Santa Clarita Named a Silver-Level Bicycle Friendly Community

| Community | 3 hours ago

Santa Clarita is One Of Six Cities in The Nation to Move Up to a Silver Designation

The League of American Bicyclists honored the efforts of Santa Clarita to build better places to bike with a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award, being one of the six cities in the nation to move from a bronze-level to a silver-level recognition during this round of judging. The award recognizes the City for its commitment to creating transportation and recreational resources that benefit residents of all ages and abilities while encouraging healthier and more sustainable transportation choices.

“Santa Clarita is among the few cities that are leading the nation when it comes to important livability factors that people want where they call home, like safe and accessible places to bike,” said Bill Nesper, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists. “Santa Clarita joins 53 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Communities as part of the movement toward more vibrant, healthy, sustainable and connected places. Our nation and the globe are facing complex public health and road safety challenges, and we’re proud that Santa Clarita and communities like it are embracing bicycling.”

The League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly America sets the standard for how communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and accessibility while allowing them to benchmark progress toward making biking better. With this latest round of 53 new and renewing awardees, there are currently 488 Bicycle Friendly Communities throughout the nation. The silver BFC award recognizes Santa Clarita’s commitment to improving conditions for cyclists through investments in infrastructure, education programs and bike events.
“We are fortunate to live in a community where opting to ride a bike for transportation and enjoyment is safe and easy,” said Mayor Marsha McLean. “In addition to the City’s expansive trail system and numerous safety enhancements designed to make biking even safer, we will continue to develop and improve the bicycling experience and look forward to continuing to receive honors as one of the most bicycle-friendly communities in the nation. We are proud of this incredible honor.”
More than 850 communities have applied for recognition by the Bicycle Friendly Community program, which provides a roadmap to making biking better for communities of all shapes and sizes. While the award process considers very visible elements such as bike infrastructure, other efforts are considered including education, encouragement and enforcement. The rigorous application process is an educational tool in itself and includes an opportunity for local bicyclists and active transportation advocates to provide input on their experiences and perceptions of bicycling in their community.

The five levels of the BFC award – diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze, plus an honorable mention category – provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve. Awarded communities must renew their status every four years to ensure that they not only maintain existing efforts but also keep up with changing technology, national safety standards and community-driven best practices.

To learn more about the BFC program, visit bikeleague.org/community. To learn about all things biking in Santa Clarita, please visit bikesantaclarita.com.

State Sen. Wilk Gets High Marks for Voting Record on Animal Welfare Bills

| Community | 20 hours ago

State Sen. Scott Wilk, representing the 21st Senate District, has received an “A” grade from PawPAC, an organization dedicated to the passage of humane laws and the election of humane legislators.

“Thank you to PawPac for being a steady advocate for issues that protect our animal population. PawPAC’s engagement on these types of issues makes a difference,” said Wilk. “As the parent of two four-legged, furry kids, it is hard to fathom someone intentionally hurting or endangering them, but sadly that does happen far too often. As an elected official, I am proud to stand for common-sense legislation that will protect our animals from harm.”

Wilk has carried legislation to crack down on animal abusers (Senate Bills 1198 in 2018 and 580 in 2019). He has also carried legislation to expand the pool of animal blood donors in California (Senate Bill 202 in 2019) and improve conditions for animals that donate blood.

“PawPAC does good work for the animals of California,” said Wilk. “I am one human that is honored to have my efforts recognized and will continue to advocate for policies that support the humane treatment of animals.”

Founded in 1980, PawPAC was the first organization dedicated to the election of candidates for state office in California who are committed to the well-being of animals. PawPAC’s state legislator scorecard can be found on their website.

Help Keep Siblings Together

| Community | 22 hours ago

Children’s Bureau Info Meetings Teach Interested Families about Foster-Adoption

Foster care and foster-adoption are meaningful ways for individuals and couples to fulfill their dream of parenting. Children’s Bureau offers a comprehensive foster care and adoption program that brings families together for a lifetime. The agency is in need of resource families for children in foster care while reunifying with birth families or to provide legal permanency by adoption.

In Los Angeles County alone, the foster care population exceeds 21,000 children with 200 of those foster children waiting for an adoptive family. Many of these children are siblings in need of families who are willing and able to keep them together. In fact, Children’s Bureau turns away at least 10 sibling sets weekly due to lack of families.

“Children’s Bureau focuses on keeping siblings together whenever possible,” said Amy Heilman, Children’s Bureau’s Director of Foster Care and Adoption. “The sibling relationship is a strong and important long-term bond in the life of a child. We see that children adjust better and find more success in life when they join a family with their siblings. It takes away that worry about the safety of their brother or sister. The child can then focus on adjusting to the family they have joined and their new environment.”

Although we find loving families for more than 300 at-risk children and finalize 100 adoptions annually, the need continues for more individuals and families to become resource parents, especially ones who are able to accept siblings. Resource parents (foster and adoptive) are concerned about the well-being of children and their families. Resource parents protect and nurture children, meet children’s developmental needs, support children’s relationships with their birth families and do all of this as a member of a professional team.

Children’s Bureau welcomes every individual regardless of race, age, religion, disability, marital status, ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression to become a resource for children. Qualifying families receive training and support throughout their journey.

Children’s Bureau now also offers a fee-for-service Domestic /Independent Adoption Home Study Program for families seeking the adoption of an infant whose birth mother is making an adoption plan for her newborn child.

Discover if you have the willingness, ability and resources to take on the challenge of helping children in need. A monthly information meeting is being held Saturday, December 14, 2019 from 10:00 AM to Noon at Children’s Bureau, 27200 Tourney Road, Suite 175, Valencia, CA 91355. To R.S.V.P. or for more information, please call 661.208.4212 or email us at RFrecruitment@all4kids.org. An application may be downloaded from the website.

Licenses: Magnolia FFA 197805422, Palmdale FFA 197800281, Adoption (all) 197805428

Santa Clarita Public Library to Host 13th Annual Family Literacy Festival

| Community | December 5, 2019

The Santa Clarita Public Library is partnering with the SCV Education Foundation and SCV Water to host the 13th annual Family Literacy Festival. This year’s festival, with the theme “Adventure by the Books,” will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Old Town Newhall Library, located at 24500 Main St. The free event will celebrate literature, music, dance and crafts.

The day will be filled with fun activities and performances designed to inspire artistic expression. Christopher Ramirez, with Freedom Drum Circle, will kick off the festival at 9:45 a.m., and performances by Mariachi Zapopan and other local musicians will follow. Local nonprofits, schools, artists and education enthusiasts will host interactive stations, and attendees will have opportunities to win prizes and giveaways. Some of the activities will include story time with the mayor at 11 a.m., free face painting, bounce houses, costumed character photo opportunities, the farmers market and much more.

No RSVP is required to attend. Free parking can be found at the Old Town Newhall Parking Garage, located at 2551 9th St. For more information about the 13th annual Family Literacy Festival and other Santa Clarita Public Library events, visit SantaClaritaLibrary.com or call (661) 259-0750.

Scholastic Success – Dealing with the Inevitable

| Community | November 28, 2019

by Natalia Radcliffe

When you think of the life of a student, what comes to mind? Perhaps you think of spending hours studying or living in the library day after day. Maybe the picture of a social butterfly comes to mind, one who attends all the events and dances.

Another view some might hold is not so pleasant: stress.

Most students at some point during their academic years will experience stress in some form, especially during finals. In small amounts, stress can provide motivation to accomplish a task. However, it can be a slippery slope between stress that is helpful and stress that is hurtful.

“Helpful stress is stress that happens naturally on its own,” said Frederick Bobola, the coordinator of humanities, social sciences, and languages at The Learning Center at College of the Canyons. It involves day-to-day things that are brought up and have to be dealt with.

Hurtful stress, or bad stress, “is created by our own internal thoughts,” said Bobola. This is the stress people create by overthinking things and focusing too much on what will come as opposed to what is happening in the present.

“It can easily walk all over us unless we take action,” said Margarita Tartakovsky, an associate editor and regular contributor at Psych Central.

And that is never good.

Tartakovsky has some tips for managing stress.

For instance, instead of focusing on what cannot be controlled, focus on what you do have power over. “The worst thing for stress is trying to take control over uncontrollable things. Because when you inevitably fail — since it’s beyond your control — you only get more stressed out and feel helpless,” said Tartakovsky.

She also recommends finding time in the day to do the things you enjoy doing. “It’s so much easier to manage pockets of stress when the rest of your life is filled with activities you love,” explained Tartakovsky.

Charlie Chica, a College of the Canyons student, advises getting up early in the morning to have some time to pursue enjoyable activities before the day starts.

Being ok with making mistakes is another piece of advice Tartakovsky offers. “Trying to be mistake-free and essentially spending your days walking on eggshells is exhausting and anxiety-provoking,” she said. “Talk about putting pressure on yourself! And as we all know but tend to forget: Perfectionism is impossible and not human, anyway.”

Bobola also has tips for combating stress through his experience of working at The Learning Center.

For starters, he recommends putting some space between the stress inducer and yourself, such as going outside and getting some fresh air.

Being mindful is another useful tool. “The concept of mindfulness is very valuable in fighting stress,” said Bobola. It is “the practice of being aware of one’s thoughts.” He explained that students can become overwhelmed with schoolwork and forget the reasons why they chose the path in the first place. The excitement over the opportunity to learn is lost in the ever growing amount of work that needs to be accomplished. In these times, finding a quiet place to sit and reflect can be useful. “You take a few deep breaths … and you remember why you are doing what you are doing.”


Bereaved Families to Join in 23rd Annual Worldwide Candle Lighting

| Community | November 27, 2019

Local Santa Clarita Chapter’s 19th Annual Candle Lighting

The death of a child is devastating, and it’s important to the family that the child always be remembered. That’s why members of The Compassionate Friends of Santa Clarita will participate in an annual worldwide event designed to honor the memories of all children, regardless of age, who have died. The local chapter is joining Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019 with hundreds of organized memorial services around the world for The Compassionate Friends 23rd annual Worldwide Candle Lighting, an event now believed to be the largest mass candle lighting in the world.

The local candle lighting will be part of a special service held indoors beginning 6:30 p.m. at La Mesa Junior High School, 26623 May Way, Santa Clarita. It will feature poems, selected readings, music, a slide show and performances with featured singers. Annually, tens of thousands of families, united in loss, light candles for one hour during the Worldwide Candle Lighting, held the second Sunday in December. Candles are first lit at 7 p.m. local time, beginning just west of the International Date Line. As candles burn down in one time zone, they are lighted in the next, creating a 24-hour wave of light as the observance continues around the world. Battery operated candles will be provided to all who attend the event at La Mesa.
The holiday season is an extremely difficult time of the year for families grieving the death of a child. This Worldwide Candle Lighting has united bereaved families around the globe as a symbolic way of showing the love we continue to carry for our children, even though they can no longer be with us physically. First started in the United States in 1997 as a small internet observance, the event has since swelled in numbers as word has spread throughout the world of remembrance. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held, and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died but will never be forgotten. This candle lighting transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious and political boundaries as tens of thousands of families share in this worldwide memorial event.

Throughout the United States, members of nearly 700 chapters observe this day in different ways, some alone, some with friends and family and many in organized candle lighting ceremonies like the service planned by the Santa Clarita chapter. Everyone is invited, whether or not they have suffered the personal loss of a child, to join in this moving tribute.

With the theme, “…that their light may always shine,” the Worldwide Candle Lighting has grown larger every year, with formal services last year in all 50 States and Washington, D.C., as well as at least 19 countries around the world. The Compassionate Friends’ national website, www.compassionatefriends.org, is expected to receive and post information on the more than 550 services taking place this year. It will also have a Remembrance Book open for posts on Dec. 8, which is expected to receive thousands of tributes in a 24-hour period from family members and other caring individuals.

The Compassionate Friends has a presence in at least 30 countries and is the world’s largest self-help bereavement organization. To contact The Compassionate Friends of Santa Clarita, call Diane Briones at 252-4654 or Alice Renolds at 252-4374. For more information about the national organization and locations of its chapters nationwide, call 877-969-0010 or visit the national website at www.compassionatefriends.org. More information about the Santa Clarita Valley chapter can be found at www.compassionatefriends-scv.org.

Thanksgiving’s Presidential Heritage – Our History from Washington to Trump

| Community | November 27, 2019

compiled by Richard Hood

“It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor … that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be . . . and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions.” — George Washington, 1789

“As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and blessing of Almighty God; and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of the morality and piety, without which social happiness cannot exist, nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed.”
“Of his infinite Grace, through the redeemer of the world, freely to remit all our offenses, and to incline us, by his Holy Spirit, to that sincere repentance and reformation which may afford us reason to hope for his inestimable favor and heavenly benediction.”
“The duties of humiliation and prayer be accompanied by fervent Thanksgiving to the bestower of every good gift.” — John Adams, 1798

“Whereas it becomes us humbly to approach the throne of Almighty God, with gratitude and praise . . . the glorious light of the gospel, whereby, through the merits of our gracious Redeemer, we may become the heirs of his eternal glory.  Therefore Resolved . . . a day of public and solemn THANKSGIVING to Almighty God, for his mercies, and of PRAYER, for the continuance of this favor and protection to these United States . . . and spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth… That he would in mercy look down upon us, pardon all our sins, and receive us into his favor; and finally, that he would establish the independence of these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue.”
— Thomas Jefferson,  1779

“To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are so extraordinary in nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.”
“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”
“To set apart . . . a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.” — Abraham Lincoln, 1863, 1864

“I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, do hereby recommend . . . a day of national thanksgiving to the Creator of the Universe for these great deliverances and blessings. And I do further recommend that on that occasion the whole people make confession of our national sins against His infinite goodness, and with one heart and one mind implore the divine guidance in the ways of national virtue and holiness.”
“. . . by whose everwatchful, merciful, and gracious providence alone states and nations, no less than families and individual men, do live and move and have their being.” — Andrew Johnson, 1865-1868

“It becomes a people thus favored to make acknowledgment to the Supreme Author from whom such blessings flow of their gratitude and their dependence, to render praise and thanksgiving for the same, and devoutly to implore a continuance of God’s mercies.”
“. . . public worship and to unite in the homage and praise due to the bountiful Father of All Mercies and in fervent prayer for the continuance of the manifold blessings he has vouchsafed to us as a people.” — Ulysses S. Grant, 1869

“The sentiments of sympathy and Christian charity by virtue of which we are one united people. . . . as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Him who holds the nations in the hollow of His hand. I recommend that they gather in their several places of worship and devoutly give Him thanks for the prosperity wherewith He has endowed us.” — William McKinley, 1900

“That our hearts may be roused to war steadfastly for good and against all the forces of evil, public and private. We pray for strength and light, so that in the coming years we may with cleanliness, fearlessness, and wisdom, do our allotted work on the earth in such manner as to show that we are not altogether unworthy of the blessings we have received.”
“We speak of what has been done by this nation in no spirit of boastfulness or vainglory, but with full and reverent realization that our strength is as nothing unless we are helped from above.”
“Our people should set apart a day for praise and thanksgiving to the Giver of Good, and at the same time that they express their thankfulness for the abundant mercies received should manfully acknowledge their shortcomings and pledge themselves solemnly and in good faith to strive to overcome them.”
“In material well-being we have thus abounded, we owe it to the Almighty to show equal progress in moral and spiritual things.”
“Nowhere else in the world is there such an opportunity for a free people to develop to the fullest extent all its powers of body, of mind, and of that which stands above body and mind – character. Much has been given us from on high, and much will rightly be expected of us in return.” — Theodore Roosevelt, 1903-1908

“Our country has many causes for thanksgiving. We have been blest with distinctive evidence of divine favor.” — Herbert Hoover, 1930

“More greatly have we turned our hearts and minds to things spiritual. We can truly say, ‘What profiteth it a nation if it gain the whole world and lose its own soul?’ With gratitude in our hearts for what has already been achieved, may we, with the help of God, dedicate ourselves anew to work for the betterment of mankind.”
“In our deepest natures, in our very souls, we, like all mankind since the earliest origin of mankind, turn to God in time of trouble and in time of happiness. ‘In God We Trust.’”
“In this year of liberation, which has seen so many millions freed from tyrannical rule, it is fitting that we give thanks with special fervor to our Heavenly Father for the mercies we have received individually and as a nation and for the blessings He has restored, through the victories of our arms and those of our allies, to His children in other lands.”
“That we may bear more earnest witness to our gratitude to Almighty God, I suggest a nationwide reading of the Holy Scriptures during the period from Thanksgiving Day to Christmas.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1934-38

“Again I ask all my countrymen to appeal to the Most High, that the God of our Fathers who has blessed this land beyond all others will in His infinite mercy grant to all nations that peace which the world cannot give.” — Harry S. Truman, 1950

“For the courage and vision of our forebears . . . for the unity of spirit which has made our country strong; and for the continuing faith under His guidance that has kept us a religious people with freedom of worship for all, we should kneel in humble thanksgiving.”
“May we lift up our hearts in special prayers of gratitude for the abundance of our endowments . . . and for the religious faith which has wielded such a beneficent influence upon our destiny.”
“It is also fitting at this season that we should consider God’s providence to us throughout our entire history. . . .let us pray this year not only in the spirit of thanksgiving but also as suppliants for God’s guidance, to the end that we may follow the course of righteousness and be worthy of His favor. . . . give thanks to God and prayerful contemplation to those eternal truths and universal principles of Holy Scripture which have inspired such measure of true greatness as this Nation has achieved.”
“. . . recall that our leaders throughout the succeeding generations have relied upon Almighty God for vision and strength of purpose . . . . and let us ask God’s continuing help and guidance in our conduct, both as individuals and as a Nation.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953-1957

“Let us observe this day with reverence and with prayer that will rekindle in us the will and show us the way not only to preserve our blessings, but also extend them to the four corners of the earth.”
“Let us renew that spirit by offering our thanks for uncovenanted mercies, beyond our desert or merit, and by resolving to meet the responsibilities placed upon us.”
“Let us earnestly and humbly pray that He will continue to guide and sustain us.” — John F. Kennedy, 1961-1963

“From Moses at the Red Sea to Jesus preparing to feed the multitudes, the Scriptures summon us to words and deeds of gratitude, even before divine blessings are fully perceived. From Washington kneeling at Valley Forge to the prayer of an astronaut circling the moon, our own history repeats that summons and proves its practicality … ‘Take heart! Give thanks! To see clearly about us is to rejoice; and to rejoice is to worship the Father; and to worship Him is to receive more blessings still.’”
“Time has not dimmed, nor circumstance diminished the need for God’s hand in all that America may justly endeavor. In times of trial and of triumph that single truth reasserts itself, and a people who have never bowed before men go gladly to their knees in submission to divine power, and in thanks for divine sustenance.” — Richard Nixon, 1972-1973

“Thanksgiving … is a time when the differences of a diverse people are forgotten and all Americans join in giving thanks to God for the blessings we share — the blessings of freedom, opportunity and abundance that make America so unique.” — Gerald R. Ford, 1974

“A day when all Americans could join together and express their gratitude for God’s providence ‘with united hearts.’”
“I ask all Americans to give thanks on that day for the blessings Almighty God has bestowed upon us, and seek to be good stewards of what we have received.” — Jimmy Carter, 1977-1979

“Thanksgiving … has served as a singular expression of the transcending spiritual values that played an instrumental part in the founding of our country.”
“ ‘Unto Thee, O God, do we give thanks,’ the Psalmist sang, praising God not only for the ‘wondrous works’ of His creation, but for loving guidance and deliverance from dangers.”
“Rooted deeply in our Judeo-Christian heritage, the practice of offering thanksgiving underscores our unshakable belief in God as the foundation of our Nation and our firm reliance upon Him from Whom all blessings flow. Both as individuals and as a people, we join with the Psalmist in song and praise: ‘Give thanks unto the Lord for He is good.’”
“And let us ever be mindful of the faith and spiritual values that have made our Nation great and that alone can keep us great.”
“Acknowledgment of dependence on God’s favor was, in fact, our fledgling Nation’s very first order of business.” — Ronald Reagan, 1981-1987

“Sharing in God’s blessings is at the heart of Thanksgiving and at the core of the American spirit.” — William J. Clinton, 2000

“Our founders thanked the Almighty and humbly sought His wisdom and blessing. May we always live by that same trust, and may God continue to watch over and bless the United States of America.”
“On Thanksgiving Day, we acknowledge that all of these things and life itself, come from Almighty God.” — George W. Bush, 2003-2004

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 22, 2018, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all Americans to gather, in homes and places of worship, to offer a prayer of thanks to God for our many blessings.” — Donald Trump, 2018

2017 School Shooting Survivor to Discuss Hope and Healing at Faith Community Church

| Community | November 27, 2019

For Saugus and the wider community of Santa Clarita, Nov. 14th will be an anniversary of the horrific incident that took place at Saugus High School. The sights, sounds and feelings students experienced while one of their peers opened fire on campus will remain with them for the rest of their lives. To help the community heal and grow from this, Faith Community Church will be hosting the Fear is a Liar event on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. at 24620 Meadowridge Dr., Santa Clarita. This free event will feature guest speaker Logan Cole, who survived a shooting at his Ohio high school in 2017.

“We are excited to bring Logan here to our valley because he has personally experienced the effects of a school shooting,” says Pastor Steve Jackson. “While all of us can, and should, minister to those who are hurting as a result of the Saugus High School shooting, we believe Logan’s perspective will be uniquely beneficial to students and families alike.”

On Jan. 20, 2017, after being shot twice and breaking his front teeth, Logan Cole refused to shoot his assailant when offered his gun. In court, Logan Cole was able to express forgiveness to the shooter. Today, Cole is a sophomore at Cedarville University and attributes his ability to forgive to Jesus Christ, who he says forgave him first. He frequently speaks about his experience and encourages people to live without fear. Cole continues to live with over 100 lead pellets in his body, but he does not allow that day in 2017 to define him.

“What happened at Saugus has left a lot of people, especially students, feeling helpless,” says Youth Pastor Jared Kingsley. “It’s our hope that the folks who hear Logan’s story will find a true source of hope and encouragement.”

In addition to Logan Cole’s message, attendees can expect a question and answer session with Jared Kingsley and a time of music. Those interested in learning more about the Fear is a Liar event can do so at faithcommunitychurch.com.

Faith Community Church has been in existence for over 30 years, and currently has more than 300 families who are part of the congregation.

It’s Getting a Bit “Chili” in the SCV

| Community | November 22, 2019

Preparations are underway for the 8th annual SCV Charity Chili Cook-off, and organizers are looking for sponsors and chili cooker contestants. The event will take place at 6 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day (Tuesday, March 17, 2020) at The Hyatt Regency in Valencia. Forty entrants will share their favorite chili recipes for a chance to be crowned a winner. The fee to enter the chili contest is $125. Prizes will be awarded to the top three chilis in the people’s choice and judges’ choice categories.

Each year, event proceeds benefit a local nonprofit organization. Funds raised through the 2020 cook-off will go to FeedSCV. FeedSCV was founded in 2015, but had its roots planted well before that. Local foodies, after coming together through social media, decided to put their collective efforts towards helping others. After organizing several events benefitting local non-profits, co-founders Scott Ervin and Todd Wilson recognized there was a need that others weren’t meeting, and so they started FeedSCV to fill that hole.

The proceeds raised will help FeedSCV’s weekend backpack program, Ready to Learn. The program currently serves the Newhall School District. It provides meals for kids identified as being in need by the district’s social services. Some of these students are classified as homeless, which can include kids staying with relatives or living with parents in cars, RVs or similar circumstances. Each Friday, the kids get to take home a backpack filled with shelf-stable, single-serving meals for the weekend: three meals per day and a few snacks as well. Volunteers acquire the food, stuff the backpacks and deliver them to the schools each week. Currently, the program is nearing capacity, and the additional funds will allow increased capacity, both in terms of food and access to a larger assembly site.

Attendees of the cook-off will get to taste 40 chilis, vote for their favorite in the people’s choice portion of the contest and enjoy live entertainment, dancing, a cash bar, silent and live auctions and a 50/50 opportunity drawing.

The event begins at 6 p.m., and general admission is $25 online until Feb. 14. After Feb. 14, tickets will be $30. A limited number of advance-purchase VIP tickets are available for $65, and these include early entry at 5:30 p.m., one drink ticket, VIP area access, VIP parking, swag bag, souvenir glass and VIP hors d’oeuvres.

Sponsors of the event include Schlick Art, Hyatt Regency, 24/7 Events, J & M Entertainment, Magazine of Santa Clarita, Event Staffing, American Family Funding, Skycrest Signs, KHTS Radio, The Santa Clarita Valley Signal, Loan Depot, Finance of America and Logix Federal Credit Union. Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor or donor, registering as a chili chef or purchasing tickets can visit scvcharitychilicookoff.com, call Nicole at 661-816-4234 or call Steve at 310-800-3064.

Sulphur Springs School Board Approves Putting Bond Measure on the Ballot

| Community, News | November 21, 2019

Voters in the Sulphur Springs Union School District will have the choice to approve a $78 million bond measure in the March primary election. The school board approved placing the matter on the ballot during its meeting last week.

As written, the measure’s project list includes: upgrade and replace roofs, heating and air conditioning units, repair and upgrade playground equipment, repave parking lots, improve landscaping, drainage and irrigation, improve ADA access and upgrade safety and security systems.

As for the dollar amount, board President Denis DeFigueiredo said, “It’s what we need.” He explained that the district created a facilities master plan five years ago, and these are the current priorities.

Superintendent Catherine Kawaguchi said the heating, ventilation and air conditioners are old, and the coolant the AC uses isn’t made anymore. The classrooms need modernizing because “The way our children are being educated, it’s different than 30 years ago.” She mentioned classroom furniture has changed. Gone are the hardwood chairs and desks. Spacing and storage considerations are different now than in the past.

“When are things aging out?” she said. “We have very old buildings. Some buildings are 30, 40 years old, and we need additional support.”

And, DeFigueiredo said, bonds are the only way to fund these projects.

“There are many paths to get monies. We exhausted them,” he said. “We used (2012 Measure CK) bond money. We go out for grants, get matching funds from the state. This is the only way to do it.”

Yet DeFigueiredo also said that the list is general to give the district as much flexibility as possible. “If we get too specific and tie our hands, we have money left over we can’t do anything with,” he said. “We have ideas of what we want to do.”

To pay for the bonds, voters would be assessed a property tax of approximately $22 per 1,000 square feet of assessed value. But that’s an estimate; the measure’s language says “at legal rates,” and no one can predict what the assessed value will be over time. Kawaguchi said the district could have charged the maximum $30 per 1,000 square feet but is trying to keep costs down.

It’s those kinds of cost concerns that have given the district an increased bond rating, Kawaguchi said. According to Moody’s, the district’s rating went to A-1 in June, indicating general financial strength.

Steve Petzold, principal officer of the Center for Truth in School Bond Measures, said he opposes the bond, in part because some of the project list, such as the parking lot repaving, appear to be maintenance, and he doesn’t believe districts should use bond funds for maintenance.

“They’re backfilling their general fund with bond money because they’re deficit spending,” Petzold said. “They’re not properly budgeting for maintenance and repairs.”

DeFigueiredo acknowledged some of the projects might look like maintenance, but he and Kawaguchi insisted they are not. DeFigueiredo said in the case of the parking lots, the root cause was poor engineering years ago, the problems coming from deeper underground.

Petzold also criticized the district for its previous failure to comply with the terms of the Measure CK bond, specifically that it did not have the required citizens’ oversight committee.

“Why can we trust them on compliance for this bond when they can’t maintain the old bond?” he said.

Indeed, the district’s website has no record of any oversight committee meetings between Sept. 6, 2016 and June 17, 2019. DeFigueiredo said the issue was the committee didn’t have a quorum. Once it did, the committee went through every transaction and expenditure if that time and approved everything.

“This is not an easy committee to staff,” DeFigueiredo said. “We need a business person, we need a senior citizen involved with some organization that advocates for senior citizens. We need someone in a taxpayer organization.”
The measure requires at least a 55-percent majority to pass.

Festival of Trees to Benefit Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley

| Community | November 21, 2019

The 2019 Festival of Trees, benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley, will take place at Westfield Valencia Town Center from Nov. 22 to 24. Held the weekend before Thanksgiving, Festival of Trees is Santa Clarita’s kickoff to the holiday season. Attendees will be able to enjoy the Hall of Trees, with its more than 40 beautifully designed Christmas trees with various themes. The Tabletop Christmas Trees area will showcase three four-foot-tall trees that are “guaranteed to amaze even the most seasoned elf.” Unique gingerbread houses and pictures with Santa will also be a part of the event.

On Saturday and Sunday the festival will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets cost $8 for adults, $3 for children and $4 for seniors and military. The silent auction bidding will close at 5 p.m. on Sunday.

“This is going to be the most amazing Festival of Trees yet! We are so excited about our new location at Westfield. This is the best way to get into the holiday spirit in Santa Clarita. It’s such a wonderful event, and it all supports our local kids at Boys & Girls Club,” said Ann-Marie Bjorkman, club board president. Matt Nelson, the organization’s chief executive officer, remarked, “Believe it or not, our tree designers started building and decorating this year’s trees in early October! We have the most amazing and dedicated volunteers. This event would not be possible without them.”

The Festival of Trees also includes three other events: the Magic of the Lights Gala, the Jingle Jam and the Holiday Hocus Pocus Magic Show.

The Magic of the Lights Gala will be held on Friday night from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Taking place in The Canyon, the gala will include gourmet food, entertainment and the public’s only opportunity to bid on the live auction Christmas trees, many of which come with gifts such as event tickets, wine, furniture, jewelry and more. Silent auction tree, large trees, gingerbread house opening bids and buy-it-now options will be available. Organizers say this event is likely to sell out, so tickets must be bought in advance. Individual tickets are $100, and table sponsorships are available.

The Jingle Jam is a dance for swing dancers of all ages and experience levels. It will take place on Thursday, Nov. 21. The cost is $10. The Holiday Hocus Pocus Magic Show on Saturday, Nov. 23, will showcase both up-close and stage magic. This kid-friendly show starts at 7 p.m., and admission is $10.

Founded in 1968, the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley helps over 5,000 local youth reach their full potential by supporting academic success, providing a second home and building leaders. Membership is just $60 a year for the first child and $45 for each additional sibling. Scholarships are also available. More information about the club and the Festival of Trees can be found at www.scvbgc.org.

Scholastic Success – The Black Hole of Procrastination

| Community | November 21, 2019

by Natalia Radcliffe

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, procrastination can be defined as, “The act of delaying something that must be done, often because it is unpleasant or boring.” Anyone can struggle with procrastination, no matter how old or young. A common place it can be found is with students. It can be easy to avoid dealing with the impending test or paper and instead choose to complete easier assignments that are not as important.

However, as those who have procrastinated can probably attest to, putting off studying or working on a paper only delays the inevitable. It will still have to be accomplished eventually, only in a shorter amount of time, which can result in cramming sessions that could have been avoided if the assignments had been addressed sooner.

The roots of procrastination vary. According to Dr. John Grohol, the founder and editor of Psych Central, those who tend to procrastinate usually struggle with perfectionism, fear, or disorganization.

“Perfectionism is defined by a fear of failure or of making mistakes, a fear of disapproval or letting someone else down, black and white thinking, … an emphasis on ‘shoulds’ … and a belief that other people’s success comes easily to them,” said Grohol. Those who struggle with this mindset can fall prey to a circular thought process. According to Grohol, it begins with setting goals that cannot be accomplished, resulting in the inevitable failure of meeting said goals. The pressure to pursue perfection, combined with unattainable goals, can make it harder to work productively and effectively. The constant setting of unrealistic goals that inevitably fail results in a lowering of self-esteem because it leads to criticizing and blaming oneself for the failure to achieve perfection. In some cases, this can even lead to anxiety and depression. “At this point perfectionists may give up completely on their goals and set different goals thinking, ‘This time if only I try harder, I will succeed.’ Such thinking sets the entire cycle in motion again,” said Grohol.

Fear is another root of procrastination. “Fear is a big motivator, but it can also be a big reinforcement not to actually get much accomplished,” said Grohol. “Procrastinators who are driven by fear usually use avoidance and have an intense desire to delay performing a task or simply wait for its expiration so that it no longer has to be dealt with.” This can be a risky mentality to fall into because when people fail tasks they set out to accomplish due to procrastination, that failure only reinforces the fear of starting the task in the first place. “It reinforces their own belief of their abilities and self-worth: ‘I knew I was going to fail, so what’s the use of even starting work on the next assignment?’” said Grohol.

Disorganization is another common reason why people procrastinate. “The largest disorganization issue is properly prioritizing tasks,” said Grohol. “Most people who procrastinate tend to tackle the easiest tasks first, regardless of whether they are urgent.”
This behavior is reinforced by some “irrational beliefs that have little basis in fact.” One such belief is that tasks cannot be broken into smaller, more manageable ones. “If the task cannot be tackled all at once, as a whole, then the task isn’t even worth working on,” explained Grohol. Another irrational belief deals with distraction. Any new task that arises must be dealt with first, regardless of the importance. “This distractibility means that the procrastinator is often unable to stay ‘on task’ because something else has come up,” said Grohol. Finally, some people who procrastinate believe they have a better memory than they actually do. “We all like to think we can remember everything told to us, all important deadlines, exam dates, etc.,” explained Grohol. “The fact is, though, in this fast-paced, multi-tasking society, it’s easy to forget stuff (even important things!).”

Frederick Bobola, the coordinator of humanities, social sciences, and languages at The Learning Center at College of the Canyons, has had plenty of experience interacting with students who struggle with procrastination. One of the biggest pieces of advice he has is to plan. Utilizing some form of a planner or calendar is helpful. “Have your calendar mapped out for at least two weeks to a month in advance,” said Bobola.

Not only is it helpful to have tasks scheduled in your planner for weeks into the future, he also advises students to be “aware of your calendar and what is coming up.” It is very useful to get ahead as soon as possible. “The key is to get ahead and stay ahead,” said Bobola. That means using the first few weeks of school, when it is often slower and calmer, to get ahead on work. This aids in avoiding procrastination because there is less of a chance of getting an assignment done the night before.

No matter the reasons someone has for procrastinating, whether it be perfectionism, fear, a lack of organization or something else, beating it can simply boil down to setting goals and sticking to them. As Bobola put it, “Say, ‘I’m going to do these two things no matter what.’”

School Districts React

| Community, News | November 21, 2019

The shooting last week at Saugus High School did not cause other nearby districts to take stock of their policies and procedures because they were doing it anyway. Meanwhile, mental-health professionals insist mental illness is not the cause of the shooting.

Sixteen-year-old Nathaniel Burhow shot and killed Gracie Anne Muehlberger, 15, and Dominic Blackwell, 14, before shooting himself with the last round in his .45-caliber gun. He also shot and injured three others: Mia Tretta, 15, who came home Monday from Providence Holy Cross Medical Center; Addison Koegle, 14, and an unnamed student.

On Tuesday, students were allowed to return to campus to retrieve belongings, one student telling The Signal the experience was “surreal.” The school was scheduled to be open Wednesday and Thursday for voluntary activities, which William S. Hart Union High School District spokesman Dave Caldwell said will including playing games or singing or hanging out with friends.

“For some, they need to be with other people. They need to be with their friends. They need to be at school,” Caldwell said. “For those that don’t want to go back, that’s OK.”

Some who attended these events no doubt wondered if they’d ever feel safe there again. At other local districts, safety remains a top priority.

“Kids are kids, people are people, and we have to provide a safe environment,” Sulphur Springs Union School District Board President Denis DeFigueiredo said, “whether it’s an elementary school student or a high school senior.”

Sulphur Springs Superintendent Catherine Kawaguchi said two years ago, she implemented drills and training in case of an active shooter.

“We are taking a proactive stand to make sure our children are safe,” she said.

Over at College of the Canyons, spokesman Eric Harnish emailed to say officials are constantly evaluating emergency prevention, preparedness and response efforts, and adjusting based on training and experience.

“For us, it is a collaborative process, and we seek to engage faculty, staff, and students in our efforts to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate in making our campuses as safe as possible,” Harnish wrote. “As law enforcement investigators continue their work, and more information comes to light, we will certainly use any lessons learned to inform the college’s emergency prevention, preparedness and response efforts moving forward.”
Newhall School District Superintendent Jeff Pelzel said the district already has a facilities master plan in place and regularly seeks feedback from the parents, so he knows safety is their priority. The district shares that concern and has a letter on its website saying as much. The letter mentions the recently completed projects of placing fencing entirely around the perimeters of all 10 schools, conducting lockdown drills, keeping the campuses locked during the day and on weekends, and cooperating with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Department.

In fact, the district was supposed to meet Sheriff’s Capt. Robert Lewis last week to go over procedures, steps taken and lessons learned from the recent fires, but the Saugus shooting canceled that. Pelzel said the meeting is now scheduled for Dec. 6 and likely will include information from the shooting.

The school districts are not islands unto themselves, either. Pelzel said the district superintendents regularly meet, and he expects the Hart district’s Vicki Engbrecht to share some lessons learned at the next gathering.

However, Pelzel said, fencing is just a first step. The good news is the district is expected to receive $10 million in Measure E funds. The bad news is that’s not nearly enough to pay for cameras at all campuses.

“We will determine what the needs are,” Pelzel said. “Safety is always a top priority. Too many incidents have been occurring.”

Many believe that a shooter has to be suffering from mental illness to carry out such a destructive and violent plan. However, the New York Times reported in 2012 after the Newtown, Conn., shooting that the American Journal of Psychiatry found only 4 percent of violence in this country could be attributed to people with mental illness. In 2004, the Safe Schools Initiative Report found that only 10 percent of attackers who were receiving treatment for their mental illness failed to take their prescribed medication.

The Gazette reached out to five mental-health professionals, of which three responded. None of them had ever met Burhow.

None of them felt mental illness was a factor in the Saugus shooting, although Encino Marriage and Family Therapist Sherry Warschaw said it was possible Burhow had issues with impulsivity, “but that’s not necessarily mental illness. The majority of people who are mentally ill do not commit crimes.”

She did, however, say impulsive behavior could be a component of mental illness. If a person feels so down and sees a future bereft of hope, he or she might make decisions that prove fatal.

“Impulsive people don’t think clearly. They act on feelings,” Warschaw said.

Woodland Hills MFT Judi Lirman said it appeared Burhow was unable to deal with the traumas in his life: the death of his father, who had been involved in spousal abuse and alcohol abuse, as well as the custody battles that took place between his parents when they divorced.

“He seemed to be a good kid who ended up in a situation he couldn’t handle,” Lirman said. “He needed to explode like a volcano. He was exploding his pain at the other five students.”

Lirman and Jaelline Jaffe, a Sherman Oaks-based psychotherapist, said access to guns is more of a factor than the shooter’s mental state. Lirman said a gun allows somebody to kill from a distance, making it easier to depersonalize the situation and convince yourself “”You’re not shooting at a person so much as a target.”

Jaffe said that the Saugus shooting took 16 seconds and “you can’t in 16 seconds kill six people with knives. You can fire off a lot of shots.”

Over at the Hart district, Caldwell said the shooting happened too recently for there to be a serious evaluation of what can be done differently, but those will be part of the next steps.

“We’re focusing on the care and support, and providing the students and staff everything they need,” Caldwell said.

Saugus High was closed Monday and will be closed Friday, Caldwell said. Then the school will take its previously scheduled full-week Thanksgiving break.

When classes resume Dec. 2, Saugus students will have had six fewer days of instruction than at other district schools. State law requires high school students to have 180 days and 64,800 minutes of instruction. Caldwell said he believes the school is on pace to meet the required minutes.

In Loving Memory – Rose Ohler – April 18, 1927-Oct. 31, 2019

| Community, Obituaries | November 21, 2019

Rose Ohler, owner of Backwoods Inn Restaurant in Canyon Country, passed away on Halloween at the age of 92. She was blessed to live a long, happy and successful life. She was loved by so many and will be greatly missed.

Rose and her husband Bob were married in 1947 and had been married for 54 years when Bob passed away in 2001. After Bob’s death, Rose and their daughter Carol continued to run the business.

At the beginning of their restaurant careers, Bob was a bartender, and Rose was a waitress. They worked at Rose’s sister’s restaurant, Sutter’s Mill in Mission Hills, learning the business for eight years before moving to Canyon Country to purchase Backwoods Inn in 1968. They sold their home in Granada Hills and risked everything on an area that was quite small back then. Also, in 1968 the restaurant was very far away from Granada Hills since the 14 freeway hadn’t been built yet. The only way to get from Granada Hills to Canyon Country was on old Sierra Highway.

In the early days of Backwoods Inn, Bob and Rose soon found out that starting your own business, especially a restaurant, can be very trying and requires putting in lots of hours. They did office and book work by day and then went back to the Inn at night. Rose would greet and seat the patrons, and Bob tended bar. As a hostess, she would dress to the nines. A couple of months ago, while talking about her, a long-time customer said, “We used to come in on Friday nights just to see what she was wearing.” Rose was a beautiful woman inside and out, with a smile that would light up the room, and she was a fashionista.

Carol was 16 when they purchased the restaurant, and after school she would go in the kitchen and stuff potatoes, a restaurant favorite, and bus tables on weekends. She became a server at age 21, did bookkeeping, bartending and learned all aspects of the business in general. Carol will continue to run the restaurant just the way her folks taught her.

Rose loved antique collecting, which is evident in the decor of the restaurant. But her real love was animals. She loved her dogs. Early on, she had schnauzers, and then for the past 15 years, dachshunds were her pets. Rose never wanted to travel, as she would have to leave her dogs. Her happy place was at home with her fur kids. In lieu of flowers, if you would like to honor Rose, a donation to No Paws Left Behind, ASPCA or your favorite dog rescue in her name is what she would want.

A small family service was held, and Rose was buried alongside her beloved husband and life partner, Bob, at San Fernando Mission Cemetery.

Hart District to Work with SCV Disaster Coalition for Donations

| Community | November 21, 2019

The William S. Hart Union High School District has expressed their gratitude for the support they have received from the community in response to the recent shooting at Saugus High School. The district has also given some direction for those who would like to make a donation or show of support. A statement released by the district said, “We would like to thank the overwhelming number of individuals, businesses and community organizations for their offers to donate time, materials, resources and money. Your generosity and thoughtfulness in support of the students, staff, families and Saugus High School community is humbling. Both the district and the school have been overwhelmed by this showing of generosity.”

The district, in partnership with the Santa Clarita Valley Disaster Coalition, has established a fund to support the ongoing needs of the students, staff and families of Saugus High School as a result of this week’s tragic events. In order to mitigate the impact on the staff at Saugus High School as they progress through the healing process from last week’s tragedy, the Hart District is requesting that all monetary donations be submitted via the Santa Clarita Disaster Coalition’s website at https://santaclaritacoalition.org.

The Santa Clarita Disaster Coalition is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Santa Clarita. The coalition is an all-volunteer alliance of caring community leaders from the private and public sectors, including representatives from local government, businesses, faith-based organizations, schools and nonprofits.

Over the weeks and months ahead, the families of the victims may establish funds to meet their needs directly. The district will work with those families to assist in posting verified sites to the Saugusstrong.org website.

The school has also requested that, in lieu of support letters, banners with encouraging and supportive messages be forwarded to the school. These banners will be placed around the campus to provide positive messages to the Saugus High School community over the weeks and months ahead. Those individuals, businesses and agencies wishing to make donations of physical product are requested to email saugusstrong@hartdistrict.org to reduce the burden on school staff.

On the Town with Jason Downs

| Community, Entertainment | November 21, 2019

Greetings fellow Santa Claritans. In light of what our community has gone through this past week, specifically those families who lost a beloved child to senseless violence, it is difficult to partake in anything that smacks of joy or levity or the goings on around town. Normally, this is where I would ask you to join me as we celebrate all the area has to offer…but it feels to me as though time should stop for a bit.

When a child is lost everything should come to a stand still, shouldn’t it? Give us a moment to grapple with the gravity; give us a moment to grieve. But the birds continue to sing. The sun still rises and stars still fall. The whistle of the train still blows in the distance. Dogs go on playing in the grass.

After feeling the gamut of emotions these past few days…the fear, the anger, the helplessness…it finally dawned on me why we go to such lengths to soldier on: For our children. We get up and face the day so our children can see that love, fortitude, and family will win the day. We go on so that our kids know what it is to be strong. We go on to teach them that a life lived in fear is not living. We face our fears and we talk about our anger. We begin the healing process slowly but surely.

And so, while I do not want to imagine what some parents are coming to terms with in Saugus, we buck up and head to our son’s little league game at the Hart Baseball Complex. We stick close to each other. Even my teenage daughter. She is visibly addled, having known one of the victims through her tennis team. So, we stick close. The field is more somber than usual, our cheers much more subdued, but we’re all there to support our kids. All we can do is let them know we’re here for them. Do our best to keep them safe. Let them know how proud and happy we are to be their parents.

My son hits a foul ball to the fence in front of me…as we all try to go on with our routine.

On Saturday, we head to the Farmers Market in the parking lot of the Newhall Library. Again, another attempt at normalcy. Another attempt to embrace the blessing of our lives and the blessing of our time together. An eclectic mix of organic fruit, veggies, healthy potato chips, divine pastries and a pony ride are like a balm for the soul.

One baker in particular lifted our spirits not only with her incredible, melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon glazed almond pop tarts and sugar coated blueberry crumble cake but with the pure joy she exuded for her craft. Kimberly Gonzalez of Bake Up knows the definition of comfort food and she has the secret recipe to boot. Her signature pop tarts will put a smile on your face and warmth in your heart.

To order up your own comfort food, call 661.305.5898 or email Kim at bakeup2014@gmail.com

Another soothing treat we discovered for those who prefer savory over sweet were the amazing guilt-free ‘root vegetable chips’ from Fusion Variations. A husband and wife team that create delicious treats to satisfy your cravings using coconut oil to boil (not fry) yummy chips out of organic beets, sweet potatoes, kale, and of course, potatoes. Between Bake Up and Fusion Variations we were ready to take our spoils home and sit down in front of the TV for a Disney movie. Hey, you need to do whatever makes you feel warm and fuzzy during sad times, friends.

We closed the week, like many other families in the community, at Central Park where the memorial vigil took place for the dear students of Saugus High School who lost their lives on Thursday, Gracie Muehlberger and Dominic Blackwell. Thousands of residents gathered in the park, surrounded by dozens of law enforcement officers, to mourn. Stories were told, tears were shed, songs were sung, prayers were lifted up. Being there, hearing the words of the victims families, learning who Gracie and Dominic were to their friends and fellow students, the bright lights they had been in the world, definitely helped make the surreal more real. It helped us feel the pain with each other and be there for each other. For an hour or two, everything stopped as we all stood in stunned, profoundly sad silence.

So again, instead of my usual ‘join me as we celebrate all the area has to offer’ let me say: Join me as we celebrate all the fine people this area has to offer. And if you need it during this difficult time, reach out to someone you love for support…or a pastor, friend, colleague, teacher, student, son, spouse, grocer, gardener…or even me. (reachjasondowns@santaclaritagazette.com)
Until next time, much love to all.

How Staying in Your Comfort Zone Affects Your Life

| Community | November 15, 2019

You must leave your comfort zone to experience big growth. While contemplating this a quote jumped out at me:“You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ~ Roy T. Bennett

Eating the same foods every day, going to work at the same place you›ve always worked or spending your day keeping to yourself are all forms of comfort zones. Every individual has a different idea of what they are comfortable with. We do the same routine, eat the same foods, and keep the same people around us in order to feel comfortable. Our comfort zone is where things are familiar, restful, and normal.

The comfort zone, as defined by the Cambridge Dictionary means «a situation in which you feel comfortable and in which your ability and determination are not being tested.» You feel relaxed and calm in your comfort zone.

We often don›t get out of our comfort zone unless we›re forced into a new situation, like a promotion at your job that causes you to speak in front of others or you›re forced to face new situations because of health issues.
The truth is most of us won›t step out of our comfort zones, even for a small step, unless we›re forced. But did you know that by staying in our comfort zone, we are keeping ourselves from growing, both personally and professionally?

In fact, when you step out of your comfort zone you are inspired to do it more often. This «facing your fear» helps you grow more confident in your abilities. This isn›t easy and you›ll have to find ways to push yourself. You›ll want to set yourself up for success when you do. If not, a wrong turn out of your comfort zone can lead you to never trying again. But you can›t let fear rule you either.

Before you take that leap, you need to know why and how your comfort zone is keeping you small and learn if you are stuck in hiding in your comfort zone. Let›s explore the benefits of facing your fear, ways to get out of your comfort zone, and how to leave it in the past.
Our comfort zone keeps us from growing and changing. It holds us back from going after our big scary goals. Staying where we are comfortable keeps us from enjoying all the wonderful experiences the world has to offer.

By staying in our comfort zone, we miss out on opportunities that stretch and strengthen us. Compare being in your comfort zone to lifting weights. At first, your muscles ache from lifting the weight. But as you continue to lift, your muscles grow stronger. The same is true with your weaker skills. With training, they grow stronger.

For instance, maybe you›re an introvert with a keen eye for detail. But as part of your job, you need to recruit others and you step out of your comfort zone and learn how to sell to others. This may scare you, but your skills will grow and expand as you learn.
Your comfort zone has a way of keeping you from advancing in your career, your goals and in life. When you strengthen your skills, it helps you be better prepared to achieve your goals. You’re no longer limited or passed over because you were afraid to go for the skills needed.

For example, you›ve been practicing your public speaking skills. You›ve put in hours practicing in front of others. Now you›re ready to give your talk to potential clients. If you stay in your comfort zone, you won›t gain ground on reaching your goals.

Stepping out of your comfort zone keeps your life from becoming dull. Outside of your comfort zone, you can find many ways to find excitement. If it›s scary to jump into a sport, start small with something fun that isn›t as scary. You don›t know what you’re missing until you step out and try.

Living in your comfort zone robs you of growth and new experience that keep your life exciting, fun and worth living. It keeps you from changing personally and advancing in your career and life. Email me if you›d like a «Comfort Zone Planner for 2020» for getting out of your comfort zone.

Connie Ragen Green lives in Plum Canyon and has been working exclusively online since 2006. Authors! The Quick Book to Business Method: Turning Your Book into an Ongoing Revenue Stream is her latest book and was released by Hunter’s Moon Publishing in August of 2019. All of Connie’s titles are available in paperback at Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, at your local bookstore by request, and also for Kindle. Find out more by visiting http://HugeProfitsTinyList.com and download an audio recording for 2019 at http://NewRulesforOnlineMarketing.com.

Questions? Email Connie at crgreencrgreen@yahoo.com and be sure to put Home Business Question in the subject line. Your question and answer will be included in a future article.

Light up Main Street November 23

| Community, Uncategorized | November 15, 2019


Annual Holiday Kickoff Event Rescheduled for November 23


Following the tragic events that unfolded at Saugus High School on Thursday morning, the City of Santa Clarita has decided to postpone its annual holiday season celebration, Light Up Main Street. The event, originally scheduled for Saturday, November 16, will now take place on Saturday, November 23, at 6:00 p.m.

The City of Santa Clarita joins residents in mourning the loss of two victims in Thursday’s shooting and offers its full support to those recovering from injuries, as well as those students, faculty, staff and families impacted. In partnership with the William S. Hart Union High School District, the City will have The Centre (20880 Centre Pointe Parkway) open for community members until 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 14, where residents can come for counseling and support services.

The City would like to thank the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel for their quick response to this morning’s tragedy.

Light Up Main Street, Santa Clarita’s yearly holiday celebration and tree lighting ceremony, will be held in Old Town Newhall on Saturday, Nov. 16, beginning at 6 p.m. Thousands of attendees will usher in the start of the holiday season with real snow, festive performances, crafts and pictures with Santa. KTLA Morning News co-anchor and Santa Clarita resident Chris Schauble is set to host the event.

Attendees this year will have the opportunity to play in real snow on Main Street, shop for local and handmade gifts from the small businesses in Old Town Newhall and dine at one of the many restaurants in the area, which will be serving up a wide range of delicious dishes. Children will also be able to take a photo with Santa Claus and make free crafts to take home. Food trucks will be on-site, selling sweet and savory options for dinner and dessert.

At 7:30 p.m., members of the City Council will officially illuminate the lights on a 23-foot-tall Christmas tree and overhead displays along Main Street in front of the Old Town Newhall Library. Following the tree lighting, attendees will be treated to a free concert by Midnight Ride, a party band that plays popular songs from a variety of genres and eras, that will last until 9 p.m.

Residents are asked to be mindful of road closures that will be in effect for Light Up Main Street. Lyons Avenue will be closed between Railroad Avenue and Walnut Street, and Main Street will be closed between Lyons Avenue and Market Street. Both closures will begin at 10 a.m. and end at midnight. Both Walnut Street and Market Street will remain open to through traffic. Detours will be made available to help residents avoid road closures in the area.

Free public parking is available at the City-owned parking structure on 9th Street and Railroad Avenue, as well as at the Newhall Community Center (22421 Market St.) and various lots around Newhall.

Light Up Main Street is put on by the City of Santa Clarita, with support from the following partners: Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, Re/Max of Santa Clarita, Snow Orthodontics and 33 North Development Group.

Santa Clarita Transit to Offer One-Day Service for ‘Military Tribute Days’

| Community | November 14, 2019

Santa Clarita veterans and residents are invited to board Santa Clarita Transit on Sunday, November 17, 2019, for a patriotic ride to Knott’s Berry Farm®. The one-day, round-trip service coincides with the theme park’s annual “Military Tribute Days” promotion, which offers free park admission to all retired or active U.S. military veterans, plus one guest.

Residents and local veterans can board the one-day Santa Clarita Transit service at the McBean Regional Transit Center at 8:30 a.m. or the Newhall Metrolink Station at 8:45 a.m. Buses will depart Knott’s Berry Farm® for Santa Clarita at 5:30 p.m. Regular fare is $3.00 each way, or $1.50 each way for seniors age 60 and above and persons with disabilities. Fare will be free for those who wish to donate canned food or other essential items for the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry. In addition to using cash or stored value on TAP, riders can purchase their passes on their smartphones using the Token Transit app.

Upon arrival at Knott’s Berry Farm®, U.S. veterans, retired and active military personnel will be required to present military ID or proof of U.S. military service to receive complimentary admission to the park. Veteran, retired and active military personnel must be present. Passengers under 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.

The Santa Clarita Transit excursion to Knott’s Berry Farm is open to the public. Riders do not need to be retired or active U.S. military, or in the company of retired or active U.S. military personnel, to board the bus.

For more information about Santa Clarita Transit’s one-day service to Knott’s Berry Farm®, contact Santa Clarita Transit at (661) 294-1BUS (1287) or visit SantaClaritaTransit.com.

Veterans Day Speech – Robert Patrick Lewis

| Community | November 14, 2019

a transcript of a speech given by Robert Patrick Lewis, Santa Clarita on Veterans Day 2019

Thank you for the introduction and thank you to Suzon from Prayer Angels for the Military and Kyle Lopez from the City of Santa Clarita for inviting me to speak here today.

I typically speak off the cuff when I do public speaking, but today I’ll be reading from a speech that I’ve prepared – both because I’ve been camping all weekend with my kids and I’m pretty tuckered out, and because I feel these points are too important to leave anything out.

Today I want to talk about fighting, or rather, why we as veterans fight, what we as soldiers fought for, and what is worth it, for all of us as Americans, to fight for.

There are people who joined the military for a number of reasons. But many of us who joined, and a very large number of post-9/11 vets, signed up because we believe in something.

Many of us have a list of 3 priorities, and the list order is different for each person. For me, that list order is Family, Country and God.

Some may have an issue with my order, but it’s a very personal list, and given that list determines the internal priorities that many of us are willing to fight and even die for, it is an order that cannot be dictated by someone else.

I have a very particular life path, having been adopted as an infant, losing my mom to cancer as a kid and raised by a long line of patriotic military men which formed my order.

And since God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, He knew where the life path He dictated for me would lead.

I fought for the family who raised me when our nation was attacked, wanting to do my part to protect those who raised me with so much love, and to defend the nation which provided us with so much.

I didn’t have children of my own until after I left the military, and it was only then that I learned the absolute truth behind the statement that “you don’t really understand what love is until you have children of your own.” Having them has greatly changed my world view and priorities and am willing to fight to ensure they have the brightest future possible.

I was raised Episcopalian, but converted to Catholicism when I joined the military, feeling that my faith was also under attack and wanting to show a stronger form of reverence to God.

So despite my list order, I would say that all 3 on my list fill a much more significant part of my life than they would for many.

Some would say they fight for a flag, the US flag which flies on the shoulder and in the heart of every American soldier. But if you read and take seriously the military oath of enlistment, none of those 4 things are accurate.

As taken from the oath:
“I, state your name, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States.

So if many soldiers have a priority list for which they fight, why do we swear allegiance to defend the Constitution, against all enemies, both foreign and domestic?

Because, ladies and gentlemen, we are extremely fortunate to live in a nation, the greatest social, religious, and economic experiment the world has ever known, which represents everything on that list – and much more.

We live in a nation formed from armed rebellion to throw off the chains of a tyrant who didn’t believe we should have individual, God-given rights, that we should be taxed without representation, and that we had no rights to defend ourselves or the freedom to practice the religion of our choosing.

We live in a nation formed under the beliefs of religious liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the freedom to defend ourselves and our families, and that the government in our Constitutional Republic should be ruled by the people, not unaccountable bureaucrats and tyrants as are seen in most of the world.

And for the first time since the revolution which formed our nation, many of those rights, and our very Constitutional Republic, are under attack from tyrants who don’t believe that any of those rights should be provided to people with a different world view than theirs.

Our freedom of speech is being threatened by groups of fascist, masked children who use violence to silence dissenting voices.

Our freedom to practice religion is being threatened and prevented by people who have no religion, which is the polar opposite of what our forefathers wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights to protect.

And our freedom to defend ourselves and our families is being threatened by the very types of tyrants that right was granted to defend ourselves against.

Our Constitutional Republic was built to enlist elected officials, many of whom took a similar oath of office as the military, to protect our God given rights listed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, via a limited government ruled by the will of the people.

Instead, many of those officials have used their office to enrich themselves, their families and friends, and have grown what was meant to be a Constitutional Republic into an administrative, unaccountable and citizenry-last state.

Our nation and the rights of her people are under attack, not by a foreign adversary, but from enemies within who are willing to take away each of the rights which has made the United States of America a beacon of freedom, individualism and innovation to the rest of the world.

They are attempting to dismantle the very documents which have made this nation so great and has led to our astronomical amount of prosperity.

Whether you took the oath of enlistment or not, whether you consider yourself an American patriot or not, or whether you have children of your own or not, it is time for all of us to ask ourselves – are we willing to throw all of this away and upend the greatest social experiment known to man, leaving a nation with fewer freedoms and rights for the next generation to inherit?

If your answer is no, we must each use those powers granted to us by God and as Americans to speak up, to let your voice be heard, your opinions known, and your love for this nation and her people shown.

In closing, I’d like to ask each of you to dig deep and as yourselves: what makes up your list? What are you willing to speak up to protect? What are you willing to fight for?

At this moment, we have a choice:
We can stay silent and watch all of this go away
Or we can stand up, make our voices heard, and Keep America Great!

Free Household Hazardous and Electronic Waste Drive-through Collections Event Set for Nov. 16

| Community | November 14, 2019

Santa Clarita residents can bring their unwanted household hazardous and electronic waste to the free Household Hazardous/E-Waste Roundup on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. This event will take place in the South parking lot at College of the Canyons’ Valencia Campus, located at 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Household Hazardous Waste/E-Waste Roundup allows residents to safely dispose of their hazardous household waste and unwanted electronic equipment. Items accepted at the event include brake fluid, paint, cleaners containing acid or lye, pesticides or herbicides, household and car batteries, pool chemicals, used motor oil, oil filters, expired medications, anti-freeze and fluorescent light bulbs. Computers, monitors, televisions, computer CPUs, keyboards, printers, cell phones, VCRs, fax machines and stereos are just a few of the electronic waste items that may also be recycled.

Residents disposing of waste at the event should pack items in a sturdy box, preferably in their original labeled containers. Participants should be prepared to leave containers and boxes at the collection site and are advised to empty all other items from their trunk. Upon arrival at the event, residents may remain in their cars while trained personnel remove the hazardous waste from the trunk.

Items that are not eligible for disposal at the event include:
Hazardous waste and electronic waste from businesses
Explosives, ammunition and radioactive materials
Garbage and tires
“White goods,” such as refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, etc.
Controlled substances

The Household Hazardous Waste/E-Waste Roundup is open to all Los Angeles County residents. No appointments or reservations are needed to participate. The event is sponsored by the County of Los Angeles and presented by the Department of Public Works and the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, in partnership with the City of Santa Clarita.

Tonight Community Prayer for Saugus HS

| Community | November 14, 2019

Prayer Support for the community at

Bouquet Canyon Church in Saugus

Tonight (Thursday, November 14) 5:30 – 7 pm

27000 Bouquet Canyon Road

22nd Annual Christmas Boutique at Acton Faith Bible Church

| Community | November 8, 2019

The women’s ministry of Acton Faith Bible Church will hold their 22nd annual Christmas Boutique on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The boutique will take place in the Multipurpose Room of High Desert School, located at 3620 Antelope Woods Road in Acton.

Those in attendance will enjoy a free cup of coffee or apple cider while they do their Holiday gift shopping. Over two dozen vendors will be represented, offering a wide variety of merchandise. In addition, the best pulled pork sandwiches and vegetable chili in town, as well as delectable bake sale items, will be available for purchase. A few lucky winners will be going home with some great raffle prizes. Everyone is invited to come and enjoy the fun.

My Favorite Things – Art Exhibit

| Community | November 8, 2019

The Santa Clarita Artists Association’s (SCAA) exhibit, My Favorite Things, opens on November 8th and will run through December 29th. A free reception to meet the artists will take place on Friday, November 8th from 5-8 pm.

What can art lovers expect? “Art representing YOU and your favorite objects, pets, people or places. Things that bring you joy,” says Mardio Georgio, a gallery committee member. “Wall paintings, jewelry, decor items, one-of-a-kind gift items, small and miniature pieces will be available for purchase. Artists will provide live demonstrations on selected days throughout the show.” A sneak preview is shown here:

Rosanne Haddad – Burst of Color – “Inspired by their vivid colors and graceful petals, I decided to paint this oil with a combination of bold and subtle strokes and a hint of whimsy.” https://rosannehaddad.com/

Nadiya Littlewarrior – Space Rainbow – “Normally my canvas is a Gourd Person. This, however, is watercolor on sketching paper. Rainbows are among my favorite things!”

Gloria Cassidy – “Song is the title and the medium is colored pencil and watercolor.” www.gloriacassidy.com

Sandy Fisher – Heavenly Half-Light – “This is one of the beautiful sunset views, which I see from my own backyard in the hills of Saugus. Visit my Instagram – @Sandyfisherfineart; www.Sandy-Fisher.pixels.com”

Olga Kaczmar – Baby Dog Portrait – “My dog died so many years ago, but this portrait of her still warms my heart.” http://olga-kaczmar.fineartamerica.com.

The SCAA Art Gallery is located at 22508 6th St. in Old Town Newhall, between Railroad and Main. New Hours: Senses Thursday; Fridays 5-8 pm; Saturday 2-8 pm; Sunday, 2-5 pm. Signs along Main Street will announce gallery openings.

SCAA is the only non-profit fine art association in Santa Clarita since 1989. For inquiries, see www.SantaClaritaArtists.org

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