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Getting a Bit ‘Chili’ in the SCV

| Community | November 8, 2018

Preparations are underway for the 7th annual SCV Charity Chili Cook-Off, and organizers are looking for sponsors and contestants. The event will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, 2019 at The Oaks Club at Valencia (formerly the TPC).

Entrants will share their favorite chili recipes for a chance to be crowned a winner. The fee to enter the chili contest is $125, and there will be 45 contestants. Prizes will be awarded to the top three chilis in the People’s Choice and Judges Choice categories. For more information, visit scvcharitycookoff.com.

Each year event proceeds benefit a local nonprofit organization. Funds raised through the 2019 cook-off will go to two local animal shelters: Shelter Hope Pet Shop and St. Bonnie’s Sanctuary/Lange Foundation.

“With an abundance of homeless animals needing safe shelter and care, we hope our next chili cook-off will be even more successful than in years past,” said event co-founder Nicole Stinson. “It has been humbling to watch this event gain popularity each year, and I am excited to see what’s in store this time.”

Attendees will enjoy live entertainment, silent and live auctions and a 50-50 opportunity drawing.

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

Sponsors to date include Schlick Art, Wolf Creek Restaurant, Silvertunes Entertainment, Logix Credit Union, HomeBridge, Finance of America, SCV Gazette, Via Promotionals, KHTS Radio, The Santa Clarita Valley Signal, Camelot Moving, Pacific Trust Escrow, Loan Depot, and Southland Regional Association of Realtors, Bank of the Sierra, Newhall Escrow, Remax of SCV, Rent Source, Salt Creek Grille, Valley Publications and The Magazine of Santa Clarita.

To become a sponsor or donor, register as a chili chef or purchase tickets, visit scvcharitychilicookoff.com or call Nicole Stinson at 661-816-4234.

Holiday Stress: Relax and Enjoy The Holidays!

| Community | November 8, 2018

A workshop, hosted by Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley, will provide participants with “Tips to manage daily frustration and avoid angry outbursts, ways to cope with family conflict and parenting challenges, techniques and creative activities to de-stress, seeking support at holiday time, and understanding and accepting others as they are.”

This free LifeForward workshop is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, November 10, at Savia Community Center, located at 23780 Newhall Ave in Newhall. Individuals will be able to learn how to deal with the emotion of anger, feel better about themselves and enjoy the holidays more.

Subject Matter Expert John Derenski is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys for almost 39 years. He is certified in Hypnosis Neurolinguistic Programming, and Eye Movement, and Deenstization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy used for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

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. Those interested can call SMO at (661) 288-0117. Spanish translation can also be provided with advance request.

Previous workshops in the series have helped women and attendees learn how to improve relationships and communicate more effectively, select career options and pursue meaningful employment, work on goal setting and time management, deal with anger management, set budgets and file taxes, maintain healthy eating and exercise habits, along with 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 (with the exception of 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.

Workshops are organized by topics developed from surveys showing expressed interest and needs. Flyers and a schedule of upcoming workshops are posted on www.scvzonta.org for women who are interested in a particular topic. Pre-registration is not required for those who simply wish to attend a workshop, but those who wish to hold a space for the more popular workshops or obtain further information on the upcoming workshop can call (661) 288-0117.

VFW Post 6885 to Celebrate Marine Corps Birthday

| Community | November 2, 2018

VFW Post 6885 is inviting members of the community to celebrate the 243rd birthday of the Marine Corps on Saturday, November 10 at 5 p.m.

The VFW encourages residents come and celebrate the history, mission, and tradition of the Marine Corps, and enjoy traditional Marine Corps “chow,” including “SOS,” spam, bread pudding, and cake.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation was established to increase awareness of veterans’ sacrifices while promoting citizenship education, volunteerism and positive youth programs, and facilitating medical, rehabilitative, educational and employment services for veterans and their families.

VFW Post 6885 is located at 16208 Sierra Highway in Canyon Country. For more information, visit https://vfw-6885.webs.com/ or call 661-252-6885.

SCV Offers One-Day Service to Knott’s Berry Farm for ‘Military Tribute Days’

| Community | November 1, 2018

Santa Clarita residents can board Santa Clarita Transit on Saturday, November 10 for a patriotic ride to Knott’s Berry Farm. The one-day, round-trip service coincides with the theme park’s annual “Military Tribute Days” promotion, which offers free park admission to all retired or active U.S. military veterans, plus one guest.

As always, Santa Clarita Transit buses are open to the general public, so anyone can join this excursion. Residents and local veterans can board the one-day Santa Clarita Transit service at the McBean Regional Transit Center at 8:30 a.m. or the Newhall Metrolink Station at 8:45 a.m. Buses will depart Knott’s Berry Farm and head back to Santa Clarita at 5:30 p.m.

Transit fare will be waved with the donation of a canned good (minimum of one can per passenger). Without a donation, the regular fare is $3 each way, or $1.50 each way for seniors 60 and above and persons with disabilities. Don’t forget, in addition to using cash or stored value on TAP, riders can purchase their passes on their smartphones using the Token Transit app. Visit santaclaritatransit.com for details.

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

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

Afternoon T

| Community | November 1, 2018

Q: Everybody is doing that #thankful thing online, and I don’t know if I have a whole month of things to post. It has been a hard year in every category (job, relationships, health). This is a tough way to start the holiday season.

A: November does put a lot of pressure on folks to post laundry lists of what they have or feel when it comes to gratitude. If you’re over/underwhelmed by life and struggling to get basic needs met, then seeing the hashtags of others telling the world how #blessed they are, or reminding you to #givethanks can be tough. Forgive me. I don’t mean to sugarcoat it. It’s more than that. It’s painful. I know.

The Fickle Fairy of Fate has been zapping every category you mentioned in my house too this year, which has made it mighty difficult to see those hashtags of thanks go by when scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. Mental health experts suggest going on a digital diet, but social media plays a big role in my business and I’d miss work opportunities and such. Stepping away from the keyboard is not an option for me, but I’ve found away to watch others at their bountiful banquet table without feeling deprived. I try to think of just like being on a diet when invited to a buffet.

Making a list that starts with the tiniest grain of gratitude. Put it somewhere for your eyes only. You are not required to share the first tiny 20 items with anybody either. I’m going to share a few of mine to get you started:

Closing my eyes. Even for 10 seconds. Being removed from everything for a moment sometimes helps. I’m thankful I can do that.

Water. Whether taking time to drink a glass, wash my hands or face or the time to take a bath, I’m so happy to have water in my world.

Hot water. Giving myself permission to make or have a mug of coffee/tea/cocoa is a luxury I don’t take for granted, even if time constraints mean I’ll have to slug it down quicker than I’d like. I’m still happy to have it available.

Smiles. When someone waves me into traffic or holds a door open when my hands are full, the gesture is an even lovelier gift when accompanied by a smile. That means a lot to me.

Words. As a storyteller I like to string words together, but my heart skips multiple beats when words are presented to me. To be given words in every form, too. Written, spoken, sung … I love that! I’m not a fan of the distasteful ones, so I am a bit discriminating – but wildly appreciative of all the rest.

Time. Whether mine or someone else’s. Not a tick of an analog clock or heartbeat goes by that I don’t recognize the importance of that commodity. It’s an article of trade not always easy to come by.

You. I #givethanks and I’m #thankful for you. #blessed.
xo – t.

Now and Then – Duane Dye

| Community | November 1, 2018

Can a man be defined by words alone? If so, retired Newhall businessman Duane Dye often used these words to describe himself and his life: Nebraska farm boy, passionate Cornhusker football fan, accountant and insurance agent, proud father and leader of the Dye family clan, Rotarian, and ardent husband of soul mate and wife, Linda.

The family and friends, who gathered Sunday, Oct. 28 to celebrate Duane’s life following his death on Sept. 19, went beyond those simple phrases using words like strength of character, honesty, integrity, and a joyful and positive approach to every adversity.

That positive approach to adversity was shaped by happy times growing up on a 38,000-acre farm in Pilger, Nebraska, as well as a life-threatening battle with the scourge of his teen-age years, polio.

Duane often regaled family and friends with his farm experiences – the satisfaction of working side by side with his father planting corn seeds, watching them grow into harvestable crops, tending the horses and pigs, milking cows, and, most especially, driving the farm’s tractors, then getting his driver’s license at the age of 14.

Readily admitting that he was not much of a scholar, Duane often explained how his love of football earned him a place on the high school varsity team as a freshman. A promising athletic career was cut short at the end of his sophomore year when the team’s last two games had to be cancelled because Duane and the quarterback had both fallen victim to polio.

Duane spent five and a half months in an Omaha hospital battling the pain and paralysis with a determination and strength that he credited with making him “a different person” – one with more resolve and ambition. He refused to be pushed out of the hospital in a wheelchair, opting for leg braces and crutches. He spent the remainder of what would have been his junior year undergoing the rigors of therapy and learning to more effectively manage his everyday routines. During that time, Duane perfected the traits he had been born with – a joy of life and living, and a positive outlook on anything that life would throw at him.

With the same determination honed during his hospital stay, Duane took extra classes in his senior year to make up for the schooling he missed and was able to graduate on time with only a few credits left to make up during the summer.

Following graduation, Duane moved to the “big city” (Columbus) and got a job at a medical company. He used the money he earned to enroll in a business college in Lincoln where he earned an accounting degree. He was hired as an accountant at the Nebraska State Penitentiary, which readied him for a similar position at Wayside Honor Rancho (now Peter Pitchess Detention Center) in Castaic in 1957. Though it was difficult to leave his beloved Nebraska, its harsh winters proved too challenging for his impaired physical mobility.

At a May 2006 Rotary meeting, Linda Dye fastened a medallion around granddaughter Jennifer Brock’s neck while a proud Duane looked on. The medallion represented a $1000 donation the Dyes made in Jennifer’s name to Rotary’s World Peace Fellowship fund

During a 2006 Rotary Craft Talk, Duane described his job interview at Wayside. “I walked into the reception area in braces and the girl at the desk gave me a dubious look. I could tell the interviewer only saw the braces and was not confident in my ability to hold down a job. Undaunted, I confidently handed over my recommendations and referrals from the Nebraska penitentiary. He excused himself, went back to his office, and I could hear him talking on the telephone. A few minutes later, he came back in, convinced that I was a viable employee and gave me the job.”

No one ever questioned Duane’s abilities after that – whether it was at work, play, or volunteering in his community. In his final year working for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, Duane took a part time job at Newhall Plumbing while he attended insurance classes at night.

Once he secured his insurance credentials, Duane was invited by fellow insurance man and avid Rotarian, Ivan Passick, to set up a desk in his offices. Eventually he started his own business, the Duane Dye Insurance Agency. It was through Passick that Duane was first introduced to the SCV Rotary Club.

His new trade led to romance in 1965 when he met future wife Linda. As the Santa Clarita Valley grew from a sleepy hamlet into a bustling city in its own right, Duane’s business followed suit and prospered along with his family, which by the 1970s included four children.

Along with his business, his devotion to his family, and his Baha’i faith, Duane had four constants: his love of farming (that included his current Fillmore Ranch and the family homestead in Nebraska), his loyalty to his hometown of Pilger and the Nebraska Cornhuskers, a love of restoring classic Chryslers, and a commitment to rid the world of Polio.

Determined that the world’s children should not experience the pain he endured, Duane and Linda dedicated much of their charitable giving to Rotary International’s PolioPlus Campaign. Through their efforts and donations alone, 88,000 children have received the life-saving oral polio vaccines.

It was evident at the Sunday celebration of Duane’s life that it was not only his words, but his actions that defined his 86 years on this planet. And even though his last months were plagued with failing health and kidneys, the determination, resolve, and positive outlook that Duane had exhibited throughout his life never faltered and helped his anxious family cope with his final moments. In her eulogy, daughter Luanne recalled how he “wore the burdens in stoic fashion, never complaining and always reminding us of the full life we had shared.”

One of Duane’s ER doctors reminded the family of his sentimental side when he told them that he had asked Duane about the happiest moment of his life and Duane’s reply was, “The day I married Linda.”

Former Rotary president Mike Berger reminisced about Duane and Linda’s weekly support of the SCV Rotary Club and their commitment to the club motto “Service Above Self,” a sentiment that went beyond lip service to the 88,000 lives they saved through the PolioPlus program.

Close family friend, Chuck Norman, who served as Sunday’s program moderator and video biographer on Duane’s life, summed up Duane as remarkable, adding that Duane was a loyal friend and spiritual mentor through their shared Baha’i faith.

As the ceremony ended, it was evident that there was an abundance of words that defined Duane’s life – from the joys and challenges of the Nebraska farm to the fulfillment and accomplishments at the Fillmore ranch. But daughter Luanne probably summed up the predominant sentiment of the day when she ended her eulogy reminding everyone that “despite his physical challenges, my dad was always happy and upbeat and he would probably want us to remember him dressed in his best Corn Husker gear shouting in front of a televised game: “Go Big Red, Yay, Yay, Yay!”

Pardee Homes Hosts Grand Opening November 3

| Community | November 1, 2018

Pardee Homes will celebrate grand opening tomorrow, Saturday, November 3 at Skyline, the award-winning builder’s highly anticipated new community in Santa Clarita. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors can tour 12 new home designs, listen to live music, partake in poolside entertainment, food trucks, craft beer, kids’ activities, a photo booth and more.

“Skyline is the place to be on Saturday!” said Lyndsay Fuller, Director of Sales and Marketing for Pardee Homes LA Ventura. “We look forward to welcoming everyone who has so eagerly awaited Skyline’s opening to come see us Saturday, and enjoy a fun and memorable celebration!”

To reach Skyline Saturday from 5 North, take Exit 162/14 North. Drive 5.5 miles to Exit 6A/Sierra Highway. Take a left onto Sierra Highway for .5 miles, then right onto Via Princessa. Turn right again at Whites Canyon and continue for three miles to Skyline Ranch Road. Turn right onto Skyline Road. Follow event signs for parking.

Skyline’s four debut neighborhoods are by Pardee Homes and TRI Pointe Homes, designed by award-winning architectural firms. Flexible and spacious designs respond to Skyline’s scenic hilltop site, and smart home measures boost new home performance, comfort and convenience.

Sola by Pardee will provide designs of approximately 1,882 to 2,225 square feet of living space in two-story floor plans with three to four bedrooms, from the mid $500,000s.

Celestia by TRI Pointe Homes offers one and two-story designs of approximately 2,001 to 2,596 square feet of living space and three to five bedrooms, from the high $500,000s.

Mystral by TRI Pointe features two-story designs of approximately 2,600 to 3,132 square feet of living space, with three to six bedrooms, from the mid $600,000s. Call 949-478-8607 for more on Celestia and Mystral.

Lyra by Pardee Homes offers two-story designs of approximately 2,861 to 3,506 square feet of living space, with four to seven bedrooms, from the high $600,000s. Call 661-450-6813 for more on Sola and Lyra.

Skyline features about 1600 acres of dedicated open space. Residents will be within walking distance of a new elementary school, parks, trails and recreational and social amenities. Skyline is connected to work centers, retail, dining and leisure choices, and residents are close to area freeways and Metrolink.

Award-winning Pardee Homes provides quality homes in desirable locations throughout the Los Angeles/Ventura area, and is a member of the TRI Pointe Group of regional homebuilders. Visit www.pardeehomes.com

College of the Canyons to Host McKeon Leadership Forum

| Community | November 1, 2018

College of the Canyons, the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp. and U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (Ret.) will present the Fourth Annual McKeon Leadership Forum, with a special keynote presentation from Gen. John M. Keane (Ret.), Chief of Staff and Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army.

The forum will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center.

“It is an honor to have General Keane as this year’s McKeon Leadership Forum speaker. The Forum has established itself as a community platform to promote civic dialogue and inform community members about current issues that merit our attention,” said COC Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook. “I am grateful to Congressman McKeon for his continuous advocacy on behalf of the Santa Clarita Valley and the college. His commitment to education and public service is deeply admirable and inspiring.”

Keane’s presentation is titled “America’s Global Security Challenges.”

“General Keane is very well informed on all of the serious situations facing our country around the world,” said McKeon. “This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from his knowledge, experience, and expertise. He has devoted his life to serving our nation and our people. You’ve seen him on television, now you can see and meet him in person. I look forward to seeing you at this great event.”

Established in 2015, the McKeon Leadership Forum is a speaker series aimed at promoting civic engagement through personal involvement. Thought leaders from the world of politics, government, and military are invited to speak at the Forum in order to engage community members into dialog and inspire them to become involved in current issues. The Forum also highlights the community’s robust economic industries, such as the aerospace sector.

“The McKeon Forum continues to bring military experts to the Santa Clarita Valley and is a unique opportunity for businesses and the community to engage and learn,” said Holly Schroeder, president and CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation. “We encourage business leaders to attend and hear directly from thought leaders about key issues facing the aerospace and defense industries.”

Conceived as an engaging, thought-provoking exchange, the Forum proposes to encourage attendees to shape the future of their community.

Admission to the McKeon Leadership Forum is free and open to the public. Complimentary parking will be available in Lots 1 and 2.

About General Jack Keane

After 37 years of public service, General Keane retired in 2003 from his appointment as acting Chief of Staff and Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. The four-star general was in the Pentagon on 9/11 and provided oversight and support for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Since 2004, General Keane spent a decade conducting frequent trips to Iraq and Afghanistan for senior defense officials with multiple visits during the surge period in both countries directly assisting General David Petraeus.

General Keane appears before Congress regularly, offering testimony on matters of foreign policy and national security, with his most recent testimony in May on ISIS: Post Caliphate. He serves as the senior strategic analyst for Fox News and speaks throughout the country on leadership and national security.

A combat Vietnam veteran, General Keane is a career infantry paratrooper and commanded the 101st Airborne Division and the 18th Airborne Corps, which is the Army’s largest war fighting organization.

Currently President of GSI Consulting, General Keane regularly appears before Congress to offer testimony on foreign policy and national security matters. He serves as the senior strategic analyst for Fox News and speaks throughout the country on leadership and national security.

General Keane earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Fordham University and received a Master of Arts degree from Western Kentucky University. He is a graduate of the Army War College and the Command and General Staff College. General Keane was married to the late Theresa (Terry) Keane for 51 years and has two sons, Daniel and Matthew who is deceased.

Visit www.canyons.edu to RSVP.

Grey Days – Whose Dream Is It Anyway?

| Community | October 26, 2018

by Derra Grey
I picked up my 17-year-old daughter from school like I had done hundreds of times before, but this time, she seemed especially happy.

“Our choir teacher was out today and since I have so much experience, I was asked to conduct the class.” She beamed.

“Wow, that’s really cool,” I said excitedly.

“Yeah, it was the most amazing feeling.” Her eyes sparkled in a way I hadn’t seen in a while.

I began to feel that old familiar exhilaration that had been suppressed far too long. “So, I guess you’ll pursue music in college then.”

“I plan to, as my minor,” she says defensively.

“Hey, better yet, maybe you can perform at some events coming up.” I had felt this new sense of hope, missing all the singing events we used to go to, excited she wanted to get back to her dream of becoming a professional singer.

“Mom, my decision to stop all that signing stuff hasn’t changed.”

My heart sank. It’s been difficult excepting this change in her, seeing how she is a truly talented singer and songwriter. How could she just forget all the performances she’s done? The accolades from her audiences and people in the industry? The awards she’s won? What about the moment when she sang brilliantly The National Anthem for the Lakers in front of what, 19 thousand people and wasn’t even nervous? Of course, there had been a number of false promises, and quite a few disappointments over the years, but that’s to be expected in this industry. Everyone knows you just have to hold on and keep going until that opportunity comes along that can change your life.

Even when I noticed the progressing shift in her, I kept pushing her to stay on course toward her dream. Then my husband asked me one day, “Whose dream is it anyway?”

What? Hers of course.

And then she told me she’s done trying to make it as a singing star and wanted to stop all of it.

So, we stopped going to shows, auditions and the studio. That is until the day I get a call from a producer of American Idol. She had remembered my daughter from last year when she auditioned (even though she didn’t get in). The producer wanted to give my daughter a private audition with the executive producers this year.

Suffice to say, I was ecstatic, but worried she’d want to pass on this opportunity. When I went to tell her about the call, I assured her that this was a chance of a lifetime and it could just be that chance to change everything. Imagine my surprise when she actually agreed to do it, thinking this could be her last try at it, admitting she hoped she’d get cast on the show.

It was thrilling watching her practicing again, getting ready for the big day. On audition day, she went into that room and blew the roof off the place. People in the waiting room said to me, “What? That’s her? She’s incredible.”

The producers told her they’d be calling within a couple of weeks for callbacks and we left. But we knew full well it was the end of the road. She had been on enough of these reality show auditions to know if they don’t ask you to stay, you are done.

When we got in the car she looked at me and said, “I did it, right?”

“Yes! And you did amazing.” My heart was aching. I had so wanted this chance for her; to prove that she belongs on stage. I remembered when she was eight and sang a song she wrote for the very first time on stage at a charity event. How the people in the audience held up their phones to light up the room as she sang, some people even cried. When she came off the stage, after a standing ovation, she looked up at me beaming. “That’s where I belong,” she told me.

“Ok, well, I’m done now.” My daughter looks as sad as I feel.

“You mean like done with just these auditions?”

“No, like all of it. I admit I hoped something would finally happen, but it didn’t, again. I don’t want to feel bad anymore, like I’m not good enough. I mean, I’m glad I tried, we tried, but since I’ve stopped, I’ve been feeling really good about myself and it’s not like I don’t sing anymore, I sing in Choir and I love it. What I need now is to pursue things that make sense to me.”

“I just think you still could make it big if we’d keep going.”

“Mom, please, I know it’s still your dream for me, but it’s not mine anymore.”

“But it was your dream.” I insist.

“Yeah, it was. I did want it, really bad, but I can’t be distracted by it anymore. It isn’t going anywhere and I’ve tried, really tried for years. Now I want other things, things I can actually attain.”

“Some parents see their children as extensions of themselves, rather than as separate people with their own hopes and dreams’’ said Brad Bushman, a professor of psychology at Ohio State University.

I decided to speak to other parents who were going through similar situations with their kids. I was quite surprised at how many parents dreams for their kids weren’t at all what their kids wanted for themselves.

One of the parents, Jim, had been struggling with his son quitting football. Jim, himself, had once dreamed of playing professional football, but he didn’t get the chance. And when he had a son, he brought him up to play and found his son was really good at it. Jim felt fulfilled and happy, especially when his boy was being scouted and getting offers to play professionally.

Then one day his son broke down, worried he’d disappoint his father but managed to tell him he wanted to stop playing football, it just wasn’t what he wanted to do with his life. Jim was beyond devastated and still to this day can hardly speak about it without choking up.

Jim’s son is now in college, pursuing a business degree.

For me, I’ve come to let go of what I wanted for her and embrace the fact that this is my daughter’s life, not mine, and that she has her own dreams.

Of course, I am grateful for the times she does sing. That is, on her own terms.

Hart District Looking for Measure SA Oversight Committee Members

| Community | October 25, 2018

The William S. Hart Union High School District is searching for two new members of the Measure SA Citizens’ Oversight Committee. These members will serve a two-year term with a maximum of three consecutive terms.

The first member the committee is looking for is someone who would fit in the Business Organization category. In other words, this member needs to be active in the business community within the Hart School District. The second member would be a person who has a child in the District and is currently part of a parent organization.

Employees, contractors, vendors and consultants of the William S. Hart Union High School District are not eligible to be on the committee.

Measure SA is a $300 million general obligation bond passed by voters in Santa Clarita in November, 2008. Its purpose is to fund construction projects such as the new Castaic High School, Performing Arts Centers at Canyon and Saugus High Schools, and improvement projects at other high schools and junior highs.

The application for the Measure SA Citizens’ Oversight Committee can be found online at https://4.files.edl.io/4c3d/10/23/18/154838-9e60c76c-5352-47dc-a09e-d6bee7f00b4b.pdf. All completed applications must be sent to Lisa Arnone (larnone@hartdistrict.org) by Friday, November 16, at 4 p.m.

Now and Then

| Community | October 25, 2018

Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us. If the black and orange candy displays in the grocery stores have not melted your chocolate defenses, then surely you have fallen captive to the gnarled witches, all a glitter in purple and green, as they spring to life and cackle when you wheel your cart next to them in the hardware aisles.

A sure sign that Halloween is just around the corner and Thanksgiving and Christmas are only a few blocks away. The blustery Santa Anas become a harbinger of change. Time seems to speed up, shortening our daylight hours as the winds gust through the valley, robbing trees of their leaves and branches. And even though we grumble when we see the red and green decorations invading the store windows in late October, we know we have to get busy or January 1 will dawn bright and sunny with a list full of forgotten holiday chores tangled in the discarded wrapping paper and ribbons.

In an effort to sweep away our procrastination cobwebs, the SCV Boys and Girls Club has begun sending out invitations to one of the season’s glittering traditions – the annual Festival of Trees.

For three sparkling days in November (Friday the 16th through Sunday the 18th), guests can wander through a forest of colorfully lit Christmas trees, watch their children create crafts in the Kids’ Corner, dance till their feet give out, be entertained by musicians, dancers, and strolling magicians, shop at a holiday boutique, and bid on their favorite decorated trees while sampling gourmet foods.

Guaranteed to get any Scrooge in the holiday spirit, the annual Festival will be held at The Centre, 20880 Centre Point Parkway in Saugus.

The event was created in 2003 as a fund-raiser for the Boys and Girls Club by longtime supporters, Gary and Myrna Condie. The Condies, who are no strangers to the SCV volunteer scene, also wear the mantles of SCV Man and Woman of the Year – Gary earning the honor in 2005 and Myrna in 2012.

Born on a frigid New Year’s Day in 1944, Gary Condie, the eldest of four children, spent the first five years of his life in Preston, Idaho, a small town in the southeast part of the state. But the majority of his childhood was spent on a farm in the Blackfoot River area, bordered by an Indian reservation on one bank and a town of the other. While the farm boy enjoyed riding horses and tractors, his overwhelming passion was for baseball – a passion that has grown over the years making him one of the L.A. Dodgers biggest fans.

Following graduation from high school, Gary’s desire to see the world prompted him to forgo a scholarship to Idaho College in favor of a two-and-a-half year mission in Germany for the Mormon Church. Gary returned to the United States in 1965 to pursue an accounting degree at Utah State and it was there that he met an attractive co-ed named Myrna Richardson.

The fourth of 10 children, Myrna was born in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and attended Jackson Wilson High School where she was voted prom queen and class secretary in her senior year. In the fall of 1965, Myrna left home to attend Utah State and it was in her second year of college that she met Gary. The two married in June of 1967, and after spending the summer managing a lodge in Jackson Hole, the newlyweds transferred to Brigham Young University where they both continued their schooling.

In 1974, Myrna and Gary moved to Valencia with their five-year-old daughter Heather. While Myrna taught sewing and earned a name for herself designing bridal gowns, prom dresses, evening wear, and elaborate costumes, Gary managed his own growing accounting practice.

The Condies soon discovered that the Santa Clarita Valley was more than an idyllic place to do business and raise a family, it was also a volunteer magnet. Gary began his volunteer “career” as a member of the Hart High School District’s advisory board and the Citizen’s Advisory Group on Water. In 1976, he began working on the Boys and Girls Club auction while also helping to raise money for the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital helipad. In rapid succession, Gary became a founding president of the hospital’s foundation, a founding member and president of the Boys and Girls Club Foundation, president of the B&G board, and board member of the Santa Clarita Facilities Foundation for the William S. Hart District.

In the meantime, Myrna not only followed her husband enthusiastically into the volunteer scene but also coordinated her efforts as housewife, mother, and foster mother with her fashion design business. The focus of her volunteer work focused on the Boys and Girls Club and College of the Canyons. Besides founding the SCV Festival of Trees, she is a co-founder of the Boys & Girls Club Foundation, and a past co-chair of the COC Silver Spur Celebration.

Myrna has also been honored as the 2009 California Mother of the Year, 2006 Boy Scouts of America Leader of Character, 2004 SCV Boys & Girls Club Samuel Dixon Award, 2001 B&G Club Foundation Board Member of the Year, and has the COC Performing Arts Center Costume Shop named for her.

The Condies travel in their spare time and spend many hours visiting with foster children and extended family – and not many in this valley have missed out on seeing Gary’s extensive Dodger memorabilia in person or by Facebook post. In addition, Gary and Myrna continue to support valley charities as well as the Festival of Trees, which has grown in scope and popularity since the first event debuted 15 years ago.

For Festival tickets and event times and information, one may contact resource development director, Ali Campbell, 661-254-2582, ext. 114, alic@sbvbgc.org or follow the updates on the Festival of Trees Facebook page.

Grand Opening Set For November 3 at Skyline

| Community | October 25, 2018

On Saturday, November 3, Pardee Homes will be hosting a grand opening celebration for its new Skyline community. Festivities will include model tours of 12 new home designs, activities for all ages at The Lookout recreational center, music, refreshments, and more. Pardee invites new home shoppers to visit Skyline’s website now, and register on the Interest List.

“Sign-up at www.LifeAtSkyline.com,” said Lyndsay Fuller, Director of Sales and Marketing for Pardee Homes LA Ventura. “Interest List members are part of a select group that is first to get more details about our grand opening and available new homes. Shoppers can begin pre-qualifying for a new home loan with TRI Pointe Connect.”

Skyline’s four debut neighborhoods are by Pardee Homes and TRI Pointe Homes, designed by award-winning architectural firms. Flexible and spacious designs respond to Skyline’s scenic hilltop site, and smart home measures boost new home performance, comfort and convenience.

Sola by Pardee will provide designs of approximately 1,882 to 2,225 square feet of living space in two-story floorplans with three to four bedrooms, from the mid $500,000s.

Celestia by TRI Pointe Homes offers one- and two-story designs of approximately 2,001 to 2,596 square feet of living space and three to five bedrooms, from the high $500,000s.

Mystral by TRI Pointe features two-story designs of approximately 2,600 to 3,132 square feet of living space, with three to six bedrooms, from the mid $600,000s. Call 949-478-8607 for more on Celestia and Mystral.

Lyra by Pardee Homes offers two-story designs of approximately 2,861 to 3,506 square feet of living space, with four to seven bedrooms, from the high $600,000s. Call 661-450-6813 for more on Sola and Lyra.

Skyline features about 1600 acres of dedicated open space. Residents will be within walking distance of a new elementary school, parks, trails and recreational and social amenities. Skyline is well connected to work centers, retail, dining and leisure choices, and residents are close to area freeways and Metrolink.

For Skyline’s November 3 grand opening: From 5 North, Exit 162/14 North. Drive 5.5 miles to Exit 6A/Sierra Highway. Left onto Sierra Highway for .5 miles, then right onto Via Princessa. Turn right again at Whites Canyon and continue for three miles to Skyline Ranch Road. Turn right onto Skyline Road. Follow event signs for parking.

Award-winning Pardee Homes provides quality homes in desirable locations throughout the Los Angeles/Ventura area, and is a member of the TRI Pointe Group of regional homebuilders. www.pardeehomes.com

Business Insights with Michael D. Preston – ‘Step 1 in Business Development’

| Community | October 25, 2018

by Michael D. Preston

Hello, and thanks for making the time to read Business Insights with Michael D. Preston. I am a Licensed Business Broker and Business Coach that works locally, as well as a fourth-generation entrepreneur who has owned and operated a number of my own businesses. My goal with this column is to provide you with the help and insights you need to build a stronger, more profitable business.

Small businesses are the backbone of our community and economy, and my passion is helping people reach their potential and grow their business. Many people talk about wanting to own and run their own business. Lucky for us, in this country, opening a business is easy to do, but keeping it running and profitable can be far more difficult. So, I am here to take the mystery out of where to focus your time and invest your resources.

In today’s article, we are going to touch on the single most important factor in your success – your mindset or attitude.

Does that sound crazy? Surely, it must be how to manage your people or understanding your customer. There is no question they are extremely important topics (and we will be spending time on those and many more) but how you approach your tasks and challenges far outweighs those every time.

Imagine you have the choice to hire either A, a candidate that already knows everything you need them to but they don’t really seem to care about working hard and they are negative day in and day out, or B, Someone that has limited knowledge but they are driven to be the best they can be, are great team players and they come with a “we shall over come any challenge” attitude. Who would you hire?

These days, knowledge is easily accessible but finding the person that has a never say quit attitude is, unfortunately, in short supply. Okay, so it is making sense – but how do we improve in this area and make ourselves better equipped to be the difference makers we aspire to be? To begin, with we must have an open mind. Realize nobody knows everything and that we all have blind spots that require us to break down our current ways of doing things so that we can start again doing things in a different way in order to achieve better and more profitable results.

The first step is to identify who we aspire to be, then list out all of the attributes you will expect to see from your new self (include the attitudes, knowledge and skills).

Next, prioritize your list and build a plan to work on the top three. Identify actions you can take to improve in each area and be relentless in making them a reality.

Don’t expect they will get done automatically – add deadlines to implement then and find someone you can trust to check in on you and hold you accountable to making the changes. Work at these improvements every chance you get. Life is a full-time sport and we get no plays off. It won’t take long before you see powerful and impactful changes if you just stay the course and refuse to accept anything less than your best.

Setbacks are inevitable, as you fall back into old habits. Don’t beat yourself up, just recommit yourself to your mission, get back on your new path and keep pushing forward. You are now on your way to a transformation and better, more powerful results. I would love to hear about your journey! To your continued success!

Michael D. Preston is a licensed business broker that is committed to helping business owners increase their valuation and sell their business. You can contact him at Michael@InflectiveGrowth.com

Community Invited to Celebrate ECE with Movie Under the Stars

| Community, Entertainment | October 19, 2018

In celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Canyon Country Campus Center for Early Childhood Education, the public is invited to an outdoor movie night and open house.

This free event will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, in the Canyon Country campus’ Carl A. Rasmussen Amphitheater.

“We always enjoy the opportunity to showcase the Canyon Country campus to our community,” said Dr. Ryan Theule, Vice President, Canyon Country Campus & Grants Development. “This event is particularly special as we celebrate 10 years of operation of the Center for Early Childhood Education at CCC.”

Starting at 5 p.m., guests are invited to enjoy a presentation on the Center for Early Childhood Education, located in Room 200.

“Over the past 10 years, our Center team has served over 215 children and families and provided essential quality workforce skills for approximately 150 Early Childhood Education Students,” said Monica Marshall, Program Director of the college’s Center for Early Childhood Education. “We provide the connection between theory, child growth and development, and best practices.”
“This will be a very special evening in honor of our Canyon Country Center’s 10-year anniversary,” added Marshall. “We hope you will join us in celebration of our program and this important milestone.”

Following the ECE Open House, families can enjoy a variety of children’s activities beginning at 6 p.m., along with a live performance from the COC dance group Ballet Folklórico Tesoro Mestizo. The group seeks to honor Mexican Folk dance, promote diversity and contribute to the understanding of Mexican culture.

A screening of the feature film, “Coco” will begin at 7 p.m.

The movie, free snacks and free raffle are presented by the COC Canyon Country Campus, the Center for Early Childhood Education and the Associated Student Government. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase at the event from Keep on Grubbin’ food truck.

The Canyon Country campus is located at 17200 Sierra Highway. For more information, visit the Canyon Country campus web page.

In celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Canyon Country Campus Center for Early Childhood Education, the public is invited to an outdoor movie night and open house.

This free event will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, in the Canyon Country campus’ Carl A. Rasmussen Amphitheater.

“We always enjoy the opportunity to showcase the Canyon Country campus to our community,” said Dr. Ryan Theule, Vice Precisdent, Canyon Country Campus & Grants Development. “This event is particularly special as we celebrate 10 years of operation of the Center for Early Childhood Education at CCC.”

Starting at 5 p.m., guests are invited to enjoy a presentation on the Center for Early Childhood Education, located in Room 200.

“Over the past 10 years our Center team has served over 215 children and families and provided essential quality workforce skills for approximately 150 Early Childhood Education Students,” said Monica Marshall, Program Director of the college’s Center for Early Childhood Education. “We provide the connection between theory, child growth and development, and best practices.”

“This will be a very special evening in honor of our Canyon Country Center’s 10-year anniversary,” added Marshall. “We hope you will join us in celebration of our program and this important milestone.”

Following the ECE Open House, families can enjoy a variety of children’s activities beginning at 6 p.m., along with a live performance from the COC dance group Ballet Folklórico Tesoro Mestizo. The group seeks to honor Mexican Folk dance, promote diversity and contribute to the understanding of Mexican culture.

A screening of the feature film, “Coco” will begin at 7 p.m.

The movie, free snacks and free raffle are presented by the COC Canyon Country Campus, the Center for Early Childhood Education and the Associated Student Government.

Food and beverages will also be available for purchase at the event from Keep on Grubbin food truck.

The Canyon Country campus is located at 17200 Sierra Highway.

For more information, visit the Canyon Country campus web page at www.canyons.edu/Offices/CCC.

Making a Difference Through Mentoring

| Community | October 18, 2018

Life is complicated. Navigating the waters on your own may be admirable on some level, but you do not need to go it alone. In fact, all studies lead to the conclusion that the mentored life is preferable. The flip side of this coin is mentoring others, in both your personal and professional life. Allow me to explain how this works and how you can make a difference in someone’s life by taking on the role of mentor.

While I was growing up I had a close friend we called Tory. His given name was “Mentor” and that is when I learned the meaning of that word is “teacher.” Tory taught me much about horticulture and caring for animals, but other than that connection I did not give another thought to mentoring until I was in my late twenties.

At that time I had passed the California real estate salesperson exam and was ready to begin my career as a sales associate in a large firm down in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles. If you’ve ever heard the saying “Here’s your desk, there’s the phone, lots of luck, you’re on your own,” then you can imagine what it was like for me. If it hadn’t been for a man named Leonard who took me under his wing and mentored me during my first year, I would not have stayed in real estate for what has added up to over three decades now. His patience and uncanny knack for anticipating situations based on his own experiences helped me to achieve my goals and even move beyond them.

Mentoring works in both directions. The more experienced, and many times older person guides the mentee towards success, one conversation and transaction at a time. The mentor benefits from the questions he or she is asked and the fresh outlook brought to the table. Many mentors experience a variety of feelings and emotions such as having a new lease on life, the joy of helping someone that reminds them of themselves when they were younger or newer to a profession, and being invigorated to the point of starting a new venture in an area they haven’t worked in for several decades due to this positive shift in attitude.

I have mentored new entrepreneurs for a decade now. The personal satisfaction and reward is priceless. Over these ten years my focus has shifted from initially helping them only with the business part to now becoming a trusted guide and advisor in their personal relationships, health, and legacy planning. Never forgetting that a mentor is a teacher, I seek out “teachable” moments to help my mentees come to their own conclusions.

Who is mentoring you? To whom are you a mentor? I firmly believe that we never outgrow the need for a mentor or the role as mentor for others. Reach out to someone you know here in the community and ask them to meet with you to discuss their business and personal goals for the next year. If they are anxious to take you up on your offer give them the best you have to give.

A mentor is a friend, but I find it more beneficial to move past that label and on to something more sacred. A mentor is combination parent, business associate, extended family member, and trusted guide through the rivers of life. Sometimes these waters are calm and inviting while other times they are whitewater rapids that challenge us to hang on and steer for dear life. Knowing that person is always there for you, whether in your head or right in front of you can be exactly what you need to stay focused and on track.

I would love to hear your thoughts of this topic. In April of this year, I published a book called Living the Mentored Life. Email me at the address below and I will make sure you receive a digital copy at no cost.

You deserve to be mentored as much as someone you may already know deserves to be mentored by you. The person you connect with may be your neighbor, someone in the grocery store aisle, or the person you barely talk to at church or in a service organization you are already a part of in this community. Reach out and offer to be a mentor and see what happens next.

Connie Ragen Green lives in Saugus and has been working exclusively on the internet since 2006. Kids and Money: Teaching Financial Responsibility and Values to Children is her latest book and was released by Hunter’s Moon Publishing in July of 2018. All of Connie’s titles are available in paperback at Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, at your local bookstore, and also for Kindle. Find out more by visiting http://HugeProfitsTinyList.com and download an audio recording for 2018 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.

‘Hand Held’ Solo Exhibit Explores Mental Health with Art

| Community, Entertainment | October 18, 2018

In her new exhibit entitled “Hand Held,” local artist Gabriella Lago takes on the topic of mental health with acrylic paintings. The exhibition is free to view and will be on display starting Tuesday, October 16, at The MAIN, located at 24266 Main Street. The public is invited to view the gallery, enjoy light refreshments and meet the artist at a reception on Thursday, October 18, from 7-10 p.m. “Hand Held” will be on display until Friday, November 9.

Finding inspiration from the surrealist movement, which celebrated the liberation of thought, language and human experience from the boundaries of rationalism, Gabriella uses acrylic painting to share her view on mental illness. Nearly one in five U.S. adults experience mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

“This work is an exploration of mental health. It is emotive and seeks to create a connection between the artist and the viewer. Through the many facets of mental health, I focus on finding strength within a struggle. To play upon that dynamic, I use a darker, cool color palette then inject bright, warm colors for balance. Anyone can be affected by mental health. I portray that by using anonymity and obscuring the facial features of those in my paintings,” said Gabriella.

Gabriella is a painter currently residing in Santa Clarita. She has exhibited in various group shows. More information on Gabriella can be found at her website at GLagoArts.com.

The gallery at The MAIN is open for viewing during all events at The MAIN, as well as Tuesdays through Fridays, from 1 – 5 p.m. The MAIN is located at 24266 Main Street, Newhall, CA 91321. For more information, contact Pablo Cevallos at pcevallos@santa-clarita.com or visit AtTheMain.org. For information regarding all City art happenings, visit SantaClaritaArts.com.

‘The Voice’ Contestant Karli Webster to Perform National Anthem at Santa Clarita Marathon

| Community | October 18, 2018

The City of Santa Clarita is proud to announce that Santa Clarita singer-songwriter Karli Webster is scheduled to sing the national anthem prior to the start of the Santa Clarita Marathon, presented by Parkway Motorcars. Webster placed in the Top 24 on Season 13 of NBC’s hit show “The Voice,” and will perform the anthem at the marathon and half marathon start at approximately 6:55 a.m. on Sunday, November 4.

Webster was chosen by “The Voice” coach Miley Cyrus following her rendition of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” during the show’s blind auditions. Her cover of “You’re So Vain” reached the Top 100 in sales on iTunes, as well as a spot in the Top 40 on the pop charts. The video of her singing the song has garnered more than two million views on YouTube.

Webster, who was named after Carly Simon, went on to reach No. 37 on the iTunes chart and No. 17 on the pop charts for her cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” which she covered with fellow contestant Addison Agen. Webster is finishing up production on her brand-new five-song EP, “BITTERSWEET,” with two-time Grammy Award winning producer Dennis Herring. Her first single is releasing this fall.

The 23rd Annual Santa Clarita Marathon also consists of a 10K and 5K race, presented by Boston Scientific, and the Mayor’s Walk, presented by Henry Mayo Fitness and Health, on Saturday, November 3. The Kid’s Fitness Challenge, presented by Kaiser Permanente, allows children to conquer an inflatable obstacle course and will take place during the Santa Clarita Health and Fitness Expo on November 3. The Santa Clarita Marathon and Half Marathon, presented by Parkway Motorcars, will take runners on a scenic journey through the city’s paved trails and paseos on Sunday, November 4. For more information about the 2018 Santa Clarita Marathon, visit SCMarathon.org.

Now and Then

| Community | October 18, 2018

Castaic High School is scheduled to open next fall with a ninth grade class of about 400 freshmen, and when listening to founding principal Melanie Hagman’s enthusiastic description of the new school, it’s hard not to share her excitement over the “state of the art curriculum that is being designed to match its state of the art physical structure.”

“The drive up the mile and a half road to the campus ends in a most imposing sight,” said Melanie. “A magnificent two-story science building that dominates the landscape.

“Equally impressive will be the gymnasium and performing arts buildings which will add a full spectrum of enrichment opportunities to a robust curriculum that will offer pathways in diverse pursuits like manufacturing, health and medical, and college preparation.”

Open enrollment will be offered at the 58-acre campus, which is expected to ultimately house 2,600 students. The first graduating class will be donning caps and gowns in 2023.

Melanie says that Castaic High School 9th and 10th graders will be able to take college courses along with their regularly scheduled classes. “It will be a lot like the Academy of the Canyons on the College of the Canyons campus, which graduates its students with AA degrees along with their high school diplomas,” explained Melanie.

“We will work closely with COC instructors to keep education meaningful and relevant. We will also introduce the ‘Block Schedule’ concept, which will allow students to continue working on projects long after the ending class bell sounds. Included will be collaborative group work in English, math, and science.”

“By including pathways to careers in occupations such as media arts and advanced technology, as well as college prep, we hope to teach employability and soft skills along with the traditional curricula,” concludes Melanie. “We want to partner with community businesses to develop internships that will highlight all aspects of a student’s chosen career.

Castaic will join the six other high schools in the William S. Hart School District: Hart, Canyon, Saugus, Valencia, Golden Valley, and West Ranch, which also offer Career Tech education in courses such as nursing, construction, plumbing, welding, and arts media. All six schools have been named Silver Medalists by U.S. News and are in the top 10 percent of high schools around the country. The district-wide success in Career Tech is a key component in the high ranking of the schools, and Hagman is proud to acknowledge that Castaic will share in the programming.

Hagman graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts degree and has two Master’s Degrees from Cal State Los Angeles. She began her teaching career in 1996 with the LA Unified School District and also served as a counselor at Granada Hills Charter High School.

Additional credentials in teaching, pupil personnel services, and administration made her a natural to serve as assistant principal at Hart High School for seven years. Melanie was named principal of Castaic High School in March of this year, and will move to her new offices when the administration building opens in May of 2019. A few classrooms will open a month later in June.

Volunteers Needed for 23rd Annual Santa Clarita Marathon

| Community | October 12, 2018

The City of Santa Clarita is seeking volunteers for the 2018 Santa Clarita Marathon, presented by Parkway Motorcars, which is scheduled to take place on November 3-4, 2018. The event, currently in its 23nd year, will include a 5K race, 10K race and Mayor’s Walk on Saturday, November 3, followed by a Half Marathon and Marathon on Sunday, November 4. Also on Saturday will be an all-new Kids Fitness Challenge, presented by Kaiser Permanente.

The weekend will begin on Friday, November 2 at the Santa Clarita Health and Fitness Expo, presented by Boston Scientific. While the expo officially opens to the public on Saturday, runners can pick up their bibs and their official race shirt beginning Friday, from 4 to 9 p.m. The expo will be held in the northern parking lot at the Westfield Valencia Town Center, near Chick-Fil-A. At the expo visitors can connect with various health and fitness vendors on Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

On Saturday, November 3, runners from near and far will take to the streets of Santa Clarita for the 5K race and the new 10K race, presented by Boston Scientific, as well as the Mayor’s Walk, presented by Henry Mayo Fitness and Health. The next morning, runners will compete in either the Marathon or Half Marathon, presented by Parkway Motorcars.

During the expo on Saturday, parents will be able to purchase an all-day pass for their child to participate in the new Kids Fitness Challenge, presented by Kaiser Permanente. The Kids Challenge is an inflatable obstacle course for children to navigate. An all-day pass is $10 per child and free T-shirts will be distributed with the first 300 Kids Fitness Challenge passes sold. Passes may be purchased at the expo site, beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 3.

Online registration for races is ongoing until Sunday, October 28, while in-person registration will be available during the Health and Fitness Expo only. Runners will not be able to register the morning of any race.

The City of Santa Clarita is seeking volunteers for both race days, and is in need of water station workers, course monitors to direct runners along the course and zone captains to oversee course monitors. The deadline to register as a volunteer is Sunday, October 21. To learn more about the responsibilities of each position and to register as a volunteer, visit SantaClaritaVolunteers.com.

The public is encouraged to cheer on runners at various points along the course both days. Street closures and times will be announced once they are confirmed. In the meantime, Santa Clarita residents can familiarize themselves with course maps online. For questions regarding volunteering, please call (661) 250-3708 or email volunteers@santa-clarita.com. To learn more about the Santa Clarita Marathon and register for a race, visit SCMarathon.org.

Creativity Advocacy – Creativity and Destruction

| Community | October 12, 2018

Creativity and destruction are two words that don’t seem to belong next to one another. After all, Creativity warrants something new being made and destruction usually destroys something—either tangible or intangible. Why, then, do I pair them today? Well, for one, I am writing a book on Creativity. It’s taken me years to get to the point of having enough word count to share my work with beta-readers in the hopes of getting it ready to format. I’ve collected the thousands of thoughts that have relentlessly been swimming around in my head and have painstakingly put them onto the paper. I’ve Created something that may look like a stack of paper, but really, it’s my heart. It beats silently from the page and the writing of it keeps me alive, figuratively speaking. Well, after collecting vital feedback from my beta readers, I spent the last six weeks writing the final chapter. I actually had so much fun writing this last section that I felt sort of giddy.

Sadly, just last week, after finishing the chapter, which completed the entire book, I destroyed it. I didn’t mean to. It was one of those Microsoft Word disasters where you press “save” after accidentally deleting a chunk of content. In this case, five-thousand words of content. Too bad it was not my Creativity research with notes and a linear argument. That can be reconstructed. This particular chapter was all from my heart—from author to reader. Fluid and emotional and impossible to reproduce. Technology could be blamed, but mostly I blame myself for not paying closer attention to that almighty space bar.

As I noodled around the Internet looking for a Mac-hack (after calling my brother, the PC genius, and my son, the computer nerd) I asked myself why? How? I tried not to cry my eyes out—after all, it’s not a cancer diagnosis. Nonetheless, this knocked the wind out of my sails. This setback made me feel like I could be knocked over with a feather, never to return to the manuscript again. This is only how it feels, not how it actually is.

Naturally, I tried to make sense of this mishap.

One of my writer friends pointed out the irony that was obvious to her, but that I could not see. The book itself is all about the process of Creativity and how important it is to honor process before product. If I enjoyed the process of writing these five-thousand words, then voila. I am enriched. The process functioned as a positive exercise in my life. In a sense, I was forced to take my own prescription—to honor process without worrying about the end result. I can never retrieve these words. They came and went without permanence.

I mused over this for a while and then realized that painters experience this sort of thing all the time. My friend Lorelle Miller regularly participates in sidewalk chalk festivals, where giant masterpieces are Created outside on the asphalt or concrete and then washed away. Ice sculptures, too, are a version of Creating and destroying. Bakers who ornately decorate wedding cakes know their work will be consumed; they know it will be gone within hours, its purpose served. What about designers who create ornate structures for a short run at the theater, only to be the first to strike the set on closing night?

Artists who are prepared to let go of their work experience a freedom in the act of Creating that, surprisingly, is enriching and expansive. When I place myself in the company of these dedicated Creative souls, I feel a little bit better. I am trying to accept the fact that destroying my work can teach me and mold me as a writer, which means I am still in process myself and thus my development as a writer mirrors my Creative output. It’s pretty cool, I guess, that Creativity and destruction, while polar opposites, can function to knit me together and help me become a better artist.

Jungian psychology purports that Creativity involves the reconciling of tensions between opposing forces. When we embrace this tension as a way of rising to a higher plane for a new perspective, we expand and grow. By accepting this in my own mind, I am encroaching upon an innovative freedom. I like this angle because it keeps me from frustration and invites my curiosity.

Could this idea extend to others who may not be writers or artists? Perhaps something may just have to die before something new can be born. Maybe there is destruction before every new creation—an ending to a stage before the next stage begins. Raising kids was like that! There is no substitution for learning to trust in process, whether it is in artistic endeavors, home improvement, cooking or athletic accomplishments. Creativity and destruction are opposing sides of the same coin that can help us to grow in our approach to life itself.

It’s a Dog’s Life

| Community | October 11, 2018

by Harry Parmenter

It’s been nearly three weeks since Charlie died and the void he left just seems to widen, the loss burnished by time. Charlie was our family dog, a small, fierce, loving and protective mix of Schipperke, Chihuahua and mutt. Black coat sprayed with white triangles across his throat and chest, Charlie joined us 13 years ago, shortly after we married New Year’s Day 2005. It was the beginning of the blended family experiment, both of us divorced with three kids each in tow, more Wild Bunch than Brady Bunch.

After purchasing a six bedroom, three bathroom house in Canyon Country a year prior, the rocky road to integration commenced in earnest. Four girls, two boys, aged nine to nineteen, all rolled into a house of hormones and emotions sweet and salty; the kids sometimes weekend visitors, sometimes permanent residents, lots of attitudes and adjustments for all involved, including my wife and I. Getting a dog was one unanimously popular decision.

We piled into a pair of vehicles one crisp Saturday morning, almost all the brood in tow, and sailed down the 126 and up a long dirt road somewhere in Santa Paula. Eventually we made our way to a worn, sprawling compound, a house, a barn and a couple of shacks and other small structures, the cacophony of yapping canines greeting us as we disembarked.

I can’t recall if it was four or five of the kids there with us, but I know somebody was missing. I do know the idea was not only to get a beloved pet to unite our incipient clan, but to do it especially for my 15-year-old daughter, a middle child who was struggling. Regardless, everyone was excited. There must have been at least 50 dogs at the place, some running free, others confined to half a dozen coops. A frazzled woman with brown hair, jeans and a red and black plaid shirt slammed open a screen door at the house, her voice whipping through the winter air.

“You the ones who called?”

“This morning, yes,” said my wife. “Raquel?”

“Right! Welcome!” She held the door open and a huge brown Doberman bolted out of the house past her. “Brutus!” She bellowed as the beast headed straight towards us. “BRUTUS!” My ten year old son coiled behind me as the dog neared, and I flashed on Sherlock Holmes battling the hound of the Baskervilles on a foggy moor. “BRUTUS!!!”

The dog approached and, smelling fear, bounded up into my chest, his huge frame pushing me back, excited eyes and a square, panting snout as big as a baseball mitt. The tail wagged furiously.

“Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite,” shouted Raquel as a telephone rang inside the house. Just as fast as he’d made his introduction Brutus was gone, drawn by a pair of German Shepherds loping across the parking lot. My son released his grip on my jacket.

“Help yourself, look around,” said Raquel. “I gotta grab this.” She disappeared back into the house and the phone stopped ringing. We wandered around for a while, the smell of dogs, pigs, horses and everything that goes with them wafting through the air.

We eventually homed in on a small chicken coop, padlocked, two sleeping Spaniels and a little black dog hovering in the back behind a water bowl. At first, he ignored our entreaties, and then gradually inched towards us. His eyes were filled with cautious uncertainty, his ears pulled back, but finally he put his face up to the mesh, a look of hope, fear and adoration. I had seen a similar expression on my daughter’s face when I’d picked her up at her mother’s house the night before.

“Dad, he likes us!” she cried.

Raquel told us he was somewhere between three and five years old, abused, abandoned. His name: Zeppo, just like the fourth Marx Brother. That was all I needed to hear. We took him home and rechristened him Charlie. I had never heard of a Schipperke until then—a small, Belgian dog originated in the 16th century: “Fearless, agile, independent, confident, faithful.” Talk about spot on.

Fearless: he went right at a coyote in our backyard one summer night and the creature, thrice his size, bolted. True story. Agile: he’d jump up onto the kitchen table after we left and sleep with one eye open—ever wary of intruders–only to be later seen leaping off when you pulled back into the driveway, filling the air with a big bark belying his size, then twirling in fervent circles once you unlocked the door, his tail a blur, the eyes no longer uncertain but gleaming, ecstatic. Curious: always up for a car ride or a neighborhood sniff. Independent: “Charlie, GET IN THE HOUSE!” became a household mantra. Confident: Trotting outside, marking territory—an unfortunate habit he shared with a certain living room couch—I can still see him furiously wiping his back feet on the grass, emphatically making a point I never quite grasped.

And like all dogs, of course, faithful. Charlie certainly was, an endless shadow, never wanting to be away from the action, the family, not to mention the food. Through the years, the good and the bad, the kids growing into adults, he was always there to inject happiness and good energy, be it a mundane, tense or celebratory moment. He was the black and white thread of our blended family, weaving through it all as one child after another grew up and left the nest.

In recent years he developed a heart murmur and other complications. We paid five or six bucks a day in doggie rx but it didn’t keep him from developing a dry, deep cough that wracked his little body for minutes at a time. It didn’t faze him; the tail wagged on.

One day I came home and my wife and youngest stepdaughter, who’d become the closest to Charlie of the six kids, gave me the bad news. It wasn’t a surprise but it was still a shock. He had gone out the dog door in the middle of the night like he had a thousand times before but this time died right there, eyes wide open. It was painful for us to realize that he’d been alone, not held by one of us in his final moments like he should have been, his soft neck resting in a friendly lap on the couch as it had so many times before. My wife went out of town last weekend and the house felt even emptier, soundless, her absence underscoring Charlie’s and his hard charging personality, which enlivened our home for so long. He was always there, watching, trailing, sleeping, barking, living … until he wasn’t. Somewhere I know he is furiously wiping his back paws on celestial turf and marking his territory, twirling in circles waiting for the loving members of his blended family to join him.

Passport Services Available at Newhall Library

| Community | October 11, 2018

On Wednesday, October 3, members of the Santa Clarita City Council visited the new Passport Acceptance Facility, located on the second floor of the Old Town Newhall Library. The new facility offers passport services to library customers by appointment.

“The Santa Clarita Public Library, has what you need for where you’re going – and now that includes passport services,” said Mayor Laurene Weste during her visit.

According to the U.S. Department of State, nearly 20 million passport books and cards will be issued this year in the United States alone. “Unfortunately, high demands can translate to long wait times. That is why we are excited to be able to offer this convenient service at your local library,” added the Mayor.

The new facility offers the following services:
First-time passports
Passport renewals, for passports issued before the applicant was 16 years of age
Renewals for expired passports, issued more than 15 years ago
Replacements for lost, stolen or damaged passports
Passport photos

For facility dates and hours, fee information or to schedule an appointment, visit the Passport Services website at SantaClaritaLibrary.com/Passport-Services.com. The Old Town Newhall Library is located at 24500 Main Street.

To learn more about the management of the service, contact Library Administrator Gina Roberson at (661) 799-6105, or at groberson@santa-clarita.com.

Use Your Own Superpower to Increase Self-Worth

| Community | October 11, 2018

A workshop, hosted by Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley, will help participants “transform challenges into power & catapult to success; resolve problems with ease and confidence and find gifts in baffling situations.” This free LifeForward workshop is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, October 20, at Savia Community Center, located at 23780 Newhall Ave in Newhall. Individuals will be able to learn how to increase their feelings of self-worth, believe in themselves and feel good.

Expert Laura Cazares will share her knowledge with the audience as she presents ways to feel good and empowered by using your own inner superpower. Laura is a certified Life Mastery Consultant and DreamBuilder coach. Since 1986, she has worked with people to unleash their inner hero and transform obstacles into powerful forces for their success.

Participants are not required to register in advance, however, free childcare is available through Single Mothers Outreach (SMO) and the children must be registered at least one week in advance by calling the organization at 661-288-0117. Spanish translation can also be provided upon request. The topic presented will be empowering and uplifting.

Previous workshops in the series have helped women and attendees learn how to improve relationships and communicate more effectively, select career options, pursue meaningful employment, work on goal setting and time management, deal with anger management, set budgets and file taxes, maintain healthy eating and exercise habits, and provide 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 (with the exception of 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.

Workshops are organized by topics developed from surveys showing expressed interest and needs. Flyers and a schedule of upcoming workshops are posted on www.scvzonta.org for women who are interested in a particular topic. Pre-registration is not required for those who simply wish to attend a workshop, but those who wish to hold a space for the more popular workshops or obtain further information on the upcoming workshop can call 661-288-0117.

Afternoon T

| Community | October 5, 2018

Q: Is there a way to ask for help without sounding pitiful or needy? Things have been tough lately and someone close to me is in a pretty good position to help out, but I’m afraid of looking bad in this person’s eyes (or anybody’s really).

A: Sweet soul, I know how difficult it can be to ask for help. Deep down, we want to prove ourselves capable of doing things on our own. Something that starts when we’re toddlers. That wonderful feeling of pride at our accomplishments, knowing we were responsible for a job well done. Honestly, one of my favorite phrases out of my children’s mouths, when they were barely capable of stringing monosyllables together, was the defiant “Me… do!” Whatever it was they were attempting, that triumphant phrase meant they were ready to tackle the task at hand before it was done by others. That sensation stays with you all the days of your life, likely growing after you’ve spent a couple decades test driving the waters of employment, relationships, finances and the rest. It hurts when one of the critical components of being an adult goes awry (job loss, breakup/divorce, crushing debt, etc.) and you have to approach another of your tribe to say, “Help me, please?” The idea you’ll be perceived as weak, uncertain, not smart/good/worthy enough (fill in the blank) and in need is frightening. I know. No, really. I know.

You should know, there’s an emotional see-saw effect when you reach out for help. While so many of us are wired with the “Me do!” recording, we’re also typically wired for the response of “Let me help.” It’s one reason caregivers often take ill when looking after a loved one, as they give and give until they give out, rarely accepting respite for themselves (the statistics are sobering). Therefore, asking for support is healthy for all involved. It provides a chance for others to give the gift of being of service. In fact, doctors say that volunteering wards off depression so, you’ll be doing a good deed by letting someone help you!

In her book, The Art of Asking (or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help), Amanda Palmer devotes over 300 pages that help you help yourself when it comes to help. Talk about a self-help book! (I also recommend seeking out her 13 minute and 47 seconds TED talk on the subject, too.) In it, she states:
Asking for help with shame says:
You have the power over me.
Asking with condescension says:
I have the power over you.
But asking for help with gratitude says:
We have the power to help each other.
You say you have someone you can turn to? If it’s a person you trust and feel they can lend a hand – and you would do the same in return – let them. Even Charlie Brown said, “Asking for help isn’t weak. It’s a great example of how to take care of yourself.”
xo – t.

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