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KIKstart Performs for Charity

| Gazette, News | January 10, 2014

When audience members enjoy the music of local all-girl band KIKstart next month, they will experience something all too common: these three teen girls doing charity work.

KIKstart consistently raises funds for those less fortunate at their public performances. They had a concert for the benefit of the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry last September. And last month’s show was for the survivors of Supertyphoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

“We always raise funds at our shows because I believe that if you get a chance to help people, you should take it,” said Kalia Javan, who, with her twin sister Keeli and bandmember Izzy Spayd, make up KIKstart. “And really, people always have a chance to help. It’s our way of volunteering while sharing our passion for music at the same time.”

Keeli Javan explained next month’s charity work.

From left to right: Belinda Crawford – Santa Clarita Food Pantry executive director; Linda Lott – Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry volunteer; Izzy Spayd – KIKstart guitarist; Keeli Javan – KIKstart vocalist/drummer; Kalia Javan – KIKstart lead vocalist/pianist. Photo: © Karen Spayd 2014

“It’s hard for me to see people and know that they are hungry, and not able to afford any food,” said Keeli. “The Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry is local and helps our community, so we chose to help them out in their efforts.”

On February 8, 2014 at 6:30 p.m., KIKstart will have a concert to help the SCV Food Pantry once again. The show, cleverly titled “KIKstart Gives Music for Charity (KGMC),” will be held at The Stage Door inside KGMC (Keyboard Galleria Music Center) at 21515 Soledad Canyon Rd. in Canyon Country (next to Santa Clarita Lanes).

Tickets are $10 per person, or $8 when you bring three canned food items. All tickets include admission, pizza and drinks, and are available for pre-purchase at KGMC or online at http://kikstartmerch.weebly.com. Seating is limited – should they still be available, tickets may also be purchased at the gate on the day of the event.

KIKstart merchandise will also be sold at the day of the event, or online now at  http://kikstartmerch.weebly.com. All profits from tickets and merchandise sales, as well as all canned goods collected, will be donated to the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry. Visit Keyboard Galleria Music Center with your ticket stubs between February 10-24, 2014 and receive 15 percent off your purchase total. Some exclusions apply, see store for details. KIKstart Gives Music for Charity is sponsored in part by Boston Scientific’s employee resource group, PEARL (Pacific East Asian Resources in Leadership); KGMC; and KIK It Up A Notch.

About the Santa Clarita Food Pantry
The SCV Food Pantry is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1986. Its mission is to alleviate hunger throughout the Santa Clarita Valley. Its ultimate goal is to meet the current and future hunger needs of our neighbors in need and ensure self-sufficiency through active partnerships with other organizations throughout the community. Its commitment and vision is that “No child in the Santa Clarita Valley should go to bed hungry.” Visit  www.scvfoodpantry.org for more information.

About KIKstart
KIKstart is a three-piece band composed of 14-15 year old girls from Santa Clarita Valley, CA. The group’s first public performance was at Central Park during the Opening Ceremony of the American Cancer Society’s 2013 SCV Relay For Life, and it was a huge success. KIKstart’s members, Kalia Javan (vocalist/keyboardist), Izzy Spayd (guitarist), and Keeli Javan (vocalist/drummer) are all currently 9th grade students at Albert Einstein Academy in Valencia. The band covers songs by R5, Hanson, OneRepublic, Maroon 5, MKTO, The Cab, Faber Drive, Parachute, and other current band/artists. They are in the process of recording their first original song, Heart Might Break Again, which they will perform in public for the very first time at KIKstart Gives Music for Charity. Like them on Facebook at  http://facebook.com/kikstartband.

youtube video link:

Group Gathers to Meet City Council Candidates

| Gazette, News | January 10, 2014

The public is invited to make contact with four residents vying for spots on the Santa Clarita City Council. It is the first in a series of “Canyon Country Advisory Committee 2014 City Council Candidate Meet and Greet” events, introducing the large number of candidates to all who attend. The initial meet and greet will be held this Wednesday, Jan 15 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Mint Canyon Moose banquet room, 18000 Sierra Highway in Canyon Country. Candidates presenting at that time will be Alan Ferdman, Gloria Mercado-Fortine, Duane Harte and Dante Acosta. There is no charge to attend.

A second session is scheduled for Feb 19 with Berta Gonzalez-Harper, Maria Gutzeit, Marsha McLean and Laurene Weste participating. Because of the number of interested candidates, a third session has been established for March 19. Candidates Moazzem Chowdhury, Steven Daniels, Paul J. Wieczorek and Dennis  Conn will be invited to participate, should they complete the City Council filing requirements.  

For additional information, contact Richard Cardenas at richmargc1@gmail.com.

Welcoming Wings, Beer and Sports to Town

| Gazette, News | January 2, 2014

Ribbon Cutting

David Perry making presentation
to manager Melissa Amber

Terri Crain and the staff at Buffalo Wild Wings

The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce welcomed Buffalo Wild Wings to town on December 30 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Chamber President/CEO Terri Crain officially welcomed the franchise to the City of Santa Clarita at the ceremony, which was attended by chamber ambassadors, board members and Buffalo Wild Wings employees, headed by manager Melissa Amber. Also on hand to make official presentations were Erik Richardson, senior field representative in California State Assemblyman Scott Wilk’s office, and David Perry from L.A. County Superintendent Michael Antonovich’s of

Erik Richardson making presentation
to manager Melissa Amber

fice.

Obamacare Battle Rages On

| News | December 26, 2013

By Josh Heath
California Republicans spent $77,496 in taxpayer money—roughly a year’s salary of an average nurse or college professor—to print and send over a quarter million mailers promoting their heavily criticized Obamacare resource site, CoveringHealthCareCa.com, according to records released from the Assembly Rules Committee.

The mailers, which went out during October and November in four Republican assembly districts around the state, quickly drew the ire of Democratic and Health Care activists over what was perceived to be an attempt to defame the new state-run health exchanges.

Instead of directing constituents to the official state website, where they can purchase health insurance, CoveredCA.com, the mailers included only a link to CoveringHealthCareCa.com, the GOP site, which an LA Times report described as ‘’worse than useless’’ and filled with ‘’irrelevancies, misinformation, and misrepresentations.’’
“This is a real disservice to their constituents, to mis-educate them about the benefits and options they have,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of the health care advocacy group Health Access.

Among the grievances stated in the Times report was a mistaken citing of a 2012 Congressional Budget Study that the GOP claimed stated that Obamacare would add $1.76 trillion to the federal deficit by the year 2022. The Times found that on page two of the study it explicitly states, although new costs will be incurred, the law will ‘”on net, reduce budget deficits.’’

The Times also noted the site’s heavy focus on penalties associated with the law that included little to no acknowledgement of the health care industry before Obamacare’s reforms—when insurers made common practice out of denying consumers with pre-existing conditions, marketing junk plans, and putting lifetime caps on benefits.

‘’There’s people on the left who are unhappy because the roll-out of Obamacare has not lived up to the hype, they are trying to change the subject matter,’’ said Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita. ‘’The only thing I regret was that we did not put a Covered California link on the mailer.’’

To date, California has led the nation in Obamacare enrollees since the health care exchanges went live last October. Recent estimates from Covered California calculate total enrollments at over 200,000. Officials say enrollment figures are expected to outpace original estimates by the March 31 open enrollment deadline.

Said State Democratic Party Chair John Burton in a statement:
‘’Developing and promoting a bogus website to lure consumers away from the real www.CoveredCA.com amounts to denying Californians affordable health coverage—which appears to be the GOP’s central organizing principle these days.’’

Vintage Store Moves Next Door

| Gazette, News | December 19, 2013

The Living Room Emporium, a three-year-old shop carrying antiques and collectibles, is making vintage more virtual these days.

At the end of December, the two proprietors will move its secondhand furniture and unique décor next door into the office of the Gazette & Free Classifieds. At the same time, much of the large inventory will be moved off-site, still available for purchase via email and Facebook. Customers will continue to visit the store in its new headquarters, where they can see new inventory and discuss pieces they are hoping to find.

“The marketplace has changed, so we are evolving with it,” explained one of the owners, Jeannie Sutton. “Our virtual sales have been getting stronger, and this will enable us to increase our online presence even more.”

The Living Room Emporium is located at 27259 ½ Camp Plenty Road in Canyon Country. Visit www.thelivingroomemporium.com.

Husband Pleads Not Guilty

| Gazette, News | December 19, 2013

By Perry Smith

A Santa Clarita man charged with soliciting his wife’s murder pleaded not guilty Wednesday in San Fernando, according to an official with the District Attorney’s Office.

Dino Roy Guglielmelli, 52, of Canyon Country, is being held in lieu of $10 million bail for attempted murder and solicitation to commit murder. Guglielmelli is due back in court for a pretrial conference January 6.

The prosecution has alleged that Guglielmelli believed he was paying Richard Fuhrmann, who was a friend of Guglielmelli’s at the time, to have Guglielmelli’s wife, Monica Andreny, killed.

Fuhrmann testified at a preliminary hearing that he surreptitiously recorded several conversations with Guglielmelli, the CEO of Creation’s Garden, after he became concerned for Andreny. The final taped conversation between Guglielmelli and Fuhrmann is what prompted the CEO’s arrest, because it was taped on a device provided by the Sheriff’s Department’s Major Crime Bureau detectives.

Andreny and Guglielmelli were in the midst of a contentious divorce, which has not yet been finalized, according to court testimony, when the alleged crimes occurred.

During his preliminary hearing, Guglielmelli displayed little emotion as he stood, clothed in a blue jailhouse jumpsuit, unshaven with his black hair combed back, at times shaking his head while the prosecution presented its case.

The charges stem from a discussion between Fuhrmann and Guglielmelli of an $80,000 deal, allegedly the amount Fuhrmann would have been paid to help “get rid of” Andreny, over an Oct. 1 lunch of mint chicken and noodles. Unbeknownst to Guglielmelli, Fuhrmann had already contacted Andreny’s divorce attorney, who put him in touch with a detective from the Sheriff’s Department’s Major Crimes Bureau, and the discussion was recorded.

Guglielmelli’s defense attorney, Tony Brooklier, sought to paint Fuhrmann as an opportunist and a liar during cross-examination, alleging that Fuhrmann invented defense industry contacts to impress Guglielmelli.

Deputy District Attorney Emily Cole played a 14-minute excerpt from a 90-minute tape of the Oct. 1 meeting. Cole’s questioning of Fuhrmann, who claimed he had lost “everything” since Guglielmelli’s arrest, explained their relationship as two business acquaintances whose friendship grew as Guglielmelli’s marriage continued to unravel.

Guglielmelli’s alleged resolve to kill his wife grew more impassioned after a domestic violence charge Guglielmelli filed against Andreny was dismissed, Fuhrmann said.

“He wanted specifically to know if I knew any way to have her killed,” Fuhrmann said, during direct examination.

Upon cross-examination, Brooklier questioned Fuhrmann’s credibility, mentioning a letter Fuhrman sent to a divorce attorney for Andreny back in March 2012, expressing concern for the life of Guglielmelli’s wife, which Fuhrmann admitted sending. Brooklier then brought up the fact that in a sworn deposition in August of 2013, Fuhrmann characterized threats Guglielmelli made as “nothing more than an angry husband.”

Upon re-direct, Fuhrmann acknowledged the statement, but said he was referring to the week of the deposition. He said that was his sworn statement at that time because he didn’t feel Andreny’s life was in danger that week, because Guglielmelli was “winning.”

After the domestic violence case, Guglielmelli became increasingly irate when the subject of his wife came up.

During the taped conversation, Guglielmelli can be heard asking, “There’s no way for them to track it back to me?” referring to the pair’s alleged deal.

“I’ll be happy when it’s all over,” Guglielmelli said on the tape.
After Fuhrmann expressed concern over his pay in the matter, Guglielmelli offered reassurance.

“You’re going to get paid,” Guglielmelli said. “Don’t worry about that — I’ve got you covered.”

Guglielmelli founded Creation’s Garden in 1993, which he built into a multimillion-dollar, international business.

Guglielmelli was originally remanded into custody without bail, after his initial arraignment Dec. 6, when he was ordered to stand trial.

Guglielmelli needs to raise $1 million in cash or assets, 10 percent of $10 million, in order to be freed from custody, according to officials with the District Attorney’s office.

Guglielmelli is being housed at the North County Correctional Facility at the Pitchess Detention Center, and was still in custody as of 11 a.m. Wednesday, according to Sheriff’s Department arrest records.

 

The New Year Brings New Opportunities As An Entrepreneur

| Gazette, News | December 7, 2013

By Connie Ragen Green
The Recession is over. There, I’ve said it out loud and it has been printed. You may not agree with me, so allow me to defend my position on this matter.
My decision to start an online business in 2006 was one based upon my life experiences. I had worked as a classroom teacher for the previous twenty years, as well as in real estate as a broker and residential appraiser in my “spare” time. This meant that I worked six or seven days a week with very few breaks, and my vacations were short ones – every second or third year, at the most.
The fact that the recession started soon after I began working from home was merely a coincidence, but one that enabled me to continue to grow my business and surpass my previous income within about 18 months. No longer was I tied to the ups and downs of the real estate market. Friends and relatives congratulated me on my brilliant foresight, but I could accept no credit for the fact that my new online business was a lucrative one.
The years between 2007 and 2012 brought me increased clients and opportunities because the world around me was changing and I had jumped in at precisely the right time. What I did not realize until 2013 was that my business had flourished and prospered despite our being in the middle of the worst economic turndown since the Great Depression. As spring arrived in March of this year (2013), my business took another jump. Once again, it was not due to anything I was doing differently, but to the fact that we were now coming out of the recession and moving into the recovery stage.
“Old Timers,” people who have worked online since the last century, are now talking about the good ol’ days being back. We can create products and courses that will sell more easily than ever before to those who will benefit from them. With more than a billion people on our planet having Internet access, and almost a third of them being fluent in English, we are positioned for many years of online business success.
So, what does this all mean for you? If you are not already doing business on the Internet, jump in now. If you have a brick and mortar business, make sure you have a web presence that will make your phone ring off the hook. Present yourself in a professional manner so that your prospects will be anxious to connect with you.
If you wish to start a business like mine, one that runs exclusively online, then choose a specific niche, set up a hosted WordPress site, and learn as much as you can about affiliate marketing, information product creation, offering services to others, and becoming a published author on Kindle.
It sounds overwhelming when you first read this, but think about it and do more research until you understand that anyone is capable of doing something similar to what I am doing each day. It’s fun and extremely lucrative and allows for lots of free time as well. I’ve written a short report on this and you may download it at: http://10StepsToStartingYourOnlineBusiness.com/dl.pdf.
Let’s start with choosing a niche to work in online. Here are just a few of the topics that do very well on the Internet: health, fitness, nutrition, relationships, time management, do-it-yourself, home repairs, auto repairs, sports, hobbies, pets, parenting, gardening, and personal development.
I teach all of these things, and write about them in this monthly column as well. Stay tuned for even more detailed information in the new year. This all begins with your desire to become an entrepreneur, and there has never been a better time in history to get started than right now.
Keep your questions coming, and best of success with your online marketing endeavors.
Connie Ragen Green lives in Saugus and has been working exclusively on the Internet since 2006. Her ninth book, “Living the Internet Lifestyle,” was recently released by Hunter’s Moon Publishing and is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Find out more by visiting http://HugeProfitsTinyList.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.

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

| Gazette, News | December 5, 2013

By Michelle Sandoval
Hello, my wonderful entertainment seekers. I hope your month is filling up with all of the great holiday events happening in and around the SCV. For me, it is a yearly tradition to see at least one version of “The Nutcracker” and one production of “A Christmas Carol.” It just wouldn’t be the holidays without them. More about those in the days to come, but in the meantime, I’d love to know what your holiday traditions are! I attended the opening night performance of “Peter and the Starcatcher” in Los Angeles this week. In next week’s issue I’ll let you know how deserving of those five Tony Awards it is. Below you will find a review on “Sherlock Through the Looking Glass,” a fun mystery with a twist on two classics. Also, there are some details about the Newhall Church of the Nazarene’s musical performance, “Two from Galilee.”

Sherlock Through the Looking-Glass
The Odyssey Theatre
2055 S. Sepulveda Boulevard in Santa Monica
310-477-2055
www.odysseytheatre.com

I often imagine scenarios where different authors, or their literary creations, meet each other, or various fictional characters, in real places or imagined ones. Who hasn’t pictured what would occur if Shakespeare found himself in Neverland, the Dust Bowl, or present day America? This is perfectly normal, right?

Fortunately for me, I have talented young playwrights like Gus Krieger to do the creative thinking for me, and in his new play he has melded the works of Lewis Carroll and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which places the infamous Sherlock Holmes in the mind-altering, fantastical world of Alice’s Wonderland. Not an easy feat to accomplish, “Sherlock Through The Looking-Glass” is both successful and unsuccessful, but the ambition is applaudable and the end result, regardless of its flaws, is inspiring.

The play transports us to London in the 1800s, where we find that a handful of people have succumbed to a plague-like sickness that causes delusion and hysteria, much like that displayed in Carroll’s fictional “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Provoked by a group led by someone referred to as the “Jabberwock,” it is up to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to solve the mystery of the curious illness and put a stop to it before it overcomes London with its madness.

I can only imagine that Sherlock Holmes would be a hard character to portray. Based on the Sherlocks I’ve seen on film, some succeed and others just miss the mark. “Sherlock Through the Looking-Glass” gives us Kevin Stidham, and he definitely gets the part right. In fact, he gets it so right that the triumph of the show lies entirely on his performance. All of the missteps in the play are forgotten because of his brilliant performance. I would watch Stidham in anything – he is simply mesmerizing.

If I can say one thing about “Sherlock Through The Looking-Glass” it is that you will have a blast watching it. It is worth your time, your laughs, even your scoffs! We all need a little madness in our lives every once in a while, and Krieger’s play is that perfect dose in the pretty little bottle marked “Drink Me” that is just too enticing not to consume.

Two from Galilee
Newhall Church of the Nazarene
23857 The Old Road, Newhall
661-259-5272
www.newnaz.org

This Saturday (12/7) and Sunday (12/8) the Newhall Church of the Nazarene invites you to join them in the celebration of Christmas. They will be retelling the tale of Mary and Joseph based on the story by Marjorie Holmes. This classic Christmas musical is emotional, passionate and full of hope, so you can let this great rendition inspire you and your family this holiday season. It’s great for the whole family, but if you have little ones that might not be avid theatergoers just yet, childcare services will be provided.

Peter and the Starcatcher
Ahmanson Theatre
135 N. Grand Ave. in Los Angeles
http://www.centertheatregroup.org

Opening December 4 and playing through January 12, this five-time Tony Award-winning show is flying through the Ahmanson Theatre during its touring production and giving us an inside look at Peter Pan. From the press release: “Based on The New York Times best-selling novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, the imaginative play tells the tale of an orphan who heads to a faraway land, where he finds love, friendship and, ultimately, himself. The company of 12 actors plays more than 100 unforgettable characters, all on a journey to answer the century-old question: How did Peter Pan become The Boy Who Never Grew Up?”

This show is being marketed as “A grown-ups prequel to Peter Pan,” but is suitable for children ages 10 and up. Tickets are available at the link above.

Remember to send me events you think I should check out by emailing me at: michelle@scfree.net. See you at the theater!

Newhall Hosts Hobbit Themed Events

| Gazette, News | November 27, 2013

All three of the Santa Clarita Public Libraries will host special activities and programming in anticipation of the upcoming release of the film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

The City of Santa Clarita invites community members to celebrate the new film with FREE programs, movie screenings, and literary discussions from Monday, November 25, 2013 through Saturday, December 14, 2013.

The events scheduled are:

Monday, November 25 through Monday, December 9 – Canyon Country, Old Town Newhall and Valencia libraries invite patrons to test their luck at guessing the total number of Smaug’s gold coins. Each branch will also host a hobbit scavenger hunt around the library. Winners will receive a pair of tickets to the December 14 private screening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Saturday, November 30 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. – The Valencia Library branch will host a free showing of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Tuesday, December 3 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. – The Old Town Newhall Library will host a free showing of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Tuesday, December 3 at 6:30 p.m. – Hosted at the Valencia Library branch, Tolkien scholar Cliff Broadway will present a special program and slideshow about the publishing history of Tolkien’s works followed by a discussion.
Thursday, December 5 at 7:00 p.m. – Join Professor Josh Long of Azusa Pacific University at the Old Town Newhall Library as he explores the character Smaug and his draconic influence on Tolkien’s legendary series, focusing primarily on Smaug and Gollum in The Hobbit, as well as the influence Smaug exerted on The Lord of the Rings.

After each event referenced above, participants will have the opportunity to win free pairs of tickets to a private screening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on Saturday, December 14 at 10:00 a.m. at the Valencia Stadium 12 Theater. In order to be eligible to win a ticket, library guests must participate in at least one activity, have a Santa Clarita Public Library card and be 13 years or older.

All events are sponsored by the Friends of Santa Clarita Public Library. To learn more or to become a member, visit SantaClaritaFOL.com

Stay connected on all Hobbit Happenings by liking the Santa Clarita Public Library Facebook page at Facebook.com/SCVPublicLibrary or following the Twitter account at Twitter.com/SCVPublicLib. For further information, visit SantaClaritaLibrary.com or contact your local Santa Clarita Public Library branch.

Nick Longshore, Canyon High Grad and former Coach, Dies Of Injuries From ATV Crash

| Gazette, News | November 20, 2013

By Perry Smith and Valley Publications Staff

A former Canyon High football star who went on to play at Brigham Young University succumbed to injuries sustained in an ATV accident Wednesday. He was 32.

Longshore sustained injuries last Wednesday in an ATV accident in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He was in critical condition in the ICU at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center on Wednesday.

Longshore broke 10 ribs and suffered an “open book” fracture of his pelvis in the crash, according to a website that was established to help the family pay for the costs of medical treatment.
Longshore was just about to honor the memory of the one-year anniversary of his still-born child. He had been fighting for his life since the crash.

“Nick was just a humble, gentle giant, who everybody loved,” said longtime family friend Greg Crow. “He was just that type of young man, an Eagle Scout and the boy next door, and you’d never hear anyone say anything negative about him.”

A graduate of Canyon High School, Nick coached for Canyon from 2007 to 2009. “It’s a tremendous loss, not only to the (Canyon High School) Cowboy family, but also to me,” said Canyon Football Coach Rich Gutierrez. “He was an extraordinary man. He was so composed, so positive, so easy. He never got agitated. He was such a positive influence on the kids. It’s such a devastating loss.”

“He was a bright light among us throughout a time of chaos,” said Christopher Varner, former Canyon High School football coach. “He was just a player’s coach, never an unkind word to say about anybody.”
Nick was active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and served a church mission in the Philippines from 2000-02.

He was offered a scholarship to play football at California State Northridge, went on his mission, and by the time he returned, the football program at the school had been eliminated. Instead, Nick Longshore played at College of the Canyons and then earned a spot on the roster at Brigham Young University.

“If you have a brother, you want him to be Nick Longshore. If you have a son, you want him to be Nick Longshore. If you have a friend you want him to be Nick Longshore,” Crow said. “He was the type of person that everybody loved.”

Nick Longshore is the son of Todd Russell Wells Longshore, who died at age 49 in 2006. Todd Longshore was heavily involved in the City of Santa Clarita’s Parks and Recreation Department, and also has a park in Canyon Country named after him.

Nick is the brother of Nate Longshore, who played quarterback for University of California, Berkeley, and Ben Longshore, who played quarterback at College of the Canyons and Utah State University.

He also is survived by his sister, Courtney, and his mother, DeAnn.

Donations are being accepted to support Nick’s wife, Caroline, who is pregnant with the couple’s second child. Go to www.hometownstation.com for more information about contributing.

There has not yet been word on the memorial plans, but that will be updated when information becomes available.

*Source: www.hometownstation.com

Passage of AB 182 to Save Canyon Country Homeowners up to $155 Million

| Gazette, News | November 15, 2013

This is part 2 of a 2-part series on Assembly Bill 182 and how it affects Measure CK, which was passed by Canyon Country voters in June of 2012.

The first part of this series discussed the reasons for the passage of AB 182 and the effect the bill will have on the tax burden imposed on Canyon Country residents. This final part will detail:
The District’s spending plans
The correlation between campaign funding and contract awards
Who supported Measure CK

What were the District’s spending plans and how have they changed?

Marketing materials promoting the bond said funds would be used for “repairing and updating classrooms and libraries, upgrading instructional technology to ensure a 21st-century education, and improving school facilities that serve severely-disabled and medically-fragile students — with every penny staying local.” A January, 2013 presentation from the District’s Project Management firm for the CK projects showed that $21 million was to be used to repay existing 2006 bonds and $8 million was to establish a Technology Fund. Another $65 million was shown as project costs for school improvements for total spending of $94 million. Even with the potential $42 million difference between spending desires and apparent funding, Sulphur Springs School District Superintendent, Dr. Robert Nolet, would not comment on how priorities would change due to AB 182. He did indicate the following: “The District goal will continue to be focused on the projects that were presented…at this point, without actual regulations being written, it is unknown how much an authorization the District will be able to issue.”

At that same January board meeting, the District Trustees approved resolution R-13-02, which called for the issuance of $30 million in Bond Anticipation Notes (BANs) with five-year terms. Proceeds from the notes were to be used for debt service and a building fund. These notes will be repaid when the Measure CK bonds are issued, per Dr. Nolet.  The financial advisor for the Bonds was Keygent LLC, the Bond counsel was Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, and the Bond underwriter was Piper Jaffray. A November, 2012 presentation by Keygent LLC, the District’s bond financial advisor, proposed issuing two BANs – the first for $25 million ($15 million for projects and $10 million to pay off existing debt) and the second for $15 million ($5 million for projects and $10 million to pay off existing debt).

Who funded the Campaign for CK and have they been hired by the District?

Slightly more than $88,000 was raised to help pass CK. Of that amount, $63,000 (71 percent) was contributed by seven firms that have already been hired by the District to perform services related to the measure as shown in the table below.

Other donations were received from the Russell Companies, which is engaged by the District to manage its Canyon Country theater complex, Davis Demographics, which evaluates the District enrollment, and Parker & Covert, a firm which represents the District as a special counsel. There were only four private contributions to the measure, for a total of $1,153 – two of which came from the District Superintendent and a Sulphur Springs School Board member.

Based on the campaign filings and subsequent contract awards, there is a high correlation between firms donating to the CK campaign and their engagement to provide related services. As a matter of fact, Treasurer Saladino said they have “continued to identify additional issues…such as: districts soliciting contributions from finance professionals, contractors and consultants to pay election costs and expenses; and excessive fees paid to bond counsel, financial advisors, special consultants and underwriters.”

When asked whether a conflict existed due to these contributions, Dr. Nolet said, “Every General Obligation Bond that has been passed in the last 10 years in this valley, and especially those that affect residents of Canyon Country, have had essentially the same contributors to their campaigns. The William S. Hart High School District and the College of the Canyons have passed far larger bonds than Measure CK and have relied on focused, supported campaigns…they as well as Measure CK all passed with significant support from the Canyon Country community and we thank those supporters.”

Who Supported Measure CK?

The Sulphur Springs School District effectively marshaled influential people and organizations throughout the community to endorse the measure. These included The Signal newspaper, KHTS radio station, Mayor Bob Kellar and the Santa Clarita City Council, Carl Goldman, Jim Backer, Joan MacGregor (COC Trustee), Steven Sturgeon (William S. Hart Union School District Trustee), the Saugus School District and Dennis Ostrom. It is unclear if all the supporters knew about the concerns surrounding Capital Appreciation Bonds that the District planned on using, but certainly the Sulphur Springs Board of Trustees, Joan MacGregor and the City Council were made aware of how costly the bonds were. In spite of being informed of the high cost, both entities supported CK because it was to benefit the schools – regardless of the high ultimate cost to taxpayers.

Bob Adelmann, who is a regular contributor to The New American Magazine, summed it up best in an article, saying: “Capital appreciation bonds are about to teach an important economic and political lesson: Borrowing is dangerous. It is especially dangerous when combined with economic ignorance and political expediency.”

Michael Naoum is a 26-year Santa Clarita resident who follows local politics and authored the Arguments against Measure CK.

Help the Children Founder Dies

| Gazette, News, Obituaries | November 14, 2013

Roger Presgrove, who died Sunday at the age of 56, is touted by those who knew him best as a man of great generosity. In addition to the abundant stories where the businessman-turned-charity administrator showed great compassion to those in need, Presgrove’s Christian spirit propelled the non-profit organization Help the Children into some distinctive categories, including Forbes Magazine’s “Best Run Charities” list.

Formerly Children’s Network International, a non-profit founded by Presgrove, Help the Children applies a whopping 99 percent of donated monies directly to programs. Objective watchdog groups have underscored the efficiency of Help the Children, placing the organization in such categories as the top 100 charities in America, according to Independent Charities of America. Charity Navigator, another independent rating site, gives Help the Children a score of 100% in “transparency and accountability.”

“Help the Children is the most efficient food philanthropic organization, probably in the country,” said Ed Bernstein of 25Score. “Roger, to a tee, was so frugal – he wanted it all to go to philanthropy. He was so selfless and so quiet.”

Despite the fact that Presgrove’s ministry built and operates a hospital in Guatemala, conducts medical and dental outreaches, military assistance programs, disaster relief, supports a girls’ school and orphanage in Kenya, and helps provide residential accommodations in Honduras for children undergoing cancer treatment, the community leader began with the basics.

“There’s a story that illustrates what he was like, which happened one day at the food pantry operated by Help the Children,” said Michael Santomauro, director of the Santa Clarita facility of Help the Children. “One of the clients showed up to get food and had symptoms of not just homelessness, but addiction as well…Roger got there, after a full day of work, and he sat outside, held her hand, talked to her…and then said, ‘Give her whatever she needs.’”

Presgrove’s actions were widely known in the Christian community. Said Pastor Jim Ryan of Heart of the Canyons Church, “I have known a lot of people who are in the business of caring for those who are hurting, but what impressed me most about Roger Presgrove was that he had a compassion for the hurting that moved him to action, not a sympathy that produced temporary reaction.”

The other irony, when you picture the man at the top of an organization that has shipped more than $900 million in aid to people in 12 states and 52 countries, was that he chose to step away from disaster relief that had the attention of the media. He offered assistance to those out of the limelight, who lacked exposure.

“He was always sacrificing recognition,” explained Santomauro. “He didn’t want accolades.”

Though the simple provision of “God’s love and compassion through its programs” was enough for Presgrove, attention could not be completely diverted from an organization cutting as wide a berth as Help the Children. Its programs continue to provide food, clothing, personal hygiene items, over the counter medicines and medical outreaches to third world countries. Help the Children distributes food to hundreds of churches, senior citizen facilities, battered women shelters, recovery programs, and other service providers. These groups, in turn, hand out donated food to the needy people they serve.

Last year alone, using four food distribution sites, Help the Children distributed 1.7 million pounds of

bulk food each month and over 35 tons of food each workday.

“We’re dedicated to keeping Roger’s work going,” said Bernstein. “If you live in Santa Clarita, and if you’re blessed to have abundance, please get involved. If you live in Santa Clarita, and you feel you need a hand up, Help the Children is there to help you with groceries and sundries and clothing.”

Help the Children currently has several food distribution centers throughout Southern California and across the country, and will continue to operate, as it did when Presgrove was alive.

“Our goal in the short term is to continue the momentum,” said Santomauro, “to develop a team who can take it to the next level.”

Presgrove’s funeral service is scheduled for 10 am Saturday, November 16 at Real Life Church. In lieu of flowers they are requesting donations to Help the Children.

McKeon Stepping Down?

| Gazette, News | November 10, 2013

By Perry Smith
With speculation rampant about what might be taking place in the run up to next November’s election, there are already rumors and potential moves afoot.

Some of the discussion has been spurred by a recent editorial penned by Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, which was published on Flash Report, addressing what one representative referred to as the “ever-churning political rumor mill” among Washington and Sacramento insiders.

Wilk’s opinion piece addresses an oft-repeated rumor that Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, plans to step down at the end of this term. While McKeon has said through his spokeswoman that he has no intention of stepping down at this time, local GOP officials praised the piece as something “that needed to be said.”
Wilk, who co-chairs elections for the Assembly GOP Caucus, said he has a vested interest in who runs for the 25th Congressional District seat next year, which was his motivation for the editorial. Depending on who decides to run, openings could be created that make the GOP, which already faces a Democratic supermajority in the state Assembly, more vulnerable.
“I see a probable domino effect if McKeon steps down and (former state Sen. Tony) Strickland tries to step over,” Wilk said.
One of his duties as the co-chair of the caucus is to recruit candidates for office, Wilk said.

A statement from McKeon spokeswoman Alissa McCurley denied any truth to the rumor that McKeon will be stepping down.

“The congressman has no plans to retire,” she said, adding that the congressman wouldn’t discuss next year’s election politics. “There are major issues here in Washington, and the congressman is focused on the tasks at hand, doing the job he was elected to do…there will be plenty of time to talk election politics next year, but currently the congressman isn’t interested in commenting on the ever-churning political rumor mill.”

Wilk’s piece was essentially asking McKeon to address the rumors and declare his intention, because the fundraising and rallying for next November have already begun.

In the event that McKeon decides to not run again, Strickland indicated that he’s made “no secret” that he would have to “seriously consider” a run in the 25th Congressional District, not the 26th, as he’s already expressed interest.

“I think a lot of people are getting ahead of themselves, and I don’t want to be disrespectful to (McKeon),” Strickland said, adding that he has roots in both districts, and he previously represented portions of Santa Clarita and Simi valleys as a member of the State Assembly’s 37th District from 1998 to 2004.

Strickland also served the State Senate’s 19th District from 2008-2012.

“I just think Buck needs to decide what he’s going to do, and I don’t want to add to speculation,” he said. “Obviously, I’m a fan of the Chairman…if he were to retire, I would take a look at the seat.”
Should that happen, Assemblyman Jeff Gorell would make a strong candidate to challenge for the 26th Congressional District seat held by Julia Brownley, Wilk said.

Brownley is a Democrat who beat Strickland by slightly more than five percent of the vote in the race for the seat previously held by Elton Gallegly, a Republican who held the recently redrawn 24th Congressional District seat.

A representative from Gorell’s office refused to comment on any potential moves for 2014 at this time, adding only that the assemblyman was aware of the rumors. However, should the dominoes fall that way and Gorell decided to run for the 26th, his seat in the 44th Assembly District would be up for grabs in what’s expected to be a “highly competitive” race, Wilk said.

One factor that could potentially make a run at the 26th appealing for Gorell, R-Camarillo, who served in Afghanistan and touts a score of 100 percent from the California Taxpayer’s Association, is that he faces a term limit in the Assembly.

Gorell has served since 2008, falling under previous Assembly rules that prompted Wilk’s predecessor, Cameron Smyth, to be termed out.

For his part, Smyth seemed to describe the piece as a sort of wake-up call to area Republicans.

“I think, in a lot of ways, he said what needed to be said, particularly about the need for Republicans to not take this area for granted,” said Smyth, a Republican, citing mistakes the party made in Burbank and Glendale, which were once strong Republican areas. “If we don’t take these steps, these seats very much could be up for grabs sooner than later.”

Congress has no such limits, and McKeon would be running for his 12th term next November.

Three Democrats have already declared their intentions to seek McKeon’s seat: Jorge Ricardo Puentes, an Army veteran; Lee Rogers, a podiatrist; and Evan “Ivan” Thomas, a retired Air Force pilot.

Joe Messina, chairman of the local Republican Assembly for the 38th District, said he encourages any effort to “take the veil off” how local politics work, supporting Wilk’s contention in the piece. Messina mentioned concerns that have been expressed about McKeon’s fundraising activities, or an apparent lack thereof.

“When you look at what and how (McKeon) has raised money in the past,” Messina said, “we’re not there this time.”

 

Passage of Bill to Save Canyon Country Homeowners up to $155 Million

| Gazette, News | November 8, 2013

By Michael Naoum
This is part 1 of a 2-part series on Assembly Bill 182 and how it affects Measure CK, which was passed by Canyon Country voters in June, 2012.
On October 2, Governor Brown signed AB 182, which had been passed unanimously by the California State Assembly and Senate. AB 182 limits the total debt service to principal on elementary, high school and community college Capital Appreciation Bonds to a ratio of 4 to 1. This series will discuss:
• Why the Bill was passed and the benefits to taxpayers
• The Districts response to the potential impacts
• Whether major campaign donors have subsequently been hired by the District

Why was this Bill passed?
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, Los Angeles County Treasurer Mark Saladino and other county treasurers supported AB 182, which placed limits on the ability of school districts to use long duration Capital Appreciation Bonds (CAB’s) for borrowing. These CAB’s create expensive and long lasting tax obligations for homeowners in two ways. They are often structured to only make payments late in the life of the bond and they have longer durations (40 years) than 25- to 30-year traditional bonds.

Treasurer Saladino, in a letter to L.A. County Supervisors, said that Capital Appreciation Bonds had unusual bond structures that dramatically increased total debt service when compared to more traditional structures. His office also identified several troublesome new trends and practices that served to provide small and often questionable benefits to the school districts at the expense of the taxpayers, who would have to repay the debt.

Lockyer and others also wanted to require maximum terms of 25 years for CABs, but school districts lobbied and that provision was not included in the bills’ final language. There have also been concerns that potential advisors and consultants for bond measures were the primary financial backers for these school bond campaigns, which created the potential for “pay to play” situations. Assembly Bill 621 would prohibit financial advisors, legal advisors and bond underwriters from being hired if they have contributed to or provided services in-kind to the campaign for the passage of the bond measure. That bill has passed the Assembly and is currently in the State Senate.
The Poway School District provided a shining example of what is wrong with CABs. District leaders borrowed $105 million and will have to pay $982 million to extinguish that debt.

What does this mean for Canyon Country Residents?
In June 2012, voters passed measure CK, which would have raised $72 million for the Sulphur Springs School District. The measure passed with 58 percent of the vote (55 percent was needed for approval). The amount borrowed was predicated upon using three CABs with 40-year lives and one with a 34-year life. The ratio of debt service to principal projected by the district was between 6.49 and 7.65 for the 40-year CABs and 2.56 times for the 34-year CAB. The District indicated that total payments for the $72 million borrowed would have been $357 million with payments extending to the year 2064 – 52 years from the passage of the bond measure. Not only would our children be paying off these bonds, but their children would also.

With the passage of AB 182, Sulphur Springs will not be able to borrow as much money and that money will need to be repaid in a shorter time period in order to meet the 4 to 1 ratio. When asked to provide how much could now be borrowed given the passage of AB 182, District Superintendent Dr. Robert Nolet declined to comment, despite repeated inquiries.

Based on the district’s projection of tax revenues, it would appear the most they would be able to borrow is $52 million in principal – a $20 million reduction. Projected interest savings are $135 million (a 7.75 ratio). By comparison, the calculated interest on $52 million totals $149 million (a 3.87 ratio). Essentially, AB 182 will eliminate the most expensive borrowing.

Part 2 of this series will discuss the District’s spending plans, major campaign contributors and their retention by the District and proponents of Measure CK.

Michael Naoum is a 26-year Santa Clarita resident who follows local politics and authored the Arguments against Measure CK.

Help the Children Partners with Local Business

| Gazette, News | November 1, 2013

A food drive at local grocery stores will offer the public a real opportunity to support SCV families. Help the Children Santa Clarita, a local nonprofit relief organization, will be partnering with local businesses and churches to raise food, funds and awareness for the many families in need in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Local Ralphs, Albertsons and Food 4 Less stores will be hosting the food drive on November 2 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., making it convenient for shoppers to purchase much needed food items there, which will be given directly to Help the Children.

Velvet Cupcakes, located on The Patios at Westfield Town Center mall in Valencia, is hosting a fundraising event from November 4-8, where a 25 percent donation for every cupcake purchased will be given directly to Help the Children. Print out a flyer from www.helpthechildren.org. Flyers must be presented at the time of purchase.

Wreaths for the Christmas season are being sold by Alpine Farms, where a portion of the proceeds will be given back to Help the Children for all purchases over $25 with the code HECA1 used at checkout. The wreaths can be purchased at www.alpinefarms.com/shop. Shipping is free in the U.S. for orders over $20.

Many local churches, who have been supporting the efforts of Help the Children in Santa Clarita for years, are spreading the word about the food drive and hosting fundraisers in the church community, providing a push to come together and make a difference for those in need in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Other local businesses, such as Office Max Santa Clarita and FastSigns, are contributing by donating Help the Children banners to be displayed at the November 2 food drive.

With so many ways for Santa Clarita residents to participate, Help the Children food shelves will be filled, funds to run the warehouse will be secured and more families in need can be served throughout the year.

Help the Children (HTC) is a nonprofit Christian humanitarian relief organization dedicated to helping alleviate the suffering of children and their families throughout the United States and around the world. Help the Children’s mission is to increase self-sufficiency by providing food, clothing, personal care items and medical supplies without regard to political affiliation, religious belief, or ethnic identity.

Contact:
Michael Santomauro
michael@helpthechildren.org
25030 Avenue Tibbitts, Suite L
Valencia, CA  91355
Phone (661) 702-8852
http://www.helpthechildren.orgA food drive at local grocery stores will offer the public a real opportunity to support SCV families. Help the Children Santa Clarita, a local nonprofit relief organization, will be partnering with local businesses and churches to raise food, funds and awareness for the many families in need in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Local Ralphs, Albertsons and Food 4 Less stores will be hosting the food drive on November 2 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., making it convenient for shoppers to purchase much needed food items there, which will be given directly to Help the Children.

Velvet Cupcakes, located on The Patios at Westfield Town Center mall in Valencia, is hosting a fundraising event from November 4-8, where a 25 percent donation for every cupcake purchased will be given directly to Help the Children. Print out a flyer from www.helpthechildren.org. Flyers must be presented at the time of purchase.

Wreaths for the Christmas season are being sold by Alpine Farms, where a portion of the proceeds will be given back to Help the Children for all purchases over $25 with the code HECA1 used at checkout. The wreaths can be purchased at www.alpinefarms.com/shop. Shipping is free in the U.S. for orders over $20.

Many local churches, who have been supporting the efforts of Help the Children in Santa Clarita for years, are spreading the word about the food drive and hosting fundraisers in the church community, providing a push to come together and make a difference for those in need in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Other local businesses, such as Office Max Santa Clarita and FastSigns, are contributing by donating Help the Children banners to be displayed at the November 2 food drive.

With so many ways for Santa Clarita residents to participate, Help the Children food shelves will be filled, funds to run the warehouse will be secured and more families in need can be served throughout the year.

Help the Children (HTC) is a nonprofit Christian humanitarian relief organization dedicated to helping alleviate the suffering of children and their families throughout the United States and around the world. Help the Children’s mission is to increase self-sufficiency by providing food, clothing, personal care items and medical supplies without regard to political affiliation, religious belief, or ethnic identity.

Contact:
Michael Santomauro
michael@helpthechildren.org
25030 Avenue Tibbitts, Suite L
Valencia, CA  91355
Phone (661) 702-8852
http://www.helpthechildren.org

Chloride Costs Community

| Gazette, News | October 31, 2013

By Perry Smith

Chloride costs are bad for business
With a 3-0 vote this week, a county board made up of two Santa Clarita City Council  members and a county supervisor ok’d a plan that’s likely to raise rates for Santa Clarita Valley residents and businesses.

While some say the move isn’t “the end of the world” for local development, it will put the pinch on the ratepayers’ wallets and, in the Santa Clarita Valley, the opinion seems to be nearly unanimous that it’s “bad for business.”

“Any time you have regulation, it’s Economics 101 — it results in an overall reduction in the welfare for that entire group,” said Brady Bryan, who owns a business consulting firm and sits on the board for the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp., an organization that seeks to support, retain and attract local business.

Bryan added that the chloride situation wasn’t an end-all for business, by any means. But the targeted chloride limit, which opponents have referred to as another arbitrary state mandate, makes it that much more important for businesses to know what’s out there and to continue to innovate to stay competitive, he said. And it certainly won’t help local business.

The reason behind the treatment

It appeared, at least from most of the business-advocacy representatives that spoke at Monday’s Sanitation District hearing where the chloride-treatment plan was approved, that a chloride treatment plan was an unavoidable certainty.

“It’s not often business groups are in support of spending money,” said Jim Backer, the JSB Development president who spoke at the hearing as a Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce representative. “If we’re going to respect the rule of law, we need to find the best solution and move forward.”

The state’s Regional Water Quality Control Board, which permits the two local plants that treat local wastewater before it heads downstream to Ventura County, said the Sanitation District, which oversees the plants, must reduce the amount of chloride in that water. Local water has a chloride level of 130 milligrams per liter, and the state said it must lower that level to 100 milligrams.

The problem is, removing salt from facilities that treat millions of gallons of wastewater each day isn’t cheap. The most inexpensive plan that Sanitation District officials could find that also complies with environmental law has an estimated price tag of $130 million. And, it appears more than likely that Santa Clarita Valley homeowners and business interests are likely to be the ones who foot the bill.

The cost of chloride

Many expressed concern that Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District officials only have estimates for the costs that will be paid by ratepayers for the chloride treatment facilities.

Sanitation District officials, such as Phil Friess, head of the district’s technical services department, looked to allay these concerns at the hearing, when Friess presented what the expected costs are.

“For a typically sized 3,000-square-foot restaurant, there will be a 27 percent increase (in connection fees),” said Friess, “with that increase slowly phased in from 2019 to 2039.”

When the plan is phased in, the connection cost, which is what new businesses and home developers would have to pay for new homes, is expected to increase by $4,134 in 2019, and then gradually go up until it reaches $140,565 in 2039. New business won’t see a difference in the one-time cost for connection fees until the plan comes online, because those costs are associated with operations and maintenance, said Dave Bruns, assistant department head for financial management. The construction is expected to be online by the fiscal year 2019, according to estimates from district staff. However, the average ratepayer should expect to see a cost much sooner, which could happen as early as next year, Bruns said, if the Sanitation District Governing Board approves staff members’ current plan.

The increase in rates for the average homeowner, again, if approved by the board, would start at about $30 to $32 a year more than what ratepayers now pay each year.

“Pretty much the numbers that we had run would go in a straight line,” Bruns said, adding “to the degree that we can get any state or federal funding, that’s going to lower that number.”

The current rate for Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District ratepayers is $247, if they use the average amount of water for a single-family home. For a condominium owner, that rate is $203, and the increases are also slightly less. The total cost for ratepayers is expected to bring their total annual bill to $410.

But, either way, building a facility would be cheaper than not being in compliance with the chloride levels in the wastewater, state officials have repeatedly said. The Sanitation District was given the Oct. 31 deadline as part of a fine settlement for previously missing a deadline to come up with a compliance plan. The district was fined $280,000 last year, which district officials negotiated down to $225,000 on the condition that a chloride treatment plan be approved by the end of the month.

At one point in the meeting, Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar asked Sam Unger what fines would be like if the sanitation district fell out of compliance. Unger, who leads the staff of the Regional Water Quality Control Board, said the fines could tally $10,000 each day of noncompliance, dating back to last year, in addition to $10 per gallon each day for each of the 20 million gallons the district treats.

One last hope for ratepayers

During Monday’s two-hour meeting, Sanitation District officials said they had exhausted all of their options in regard to working with Ventura County for a lower chloride limit. It was only because the district had run out of time and support from downstream users that staffers recommended Alternative 2, Friess said.

E. Michael Solomon, general manager for the United Water Conservation District, a representative for the Ventura County water users who were mentioned repeatedly Monday, expressed exasperation with Santa Clarita Valley interests over their inability to reach the state’s chloride level.

“Ventura County stakeholders have been trying to work with you and our staff for several years to try to identify a cost-effective means,” Solomon said. “We appreciate the diligence…we believe they negotiated in good faith. With that said, the (Sanitation District) has only made partial progress toward complying with its legal obligation to halt contamination of the Santa Clara River with excessive levels of chloride.”

Countering that notion, Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, spoke during the public comment portion to offer support for a legislative plan to limit the ability of state agencies to set “arbitrary” limits for contaminants, such as chloride. There’s also an administrative battle being fought by Sanitation District staffers who are looking to the state to fund what they are calling an unfunded mandate. A hearing next year in front of the Commission on State Mandates would negate the cost to Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District ratepayers if they can successfully claim that the state is mandating the chloride limit without  An initial staff report doesn’t seem promising for the Sanitation District’s challenge. The report recommended denying the district’s claim.

That means the cost is going to be passed on to residents, regardless of the business they’re in, Bryan said, describing the situation as unique because Santa Clarita businesses are competing with interests in neighboring areas that don’t have the same costs for chloride treatment.

“(The competition’s) cost is going to remain unchanged,” Bryan said. “When you have that type of selective application in that type of enclosed environment – it’s bad for business.”

Why Can’t You FOCUS??!!!

| Gazette, News | October 26, 2013

By Sue A. Cowling

I have never been formally diagnosed, but I’m pretty positive I have A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder), and most likely A.D.H.D. (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder). I saw a really funny, and very informative, show on PBS called “A.D.D. and Loving It,” and the follow up, “A.D.D. and Mastering It.” It had great information on adult A.D.H.D. and how it is a “real” thing! I highly recommend watching it if you, your child, spouse, or anyone you know has (or think they have) it!

People who have known me for awhile know that if they want to tell me something, they had better get my attention and make sure I’m focused on what they’re saying, or I’ll never remember. Writing it down is even better. I can focus on a project, and I mean really focus! Well, as long as I’m not interrupted, or a bird flies by the window, or I notice a funny spot on the wall, or…, well, then I’m pretty much on to something else, totally forgetting about what I was doing. I saw a T-shirt once that said: “Some people think I have ADD, but I…oh, look! A chicken!” That’s me…chasing chickens. And my friends make sure I know when I’m doing just that!
People who don’t know me well just think I’m unorganized, and some have a difficult time being around me…especially those crazy O.C.D. friends – and they aren’t allowed in my house or office! (Wayyyy too messy for them.) But, I know exactly where everything is! (Um, where did I put my keys???)
I had a very hard time focusing in school, especially in lecture type classes, so didn’t always get perfect grades (Shhhh!  Don’t tell my students that!).  I’m also pretty sure I have auditory discrimination disorder. I can remember things that are written down…very visual learner, but tell me verbally, and it often goes in one ear and out the other!

I really wish that these issues would have been diagnosed when I was a child. Maybe with that knowledge, and help in learning how to deal with those issues, it would have made learning a lot easier for me. Having the opportunity to try a medication to help me focus may have helped me cope better, too. I know, I know, this is a big “no-no” to many people, but watch those PBS shows and you will see that A.D.D. medications have come a long way.

They report that those meds are safer than ordinary aspirin! Giving your child the gift of the ability to better focus and learn could be the greatest gift you could give him/her (and yourself!).

Sometimes kids (and adults) who have focusing issues, such as A.D.D., just need someone to understand and help. Most people who don’t have these issues get very frustrated with those who do. They lose their tempers, say something that makes the person feel stupid or feel like a failure, and then they end up giving up on those with attention challenges. We know it’s hard, but think about how “we” feel! It’s hard work to stay focused, to stay organized, to talk and write in complete sentences!

As Kermit the Frog says, “It’s not easy being green,” or to have any “disorder,” but everybody has something they struggle with. It’s normal to be…well, NOT normal!
Sue A. Cowling/SCV Tutors CARE Learning Academy, CARELearningAcademy.com, 661-255-2223

Ferry to Boydston, “You’re Full of it”

| Gazette, News | October 23, 2013

By Perry Smith

A question to the dais regarding Santa Clarita’s handling of a waste-disposal proposal prompted the City Council’s “sleeping tiger” to again spar with City Councilman TimBen Boydston and verbally attack a resident who frequently criticizes policy at City Hall.
During a public-comment portion of the Santa Clarita City Council’s regular Tuesday night meeting, Cam Noltemeyer asked why the city had no subcommittee meeting on a proposed MRF, or materials recovery facility, since it was on the consent calendar.
“Burrtec was supposed to be putting in a MRF in our community and I was looking for the subcommittee meeting on this and the subcommittee meeting was cancelled,” Noltemeyer said.
“And then I saw it on the consent calendar,” she said, referring to Tuesday night’s agenda. “I tried to find the staff report, and there’s no staff report there, and so where was this decision made?”
Noltemeyer left shortly after making her comments, and therefore was not available to be questioned for this story.
But the discussion of her complaints did not end with her departure.

As is City Council’s normal procedure, city officials began to address the questions raised during public comment about 10 minutes later, when those in attendance had shared their consent calendar concerns.

“I just want to mention one thing,” said City Councilwoman Marsha McLean. “The information on this item (Noltemeyer was referring to), all of the information, was totally available on the City’s website…because that’s where I went to look at it, very carefully.”

Boydston then indicated he wanted to add to McLean’s comments, but it appeared to be the proverbial last straw for City Councilman Frank Ferry, who had verbally sparred with Boydston during a previous City Council meeting.

“I’ll clarify one other thing Mr. Mayor,” Boydston said. “That doing the business of this council, in front of it, and Mrs. Noltemeyer, I’m sensitive to, if Mrs. Noltemeyer is still here…”

At which point, Mayor Bob Kellar pointed out that Noltemeyer had “left some time ago.”

“She doesn’t care about the result, she just wanted to cause a problem and leave, so don’t talk to her,” Ferry said.

“Perhaps she’s watching on (SCVTV),” Boydston said.

“She isn’t,” Ferry said.

“Just in case,” Boydston replied, “there was a subcommittee that was scheduled and it was cancelled due to a personal issue for one of the council members who was on it…I asked for a briefing myself, being on the subcommittee, to get a background on this issue…this is kind of a bigger hearing than…”

As Boydston finished, a clearly frustrated Ferry began to explain his annoyance with the commenter, whom Boydston himself later described as a regular “critic of the city.”

Ferry seemed more exasperated with Noltemeyer than her complaint and questions on waste disposal, describing her as a “toxic” presence who caused problems in San Fernando during her four-year term on that city’s governing board, and accusing her of trying to bring these problems to Santa Clarita.

“Let’s be honest,” Ferry said. “Noltemeyer was a council member for the city of San Fernando, she was a total wreck down there, where they made rules against her, they voted against her…she throws out little bombs or grenades and then leaves without an answer.”

“It has to be said,” Ferry added, when Boydston tried to regain control of the floor, as Kellar asked Boydston to allow him to finish his comments.

“We have to shut her down. You put her as the god and the savior of the city,” Ferry said, pointing to Boydston. “No, you’re wrong.”

As Boydston called for a point of order, Kellar said to Boydston, “Let him finish,” adding, “no one interrupted you.”

“I can only listen to so much before I have to explode and say, ‘You’re full of it,’” Ferry said.

Kellar then gave the floor back to Boydston, reminding him that other people are entitled to the floor.

“The reason I was asking for a point of order, Sir, is because we have rules that we are supposed to abide by here on the dais, and those rules are about common respect for the citizens who come before us,” Boydston said.

Then Boydston followed with an explanation. “My reason for having a point of order is to remind the council that we are not supposed to denigrate, argue with and put down the citizens who come here, no matter how badly we disagree with them,” he added.

Ferry again launched into the explanation behind his attack, during which Boydston asked Kellar if he had the floor five times.

“I don’t know,” responded a now exasperated Kellar. “What do you want me to do, take him out by the stack and swivel?”

Another call for decorum by Boydston led Ferry to argue Boydston only wants it when it benefits Boydston.

The role of someone like Noltemeyer was necessary in a democracy, Boydston said after Tuesday’s meeting, acknowledging that she frequently disparaged city policy and procedure.

The incident was similar to a dais spat the two had in March, when Boydston questioned the city’s use of public funds for a “Mayor Dude” public relations campaign, which featured Ferry, who was mayor at the time.

Noltemeyer was not present to defend herself from the attack, but Ferry suggested residents Google “Cam Noltemeyer” and “San Fernando City Councilwoman.”

Noltemeyer served on the San Fernando City Council from 1982-86.

After serving one term, she was targeted by her fellow incumbents during her re-election campaign, according to an L.A. Times report.

All three incumbents lost, Noltemeyer by the narrowest margin of the three, a mere 45 votes.

City Gets Grant for Gateway Ranch

| Gazette, News | October 19, 2013

Due to recent grant funding, the City of Santa Clarita has an opportunity to support environmentally responsible projects.  The City received a $350,000 grant from the California Natural Resources Agency this month as part of the Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Grant Program (EEMP) for the Southern Boundary Wildlife Corridor Conservation project.

The EEMP funding will be used to help with the acquisition of the 302-acre Gateway Ranch property in the Southern Boundary Wildlife Conservation Corridor. Purchase of this property will help safeguard the habitat and assist with recovery of species impacted by construction and improvements in the area. The Gateway Ranch acquisition is expected to be completed in 2014.

“The City of Santa Clarita is honored to be one of 37 cities to receive funding from the State. Santa Clarita’s grant funds will be used to reduce unwanted greenhouse gases and help protect the region’s natural resources,” said Mayor Bob Kellar.

The Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program encourages projects that produce multiple benefits, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and risks associated with climate change, and demonstrate collaboration with local, state and community entities to protect and conserve natural resources.

“These grants will help balance the impacts of new and improved transportation projects with our natural world,” said California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird. “The funding will go to projects that will offset vehicle emissions, provide roadside recreational opportunities, and allow for the acquisition, restoration, and enhancement of watersheds, wildlife habitat, wetlands and forests.”

This competitive grant evaluated 77 total applicants and allocated a total of $10 million dollars in funding for 37 projects statewide, including the City of Santa Clarita.

For more information, contact Gail Ortiz at (661) 255-4314 or by email at gortiz@santa-clarita.com.

Chloride Options

| Gazette, News | October 17, 2013

By Perry Smith

The Santa Clarita Valley has been faced with science justifying the state’s chloride limit for 10 years – at one point, successfully challenging the government-mandated level, before ultimately losing an appeal to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board.

But many, including Santa Clarita City Councilmembers TimBen Boydston and Marsha McLean, have been vocal advocates of claims that the science that justifies the limit is flawed.

Most opponents cite lobbying interests paid by downstream farmers in Ventura County as the cause for the limit. Regardless of why or how, all five city council members are trying to fight the causes, reasons and outcomes regarding chloride treatment. However, the reality is that Santa Clarita property owners are likely facing a rate hike when construction is expected to be nearing completion in 2020.

The Sanitation District’s governing board is expected to approve one of four options for chloride treatment at a meeting later this month, all of which are likely to have a price tag for ratepayers.

Faced with the potential threat from the state regional board of millions in fines or the loss of local control, SCV Sanitation District officials released an analysis in April on the various ways to make our water reach a chloride level of 100 milligrams per liter. The state-appointed board that oversees the chloride limit for the local Santa Clara River watershed first set the limit more than a decade ago. The limit was set in compliance with the state laws pertaining to the Clean Water Act, a piece of legislation from the 1970s.

 

“The Clean Water Act mandates that the state sets standards to protect the most sensitive beneficial use,” said Sam Unger, executive officer of the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. “The most sensitive beneficial use is agricultural use.”

The RWQCB set the limit at 100 milligrams for chloride, or salt, based on the belief that that’s what it needs to be for the salt-sensitive strawberry and avocado crops, he said.

Shortly after Sanitation District engineers released what they considered the four most affordable options for chloride treatment, Sam Unger, the executive director for the state’s RWQCB, received a scathing rebuke from city officials, including Boydston and City Councilman Frank Ferry. In fact, the council assailed the research behind the state’s chloride limit to the point where Mayor Bob Kellar reminded his colleagues that the speaker was an invited guest.

McLean said she’d been going to RWQCB meetings since 2002, and that the studies were incomplete, and questioned the logic behind the limit.

“Why is a level of 117 milligrams (of chloride per gallon) per day okay, only if a very expensive treatment plant is built?” she asked rhetorically.

Unger said the 117 number was a result of the board being flexible and working with local compliance efforts. But the number would only stay there if local district officials continued to make an effort at compliance.

A claim of faulty science
Boydston said the engineers who were involved in the studies that were reviewed when the chloride limit was set merely conducted a literature review, not field research. Unger said that “literature” included a large number of field studies. Furthermore, the engineers were also employees of the local agriculture interests, suggesting a clear conflict of interest in their findings.

Unger denied these claims, defending the state’s numbers. Ferry said the limits weren’t based on “common sense,” and questioned why Santa Clarita had to buy it at 130 milligrams of chloride per gallon, but discharge it for Ventura County at 100 milligrams.

“Someone has to listen and finally say, ‘You’re right. This does not make sense,’” Ferry said, adding that Santa Clarita was “crazy enough” to spend $100 million to not put a penny into water treatment and, instead, extend Castaic Lake, or look at other projects that would prevent any discharge into the Santa Clara River.

“It’s clear the lobbyists who represent avocado and the strawberry people…influenced the process through money to bring the standard down. Please do not insult this community that that was not what happened,” Ferry said to Unger. “It’s well-documented. They were political appointees who were lobbied. To say anything else is a wrong thing to say.”

Unger replied, “Well then, I guess I’ll choose not to say anything else, but it’s not the truth, though. It’s not the truth.”

“Under federal and state law, the state has ordered the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District to reduce the chloride levels in the SCV’s treated wastewater to below the state’s strict legal limit,” according to the Sanitation District’s executive summary.

The bottom line on brine
Recently, Kellar expressed a resigned frustration with the chloride situation at a City Council meeting, after Boydston asked whether Santa Clarita’s City Council could meet to discuss an official endorsement for one of the Sanitation District’s options.

The governing board for the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District is made up of two members of the City Council, Kellar and Laurene Weste, and L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. These three leaders are expected to approve one of four options for chloride treatment at their meeting during the last week of October.

Boydston wanted the city to endorse an option to the board, however, because Weste and Kellar are on the board, the law states the two councilmembers can’t meet before the Sanitation District’s vote to discuss their option.

While Ferry, McLean and Boydston could meet and create a recommendation, Ferry said he would leave it to Weste and Kellar to make the call, because he trusts their opinions. That means that while the city has paid tens of thousands of dollars in outreach to get public feedback, Santa Clarita is not likely to formally endorse an option for chloride treatment to the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District’s governing board.

Right now, the ratepayers are looking at two options before the Sanitation District. Two recommendations were made in a Sanitation District staff report released last week. One, known as Alternative 4, is similar to a $250 million phased plan that was rejected four years ago as being too costly. And the other option, referred to as Alternative 2, would cost slightly less and involved infusing water into our wells with a lower salt content.

For Alternative 4 of the AWRM, the cost to ratepayers, based on the average usage associated with a single-family home, would be about $395 per year if the plan stayed in Phase 1. If Phase 2 needs to be implemented, then the cost would jump to $535 per year.
If Alternative 2, the deep-well injection, is implemented, then the rate would increase to $410 per year.

The Sanitation District is also challenging whether ratepayers should have to pay for the chloride treatment, claiming chloride treatment is a service that’s being mandated by the state, which means that the state should have to pay for it under California’s state Constitution.

The Commission on State Mandates is expected to make a decision on January 24, as to whether the state considers the chloride level an unfunded mandate. However, based on what RWQCB members and state officials have said so far, local officials do not seem hopeful, if Councilman Kellar’s remarks at a recent City Council meeting are any indication. Kellar likened Boydston’s repeated requests for city officials to make a recommendation to the Sanitation District’s “innuendo that we don’t listen to our citizens, and it’s just not right.”

“We might as well be beating our heads against the wall for all (the Regional Water Quality Control Board members) care,” Kellar said, regarding the financial impact for local ratepayers. “Nobody is agreeing to what is happening to the citizens of the Santa Clarita Valley. If you think we’re not fighting a gorilla here, we are.”

Doing What It Takes To Become An Online Entrepreneur

| Gazette, News | October 11, 2013

by Connie Ragen Green
I received an excellent question from Bree, who’s been reading my column here since the very beginning. She wanted to know if I could explain what it really takes to become an online entrepreneur. Thanks for the question, Bree. I am happy to go into great detail here in answering it for you and our other readers.

Becoming an entrepreneur of any type is simply not for everyone. If you are used to having a traditional schedule, weekends off, and a regular paycheck, you may not care for having your own business. If, on the other hand, you look forward to being in charge, having the opportunity to earn as much as you want to, and love taking risks on a daily basis, entrepreneurship could be exactly what suits you best.

I was a classroom teacher for 20 years, and also worked as a real estate broker and appraiser on the side during that time. That meant working six or seven days a week, only taking a vacation every third or fourth year, and never feeling like I was living the life I was meant to live. When I discovered that people were making a living on the Internet with information products, affiliate marketing, and online training, I knew this was for me.

The question I had to ask myself was this: “Am I willing to do what it takes to become an online entrepreneur?”

Over the next six months I was tested time and time again as I worked hard to put the pieces in place. There was no boss or supervisor checking to see what I had done each day. I earned no money in the very beginning, yet I was having to spend money on domains, web hosting, the teleseminar service, and an autoresponder account. Would it all be worth it?

The answer was a resounding “Yes!” And now I teach others how to get started with their own Internet businesses.

In order to build a successful business online you must be willing to do what it takes. This means setting up a quiet workspace for yourself at home, scheduling the days and times you will be at work, creating content for your blog and websites, and connecting with others, both online and in person. Of course, this is after you have chosen a niche in which to specialize and made sure it is one that will hold your interest for at least the next year.

Next, you must find out what your competition is already selling to this market. Competition is to be respected, because this means that people are ready, willing, and able to spend money on a variety of products and services. Join the list of everyone who is currently serving your market to see what they have to say, and become an affiliate for them if they have such a program.

Now it is time for you to make a name for yourself in your chosen niche. Blog as often as possible and say what you think. It’s better to be controversial and speak your mind than to be wishy-washy and go along with everyone else. Read everything you can on your topic, and not just from online sources. Visit your public library and bookstores. See what you already may have on your bookshelves at home. Focus on becoming as knowledgeable as you possibly can on your niche topic, as this is the path to becoming an expert or authority.

The final step is marketing your new online business, and that’s the glue to keeping it all together. I like to market every single day, even weekends and holidays, because it makes my business stronger and increases my income. Remember that a single tweet on Twitter is marketing, and that much of your online marketing can be automated, so it’s not like you’ll be sitting in front of your computer seven days a week.

Have fun with the marketing and it will serve you well. Send out email messages to the people who join your list, including links to your blog posts, affiliate offers, and excellent resources. Be active on the “Big Three” social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), and share your blog posts and other content there as well. It won’t be long before you are thought of as an authority in your niche, and your online business begins to skyrocket. Doing what it takes is your key to success.

Keep your questions coming, and best of success with your online marketing endeavors.

Connie Ragen Green lives in Saugus and has been working exclusively on the Internet since 2006. Her ninth book, “Living the Internet Lifestyle,” was recently released by Hunter’s Moon Publishing and is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Find out more by visiting http://HugeProfitsTinyList.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.

City’s Land Purchase Controversy

| Gazette, News | October 10, 2013

By Perry Smith
In what some are calling an example of the system working, with others questioning the oversight of such purchases, Santa Clarita City Council members approved a fund switch with a 5-0 vote to fix an illegal land buy made last year.

The city purchased hundreds of acres with OSPD dollars that were directed for land that must be within a 3-mile radius of the city.

“Upon further review, it has been determined that the benefit area does not extend with additional open space acquisitions,” said City Manager Ken Striplin at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, reading a staff report. “Consequently, only a portion of the Nominn property is included within the boundary, and the Williams property is entirely outside.”

The solution? City staffers recommending that City Council members approve a dollar-for-dollar exchange of OSPD district funds that are considered “restrictive,” with general fund dollars that lack those restrictions, said Darren Hernandez, director of Administrative Services for the city.

“Typically with each (OSPD purchase), we’ve used a blend of funds,” Hernandez said, naming several sources for grant money.

“The way the issue is being remedied is to exchange funds — the OSPD funds that were used to purchase the Williams parcel and the Nominn parcel that were too far away with unrestricted funds that were used to finance OSPD (purchases),” Hernandez said.

James Farley, a member of the Financial Audit Panel that provides oversight for city purchases for the Open Space Preservation District, caught the mistake and brought it to the panel’s attention.
The Rio Dulce Ranch, also known as the Nominn parcel — east of the city starting at about Agua Dulce Canyon Road — is about a 1,000-acre contiguous parcel of land about 3.5 miles outside of city limits. The Williams parcel was about 50 acres located about 4.5 miles outside of city limits.
Originally, about $1.4 million of restricted OSPD dollars were used for the Nominn parcel, and that figure is now $55,482, about 2.5 percent of the OSPD allocation, because that was deemed the amount of land in the three-mile zone authorized for OSPD purchases.
The Williams parcel was purchased for $178,582, most of which, about $161,084, was used from OSPD dollars.
Farley said he originally became involved in the Open Space Preservation District oversight panel because he didn’t like the idea of the OSPD but, despite the mistake, he has since changed his mind.
“This was an honest mistake on the part of the city in its zealous attempt to preserve this land,” Farley said. “The bottom line is that the system works — the panel brought up the issue and the city made the right decision.”
City Councilwoman Laurene Weste noted the city purchase had lots of valuable natural resources, and while it might have been outside of the three-mile zone, preserving it was an important task.
“I was really refreshed by the response of the city,” said Wendy Loggins, a member of the FAP that reviewed the mistake. “Compare the response of the city to what’s going on in Washington right now. It was not something that had to be dragged out of them kicking and screaming.”
Loggins also noted that in the future, she would like to see preventive measures being taken, although the FAP only acts in an advisory capacity.
To that end, City Councilman TimBen Boydston said he was glad opposition to the city was brought into the mix of the decision-making process. It resulted in a more informed government.
Boydston also questioned City Attorney Joe Montes as to whether the city’s legal counsel should be reviewing the legality of such purchases.
Montes responded that the purchase documents were reviewed, but not the location or the restriction on the use of funds.
“(City staffers) OK purchases all the time,” Montes said. “It’s not typical for us to look at the funds or the use of funds. We usually constrain the scope of our view to the request for services made.”
Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar said he was happy with the outcome.
“I’m proud of staff,” Kellar said. “They came up with a very responsible solution.”

Sip & Stroll at the Wine Affair

| Gazette, News | October 5, 2013

Guests at this year’s Wine Affair, hosted by Soroptimist International of Greater Santa Clarita Valley, will visit more venues than ever before. On Sunday, October 20 from 2-6 p.m. guests will sip wine and stroll along Town Center Drive in Valencia, listening to music and sampling from several eateries. There are 12 stops this year, including: The Hyatt Valencia, Hot Wings Café, Larsen’s, Salt Creek Grille, The Ivy Day Spa, Valencia Wine Company, Blo Out Lounge and Ro,Ma Jewelers. VIP Ticketholders will also proceed to: J. Jill, Thelma’s & Luis, Pottery Barn and Pinot’s Palette.

An acoustic duo made up of members of Dorian Gray & Eternal Youth, a Santa Clarita based pop/rock band, will provide music. Piccola Trattoria Wine Bar and Italian Restaurant in Canyon Country is a Food Sponsor.

SIGSCV is an international organization. The group’s mission is to improve the lives of women and girls, both in local communities and throughout the world.

For tickets to the Wine Affair, visit www.sigscv.org.

Increase in Seniors Using Transit

| Gazette, News | October 4, 2013

More seniors than ever were using public transportation, says a recent report. Ridership among seniors increased 17 percent this year.

“Santa Clarita Transit offers reliable, convenient, and comfortable service and is ideal for seniors, as it provides free transportation to just about anywhere in our community,” commented Mayor Bob Kellar.

One component of the City’s marketing efforts that has proven extremely effective is the Senior Transit Ambassador Program, which works to raise awareness about Santa Clarita Transit’s reliability and convenience. Since its inception in April of 2011, this program has provided a group of ambassadors who are familiar with the local routes, and offer information and opportunities to plan senior-specific excursions to showcase local services.

Santa Clarita began operating local bus service in 1991, assuming responsibility for local transit operations from the County of Los Angeles as Santa Clarita Transit. Today, Santa Clarita Transit provide services seven days a week for seniors and the disabled within the Santa Clarita Valley, as well as for the general public during evening hours.

For more information about Santa Clarita Transit or the Senior Ambassador Program, visit SantaClaritaTransit.com.

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