Renovations to COC Science Lab Funded

| Community | October 18, 2019

For years, College of the Canyons has planned to make renovations to Boykin Hall, a 44-year-old science laboratory facility on the Valencia Campus. In a bipartisan effort by state lawmakers, the funding is now coming in.

“As one of the college’s oldest buildings, Boykin Hall has been long overdue for a renovation,” said Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook. “We are so grateful to receive state funding to modernize the building that has served as the bedrock for the college’s science programs. Moreover, we appreciate the leadership and dedication of both Senator Wilk and Assemblywoman Smith, who worked diligently on behalf of their districts to ensure this much-needed funding was included in the state budget.”

The 2019-20 state budget includes $397,000 that will fund preliminary plans and working drawings for the renovation project. The funding comes from Proposition 51, the 2016 statewide facilities construction bond.

“I am very excited about what this means for the college’s future,” said Wilk. “We need to make the investments required to remain competitive in fields such as science and engineering. We have the moral obligation to give every opportunity to the next generation to succeed.”

Throughout the recent 2019 legislative session, Senator Wilk and Assemblywoman Smith advocated for increasing the amount of Prop. 51 funds made available for community college construction projects, and worked to ensure College of the Canyons was included for funding in the 2019-20 state budget. Both legislators visited the campus Monday to present a check from the state for the funding.

“The college has been very ambitious in meeting its goals of serving a student population that has increased dramatically, so it meant a lot to us to bring this across the finish line,” said Smith. “This funding will help ensure that existing facilities are up to date as the college continues to grow.”

The classrooms and laboratories in Boykin are used to teach physical sciences, biology, and chemistry. The renovation project will encompass all three floors of the building, and includes bringing the concrete structure up to current seismic safety standards. Interior and exterior space will be reallocated to make more efficient use of the facility, and expand work stations to accommodate more students.

The total cost of the Boykin Hall modernization is $9.4 million.  Of that, the state is expected to provide $4.4 million in Prop. 51 funding in the 2020-21 budget, in addition to the $397,000 already received.  The college’s share of the project – $4.6 million – will come from Measure E, the local bond approved by Santa Clarita voters in 2016.

Building a Community of Like-Minded Individuals

| Community | October 17, 2019

This week I heard from reader Jason, who wrote in to ask about how he can find people to spend time with in Santa Clarita with whom he will have things in common.

I refer to this as creating “community” with people of like-minded interests and beliefs. It does not mean that you will agree with them about everything, but these people are an excellent starting point for lifelong friendships.

Community adds meaning to life and creates stronger connections between you and the world around you. There are many ways to build your community and it does require effort and attention to develop these new relationships. Talk to those you care about and actively listen to them as you are building your community of like-minded individuals.

You don’t need to have many people in your support group, but it’s important to reach out and make new connections when needed. I had to do this when I left my job as a classroom teacher, gave away my long-time real estate clients, and came online as a writer, publisher, and entrepreneur in 2006. I found that building a community of like-minded individuals started with deciding who I really was and then finding the people I resonated with in Santa Clarita. These people were at Rotary meetingS and part of various charity events and fundraisers that soon became a part of my daily life.

A community is a strong catalyst for a meaningful life. Having others to share our highs and lows with gives a stronger sense of purpose and acceptance. When we’re going through difficult times, it’s of the utmost importance to hold on to a community.

Other people can serve as guideposts and supporters when we let them in. Building a community of like-minded individuals is a vulnerable thing to do because you have to reveal parts of yourself that show you might not be perfect. It might feel scary at first, and then it will feel freeing and relieving. And it’s okay if you do not agree with everything your new friends say and do.

Engaging in meaningful activities with people you care about is an excellent way to build stronger connections. Try these techniques to build your community of like-minded individuals:

Allow time for conversation. Actively listen to your friends by responding to what they have to say. By getting to know these people better, you’ll allow them to get to know you better. Become an active listener to understand their perspective on topics where you disagree.

Join a group. Rotary, an international service organization was the first group I joined and now I am a part of several special non-profits. You can find local groups of people who are interested in things you love. Engaging with them frequently will give you a group of people that you can confide in and rely on over time.

Communicate. This is a skill that is indispensable for getting around in daily life. Working on communication skills will enhance the connections you have with others and build new bridges as you are building your community of like-minded individuals.

Remain Accountable. When you have a community, you have a group of people who can support you through rough times. When you’re struggling, they will help you to help yourself up. When you’re celebrating, they will celebrate with you.

If you’re hoping to implement some changes in your daily routine, you can call on people in your community to hold you accountable. You can do this by letting your friends know what your goals are and when you would like to complete them.

If you’re going through a difficult time, you can rely on your support community to provide encouragement and guidance. If you’re stuck in a rut and are not sure what to do next, you can consult your community. They can offer new perspectives and give you ideas for solutions you had not thought of.

The purpose of a community is to have a place where you feel accepted. By feeling accepted, you’ll find a stronger feeling of hope. Others can help bring you back to reality when you have tunnel vision during a difficult situation. Your like-minded community is waiting for you to join them.

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.

Now and Then

| Community | October 17, 2019

As if we didn’t need any subtle reminders, how about some blaring ones — yes, those Christmas decorations which began popping up in stores all over the valley weeks ago. And for those of us who always say, “Please let us celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving first!” There are others (especially merchants looking to cash in on early shoppers) who say, “You can’t begin preparing too soon.”

Falling into the trap of skipping over a holiday (Halloween!) I’d like to share a little thankfulness for those who make our year-round array of Santa Clarita charitable events so successful – the event chairs.

Take for example, two Child & Family Center events that were held in September to help fund the Center’s educational and support programs, which serve local families in crisis. Many who attend these events might not be aware of the hours, days, and weeks of organizational task mastering behind the fun and food.

The C&F Center Auxiliary’s wine-pairing dinner, which was purchased at the Center’s Taste of the Town auction in May, was held Sept. 15. Nine-time winning bidders of the four-course dinner, Mike and Kris Huber, have found that the feast is a perfect way to celebrate Mike’s birthday with six of their gourmet-loving friends.

The old adage, “the proof is in the pudding,” aptly describes why the Hubers have continued to bid on the dinner year after year – first, when Kiki Hacker was its organizer in the early 2000s, and more recently as Auxiliary chair Jean LaCorte and her husband Walter Kiczek have continued the tradition.

Walter, who has a hand full of culinary degrees and currently oversees banquet events at the Sand Canyon Country Club, plans and creates the specialty dishes for the dinner while Jean adds her own culinary talents and also researches the appropriate wines served.

Walter and Jean coordinate the scheduling and the preparation of the courses and Auxiliary volunteers help plate and serve the food. To add to the diners’ enjoyment, Jean describes the wine that accompanies each course and Walter leaves the kitchen long enough to give a little background on the ingredients used in the dishes that have been set before them.

(Those interested in similar fine dining experiences don’t have to wait until next year’s Taste of the Town auction to bid on some of Walter’s wizardry in the kitchen. He oversees the menus for Thursday and Friday night dinners at the Sand Canyon Country Club, and, with his master chef training, he always adds something new and different to the traditional favorites).


While Jean and Walter spent the months prior to their September event mapping out the timeline and recruiting kitchen helpers for the wine-pairing dinner, co-chairs Rob and Kim Grass were, likewise, presiding over committee meetings that were brain-storming for the C&F Center’s September 21 Trike Derby. Begun three years ago, the Derby features rousing competitions between teams of four who pedal furiously up and down a course marked off on the blacktop in back of the Wolf Creek Brewery.

(The teams are encouraged to dress up in costumes to add a little “color” to the event. This year, the Center’s teams chose a Minions theme, while Martin & Company successfully defended their 2018 title dressed as ghost busters (complete with ghost). Drawing the most laughs from the crowd were the Jurassic Park “tyrannosaurus trikesters” who represented Wolf Creek Brewery).

As continuing chairs, Rob and Kim looked for new ways to improve the event and this year, they added a new activity — a celebrity dunk tank. Guests were invited to try their luck at dunking SCV political representatives Mayor pro tem Cameron Smyth and Assemblywoman Christy Smith. Putting politics aside for the day, Cameron and Christy “dove” into the “side-show attraction” challenging and cheering those who paid for the chance to give them a dunking (considering the hot day, some of those hitting the tank’s bulls-eye probably wished they were sitting on the precariously perched seat inside the tank). Food trucks, craft beers, and a raffle were a few of the activities Rob and Kim coordinated with volunteers and vendors to round out the day of fun.

Fund-raising for charities is the life’s blood of Santa Clarita and Jean and Walter and Rob and Kim are just a few of those who step up to keep that life-line flowing — a salute to them and their tireless dedication to improving the quality of life in the SCV.

The 6th Annual Cancer Survivor Celebration of SCV

| Community | October 11, 2019

The SCV will celebrate the 6th Annual Cancer Survivor Celebration on Sunday October 20 from 1:00pm – 4:30pm at The Residence Inn by Marriott. This event will raise money for the local non-profit Circle of Hope, Inc.

Whether you are undergoing treatment, a cancer survivor, loved one, friend, or you’re wanting to get holiday photos done before the rush, this event is an opportunity to connect with each other and celebrate milestones, said Brooke Edwards, owner of Brooke Ritter Photography and event organizer.

“Circle of Hope is an incredible resource for our community,” she said, “and my hope is that this annual fundraiser will create awareness of this resource and raises money to benefit families battling cancer through educational and financial support.”

There will be fun for the entire family. Guests will enjoy a variety of vendor booths, enjoy snacks, take portraits, win raffle prizes, play games and be surrounded by lots of fun and love. This year, Brooke Ritter Photography will raffle off a year of free portraits. There will be a Cupcake & Candles celebration honoring survivors at 2:30pm.

The Tree of Love will be featured again this year. It is a 30×30 hand painted tree on canvas in which cut out leaves and butterflies with the name of loved ones are placed onto the tree. Leaves represent cancer fighters and survivors, and butterflies are to honor those who have passed.

“This event meant everything to me. Putting the leaf on the Tree of Love as a survivor was a turning point in my life, it gave me my power back,” said Kimberly Richardson, a survivor from last year’s event.

The host of the event, Brooke Edwards of Brooke Ritter Photography, is partnering with French Photography to capture beautiful portraits for attendees.

The Residence Inn by Marriott is located at 25320 The Old Road in Santa Clarita.

Your Health and Well-Being – Practical Ways to Stay Healthy “Inside and Out”

| Community | October 10, 2019

A workshop, hosted by Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley, will help participants learn about practical ways to stay healthy from “inside – out.” The workshop is designed to provide effective ways to improve health, concentration and productivity at home and work. Topics include: how to increase energy through nutrition; exercise in small spaces; what you put on your skin is absorbed by your body and healthy and inexpensive meals for the family. The workshop will conclude with sharing wholesome prepared food.

This free LifeForward workshop is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, October 19, at Valencia Methodist Church located at 25718 McBean Parkway in Valencia.

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) –Edna Dimataga-Fernandez, Founder/CEO and Dr. Roger De Sesa, DC, CCWP, Health and Well-Being Expert of the Wellness Institute share their expertise in how to improve you and your family’s health and well-being.

Previous workshops in the series have helped women and attendees learn how to improve relationships and communicate more effectively, increase feelings of self-worth, select career options and pursue meaningful employment, deal with anger management and stress, set budgets and manage money, valuable income tax information and advice before, during and after a divorce. Workshops are designed to help participants believe in their unlimited power and potential, build the skills necessary to succeed and be the powerful women they are meant to be. All are welcome.

Zonta offers nine free LifeForward workshops, on a monthly basis (dark during June, July and December), in collaboration with Single Mothers Outreach, Domestic Violence 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.

Workshops are organized by topics developed from surveys and inquiries showing expressed interest and needs. Flyers and a schedule of upcoming workshops are posted on www.scvzonta.org for individuals who are interested in a particular topic. Participants are not required to register in advance, however free childcare is available through Single Mothers Outreach (SMO) and the number of children must be registered at least one week in advance – call SMO (661) 288-0117 for more info.

2019 VIA Award Nominees Announced

| Community | October 10, 2019

The 2019 Valley Industry Association Awards will be presented at the VIA Black & White BASH on Saturday, October 19th at the Hyatt Regency Valencia. Awards are given to those individuals and members of distinction deserving in one of three categories: VIA Business of the Year, VIA Rising Star and the Connie Worden-Roberts Volunteer of the Year.

The Connie Worden-Roberts Volunteer of the Year Award is awarded to an individual affiliated with VIA for a minimum of two years and has demonstrated strong support of the organization through committee involvement or chairmanship, member recruitment, fundraising and/or the creation of increased visibility for the organization.

The VIA Rising Star Award is awarded to a member who has been with the organization no less than 12 months and has shown substantial new growth and visibility through the development and launch of a new product or service, significant increases in job creation and/or building expansion.

The VIA Business of the Year Award is awarded to a cornerstone VIA member business affiliated with the organization no less than five years and who has demonstrated consistent support not only for the organization but to the business community and the Santa Clarita Valley as a whole.

Nominees for the Connie Worden-Roberts Volunteer of the Year Award:
— Ed Masterson, SOS Entertainment
— Mariella Masuda, Hyatt Regency Valencia
— Fabienne McGeever, Simpatico Systems
— Kim Thomson, SCV Relocation Services
— Sue Tweddell, Primerica
— Steve Youlios, Jersey Mike’s

Nominees for the VIA Rising Star Award:
— KKAJ, Certified Public Accountants
— SCV Senior Center (Bella Vida)
— Thrivent Financial | Jeff & Melanie Meyer

Nominees for VIA Business of the Year:
— Nola Aronson’s Advanced Audiology
— Hyatt Regency Valencia
— Jersey Mike’s Subs
— Mission Valley Bank
— The Signal/Signal Multimedia

In addition, the VIA Vision and Inspiration Award will be given to a school within the William S. Hart Union High School District in recognition of active involvement in the Connecting to Success program, a privately-funded half day conference offering important workplace readiness skills to high school students. The award is VIA and the VIA Education Foundation’s highest honor in recognition of the communication, collaboration, and collective efforts in furthering Connecting to Success. Starting in Spring 2020, the curriculum will be available to every sophomore class student in area high schools and teaches young people the necessary skills to bridge from student life to work life, and to be successful once they enter the workforce. The program connects business leaders to a future employment pool that will be ready for the demands of a job. There are an unlimited number of $20 Little Black Book sponsorship opportunities available, which sends one high school student to VIA’s workplace-readiness Connecting to Success program.

“The VIA BASH has become one of the must-attend business events in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Teresa Todd, Chairwoman of the Board. “This year, the signature gala transforms into a ‘Night to Remember’ inspired by Truman Capote’s infamous social event of 1966.”

Capote aspired to create an occasion that brought together a diversity of guests from his little black book to create visual unity using the most severe of color palettes: black and white attire. Guests at VIA’s Black & White BASH will enjoy themed décor while dancing to the high-energy sounds of Crowd Theory Entertainment, a cover band offering a unique and memorable alternative to the conventional live music experience. Black or white attire is encouraged. Proceeds from the event benefit the VIA Education Foundation, Connecting to Success program.

For tickets, visit www.via.org/via-bash or contact the VIA office at admin@via.org or phone (661) 294-8088.

Latin Grammy Nomination for COC Professor

| Community | October 10, 2019

College of the Canyons music professor Yalil Guerra has received a Latin Grammy nomination in the Best Classical Album category for his album “Cuba: The Legacy.”

Even though the Cuban-born composer has been nominated for a Grammy eight times, the news still came as a surprise.

“I cried when I heard about the nomination on the morning of the announcement,” said Guerra. “This album represents a milestone in my career since it is the first symphonic album I have in my catalog.”

“Cuba: The Legacy” includes Guerra’s Symphony No.1 ‘’La Palma Real” along with “Intrata,” a piece composed by his mentor, Aurelio de la Vega. The album was recorded during a memorable session last year in Havana, Cuba by the National Symphony of Cuba.

“The experience was incredible and magical,” said Guerra.

Guerra, who has taught at the college for three years, says he feels an enormous responsibility to share his passion for music with students.

“Every single word, any piece of knowledge, or advice that I teach comes from my love of music,” said Guerra. “I always encourage my students to develop a bigger curiosity towards good music, focusing on the best things we have inherited from our past, the jewel of human civilization: the arts. I am extremely honored to work at College of the Canyons and to serve the Santa Clarita community.”

This is the third Grammy nomination for Guerra as a producer by the Recording Academy. He took home the prestigious award in 2012 for his piano work in “Seduccion.”

“This nomination sends a message to the world about hope and how hard work and persistence can be rewarded by your peers and supporters in general,” said Guerra. “It also tells a story of passion and love for what I do, and this love is the energy and light that keeps my musical career alive and moving forward.”

The 2020 Latin Grammy Awards will take place on Thursday, November 14th at the MGM Las Vegas hotel.

Update from the Stop Sand Canyon Resort Group

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community, Sand Canyon Journal | October 10, 2019

Sand-Canyon full logo

A group of concerned Sand Canyon residents formed the Stop Sand Canyon Resort Task Force and are taking steps to formally resist a building project proposed by Sand Canyon Country Club owner Steve Kim.

Hundreds of residents attended a standing-room-only meeting on September 11 at The Church of the Canyons to hear from speakers set up by the task force. Issues on the agenda included:

  • Emergency Evacuation Dangers
  • Major Zone Change Required
  • Cumulative Infrastructure Burden & Other Developments
  • Open Space Elimination

Two retired fire captains spoke first, discussing the hardship of evacuating during fires. Using phrases like “recipe for disaster,” they spoke of the difficulty in getting people, horses and other animals out of the canyon during the Sand Fire of 2016. Cars, trucks and trailers sat on roads for hours waiting to drive out of Sand Canyon when evacuated.

The two former firefighters laid out physical reasons why alternate routes to exit Sand Canyon are not reasonable alternatives when there’s a wildfire.

Resident and architect Russell Meyers, AIA, spoke about the changes required to allow Steve Kim to proceed with a project of this size, including a removal of Sand Canyon’s “Special Standards District” zoning.

“This rezoning & project will adversely affect our rural and equestrian lifestyle with the infusion of high-density, mass commercial-oriented development in the least density-zoned area of our city,” he said. “And it will do so now and more so in the future.”

He explained that the general plan is intended and recognizes the need to provide for all residents with a well-rounded and healthy lifestyle, establishing the appropriate distribution of land use by type, intensity, density and codes through zoning.

“Our special village and Special Standards District is facing the most transformational challenge to date,” he said. “We need to protect it. This individual developer’s current proposal, long-term vision or underlying agenda intended in our community is not compatible with mine nor, hopefully, your vision. It’s our choice where and how we choose to live.”

Next, Sand Canyon resident Susan Carey spoke to the group.

“We are being told by project supporters that we, Sand Canyon residents, will have to adjust our lives to accommodate this commercial facility and get used to more traffic, constant noise and thousands of visitors,” she said. “And the reason we’re supposed to make these sacrifices? There (are) two: So the city can get tax revenues from the hotel and so the developer makes a huge profit from the speculative real estate purchase.”

She talked about the lack of fairness in the trade-off and the alarming change in the environment if the City of Santa Clarita leadership agrees to it.

“Many of us are very worried that if the city is leaning toward approving this project then that’s a signal to us residents that the city is ready to disregard our special status,” she said.
Resident Michael Hogan took the stage next and told the audience about the stipulations made when the land was sold to Ted Robinson for the golf course. He explained that city leaders made sure there was plenty of open space and protected the rural nature of Sand Canyon. He also said that none of the current Santa Clarita City Council members were serving at the time.

Residents do not want members of the Santa Clarita Planning Commission or the City Council to forget the zoning granted to Sand Canyon at the time nor to dismiss it as unimportant. That’s one of the goals of the task force.

“What started as three people at my dining room table grew into a task force of 27 in order to stop the Sand Canyon Resort from changing the land’s zoning from open space to community commercial,” said Alex Guerrero, chairman of the Stop Sand Canyon Resort Task Force. “It has now taken on a life of its own, with hundreds of Sand Canyon residents now standing united in opposition of this development.”

When the late Clement and Paula Cox sold some of their acreage for the development of Robinson Ranch Golf Club and adjacent homes in the late 1990s, there were stipulations drafted regarding zoning.

On September 10, 1996 the Santa Clarita City Council unanimously approved, with community input, a zone change allowing for the construction of single-family homes and the preservation of approximately 300 acres of land into perpetuity as recreational/open space at the location being proposed for this resort.

“Perpetuity, as we all know, is defined as ‘forever,’” Guerrero said. “Now, the City of Santa Clarita is entertaining a request by a developer to change that open space zoning to allow for commercial construction. That should alarm all Santa Clarita residents. That park, trail, greenbelt, Central Park or bike path our citizens thought they had ‘in perpetuity’ in their local neighborhoods are vulnerable if a billionaire developer wants to come convince the city to eliminate our open space in all corners of this city. The current City Council and Planning Commission will have to search within themselves and decide if they want to reverse a unanimous action taken by the Santa Clarita City Council in 1996. If that happens, how can we trust City Council votes and promises ever again?”

The Stop Sand Canyon Resort Task Force has a Facebook page and website you can visit to stay updated.

On the website StopSandCanyonResort.org you will find a petition you can sign, which reads:

We, the undersigned are:
AGAINST the Sand Canyon Country Club Hotel and Resort Development
AGAINST REZONING and ask that the Santa Clarita City Council keep Robinson Ranch golf course as Open Space
ASK the Santa Clarita City Council to recognize the Sand Canyon SPECIAL STANDARDS DISTRICT

What is being proposed?
•      This will be one of the largest resorts in L.A. County right in the middle of Sand Canyon.

•      Zone change for this project will allow for future massive, dense, commercial use throughout the entire canyon forever.

•      3,000 occupants (guests, employees)

•      Main Hotel (1 three-story building 165,000 sf)

•      Main Hotel Basement & BOH (23,000 sf)

•      Wedding Hotel (3 three-story buildings 67,500 sf)

•      View Villas (14 two-story villas 110,000 sf)

•      Oak Villas (9 one-story & 1 two-story villas 47,500 sf)

•      Grand ballroom (10,000 sf)

•      Junior ballroom (3,000 sf)

•      Meeting room & pre-function space (10,700 sf)

•      Dining (3 restaurants with kitchens 25,000 sf)

•      Spa/Gym/Salon (33,000 sf)

All Aboard Santa Clarita Transit: The Best Way to Get Around Town!

| Community | October 10, 2019

By Mayor Pro Tem Cameron Smyth

The hallmark of any thriving city are services that not only meet the needs of a community but also enhance the quality of life for those who live there. Santa Clarita Transit is one such service, giving our residents and visitors a convenient and efficient way to get around town or the Southern California Region. In addition, with the recent adoption of the City’s Transit Development Plan, we turned resident input into actionable solutions that benefit the community.

Since the very first bus trip in August of 1991, the City’s transit services have grown exponentially. Starting with only 300,000 annual trips, 13 vehicles and eight local routes, Santa Clarita Transit has grown to service more areas of the community, with nearly 2.4 million trips each year. When the City celebrated 20 years of cityhood in 2007, Santa Clarita Transit was rebranded with new bus signs, shelters and a re-designed fleet of vehicles. Today, we have a fleet of 89 local and commuter vehicles that serves residents on 11 local fixed routes and seven commuter routes.

In addition to fixed-route services, residents always look forward to our seasonal transportation opportunities. The Summer Trolley offers service from several premier hotel properties to Six Flags Magic Mountain, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor and Westfield Valencia Town Center. We also encourage visitors to explore some of Santa Clarita’s most popular tourism destinations using the Summer Trolley that runs between May and September. From June into September, friends and family can spend less time worrying about traffic and more time relaxing aboard the Summer Beach Bus. Riders take a day trip to Santa Monica in the comfort of Santa Clarita’s award-winning transit fleet. With summer behind us, keep an eye out for upcoming events such as Knott’s Military Tribute Day and Dodger Day.

We also extend our services to customers with special needs, due to age or disability, via our Dial-A-Ride program. This curb-to-curb paratransit service offers riders the ability to schedule trips in advance, for any purpose. Perfect for spending time with a friend or relative, going to a movie, visiting the doctor or shopping during the holiday season.

Speaking of the holiday season, the Holiday Light Tour, beginning December 20, is a great way to view some of Santa Clarita’s best displays of holiday decor. Riders can look forward to a 45-minute tour, departing from McBean Regional Transit Center, aboard the City’s trolley or local Dial-A-Ride vehicles. The tour will take you through local neighborhoods where festive lights reach new levels of holiday sparkle.

We also understand the importance of protecting the natural beauty of our community. Our Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles show just how committed the City is to reducing harmful carbon emissions and protecting our environment. Santa Clarita Transit also partners with the City’s Environmental Services Division to celebrate California’s Clean Air Day by offering free rides on both local and commuter routes.

The best way to stay up to date on everything transit is by visiting SantaClaritaTransit.com. There you can learn more about the upcoming Holiday Light Tour or view the Bus Finder Map: a real-time tool that lets riders view the current location of their bus through the web, cell phone or electronic bus stop signage.

Whether it’s riding a bus to work or traveling with your family to our annual Light Up Main Street event, we are happy to have you onboard, and we hope to see you taking advantage of our City’s transit system!

Santa Clarita Public Library Requests Resident Feedback in Community Survey

| Community | October 10, 2019

The Santa Clarita Public Library is requesting resident feedback through their community survey during the month of October. Feedback from the survey will be used to guide the Library’s future strategic plan. Community members can access the survey at santaclaritalibrary.com through October 31, 2019, or receive a printed version at any Santa Clarita Public Library branch.

The community survey includes questions regarding current library resources, services, programs and classes. Participants will also have the opportunity to share ideas about future services they would like to see local libraries offer.

The Santa Clarita Public Library aims to offer useful and enjoyable services and programs to Santa Clarita’s residents. The City encourages community members to participate in the survey so that the Santa Clarita Public Library’s upcoming strategic plan can accurately reflect residents’ library needs and priorities.

Each of the Santa Clarita Public Library’s three branches in Canyon Country, Old Town Newhall and Valencia offers programming, resources and events for all ages. With an average of over 55,000 visits per month, and an average of over 93,000 items in circulation each month, the Santa Clarita Public Library effectively serves the Santa Clarita community.

To access the community survey, and find more information regarding the Santa Clarita Public Library, please visit santaclaritalibrary.com.

Canyon High Boys Basketball

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | October 9, 2019

Support them October 17th at Wicked Chicken!

Bridge to Home Prepares for Annual Soup for the Soul Event

| Community | October 4, 2019

Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 12,for the annual Soup for the Soul fundraiser supporting Bridge to Home. Soup for the Soul – Sera in Italia will be an evening of fresh from the garden soups and delicious delicacies. Local resident and veteran broadcaster Rick Garcia, currently host of My Radio Show with Rick Garcia, will be the master of ceremonies for the evening at Bella Vida.

This annual event is Bridge to Home’s largest fundraising effort. Proceeds will allow the agency to provide services to families and individuals experiencing homelessness in the Santa Clarita community. Bridge to Home has recently expanded the shelter operation to year-round and is preparing the property at the end of Drayton Street to meet that need.

Growing from a community open house at the winter shelter, Soup for the Soul is now an event for several hundred people and an evening filled with fun and delicious food. Following the theme of soup, attendees will be treated to favorites from Salt Creek Grille, Souplantation, Olive Garden, Fish Tail Seafood Grill and Lazy Dog Café. In addition, the following restaurants and businesses are providing appetizers, salads, desserts, wines, and beer: Italia Panetteria & Deli, Marston’s Restaurant, Olive Terrace, Wolf Creek Brewery, Egg Plantation, Spumoni Trattoria & Pizzeria, Piccola Trattoria & Pizzeria, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Old World Deli, The Press Room, Ralphs, Mystic Hills Wines, Kendall-Jackson Wines and barista Danny Silva.

Adding to the fun, there will be lively bidding on fabulous silent auction packages, a live auction featuring trips to Santa Fe, New Mexico and Big Bear, along with a Fund-a Need opportunity when participants can donate directly to support the case management services and the homeless shelter buildings operated by Bridge to Home.

More than 30 local businesses are already signed on as sponsors of this event, including event premium sponsors Stay Green and Sand Canyon Country Club. Ticket and sponsorship opportunities are still available for Soup for the Soul. Please visit btohome.org to purchase tickets and learn more about the crucial services Bridge to Home provides.

L.A. Sheriff’s Department Reports to the Business Community at October VIA Luncheon

| Community | October 4, 2019

As part of its monthly speakers series, the Valley Industry Association welcomes Captain Robert Lewis, L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Santa Clarita Valley Station, John Lecrivain, Operations Lieutenant with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, and Gloria Mercado-Fortine, president-elect with the SCV Sheriff’s Foundation at its business luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019 at 11:45 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Valencia, 24500 Town Center Drive in Valencia.

Captain Lewis will keynote the presentation to discuss crime impact in the local community, share a virtual tour of the new Sheriff’s Station slated to open on Golden Valley Road in Spring 2021, and offer important information and tips that will assist businesses in detecting and dealing with drug use in the workplace. Attendees will also learn more about the work of the Sheriff’s Department and the many ways they work to protect citizens and businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“The Santa Clarita Valley has one of the lowest crime rates of any city its size in the nation and is among the top 10 with the lowest numbers of property crimes,” said VIA Chairwoman of the Board Teresa Todd.

Earlier this year the City of Santa Clarita announced a 20% drop in 2018 over the previous year for part one crimes, which include homicide, rape, robbery, burglary and arson, according to a Signal news article. Robberies decreased by 26%; burglaries fell by more than 16%, grand theft autos dropped by 30% and assaults declined by nearly 25%.

“The business community appreciates the dedication of our sheriff’s deputies and the department’s proactive efforts and crime suppression operations that work to keep our crime numbers low,” said Todd. “The upcoming VIA luncheon program gives an exclusive opportunity to learn first-hand how we can continue to partner with law enforcement to assist being their eyes and ears within the business community.”

“VIA is known for its timely and relevant programming,” said Kathy Norris, VIA CEO. “Each month we develop programs around topics that are relevant to our local business community.”

The event is nearing sell out capacity. Reservations are required. Tickets available at www.VIA.org/calendar or by calling 661.294.8088. For more information, contact the VIA office at admin@via.org.

About the VIA:
The Valley Industry Association of Santa Clarita represents business interests throughout the Santa Clarita Valley. VIA provides its members – industrial, commercial and service companies – the opportunity to collaborate on a broad range of business issues. In addition to being a legislative advocate, VIA serves as a one-stop shop for relevant business information, supports local educational initiatives, professional development, and provides networking opportunities. www.VIA.org

Bark for Life

| Community | October 4, 2019

Join the fun and bring your dog to the American Cancer Society’s annual fundraiser, Bark for Life. The event will be held on Saturday, November 16 from 10AM to 2PM at the Westfield Valencia Town Center Mall (lower parking area on the corner of Valencia Blvd. and Citrus St.). Admission is free. Guests can register their dogs for $15 ($25 for two dogs). Registration includes a free goodie bag.

Bark for Life is a nationwide event for ACS and the fall kick-off event for the spring Relay For Life fundraiser. This event honors the healing role that dogs serve as companions who relieve stress and elevate mood. All funds raised support research, services and education provided by ACS. The day will be filled with music, vendors, photos, games and raffles. Come celebrate canine companionship, honor cancer survivors and support the American Cancer Society.

For more information or to register online, go to SCVBark.org.

Moore Makes Donation for Wellness Center Books

| Community | October 3, 2019

William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board Member Dr. Cherise Moore has donated the funds necessary for the two Wellness Centers in the District to buy positive affirmation self-help books.

“For me, the idea of the Wellness Centers started with a belief that it is important to provide our students with everything we can to support their success in life,” she said. “In life there are challenges and complications. While most of us know how to adjust to life’s challenges and complications that doesn’t come easy for everyone.”

Dr. Moore and the entire Hart District governing board began looking into student wellness two years ago when it was widely reported stress and anxiety levels were rising. After hearing reports from all of the District’s schools and touring other wellness centers in Southern California, the decision to open these two centers was made.

“The Wellness Centers provide a safe place for students who may need an adult to talk to about life’s stresses,” Dr. Moore said. “The highly skilled professionals in the Wellness Centers can share coping skills and strategies to help students know how to handle the many stresses of life.”

The first two District-sponsored Wellness Centers are fully operational at Canyon and West Ranch high schools. The objective initially is to collect assessment data that will then be used when configuring wellness centers in each of the District’s other 15 schools.

“The bottom line for me is knowing that in some cases the ability to manage life’s stressors can be the key to saving a life.”

Bruce Fortine to Receive “Silver Spur” Awards

| Community | October 3, 2019

In recognition of his unwavering support to College of the Canyons throughout its five-decade history, the college’s Foundation has named Bruce Fortine as the 2020 recipient of the prestigious “Silver Spur” Community Service Award.

The award takes on particular significance this year as the college celebrates its 50th anniversary year of service to the Santa Clarita Valley. Fortine, a Santa Clarita native, was a member of the college’s original Board of Trustees, which was elected in 1967 when local voters approved the formation of the valley’s community college district.

“Bruce Fortine has been a part of College of the Canyons since before its inception,” said COC Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook. “And his support over the ensuing 50-plus years has been marked by singular dedication and relentless enthusiasm.”

After an election that saw 72 candidates run for five available seats, Fortine was sworn in on December 11, 1967, as a member of the original Board of Trustees along with William Bonelli Jr., Sheila Dyer, Edward Muhl, and Peter Huntsinger. That initial Board of Trustees named College of the Canyons (formerly referred to as Valencia Valley’s junior college district) on May 19, 1969.

Fortine served on the Board until July 1973 when he was hired as a COC employee and was required to resign from the Board of Trustees. During his time as a COC employee, Fortine created the Community Services/Non-Credit Department and also served as the Public Information Officer. He worked at COC until August 1978. In 1991, Fortine returned to the District when he was elected to fill a seat on the Board of Trustees, a seat he held until 2016.

Given his involvement with the college that stretches from its earliest days to its latest accomplishments, Fortine played a significant role in establishing the college as an innovative learning institution marked by ongoing excellence. He worked behind the scenes of on each of the college’s five local bond measures, the first of which was passed by local voters in 1970 and provided the funding to buy the land on which the Valencia Campus is located.

“Without his support and that of other community members, the Santa Clarita Community College District/College of the Canyons might not even exist today,” Chancellor Van Hook said. “It certainly would not be what it is today—a great asset which provides substantial, creative, innovative, important, and lasting contributions to the community and has altered the quality of life in our neighborhoods, our businesses, and the students who chose us to help them achieve their goals.”

Fortine, who is affectionately referred to by many as “Mr. COC,” is well known for sharing his passion about the college, and connecting the college to resources and partnerships in almost every segment of the community.

“He is the best volunteer fundraiser we have had in the history of our Foundation,” said Chancellor Van Hook. Indeed, his relationships within the community have enabled him to facilitate hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts to the college’s Foundation.

Among the college’s key initiatives on which he worked are the capital campaigns for the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center and the College of the Canyons Institute for Culinary Education. He was also instrumental in rallying support for mid-1990s expansion of the college’s athletics programs, which included the revival of the college’s football team, as well as the addition of the women’s soccer team and the women’s golf team.

Fortine’s fundraising efforts on behalf of the college also include raising funds for the Dare to Dream Scholarship, the Re-entry program, the Legacy Giving Program, the Osher Scholarship challenge, and the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center.

In addition, Fortine made a tremendous impact on the college’s Foundation as the District Trustee’s liaison to the Foundation Board of Directors and recommended many new members for the Foundation Board.

The annual College of the Canyons Silver Spur Celebration is traditionally held at a historic museum, club or well-known Los Angeles landmark each spring — and is considered to be one of the community’s most popular and elegant evening events.

A date a location for the 2020 Silver Spur Celebration has not yet been finalized.

For more information about the 2020 Silver Spur, to purchase tickets, or to become an event sponsor, please contact the College of the Canyons Foundation at (661) 362-3737 or email james.kneblik@canyons.edu.

Joe Messina – Flew Above the Clouds

| Community | October 3, 2019

Joe Messina wears, or has worn, many hats: talk-show host, CNN commentator, helicopter pilot, William S. Hart Union High School District trustee, prayer breakfast coordinator – wait a minute…helicopter pilot?

It’s true. For a period in the late 1980s-early 1990s, Messina flew and filed traffic reports, helped prevent crops from freezing, took tourists, celebrities and rich people around and helped prospective pilots log enough hours.

And it started, he said, because “I was stubborn and stupid.”
In 1989, he was living in Sunland and working as an electrical contractor (yet another life he led!) at Van Nuys Airport when he took a test ride – and threw up all over.

While many people would take that as a sign that helicopters weren’t for them, Messina decided, “I’m going to beat this thing. I’ll take lessons and know I can do it. End of discussion.”

So, he set about getting his pilot’s licenses, first the private one and then the commercial one because the commercial one allowed him to make money; at the time, he had a wife and four kids.

It was the process of obtaining his commercial license that provided challenges. There were medical requirements, and Messina had a difficult time meeting the vision ones. He was born almost totally blind in one eye, and his vision tested at 20/600 when he needed it to be 20/40 without glasses and 20/20 with glasses. His other eye tested at 20/100.

“So then I went and did something stupid,” he said.

That was a procedure called radial keratotomy, which surgically corrected vision (it has since been replaced by other procedures such as LASIK). At the time, it required incisions via scalpel, and Messina said he had to visit the doctor several times before the doctor consented to do the surgery. He put only his right eye under the knife.

Also at the time, the Federal Aviation Administration did not accept the procedure, giving it a reason to deny Messina a commercial license – if it found out.

“Let’s say I stretched the truth on the application,” he said. “I left that off.”

Applications took several weeks to process, so Messina set about logging the required hours to become insurable. He volunteered to fly above the treetops in Ojai to help circulate heat pods around the fruit trees to prevent freezing, and he volunteered to fly camera parts and other equipment for studios. He also took and passed physical, written and flying tests, and joined the appropriate union.

It appeared he was home free, but then he received a letter from the FAA informing him that his license was suspended because he hadn’t mentioned his vision issues. His union appealed, and if Messina could pass a medical flying test, called a “check ride,” he would have his license reinstated. As luck would have it, the test administrator also was blind in one eye, the result of an accident.
After five minutes, the tester concluded Messina flew better than he did. Messina got his license. “It’s permanent. They can’t take it away from you,” he said. The belief was that a commercial pilot could make good money; the truth was vastly different. Messina found he had to take any job he could.

Many of those were doing traffic reports for local radio and TV stations. He flew KTLA-TV reporter Stan Chambers around for three days when the Sepulveda Basin flooded in 1992. He got a job with a La Verne-based traffic watch company in which he was up in the sky during morning and afternoon commutes.

Joe (left) with two passengers

He did traffic reports for various stations, using a different name with each one. He was “Major Mike Hardaway” on KAVL-AM in Lancaster, “Commander Gene Bryant” on a Simi Valley station, “Chopper Chip Erickson” somewhere else, and Joe Messina on Money Radio AM-1200.

“For KAVL, I had to land there once a week so people would believe it was (the station’s) helicopter,” he said. He had a sign he would put in a window to indicate the station.

Traffic watch wasn’t lucrative. Messina said he made $25 an hour if he flew, $10 an hour if he was on standby. To supplement, he would take weekend jobs, making between $200 and $400.

When environmental artist Christo did his “Umbrellas” project in 1991, Messina flew people to see the 1,760 yellow umbrellas that had been put up in Tejon Ranch. And he flew Japanese pilots on pre-check rides, which were required before they got their licenses.

He flew a rich man’s son to Santa Barbara and waited while he entertained whichever woman he was with. He flew on documentary shoots for the BBC, and he flew the helicopter that appeared in Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day” video. “I had no clue who that guy was,” he said of Cube.

He also did what he called “romance rides,” in which he would fly couples from one of the Downtown Los Angeles skyscrapers out over the ocean and back.

After a couple of years, he was done, the victim of burnout. He went back to electrical work for a short time before getting into computer work, which he said “carried my family for years.”

“You’re always thinking, where do I pick up another job, how do I get another gig, can I get another weekend shift,” he said, “and it just didn’t work out well.”

A College Student’s Point of View The Benefits of Taking a Moment To Do Nothing

| Community, Opinion | October 3, 2019

by Analyn May

Have you noticed how much of modern technology is focused towards eliminating doing nothing?

The more I look around me, the more this phenomenon becomes increasingly apparent. When I was little, huge parts of my day consisted of doing nothing. Even after I was in school, there were many times when my mind could wander: waiting in line, riding in the car, arriving early to a meet-up with a friend. In those days, I was always lost in my head, so I didn’t pay much attention to my surroundings. But now I notice how few other people join me in this activity. It seems that “doing nothing” has become sort of a taboo that people avoid: all day, every day, everybody is at work or play. In line at the grocery store? Everyone is looking down at their phone. Driving in the car? Hands-free telephone calls, almost always for work. Arriving early? If anybody even does anymore, they’re busying themselves on a laptop or compulsively checking their smart watch, counting down the seconds as they pass.

I’ve talked before about taking a breath and going slowly, but whatever happened to stopping completely? It seems like the valuable moments of doing nothing are slipping away faster by the day— and yes, they are valuable. Our brains aren’t designed to work 24/7, or even be entertained 24/7. Both work and play are good, but the space in-between is necessary for either of them not to be overwhelming. Doing nothing gives us time to recharge, ponder pre-existing ideas, and even come up with new ones. You can’t schedule a chance meeting, an unexpected nature walk or a sudden breakthrough to a problem at work. But you can fill up your schedule so much that there isn’t any room for those things to slip themselves in.

Maybe this is easier for me because I’m an introvert, or because I’m a creator who needs to stop listening to everything else in order to hear the voices in my own head. But even I’ve caught myself in the trap of feeling pressured to always be doing something— whether that’s checking my email, working an editing job or just playing Pokémon Go. And while none of those things are bad, I’m making a conscious effort not to let them overtake all my moments of rest. Thinking about it, it’s really no wonder that meditation is such a craze, or that plain ol’ sleep seems so desirable, because if those are the only times people are doing nothing, it’s like they’re only eating one meal a week.

So whenever you’re filling up your schedule for the month or week or even just the day ahead, remember to leave some space for the nothing. It can truly lead to some of the best somethings.

Santa Clarita Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Hundreds of Walkers Expected to Participate in October 5 Fundraiser

| Community | October 3, 2019

October 5th is the Santa Clarita Walk to End Alzheimer’s and you’re invited to register and come join the fun. The walk offers participants an opportunity to take a healthy stroll, experience outstanding live entertainment, honor loved ones who have been affected by Alzheimer’s and raise funds to battle the debilitating disease.

“This event is not only a wonderful opportunity to support the fight against Alzheimer’s but also a chance to be entertained, learn about the disease and socialize with others who support the cause as well,” said SCV Walk Chair James Schramm.

The Santa Clarita Walk to End Alzheimer’s, hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association, is scheduled 8:00 a.m. to noon on Saturday, October 5, at Bridgeport Park in Valencia. Signup information and more details can be found at http://act.alz.org/scv19 and on the event’s Facebook page: http://tiny.cc/ALZSCV.

“The walk is designed for everyone to be able to participate,” Schramm said. “It’s a little less than 2 miles, so it is more of a ‘healthy stroll.’ This will be fun for the whole family.”

Registration and entertainment starts at 8:00 a.m., so be sure to come early to enjoy the festivities. The whole family can enjoy exhibits, entertainment and snacks, including:

Local vendors and exhibitors
Local performers and famous emcee Barrie Eget
Kids Zone

“We’ll also have lots of information about Alzheimer’s disease, ways to find support for your loved ones if they are affected by Alzheimer’s, and details on how you can help find a cure,” Schramm said. “We’re looking forward to a tremendous crowd and a day of friendship and camaraderie in pursuit of a common cause: Bringing an end to a debilitating disease that has become the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.”

For general information about the walk, sponsorships and exhibitor inquiries, contact SCV Walk Chair James Schramm at James.Schramm@RaymondJames.com or Lori Blumenthal of the Alzheimer’s Association at lbbumenthal@alz.org or 661-904-8270.

Call For Entries – “Wild West Celebration of Roses” at William S. Hart Regional Park

| Community | September 26, 2019

The County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation’s William S. Hart Regional Park, in cooperation with the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society, presents the “Wild West Celebration of Roses”.

Who: Presented by the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks & Recreation in cooperation with the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society

What:The public is invited to exhibit a rose(s) in their own vases. The live Rose Showcase will feature Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, Miniatures, Climbers, Polyanthas and Antique Roses and the roses will not be judged for competition.

A second showcase will feature art of any media with the rose included or the rose as a central subject. photography, print medias, drawings, paintings, sculpture, jewelry, mixed medias or found objects, all are welcomed and must be appropriate and suitable for public exhibition.

When: Saturday, November 2, 2019, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Where: William S. Hart Regional Park – Hart Hall 24151 Newhall Avenue, Newhall, CA 91321

Admission and parking are free to the public!

For Rose submission related questions please contact: Debbie Bragdon: debdidit15@yahoo.com – (661) 373-5582

For Art submissions or Show Questions, please contact: Al Ewing – aewing@parks.lacounty.gov – (661) 259-0855

The 19th Annual Bow-Wows & Meows Pet Fair

| Community | September 26, 2019

Hundreds of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens will be available for adoption at the 19th Annual Bow-Wows & Meows Pet Fair to be held at Newhall’s William S. Hark Park on Sunday, October 13, thanks to the partnership of L.A. County Department of Parks and Recreation and L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control.

The 2019 fair, sponsored by; Pets-Global (Zignature Dog Food & Fussie Cat & Essence), Animal Medical Center, Ingolstadt West German Auto Specialists (Canoga Park) and Happy Pets Veterinary Center, kicks off at 11 a.m.

Since it began in 2001, the Santa Clarita based Bow-Wows & Meows, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, run by an all volunteer board, has adopted out over to 2,650 pets at its annual fairs which sees attendance in excess of 10,000 people each year. Well-behaved dogs of any breed may accompany their owners to the fair, provided they are leashed (non-retractable), at least 18 weeks of age and fully vaccinated. The Bow-Wows & Meows Pet Fair does not support breed discrimination; all are welcome.

All seven Los Angeles County Animal Shelters will be present offering discounted adoption fees of just $30 and their veterinary team will be on hand to answer questions from new adopters. Dedicated County shelter volunteers will be ready to share information about the animals they have spent quality time with and gotten to know. Every County shelter pet is spayed or neutered, immunized, microchipped, and ready to go home immediately. Adopters are gifted a special “I’ve Just Been Adopted” bag (more than $300 of free goodies and services) for their new family members, compliments of Bow-Wows & Meows sponsors and vendors.
“Adoption is the most humane way to bring home a new pet and it is the most cost-effective, too,” said Yvonne (Allbee) Hanson, founder of Bow-Wows & Meows, Inc. “Most of the dogs and cats at the fair were once part of a family, so they acclimate really well to being in a home again. Families often speak of a very special bond that develops with their adopted pet and many claim it to be one of the greatest things they have done,” boasts Hanson as she nods, based on her own experience with her adopted shelter dogs and cats.

In 2018, Bow-Wows & Meows adopted out 166 shelter and rescue animals at the fair. “Our goal is to send all the shelter trucks back empty at the end of the day and with the community’s help, we can make that happen,” Hanson said.

Entrance to the family-friendly fair is free and activities include:

Expert dog agility performances by Santa Clarita Valley Dog Agility Club at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
The Famous Fun Dog Show, with categories ranging from best vocalist to mystery mutt to pet-owner look-alike at 1:30 p.m. Enter your dog for $10, winners receive $50 (and bragging rights!)
Huge “Super Raffle” with prizes at just $1 per ticket
Food Truck Court with dining options (including vegan and vegetarian)
Shopping opportunities ranging from premium pet food to pet accessories
Talk with service vendors such as veterinarians, groomers and pet sitters
Fun and unique vendors; artists, pet psychic, pet lovers clothing, jewelry
Low-cost vaccines from TAGS (free rabies shots)
County pet license renewals (County shelter area)
Fun, FREE photo booths and so much more…
Surrounding area street parking only – which includes the new Old Town Newhall 7-story parking structure located on 9th Street between Main & Railroad. There continues to be the Metrolink parking lots, Senior Center, local churches and street.

Pet lovers can help the fair succeed by spreading the word about Bow-Wows & Meows via:

Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BWMPetFair),
Instagram (bowwowspetfair),
Twitter (@BowWowsPetFair).

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

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

Fourth Annual Gran Fondo Cycling Event Returns to Santa Clarita

| Community, Entertainment | September 26, 2019

Calling all cyclists! The City of Santa Clarita is excited to host the fourth annual Gran Fondo community cycling race, presented by Santa Clarita Velo on Saturday, September 28, beginning at 7 a.m. at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex, located at 20850 Centre Point Parkway.

This one-day, chip-timed event will bring together cyclists from all over California who are looking to ride on Santa Clarita’s picturesque roads while passing through lush hills and mountain ranges. Three courses are available for riders including a 20-mile “Family,” 60-mile “Medio” and 100-mile “Gran,” which makes this event perfect for riders at any skill level.

Cyclists and spectators can look forward to a post-race celebration, including lunch. The event will also include a rider expo featuring vendors that offer a variety of products. Attendees can also enter for a chance to win professional cycling gear and products by entering the raffle drawing at the event.

Riders can register online by visiting GranFondoSantaClarita.com. For any questions or sponsorship requests, please contact event lead David Smith at scvsmith@gmail.com.

RAM PRCA California Circuit Finals Rodeo Returns to the Antelope Valley

| Community | September 26, 2019

Top twelve California Contestants to Compete in Seven Events October 4th, 5th and 6th

The RAM PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) California Circuit Finals Rodeo Committee and the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds proudly announce the return of the RAM PRCA California Circuit Finals to the Antelope Valley Fair and Event Center on October 4th, 5th, and 6th.

For the ninth consecutive year, this event will host the top twelve California rodeo contestants who compete in all seven rodeo events, including bareback riding, bull riding, saddle bronco riding, steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping and barrel racing.

Johnny Zamrzla, PRCA California Circuit Committee Chairman commented, “It is an honor to once again bring California’s best Rodeo professionals and the top animal “athletes” to the Antelope Valley. The California Circuit Final Rodeo is one of the most competitive and exciting spectator sports. The rodeo competition is fierce. Both novice and experience rodeo fans are in for a great show all weekend long. We are also fortunate to have a tremendous partnership with the Antelope Valley Fair and Event Center, and amazing community support that makes it possible to bring this caliber of an event to the Antelope Valley.”

In addition to a great rodeo, the annual craft fair featuring hundreds of crafters and shopping returns to the H.W. Hunter Pavilion. Craft fair shopping hours are noon to 8PM on Friday and Saturday. Entry to the craft fair is free on Friday and Saturday. Sunday craft fair hours are from 7AM to 4PM. Entry to the craft fair on Sunday requires either a rodeo or Lancaster flea market admission ticket.

The Van Dam Barn Dances will also return on Friday and Saturday night, immediately following the rodeo. Dance the night away under the stars at the Corona Cantina, located right outside the grandstands. Live music on Friday night will be provided by country band the Doo-Wah Riders. The Doo-Wah Riders have five single hits on the Texas music chart and are known for their Cajun twist sound. On Saturday night, musician Dean Kalogris, a Southern California favorite will entertain fans.
Returning to the fairgrounds on Sunday, will be the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce Flea Market and Car Show. A paid admission ticket to the flea market includes free rodeo matinee admission. Flea market tickets are available for purchase at the box office on Sunday, October 6th.

Rodeo festivities kick off on Friday, October 4th, with Patriot Day. Active, retired and former military men and women and their dependents receive free admission. Free admission will be available at the box office on Friday evening only. All other fans are encouraged to show their patriotism by wearing red, white and blue. Gates open Friday at 12 noon and the rodeo begins at 7PM.

Saturday evening rodeo will open with a special ride in by Ride for the Pink, an organization dedicated to raising money for breast cancer research, awareness and treatment. Rodeo fans can show their support of finding a cure for breast cancer by wearing pink. Gates open Saturday at 12 noon and the rodeo begins at 7PM.

On Sunday, gates open at 7AM. Rodeo Matinee begins at 2pm with a special act by Escaramuza Yaretzi, a female Mexican Side Saddle Equestrian Drill Team showcasing their winning exercises performed at full speed, with dangerous crossings and turns. Sunday rodeo or flea market tickets are just $6.00. Sunday tickets include entry to the rodeo, craft fair and Lancaster flea market.

According to AV Fair and Event Center CEO, Dan Jacobs, “This is going to be a fantastic fall weekend, a great venue and great events – rodeo, crafts fair and the renowned Lancaster Flea Market and Car Show. We’re pleased that ticket pricing remains affordable, with rodeo tickets starting at just $25.00, and there are $10.00 on-line promotional codes for Friday and Saturday rodeo tickets. Sunday tickets are just $6.00 and include access to the flea market, craft fair and rodeo. I look forward seeing thousands of folks during the weekend of October 4th, 5th and 6th at the Antelope Valley Fair and Event Center.”

Rodeo tickets are on sale now at avfair.com. More information is available at avfair.com. For Rodeo details go to cafinalsrodeo.com. Visit lancasterchamber.org for flea market information.

On the Town with Jason Downs

| Community, Entertainment | September 26, 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: A tricycle race (for big kids) at Wolf Creek Brewery, and a birthday celebration at Dodgers stadium.

A tricycle race, you say? Yes, indeed, friends, BMW of Valencia sponsored an adult “Trike Derby” at Wolf Creek Brewery to benefit Child & Family Center of Santa Clarita and it was a real hoot!

In addition to BMW of Valencia, Mercedes Benz of Valencia (their arch tricycle rivals), Allstate Insurance, Lentini Insurance and Investments, and Martin & Company Tax and Wealth Advisors (the reigning champions) were all regaled in crazy costumes to burn up the pavement for a good cause. I myself was enlisted by Nicholas Lentini, (who was also in charge of the event now in its third year running), to be on the ‘Rotary Rodeo’ team.

All teams were co-ed and comprised of four racers. At the sound of the bullhorn we had to pedal as fast as we could around an extremely sharp loop (without toppling over) and then hand the trike off to the next teammate as fast as possible (without toppling over) so they could give it a whirl. It was harder than you’d think! In a three race elimination we came in fourth, which we didn’t think was too bad considering the steep competition on the track that day.

Child & Family Center also had a couple of teams in the race completely comprised of be-goggled Minions with yellow shirts and blue overalls from the animated movie Despicable Me. Jurassic Park was also represented by the Wolf Creek team in the form of four inflatable dinosaur costumes whose riders could barely make their way around the course. (T-Rexes have such tiny hands.) Not something you see everyday, folks! Hilarious!

Martin & Company Tax and Wealth Advisors (dressed as the Ghostbusters) took home first place barely beating out Allstate Insurance. Their streamlined tricycle, impeccable dismounts, seamless hand offs and perfect barrel turns were well practiced, well executed, and as it turns out, hard to beat. So take notes for next year, folks!

Another highlight of the delightful event was the dunking booth in which Assemblymember Christy Smith allowed constituents to take turns (for a donation to Child & Family Center) tossing balls at a bullseye in hopes of dousing her…and she had a long line of hopefuls! She was a great sport as several folks were successful in dunking the Assemblywoman, including one boy who was so excited he went off leaping for joy before Christy could give him a high five.

And all of this for an organization that is truly out to make our community a better place. The Child & Family Center’s mission is to change lives and heal relationships by helping people struggling with addiction or abuse to thrive through education, treatment, prevention and advocacy. These are the kinds of people that make the world go round, friends. They bless our community with their work and it was a blast to go around their tricycle track to make some small contribution. I’ll see you all there next year!

And speaking of the passage of time, my better half had a birthday this past weekend and she wanted to spend it at Dodger Stadium. That’s right, and this is only one of many reasons why this woman is a dream girl! We were able to get amazing seats right next to Cody Bellinger on first base, and it was a thrill. My wife walked away with some new best friends (which apparently happens when you give the people sitting behind and in front of you free food), a slight belly ache, and a huge smile on her face.

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.

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

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Doug’s Rant – Video Edition

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