‘Growing Together’ Parent Resource Symposium at City Hall

| Community | April 25, 2019

In a world where children are exposed to many dangers, being informed is one of the best tools a parent can acquire. Parents play an important role in teaching children resiliency, refusal techniques and how to find the path to a healthy lifestyle. Hear from the experts about tendencies that inhibit a child’s healthy growth, and influence them to deviate from making the right choices at the “Growing Together” parent resource symposium on Wednesday, May 8 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The “Growing Together” parent resource symposium is a free event that is open to the public and will be held at City Hall (23920 Valencia Boulevard). The event is hosted by the City of Santa Clarita in partnership with the County of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital and school districts in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Attendees at the event, which is geared toward families with children in elementary school, will learn important information regarding Internet safety, drug trends and matters affecting their child’s interaction with others.

The evening will consist of a free resource fair for parents and their children in the Century Room (City Hall First Floor) from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., followed by presentations from a panel of experts featuring law enforcement, counseling professionals, educators and health advocates in the Council Chambers. Panelists invited to participate are:

Detective William Velek – Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Renee Marshall– College of the Canyons Chair of Early Childhood Education
Dr. Darrin Privett – Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Emergency Room Doctor
Brenda Tumasone – San Fernando Valley Community Mental Health Center

The event will focus on providing information about trends in our community, tips for parents concerning Internet safety, advice from experts regarding the importance of communication to ensure a healthy development and behavior management. The panel will also respond to concerns and questions from attendees.

For more information about the “Growing Together” parent resource symposium, and efforts made to educate youth in Santa Clarita about living drug free, visit DFYinSCV.com.

SCV Water to Host Gardening Classes in May

| Community | April 25, 2019

With spring in full bloom, your landscape should be too. With free May gardening class offerings, SCV Water will teach participants how to cultivate a thriving landscape with proper plant care by selecting the right perennials that will add charm to your landscape for years to come.

You’ve selected the plants – check. You’ve installed the plants in your landscape – double- check. But how do you care for them? Join SCV Water Thursday, May 16 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to learn about Caring for the Top 30 Plants for the SCV. Participants will learn maintenance techniques for the top 30 plants for the SCV (and others) so that they’ll thrive in our climate.

Want to find beauty in your yard year after year? Attend Saturday, May 18 from 9:00 a.m. to
12:00 p.m. to learn how to Landscape with Perennials. These are plants that live two or more years and are well suited for the SCV climate. Participants will receive a list of perennials that can help spice up their landscape with texture and pops of color.

The instructor for the May 16 class is John Windsor. John is a Certified Arborist and a California Certified Nurseryman. He has been a Horticultural Advisor in the Santa Clarita Valley for the last 21 years. He has a teaching credential in Horticulture and teaches gardening and landscape classes at the local Adult School, and the Santa Clarita Department of Parks and Recreation.

The instructor for the May 18 class is Stephen Williams. Stephen received his horticultural training at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California. He honed his skills at Descanso and Huntington Botanical Gardens where he worked as garden staff and plant propagator/nursery manager for ten years. He has been affiliated with U.C.C.E. Master Gardeners since 1996. Stephen is Professor of Horticulture at Mt. S.A.C. where he has been teaching free, weekly home gardening classes for 10 years.

All classes are held at SCV Water, located at 27234 Bouquet Canyon Road in Santa Clarita.

To register and to see a complete list of classes for 2018, visit www.yourSCVwater.com or call 661-513-1230 and sign up. The Caring for the Top 30 Plants for the SCV is a follow-up class to the Top 30 Plants for the SCV, but can also be attended on its own. Instructors may change without notice.

The Santa Clarita Earth Arbor Day Festival Returns April 27 to Central Park

| Community | April 25, 2019

The City of Santa Clarita’s annual Earth Arbor Day Festival, presented by SCV Water, is making its much-anticipated return to Central Park on Saturday, April 27. This free festival, which focuses on protecting the environment, is held in conjunction with worldwide Earth Day and is combined with the KHTS Santa Clarita Home and Garden Show, Arts and Crafts Fair and Emergency Expo. Earth Arbor Day festival hours will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, and the other events will continue on Sunday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Central Park, located at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road.

Visitors can experience a fair-like atmosphere with fun activities for the whole family, including a petting zoo, exciting pig races, free giveaways and much more. The festival will also feature a great selection of food trucks and volunteer opportunities in addition to the city giving away 1000 one-gallon trees and 80 yards of mulch to participants on Saturday.

Presenting sponsor SCV Water has been instrumental in the success of this event, and continues to help reinforce the importance of environmental awareness.

“Earth Arbor Day is one of our favorite partnerships, and such an obvious fit for SCV Water. We hope people will visit our booth, and learn what they can do to save water and money at their home or business,” said Kathie Martin, Public Information Officer for SCV Water.

Additional details can be found at GreenSantaClarita.com/EarthArborDay and SantaClaritaHomeandGardenShow.com.

Doctor’s Diary: Snippets from the Frontline

| Community | April 19, 2019

Staving off Suffering 

I have patents who are in pain.

Some had catastrophic events like motor vehicle accidents, or major illness resulting in immobility. Many are bedridden, requiring house call visits.

They have been on DEA Schedule II pain medication for years, but because of the opioid crisis, rules have been understandably tightened adversely affecting medical management.

A written narcotic prescription requires high-security pads preventing counterfeit abuse (I am not sophisticated enough to use computerized e-prescriptions). Pharmacists assure all medication is dispensed exactly according to law.

As a frontline physician, I must see patients “face-to-face,” and document the need for narcotics with ongoing beneficial effects. Hoops must be jumped through to protect the public.

There have been consequences in this ongoing battle:

renewal of medication must be done every month;
phone orders are not acceptable, with refill delays common;
drug insurance companies have increased “denials” and “prior authorizations”;
pharmacy phone calls to physicians are more frequent and time-consuming;
“extra doses” are rarely allowed should a patient want to leave town or vacation.

Some of my patients endured life threatening problems. Unfortunately, they are forced to jump through more hoops to stave off suffering.

Emergency Locating System Markers Added to City Trails

| Community | April 19, 2019

Trail users in Santa Clarita will now be easier to find during emergencies – even in the city’s vast open space hiking areas – thanks to a new Emergency Locating System recently launched by the City of Santa Clarita. As part of the system, a total of 658 markers have been posted every 1/8 mile on all city trails, including bike paths and hiking trails.
The trail markers provide a quick and easy way to convey a location during an emergency situation. Each marker displays a specific number which designates its location. These numbers correspond to a GIS map that first responders can use to locate the emergency. When a hiker or cyclist provides an emergency operator with the designated number, the operator will be able to pinpoint the location and know where to dispatch emergency personnel.
This new Emergency Locating System will cut down response times during emergency situations. After over a year and a half of planning and design, the system is now in place and ready to be used by residents and visitors who are out enjoying the city’s trails.
For more information on the Emergency Locating System, visit santa-clarita.com/emergencylocator or email gis@santa-clarita.com.


| Community | April 19, 2019

By T. Katz

Q: Spring means my spouse wants to Mari Kondo our home, which I think is just code for throw out everything we own! I’m not ready to say goodbye to my mementos and collections. Help me make my argument to keep my things?

A: Ah, yes! Marie Kondo and her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The whole KonMari movement has been pretty popular since it hit U.S. shores five years ago. People who follow her methods swear by the “joy sparking” that clean living spaces can bring. It’s such a hot topic that Marie has written FOUR books about that very subject (which are meant to be given away and shared, not gathering dust on your bookcase, BTW). While I respect the idea of it all, my heart and hearth are wired a bit more like yours, methinks. I have nooks and crannies all over my home filled with an awful lot of stuff. So much so, that I believe it was best described by my Great Aunt Annie (when she was 105) as a “Shooting Gallery.” Yup. Something to see, everywhere you look. It brings me joy and sparks conversation, so I’m good with that.

The Spring Cleaning bug bites many a household this time of year because it’s only natural to want to have some bright, shiny surfaces once nature sheds her winter wrappings. We want our bodies to trim down for sun and fun, so let’s loosen the lard from our domiciles, too! Studies have shown that order in our living spaces can help promote some healthy life choices. On the other hand, some studies have also shown that physical decluttering can lead to “lower levels of life satisfaction.” Imagine that, something that works for some isn’t something that works for all?! What this means, is that you and your partner need to sit down and discuss this. What’s driving the need for the complete cleaning (if you have 100 hats and 200 mugs from your favorite sports team, let’s be real … it might be justified). Psychologists tell us that there are people who gather loads of stuff because they associate that abundance with a full and satisfied life, which isn’t always what happens. It’s a fine line between collecting and hoarding, so be honest about what you’re holding onto. On the flip side, a crusade to not just clean, but purge – can be more about what’s happening between the ears, not fears of years of concert t-shirts in your shared closet. Your other half may need the reinforcement of having more order and organization at home, because we all know the digital world piled with growing emails, texts and voice messages leaves life feeling chaotic. Maybe once you establish the reason, whether simply the season of tidying or a deeper need for order, control and diminished chaos – then you can work together to find a creative compromise. Maybe think outside the box? (Because I’m all for turning that t-shirt collection into a quilt!)
xo – t.

Start Your Career as an Entrepreneur Before You’re Under Pressure

| Community | April 18, 2019

Candace wrote in to ask me if now was the right time for her to take the leap from employee to entrepreneur. She’s been under a lot of stress at her job and the thought of being her own boss makes entrepreneurship sound really grand. The truth is, there probably isn’t a perfect time to take the leap, but there are times when it’s most likely going to end up in disaster.

If you are waiting for the right time to start your own business, you’ll be waiting forever. Unless, of course, you are independently wealthy and don’t have a care in the world. However, money isn’t the only object that moves a start-up from concept to success.

Operation: Desperation

Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? This isn’t always the case. Starting your career as an entrepreneur should never be a last-ditch effort to save you from yourself or whatever circumstances you are dealing with in life. In fact, that’s probably the worst time possible.

Becoming a successful entrepreneur takes planning and research and a dedication like you’ve never experienced before. Your entire life as you know it is going to change the moment you decide to go for it, and more times than not, it gets incredibly harder before it gets any easier.

Failure is Real

Being an entrepreneur comes with a great risk: failure. If you are already in a precarious situation where you feel you’ve failed, having a business idea you’ve brought to fruition fail isn’t the best medicine for your ego or confidence. You need to be in a position to know, and understand, that a failure in the world of entrepreneurship doesn’t mean the end. You have got to have the gumption to get up, dust yourself off and start again.

Too many times folks end up regretting their decision to go for it because they made a rash decision before they were really ready. The consequences could be extreme. It’s a game of skill, determination and… luck. I define luck as the intersection between preparation and opportunity.

Reasons Not to Jump Ship and Start Your Career as an Entrepreneur

•You hate your boss and/or your job.
•You can’t pay your bills.
•You want a more flexible schedule.
•You believe it will be easier to be your own boss.
•You want more play time.

When you make a hasty decision, you will secure a future of more illogical decisions based solely on desperation rather than success. And as far as believing it will be easier to be your own boss, I’ll share with you what I tell the people in my courses and mentor program; you must be the toughest boss you have ever had in order to succeed as an entrepreneur.

Being your own boss is hard enough, so don’t make the mistake of adding another layer of stress to the mix!

When is the Best Time?

The short answer: There isn’t one. But there are better times to start realizing your dreams of being an entrepreneur. It’s much like starting a family. You could be financially stable and the nursery already planned, but are you ready? What have you done to ensure you are capable financially, physically and mentally for the work and commitment ahead of you?

If you are already stressed out, it can be difficult to make sound decisions, and if you want your new business to last, you need to make the best possible decisions. You need to be confident in your direction, not scattered and grasping at straws.

Think about how you will be able to handle the stress when you are everything. You are the boss. You are the employee. You are the research and development team. You are payroll and accounting. You are the very life, and could be the death, of your new company.

So, the long and short of it? It always sounds like a great plan, doesn’t it? To be your own boss and run things the way you want to without having to answer to a single soul. And it is very possible. That’s the beauty of it!

Starting your career as an entrepreneur isn’t a quick-fix, so don’t treat it like one. Just make sure you’re doing this when you have all your wits about you, and not out of sheer desperation.

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 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.

Triumph Foundation 8th Annual Wheelchair Sports Festival

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | April 12, 2019

The public is invited to experience adaptive sports competition later this month at the Triumph Foundation 8th Annual Wheelchair Sports Festival. The two-day event features 15 adaptive recreational sporting activities, including wheelchair hockey, basketball, quad rugby (a.k.a. murderball), racquetball, baseball, hand cycling, SCUBA, curling, track & field, wheelchair skating (WCMX), and a wheelchair rodeo race. There will also be a Resource Fair featuring informational booths and exhibitors during the festival.

The Festival will be held at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex on Saturday, April 27 from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, April 28 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The nonprofit Triumph Foundation works to improve the lives of people living with disabilities. The nonprofit hosts the annual free event to introduce people to wheelchair sports who are newly injured and others with disabilities, including veterans and children. The Wheelchair Sports Festival also provides learning opportunities for the general public, showcasing people living with physical impairment in a way that members of the community do not often see. The goal is to bring together individuals of all abilities – able body and disabled alike – to take part in a weekend of free activities and games.

The Wheelchair Sports Festival is part of the Paralympic Gateway to Gold, a talent identification program that introduces Paralympic-eligible athletes to sports, acts as a pipeline to competition, and is often the first step toward the podium representing the U.S. Paralympic Team.

“This is Triumph’s major event of the year giving people with disabilities a chance to push the limits of their ability, play games with friends and family on a level playing ground, and enhances their quality of life through the benefit of exercise, sports and fitness,” said Triumph Foundation Founder Andrew Skinner, who suffered a spinal cord injury in November 2004 in a snowboarding accident and founded the organization in 2008. “People travel from all over California to attend this event and we are excited with the anticipation of over 1,000 people to participate this year.”

The Santa Clarita Sports Complex is located at 20870 Centre Pointe Pkwy in Santa Clarita.

Triumph Foundation is seeking community partners to help keep this a free public event. To become a Participant, Event Sponsor, or Exhibitor in the Resource Fair visit Triumph-Foundation.org. Participants can sign up at http://bit.ly/TriumphWSF2019.

Audrey’s Unicorns

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | April 12, 2019

Most would agree that the Varner family has rare qualities. Longtime Santa Clarita residents Candice and Chris Varner are well-known local educators with a reputation for maintaining a supportive role in the lives of their students, even after graduation.

But in a rare and challenging situation, the teachers have become the students, as Chris and Candice have been learning to navigate circumstances beyond their control.

Chris is both a teacher and the head football coach at West Ranch High School and Candice is the director of district relations for Opportunities for Learning. They also have five children, both adoptive and biological, who are in myriad sports and activities. While the inherent challenges of a large family would be difficult for anyone, the Varners had an additional setback last year when their oldest daughter, Audrey, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

The disease is rare and Audrey’s diagnosis at the age of 6 was also unusual. “What normally happens is you get a newborn screen where they check the genes and cystic fibrosis is one of those,” Candice explained. “Audrey’s adopted and those records weren’t transferred, so we don’t know if she was flagged for that or not.”

Audrey was hospitalized for pneumonia last year and she wasn’t improving after being treated with antibiotics. The doctors were unsure why, but hinted at the possibility of cystic fibrosis.

She was placed on the waitlist for Children’s Hospital and the Varners were grateful when she advanced to the top so they could access the hospital’s experts.

“Audrey had gotten a diagnosis of asthma and they didn’t think that’s what it was,” Candice explained. “They did gene testing. For cystic fibrosis you have to have a gene from both parents. If you only have one, you’re a ‘carrier,’ but if you have both then you have cystic fibrosis.”

It’s unimaginable for most parents to keep moving forward, even with a small family. But the Varners, in rare form, continue to handle it like troopers.

“My husband and I processed it differently,” Candice said. “I was kind of in denial. (I thought) ‘33,000 is such a small number, there’s no way.’ For me it was a gut punch, but for Chris, he had already processed it. Chris was really my rock with this.”

Support from competent medical professionals is also a big help.

“She has the most amazing team at Children’s Hospital,” Candice said. “We were lucky we were immediately connected with them. The support from them and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has been incredible.”

It’s a “family affair,” Candice said about handling schedules, treatment and difficult news.

“Audrey is the middle of five kids and we’re really blessed that our kids understand that Audrey takes sometimes a little more of Mommy and Daddy’s time because she’s sick,” she said. “I’m really proud of how my kids have rallied around her. It’s a Varner family thing.”

Candice said they remain open about the facts. “Yes, it’s terminal. There’s no cure and my kids know that,” she said. “There are times, like after a bad appointment, it’s nice to come home to a supportive atmosphere. When you don’t have any other option, you make it work. Cystic Fibrosis will not define her life.”

She calls the support from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation “amazing.”

“When Audrey first got her diagnosis I knew she was getting taken care of. I needed something to take care of me too,” she said. “The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation reached out to me and connected me with some other cystic fibrosis parents in Santa Clarita. It was amazing to talk to parents who knew what I was talking about.”

Through the Foundation, the Varners were introduced to the fundraiser Great Strides. “Right away, immediately, Audrey was the one who got so excited about it,” Candice said. “It made me feel better about the whole thing – raising money to find a cure for my daughter.”

The upcoming Great Strides event gave Chris and Candice a place to convert their emotion into action, and since there’s not yet a cure, more research is needed, which means more money is needed. So, they formed a Great Strides team – Audrey’s Unicorns.

For a family fighting an epic battle with unimaginable stakes, the unicorn seems an appropriate symbol. And with the help of friends, the Varners defied odds once again.

“We immediately dove into this,” Candice said. “They told me how we could grow a team and we were lucky – with the community and West Ranch High School and Opportunities for Learning, Audrey’s Unicorns had the largest team – and we did that in three weeks.”
There are various streams of funding during the Great Strides team-building process. Topper’s Pizza held a fundraiser for Audrey’s Unicorns, the largest the Valencia pizza restaurant had ever had.

“It’s amazing to see how people are coming out to support her,” Candice said. “The football team was there – Audrey sees the football team as 50 extra big brothers for her. As a parent, it was so incredible to see it reciprocated – the community, the football players out to support her.”

The day of the Great Strides walk was also an opportunity for people to show their support. “Just seeing everybody out there in Audrey’s Unicorn shirts … she was so excited to see people there,” Candice said. “She has a tutu and a unicorn headband – amazing to see this little girl empowered.”

This year’s local Great Strides 2-mile walk will be held on Audrey’s birthday – Saturday, May 11 – at West Creek Park in Valencia. Check-in is at 9 a.m. and the walk begins at 10 a.m. Register at Fightcf.cff.org/goto/AudreysUnicorns.

“It’s huge. There are activities, food, vendors and it’s really to raise awareness and understand that this is a struggle not too many people know about,” Candice explained. “There’s no federal funding for cystic fibrosis research. Cystic fibrosis doesn’t have a cure. We are optimistic that the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will continue the amazing research they’re doing.”

But as for the day-to-day coping, it’s of course not all rainbows and unicorns. “There are times I have to walk out of the room and have a good cry,” she said. “She sees sometimes up to eight doctors and specialists in a day. We like to do something special after; we usually go to Disneyland or something. If we can finish the day with something fun – she can remember, ‘I had churros and rode Space Mountain,’ rather than ‘I had to have blood drawn.’”

The Varner kids take the “Strawfie Challenge” to relate to their sister during her breathing treatment.

According to the Audrey’s Unicorns web page, there are nearly 300,000 Americans living with cystic fibrosis, and symptoms include difficulty breathing – similar to breathing through a straw. The medication is $300,000 a year, Candice said, grateful for the support from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “It’s very expensive to be sick.”

The work continues and so does the hope, especially for Audrey’s Unicorns, who are aiming to raise money for enough research to find a cure. Showing her resolve, Candice summed up her commitment to the cause: “We will walk until a cure for cystic fibrosis is found.”

Registration Open for 2019 Summer Institute

| Community | April 11, 2019

Registration is now open for the popular career exploration themed College of the Canyons Summer Institute, with weekly sessions running July 8-12 and July 15-19.

The College of the Canyons Summer Institute is open to students entering grades 6-8 in the fall of 2019.

The goal of the Summer Institute is to provide hands-on career exploration and learning opportunities to students in a variety of areas and subjects including: robotics, sports medicine, photography, architecture, windows computer app design, auto technology, biotechnology, construction, MakerSpace and manufacturing.

All Summer Institute instructors are COC professors or industry professionals who have tailored their curriculum for grades 6-8 in mind.

Each track allows participating students to discover a multitude of career possibilities through a unique blend of innovative lesson plans and fun hands-on activities that are scheduled each week.

The 2019 Summer Institute lineup will feature three new camps focused on the areas of construction technology, windows computer apps, and MakerSpace stem stars.

“The COC Summer Institute is much more than your typical summer camp,” said Mark Carr, Summer Institute coordinator. “It’s an opportunity for your child to discover a potential career path, and have some fun at the same time.”

All 2019 COC Summer Institute sessions begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 3 p.m. Enrollment fees are $275 per child per week.

The 2019 Summer Institute weekly schedule of classes is listed below:

July 8 to 12 (Monday-Friday) — Biotechnology; robotics; photography; architecture; sun wind and fire; MakerSpace STEM stars; window computer apps

July 15 to 19 (Monday-Friday) — Biotechnology; robotics; photography; sun, wind and fire; sports medicine; architecture; construction technology

For more information about the 2019 College of the Canyons Summer Institute, visit the program’s web page.

The Trial of the Century

| Community | April 11, 2019

by Harry Parmenter

“Policemen are human, made out of men, and nothing else. Once a theory possesses our minds, you know how tenaciously it holds its place.” A policeman is even more susceptible to this bias because “he is possessed and saturated with the thoughts and experiences he has with bad people. And, you do not get the greatest ability in the world inside a policeman’s coat. Not one police officer in a thousand is possessed of acute sensibility or a trained habit of observation. Success is more often a matter of chance, or luck, or the stupidity of the criminal than it is of any well-directed conduct of an investigation.”

This statement was made by a defense attorney in what case? Jussie Smollett? Ferguson? O.J.? Nope. Try 125 years ago inside a tiny hotbox of a courthouse in Fall River, Mass. during that era’s trial of the century, Lizzie Borden.

Lizzie’s father Andrew and stepmother Abby were hacked to death with an ax the morning of August 4, 1892. Lizzie, who hated her stepmother, and Bridget Sullivan, the maid, were the only people at the house when the murders occurred. Sullivan, who was well aware of the tension between Abby and Lizzie, and sought to leave the family’s employ, spent the morning outside washing windows and chatting with the neighbors’ housemaid before repairing to her room for a nap.

The house was uptight in more ways than one, with the front door triple-bolted. Following a mysterious theft of Abby’s jewelry and Andrew’s cash from their bedroom in June 1891, Andrew began locking it every day when he left the house, as well as securing the connecting door to 32-year-old daughter Lizzie’s bedroom. It was “the most elaborately secured domicile in town.” The day the police investigated the bedroom theft, Lizzie told the sane officer three times, “I am afraid the police will not be able to find the real thief.”

All this and more is encapsulated in “The Trial of Lizzie Borden,” a terrific new book by Cara Robertson, an accomplished jurist and writer. It’s “The Making of a Murderer” in the 19th century, and a sad reminder that, when it comes to defense attorneys, the media and the great unwashed mob blaming the police for someone else’s crime, nothing has changed.

Ex-Massachusetts governor George D. Robinson (“Talking Bull” on the Elizabeth Warren family tree), was one of Lizzie’s defense attorneys, and certainly the one who did the heavy lifting. Speaking of law enforcement’s Assistant Marshal Fleet, who questioned our heroine at the scene, Robinson first described his sinister countenance with “the set of that mustache and the firmness of those lips,” then told the jury, “And there he was, up in this young woman’s room in the afternoon, attended with some other officers, plying her with all sorts of questions in a pretty direct and peremptory way. Is that the way for an officer of the law to deal with a woman in her own house? What would you do with a man… that got into your house and was talking to your wife or your daughter in that way?”

Well, given that Big Daddy Borden took a nap on the sitting room sofa, only to sleep forever with a face one witness described as “a mass of raw meat,” he sure wasn’t worried about how a cop interrogated his charming daughter, now was he, counselor?

Robinson was just getting warmed up. By the time he got to his closing argument, he lacked only an accompanying violinist to provide a plaintive background track: “There she stands, protected, watched over, kept in charge by the judges of this court and by the jury who have her in charge. If the little sparrow does not fall unnoticed to the ground, indeed, in God’s great providence, this woman has not been alone in this courtroom, but ever shielded by His watchful Providence from above, and by the sympathy and watchful care of those who have her to look after.”

Contrast that with Officer Phil Harrington, who interviewed the little sparrow: “Lizzie stood by the foot of the bed, and talked in the most calm and collected manner; her whole bearing was most remarkable under the circumstances. There was not the least indication of agitation, no sign of sorrow or grief, no lamentation of heart, no comment on the horror of the crime, and no expression of a wish that the criminal be caught. All this, and something that, to me, is indescribable, gave birth to a thought that was most revolting. I thought, at least, she knew more than she wished to tell.” Ya think?

As a sidebar, Robinson went down a road not uncommon all those years ago, and might, in fact, explain Representative Ocasio-Cortez’ Green Plan: ““You will recollect that Miss Lizzie’s monthly illness was continuing at that time, and we know from sad experience that this is (sic) many a woman at such a time as that is all unbalanced, her disposition disturbed, her mind disabled for a period of time.” Period, end of story!

The icing on the cake-with-a-hatchet-in-it came when the resourceful barrister had to explain away his client’s stone-faced behavior throughout the trial, not to mention in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy: “The eyes that cannot weep/Are the saddest eyes of all.” Aye, yes, he might as well have averred, she was a good woman except for that itty bitty ax to grind.

Since the case had no witnesses and was entirely circumstantial, prosecutor Hosea (now there’s a name you don’t hear every, er, EVER) Knowlton explained it all to the 12 not-so-angry men of the jury, as this was before Suffragette City climbed the charts: “Direct evidence is the evidence of a man who sees and hears: circumstantial evidence is all other kinds of evidence. Men will not tell the truth always: facts cannot tell but one story. Murder is the work of stealth and craft in which there are not only no witnesses, but the traces are attempted to be obliterated.” Hosea can you see alluded to Robinson Crusoe’s famous discovery of another set of footprints on his apparently uninhabited island. “It was circumstantial: It was nothing but circumstantial evidence but it satisfied him. He had no lawyer to tell him that there was nothing but circumstance.” I think Shakespeare saw this coming.

After a trial of 16 days (!) the idiot dunce jury returned their verdict in less than an hour and a half: Not guilty. After exonerating Ms. Borden they left the jury box and shook her hand in congratulations. And to think O.J. was deprived of a dozen high fives before he began his search for the real killer.

The media, who’d been in the tank with Lizzie from the get-go (some things never change) waxed eloquent, as opposed to wroth (Diamond Dave wasn’t around yet), with the New York Times (again, shocking!) opining that “The acquittal of the most unfortunate and cruelly persecuted woman was, by this promptness … a condemnation of the police authorities and of the legal officers who secured the indictment and have conducted the trial. It was a declaration not only that the prisoner was guiltless, but that there never was any serious reason to suppose that she was guilty… Her acquittal is only a partial atonement for the wrong that she has suffered.”

Speaking of suffering, despite the hyperbole of the pithy nursery rhyme, “Lizzie Borden took an ax/Gave her mother forty whacks/When she saw what she had done/She gave her father forty-one,” Andrew Borden took 10 blows to the head, Abby 19. You’d be challenged to fashion one skull out of the remaining two, which are on display at the Fall River Historical Society next time you plan a trip to, uh, Beantown. Did I mention Lizzie tried to buy prussic acid the day before the killings? Oh, Harry, the little sparrow just wanted to spice up tea-time.

2019 Cowboy Festival Road Closure and Parking Details

| Community, Entertainment | April 11, 2019

The 26th annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival returns to Old Town Newhall this weekend. Residents are encouraged to prepare for road closures in Old Town Newhall and plan transportation accordingly for Saturday, April 13 and Sunday, April 14.

The 2019 Cowboy Festival, taking place at William S. Hart Park is expected to draw thousands of visitors to the area. Beginning Saturday, April 13, Newhall Avenue, from Market Street to 4th Street, will be closed for festival transportation and set up. Remember to plan a different route in advance of the closure, which will last from Saturday, April 13 at 6 a.m. to Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m.

Free parking for the Cowboy Festival will again be offered in the dirt lot located at the bend of 13th Street and Arch Street in Newhall. Guests will be able to take a free shuttle to and from the parking lot. Note that limited parking is also available in the city-owned parking structure on Main Street in Old Town Newhall, but shuttle service from the structure will not be available. No parking is available at Hart Park.

For more information regarding Cowboy Festival events, and to purchase tickets to special performances, visit CowboyFestival.org.

Afternoon T

| Community | April 5, 2019

Q: My mother is older and having some issues with driving. I’m concerned and I know I should talk to her about not operating a vehicle anymore, but I’m nervous. I don’t know if I’m ever going to feel comfortable talking to her about these kinds of things. When do you think is a good time to have this conversation?

A: There’s never a good time to tackle life’s toughest topics. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen. Having “big” conversations, is never easy, but it can be especially nerve-wracking when you know you need to have them with your elders. Possibly, because you’re always going to feel a bit like a child when addressing them about life-altering issues. Even if you know it’s a matter of discussing their safety and the safety of others. What makes it complicated, is the idea that you’re taking away freedom and autonomy from someone you love. Because you know you wouldn’t like it. You may also be apprehensive because you know this might also change your life, as you take on additional responsibility for your parent’s well-being and mobility. But, what you might be most afraid of is their response, possibly even a tantrum, as you tell a grown adult what you believe is best for them. Think about it. How would you have felt, if they took your driving privileges away when you were first driving, even if you did something wrong and totally deserved it? Add half a century of a lifetime of driving freedom to that feeling. It’s nothing short of nuclear. It may feel like an unpleasant buzzsaw of emotion you’re about to walk into. It will help if you are prepared well in advance of your conversation. Gather intel and information before you:

Approach them with respect. Ask during a time of day that’s best for them and say you want to talk about something on your mind. Let them know you understand how difficult the subject is, but that it must be addressed and that you promise to help keep them mobile. State aloud that it’s not about whether they will or will not continue to drive. It’s making decisions about function and ability. If you have noticed changes in their driving habits, make a list and then state honestly what those changes are.
Ask if you can accompany them to any medical appointments to see if prescriptions (medication or eyewear) could be changed to improve their ability to function behind the wheel. Perhaps the doctor could refer them to Driving Rehabilitation Specialists to determine adaptive devices for their car. Let them understand that a doctor, not you, should determine their safety behind the wheel.
Research alternative transportation options. If car services are not available, reach out to family members, friends, neighbors and community members (church, senior center, etc.) to organize rides when needed.

This is one of the hardest conversations to have with an elderly parent, but love should drive you to do the right thing. Always.
xo – t.

Volunteers Needed for 2019 Amgen Tour of California

| Community | April 4, 2019

Santa Clarita is welcoming the Amgen Tour of California, presented by AEG, back to Santa Clarita on May 18. The city will be hosting the final stage of both the men’s and women’s races of this world-class cycling event, and is looking for volunteers. This year, over 100 Course Marshals are needed to ensure the race goes smoothly and is an event for all to enjoy.

Course Marshals are assigned to designated areas along the race course, such as driveways and parking lots, to assist with coordination and safety. They are responsible for keeping the course clear of pedestrians, spectators, cars and other possible obstructions for the cyclists. The purpose for having Course Marshals along the route is to keep spectators alert and aware for their safety, and the safety of the competitors. Volunteer shifts will be available between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. on May 18. Assignment details with assigned locations will be emailed to volunteers in early May.

The Amgen Tour of California is one of America’s biggest and most recognized sporting events. The world’s elite cyclists cover over 750 miles through seven stages along the Pacific Coast, from Sacramento to Pasadena. Volunteers will have an up-close view of this exciting race, while contributing to the success of one of the city’s biggest events.

To sign up to volunteer at the 2019 Amgen Tour of California, visit AmgenTourofCalifornia.com/Volunteer.

Local Winners of Kto12 Writer Contest Awarded

| Community | April 4, 2019

When she was a freshman in high school, Valencia High School junior Marina Zeng created an annual writing contest, which she has held for three years. She recently presented local students with awards for their entries in the 2018 contest.

The Kto12 Writer Awards contest is divided into two groups: K-sixth graders and seventh-12th graders.

Zeng solicits the opinions of handpicked judges and in each age group she awards a first, second and third place winner. On Sunday, March 24, 2019 she presented six awards to local students for their work in answering the prompt: What is a change you would like to see in the world?

“School writing assignments are often not enough to stimulating interest in writing, especially when given topics that are not particularly interesting to the student,” Marina Zeng explained. “Writing contests can help activate a student’s passion, imagination, and creativity, which can benefit them in college, occupations, and life.”

For more information about Marina Zeng’s contest, visit http://kto12writer.wix.com/kto12writer.

Winners are pictured outside the Valencia Library with the contest founder (left to right): front row – Joan Go from Rancho Pico Junior High School (eighth grade) won first place in 7to12 and Ivan Robles from Pinetree Community School (fifth grade) won first place in Kto6; back row — Niharika Koka from West Creek Academy (sixth grade) won second place in the Kto6 group; Mia Preece from Valencia High School (11th grade) won second place in 7to12; Kto12 founder Marina Zeng; and Alexis Robles from Canyon High School (ninth grade) won third place in the 7to12 group.

Senator Wilk to Host Women’s Safety and Self-Defense Workshop

| Community | April 4, 2019

Senator Scott Wilk will be hosting a Women’s Safety and Self Defense Workshop on Saturday, April 6 from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. The event is free and open all to women and girls over 14.

This workshop is aimed to equip females with self-defense techniques. Attendees are encouraged to dress comfortably in workout wear.

The event will take place at The Centre, located at 20880 Centre Pointe Pkwy, Santa Clarita 91350. For more information or to RSVP, email Kris.Hough@sen.ca.gov, or call the district office at 661-729-6232.

Agua Dulce Winery

| Community | March 29, 2019

Think of wine, and what comes to mind? Napa Valley likely. Maybe Burgundy or Champagne, France. Tuscany, Italy. There are plenty of great wine regions around the world, including in Argentina, Chile, Greece, Hungary, Portugal and South Africa.

Santa Clarita is not one of them, but drive less than 20 miles from the city – and only four miles from Vasquez Rocks – along a stretch of Sierra Highway to encounter Agua Dulce Winery.

The winery, which General Manager Steve Wizan calls “Napa, but six hours closer,” sits on 100 acres, 75 of which grow grapes. It’s a full-service winery, meaning the grapes are grown, harvested, smashed, fermented, stored, bottled and sold on site.

The wine is mostly red – chardonnay, zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah and sangiovese – because the summer heat and the soil is most conducive, Wizan said.

But there’s so much more. The winery offers tours in which Wizan leads guests through the grounds, visiting the cellar where the wine is stored for three years in oak barrels, tasting directly from said barrels and visiting the bottling room. Then guests enjoy a picnic lunch and all the time they want to freely roam the grounds. That includes the vines (yes, one can sample grapes as they grow, Wizan said), a ranch with horses, goats and llamas; horseshoes, bocce ball and cornhole.

The winery also hosts monthly bingo games, a Mother’s Day picnic, a Father’s Day poker game, chili cook-offs, barbecue rib cook-offs, and the big event the second Saturday of each October: Stompfest, in which people dress like Lucille Ball from the famous “I Love Lucy” episode and stomp the grapes (one does not have to dress up to stomp).

People have held wedding receptions there, Wizaan said, and the website offers a stay in a four-bedroom, four-bath, 5,000-square-foot house on the property.

All this “in the middle of nowhere,” Wizan said. “Crazy, isn’t it?”

The winery currently is celebrating its 20th anniversary, having been built in 1999 by Ray Watt, who made a fortune in construction and real-estate development. When the died in 2007, Wizan said, the family wasn’t interested in the wine business and sold it to Barry Goldfarb, who owns wineries in Paso Robles an Santa Barbara. Goldfarb has owned it for the last 10 years, Wizan said.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Goldfarb, citing his age and desire to travel more, listed the winery in 2016 for $12.8 million. It remains unsold; Wizan said the asking price is now $12.9 million.

Wizan calls the winery “a hidden gem, but that hidden gem is being found.” Two main reasons for that: his salesmanship and Groupon.

Between six and eight years ago, Wizan said, Groupon approached the winery with an offer to list two tastings and a bottle for $50, and a promise that hundreds of people would come who would not otherwise.

“They delivered big-time,” Wizan said. “The word of mouth builds businesses.”

Wizan knew that guided tours that included tastings out of the barrel would sell. Today, that original offer has become a $20 tour that has been so successful that thousands of people have bought it, come to the winery, bought wine and other things in the gift shop, enjoyed the grounds and told their friends. Those friends, in turn, have done the same, and the wine club has swelled to 4,000 members. Wizan is sure the goal of 20,000 members will be reached.

“It’s all about the wine,” he said. “I could be the greatest host in the world. The grounds could be magnificent, but if the wine was average, they wouldn’t come back and they wouldn’t join the wine club.”

SCV Chili Cook-Off Results

| Community | March 29, 2019

Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 SCV Charity Chili Cook-Off:

People’s Choice

1st Place- John Hart Real Estate – Valencia /Dorian and Mark

2nd Place- Sonja Randall – Smokin’ BarBQuties

3rd Place- Kimberly Egan- DSJ Office Services

Judges Choice

1st Place- Sonja Randall- Smokin’ BarBQuties

2nd Place- Channi Kaur- Channis Kitchen

3rd Place- Travis Sabadin- SCV Sheriff

Best Decorated Booth

Nina Bentson- LAUSD

WordCamp Santa Clarita

| Community | March 28, 2019

A two-day conference at COC enables adults to go to camp this spring. The first WordCamp Santa Clarita will be held on Friday, April 5 – Saturday, April 6 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the College of the Canyons Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Rd. in Santa Clarita.

Local volunteers put together the conference, which covers all aspects related to WordPress. You meet sponsors and get assistance with any problems you have creating digital content. Attendees will improve their computer technology skills and learn how to create a successful website.

For information, visit https://2019.santaclarita.wordcamp.org/ and for registration, visit https://2019.santaclarita.wordcamp.org/tickets/.

Become a Local Celebrity with Your Book

| Community | March 28, 2019

I received a question from reader Barney, who asked me how he could sell more copies of a book he published at the end of 2018. As is typical for most new authors, once your family and friends have purchased copies for themselves and to give away as gifts, your book sales may come to a complete standstill. Here are my ideas on selling your book, based on my decade of experience in writing, publishing, and selling many books on a variety of topics.

Even if you’re not known in your community for the topic of your book, local marketing must not be overlooked. In addition to your online marketing efforts through social media and on Amazon, promoting your new book locally can bring you “local celebrity” status while increasing your fan base and significantly increasing your sales.

Keep in mind, these ideas may not bring in a massive number of sales initially, but they will go a long way to expanding your name recognition within your local community. And instead of book sales in the numbers you aspire to, you may gain some new friends and clients and you will definitely gain more social media fans. Let’s get started.
1. Hold local book signings at libraries or book stores. A book is quite an accomplishment not everyone can claim, so toot your own horn to the people who know you best. Meet and greets at any locale allows you to promote your book while also growing your fan base. In Santa Clarita we have several incredible libraries and bookstores to choose from. Visit all of them and inquire about their book signing events. I recommend attending one or two to see how they are run and to have the experience of meeting other local authors. Purchase one of their books and have the author sign it for you in person so you know what that feels like from the other side of the table.

2. Appear at community events. Santa Clarita hosts many of these types of events throughout the year. Check our community calendars well in advance and be prepared to invest a nominal fee to set up a table with your book available for purchase. Print out bookmarks or other handouts that include your social media handles so they can connect with you after the event; or be proactive and connect with people instantly at your booth.

3. Speak at local schools about your path to becoming an author. Many middle schools and high schools hold career days, so watch for those events or call the schools directly to inquire.
This isn’t so much a chance to sell your book but to tell about your path to becoming an author. Carry handouts with your name, book title, and social media handles so the students can pass them along to their parents. This is also a great opportunity to leave information at the schools for the faculty. You just never know where your next client or book sale will come from!

4. Volunteer locally with your Chamber of Commerce, service organizations such as Rotary, or other business networking groups. Many Chambers have different committees on which to serve and other business groups (such as BNI) have executive officer positions available every year. Again, these types of positions are not about selling books but offer you the chance to give back to your community while expanding your name recognition.

5. Use your book as a fundraiser. Choose a cause that is close to your heart and dedicate a percentage of sales to be donated. Donating to a local charity or a local branch of a national charity may stir more interest because of the hometown roots. Or donate a copy or two of your books to auction events held by local PTAs, scouting troops, or religious organizations. Very often these organizations will distribute a list of their benefactors, so that’s yet another way to increase your name recognition.

Marketing your book should be a continuous cycle, both online and offline. The more people you can reach through the differing avenues, the more likely you’ll see increases in sales, new clients, and social media fans.

If you haven’t yet written your book, I’ll be sharing more about how you can achieve this goal in my next article. Start thinking about your topic now so you will be ready to begin writing in April.

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 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.

First-Ever SCV VegFest in May Event to be Sponsored by The Gentle Barn

| Community | March 28, 2019

The Santa Clarita Valley (SCV) VegFest is proud to announce the national non-profit organization The Gentle Barn as their new presenting sponsor. The festival is set to sprout in Santa Clarita on Saturday, May 4 from noon to 9:00 p.m. in Central Park, located at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road.

A percentage of the proceeds from the festival will benefit Kakao and Charity Water, in addition to local non-profit organizations Bridge to Home and Family Promise.

“With the SCV Veg Fest, we’re spreading the message that compassion and love is important – for our health, for ourselves, the animals, and our planet. The non-profit organizations we are working with promote a similar message,” said festival co-founder Jess Guidroz. “We are dedicating 20 percent of our proceeds to non-profit organizations we believe in, and we’re really excited to have a presenting sponsor (The Gentle Barn) that epitomizes compassion and community—two foundational intentions that the VegFest was built on.”

VegFest attendees can expect a combination of over 50 participating restaurants, vendors and food trucks, including: Beyond Meat, Delighted by Hummus, and Amaro Pizzeria, as well as a variety of local craft beer and wine vendors. General admission includes unlimited pours of beer, wine and kombucha on the festival day (alcohol served from noon to 5 p.m.) and a sampling of various vegan foods.

In addition to the eats and drinks, there will also be two DJs spinning all day, a lounge and dance area, celebrity vegan speakers, yoga in the park, vegan-friendly merchandise, a children’s play area, and much more.

“The SCV VegFest is going to be a high-vibe celebration of delicious food and drinks, personal health, and sustainability. We’re attempting to “Zero-Waste” the fest with the intention to leave as little a footprint as possible. Ultimately it’s about living a healthy happy lifestyle that improves life for everyone here.

“This festival is going to be a blast, and not just for vegans. It’s open to everyone and anyone who wants to learn about living a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle,” says festival co-foudner Nicole Guidroz. “We recently added family-friendly price options because we want families to come out and learn about a healthier lifestyle together.”

Early bird pricing is now available. For more event info, including a schedule of events, visit www.SCVVegFest.com.

Volunteers Needed for Best Fest in the West

| Community | March 22, 2019

Roll up your sleeves and strap on your boots! The 26th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, presented by California Resources Corporation, is back in town and is searching for the best and brightest volunteers in these parts. Folks 10 years and older who think they have what it takes to help put on one heck of a wild West event, are invited to register to volunteer at William S. Hart Park and venues in Old Town Newhall on Saturday, April 13 and Sunday, April 14, 2019.

Volunteer registration is now open at SantaClaritaVolunteers.com. Volunteers are needed for a variety of positions, including food court runners, greeters, food competition helpers, merchandise and activity helpers, and more.

All volunteers are encouraged to attend the Cowboy Volunteer Round-Up and Orientation, taking place on April 2, at 7 p.m. at The Centre, located at 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway. Volunteers will have a chance to ask questions and get a behind-the-scenes look at the Cowboy Festival.

For more information about the Volunteer Round-Up, the Cowboy Festival and other volunteer opportunities with the city, visit SantaClaritaVolunteers.com or contact Volunteer Engagement Program Supervisor Tess Simgen at (661) 250-3708 or volunteers@santa-clarita.com.

Afternoon T

| Community | March 22, 2019

Q: People in my office are going on crazy diets and they just keep talking about it. I think it’s ridiculous and I’m wondering if I should tell them so!

A: To what end, my friend? While I understand (REALLY understand) the desire to cease annoying nattering, you need to question what’s to be gained and/or lost by expressing your opinion. If you Google the phrase “Opinions are like…” you’ll find a bunch of quotes (one in particular) telling what people think about opinions in general. While I’m all for each of us having a voice, it’s in everyone’s best interest to sift through our personal pile of judgements before we distribute them, publicly or privately. Words are powerful, and when you choose to bring them to a public forum to be offered up for debate? Choose them (and your subject) wisely.

That said, if you still dig down to the potato storage bin of your soul and find you absolutely have to say something, then I encourage you to write out your point of view. To tell you the truth, we should all do this anyhow. Writing our thoughts – getting them out of our head – gives us a clearer understanding about the things we care about, helping us better express what we believe. Oh, and not on social media first, either. That’s too impulsive a place to pour out your interpretations of things. You should gather your personal reflections and outside information (don’t just rely on what knowledge you currently have on a subject) and spin it around the roller rink of your brain a few times. Then? Take pen/pencil to paper or fingers to keyboard, store it away for a few days and come back to it with new eyes. If you still feel as strongly as you did when you first released those words, share it with someone who is removed from the subject. That objectivity will often provide you with a little more to think about before you enter into conversation on a topic, whether passively or passionately.

This time of year does inspire people to reconsider what they’re eating (in anticipation of swimsuit season) and talking about it may help their commitment to a diet. Their enthusiasm about a new way of eating or dietary restrictions may be a topic you no longer wish to hear about or engage in, but your thoughts on the matter don’t really add up to a hill of beans (something they may have added or eliminated from their food regime) unless they ask for your opinion. Otherwise, you don’t have to engage. You can cease any non-stop conversation with a smile and a glassy-eyed stare (old Jedi trick). It also helps to change the subject. But, don’t be passive-aggressive about it, offering up recipes that go against whatever diet they’re gabbing on about. That’s just mean. Which could put you in a quote about opinions, hopefully this one: “Maturity is realizing how many things don’t require your opinion.”

Xo- t.

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