adapting to the new norms.”

Even amid the changes to current healthcare conditions, Dr. Leiter continues to accept new patients so that they have the opportunity to obtain care from a local physician. Dr. Leiter is part of the local provider network, Heritage Sierra Medical Group [HSMG].

Heritage Sierra Medical Group services the Santa Clarita and Antelope Valley with local physicians, urgent care centers, and specialists. To learn more about Dr. Leiter please call (661) 250-0100.

Doctor’s Diary – COVID-19: Opening Hospital Doors to Families

| Community | May 21, 2020

As an end-of-life physician, I know being with a loved one during their final moments is a deeply personal and emotional memory. This has been changed by COVID-19.

Since the onset throughout the country, patients have passed away without family members. It is inhumane, and a horror story. Knowing of this separation has kept those who are ill from going to hospital emergency rooms, whether they are sick with coronavirus or not.

A couple I cared for for decades were ill. Married for over 40 years, they didn’t know whether they had the virus. Despite low oxygen levels, they refused to go the hospital worried about separation. They survived.

Flattening the curve has been achieved. Re-opening some businesses is occurring.
Now is the time to re-open hospital doors and allow loved ones back in.

Hospitals are furloughing medical staff because census is low. Patients won’t go to the hospital not only for fear of coronavirus, but also fear of separation.

Therefore, provide personal protective equipment, educate visitors on appropriate hygiene, and screen them. But let them back in!

Let’s end this horror story and bring back humanity.

Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.

Doctor’s Diary – COVID-19: Monitoring destiny

| Community | May 14, 2020

You’re sick. Is it a cold, seasonal flu, or COVID-19?

Whether you know the answer or not, the fatal destination typically is your lungs. If this happens and you are not in the right place having appropriate healthcare, you can go into respiratory failure requiring a ventilator (respirator).

Some of you remain at home, and are ill. Knowing blood pressure, pulse, and temperature are important. But a critical piece of information is your oxygen level. When this starts to decrease, your lungs might not be exchanging oxygen well because of infection.

Pulse oximeters, like toilet paper, are becoming rare. They may be purchased at pharmacies or online. It is placed on the fingertip and provides an oxygen reading.

If the oxygen level is decreasing and becomes abnormal, it could be an indication of pending respiratory problems. Associated with shortness of breath and other symptoms of COVID-19, this may be a time to seek medical help.

Since nasal swab testing for COVID-19 is presently limited, don’t wait for this result if your oxygen level is dropping.

Life might be at your fingertip.

Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.

Join SCV Water for a Virtual Open House in Honor of California’s Water Awareness Month

| Community | May 14, 2020

Even though we’re all staying safer at home, and unable to gather in-person this year, SCV Water is still celebrating California Water Awareness Month with a Virtual Open House!

Join us during the month of May, by visiting yourSCVwater.com/open-house any time you want from the comfort and safety of your own home!

We’re offering some virtual ways for you to learn more about water, including tips, tools and best practices to save water! As well as some landscaping resources.

We’ll also showcase some of our amazing partners. Watch for content from the City of Santa
Clarita, L.A. County Vector Control, local landscape designers and more! Be sure to follow us on social media the week of May 11!

Previous Open House Celebrations
For the past 25 years, SCV Water (and previously, Castaic Lake Water Agency) has invited our customers to learn more about your water and the people behind it at an annual Open House. Last year more than 1,500 people joined us at Central Park and at our Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant.

About SCV Water:

The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency (SCV Water) is a full-service regional water agency located in the Santa Clarita Valley. SCV Water provides water service to approximately 74,000 business and residential customers. It was formed on January 1, 2018 when local water suppliers combined into one integrated, regional water provider. More information can be found at www.YourSCVwater.com.

Dining In Before It’s Time

| Community | May 14, 2020

Days before the governor released guidelines for reopening in-room restaurant dining, Jonathan Carrillo finally had enough and opened his Crazy Otto’s location, rules be damned.

Simply put, it was a matter of economics.

“To be honest, we got families to feed, and we got employees with families to feed,” Carrillo said Monday, the day before Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined a detailed plan. “We’re losing money every day we’re closed. Our business is sit-down, not drive-through.”

One woman who dined there said, “It was so nice to be able to walk into a restaurant and sit down at a table and have a meal.”

The mayor, however, said any restaurant that’s accepting inside dining is violating city and county orders and might be cited. But he stopped short of saying he would report the restaurant; the city has no role in enforcement, he said. In fact, the City Council plans to send a letter to the county objecting to the plans to extend stay-at-home orders until July 31.

“What is going to cause significant conflict is when you have a state Department of Public Health, and each individual county has the option of accepting (the guidelines),” Mayor Cameron Smyth said, referring to Newsom saying counties that have met certain state benchmarks can have more businesses, such as restaurants, reopen.

“Many business owners who want to open responsibly will in all likelihood open under stand guidelines thinking they’re compliant despite county regulations saying no,” Smyth said.

No restaurants in Los Angeles County have been approved to open for dining-in service.

“They are putting their licenses at risk,” Smyth said. “I would certainly encourage businesses to comply with state and county laws and regulations.”

The Valencia Crazy Otto’s on Wayne Mills Drive completely reopened last weekend after being opened for take-out only Fridays through Sundays since March because there wasn’t enough business during the week. Carrillo estimated the pandemic has cost him 90 percent of sales.

Carrillo said he isn’t advertising the reopening but instead is relying on word of mouth. The hours also have been shortened. The restaurant is now open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., but the full reopening has resulted in hiring back five of the 15 staff members, he said.

“Hope the community supports us,” he said. “There’s folks in the community who are tired of it and want to get back to normal.”

Sharon Ventrice, who with husband Bob dined there, said she is “so tired of this stay-at-home stuff. I get it, people are getting sick, people are dying. Somewhere along the way, it’s got to return to it being our choice.”

On Tuesday, Newsom unveiled an 85-point plan for restaurants to reopen. It requires each restaurant have a written, worksite-specific COVID-19 prevention plan, perform a comprehensive risk assessment of all work areas, and designate a person to implement the plan and train employees on it.

It also mandates physical distancing to the maximum extent possible, having all employees cover their faces and frequently wash hands and having the facility regularly cleaned and disinfected.

Since Carrillo and partner Brian Hernandez opened before these guidelines came out, it remains to be seen how many of them can, or will, be implemented. Carrillo said dining parties are being kept at a distance, employees are wearing masks or bandanas, and he hired professional cleaners to disinfect the restaurant.

“We want to make sure that everyone still feels safe. If not, we still offer to-go,” he said. “It’s up to the customers.”

Ventrice said the tables were set up and did not appear to be farther apart than during pre-COVID times. The booths were open and parties sat at adjacent booths, but she said it appeared most people tried to sit apart from fellow diners, although no one said they had to.

The staff did not wear masks (“Oh, God, it was so nice,” Ventrice said), and the workers wiped down the tables even as the diners sat there.

“People are really, really tired of being stuck at home,” Ventrice said. “Bob and I enjoyed a meal out. For us, it was really exciting.”

Smyth said he wasn’t aware the restaurant was open until the Gazette called. “I assume that, since this will be in the media, county health officials will be made aware,” he said.

Carrillo it’s time to reopen because he can’t afford not to. As a first-year operation, there are costs that need to be paid. He hopes he can make it through the week.

“If the county or if the governor is going to give me a loan, I’m all for it (staying closed),” he said. “I’ve followed it long enough. That’s our personal opinion. We’re going down that path. … Hopefully the community responds and we can continue.”

19th Annual 4.0 Student Recognition Celebration Goes Virtual

| Community | May 7, 2020

The AV Fair & Event Center in partnership with the Antelope Valley Union High School District will host the 19th Annual 4.0 Student Recognition Celebration virtually on May 26, 2020. The celebration was originally scheduled for April 21, 2020, however due to COVID-19 safety and health orders, the event will now be a virtual event, premiering on the AV Fairground’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/avfairgrounds) on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 6:00pm.

The long standing event honors high school students who’ve maintained a 4.0 or higher grade point average throughout their high school career. A total of 649 local High School seniors, graduating with a cumulative 4.0 or higher GPA, will be recognized for their academic achievements from twelve local high schools including: Antelope Valley, Desert Christian, Eastside, Highland, Lancaster, Littlerock, Palmdale, Paraclete, Pete Knight, Quartz Hill, SOAR, and The Palmdale Aerospace Academy.

Betty Smith, President of the Friends of the Antelope Valley Fair commented, “These students, their teachers, parents and mentors have worked so hard during the past several years, and they deserve to be celebrated. Although this year’s event is very different from year’s past, we are thrilled to be able to continue the program by presenting the scholarships virtually to these amazing students. I also applaud our event sponsors, many whose lives and business have been significantly changed during this challenging season, yet they remain committed to supporting our local youth. This is a great program, that is only made possible by a great community “

Monetary scholarship amounts start at $250.00 with the highest monetary scholarship totaling $2,000.00. Over twenty cash scholarships will be awarded to students whose names are randomly drawn. 100 percent of each scholarship will be given to the student name drawn. The largest cash scholarship will be $2,000.00, courtesy of the office of Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Board of Supervisors, County of Los Angeles. While previously, only students in attendance at the actual event were eligible for the scholarship drawing, this year all qualified 4.0 students will be entered into the drawing. In addition to the monetary scholarship winners being announced, as is tradition, the University of Antelope Valley (UAV) will be providing a full ride scholarship, valued at $60,000.00.

The virtual celebration will include inspirational messages from community leaders and other key influencers including Pastor Chris Johnson from Grace Chapel, Okay Girl Podcast hosts Lala Soum and Ashley Simone, Dr. David Vierra AVUHSD, Sandra Johnson UAV, Betty Smith Friends of Fair Director, and others. For more information visit avfair.com

Doctor’s Diary (Snippets from the Frontline) COVID-19: Monitoring destiny

| Community | May 7, 2020

You’re sick. Is it a cold, seasonal flu, or COVID-19?

Whether you know the answer or not, the fatal destination typically is your lungs. If this happens and you are not in the right place having appropriate healthcare, you can go into respiratory failure requiring a ventilator (respirator).

Some of you remain at home, and are ill. Knowing blood pressure, pulse, and temperature are important. But a critical piece of information is your oxygen level. When this starts to decrease, your lungs might not be exchanging oxygen well because of infection.

Pulse oximeters, like toilet paper, are becoming rare. They may be purchased at pharmacies or online. It is placed on the fingertip and provides an oxygen reading.

If the oxygen level is decreasing and becomes abnormal, it could be an indication of pending respiratory problems. Associated with shortness of breath and other symptoms of COVID-19, this may be a time to seek medical help.

Since nasal swab testing for COVID-19 is presently limited, don’t wait for this result if your oxygen level is dropping.

Life might be at your fingertip.

Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.

Bridge to Home to Host Virtual Chili Cook-Out Fundraising Event

| Community | April 30, 2020

Bridge to Home is partnering with Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewery Company, Salt Creek Grille, The Local Pub & Grill, and Old Town Junction for a fundraising event. On May 4, customers can enjoy a take-out a chili dinner for four for a $100 donation from any of the partnering restaurants.

The dinner for four includes chili, corn bread, salad with a choice of dressing, and choice of beverage. Customers can purchase a Virtual Chili Cook Out ticket on Bridge to Home’s website at www.btohome.org. Tickets are on sale now. Customers are requested to order their virtual ticket online by 12:00 p.m. May 3.

Bridge to Home is implementing this fundraiser to support their programs and local businesses, while offering a fun and delicious take out dinner for residents in Santa Clarita. The event raises critical funds needed during the COVID-19 crisis and will immediately support programs that help people in our community who are vulnerable to homelessness.

Three major community-based fundraisers scheduled for April and May 2020 were cancelled due to safe social distancing. These events generate approximately $35,000. There will be increased costs due to moving the shelter, and an increase in the number of people served at Bridge to Home, in addition to expanded services related to this crisis.

Bridge to Home is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in the Santa Clarita Valley. Their mission is to provide shelter, support services and permanent affordable housing, and to advocate for sustainable solutions for our neighbors in need.

Doctor’s Diary – COVID-19: Dear Bailout Company

| Community | April 30, 2020

As a frontline provider of healthcare, the COVID-19 pandemic brings new urgency caring for patients. Every day I have to carefully calculate my time to insure those who might be ill are treated. There are many hoops doctors face that must be overcome.

Yesterday, I spent 20 minutes writing a letter for a patient to two airline companies because they would not refund monies after flight cancellations this week.

The patient is a caregiver for an ill loved one, but also attempts adhering to government direction on limited travel. But the airlines were not going to give a refund without a doctor letter. Oh hum…20 minutes.

Maybe, I could have evaluated one patient, called a worried family member, or perhaps tracked down gloves, gowns, and masks which are difficult to find.

Instead, I spent 20 minutes of time helping my patient get a refund from two airlines.

With this story, I hope Congress measures discretion providing bailout.

Some companies literally fly on the backs of people, even when there is a crisis.

Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.

COC MakerSpace Delivers Face Shields to Henry Mayo First Responders

| Community | April 30, 2020

Last week, College of the Canyons MakerSpace delivered 150 face shields to first responders handling coronavirus (COVID-19) cases at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.

MakerSpace used six of its 3-D printing machines to make the face shields, which took three-and-a-half hours to make individually.

An essential component of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare professionals treating COVID-19 cases, face shields have become scarce in light of high demand.

3-D printing materials for the face shields were funded through regional sources, including the college’s Center for Applied Technologies (CACT).

The MakerSpace mission is to enable community members to design, prototype and create manufactured works that wouldn’t be possible to create with the resources available to individuals working alone.

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

MakerSpace Valencia opened in May 2016, followed by the opening of the Canyon Country campus location five months later.

Common Ground with Jason Downs

| Community | April 23, 2020

My fellow Santa Claritans, I hope this finds you safe and well as we embark on another month of social distancing and semi-isolation together.

Not long before the shutdown back in March, I went to lunch with a few dads and our kids after school on a Friday. While our kids chatted and giggled, us dads got onto the topic of child safety; allowing our eleven year-olds to ride their bikes alone to friends houses, or to the playground, or even to school. One of the dads spoke up, a long-time law enforcement officer, and told us he didn’t think it was worth the risk. “They should always be in groups of at least three. Always,” he said. When pressed further he spoke of child traffickers who were constantly on the lookout for a vulnerable child. He spoke of a statewide effort to bust traffickers back in early February of this year that had resulted in 518 arrests, and the rescue of 76 adults and 11 children from slavery across California.

Needless to say, the conversation shook me to the core as a father of two. I know this abomination goes on in the world but perhaps I’d been naive about how close to home. I had so many questions, and still do, which is what brings me to today.

Since I’m not getting out On the Town much these days, I thought I’d shift the focus of my column to reflect the topics I’ve been discussing during my weekly radio show on KHTS entitled Common Ground.

The premise of the show is to talk about difficult, potentially divisive topics with civility and respect while ultimately focusing on those things we can agree on; those things that unite us; those things that are most important to us as human beings. My theory is that we have more in common than we’re led to believe these days, and the unprecedented coordinated reaction to COVID-19 proves that theory.

What’s more important than protecting our family, friends, and loved ones? Which is precisely the reason we’re taking such measures in regards to the coronavirus right now. And, in honor of April being proclaimed National Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Prevention Month, I think it’s important to keep up on all the ways we need to protect our loved ones, not only with face masks and hand sanitizer, but by teaching them to take extra precaution against falling into the world of human trafficking.

“Human trafficking has become rampant throughout the world, and often includes sexual assault. In 2019 alone, the National Human Trafficking Hotline received reports of nearly 12,000 cases of potential human trafficking in the United States, identifying more than 25,000 victims. More than 65 percent of these cases referenced women, and more than one in five referenced children,” according to www.whitehouse.gov.

The idea of our children falling victim to this sort of horror should be one our top priorities, folks. I feel like it’s up there with doing all we can to keep a single child from getting gunned down in school ever again. It’s simply not something that should happen in this country…or anywhere. So, to find out more answers and find out what I could do help prevent this kind of atrocity I spoke with a couple experts: Dr. Stephany Powell and attorney Cozette Vergari, who have dedicated themselves to eradicating human trafficking for the past several years.

Cozette Vergari is a native of Los Angeles; she grew up in Westchester, obtained a bachelor’s degree from USC and continued on with her master’s course work at USC in secondary education. She eventually became an attorney and has been practicing Family Law for 25 years. Vergari is also a fellow member of the Rotary Club, and is a Past District Governor for the Los Angeles region of Rotary International. Her main platform has been the issue of child sex trafficking and the broader issue of human trafficking. She is responsible for launching the website RotariansFightingHumanTrafficking.org and serves as the coordinator for the worldwide Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery. She became passionate about helping victims and survivors when a childhood friend escaped an abusive step father, and then later as a teacher, by helping a young woman become emancipated from an abusive home. Vergari told me that a pimp can make anywhere from fifty to a hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year per child. And what does the child get? “The child gets raped multiple times a day…up to 2000 times a year.”

During this lockdown kids are even more susceptible, Vergari says, because one of the main avenues a trafficker uses to get to our potential victims is through the internet and social media. “During this lockdown kids have more time on their hands, they’re missing friends and time outside the home.” We as parents need to remain vigilant in who our children are talking to and being contacted by online.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, “Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide – including right here in the United States. It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations. Language barriers, fear of their traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement frequently keep victims from seeking help, making human trafficking a hidden crime.” (www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign)

And because it’s a hidden crime, it’s up to us to look out for our kids and our community. Dr. Stephany Powell has been doing just that. She travels down to Figueroa Street multiple times a week to help women and teens working the streets get services, healthcare and a ‘journey out’ if they desire. Over the past month, despite the mandated stay-at-home orders designed to curb the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Powell has been shocked to see “business as usual.” She said, “The sex workers are out there in pre-quarantine numbers…and the johns are too.” (Referencing a recent LA Times article featuring Powell.)

Dr. Powell, who got her doctorate in Education, retired from the LAPD as a Vice Sergeant after 30 years of service and accepted the leadership role at Journey Out in October 2013. Journey Out fights for the freedom and survival of victims in Los Angeles whose lives have been destroyed by commercial sexual exploitation and human sex trafficking. Since 2013, Journey Out has assisted over 1,000 victims with places to live, food, clothing, diversion from prosecution and counseling. Dr. Powell’s passion and expertise in this field has translated into new policies for the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) and the national massage school industry. She recently authored a human trafficking workbook My Choice, My Body, My Rules geared toward middle and high school students, which I highly recommend. It can found by simply typing in the title on Amazon.

Dr. Powell also warns that educating our kids before they go off to college is imperative because a lot of recruiting happens once they leave home for the first time. She goes further to say that desensitization through porn, racism, sexism and seeing women as ‘other’ or less than human; seeing women as objects…is the root of the problem. Again, this falls to us as parents to make sure our children not only know how to protect themselves, but to ensure they are looking out for each other with love and respect and dignity. The onus falls to us as parents to teach our children to respect humanity, which is very much reflected in the way we treat our women.

As a father, I aim to be an example of that to my son. Though I know I’ve failed many times in my life to be a shining example, my children know I would never hurt them and I would do anything to protect them. I would never want them to fall victim to anything like this, therefore it is up to me to treat all women as though they were my daughter, or my wife, or my mother. If everyone started with that, then perhaps we’d be a big step closer to ridding the planet of this horrible and completely unacceptable crime.

To learn more and get involved contact the Santa Clarita Rotary Club, Rotariansfightinghumantrafficking.org, also College of the Canyons offers a course which can give you a baseline understanding of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC), donate or volunteer for Journey Out at journeyout.org, or Zoe International in Newhall, and the Dept. of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign offers this help in recognizing key indicators of human trafficking, which is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life:

Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
Has a child stopped attending school?
Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?

We’re in this together, friends. It’s up to us. Just like we’ve come together to protect our loved ones from COVID-19, we can rid the world of abuse against our women and children. We’ve got this.
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Doctor’s Diary – COVID 19: A perfect storm

| Community | April 23, 2020

It’s a perfect storm. A pandemic colliding with the opioid crisis.

We are told to shelter in place, yet for patients under Pain Management, they must sustain narcotic medication for fear of going through withdrawal.

DEA rules require patients have a “face-to-face” visit with their doctor in order to receive their special security prescription. What if your physician’s office is closed, has diminished hours, or you are afraid to leave home worrying about viral exposure?

Twenty percent of my patients are bedridden, many with illness or catastrophic accidents resulting in faulty nervous systems. Lucky for now, I do house calls, but what if these visits become restricted? What about those who don’t have a house call doctor?

Sure, I can do telemedicine using FaceTime or Skype, but according to the law (correct me if I’m wrong), the “face-to-face” must be “in-person.”

This is a time to relax the laws for a few months.

I still fear the mega-storm…when adding to these problems is disruption in the medication supply chain causing shortages.

Then, we will all go through withdrawal.

Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.

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Doug’s Rant – Video Edition

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