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Assistance League Celebrates 25th Anniversary and 6th Annual “Sunset in the Vineyard”

| Community, Gazette | October 24, 2013

Amanda Hezel, Jeannie Carpenter, and Marca Johnson at Compa Vineyard planning for Assistance League of Santa Clarita’s sixth annual Sunset In The Vineyard

While celebrating its “silver anniversary” of 25 years since its formation, Assistance League® Santa Clarita announces will hold the 6th Annual “Sunset in the Vineyard” next month.

Held in Newhall’s Compa Vineyard, located on the property of Jeannie and Chris Carpenter and Tim Carpenter, the event will take place Sunday, November 3 from 2:00 to 5:00 PM. Locally crafted wine, beer and food will be served, and music will add to the atmosphere. Proceeds directly benefit Assistance League Programs serving the Santa Clarita Valley.

During the 2012 -13 fiscal year, $164,000 was spent on philanthropic programs by the non-profit group, which directly impacted the lives of 3,163 members of the Santa Clarita Valley. The Assistance League’s signature program, Operation School Bell ®, provided clothes and shoes to 2,050 students, reflecting a 50 percent increase in the number of junior high students served.

Assistance League’s newest program, Board Buddies, served 90 students at Newhall Elementary School.  Member volunteers spent an hour a month playing board games with students in the after-school program. Teddy Bear Patrol provided comforting teddy bears to 300 children experiencing a traumatic event via local fire departments, emergency rooms, police departments and social service organizations. Two hundred residents at the Santa Clarita Convalescent Center enjoyed monthly home cooked meals in a festive atmosphere, along with birthday and holiday gifts. Through the Emergency Community Assistance Program, 23 people were provided assistance with clothing, food and necessities to help get through challenging situations. Assistance League also worked with community junior high schools to provide much needed supplies to students, such as notebooks, backpacks, pens, and pencils. Sheet music, programs and supplies for home economics were also provided to the schools to help keep programs running smoothly.

Said chairpersons Amanda Hezel and Marca Johnson, “We look forward to welcoming members of the community on November third from 2 to 5 p.m., as we pay homage to the amazing talents of our local wine and beer makers, while enjoying lovely food offerings in a beautiful vineyard, all while helping Assistance League continue to increase our philanthropic efforts.”

For more information, contact Ellie Hull at 661-755-9478 or e-mail info@assistanceleaguesantaclarita.org. Tickets are $75 in advance or $85 at the door and includes a souvenir crystal wine glass and complimentary valet parking. They can be purchased by going to www.assistanceleaguesantaclarita.org.  Follow the group on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sunsetinthevineyard.

Local Artist Exhibits

| Community, Gazette | October 18, 2013

Local artist Laura Wambsgans has artwork all over the southland. Closest to home, she is a part of the Santa Clarita Art Classic XXIV, where she will have one painting, “Canyon Trail,” this year. The annual art show is this weekend, October 19-20. The Art Exhibit Opening Gala is on Saturday from 2-5 p.m. Dressy attire and tickets are required for the event. The public is invited for free, however, on Sunday, October 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to view the art, at William S. Hart Hall, 24151 Newhall Avenue in Newhall. For information visit www.santaclaritaartists.org.

Wambsgans’ artwork will also be featured this weekend at the 22nd Annual Craftsman Weekend Exposition in Pasadena.  This will be her fourth year participating and it draws crowds who favor the Craftsman style of décor. It will be held on Saturday, Oct. 19 – Sunday Oct. 20 from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the Pasadena Convention Center, Exhibit Hall A, at 300 E. Green St. in Pasadena. Visit www.pasadenaheritage.org/craftsmanweekend.

A little later on the calendar, you can find Wambsgans’ paintings at La Galeria Gitana in the exhibit, “Glorious California: The Lay of Its Land.” The show will run from November 2 – December 21, 2013. The first day, November 2, is the opening reception, and the second day, November 3, is a free concert featuring the Kadima String Quartet at 2:00 p.m. La Galeria Gitana is located at 120 N. Maclay Ave. in San Fernando. Contact the gallery to reserve a free seat by calling (818) 898-7708.

Canyon Theatre Guild’s “Dial M for Murder” Slashes Through the SCV

| Community, Gazette | October 18, 2013

By Michelle Sandoval

Treachery, lies, deceit and murder have plagued our peaceful town, and The Canyon Theatre Guild is to blame. The theatre group’s current run of Frederick Knott’s “Dial M for Murder” is playing through November 8 and promises theatergoers a chilling good time. Armed with a classic screenplay and a talented cast, this production is a great way to spend a weekend evening with your spouse – infidelity and murder aside, of course.

The plot centers on Margot and Tony Wendice, played by McKy Brazina and Gabe Lawrence, a married couple living in London. After Margot has a tryst with American television crime writer Max Haliday, played by Cruze Flores, the marriage, which was never based on love (Tony openly admits he married for money) takes a turn for the worse with blackmail, lies and a convoluted plot for murder. When Tony coerces Captain Lesgate (Tom Lund) to murder his wife, the plan goes awry and ultimately ends up with the murderer getting murdered, the victim condemned to hang, and the evil mastermind behind it all free of charges. But in a story that thrives off thrills, twists and suspense, no one is safe and the surprises keep on coming.

Alfred Hitchcock adapted “Dial M for Murder” in the 1950s, and it became an instant whodunit classic starring Grace Kelly. The plot itself should really be quite simple, but the writing style of the author turns it into a long, complicated, almost unnecessary labyrinth of dialogue and abstruseness. The CTG, in its version, sticks closely to the original screenplay and offers us an enjoyable three-hour show.

The actors all do a fine job portraying their respective characters. Brazina shines as the wealthy wife who finds herself on death row, and Lawrence is alluringly evil as her conniving husband. Flores does a fine job playing Haliday, but at times I was left wondering whether or not his dopey demeaner was a play off of the belief that the English view some Americans as unsophisticated.

The real star of the night was perhaps not one of the actors themselves but the telephone, which the story revolves around – it is, after all, “DIAL M for Murder.” The actors used the prop quite a bit, and their conversations were broadcast to the audience from pre-recordings. There were a number of times when the timing was off, sometimes resulting in questions being answered before the actual question was asked, actors being cut off by the recording, or the telephone ringing while the actors were already using it. The end result was highly entertaining and brought laughter to the austere storyline.

“Dial M for Murder” is definitely an enjoyable experience, its strength being faithfulness to the original script. Overall, the Canyon Theatre Guild delivers a fine show, one whose flaws are outdone by the charm they bring to this delightful murder mystery.

“Dial M for Murder” is playing at Canyon Theatre Guild, 24242 Main Street, Newhall, through November 8. For tickets or information call 661-799-2702 or visit www.canyontheatre.org.

Six Flags Fright Fest

| Community, Gazette | October 18, 2013

By Michelle Sandoval

Every October Six Flags’ Magic Mountain turns off the lights, conjures up the undead and invites everyone into the haunted world of “Fright Fest.” Running through the end of the month, this Halloween attraction offers spook enthusiasts a night full of haunted mazes, devilish scare zones, scary stage shows and enough bone-chilling fun to drive even the Looney Tunes loonier!

I was invited to attend Fright Fest this past weekend and naturally jumped at the opportunity – I can never say no to a good scare. Unlike most haunted theme park attractions, Six Flags allows park goers who are already enjoying the rides during the day to pay a small additional fee for the night frights.

For others, they close and reopen the park to a whole new set of guests who have to pay the full admission again, plus a hefty additional fee. So, for one low price you can enjoy, as the motto promises, “thrills by day,” and “frights by night.”

Fright Fest offers up eight haunted mazes this year, and a handy “Fright Guide” ranks them on a scare level of 1-10 for us. I headed to the highest on the scare scale first. “The Aftermath,” a post-apocalyptic city overrun with nomad warriors was given a 10. The scenes and backdrops in this maze were impressive and very professional – it truly invoked an end-of-the-world feel. The actors did a fine job of scaring us, but the real horror was in the environment around us. It was chilling and frightening in a realistic way – no cheap scares needed here.

“Toyz of Terror” was also given a 10, and in a maze that is “not intended for children under 12,” I could appreciate the irony. We were guided through a defunct toy factory where the inventor had gone mad and added benevolent spirits to all of his creations. Dolls, wind-ups, jack-in-the-boxes, and teddy bears all run rampant in this maze, terrorizing the guests. It was a great homage to our childhood memories tainted with devilish nightmares.

“Willoughby’s Resurrected” took me on a trip through the family’s Victorian mansion that has long been inhabited by evil spirits. Now, I’ve been to dozens of haunted houses in my life, and this one has to be one of my favorites. There is literally a scare around every single corner – in front of you, beside you and behind you there is always someone waiting to scare you. You won’t even be able to finish one frightened yelp before you are hit with another. And it works every single time! I don’t think I’ve screamed and jumped so many times in a span of a couple of minutes ever before. After a while, you won’t know whether to laugh, cry or keep screaming, but the only thing that matters is how much fun you’re having. If you’re able to take in the scenery around you it is really quite beautiful, with hints of gothic Victorian charm throughout.

New to the park this year is “Total Darkness,” which is exactly what the name promises. You will be led in a small group through a pitch black maze in the back of one of the park’s theaters. You will encounter some spirits along the way, and even though you won’t be able to see them, it is the mere fact that they are out there in the dark waiting for you that makes this all the more frightening. You won’t want to miss this one.

Other mazes include “Weepy Hills INSANEtorium,” “Black Widow,” “Chupacabra” and “Cursed.” Make sure you schedule time to check them all out, as they are all deserving of your shrieks.

There are seven scare zones scattered around the park, which make the monsters almost impossible to avoid. Prepare to meet demons, zombies, barbarian humanoids, werewolves, 10-foot tall ghouls, evil gypsies and everything in between as you make your way to the attractions. Six Flags really did a great job of making sure the actors were not only professional in demeanor, but also that their make-up and costumes were realistic and exceptionally horrific. My witch hat goes off to them!

In addition to all of these delightful horrors, there are a number of regular attractions that offer up a little added scare. You can ride most of the roller coasters in the dark and even ride the famous Colossus backwards! Make sure you make time between the mazes to try a couple of these out.

Halloween is my all-time favorite time of year. I adore monsters and things that go bump in the night. I have been fascinated by all things horror since I was a little girl and was highly impressed by the work put into this event. The realism and overall respect and admiration for the horror genre is evident in everything you will see. Six Flags set out to scare their visitors and in doing so created an event that is highly worthy of our screams. And scream you will.

For information or tickets to “Fright Fest,” visit www.frightfest.sixflags.com.

Arts and Entertainment Corner The Gazette’s List of Must See A & E!

| Community, Gazette | October 17, 2013

By Michelle Sandoval

As I sit here writing this, I wonder how it could possibly already be the middle of October…where did the month go? Well, mine so far has been full of haunted houses, theatre, Dodgers’ playoff games, and everything in between! There are still two weeks left until this spooky month is over, which means there is still plenty to do. So, read on, entertainment seekers, to see my entertainment suggestions for the coming week. Also, make sure to check out my full reviews in this week’s Gazette on the Canyon Theatre Guild’s “Dial M for Murder” and Magic Mountain’s Fright Fest, which I had the pleasure of attending this past weekend.

Boo at the Zoo
5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles
323-644-4200
www.lazoo.org
For the next two weekends the LA Zoo will host its annual Boo at the Zoo, where you and your family are invited to wear costumes and enjoy trick-or-treating throughout the park. Partake in pumpkin carving demonstrations, arts and crafts, creepy-crawly animal encounters, Chomp ‘n’ Stomp animal feedings and a picturesque pumpkin patch, all while enjoying the everyday fun the Zoo offers. The event takes place October 19, 20, 26 & 27 from 10-4 p.m., so break out those costumes and join the other beasties and crawlies at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Main St. Zombie March
Old Town Newhall
661-259-4745
www.bravenewworldcomics.com
This Saturday, Brave New World Comics (corner of Lyons Ave. and Chestnut St. in Newhall) is having its annual Main St. Zombie March. Aside from a fun excuse to don your best zombie make-up (do we really ever need an excuse to do that?), this great event is a fundraiser and canned food drive to benefit the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry. In addition, the popular comic book store is partnering with Heritage Haunt at the historic Heritage Junction to provide free admission tickets for the first 100 registered zombie participants to make a donation to the Food Pantry. Registration will begin at noon at Brave New World; no pre-registration is required. Participants can drop their donations off, pick up their goody bags and even get their make-up applied there by a professional (YES!). The walk begins at 6 p.m., so make sure to have your zombie fighting gear on if you’re anywhere near Old Town Newhall this weekend, because the streets will be invaded with the undead!

Renaissance Festival
California City Central Park
10400 Heather Ave., California City
760-373-3530
Celebrate the era of Queen Elizabeth I of England this weekend at California City’s Renaissance Festival, where you and the family can enjoy a day full of food, music, crafts, games and live steel combat…yes, LIVE STEEL COMBAT. Take a trip back in time, when the lords and ladies spent their afternoons drinking ale and reading Shakespeare, all while taking in the culture of this historical period. Admission is only $5 per person and if you have a copy of last week’s Gazette, take advantage of the 2-for-1 coupon. Huzzah!

Remember fellow A&E lovers, send me events you think I should check out by emailing me at: michelle@scfree.net. I’d also love to see photos of you and your family enjoying yourselves this fall, so send those along as well.

Two Events from SCV Sheriff’s Deputies

| Community, Gazette | October 17, 2013

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station “10-33” Benefit Ride

The first annual Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station “10-33” Benefit Ride will be held on Saturday October 26th, 2013, starting at 9:00am.

The ride will start at Glendale Harley Davidson. The caravanning motorcycles will then be escorted by law enforcement personnel to Route 66 Classic Grill in Santa Clarita. The party will begin immediately at the conclusion of the ride with live entertainment, wonderful raffle prizes, and great food.

Custom, classic, or hot rod vehicles are welcome to participate, driving behind all of the motorcycles. For those of you who cannot participate in the ride, we welcome you to come and enjoy the fun at Route 66 Grill.

All motorcycle riders are welcome, however no outlaw motorcycle colors shall be worn and all laws will be enforced at this event. The mission of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station “10-33” Benefit Ride fund is to provide assistance to the families of peace officers and fire fighters who have been killed or seriously injured in the line of duty, or who have a life threatening or incapacitating illness.

For further information please visit http://www.sct10-33ride.com

24th Annual SCV Station Haunted Jailhouse

For almost a quarter century the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Department has hosted children from all over in the community for a special Halloween event. The annual Haunted Jailhouse promises to be a spooky experience again this year on Sunday, October 27 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Held at the local jail, this year will include the popular Halloween Costume contest for the children, and trophies will be awarded for each age category. They are scheduled as follows: Children under 2 years old will be judged at 12:30 pm; ages 2 to 4 years old at 1:00 pm; ages 5 to 7 years old at 1:30 pm; ages 8 to 10 years old at 2:00 pm; ages 11 to 12 at 2:30 pm; and ages 13 to Adults at 3:00 pm.

Also, children over age 6 and their parents should not forget to tour the Sheriff’s Haunted Jailhouse decorated by the SCV Boys and Girls Club. A separate Halloween tour area, which is specifically designed for children under age 6, will also be available. A $1.00 donation to the SCV Boys and Girls Club is requested at the entry gate.

Deputy Joshua Dubin and AM 1220 http://www.HometownStation.Com News Director Perry Smith will be broadcasting live from the SCV Sheriff’s Station on AM 1220 from 11am until 1pm the day of the event.

For further information contact Deputy Joe Trejo at 661-255-1121 – Ext 5160 or at jltrejo@lasd.org.

Ask the Real Estate Coach

| Community, Gazette | October 7, 2013

Dear Coach,
I have noticed that interest rates seem to be increasing. How much would my payment change if interest rates increase one percent, or even two percent, before I find my $400k home?
Dear William,
Based on your $400k purchase price, if you were to put 20 percent down with a conventional loan and interest rates rose just one percent, you would see an increase in your monthly payment of $184. If the interest rates spiked a full two percent, your payment would be affected by $379.98/month. This translates to additional money out-of-pocket to the tune of about $30,654 over 10 years when referring to the one percent increase, and $61,963 higher interest rate cost when calculating the two percent increase in interest rate.
Interest rates had been on the rise to nearly five percent, but have settled down to the mid fours so, if you are in a position to make your move, I would encourage you to get pre-approved for your loan to see what you will qualify for and start looking for your dream home. You want to keep as much money in your pocket as possible!
If you have a Dear Coach question you’d like answered in this column, email it to dearcoachbecky@gmail.com or contact me at becky@beckysill.com for an immediate response.

The Return of “The Nutcracker”

| Community, Gazette | October 7, 2013

Christmas is all about traditions for many Santa Clarita residents, and attending the annual production of “The Nutcracker” is one of them. Tickets are already on sale for the Santa Clarita Ballet Company’s performances, which are on December 21-22. They are held at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons.

The Santa Clarita Ballet Company is celebrating 18 years of ballet in the Santa Clarita Valley. Their performances give many talented and career bound young dancers the opportunity to perform with professional guest artists. The Academy’s program is based on the syllabus provided by the Royal Academy of Dance in London.The COCPAC is located at 26455 Rockwell Canyon in Valencia. Performances of “The Nutcracker” are at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 21 and 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 22. Tickets are $39 for orchestra/box seats and $28 for balcony seats. Children under 10 and seniors 65 and older are $26 for any seat. To purchase tickets call (661) 251-0366. Visit www.santaclaritaballet.net.

College of the Canyons SBDC

| Community, Gazette | October 6, 2013

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC), hosted by College of the Canyons, has hired two new business advisors—Sylvia Martini and Miriam Aguilar—to help the SBDC meet the growing demands for its free consulting services.

“We are very pleased to welcome Sylvia and Miriam to the SBDC team at College of the Canyons,” said SBDC Executive Director Steve Tannehill. “Sylvia joins us as we expand the export support services we offer through our Center for International Trade Development (CITD), while Miriam will assist us with expanding our services to the Spanish-speaking community.”

A German native, Martini earned her degree in industrial engineering from the University of Media in Stuttgart, Germany and an International Business certificate from Santa Barbara City College.

With more than 20 years of experience in international marketing and sales, Martini has worked for an automotive company and two publishing companies.

“I am pleased to assist SBDC clients in the areas of international trade, marketing, sales, public relations and web communications,” said Martini, who is a NASBITE Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP).

Martini is a member of the German American Business Association (GABA), the Outstanding Professionals Employment Network (OPEN), the Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Soroptimist International of Camarillo.

“Sylvia and Miriam’s years of experience and vast expertise will provide significant benefits to the business community in the Santa Clarita, San Fernando and Antelope Valleys,” said Catherine Grooms, SBDC assistant director. “With the addition of Sylvia and Miriam, we have expanded our team to 18 advisors and are now able to serve clients in nine different languages, including Spanish, Armenian, Arabic, French, Italian, Greek, German and American Sign Language.”
A certified QuickBooks Pro advisor, Aguilar will be assisting SBDC clients with business plans, business start-up assistance and QuickBooks, including the Simple Start, Pro and Premier versions. In 2006, Aguilar launched her own business, GerenciaTeam Inc., which offers training and consulting in Spanish for the Latino business community.

“I am happy to join the team of business advisors at the COC Small Business Development Center,” said Aguilar. “I look forward to assisting clients – especially Spanish speaking clients – start and grow their businesses.”

Aguilar has taught business courses at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Extension, Cal Poly Pomona, East Los Angeles Community College and Cerritos Community College. Aguilar earned a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and is currently working towards a certificate in General Business Studies at UCLA Extension.

The SBDC hosted by College of the Canyons was launched in January of 2006. SBDC business advisors assist prospective and existing small business owners start, grow or expand their businesses by providing workshops, one-on-one consulting, trainings and other resources to the business community.

The SBDC’s main offices are located in the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center on the College of the Canyons Valencia campus.

SBDC services are also available at nine satellite locations throughout the San Fernando and Antelope Valleys.

For more information about the SBDC hosted by College of the Canyons, contact the SBDC at (661) 362-5900 or sbdc@canyons.edu, or visit www.cocsbdc.org.

Arts and Entertainment Corner The Gazette’s List of Must See A & E!

| Community, Gazette | October 3, 2013

By Michelle Sandoval
Happy October, everyone! I look forward to this month all year long and am excited to keep sharing all the local, and not so local, attractions for the next few weeks – haunted or not. Some will be scary (not as scary as my boss’s weekly rant, I promise), but I’ll do my best to include some kid-friendly events as well. I have two little nephews that I’m sure will help me with this. Read on, and feel free to send me photos of your October outings!

Chocolate Slam
Old Town Newhall
http://thursdaysatnewhall.com/
This is the last Art Slam of 2013, and what a way to bring out the year! If you haven’t attended this great event, which devotes itself to sharing unique artists’ perspectives with the SCV, then there really is no better time than now. This Thursday’s Slam is dedicated to chocolate…CHOCOLATE! Here professional chocolatiers will offer us a look into the art of the delicious confection with demonstrations, sculptures and tastings. Satisfy your sweet tooth while indulging your artistic side at this great local event.

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor
1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach
(877) 342-0738
http://www.queenmary.com/dark-harbor/
Because I’m a self-proclaimed horror guru, my list of “Must See A & E” this month will always include at least one Halloween event. This week I’ll be attending the opening of the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, which is scary enough on its own without the added frights. This historically haunted ship will feature six haunted mazes, frightening freak shows, live entertainment, rides and attractions, food and cocktails and a zip line (why not?). I attended this last year and had a blast and, as I mentioned, the ship is spooky enough on its own without the creatures lurking about. Quick confession – I had to get rescued last year by a crew member, because I was too afraid to go through an old row of showers…even I have my scare limits. The attraction is open until November 2 and tickets range from $24 to $34.
The Sunshine Boys
Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave, Los Angeles
213-628-2772
www.centermusicgroup.org
This is the U.S. premiere of this celebrated production, starring Danny DeVito and Judd Hirsch, together for the first time since “Taxi!” This classic comedy of show business and friendship follows Willie Clark (DeVito) and Al Lewis (Hirsch), the undisputed “Kings of Comedy,” who went their separate ways after a dispute. When Clark’s nephew gets a television offer for the duo to give one last show, the two are forced into an unhappy reunion and chaos ensues. I’m a huge fan of Danny DeVito. His portrayal of Frank Reynolds on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” is quite possibly one of the the most hilarious on TV these days. It will be great to see these two veteran actors on stage together again. I’ll have a short review for you next week – by the time you read this I will have already attended, and I’m sure I’ll have a lot to share!

SCV Local Music Scene
Doc’s Inn, 23912 Lyons Ave. in Newhall, will have the Susan Rey Band this Friday (10/4) starting at 9 p.m. playing classic rock and a little blues. The SCV Music Festival, taking place all weekend, proudly presents The Swon Brothers this Friday (10/4). The duo was a hit on last season’s “The Voice,” with their contemporary country and rock ‘n’ roll sound. Don’t miss them at the Valencia Country Club (www.valenciagolfclub.com). Lombardi Ranch, 28527 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus, will host family-friendly Doug Legacy and The Zydeco Party Band this Sunday (10/6) from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. They will be playing Cajun tunes to lift your spirits while you shop for those pumpkins.

Remember, fellow A&E lovers, send me events you think I should check out by emailing me at: michelle@scfree.net.

Arts and Entertainment Corner

| Community, Gazette | September 27, 2013

By Michelle Sandoval
Hello fellow entertainment junkies – I hope you have been taking advantage of the cooler weather and great Autumn activities this past week. I’ve been keeping busy with early Halloween events, local theatre productions and much more. Read on and make sure to check back every week for the latest on all the great events I’ll be covering.

Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City
www.halloweenhorrornights.com

“Halloween Horror Nights” kicked off this weekend at Universal Studios, and what better way to start the season than with a visit to the place where the horror classics were made? This year’s motto is “Once You’re Inside…There Is No Way Out,” and with six new terrifying mazes, five scare zones and a “Terror Tram,” there are plenty of frights around every corner. Whether these leave you scrambling for the nearest exit or reveling in the scary fun will be up to you, because Universal knows how to do horror right, and they did not hold back this year.

I have been fascinated by all things horror since I was a little girl and was highly impressed by the work put into this event. The realism and overall respect and admiration for the horror genre is evident in everything you see. Universal Studios set out to scare their visitors and, in doing so, created an event that is highly worthy of our screams. And scream you will. This is ongoing until November 2, and if you make your way down, I strongly recommend purchasing a front of the line pass. It’s a bit pricier, but definitely worth the cash, as some of the lines had wait times of over two hours. This will also ensure you get to do and see everything in the park; you really won’t want to miss any of the spectacular attractions.

Dial “M” for Murder
Canyon Theatre Guild, 24242 Main St., Newhall
661-799-2702
www.canyontheatre.org

This fun whodunit starts its run this weekend at the Canyon Theatre Guild. If you haven’t had a chance to check out a show at this lovely local theatre house, now is the time. The story is full of mystery, betrayal, surprises and, of course, murder. I’ll be checking this out in a couple of weeks, so keep your eyes open for a full review soon. In the meantime, if you pop over to see it, let me know what you think (michelle@scfree.net). It plays Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. with matinee shows at 2 p.m. on select Saturdays and Sundays.

Smokey Joe’s Café
Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. East Molina Ave., Pasadena
626-356-7529
www.pasadenaplayhouse.org

I went to opening night of this show this past weekend and it was so much fun! Based on the music of legendary songwriters Leiber and Stoller, this show is a true tribute to their brilliant contribution to the musical community. It is jam packed with over 40 great rock ‘n’ roll hits, including “Jailhouse Rock,” “Kansas City,” “Love Potion #9,” Hound Dog,” just to name a few. The cast is absolutely fantastic and rocked the show from beginning to end. It is playing through October 13, so make sure you check it out. It is, after all, “The Hottest Joint in Town.”

SCV Local Music Scene
Vincenzo’s Pizza, 24504 Lyons Ave. in Newhall, will have the Grateful Dudes this Saturday starting at 7:30 p.m. playing bluegrass tunes. All Corked Up, 26340 Diamond Place, Ste. 100 in Saugus, welcomes Two Dogs this Friday playing Latin, jazz and salsa music. The Drifters, 18240 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country, will have DJ Romeo this Saturday spinning today’s hits and everyone’s favorite classics.

Remember fellow A&E lovers, send me events you think I should check out by emailing me at: michelle@scfree.net .

Hart Museum’s Day at the Ranch

| Community, Gazette | September 19, 2013

Guests will cowboy up on Saturday, September 21 to experience a day in the life of a cowboy at William S. Hart Park and Museum between 9:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. “Day at the Ranch” will offer a range of activities for kids of all ages (and their families), including arts and crafts tables where they can design their own cowboy vests, belt buckles, and wrist cuffs. Follow that up with a “cattle round up” scavenger hunt and a water gun “cattle trail drive”(yes, a trail drive with water guns). You can also design your own ranch sign and experience life on the ranch homestead with some butter churning and washboard washing. You will meet some special animal friends there as well, including every cowboy’s best friend, the horse!

SRD Straightening Reins will be there with award-winning ropers, who will invite the kids to try. SRD Straightening Reins is a non-profit foundation specializing in equine-assisted learning and interactive therapies, focused on at-risk youth and their families in Los Angeles, Kern, and Ventura Counties. The organization can be found by visiting www.srdstraighteningreins.org or by calling (661) 263-9371.

The event will take place in Hart Park near the Hart Museum Ranch House (next to the picnic areas). The address is 24151 Newhall Avenue in Newhall. For further event information, please contact the William S. Hart Museum office at (661) 254-4584.

About Hart Park:
The Museum is currently open for winter hours. The Park is open 7 days a week until 7:00 pm. The Museum is closed on Monday and Tuesday. The Museum is open for guided tours Wednesday-Friday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and Saturday to Sunday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. For more information on the Museum, visit www.hartmuseum.org or call (661) 254-4584. For more information on the Park visit parks.lacounty.gov or call (661) 259-0855.

Santa Clarita Public Library Offering Free College Prep Classes

| Community, Gazette | September 13, 2013

The Santa Clarita Public Library will host a series of free college preparation programs for teens starting this fall at the Old Town Newhall, Valencia and Canyon Country branches.

Free and usable information will be provided for participating students and their parents at each workshop, including:
College 101- Hosted on Monday, September 23, 2013 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Old Town Newhall Library: This program is presented by Pegasus2edu and will cover an overview of the California State and University of California systems and provide information on the pros and cons of going to a private university, the differences between the ACT and SAT tests, and the application process.
College Prep Online – Hosted on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Valencia Library: This informative program led by library staff will educate participants about college prep tools and databases offered at the library, including: tutoring online, ACT and SAT practice tests and scholarship searches.
Application Essay Workshop – Hosted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Valencia Library: This workshop is presented by Kaplan and will offer free help with college application essays as well as reviewing the overall application process.  Prior registration is required.
ACT/SAT Practice Test – Hosted on Saturday, November 2, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Canyon Country Library: This four hour test will be presented by Kaplan for students who want to practice their testing skills. Registration is required and a follow-up program offering individualized advice and tactics for students based on their test results will take place on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 6:45 p.m.

For more information or to register for programming, please visit www.SantaClaritaLibrary.com or contact Young Adult Services Coordinator Karen Cruze at kcruze@santaclaritalibrary.com.

Arts and Entertainment Corner

| Community, Gazette | September 12, 2013

By Michelle Sandoval
This is the beginning of a new weekly column at the Gazette where I recommend, and sometimes review, current arts and entertainment events around town and beyond. It’s the print version of a short segment on KHTS’ Gazette Radio Hour every Friday where I get to ramble about my recommended local happenings. So, read on – and feel free to make any recommendations – I’ll be listening!

Twilight Zone: Unscripted
Falcon Theatre
4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank
818-955-8101
www.falcontheatre.com
I attended this improv show last weekend and it was so much fun! The Improv Theatre Group put on a great performance consisting of four short acts, each presented in the style of the old classic TV show – based on suggestions from the audience. The skits ranged from a divorce lawyer with uniquely spooky methods to a haunted elevator that knows its riders’ deep, dark secrets. All were full of laughs with just the right amount of scare factor. Since every show is improvised, fans can return again and again and never see the same skit twice! The show is playing until September 29 and is definitely worth the trip to another dimension.

The Vagina Monologues
The Repertory East Playhouse
24266 Main Street, Newhall
661-288-0000
www.repeastplayhouse.org
The Vagina Monologues is an episodic play where each of the discourses deals with an aspect of the feminine experience. Now, I’ve never seen this, but have always been curious, so I might just have to check it out since it’s right here in town. The show is playing ONLY this Friday through Sunday at The Rep, and tickets only being $20 – $25, it seems like a no-brainer. Besides, I love supporting local theatre!

California Oil Museum
1001 E. Main Street, Santa Paula
805-933-0076
www.oilmuseum.net
This museum is great year round, but this coming Saturday there is an opening day celebration of “Prehistoric California.” Activities are from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and include new fossil displays, hands-on demonstrations and fossil digs (YESSS!). This sounds like great fun for the whole family, so grab your little archeologists and spend the afternoon with some saber-toothed cats!

For those of you looking to check out the local music scene, (yes, SCV has a local music scene), try these out: Lucille’s BBQ at the Valencia Town Center has live blues with Lawrence Lebo from 7-11 p.m. on September 14 and The Drifters, 18240 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country, will have Hardwater playing classic rock hits starting at 9 p.m. on September 14.

Remember, fellow A&E lovers, send me events you think I should check out by emailing me at: michelle@scfree.net.

Arts and Entertainment

| Community, Gazette | September 9, 2013

September 7
“The Society,” a group of clean improvisation comedians, get creative with simple suggestions from the audience. The improv performance will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12/$15. The Repertory East Playhouse is located at 24266 Main Street in Old Town Newhall. For more information/tickets, call (661) 288-0000 or visit Repeastplayhouse.org.

September 7
“Ramona Days” returns to “where the history, myth and romance of Old California still lingers.” Visitors will enjoy the festivities from 1-6 p.m., celebrating all things related to “Ramona,” the famous 19th century
novel by Helen Hunt Jackson. Rancho Camulos is known as the Home of Ramona because it is the supposed setting for the popular novel that expands on the Californio mission and rancho history. The 1910 silent movie “Ramona” starring Mary Pickford was in part filmed at Rancho Camulos. Ramona Days will feature “Ramona” Play scene reenactments, music, tours, traditional and Flamenco dancing and food. Children have a wide variety of activities, including face painting, crafts, citrus art, adobe brick making, tortilla making, steer roping, performance art and reading corner. Tickets are $7-$10 and are available by calling 805-521-1501. Rancho Camulos Museum and National Historic Landmark is located at 5164 East Telegraph Road (Hwy 126) in Piru.

September 8
Santa Clarita Valley Blues Society is a free event, where guests eat and listen to music, including host, the Robert Heft Band. All members are invited for free to sit and listen from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at Vincenzo’s Pizza, at 24504 ½ Lyons Avenue in Newhall.

September 10
Every Tuesday night, Bergie’s Steakhouse in Canyon Country offers live music. The Strong Van Winkl Music Showcase will bring together musicians Jimmy Powers, Robert Heft and others from 7:00 p.m. throughout the evening. Hungry listeners can order the “Prime Rib Special.” Bergie’s Bar & Grill is located at 16404 Delone Street in Canyon Country.

September 21
College of the Canyons Art Gallery will host an art reception from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. for the exhibit “Micrographs from COC Biology Professors Kelly Burke & Kelly Cude” at the Art Gallery on the Valencia Campus, Mentry Hall, Room 108. The exhibit is ongoing, open Monday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (closed Friday, Saturday, Sunday and all college holidays). COC is located at 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road in Valencia.

September 27-November 2
“Dial M for Murder” is the latest production brought to the stage at the Canyon Theatre Guild. An exciting “whodunit” is one of the most popular mysteries to entertain audiences. In it, Tony marries Margot for her money, then plans to murder her for the same reason. He arranges the perfect murder, and a brilliant alibi for himself, but things don’t go as planned when the murderer gets murdered and the victim survives! Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 PM on: September 27, October 5, 11, 19, 25 and November 2. Saturday and Sunday matinees are: 2 p.m. on September 28, October 6, 12, 20, & 26. Canyon Theatre Guild is located at 24242 Main Street in Newhall. For information call (661) 799-2702.

Through September 30
Carrie Dawn Photographic Art is on display all month at Thelma’s & Luis Gourmet Restaurant near the Westfield Town Center Mall in Valencia.

Her use of natural sunlight streaming through window blinds creates unique geometric shapes and patterns, all captured in the bottom of a bathtub. Thelma’S & Luis is located at 24250 Town Center Drive #180 in Valencia.

Body-Mind-Wellness Fair at COC

| Community, Gazette | September 5, 2013

As part of a two-month long seminar series, College of the Canyons will host the “Body-Mind-Wellness For a Better Life” fair next month. Issues to be covered include negative body image, loss, domestic violence and abuse.
“The focus of this semester’s events is resiliency and how to overcome various challenges to our well being, such as domestic violence, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse and other physical, mental and social health problems,” said Sheri Barke, sports and wellness dietitian at the COC Student Health Center and one of the event organizers.

The resource fair will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2 in the COC Honor Grove, located on the college’s Valencia campus. The event is open to the public and will include music, free food and a fashion show.

To help promote positive body image, the Student Nutrition and Wellness Advocates at COC (SNAC) will present the “EveryBODY is Beautiful” fashion show on the day of the event, featuring volunteer student models.
The first 250 people to visit at least 10 of the fair’s resource tables will receive free food from the Kogi BBQ truck. Attendees will also have the chance to decorate a T-shirt in the name of a victim or survivor of domestic violence to include in the college’s ongoing “Clothesline Project” display. Clothesline Project pins will be on sale for $10 ($5 for students) and will benefit the national Clothesline Project (CLP) program, which addresses violence against women.

The college’s Gamma Beta Phi club will also be accepting toiletries, gift cards to major grocery stores, cleaning products and new clothing to be donated to the Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita Valley and the Santa Clarita Child and Family Center.

In the weeks following the “Body-Mind-Wellness For a Better Life” community resource fair, the college will invite a series of guest speakers onto campus to present the ongoing lecture series below:

Life After Domestic Violence: Linda Davies, Executive Director, Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita Valley 11 a.m. to noon. Thursday, Oct. 3 Student Center, Staff Dining Room
Life After Incarceration: Former Prison Inmate & Katie Coleman, COC Sociology adjunct faculty 11 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8 Student Center, Staff Dining Room Life After Loss Darlene Mininni, Ph.D., M.P.H., author of “The Emotional Toolkit” 11 a.m. to noon. Wednesday, Oct. 16 Student Center, Staff Dining Room
Life After Drugs/Alcohol:Bob Sharits, CATC Action Family Counseling 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24 Aliso Hall, Room 104
Life After Sex: Audrey Burgdorfer (RN, COC Student Health & Wellness Center) and Katie Coleman (COC Sociology adjunct faculty) 11 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29 Student Center, Staff Dining Room
Life After Eating Disorder: Chelsea Roff, author, yoga instructor and eating disorder survivor 2:30 to 3:50 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7 Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center
Life After War: “Least Among Saints” movie screening and discussion with writer and director, Marty Papazian 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12 Hasley Hall, Room 101
Life After Diagnosis: Lisa DeLong (Co-Founder of Justin Time Children’s House) and Letty Baldaro (National Alliance for Mental Illness) Noon to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 Student Center, Staff Dining Room

The BMW lecture series is made possible thanks to grant funding provided by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) and the voter-approved Mental Health Act (Proposition 63).

For more information about the “Body-Mind-Wellness For a Better Life” community resource fair or the upcoming lecture series and guest speakers, visit http://www.canyons.edu/bmw or contact Sheri Barke at (661) 362-3244.

SCV Education Foundation’s “Last Sip of Summer”

| Community, Gazette, News | August 15, 2013

Photos and article by Andrew Thompson
Dozens gathered at Robinson Ranch in Canyon Country for the Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundation’s “Last Sip of Summer” fundraiser event last week, where they enjoyed live music, light snacks, wine, beer, and the event’s golf putting competition – all for a good cause. The event benefited the SCV Education Foundation, a nonprofit that seeks to provide support for public schools throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.

“A lot of organizations have golf outings…and a lot of organizations have wine events. So, we kind of thought that maybe we would do a mash up,” said Susan Reynolds, a board member for the foundation.

Guests gave $50 to the organization in order to mingle inside the club, where they enjoyed a wine tasting, beer provided by Wolf Creek Restaurant and Brewery, and a silent auction. They also gathered outside on the balcony overlooking the golf course to hear the live music performed by a band called Jonny B. & the Goods, featuring Jonathan LaFrance. An additional $10 won supporters entry into the fundraiser’s putting competition, where they competed for prizes.

The potential consequence of mixing alcohol with a contest involving coordination wasn’t lost on Reynolds, who laughingly pointed out that the quality of putting was likely to decrease as the afternoon progressed.

“I’m going to give it a swing,” she nevertheless punned.

But Reynolds was more serious when it came to the support being provided to the SCV Education Foundation by the event, as well as the support the organization provides for schools in the community.

“As you know, many resources have been pulled away and pulled away from our public education system, so…teachers and the administrators have less and less and less to work with,” Reynolds said. To counteract those difficulties, Reynolds noted, the Education Foundation has worked, in part, to put resources made inaccessible by budget cuts back into classrooms. The Foundation also provides scholarships for students who intend to pursue careers in education, and operates a Principal for a Day program, in which business and community leaders can learn about the challenges facing educators through direct participation. The non-profit program also presents an annual Teacher Tribute ceremony that recognizes outstanding teachers from each of the public schools in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Reynolds called the Teacher Tribute ceremony the “Academy Awards of Santa Clarita Valley teachers” and added that, even though it only honors some of the teachers throughout the local districts, she hopes it might inspire them all.

“What do they say? A rising tide raises all ships?” she asked.

It’s an expression that she found appropriate for the student beneficiaries of the Foundation’s programs, as well:

“I believe in education,” Reynolds said, “and that our youth – if we support our youth and everything that has anything to do with them, then we will raise the entire ship.”

For more information on the SCV Education Foundation, call 661-414-4465 or visit

www.scveducationfoundation.org.

City Hosts Free “Drugs Are Deadly” Workshop

| Community, Gazette | August 8, 2013

The City of Santa Clarita and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Juvenile Intervention Team (J-Team) invite residents to an interactive drug awareness workshop titled “Drugs are Deadly.” It will be held on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. at the Canyon Country Community Center, located at 18792 Flying Tiger Drive.

The workshop will address important issues relating to drugs, including how drugs affect youth in Santa Clarita, how easy it is to hide drugs in the home using common household items, and how to provide resources to youth and families who are struggling with this issue. Detective William Velek of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will also address the dangers of heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy, prescription pills, and the common household items youth are using to hide such drugs.

“The City is committed to the continued education of parents and teens about drugs, their effects, and ways to prevent drug abuse within their families,” said Mayor Bob Kellar.

The “Drugs are Deadly” workshop is led by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s J-Team, a specialized unit created to combat drug related issues. This team of investigators, detectives, and sergeants monitors and tracks juvenile drug-related cases, targets drug suppliers in the community, and educates youth about the dangers associated with drug use to improve the quality of life for juveniles in Santa Clarita.

For more information, please contact the City’s Human Services Program Coordinator Susie Cordova at (661) 286-4006 or visit Santa-Clarita.com/index.aspx?page=456 for information about family education classes and workshops offered in the City of Santa Clarita.

ARTree Branches Out

| Community | June 29, 2013

The successful community arts program for youth in the area has even more ideas on the horizon. While the program has long been operating out of Newhall, its classes are branching out. Both the Canyon Country and Newhall Community Centers are hosting summer art courses and events, which began earlier this month  and continue through July 23. The “Arts Sampler” is the first ARTree program offered in Canyon Country. The non-profit organization  is launching a new program involving teens building unique “bots” from Styrofoam, and creating a story for the characters, including scriptwriting to be performed at the end of the six-week class..

The community has an opportunity to support ARTree AND receive a beautiful piece of jewelry. The Brighton Collectibles on The Patios at the Valencia Westfield Center is again supporting The ARTree’s efforts to bring art education to young people. A newly-designed “Americana” bracelet will be sold, and half of the proceeds will go to non-profit programs in Santa Clarita. Last year, Brighton awarded The ARTree nearly $3,000 to be used for materials, because of customers making those purchases. Residents are asked for their support again this year.. The bracelet is available while supplies last.
Contact the ARTree at theartree@gmail.com.

Fourth of July in Santa Clarita

| Community | June 28, 2013

Residents staying in the Santa Clarita Valley will find plenty to celebrate this Fourth of July.

Runners can participate in the Independence Day 5K, presented by the Santa Clarita Runners’ Club.  All races begin at Newhall Park, located at 24933 Newhall Avenue, and end with a Jamba Juice drink for all participants at the finish line. The run stretches along the 4th of July Parade route and is open to runners of all levels. Race times include: 7:00 a.m. for the 10K; 7:45 a.m. for the Kid K; and 8:00 a.m. for the 5K race/walk. Community members must register for races at scrunners.org.
After the race, residents can enjoy the annual pancake breakfast presented by Santa Clarita Rotary Club, beginning at 6:30 a.m. in the Roger Dunn Golf parking lot on San Fernando Road between 5th and 6th streets. $4 gets you pancakes, sausages, orange juice and coffee. The event features live entertainment until the parade begins.

The Annual Santa Clarita 4th of July Parade beginning at 9:00 a.m. in Old Town Newhall. This year’s parade is themed “The Winning Spirit” and will feature horses, floats, music, classic cars, military presentations and more, as it travels down Main Street, Lyons Avenue and Orchard Village Road before finishing at 16th Street. For more information on the parade, visit scvparade.com.

The day’s festivities conclude with the City of Santa Clarita Fourth of July Fireworks Show at Westfield Valencia Town Center at 9:15 p.m. Music by KHTS AM 1220’s live soundtrack will complement the fireworks.

Be aware that  major intersections and streets will be impacted. Travel lanes will reopen following the fireworks show as conditions allow. Due to the high number of vehicles trying to exit the area and the traffic restrictions, extensive delays should be expected. Motorists heading to the east side of the City should use the exits onto Citrus Street, while motorists heading to the west side of the City should use the signalized exits onto Valencia Boulevard or Magic Mountain Parkway.

For more information about this year’s festivities, visit Arts.Santa-Clarita.com/ or contact the City of Santa Clarita’s Arts and Events Office at (661) 286-4018.

Alan Ferdman Throws Hat into the Ring

| Community, Gazette | May 30, 2013

The public is invited to celebrate with local leader Alan Ferdman, as he launches his campaign for City Council. This Monday, June 3 from 7 to 9 p.m. he and supporters will gather at Route 66 Classic Grill for a kickoff party, inviting members of the community to join them for hors d’oeuvres. Guests should feel free to donate to Ferdman’s campaign, either at the event or anytime by emailing Electalanferdman@gmail.com. Route 66 Classic Grill is located at 18730 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country. For more information call (661) 713-9344.

See Wynonna, Sinbad, Robert Irvine, Blues Brothers and Rockapella at SCPAC

| Community, Gazette | May 30, 2013

The 2013-14 Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC) season will feature a star-studded lineup of world-class musicians, respected comedic artists, entertaining family programs and spirited performers from across the globe.

Each month local residents will have the opportunity to experience an exciting and eclectic mix of internationally acclaimed acts and artists, without ever having to leave the Santa Clarita Valley.

Highlighting the 2013-14 PAC schedule are performances by:

Legendary comedian and actor Sinbad — Aug. 24, 2013

Hawaiian ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro — Sept. 11, 2013

Platinum selling country artist Wynonna and the Big Noise — Sept. 20, 2013

Actor, comedian and TV personality Paul Reiser — Oct. 5, 2013

The highly acclaimed official Blues Brothers Revue —Nov. 1, 2013

American pop vocal sensations Rockapella — Nov. 17, 2013

Chart-topping country music group Lonestar — Feb. 15, 2014

Celebrity chef and Food Network star Robert Irvine — April 25, 2014

Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor Hal Holbrook — May 31, 2014

In addition, patrons will have multiple opportunities to mix and mingle with their favorite artists as part of the PAC’s meet-and-greet events, often held in support of the PAC K-12 Educational Outreach Program.
“This season is going to be so much fun,” said Evy Warshawski, PAC Executive Director. “Many of the groups visiting Santa Clarita will be on the PAC stage for the very first time, while others are back by popular demand…the variety and diversity included in this season showcases excellence on center stage, and our special ‘meet-and-greet’ events will bring these talented performers even closer to our audiences.”

The 2013-14 PAC schedule will offer shows spread across four series selections: Chancellor’s Choice, World Beat, Comedy and the Young at Heart Series. And this season patrons can also create their own series through the PAC’s new “Mix & Match” subscription program.

Other acts and artists visiting the PAC this season include: the Korean National Modern Dance Ensemble; Charlie Brown & Friends Christmas Concert starring David Benoit; Celtic Nights – A Journey of Hope; The Peking Acrobats; comedian Kathleen Madigan; Pushcart Players: “Happily Ever After – A Cinderella Tale”; Ladysmith Black Mambazo; The Glenn Miller Orchestra; “Peter Pan”; and Tiempo Libre.

As in years past, the PAC will also host a number of College of the Canyons theatre, music and dance department productions, as well as other community group performances. Those productions include “Les Miserables” (Canyon Theatre Guild), “Of Mice and Men” and “RENT” (COC Theatre Department), “The Nutcracker” (Santa Clarita Ballet), “Oliver” and “The Wizard of Oz” (ESCAPE Theatre).

PAC series subscription and individual ticket sales will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, July 15. Tickets can be purchased online, over the phone, or in person at the PAC box office.

For more information about the PAC 2013-14 season or to purchase tickets, visit www.canyonsPAC.com or call the PAC box office at (661) 362-5304.

Twilight Tour for Exotic Cats

| Community, Gazette | May 23, 2013

You can get the chance to see some extraordinary felines at an evening fundraiser in Rosamond next month. The EFBC Feline Conservation Center is hosting a “Summer Twilight Tour” on Saturday, June 22 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Guests will find out what wild cats actually do night at this special event held during evening hours.

The Twilight Tours are an integral part of EFBC’s public awareness and educational programs to promote endangered species preservation and conservation. Visitors will have a chance to see one of the world’s largest collections of rare wild feline species during their most active period and are witness to animal behaviors not ordinarily seen during normal zoo experiences. Enrichment items, “toys,” will be given to EFBC felines to pique their interest, as well as provide amusing entertainment for the center’s visitors. This is the time to bring cameras and video equipment. Felines not ordinarily on exhibit to the general public will also be available for viewing. To add to the evening’s festivities, the Lancaster Rotary will provide barbecue foods, and the American Association of Zookeepers EFBC Chapter will host a bake sale. There will also be opportunities to win a variety of items at a raffle.

All proceeds from this event will be used to continue the EFBC’s endangered wild feline species preservation and breeding programs, as well as construction and maintenance projects and animal habitat improvements.

Admission is $20 per person, and only those over the age of 18 will be admitted. For tickets purchased at the door, cash is preferred. Advance tickets are available in limited supply by contacting EFBC directly for purchase. And those who purchase advance tickets will be allowed entrance a half hour early, at 5:00 p.m. Contact EFBC at (661) 256-3793 or log on to www.wildcatzoo.org.

The EFBC’s Feline Conservation Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of endangered wild feline species. The EFBC houses over 70 rare felines representing 18 wild feline species. Guests can visit the EFBC during its regular business hours, daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed Wednesdays) and view large wildcats. Jaguars and Leopards, as well as smaller and lesser known species, like Southeast Asian Fishing Cats and Margays are housed there. Admission is nominal, and parking is free. Since 1977, and through its very successful captive breeding management programs, the EFBC has been working with other zoos and facilities worldwide, in an effort to save endangered feline species from extinction.

Meet a Member of The Chamber Board

| Community, Gazette | May 17, 2013

Sue Reynolds

Sue Reynolds’s penchant for helping others reach their full potential has extended even to her pets.

Growing up with horses in a small town in Illinois, Reynolds jumped at the highest levels of the amateur jumping world. In college, when her psychology class distributed rats, she taught hers to put a ping-pong ball through a basketball hoop. And when her family decided to get a Doberman Pinscher, she saw in it a hidden talent as well; they now go to search-and-rescue training twice a week, Reynolds says, and “Nudel” really seems to be enjoying the new career.

But it’s through bringing out the best in people that Reynolds makes her mark in the business world. Reynolds is the founder and owner of NewMarket Careers, a company that specializes in career-development and job-search assistance, working with everyone from recent graduates to veterans of the workforce to senior-level executives, recently terminated employees, business owners, and more – just about anyone, she says, who is serious about his or her job or business.

“I say to people, ‘I’m not a human resources person. I’m a marketing professional,’” Reynolds notes. “And people have to be marketed to grow effectively.”

Reynolds assists clients with résumés and interviewing strategy, as well as advocating for themselves, finding and building connections, and negotiating. She says she sometimes calls in other experts, such as speech therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists, or wardrobe consultants for their knowledge – all as part of helping her clients promote themselves successfully.

“A lot of people – either for their own businesses, their careers, or for the large businesses for which they work – they don’t do a good job of advocating for themselves,” Reynolds says.  “And that’s one of my big… mantras, if you will – is all of us need to advocate for anything that we care about.  And we probably ought to be caring about our own careers.”
But as beneficial as Reynolds knows putting one’s best foot forward can be, she also knows that advocating for oneself is useless in a vacuum. That’s why she stresses the importance of networking as an essential component of finding and building a successful career.

“Most opportunities come from unexpected sources,” Reynolds explains. “So, we think that it’s all going to come because

Sue and Nudel

we see an Internet posting for a job; that’s 10 percent of the job market. And that was true 20 years ago.”

Networking, in fact, even led Reynolds into the career she enjoys today.
While she was involved in a work-study job in the marketing department of a community college, Reynolds says, the Illinois Department of Corrections called and said that they needed someone to fill a position. Because Reynolds was in the right place and knew the right people, she says, the job became hers.

“I was recommended,” Reynolds emphasizes. “It had nothing to do with academics or applying for a job – it had everything to do [with] the referral and the networking.”

Later, when Reynolds came home with her bachelor’s degree in communications from Indiana University, it happened again. Reynolds was working in marketing for a small manufacturing company when she was recommended for a position as a speechwriter for Allied Chemical. Her experience in that capacity included helping corporate professionals with presentation, which ultimately directed her toward starting the business that she operates today.

“It wasn’t my résumé, it was that recommendation that I had,” Reynolds reiterates. “Networking, networking, networking. Connections are everything.”

Today, Reynolds’s own connections – coupled with her desire to assist whenever called upon – have resulted in her participation in the leadership of multiple organizations. Reynolds currently serves on the board of directors for the SCV Education Foundation and as president of Soroptomist of Greater SCV, as well as serving on the education committee of the Valley Industry Association and being involved with the Boy Scouts of America, in which her son has participated.

Reynolds admits that she sometimes finds the demands of serving so many organizations overwhelming, but says she doesn’t feel that’s any excuse for inaction. “Somebody’s gotta step up,” she says, adding, “I am a step-upper.”

Reynolds’s propensity to get involved led her to join the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce almost as soon as she moved to the area. But she didn’t stop there: Reynolds now serves, not only as a Board member for the organization, but also as a member of its Marketing and Ambassador Committees. And Reynolds has been rewarded for her efforts as well. Her business has become respected in the Chamber circle, she says, being nominated multiple times for Small Business of the Year, and she recently won the Special Recognition Award that the Chamber gives out annually.

Reynolds says that her involvement with the Chamber of Commerce has been a positive force in her own networking, citing multiple examples of business connections she’s made through the Chamber, members whom she now also considers to be dear friends. That itself, she argues, is a good reason for any local business owners to want to participate.

But Reynolds’s belief in getting involved with organizations such as the Chamber goes a little deeper than just the immediate rewards.

“It’s the right thing to do,” she says. “If you’re a business person in this community, or you’re representing a business in this community, then it’s your responsibility to step up, and be part of this. Even if you don’t think you’d get leads from Chamber, Chamber’s advocacy in Sacramento and Washington D.C. still ought [to] mean something to you as a citizen of the business community,” she adds.

“There’s that Boy Scout mom coming out again. ‘Be a good citizen!’” Reynolds says, laughing, but she has made her point: a business owner, in Reynolds’s eyes, has a responsibility to be an active and constructive member of the business community as a whole.

“Be a good business citizen,” Reynolds says again. “Join Chamber, participate, you’ll reap the rewards…be a good business citizen.”

For more information on Reynolds or NewMarket Careers, please visit www.newmarketcareers.com, e-mail sreynolds@newmarketcareers.com, or call 661-702-1345. You can also find NewMarket Careers on Facebook and visit Reynolds on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/newmarketcareers. For more information on the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, please visit www.scvchamber.com, e-mail info@scvchamber.com, or call 661-702-6977.

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Doug’s Rant – Video Edition

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