SCV Water Responds to the California Division of Drinking Water’s Decision to Lower the Notification Level for PFAS Chemicals

| Community | August 30, 2019

The State Water Resources Control Board (Board) has announced updated guidelines for local water agencies, including SCV Water, to follow in detecting and reporting the presence of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in drinking water. The updated guidelines are part of the Board’s comprehensive effort to assess the scope of contamination of statewide drinking water supplies by PFOA and PFOS.

The updated state guidelines lower the current notification level from 14 parts per trillion (ppt) to 5.1 ppt for PFOA and from 13 ppt to 6.5 ppt for PFOS. These new guidelines would apply to all SCV Water wells tested moving forward. Under these levels, an additional three wells would fall within notification levels, added to the eight identified during the first round of sampling in May. One well was removed from service in May when it exceeded DDW’s interim response level of a combined 70 ppt for PFOS and PFOA. The response level is expected to be reviewed by the Board this fall.

For perspective, one part per trillion is a microscopic measurement for something in the water or air and would be equal to four grains of sugar in an Olympic-size swimming pool.

“While we did not find more PFAS in our water, today’s new requirements from the State Water Resources Control Board have established lower notification levels for all California water agencies,” stated SCV Water’s General Manager Matt Stone. “Our customers come first, and we continue to vigilantly monitor our water quality and implement new strategies as needed to safeguard our water supply,” noted Stone.

Notification levels are a non-regulatory, precautionary health-based measure for concentrations in drinking water that warrant notification and further monitoring and assessment. When SCV Water samples water that is above the notification level, it is reported to the State Water Board, as well as the SCV Water governing board, the Santa Clarita City Council, and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

SCV Water will continue to monitor groundwater, and is proactively sampling all 44 groundwater wells in August 2019. In the interim, SCV Water will adjust its systems’ operations and will rely on its diverse water supply portfolio, including imported and banked water sources, in order to minimize any supply impacts to its customers. Additionally, SCV Water encourages customers to continue to use water efficiently in their homes and on their landscapes.

In light of the changes, SCV Water has also proactively begun evaluating treatment options to remove PFOA and PFOS chemicals and has created a staff-led team dedicated to developing a plan to address the issue.

SCV Water is one of more than 200 water systems and over 612 groundwater wells in California required to sample for PFAS and PFOA chemicals this year.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of manmade chemicals that are prevalent in the environment and were commonly used in industrial and consumer products to repel grease, moisture, oil, water and stains. These chemicals enter the environment through treated wastewater discharge, landfills and areas where the substances were used outdoors. Exposure to these chemicals may cause adverse health effects.

For more information and resources on PFAS, visit yourSCVwater.com/pfas.

History of PFAS Regulatory Levels In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Lifetime Health Advisory (LTHA) recommending that the concentration of PFOA and PFOS in drinking water, either individually or combined, should not be greater than 70 parts per trillion (ppt).

In June 2018, the State Water Resources Control Board – Division of Drinking Water (DDW) and California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) established interim notification levels (NL) of 13 ppt for PFOS, 14 ppt for PFOA, and a Response Level (RL) of 70 ppt for PFOS and PFOA individually or combined.

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 72,000 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

“Food for Fines” Returns to Santa Clarita Public Library in September

| Community | August 29, 2019

During the month of September, the Santa Clarita Public Library will host the “Food for Fines” program in partnership with the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry, Salvation Army and Santa Clarita Grocery. This month-long program will allow customers to donate food items to remove up to $20 of overdue library fines or replacement card fees from their account. Donations are being gathered for local non-profit organizations that work to collect and distribute donated foods to those in need in the community.

Each Santa Clarita Public Library branch will have a donation collection barrel set up near the service desk. Customers are encouraged to donate as many food items as they want. Each item grants the customer up to $5 to use toward a library fine or replacement card fee, but please note that $20 is the maximum amount that can be waived per account.

According to the Santa Clarita Public Library’s non-profit partners, most-needed donation items include canned foods, dry goods and select toiletry items. However, all donation items are welcome. For a full list of needed items, please visit SantaClaritaLibrary.com.

For more information about the “Food for Fines” program, visit SantaClaritaLibrary.com, or contact Library Administrator Gina Roberson at groberson@santa-clarita.com or (661) 799-6105.

On The Town with Jason Downs

| Community, Entertainment | August 29, 2019

Greetings fellow Santa Claritans, and welcome to a column that’s all about having fun around town! We’re fortunate enough to live in one of the great entertainment meccas of the world — join me as we celebrate all the area has to offer!

Here’s what I got up to this week: Sunday Night Jazz with a local legend, and the best steak I’ve had in a long while at Valencia’s hottest new entertainment venue.

Looking for an adventure to cure those Sunday night blues? My wife and I hit the jackpot, friends — jazz at the Black ‘N Blue.

The Al Pascua Project, a top-notch band of musical brothers who know their way around a jazz tune, had the audience wrapped around their fingers at the stylish Black ‘N Blue lounge at the Valencia Town Center on Sunday night.

Left to right: James Graham (drums), Terry Collier (band manager), Al Pascua (keys/vocals), Lance Rickman (sax/flute), and David Cook (bass)

As soon as we walked into the restaurant our senses were aroused by the smooth sounds of Al Pascua, the inviting lighting, the laid back vibe, the smell of lobster, and last but not least, the staggering number of beautiful people filling up the place. That’s right, folks, it was as though all the beautiful people of Santa Clarita had descended upon the Black ‘N Blue just waiting for us to discover them…from the waitresses to the patrons it was a veritable feast for the eyes (and we’ll get to the actual feast in a moment).

Al Pascua and his band mates were beautiful (he hails from Hawaii, so no wonder); Al’s manager, Terry Collier, who welcomed us into the fray with open arms was gorgeous; the owner of Black ‘N Blue, Lee Kan, was ruggedly handsome; the wait staff was a runway of models; and of course, my wife was the crown jewel looking as stunning as ever in her long, flowing, low cut dress. I was surrounded by beauty! The bar was magnificent. The booths were inviting. The band was killing it. And then the food arrived…

First, let me just say, when we saw the relatively low prices on the menu, especially for the filet mignon we ordered, we were expecting a small piece of USDA steak. We were extremely and oh-so-pleasantly surprised when a choice cut of Angus, still crackling on a cast iron hot plate, was delivered to our table.

Next, we sliced into the filet and saw that it was the perrrrrfect medium rare…and still sizzling from the piping hot plate.

Then, we each took a bite.

THEN, we died and went to heaven.

You’re getting serious value for your buck here, people. The wine (we tried a Sauvignon Blanc) was outstanding. The baked potato was infused with a yummy mixture of butter, herbs and cheese which was also outstanding.

Then, we ordered more wine (because the alcohol was also less expensive than most places) and started to feel like dancing! But that would have to wait because the band was finishing their first set by now. Mixed among the applause and the cheers was a collective disappointment that they needed to take a break at all. “Keep playing, Al,” a group from across the room pleaded.

By special request, Mr. Al Pascua himself joined us at our booth for a moment and we got to chat music and compare stories. (I’ve had my run-in with the music industry as well, but we can unpack all that implies at a later date.) My wife remarked that she’d never seen a jazz group engage so well with their audience before (we’ve seen a lot of jazz back in New York), because usually they seem to be so involved with the art of jazz or the personal pleasure of bonding with the other musicians that little attention is paid to drawing in the crowd.

Mr. Pascua credited this unique trait to the years he’s spent educating folks about the joys of jazz…caressing and coaxing his audience into an appreciation by incorporating broader music into his set and tying it all back to jazz. This practice of “audience education’” began back in Hawaii (before moving to LA to work for Disney) where Mr. Pascua played for years with a hit band called Music Magic.

Purchase his current album by searching The Al Pascua Project on any of your favorite platforms. Take a moment, it is well worth it. Mr. Pascua is focusing on his music completely nowadays and we are the lucky benefactors. His set consists of classics and originals, both of which draw you in and onto the dance floor. Not just because the band is so tight and are such pros, but because they invite you to be a part of the experience with infectious smiles and obvious love for the music.

You’re probably thinking I’m a paid advertiser at this point, but my wife and I walked away from the evening thinking we would definitely be coming back on a regular basis. The Black ‘N Blue is the hang out, folks. Owner and operator, Lee Kan, knows what he’s doing and I for one (and my wife for another) couldn’t be happier he’s doing it here in Santa Clarita! This type of venue is just what we’ve been looking for…especially on those nights you just want to dance. Wednesday through Saturday they have a DJ playing all the greats from the 70s to the present with the many screens peppered throughout the room showing the corresponding music video.

Prefer to play Jenga while sipping a cocktail and listening to some great jazz on a Sunday eve before the busy week begins? Check out The Al Pascua Project every other week starting September 15th.

To cap off a perfect evening, when we stepped onto the sidewalk of Town Center an adorable old-fashioned trolley pulled up alongside us, beckoning us to climb aboard. We did, and it carried us off to our car.

In the words of Plato, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, and life to everything.” Hear, hear! (Pretty insightful guy, I’m told.)

So, there it is for this week, friends. Always feel free to let me know what you like doing around town so I can check it out and write it up. (reachjasondowns@santaclaritagazette.com)

Until next time, bon voyage, break a leg, and bon appétit!

Residents Encouraged to Share Feedback for the City’s Parks and Recreation Work Plan

| Community | August 29, 2019

In an ongoing effort to update the 2008 Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan to a fluid Work Plan, the City of Santa Clarita is now conducting a community-wide survey to solicit feedback and information about the programs and services the City offers.

The community survey is an opportunity to gauge residents’ satisfaction, priorities and concerns as they relate to parks and recreation opportunities in the City of Santa Clarita. In addition to the randomly sampled survey conducted by True North Research Inc., the results of this survey will inform the Parks and Recreation Work Plan, which will then be integrated into the City’s next comprehensive strategic plan. All residents are highly encouraged to participate in this survey as it will ensure that the results reflect the diverse experiences and needs of the community. Some of the questions residents will be asked to respond to include; what park amenities they would like to see and where do they get information about classes, events, parks and more. The survey will close August 30, so please visit santa-clarita.com to participate.

For more information about the City of Santa Clarita’s Parks and Recreation Work Plan or the community survey, please contact (661) 286-4176.

Sale of Measure E General Obligation Bonds Yields $85 Million

| Community | August 23, 2019

The second bond issuance of Measure E, the Santa Clarita Community College District general obligation bonds, were sold on August 7, yielding $85 million to assist College of the Canyons in building out the Canyon Country campus and upgrading the Valencia campus.

“We look forward to enhancing facilities at both campuses, which will allow us to expand programs and services for students and deliver on the commitment we made to voters in 2016,” said College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook. “This year marks the college’s 50th year of service to Santa Clarita, and thanks to the community’s support through Measure E, we are well-positioned for continued growth and development in the years to come.”

As a part of the financing process, the District re-affirmed its credit ratings with Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s, which issued an “AAA” rating—the highest rating assigned to a community college—and an “AA” rating, respectively, with stable outlooks.

As a result, the district received over $544 million in orders for the $85 million in bonds being offered, which demonstrated significant investor interest in the district’s bonds.

The current interest bonds went to market August 7 with a final true interest cost of 2.8 percent, down from 3.1 percent just 24 hours earlier. The rate drop, which came in response to action by the Federal Reserve and changes in the global economy, led to a $7 million savings for local taxpayers.

“The successful outcome was due to the expertise of district staff and their financial advisors, who ensured the college was ready to take the bonds to market at the optimal time,” said Assistant Superintendent/Vice President of Business Services Sharlene Coleal.

Local voters approved Measure E in June 2016 for a total of $230 million to fund multiple projects at both campuses. The bonds are funding construction of the Science Center, which is located at the Canyon Country campus and serves as a focal point for students and first-time visitors. The approximately 52,000-square-foot building will primarily be devoted to physical and biological sciences, housing eight labs, plus lecture classrooms.

The Student Services/Learning Resources Building will be the new home to Student Services and The Learning Center (TLC). The four-story building will sit adjacent to the Science Building at the center of campus and will provide office and library space.

Measure E also enabled the college to build a three-story parking structure at the Valencia campus, which added 1,659 parking spaces. Measure E funds will also go toward the renovation of several existing buildings at the college’s Valencia campus.

Projections show student enrollment at College of the Canyons growing to reach 30,000 students per semester over the next decade or so. That increase is expected in part from new programs like Canyons Promise, which provides first-time, full-time students with two free years of college, as well as College Now!, which enables high school students to take courses without paying the $46 per unit enrollment fee.

The district’s bond finance team included Piper Jaffray as the Investment Banking/Underwriting Firm, Isom Advisors serving as Municipal Advisor for the transaction, and Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth serving as Bond and Disclosure Counsel.

Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley Presents LUNAFEST: Short Films By, For, About Women®

| Community | August 22, 2019

LUNAFEST, a unique fundraising film festival of eight thought provoking films, will be screened at the Canyon Theater Guild on September 13, 2019. Hosted by Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley, these films highlight women as leaders in society, illustrated by women filmmakers. The subjects range from animation to fictional drama, and cover topics such as women’s health, body image, relationships, cultural diversity and breaking barriers.

A brief synopsis of four intriguing films that will be screened during the film festival is presented below:

1: What is life as a black girl in South Los Angeles (LA) like? War Paint – one of eight short films that will be presented – paints a stark picture about what life is like for young black girls in South LA. War Paint is a dramatic film which depicts the harsh reality of two girls trying to celebrate the 4th of July in the urban LA area. “The film projects a view into unjust racism and sexism, further worsened as the girls become branded by guilt by association. While most children can innocently follow their hearts, in this poignant short film, viewers see the consequences these girlfriends experience by not heeding their parents’ advice and thus end up being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A native of LA, Katrelle Kindred is an award-winning director, writer and producer having completed her graduate studies in Film Production at USC. She would like to continue creating honest stories that focus on global-social issues and people unheard.

2: Are you a good parent? Do you know how to talk to your children and be supportive of their choices? Do you know the right thing to say and do to make sure your kids know you love and accept them? The upcoming film Are We Good Parents? hilariously shows how one set of parents try their best to be understanding of their daughter. In today’s challenging social climate, the parents featured in this short firm are so anxious to accept their child’s choices that their behaviors become absolutely ridiculous. Join in the laughter and enjoy the film, Are We Good Parents? Creator, Bola Ogun, is first generation Nigerian-American and is currently based in Los Angeles. The film won top awards at AT&T’s SHAPE Event.

3: Flip The Record portrays a teen, Vanessa, who is sick of being artistically constrained in her conservative Filipino-American family. Vanessa is bored with her dull piano lessons. What she really dreams about is getting into the exciting beat of the San Francisco pulsing hip-hop scene of the 1980’s, like her brother and his friends. She has the vision and the desire to be a music disc jockey (DJ), like her brother. The creator, Marie Jamora, is an award-winning filmmaker from Manila, Philippines who began her career directing commercials for names such as Coca-Cola, Colgate and Gillette. The film asks, “How can she break into the Bay-area mobile DJ scene, with her brother blocking her from scratching vinyl records on his turntable?” Join us to find out Can she Flip The Record and find her groove?

4: Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday – created by Jackie Files, a 2018 California Institute of the Arts’ graduate and her senior film – features a young woman who finds her old diaries while moving out of her childhood bedroom and learns to make peace with herself! Nostalgic and reflective.

You are invited to experience these and other compelling short films at the upcoming 2019 LUNAFEST screening. LUNAFEST is a one-night only local event and is shown to audiences nationwide; the films spotlight cultural issues being faced by women in today’s society.

Established in 2000 by LUNA, makers of the Whole Nutrition Bar for Women, LUNAFEST connects women, their stories and causes through film. A portion of the proceeds from these films help support Chicken & Egg Pictures, a nonprofit organization that supports women nonfiction filmmakers whose artful and innovative storytelling catalyzes social change. The remaining proceeds are used to support Zonta Club’s scholarships, grants, programs and projects that are designed to empower women and girls.

Join us on September 13, 2019 at Canyon Theater Guild, 24242 Main Street in Newhall and learn more about these four films and four other films that will be screened – a total of eight tantalizing films! Reception time 5:45pm VIP; 6:30pm general admission. 7:00 pm showing of eight LUNAFEST featured films. Purchase your tickets now. VIP $45 or general admission $25 available at www.scvzonta.org.

Tickets on Sale for Soup for the Soul – Sera In Italia

| Community | August 22, 2019

Bridge to Home, the primary homeless services provider in the Santa Clarita Valley, invites the community to our premier fundraiser Soup for the Soul – Sera in Italia. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, October 12, at 6 p.m. at Bella Vida located at 27180 Golden Valley Road in Santa Clarita.

Come enjoy an evening in Italy with simmering soups, crafted fresh from the garden, prepared by your favorite local restaurants. In addition to the soups, guests will enjoy savory appetizers, craft brews, fine wines and decadent desserts. There are sponsorship opportunities still available. Your participation in this Italian affair will help Bridge to Home with our mission of providing resources to those experiencing homelessness in our community.

“Now is a pivotal time in making a true and lasting impact on homeless in our community,” said Executive Director Michael Foley. “We recently announced that we have secured a large portion of the funds necessary to keep our shelter services running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. However, there is still a $250,000 funding gap we need to meet.”

The grant from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) contract in the amount of $840,000 will fund 60 beds as of September 15, 2019. The funds from this new contract cover 75% of the cost of the expansion. Therefore, Bridge to Home is launching a significant fundraising campaign to fill the gap and provide the services and resources needed in Santa Clarita.

In addition, Bridge to Home is in the process of building a new shelter facility. To make this happen we need the support of the community.

Join your friends at the beautiful new Bella Vida to learn more about Bridge to Home’s mission, enjoy live entertainment, bid on fabulous auction items and much more.

Bridge to Home provides support services – including shelter, case management and housing navigation – that help individuals and families in the Santa Clarita Valley transition out of homelessness. All these resources and services are available thanks to funds from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, subcontracts with Los Angeles Family Housing, private and public grants, and extensive in-kind donations and participation from the local community.

Come enjoy a night of food and fun – while helping this important cause. Individual tickets are $100 and sponsorships are available. Please visit btohome.org to buy tickets and learn more about Bridge to Home.

Castaño Exhibition Kicks Off National Hispanic Heritage Month

| Community | August 22, 2019

The College of the Canyons Art Gallery presents the exhibition “Carolyn Castaño: Delineando un Paisaje Femenio – Outlining a Female Landscape” just in time for National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Running now until Thursday, October 10, the solo exhibition includes Castaño’s recent paintings, drawings, mixed media and videos highlighting her ongoing exploration of identity, gender and social conditions facing women.

A free public lecture by the Los Angeles-based artist is scheduled 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 10, followed by a reception for the artist from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

“I feel very fortunate to be able to introduce our students and campus community to this wonderful artist,” Art Gallery Director Pamela Bailey Lewis said. “Two of my main goals as a curator for a campus-based art gallery are to bring the most compelling art of our time to campus so our students will have the opportunity to engage with it first-hand; and to create relevant, inspiring programming that reflects and supports the diverse communities we are here to serve. This exhibition does both those things.”

A Colombian-American, Castaño draws inspiration from her bi-cultural identity and explores themes and images that originate in Latin and Central America with a particular emphasis on how gender and ecological concerns play out in regional conflicts, narco-trafficking, and post-colonial struggle.

Making connections across cultures, places, and female experiences, Castaño is known for her powerful layering of multiple visual traditions, including Pre-Columbian and indigenous textiles, popular media, formalism, 20th century graphic design, and early 19th century botanical drawings.

“By putting abstractions and patterns on the same plane as traditionally painted landscapes I hope to not just capture the historical simultaneity of cultures and ecosystems, but also a sense of their possible futures,” said Castaño, who is the first Latina artist to have a solo exhibition at the gallery.

The College of the Canyons Art Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The exhibit can be viewed at Mentry Hall 108, located on the Valencia Campus at 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road.

Those unable to visit the gallery during normal hours are welcome to contact the gallery to schedule a viewing appointment. All gallery exhibitions and related events are free and open to the public.

Doctor’s Diary – (Snippets from the Frontline) Let’s Put Grandma in a Nursing Home

| Community | August 22, 2019

By Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.
Older adults abhor the thought they might be forced into a nursing home. Yet, they might not have a financial choice.

Here is the typical road a senior might take: They become ill, or fall breaking something. Hospitals are now triage centers quickly funneling patients in and out with only partial treatment. Almost every Medicare paid admission is destined for a nursing home especially when their residence is not set up to care for a recuperating older senior.

Some patients return home, whereas others cannot get back to their physical ability to live on their own. Nursing home Medicare payments are limited and eventually stop. Who then pays?

For years, most of us create a nest egg, including a retirement plan with added asset in our house. If you don’t have savings or they’ve been used, nursing homes and hospitals place a lien on your nest egg to assure they eventually get paid. Your assets dwindle to nothing. Then you go on Medicaid (different from Medicare) which pays for the nursing home at taxpayer expense.

Voilà , you are now living in a nursing home and have no assets.

Any solutions for grandma?

On the Town with Jason Downs

| Community | August 22, 2019

Greetings fellow Santa Claritans, and welcome to a column that’s all about having fun around town! (Except for this week…a dark cloud descended upon our happy valley this week, my friends…oh yes, indeed.)


It was THE FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL! (Cue the ominous music.)


My amazingly awesome kids

You see, folks, I certainly made my way around town this week, but it wasn’t to watch a show at the Canyon Theatre Guild or catch a fish at Castaic Lake. Nope, this was “back to the grind week,” which is always both happy and sad. Am I right? Happy because the kids are beginning a new chapter of an exciting year, and sad because the beloved summer of lazy days are over. Although, since moving from New York we now know that isn’t entirely true…we will get to sneak away to the beach most weekends until October. One of the many perks Southern California affords us lucky ducks!

Anyhow, our oldest began her first day of high school on Tuesday and I’m doing my best to wrap my head around this particular milestone. Memories of her first day of school as a kindergartner are still fresh in my mind…the little dress she wore so proudly, the beaming smile from the window of the bus, her enthusiastic wave as the big yellow monster carried our baby away. (We can unpack all that this implies a little further down the column.)


Here she is, waiting for the bus at five years old

And speaking of bus loads of memories, would you like to know what else I got up to this week? While the kids were heading off to school, I made several trips back and forth to the U-Haul facility in Canyon Country in my brother-in-law’s ‘78 Chevy toting a lifetime of treasures (and trash) I’d been storing at my parent’s house over in Maryland.

Recently, I flew back to help them move out of the house where my siblings and I had dumped all our belongings over the ages, including when my family moved to Valencia five years ago. It was finally time to go face the forgotten piles of stuff we left behind.

After filling three U-Haul storage boxes to the brim, they were shipped across the country and arrived in Santa Clarita on back to school week (of course). Yippee!

But hey, I enjoy a good work out in the blazing heat, and I’m a sentimental old sap when it comes to family history and fond reminiscence, so I dove into the musty junk with gusto.

When the kids would get home from making new memories at school, I’d walk them through the old memories I’d been uncovering throughout the day: My great grandmother’s handbag still containing her coupons and change purse, my father’s first Christmas stocking from his childhood in Arkansas, the bronzed baby shoes belonging to me and my brother, and of course, a thousand transportive, memory-rich photographs.

Nowadays, we don’t often hold physical photos in our hand. However, they carry a different kind of weight than flipping through pics on a phone. Some of these photos, like the artifacts that came along with them, were a hundred years old. The faces of my ancestors looking young and regal as they stared back at us, imploring us to work hard but also to enjoy our lives. Soak up all that life has to offer because it is so completely fleeting, they seemed to say. Like the sweet little hand of our daughter disappearing around the bend as she waved goodbye on her first day of school.

Like the everyday lives of our grandparents and great grandparents that are foreign to us and forgotten now, lost in time aside from a few quiet moments captured on film. These moments are so important, though, friends. The old and the new. As the poets would say, “gather ye rosebuds while ye may, suck the marrow out of life, and seize the day.”

Which is why you’ll find me knee deep in dust this week attempting to preserve those moments for the day I disappear around the bend; smiling and waving back at my beautiful family and a life thoroughly lived.

Me with my great grandmother, circa 1974

So, there it is for this week, folks. Always feel free to let me know what you like doing around town so I can check it out and write it up: reachjasondowns@santaclaritagazette.com

Until next time, bon voyage, break a leg, and bon appétit!

Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley Awards First Women in Technology Scholarship

| Community | August 22, 2019

Ivonne Lopez, a student at College of the Canyons (COC), was awarded a $1,500 Women in Technology Scholarship, the first of its kind offered by Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley and Zonta International (ZI). The world economy, industry and sciences are becoming increasingly digitized, and these developments are disrupting society and familiar social processes. Women, however, are still largely underrepresented in technology fields. To create a world in which men and women have equal opportunities, women need to have an active role in technology and technological developments. Zonta International offered this year, its new Zonta International Women in Technology Scholarship to encourage women to pursue education, career opportunities and leadership roles in technology.

Ivonne’s educational goals are to obtain her accredited associates degree from COC and pursue her bachelor’s and master’s degree in computer science. She states that she has “structured her professional goals to be organic and flexible to change.” She wants to be involved with a number of projects that aim to combat climate change and accumulate the knowledge necessary to follow the most efficient path in truly making a difference with a life goal to combat climate change.

Ivonne plans to develop software for the public education of energy consumption, develop robust predictive software using machine learning, help develop more customized software for collaborative research, and use data analytics to optimize the efficiency of sustainable energies such as wind, tidal, geothermal, solar, nuclear, etc. The algorithms are limitless!

A recipient of several prior scholarships, Ivonne is Secretary for the Master Engineering Science Association and she is starting a campus club that will serve to help others through fundraising to help girls obtain an education in underdeveloped countries.

Zonta Club is proud to honor this vivacious young woman with this scholarship to assist her as she journeys through obtaining her education and life’s goals. Ivonne’s application will be forward to Zonta District 9 for consideration of $2,000 and a potential $8,000 award from Zonta International – a total of $11,500.

For more information about Zonta, go to www.scvzonta.org.

Santa Clarita Ranked Among the Hardest-Working Cities in America

| Community | August 22, 2019

Americans take pride in their work ethic. The United States has consistently ranked among the top countries who work the most hours each year. However, some regions of the country are known for working harder than others.
In order to rank the hardest-working cities in America, Kempler Industries recently analyzed data from the United States Census Bureau from nearly 200 cities across the United States with a population of 150,000 or more. The results reveal a mixture of cities both large and small from all parts of the United States.

To determine the rankings, Kempler Industries looked at census-defined cities with a population of at least 150,000 people from the most recent Census Bureau data. They then compared those cities across 5 key metrics:Average commute time

  1. Average workweek hours
  2. Percentage of workforce population aged 16-64
  3. Percentage of senior workforce aged 65 and up
  4. The percentage of unused vacation days

Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale. To determine an overall score, each city’s weighted average was calculated across all metrics.
Sources of data came from the U.S. Census Bureau and from the U.S. Travel Association.
Santa Clarita ranked as the #12 hardest working city in America!
Santa Clarita ranked just outside of the top 10 coming in at number 12. Santa Clarita received an overall score of 77.5. Here’s how they performed in each of the following metrics:

  • Average commute time (Santa Clarita averaged 34.9 minutes, the national average is 26.4 minutes)
  • Average workweek hours (Santa Clarita averaged 38.4 hours)
  • Percentage of workforce population aged 16-64 (63.9%)
  • Percentage of senior workforce aged 65 and up (20.2%)
  • The percentage of unused vacation days (30.5%)

The only other California city that was ranked ahead of Santa Clarita was San Francisco. Washington D.C topped the rankings list with an overall score of 90.0. Washington D.C. was found to exceed the national average for both commute time, average workweek hours and the percentage of seniors in the workforce which is the main reason why it ranked ahead of every other city in the United States.

Texas was also well represented within the top list of hardest-working cities in the Untied States. Seven out of the top ten hardest-working cities are located in the Lone Star State. Cities in Texas were well represented on this list because of their large percentage of seniors still in the workforce. All seven cities from Texas have at least 20% or more of their senior population still working. Texans are also commuting longer than most which also helped them to rank well within this analysis. With the exception of Irving, every Texas City within the top ten has an average commute that is longer than the national average of 26.4 minutes.

The full analysis of the hardest working cities in America from Kempler Industries can be seen here www.kempler.com/americas-hardest-working-cities.

SIPurbia Wine and Beer Festival to Benefit Family Promise

| Community | August 16, 2019

On October 12th, wine, beer, music, food, fun and games join together to benefit the Family Promise of Santa Clarita Valley from 4 to 8 p.m. at the SIPurbia Wine & Beer Festival at The Paseo Club in Valencia.

The festival is featuring samples from dozens of breweries and wineries. Throughout the day, there will also be music from several live bands from the 80’s and 90’s including local favorite Fast Times. Additionally, guests will enjoy exhibitors, food trucks and lawn games. Everyone in attendance will receive a souvenir tasting cup to try out the many available libations.

General admission tickets are currently $50. Enter code RELEASE for a 25% discount. A portion of the proceeds will go to help support Family Promise of Santa Clarita Valley, which serves homeless families.

The Paseo Club is located at 27650 Dickason Drive in Valencia. Tickets can be purchased online at www.sipurbia.com. For more information, visit the website or email sipurbiainfo@gmail.com.

Inspire and Empower Your Children Be More Effective in your Parenting

| Community | August 16, 2019

A workshop to help participants with important techniques and skills to inspire and empower yourself and your family is scheduled for the August LifeForward workshop hosted by Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley. This free workshop is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 24, 2019 at Valencia United Methodist Church, 25718 McBean Parkway, Santa Clarita, CA 91355.

Alex Urbina (left), a local teen and parenting expert, will present the workshop designed to help participants develop a deep and meaningful relationship with children and family, learn inspirational parenting techniques that children need, communicate effectively with your children and develop interpersonal tools for parents and individuals.

Previous workshops in the series have helped attendees understand elements of managing money, select career options and pursue meaningful employment, deal with anger management, relationships and communication, file taxes, deal with drug and cyberbullying issues, overcoming life’s challenges, and maintain healthy eating and exercise habits. Workshops are designed to help participants believe in their unlimited power and potential, build the skills necessary to succeed, and be the powerful women or person they are meant to be!

Zonta offers the free LifeForward workshop series for women, usually on a monthly basis (dark during June, July and December), in collaboration with Single Mothers Outreach, Domestic Violence Program at Child & Family Center, Returning Women Veterans and Veterans’ Wives, and the Los Angeles County Department of Child & Family Services serving foster mothers. KHTS AM-1220 is a co-sponsor of the series with Zonta.

All are welcome!

Workshops are organized by topics in which women express interest. A schedule of upcoming workshops is posted on www.scvzonta.org for women who are interested in a particular topic. Participants are not required to register in advance, but free childcare is available through Single Mothers Outreach for women who register at least one week in advance at (661) 288-0117. Spanish translation also can be provided with advance request.

Join us on Saturday, August 24th for this inspirational and informative workshop about empowerment and communication in families.

How to Excel in Business to Save you Time and Money – Part 2

| Community | August 16, 2019

Last week, I started to describe the various things one can do to save time and money using Microsoft Excel. But I only scratched the surface. Here are some more, following the same format of introducing the problem and then the solution:

Excel automates accounts receivables. A large manufacturing company did business with a large multi-store retailer. Each shipment to each store created a receivable invoice. There were thousands of receivable invoices each month. When the stores sent a check, they also sent an electronic report of which invoices they were paying. The manufacturer was then manually allocating the payments to clear the invoices and balance the accounts.

The manufacturer needed to automate allocating and balancing the payments. The solution was to write a routine in Excel that read the customer’s electronic reports and converted the data into a format compatible with the manufacturer’s system. This allowed the payments to be uploaded into the receivables system where they were matched up and cleared automatically. The program also created discrepancy reports of the items that didn’t match, so the company could address problems much quicker.

Excel automates billing processes. A consulting firm required its employees to manually fill out monthly billing reports that went to the billing department, which were then hand-entered into the system. This resulted in a lot of wasted time and paper. Sometimes the consultants forgot to include some information on the report, resulting in incomplete billing for the month, or entries were incorrect. Either way, it resulted in lost revenue.
What was first needed was to create a master report sheet that consultants could fill out electronically while they were at the client›s office or at the end of the day. The report could be e-mailed at any time. The next step was to create an Excel program that combined and re-formatted all the billing reports into a file that could be uploaded directly into the billing system to generate invoices. The Excel programs made it much easier to bill clients and keep monthly reports current. It also prevented errors and saved time by eliminating the manual copying of consultants’ reports into the invoicing system.

Excel synchronizes data and finds errors. An HR department had problems keeping its employees’ insurance reports in sync with the insurance company’s reports because each company used a different data format and data structure. Because of the different formats and structure, the HR staff had to manually reconcile the reports of more than 1,000 employees. The company needed to find a way to automate the reconciliation and eliminate errors.

Excel has a program that matched employees’ names and addresses with their insurance packages, and highlighted inconsistencies between the two reports. The new program was also capable of reading both formats for items like dates and abbreviations. After implementing the new program, all the HR staff had to do was quickly glance at the spreadsheet and deal with the discrepancies or issues indicated by the report combined with the data.

For more information, you can contact Excel & Web developer contact Warren Schultz at warren@tapsolutions.net or call him at 818-281-7628.

Take a Trip Down the Rabbit Hole with Bras for a Cause on September 7th

| Community, Entertainment | August 16, 2019

Soroptimist International of Valencia is pleased to invite you to attend our 16th Annual Bras for a Cause event. Since its beginning, this signature event has raised over $350,000 for Circle of Hope and Sheila R. Veloz Breast Center. This year’s event will be held September 7th, from 6pm to 10pm at the Hyatt Regency Valencia, and the theme will be “Alice in Wonderland.”

However, this won’t be your childhood Alice. The ambience will have more of an enigmatic and jaunty feel. The event includes dinner, raffles and a live-modeled auction of artistically-styled bras with themed baskets. Nearly every model participating this year has had personal experience with breast cancer. The club’s goal is to empower women who have been through breast cancer treatment and to celebrate their journey.

Feel free to dress to the occasion, join in the celebration and show support for these brave women. Sponsorship and donation opportunities are available, and tickets are on sale now. Last year’s event had a sold out crowd of almost 300, and is on track to sell out again. You do not want to miss this event!

For more information: www.sivalencia.org/bras-for-a-cause or email: PresidentSIV@gmail.com or PublicitySIV@gmail.com

Tickets on Sale Now for the 2019 State of the City Luncheon

| Community | August 16, 2019

This year’s State of the City Luncheon will be held on Thursday, October 24, 2019, at 11:30 a.m., at the Hyatt Regency Valencia. The theme for this year is Lights, Camera, Santa Clarita! Join the Santa Clarita City Council as they celebrate all things film. Our community’s rich history is closely intertwined with Hollywood’s. Santa Clarita’s rolling hills, picturesque canyons and close proximity to Los Angeles have made it a desirable place to film since the early days of silent films and westerns, to today’s blockbuster films.

As always, the State of the City Luncheon will be an opportunity to celebrate all the progress and accomplishments that have occurred over the last year, while taking a look forward at what the future holds. This year, guests will enjoy a behind the scenes look at filming in our City, hear updates from our City Council, watch videos filled with the latest on City projects and much more.

“The Annual State of the City Luncheon is always a highlight of the year,” said Mayor Marsha McLean. “This year will be no different. There are many surprises in store as we celebrate the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, mixed in with local film history, celebrity cameos, important City news, how filming bolsters our local economy and more.”

Tickets are $40 per person and $400 per table of 10. Ticket price includes luncheon and gift. For more information- please call the City of Santa Clarita at (661) 255-4939.

Learn about Santa Clarita’s Community Services and Arts Grants

| Community | August 16, 2019

The City of Santa Clarita invites non-profit organizations interested in learning more about the 2020 grant cycle of the Community Services and Arts Grants Program to a meeting on Wednesday, August 28, at 12:15 p.m. The informational meeting will be held in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, located at 23920 Valencia Boulevard.

The Community Services and Arts Grants Program will once again make funds available to Santa Clarita Valley-based nonprofit and arts organizations that provide services to Santa Clarita residents. The Santa Clarita City Council has made available $180,000 in funding for the 2020 grant cycle of the Community Services and Arts Grants to help support one-time projects, program enhancements and pilot programs.

This meeting is highly recommended for all non-profit agencies interested in applying for the 2020 Community Services and Arts Grants. In addition to allowing agencies to ask questions, this meeting will include information about the grant timeline, funding eligibility, grant categories and criteria.

The 2020 Grant Application Packet will be released at the meeting and will be available online after August 28 on santa-clarita.com/grants. The meeting is free and open to the public. No RSVP is necessary to attend.

For more information on the City’s Community Services and Arts Grant Program, including required materials, submission guidelines and more, contact Management Analyst Tyler Pledger at (661) 286-4165.

The Replicas to Perform Popular Hits at Concerts in the Park

| Community, Entertainment | August 15, 2019

Dance your heart out at Concerts in the Park on Saturday, August 17. Hear the talented variety band, The Replicas, perform top hits from a variety of different artists. The free concert will begin at 7 p.m. at Central Park, located at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road.

The Replicas perform songs from a wide array of artists and genres. From Frank Sinatra to the Foo Fighters, and Alternative to Country, there will be something for everyone as the band showcases its vast musical repertoire. As a part of The Replicas Music and Productions talent agency, members of The Replicas come from a wide range of musical backgrounds and share their passion for music with others either on stage, in the studio or by educating the next generation of musicians.

Bring your family and friends to enjoy live music under the stars at the second to last concert in this year’s Concerts in the Park series. Remember to pack blankets and lawn chairs so you can sit back and enjoy the show. Complete the concert-going experience with tasty snacks from a variety of on-site food vendors.

For more information about Concerts in the Park and to view the rest of this summer’s lineup, please visit santa-clarita.com/concerts.

WISH Education Foundation and Westfield Valencia Town Center Partner to Make Summer Events a Community Experience

| Community, Entertainment | August 15, 2019

Westfield Valencia Town Center has gifted the WiSH Education Foundation all the coins from the recently retired fountain from inside the mall. The money will be used to present two events this summer – the Burrito Bowl on August 20th and Cocktails on the Roof on September 6th, both located on the Westfield property.

The 10th annual Burrito Bowl, held on Town Center Drive from 7-9pm, features football linemen from each of the six comprehensive Varsity football teams as they race against time and each other to eat a four foot bean burrito donated by Sharkey’s Restaurant. New this year is a team from Fox Sports West trying their hand (and mouths) to beat the players! Teams and cheer squads raise money by creating banners that can be voted on by community members by going to the Westfield Valencia Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/WestfieldValenciaTownCenter/) or their Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/p/B01f1FxAAi8/) .

You can purchase raffle tickets from any cheer squad or football team member; Westfield is also selling the $5 raffle tickets at their management office for prizes that include a $2,000 shopping spree, a staycation at the Hyatt with breakfast and four tickets to Magic Mountain and gift cards to a variety of restaurants and retail locations.

Community members can also win tickets to the popular Cocktails on the Roof event by going to the Westfield site’s Sweepstakes Event Page (https://www.westfield.com/valencia/events/all-events/cocktails-on-the-roof-sweepstakes/54002). The event, now in its fifth year, is held from 8-11pm on top of the Macy’s parking garage and features signature cocktails from restaurants, spirit vendors, wineries and breweries, food and dancing to a DJ in a rooftop party atmosphere unlike any other event in our region. Private lounges that include two VIP early entry tickets are available but limited in number. Tickets are on sale now and you can see an updated list of participants at www.cocktailsontheroofscv.org. If you would like to sponsor or participate, please contact Executive Director Amy Daniels at wish@hartdistrict.org.

WiSH funds programs and initiatives in the Hart School District not paid for by tax dollars alone. Our current funding focus is STEAM with an emphasis on the ARTS. We are currently working to provide musical instruments to all school in the district but continue to fund programs from literacy to STEM and everything in between. Our dollars go where it counts – into the classroom to provide our students with the tools needed for SUCCESS!

81st Annual Antelope Valley Fair and Alfalfa Festival – A Sweet Deal!

| Community | August 15, 2019

The award-winning Antelope Valley Fair and Alfalfa Festival, an iconic annual community event, is celebrating 81 years. This year’s “Sweet Delights and Carnival Lights” Fair takes place Aug. 16th – 25th at the Antelope Valley Fair & Event Center.

The A.V. Fair offers one of the most family friendly, cost efficient, wholesome entertainment events in Southern California. Discount general admission tickets are available and just $8 at the A.V. Fair Mall Cart or through a participating Moola For You organization. After August 15th all adult general admission tickets are $13 and youth and senior admission tickets are $9. Active Military get in free with their military service photo ID all ten days of the fair. Parking for the fair is just $10 (cash only).

New to this year’s fair is Los Angeles County Air Show’s “Aerospace Valley STEM Expo.” The expo space will host a variety of partners including, the Aerospace Museum, local school robotics teams, pilot autograph opportunities, STEM exhibits, technology petting zoo and more.

Returning this year, is the BACKYARD – a great gathering space to enjoy local independent craft beer, local wine tasting and games like corn hole, Jenga and more. New to this year’s independent beer’s BACKYARD is the free, Brews and Beards competition happening Tuesday, August 22nd at 6PM.

General admission tickets include free Miller Light grandstand seating to the Palmdale Auto Mall Concert Series, Figure 8 race, and Rural Olympics and Fireworks show. A general admission ticket is the gateway to a plethora of additional “Free Fair Fun” including: Suzy Haner the Hypnotist, Pig Races, Aerospace Valley STEM Expo, live music and dancing at various stages, and so much more. Download the AV Fair app for the complete list. The Antelope Valley Fair app will provide information on all things fair including, voting for your favorite food vendor, surveys, push notifications, maps and more. The app is available at Google Play and the IOS Apple.

There are additional savings as well – including, a $22 season pass, carnival wristbands offering unlimited rides and special admission days.

Discounted admission tickets, season passes and carnival wristbands can still be purchased at the fairgrounds box office (hours 8am-5pm), online and through the A.V. Fair app until 11:59 p.m. August 15, 2019.

“The Antelope Valley Fair has a long tradition of providing fun and opportunities for every generation. Every year we bring in new attractions and this year includes new carnival rides, the Brews and Beards contest, and the LACAS Aerospace Valley STEM Expo. Fair-goers will once again be able to enjoy several new and all-time favorite attractions, all with an admission ticket, including free grandstand seating to our concerts and select arena events. We’re making an effort to ensure that wherever anyone goes, they’ll be able to find something affordable for the entire family to enjoy,” said Dan Jacobs, CEO of the Antelope Valley Fair and Event Center.

Special admission days provide even greater bargains:

Opening day, Friday, August 16th, fair admission and parking is free from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. only.

Monday, August 19th is Kids, Senior and Special Needs Citizens Day. Seniors 62 and older and Special Needs Citizens (with one caregiver) get free admission and parking from 2 p.m. to 4 pm and a complimentary lunch served between 2 and 3 p.m. Youth 11 & under get free admission after 4p.m.

Tuesday, August 20th, fair-goers who bring five cans of food for Grace Resource Center will receive one free admission ticket and one ride pass.

Wednesday, August 21st, fair-goers who donate one new or three gently used elementary level books to the Rotary Club of Lancaster will receive one free admission ticket and one ride pass.

Thursday, August 22nd, Military Appreciation Day, sponsored by Budweiser, all military personnel and dependents are admitted free entry into Fair with a red carpet entrance.

Los Angeles County Aerospace Air Show STEM Expo – Free all 10 days with admission.

Discount tickets and coupon books are available at the Antelope Valley Fair kiosk in the Antelope Valley Mall, and the Antelope Valley Fair Administration office until August 15th.

Carnival wristbands, which allow unlimited rides for one day, can be purchased in advance for $25 until August 15th. After August 15th, unlimited carnival ride wristbands are $35.

Daily parking is just $10 cash only per car and there is free shuttle from the parking lots to the main gate.

A wide range of exhibits are also free including, artwork, floriculture, gems and minerals, small and large livestock, home arts, agriculture and more. Free hands-on demonstrations in the exhibit halls every day will be available with Fairgrounds admission including quilters, artists and florists providing demonstrations that don’t cost a thing. There are hundreds of free exhibits at this year’s fair that will delight people of all ages.

The Antelope Valley Fair is taking place August. 16-25 and is open daily from 4 p.m. to 12 midnight with the exception of August 26th closing at 11 p.m. It is located at the Antelope Valley Fair and Event Center, 2551 West Avenue H, in Lancaster.

For more information visit www.avfair.com.

City Using New Traffic Pattern Near Santa Clarita Elementary

| Community | August 15, 2019

To improve pedestrian safety and reduce traffic congestion, the City of Santa Clarita will use a pedestrian scramble traffic cycle at Seco Canyon Road and Decoro Drive during the school year. Drivers and pedestrians using the intersection, which is adjacent to Santa Clarita Elementary School and Arroyo Seco Junior High School, will notice the new cycle during the schools’ morning drop-off and afternoon dismissal times.

Due to the high volume of pedestrians crossing at the intersection and vehicular traffic during these times, the traffic signal will be modified to include a pedestrian scramble phase sequence. This phase enables all pedestrians to cross the intersection simultaneously while all vehicular traffic is stopped.

This timing eliminates vehicular-pedestrian conflicts, making it safer for students and families to cross the street. Additionally, traffic circulation will be greatly improved because vehicles will no longer need to wait for high volumes of pedestrians to cross the street during a green light before they can make a turn.

The new pedestrian scramble phase will operate on school days only. On non-school days and during times other than those identified, the signal at this intersection will follow a standard signal operation sequence.

For more information about the implementation of the pedestrian scramble phase, please contact the City of Santa Clarita’s Traffic Signal System Administrator, Cesar Romo, at cromo@santa-clarita.com.

On the Town with Jason Wright Downs

| Community, Entertainment | August 15, 2019

Greetings fellow Santa Claritans, and welcome to a column that’s all about having fun around town!

I enjoy many different aspects of our vast and ever-changing culture, from the Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl to cutting a rug at Mabel’s Roadhouse (even though you won’t find a single rug in the entire joint); from new films to classic theater, from delightful books to delicious bites, from walking tours to hikes and bikes…we’re fortunate enough to live in one of the great entertainment meccas of the world. Join me as we celebrate all the area has to offer!

Here’s what I got up to this week: The Play That Goes Wrong at the Ahmanson downtown, an opening at the TAG Art Gallery on the Miracle Mile and dinner at Piccola Trattoria in Canyon Country.

First of all, who doesn’t love a good farce? How many plays have you seen that make you laugh so hard and so long your face almost falls off? You don’t see many truly good slapstick spoofs, and The Play That Goes Wrong was right on the money. Pure silliness, pure fun.

The Ahmanson Theater, directly across a beautiful park from City Hall in downtown Los Angeles, continually puts on quality work that the family and I all enjoy. The play that goes horribly wrong in The Play That Goes Wrong is called “The Murder at Haversham Manor” – a 1920’s murder mystery (which doesn’t actually exist). From beginning to end the prat falls and pranks do not disappoint as we watch a desperate bunch of players do their best, and fail miserably, to get through a single performance without becoming victims of crashing set pieces or murdering each other (for real). As my wife often says, “Why is watching someone fall on their face always so funny?”

(We can unpack all that implies on some other occasion.)

My mother-in-law, Margaret Raab, is a Valencia resident. She moved from Buffalo, New York two years ago after teaching art to middle school students for 25 years. To say that she’s taken to being a “California Girl” like a pro surfer takes to the waves is an understatement. She is also taking the art scene by storm.

Since moving here, Peggy, as her friends and family call her, has had her art accepted into many of the best galleries around Los Angeles County, from Newhall to the Huntington, including the TAG Gallery on the Miracle Mile near Beverly Hills. It’s a pretty big deal! The gallery was beautiful, the art was exciting, and the wine was cheap (but plentiful), so a good time was had by all.

Jason Alexander (of Seinfeld fame) was the big celeb sighting at the gallery, which convinced us all my mother-in-law had officially hit the big time.

Everyone turned out for the TAG’s 14th annual 2019 California Open, which is a national juried exhibition celebrating contemporary and modern art. The piece that won the event was a stunningly detailed pencil drawing of a woman holding her face in her hands; very dark, emotional, and well done. Here’s the painting that won my mother-in-law her place in the highly-acclaimed show…it’s called The Kiss.

Pretty incredible, eh? (And yes, it’s for sale. Visit www.margaretraab.com and feast your eyes.)

When we moved to SCV from New York five years ago, I never would’ve guessed that the great Italian food in the “city that never sleeps” could be rivaled by a tucked away, little hidden gem in Canyon Country,…but, oh boy was I wrong!

Santa Clarita’s best kept secret is out: Piccola Trattoria is the real deal. And here’s a tip if you want to eat anywhere around 6pm — you may want to book your reservation well in advance. The Trattoria is busy and for good reason.

I’ve only been to Italy a couple of times in my life (so far) and let me tell you from my limited palate and experience, when you close your eyes and take a bite of their lasagna, you may as well be in Firenze! (For me, it was a toss up between the lasagna and the veal parmesan as the winning dish of the evening…my wife was for the shrimp risotto all the way.) Even our lovely waiter, Serge, was a recent Italian transplant!

If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Italy, try this for yourself: Order anything on the menu at Piccola, scoop up that fork full of fresh melt-in-your-mouth pasta (or whatever you fancy), close your eyes (after the fork is in your mouth…we don’t want anyone losing an eye), and you will instantly be transported to the Piazza del Duomo.

So, there it is, folks. Feel free to let me know what you like doing around town so I can check it out and write it up. You can reach me at: reachjasondowns@santaclariagazette.com.

Until next time, bon voyage, break a leg, and bon appetit!

Santa Clarita Sews – Community Sewing Workshops

| Community | August 15, 2019

Calling all sewing enthusiasts in Santa Clarita! Come join us for a community sew-in at the Centre Building – Oak room, 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway. There will be three opportunities to participate:

Saturday, August 24th from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm,
Thursday, September 5th from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Sunday, September 8th from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

As part of the Girl Scout Gold Award project by Jessie Nilsen, we will be sewing a variety of projects to benefit SCV Veterans, the SCV Senior Center and The Painted Turtle camp. Sewing experience is not needed.

This is a free event; all materials will be provided. This is open to all ages. Experienced sewers will be on hand to assist.

This is a Girl Scout Gold Award project in conjunction with the SCV Quilt Guild (SCVQG), and it’s all about the community helping the community. The overall goal is to bring the community together to help those in need.

The SCV Quilt Guild promotes the art of quilting through sharing, friendship, education and meaningful service to the community. The guild preserves the profile of an American folk art that is vulnerable to being lost as a traditional home arts form. Every year, the guild sews projects to benefit people in need in the SCV community. This Gold Award project is an outreach program, to educate SCV residents on how the SCVQG helps the community, and to give SCV residents an opportunity to be involved in helping too.

Space is limited, so if you would like to attend, please RSVP to jnilsengoldaward@gmail.com.

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