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Female Athlete of the Week – Grace Ferguson

| SC Living, Sports | September 21, 2017

This Saugus High School senior is a middle blocker for the Centurions’ girls’ volleyball team. She had 14 kills and five blocks last week in the Centurions’ 3-1 win over West Ranch. Saugus’ victory marks the first time they have defeated the Wildcats since October 14, 2014.
“Grace is a steady force at the net for Saugus volleyball this year,” said Zachary Ambrose, coach of the Saugus High School girls’ volleyball team. “Her ability to read the play helps her score with powerful kills and soft shots when needed. Her blocking forces opponents to change their shots, making the court smaller, helping the defense pick up more balls.”

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Male Athlete of the Week – Cameron Ravenell

| SC Living, Sports | September 21, 2017

A senior at Golden Valley High School, Cameron Ravenell is a defensive end on the Grizzlies football team. Last week he tallied 13 total tackles, four for a loss, and three sacks in the Grizzlies’ 26-13 win over Crespi. The victory comes a week after Golden Valley suffered a 26-19 loss to Crescenta Valley High School. The Grizzlies play Fullerton High School before opening conference play against Saugus on October 6.

“Cameron had one of the best performances from the defensive end position I have ever seen,” said Golden Valley High School Football Coach Dan Kelley. “His size and athletic ability has many colleges looking at him.”

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Non Profit of the Week – Madeline’s Angels Pet Sanctuary

| SC Living | September 14, 2017

Watching an 8-week-old calico kitten relax into the arms of her new 9-year-old human sister, occasionally tossing a tiny white paw through the air to play with her favorite person’s long hair, it’s hard to believe where she came from.

Callie was rescued from a hoarding situation along with her three siblings when she was just 3 weeks old. The clearly neglected litter was discovered outside in the harsh summer heat, filthy, infested with fleas, underweight, and battling an upper respiratory infection – all while separated from their mother.

Madeline’s Angels Pet Sanctuary worked quickly to place the un-weaned kittens in a foster home, where they were given around-the-clock care and taught to trust the loving touch of humans for the first time in their young lives. Now all four kittens are healthy and happy, with Callie being the first to find her forever home.

MAPS Co-Founder MElissa Lampert-Abramovitch with the rescue’s first dog, Edie, who was adopted in February 2017

This story is one of many of the dogs and cats in need who have been rescued by Madeline’s Angels Pet Sanctuary since the rescue was first established in November 2016. Headed by mother-daughter duo Melissa Lampert-Abramovitch and Randi Lynn Lampert, MAPS has rescued 14 animals in need in its first 10 months, and found loving forever homes for seven of them so far. To continue their lifesaving work – which the Lamperts currently fund almost entirely out of their own pockets – MAPS volunteers are getting ready for their first fundraiser event: a bake sale at the 2017 Gilchrist Farm Harvest Festival and Pumpkin Patch in Saugus.

Madeline’s Angels Pet Sanctuary will have a table set up at the bake sale on Saturday, October 14 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sunday, October 29 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., where they plan to sell homemade fall treats and animal-themed desserts for festival-goers in an effort to raise money for their cause. Proceeds from the bake sale will go directly toward the rescue’s mission to help the abandoned and forgotten animals of the Santa Clarita Valley and beyond find their way to a forever home.

Animal lovers who can’t make it to the bake sale in person can still help make the fundraiser a success by signing up to contribute their own yummy treats, which will be collected the day before each bake sale date. In addition, the rescue is always looking to add foster homes to their growing network so they can save even more animals. Madeline’s Angels Pet Sanctuary provides the supplies, and just needs compassionate individuals to provide a loving temporary home for one or more animals until the foster pets can find their forever homes.

To find out more about Madeline’s Angels Pet Sanctuary or to sign up to contribute to the bake sale fundraiser, email mapsanimalrescue@gmail.com or go to mapsanimalrescue.wordpress.com. The Gilchrist Farm Harvest Festival is located at 30116 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus. For more information, go to gilchristfarm.com/harvest-festival.



Non Profit of the Week – Michael Hoefflin Foundation

| SC Living | September 7, 2017

The Michael Hoefflin Foundation for children’s cancer is a public nonprofit 501(c)(3) foundation that provides financial and emotional support to children and their families in the Santa Clarita and surrounding valleys. The organization strives to educate the public and provide grant funding for innovative research to accelerate progress in the fight against pediatric cancer.

Michael Andrew Hoefflin was born January 10, 1986, and as he grew, his good health and athletic ability was matched with energy and enthusiasm. But at the end of his kindergarten school year, Michael had flu-like symptoms that didn’t improve with various treatments by his pediatrician. After a few weeks of illness, the occurrence of double vision prompted a brain scan.

On July 13, 1992 at the age of 6, Michael was admitted to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles where he was diagnosed with a brain tumor — PNET/medulloblastoma — an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Following brain surgery to remove the large tumor pressing against his brain stem, Michael received weeks of rehabilitation therapy to recover from the impact of surgery. He needed physical therapy to regain his strength, his ability to walk, speak clearly, and perform the most basic activities in order to care for himself again.

Michael received both radiation and chemotherapy treatments during the subsequent months, but to everyone’s great disappointment, doctors found that a small amount of the cancer had survived the early treatments and had spread into his spine. Children’s brain cancer has a propensity for recurring; however, a relapse this early into a child’s treatment was unusual, signaling the threat of a very resistant form of cancer.

Michael’s recovery from mega-therapy and a bone marrow transplant was slow and difficult, but he was fortunate to have 17 months of remission following that procedure. During that period, Michael enjoyed his second grade year in elementary school and resumed some favorite activities, however, a routine screening in May of 1994 showed his cancer had returned and was actively growing again. The doctors were very clear: each recurrence poses a much more difficult battle than the last.

Michael immediately began treatments with the most promising chemotherapy drugs, but unfortunately, the brain cancer cells that had survived were the strongest and most resistant to medical technology known at that time. During that period of treatments, the cancer had advanced significantly with diffuse disease forming dozens of tumors throughout his brain and spine. But you wouldn’t guess that by seeing him. Michael insisted upon being active, and had a persistent smile on his face. Amazingly, despite his declining condition and very young age, Michael continued to maintain his positive attitude. He wanted to help others in need, and was a grand spokesman for the many other children suffering with cancer. He had a strong spirit, refusing to dwell upon his situation; he cared more about how others were doing.

Inspired by his amazing example, Michael’s family and friends in 1994 reached out beyond the fight for just Michael’s recovery and included the tens of thousands of other afflicted children. With the commitment to being a positive force in the advancement of effective treatments, compassionate support to afflicted children and their families, and discovery of cures for childhood cancers, the Michael Hoefflin Foundation was formed in late September of 1995.

Michael’s loss on May 15, 1996 brought immense sadness, and reaffirmed the critical need to eliminate cancer as a threat to our children. Michael is dearly missed and continues to be our inspiration.

Evening Under the Stars Gala Benefits Kids with Cancer
For almost a quarter of a century the Michael Hoefflin Foundation has hosted a local fundraiser bringing hundreds of residents together for food, entertainment, and a common goal—to fight childhood cancers.

The 24th Annual Michael Hoefflin Foundation Evening Under the Stars gala dinner and charity auction will be held on Saturday, September 16. The event will be held at Mann Biomedical Park beginning at 6 p.m. Attendees will enjoy a dinner catered by Salt Creek Grill, live music, and the opportunity to bid on hundreds of unique auction items.

Although the Michael Hoefflin Foundation focuses on fundraising efforts throughout the year, Evening Under the Stars is critical in raising funds to help drive the foundation’s mission to provide support to children and their families facing the emotional and financial difficulties of pediatric cancer.
“We are grateful for the support of our community, whether at our 5K earlier in the year or the amazing efforts by people such as Roy Wiegand, who recently ran in honor of one of our recently lost angels,” said Gillian Stone, MHF’s executive director. “This is our chance to give the community that we so appreciate a beautiful, memorable and hopefully inspiring evening, and let people know about why we need the support we do,” she said.

Honorary chairs are Jon and Mardilan Giorgio of Gothic Landscape, and this year’s entertainment is the third appearance by the Kelly Rae Band, a high-energy country band that has been delivering crowd-pleasing performances around the world for more than two decades. The band is comprised of seasoned musicians who have performed with such names as Tanya Tucker, Rascal Flatts, Bobby Bare and Trick Pony.

To find out more about the event, visit www.mhf.org for ticket information and to discover what the Michael Hoefflin Foundation is doing in the community.

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Female Athlete of the Week – Alondra Solis

| SC Living, Sports | September 7, 2017

College of the Canyons freshman midfielder Alondra Solis scored two goals in the Cougars women’s soccer 4-0 victory over Ventura College during the team’s season opener on Aug. 28. Solis found the back of the net in the 42nd minute to score the first goal of the season for COC, and later capped the scoring with a second goal in the 85th minute. Canyons (3-0) will now head north to take part in the annual Las Positas Tournament Sept. 7-8.

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Male Athlete of the Week – Andrew Brito

| SC Living, Sports | September 7, 2017

College of the Canyons freshman quarterback Andrew Brito started his Cougar football career in impressive fashion by tossing five touchdowns in COC’s 42-30 victory over Antelope Valley College in last week’s season opener. The young signal caller finished the game 16-of-33 for 243 yards, while spreading the ball around to seven different receivers. Brito also rushed for 22 yards in the victory. Canyons will next travel to Orange Coast College at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9.

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Non Profit of the Month – Santa Clarita Senior Center – Sponsored by Wolf Creek Brewery

| SC Living | August 31, 2017

Wolf Creek Brewery’s Community Pints Program honors a non-profit every Tuesday with donations from its total sales. This month, the SCV Senior Center will receive 10 percent of all sales at the brewery on Tuesdays in September, plus proceeds from the purchase of Golden Eagle Ale at Wolf Creek’s Restaurant.

Wolf Creek Brewery, located at 25108 Rye Canyon Loop in Valencia, will host live music and special food on the following Tuesdays in September:
Sept. 5—Steve Jones Acoustic Blues/Shreiners Fine Sausages
Sept. 12—Monkey Bump Band/BurgerBar LA Food Truck
Sept. 19—Bob Heller Acoustic Rock/Pacific Pizza Food Truck
Sept. 26—Jackie Beckwith Easy Rock/Swami Sandwiches

The brewery is open from 4-9 p.m., with music starting at 6 p.m. Ten percent of all Tuesday sales go to the SCV Senior Center.

The Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing Company, located at 27746 McBean Pkwy in Valencia, will donate 50 cents from every pint of Golden Eagle Ale purchased on Tuesdays this month.

For more information, call 661-294-9977 or visit Wolfcreekbrewingco.com.

About the Senior Center:

The SCV Senior Center has served the Santa Clarita Valley aging population for more than 40 years, offering programs and services that promote quality of life for seniors to over 10,000 individuals and their families annually.

The SCV Senior Center provides nearly every program and service listed in the Los Angeles County Senior Center Directory, including Adult Day Program and Respite, Handyworker Program, Congregate and Home Delivered Meals, Information and Resource Referral, Health and Wellness Programs, Caregiver Resources and Support Groups, Lifelong Learning Classes, Transportation, Recreation, Leisure Activities, Fitness and Exercise and more.

The Adult Day Program is a licensed program specializing in the care and activities for adults with Alzheimer’s disease, other types of dementia, post-stroke, Parkinson’s or other conditions requiring assistance and supervision. The SCV Senior Center’s focus is to enhance the lives of participants by encouraging independence, while building on their skills, knowledge, strengths and abilities.

The Handyworker Program is designed to provide free minor home repairs to qualified homeowners to improve the safety and habitability of their homes. Individuals who qualify for the program are eligible for repairs to their dwelling unit. The program enables homeowners to live safely in their own homes by addressing health and safety issues.

The Congregate and Home Delivered Meals Program provides an opportunity to enhance the daily nutrient intake, nutritional status, social interactions and functionality of older adults. The center’s Congregate Meal sites allow for social interaction with others and promote conversation, camaraderie, support and friendship. The Home Delivered Meal Program allows those who are homebound a nutritious meal, while also receiving comfort and interaction from a Home Delivered Meal Driver. For many seniors, the driver is the only visitor they receive in the day. Giving residents the opportunity to connect with others provides relief from loneliness, social isolation and feelings of depression.

The Support Services Department is the largest component of the SCV Senior Center, offering a wide range of assistance and providing information about available Caregiver support resources and services. They are there to educate groups of current or potential caregivers and provide them with assistance. Care Management offers assistance in the form of access coordination in circumstances where the client is experiencing diminished functioning capacities, personal conditions or other characteristics that require the provision of services by formal service providers or family caregivers. The program is also designed to assist caregivers through the development of a care plan that provides home and community-based support services. These plans are additionally supported through counseling, support groups and workshops designed to improve decision-making and problem-solving skills related to caregiving responsibilities.

The Transportation Program serves individuals who are in need of transportation and have no other resource available. The program offers the comfort they want and the confidence they need when going to a doctor’s appointment, picking up a prescription and going grocery shopping, providing a sense of independence and freedom for their lives.

The center’s Health and Wellness Programs provide a safe, supportive and cheerful environment for adults to discover rewarding new hobbies and pleasurable crafts, learn new game skills, bring new adventures and expand horizons, enhancing life-long learning and engagement. The primary focus of the Health and Wellness Program is to promote physical, emotional, social and spiritual wellness in seniors in a relaxed, non-intimidating environment.

The public is invited to join more than 250 volunteers a month who support the SCV Senior Center, or just stop by to take a tour.

For more information about the organization, visit the website at www.scv-seniorcenter.org.

The Senior Center is located at 22900 Market Street in Newhall, and can be reached by calling 661-259-9444.

Non Profit of the Week – Santa Clarita Valley Men of Harmony

| SC Living | August 25, 2017

With the success of TV shows featuring talented singers, such as “Glee,” a cappella music is once again being heard and admired across the country. The Santa Clarita Valley Men of Harmony is an a cappella chorus celebrating its 41st year of service with a brand new show package. Couldn’t make it to their last show? They will bring it to you.

“We love to present the unaccompanied human voice, singing from the heart,” says Men of Harmony historian, David Norman. “Our focus is on great singing with a variety of musical styles including barbershop harmony, doo-wop, swing era jazz, Tin Pan Alley musicals, and classic pop tunes in the mix. This music can take you back to the good old days of our youth and the first time we fell in love.”

The Santa Clarita Valley Men’s Barbershop singers are a nonprofit, charitable, educational, fraternal organization, founded in 1974. Each year the group performs numerous times in this and other nearby communities. Once a year, the group produces a big show at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center in Newhall.

The Men of Harmony chorus meets for rehearsals on Tuesday evenings at the Valley Oaks Village Apartments on Valley Street in Newhall. The members’ talents are wide-ranging. They perform as quartets, dancers, jugglers, magicians, balloon artists and more.

With the holidays approaching, they are available for parties and celebrations, but you need to schedule them soon. The group’s new approach to a cappella music can be presented in programs ranging from 20-90 minutes and can be adapted to specific audiences and occasions. They are eager to entertain your group, club or private party, and are able to offer discounts for qualifying service organizations. For more information and to schedule a performance, call 661-542-3271 or visit scmenofharmony.com.

Female Athlete of the Week – Allyson Felix

| SC Living, Sports | August 18, 2017

Professional runner and Canyon alumnus, Allyson Felix earned bronze in the women’s 400-meter race at the IAAF World Track and Field Championship in London last week. Her most recent placing brings her world championship medal count to 14, tying her with Jamaican runners Merlene Ottey and Usain Bolt for most world championship medals.

Allyson Felix began her professional athletic career straight out of high school, when she signed a contract with Adidas and received full tuition for her schooling at USC. She earned a silver medal in the 200 meters at the 2004 Olympics, and Felix set a World Junior record of 22.8. In the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro Felix, now 31, became the oldest woman to medal in the 400-meter race.

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Male Athlete of the Week – Tim White

| SC Living, Sports | August 17, 2017

Now a wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens, Tim White graduated from both William S. Hart High School and College of the Canyons. Last week he caught a 33-yard touchdown pass in the Ravens’ 23-3 win over the Washington Redskins in the first week of the NFL preseason. White went undrafted in the 2017 NFL draft, and was projected to be the Ravens’ top kickoff and punt returner. However, he suffered a season-ending thumb injury.

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Non Profit of the Week – Triumph Foundation and their Let ‘Em Roll Casino Night

| SC Living | August 17, 2017

Providing resources, hope and security to people living with paralysis is the mission of Triumph Foundation in Santa Clarita. The 13-year-old nonprofit organization works to improve the lives of people living with disabilities, with much of its focus on helping victims of Spinal Cord Injury/Disorder, or SCI/D.

Triumph Foundation’s programs serving the spinal cord injury community include supporting those who are newly paralyzed with: “Care Baskets” full of resources; providing grants to obtain necessary equipment, supplies, and services; assisting with home modifications for wheelchair accessibility; leading SCI support groups; and holding adaptive recreational events.

To date, the organization has touched the lives of over 5,000 individuals with disabilities. Triumph has given assistance to people with inadequate medical insurance and financial hardship; performed accessible home remodels; provided wheelchair accessible vehicles to people who did not have the means to purchase one on their own; and handed out thousands of Care Baskets full of resources to newly injured people. Volunteers regularly visit area hospitals and rehabilitation centers throughout the Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside, Kern, and San Diego Counties.

Andrew Skinner of Canyon Country launched Triumph Foundation after suffering a spinal cord injury himself and seeing the need for physical support and hope. After years of extensive physical therapy, Andrew felt destined for a mission: to help others who suffered an injury like him. In 2008, he and his wife, Kirsten, founded Triumph Foundation with a simple desire: to bring hope, resources, and mentorship to people who are dealing with paralysis.

Triumph Foundation provides the following programs:

Newly Paralyzed Support
Care Basket Outreach
SCI Support Groups
Grants and Equipment
Keep Moving Forward Grants
Equipment & Supply Exchange
Adaptive Sports & Recreation
Wheelchair Sports
Outdoor Adventures

The support provided by Triumph is not just for the initial phases, when the injury/disease occurs, but as a lifelong support network. Additionally, the non-profit group is a force within the entire disabled community. Many consider Triumph the go-to organization for people living with mobility impairments throughout Southern California.

Let ‘Em Roll Casino Night

Triumph Foundation is hosting its 7th annual Let ‘em Roll Casino Night at a new location, the Universal Hilton located in Universal City. All proceeds will benefit Triumph Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to minimize the obstacles for children, adults and veterans that suffer a spinal cord injury and other forms of paralysis. Guests will be treated to prime rib dinner, music, dancing and silent auction. They will also receive $500 in chips to play Blackjack, Craps, Roulette or compete in a Texas Hold ‘em Poker Tournament.Triumph Foundation is hosting its 7th annual Let ‘em Roll Casino Night at a new location, the Universal Hilton located in Universal City. All proceeds will benefit Triumph Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to minimize the obstacles for children, adults and veterans that suffer a spinal cord injury and other forms of paralysis. Guests will be treated to prime rib dinner, music, dancing and silent auction. They will also receive $500 in chips to play Blackjack, Craps, Roulette or compete in a Texas Hold ‘em Poker Tournament.

“For the last eight years, Triumph Foundation has partnered with people who become paralyzed to assist them with triumphing over the new challenges they face and restoring life,” founder Andrew Skinner said. “The Let’em Roll Casino Night brings the entire community together for a night of fun and celebration of our accomplishments. We make quality of life a reality for people.”
This year, Triumph will be honoring Dr. Ann T. Vasile with the Outstanding Service Award for her work serving the paralysis community. Dr. Vasile is currently medical director of Tustin Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation, Paradigm medical director and a partner at Rehabilitation Associates Medical Group. She is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Spinal Cord Injury Medicine. She has received numerous honors, including U.S. News and World Report’s Top Doctors and The Best Doctors in America.

Last year, the Let’em Roll Casino Night had more than 350 people in attendance and raised close to $100,000. Needless to say, this is not a typical gala event. It is inspirational, impactful and powerful. Friendships are built, funds are raised and lives are changed.

The fundraiser is open to the public. Sponsorships and tickets can be purchased at http://SupportTriumph.org, or checks can be made to Triumph Foundation and mailed to 17186 Hickory Ridge Ct., Santa Clarita, CA 91387.
Event sponsors and silent auction items are needed. For more information, visit www.Triumph-Foundation.org or call Andrew Skinner (661) 803-3700.
WHO:                Triumph Foundation

WHAT:              7th annual Let’em Roll Casino Night Fundraiser

WHEN:              Saturday, August 26, 2017 5 p.m. – 12 a.m.

WHERE:          Universal Hilton              555 Universal Hollywood Dr.            Universal City, CA

Female Athlete of the Week – Mariah Lopez

| SC Living, Sports | August 10, 2017

A former student at Saugus High School, Mariah Lopez pitched for Team USA at the World Softball Confederation Junior Women’s World Championship last week. She was pivotal in the Americans’ gold medal run, pitching 7 1/3 innings, striking out 16 batters, and walking none. USA outscored their opponents 99-9 for the tournament, and went 9-0 to take home first place.

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Non Profit of the Week – Carousel Ranch – Heart of the West

| SC Living | August 10, 2017

It’s not too late to get your tickets to Heart of the West on Saturday, August 26, 2017. With only two weeks to go, guests can expect an evening featuring one-of-a-kind live and silent auction items, catering by Salt Creek Grille and, of course – what it is all about, a demonstration by a few of the riders from the ranch. Following the auction, guests will enjoy “Heart of the West After Dark” with a live band, dancing, casino and fun for everyone.

This has been an incredible year for the ranch, centered around growth. In fact, this is the greatest period of growth the organization has experienced in its 20-plus year history. The addition of the Ranch’s new Ready to Work! (RTW) program has taken the program from serving 80 children weekly (in the equestrian program) to now serving an additional 40-50 in the course of a year in RTW!

Guests who attend the Heart of the West event can expect a night to remember, knowing that as you enjoy your dinner under the stars, your generosity makes a huge impact on a child’s life. When you are the highest bidder on the auction, not only do you win, but a child does as well. Each auction bid, every drink at the bar, every donation made – goes directly toward a child’s therapy.

The following story explains the difference your support makes in the life of a child.

Courtney Golin (pictured) has been a part of the Carousel Ranch family since she was eight years old. She was the surviving child of triplets and her parents were told that she would never walk or talk. In the words of her mom, “We were devastated. Rather than grieving for the child we did not have, we decided to challenge this wonderful gift, Courtney. All we wanted for our little girl was for her to have a functioning role in society.”

Courtney’s mother recalls what led her to Carousel Ranch: “She did not set any of the ‘normal’ milestones. She did not speak until she was four and her words were limited. She began walking at age five with a walker. A few years later, we found Carousel Ranch and our world has never been the same. At first, Courtney had fits when we would arrive for our lesson. It was a battle, much like going to the doctor for immunizations. She knew exactly where we were going and what was expected of her. After the third lesson we saw a grin and light in Courtney’s eyes that we will never forget. She got it! Over the years, Courtney has blossomed from the little girl who needed a walker to a fully ambulatory, dancing and independent, bowling 23-year-old young woman. Her language has developed and she now talks back and gives us attitude. She has an opinion, a voice.”

Her mother added more: “Courtney’s struggles are not over. She continues with many medical problems as well as developmental and cognitive issues. She cannot read or write more than her name. She is continuing to define her role in this world as she goes through life’s challenges. She never wanted a job and the Ready to Work! program has given her the opportunity to learn about job preparation and training. She now knows what it takes to become a valuable employee and the responsibilities of having a job. She loves getting up and putting on her Ready to Work! uniform. She has a new sense of confidence as a young adult providing a service to others and working in the tack shack. Carousel Ranch has given her the inner strength to accomplish goals, overcome obstacles, joy and work with amazing staff and horses.”

Get your tickets today at www.carouselranch.org or by calling 661-268-8010.

Carousel Ranch is dedicated to improving the lives of children and young adults with special needs. Through both equestrian therapy and vocational training programs, the program strives to create an atmosphere where every student can and will succeed … a place where therapy is disguised as fun.

Hero of the Week – Lisa Hamblen Jaserie

This month, Carousel Ranch has lost a dear friend — Lisa Hamblen Jaserie. In 2001, Carousel Ranch had lost its lease and literally had nowhere to move. With only days to spare, Lisa heard the news and opened their home and family ranch to the program, saying yes before she ever even met us. For four years, her home was our home on Ravenhill Road until we found our own permanent ranch in Agua Dulce.

We honestly cannot even begin to express to you how grateful we are for everything that Lisa and this amazing family did for Carousel Ranch. Looking back at the loss of our lease and having to move … it now seems that maybe there was a bigger reason for it all. If none of that had happened, Lisa, Kim and Suzy would not have been in our lives. Somehow there always seems to be a reason for everything that happens.

So many wonderful things happened to Carousel Ranch while at the Hamblen Family Ranch on Ravenhill Road. We have amazing memories of our time there, and friends that we might never have met, had we not landed in exactly that location.

Without Lisa and the entire Hamblen family, Carousel Ranch would simply not be the program it is today, as we were truly days from giving up and having no choice but to close down. Lisa, her mother Suzy Hamblen, and daughter Kim Jaserie are truly amongst those that we owe so very much.

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.” –Unknown

This quote is so true. We will never forget Lisa and her amazing heart. She was so very special and will continue to live in the hearts of our children.

Male Athlete of the Week – Kai Caranto

| SC Living, Sports | August 10, 2017

Former Santa Clarita resident Kai Caranto is a member of the USA Baseball 12U National Team. Last week he hit a three-run home run against Chinese Taipei in the U-12 World Cup title game on Sunday. The homer was part of a 7-2 victory over the Chinese team. Caranto also pitched two scoreless innings, and allowed just two hits to close out the game.

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Athletes of the Week

| SC Living | August 6, 2017

Kayla Konrad

A graduate of Valencia High School, three-sport athlete Kayla Konrad was named The Signal’s “Female Athlete of the Year.” In her VHS basketball career, she scored 1,897 points — the most in the history of the school’s girls’ basketball program. Last season Kayla averaged 21.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 3.4 assists. She also played volleyball and lacrosse for Valencia. Now she’s headed to the University of California, Davis.


Mike Montgomery

A Hart High School graduate and pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, Mike Montgomery pitched the final inning in a 2-1 win over Milwaukee last week. He allowed no runs or hits, registered his third win, and improved his ERA to 3.78 for the season.

Montgomery was a first round draft choice out of high school in 2008. He’s made a Major League name for himself with a save in Game 7 of the World Series, which brought the Cubs their first championship since 1908.

Mike pitched for the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays organization, and was traded to the Seattle Mariners in 2015. He then pitched for the Mariners in 2015 and 2016, before being traded in mid-season to the Cubs.

Non-Profit of the Week: American Wild Horse Campaign

| SC Living | August 5, 2017

by Grace Kuhn

The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is the nation’s leading wild horse advocacy organization. AWHC is dedicated to defending America’s wild horses and burros by protecting their freedom, preserving their habitat, promoting humane standards of treatment, and securing their future on our western public lands for generations to come as part of our national heritage.

The organization creates and implements humane solutions to keep wild horses wild and safe while increasing the public’s awareness of, and appreciation for, America’s wild herds as part of the ecological and cultural landscape of the American West.

AWHC programs address threats that endanger wild horse and burro populations on our public lands. Such threats are presented by government agencies and policies that seek to round up these American heritage animals, remove them from their homes on the range, warehouse and/or sell them for slaughter and, in some cases, eradicate them entirely from our public lands. The non-profit group’s primary focus includes:

Education and Advocacy — AWHC raises the bar on the public’s knowledge about wild horses and burros and the need to save them through face-to-face community outreach and online and social media organizing. Its grassroots base has grown 100 times since 2011, and the organization’s social media presence now exceeds 600,000. AWHC is not just raising awareness; the charity is also mobilizing public support to protect wild horses and burros and change current unsustainable and inhumane government management policies.

In-the-Wild Management — Partnering with the Nevada Department of Agriculture, AWHC aids in implementing the world’s largest humane management program for wild horses in the world. The cornerstone of this program is remote darting of wild mares with a scientifically-proven birth control vaccine to humanely reduce population growth rates and decrease population numbers over time. This highly successful program is a model for humanely managing large wild horse populations in large habitat areas and an alternative to costly and inhumane roundups and removals of wild horses from the wild.

Legislation — A team of lobbyists from both sides of the political aisle work together to address the current threat in Congress of legalizing the mass killing or slaughter of America’s wild horses. This lobbying effort, paired with the grassroots mobilization campaign connecting constituents to their elected leaders empowers them to promote policies that protect wild horses and burros from capture and slaughter.

Litigation — Working with a legal team at the public interest law firm, Meyer Glitzenstein and Eubanks, AWHC has amassed a strong record of legal victories in federal court, including three significant legal precedents at the Ninth and Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. These legal victories have affirmed that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management cannot turn public lands over to private interests and has broad discretion to manage wild horses and burros without rounding them up and removing them from their homes on the range.

In addition to protecting the wild horses and burros living on public rangelands in the western states, AWHC serves the majority of Americans who value these national treasures and want to see them preserved and protected as mandated by the unanimously passed Wild Free-Roaming Wild Horses and Burros Act of 1971. The latter includes the 50 coalition partners that join them in their work, as well as individual wild horse and burro advocates, members of the wider equestrian community, photographers and artists, and outdoor recreationists.

Only the power of the people can defeat the powerful special interests that want to eradicate and slaughter our remaining wild horses and burros. You can join the work of AWHC to protect them. Visit AmericanWildHorseCampaign.org or find the organization on Facebook and Twitter.


Non-Profit of the Week: Santa Clarita Valley Photographers Association

| SC Living | July 27, 2017

Made up of both amateurs and professionals, the Santa Clarita Valley Photographers Association is a group of dedicated photographers that meet monthly to learn about photography and share images. Members are from Santa Clarita and adjoining communities. Besides monthly meetings, members plan day trips and quarterly overnight excursions for the purpose of exploring and expanding their skills. Those have included an excursion to Death Valley, a trip to Cambria, and participation in expositions at the Valencia Town Center and City Hall. Print and digital image competitions are held at least twice a year.

The majority of SCV Photographers Association members are amateurs at all skill levels of photography, while some members also belong to the Professional Photographers of America, the National Association of Photoshop Professionals, and other organizations. Whether you are just starting out with your first camera or are a seasoned professional, SCVPA has much to offer.

Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month from 6:45 p.m.-9 p.m. (approximately). The group meets at the Sierra Hills Clubhouse, 28616 Kenroy Ave. in Canyon Country. Guests are always welcome.

The club is “dedicated to advancing the art and business of photography,” said SCVPA President Kevin Karzin. “Our purpose is to create an environment among photographers that will inspire each of us and to help one another grow as business professionals and/or artists.”

The club was started in 2002 by a small group of professional photographers as the Santa Clarita Valley Professional Photographers Association. After a few years it was opened up to non-professional photographers and the name changed to SCVPA.

The club is both social and professional. The bylaws say that the objectives are to “advance photography in all its branches, both as an art and as a profession” and “create, foster and maintain cordial relations, cooperation, and interchange of thoughts and opinions among its members.”

All of the approximately 60 members are invited to the meetings, and about 35-40 attend on average. The general public is invited to attend as well, and the first meeting is free.

The SCVPA 2017 Spring Print Competition winner images will be on exhibit from now through November 21, 2017 at Santa Clarita City Hall. The annual competition is open to the public. It takes place every May and the rules and entry information are uploaded to the website by March.

The club also sponsors two digital competitions and a folio competition annually that are open to members only and take place during the monthly meeting. Monthly meeting agendas are a mix of guest speakers, workshops or one of the competitions. All events, field trips and meetings are posted on the SCVPA’s website calendar and on the Facebook page.

For more information, visit the group’s website: SCVPhotographers.com or find the organization on Facebook, where many members post their photos.


Photos by SCVPA members: top, “The Poppy Eater” by Denise Jensen; left, “Smattering of Wildflowers” by David Green; right, “Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk” by Chris Hoefflin

Athlete of the Week: Maya Gadbois

| SC Living | July 27, 2017

The youngest racer to ever qualify for the UCI BMX World Championships, 4-year-old Maya Gadbois of Santa Clarita is already a stiff competitor.

“Maya has been raised around bikes and BMX tracks ever since she was born,” said her father, Chris Gadbois. “She tried her first balance bike at the age of 1, and entered her first balance bike race, or strider race, at just over 2 years of age.”

Both Chris and Maya’s brother, Charlie, are racing competitors and the Gadbois family has taken many trips to Hermosa Beach and El Segundo to ride bikes on the strand.

“During these rides Maya would be in one of those baby trailers, which she absolutely HATED!” Chris said.

Maya rode her first pedal bike race at 2 1/2 and made her national debut at the Silver Dollar National in Las Vegas when she was just 3 years old.

“My daughter is a fierce competitor on the track, then proceeds to switch as quickly as possible to play mode in between races with the other riders,” Chris said. “Her nickname is ‘The Warrior Princess,’ because she really is tough as nails, with a ‘no fear’ attitude, but she loves to dress like a princess and will often accessorize her BMX outfits, becoming the perfect fashion diva.”

During the summer, the family spends downtime at Hurricane Harbor and the beach a few days a week.

“BMX is a very family-oriented sport and no one sits on the bench,” Chris said. “The benefit for us is that both of (our) kids LOVE being on their bikes, and racing.”

Today, Maya races at least three days a week, training with BMX Hall of Famer Eric Rupe, along with her brother Charlie. She does conditioning at Ignition Fitness in Santa Clarita with Jim Johnson.

Chris seems to be enjoying the process. He said, “I am a truly lucky dad to have such an amazing daughter!”

Athletes of the Week: Shawn Gallagher, Chloe Castaneda

| SC Living | July 21, 2017

Shawn Gallagher

Canyon quarterback Shawn Gallagher looks for an opening during an 11-on-11 man practice at Valencia on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

As the quarterback on the varsity football team at Canyon High School, Shawn Gallagher, a junior this year, is expected to lead the way.

“Shawn has not only taken on the role of quarterback with passion and enthusiasm, but has also showcased intangibles that are hard to duplicate within the football world,” said Rich Gutierrez, Canyon High School football coach. “Outside of that, he is a dynamite kid and an absolute pleasure to be around. I am excited for his future within Cowboy Football and beyond.”

Shawn grew up watching the Canyon Cowboys program, which he said is nostalgic for him.

“Being brought up from youth to play for this organization has been a true blessing,” Shawn said. “Having a receiving corps like Carson Strickland and Roland Hardson has allowed me the opportunity to use my skill set along with theirs to create big plays and a lot of consistency.”

Shawn said he plans to be counted on by his coaches to turn the tide after the Cowboys’ rough season last year.

“The coaching staff really pushes us to become great football players and even greater men,” he said. “The chance to be a cowboy is once in a lifetime and this upcoming season I hope to bounce back as a group and put Canyon’s name back out there with the best of them.”


Chloe Castaneda

This member of the Santa Clarita Blue Heat scored the first goal against the Houston Aces, and scored a second goal to break a 2-2 tie. The Blue Heat went on to win 4-3 and the team is currently 8-0. They have a sizeable lead in the UWS West Conference, and are the only undefeated team left in the league.

“Chloe is one of our best players,” said Carlos Marroquin, owner of the Santa Clarita Blue Heat. “This past game her performance was incredible! She scored two goals and fought the whole game! We are extremely happy to have her with the Blue Heat.”




Non-Profit of the Week: SCV Sheriff’s Foundation

| SC Living | July 13, 2017

Everyone has seen local sheriff’s deputies working in various roles and locations within the Santa Clarita Valley. But there is more coming from these professionals than law enforcement.

In 1984, a volunteer organization was formed by citizens in the community to assist local law enforcement in a tangible way, purchasing equipment and crime prevention materials, as well as raising funds to help the Civilian Volunteer, Law Enforcement Explorer and Reserve Deputy programs at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

In addition, the Foundation has purchased equipment and provided help in accomplishing the law enforcement mission in the Santa Clarita Valley. Some items the Foundation has purchased are:

•Computer Equipment
•Gym Equipment
•Drunk Driving Trailer
•Training Video Equipment
•Child ID Kits
•Search and Rescue Radios
•Night Scopes
•Helicopter Equipment
•Posse Donations
•Women’s Self-Defense Classes/Equipment

More information about the foundation is available online at scvsheriffsfoundation.org.

Gatsby Fundraiser
The Roaring ‘20s is this year’s theme of the SCV Sheriff’s Foundation fundraiser July 20 at the Newhall Mansion in Piru.

“This will be an evening to remember,” said Ken Wiseman, president of the volunteer foundation whose mission is to provide tangible assistance to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station in protecting the SCV. “We’re inviting everyone to wear their best ‘Roaring ‘20s’ outfits and enjoy an evening of great food and entertainment in an amazing venue, while helping to provide our sheriff’s station with valuable resources to help keep our communities safe.”

Proceeds from the event will enable the foundation to purchase equipment and help SCV Sheriff’s Station personnel accomplish the station’s law enforcement mission. The Gatsby-themed event begins at 6 p.m. and includes a hosted cocktail hour, a served surf and turf dinner, band music reminiscent of the ‘20s and ‘30s, casino-style games and more. Entertainment will be provided by the Bill Macpherson Band and D’Wilfri Dance Art & Entertainment.

The Victorian-style Newhall Mansion, just a few miles west of Santa Clarita in Piru, was built in 1890 and is perhaps most famous as the former home of Scott and Ruth Newhall, who owned The Signal newspaper and painstakingly rebuilt the mansion to its original specifications after a devastating fire in 1983.

“This is an important fundraiser for our organization and we’re glad to say it’s almost sold out,” said Bruce and Gloria Fortine, event co-chairs. “We’re encouraging all supporters of our outstanding local law enforcement to book their reservations as soon as possible so they don’t miss out on the fun.”

Tickets for the 2017 Gatsby Gala are $250 each, and a table of 10 is $2,500. Event sponsorships are available at $5,000, $7,500 and $10,000 levels, each of which comes with an escalating set of perks. There will be no live auctions or opportunity drawings at the event, as it is designed to allow guests to enjoy a special evening of dining, entertainment and mingling at the Newhall Mansion.

Reservations and sponsorship details are available by calling (661) 705-7592 or via e-mail at mmelendez@amsfulfillment.com.

Sponsors already signed on to support the event include: Princess Cruises, Accurate Freight, AMS Fulfillment, Bruce and Gloria Mercado-Fortine, California Resources Corp., Elliot and Judy Wolfe, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation, Learn 4 Life, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Merchants Bancard Network, Newhall Mansion, Numatic Engineering, Santa Clarita Studios and The Signal. Additional event support is being provided by the Bank of Santa Clarita and Lundgren Management.

Athletes of the Week: Shawn Gallagher and Abbey Weitzeil

| SC Living | July 13, 2017

Shawn Gallagher

Canyon quarterback Shawn Gallagher looks for an opening during an 11-on-11 man practice at Valencia on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

As the quarterback on the varsity football team at Canyon High School, Shawn Gallagher, a junior this year, is expected to lead the way.

“Shawn has not only taken on the role of quarterback with passion and enthusiasm, but has also showcased intangibles that are hard to duplicate within the football world,” said Rich Gutierrez, Canyon High School football coach. “Outside of that, he is a dynamite kid and an absolute pleasure to be around. I am excited for his future within Cowboy Football and beyond.”

Shawn grew up watching the Canyon Cowboys program, which he said is nostalgic for him.

“Being brought up from youth to play for this organization has been a true blessing,” Shawn said. “Having a receiving corps like Carson Strickland and Roland Hardson has allowed me the opportunity to use my skill set along with theirs to create big plays and a lot of consistency.”

Shawn said he plans to be counted on by his coaches to turn the tide after the Cowboys’ rough season last year.

“The coaching staff really pushes us to become great football players and even greater men,” he said. “The chance to be a Cowboy is once in a lifetime and this upcoming season I hope to bounce back as a group and put Canyon’s name back out there with the best of them.”

Abbey Weitzeil

Abbey Weitzeil, team USA swimmer and former swimmer for Saugus High, swam 24.74 seconds in the 50 meter freestyle Final at the Phillips 66 National Championship in Indianapolis, Indiana.

After what she had expressed was a rough transition into college after the Rio Olympics, Weitzeil finished in second place with her time, qualifying for the World Championship roster with her runner-up finish. She will be competing next month in Budapest, Hungary.


Athlete of the Week – Trevor Bauer

| SC Living, Sports | July 8, 2017

Former William S. Hart High School pitcher Trevor Bauer now plays for the Cleveland Indians. Last week the Santa Clarita native pitched 6.1 innings, struck out three batters, and allowed just one earned run, in the Indians’ 5-3 win over Texas. With the victory, Bauer has 7 wins for the season.

Described by Hart High baseball coach Jim Ozella as “one of the most decorated and dedicated student-athletes to play at Hart High School,” Trevor’s academic skills enabled him to leave Hart early, following an All-CIF junior year, to pitch at UCLA. His junior year of college he was named Pitcher of the Year for the Bruins and selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the MLB first round.

Queen Nation Takes Audiences Back

| SC Living | July 7, 2017

Like many of the past popular Concerts in the Park in Santa Clarita, this week’s band will bring up nostalgic feelings for some members of the crowd. Queen Nation will take the stage on Saturday, July 8 at 7 p.m., a group that has been hailed by critics as one of the best re-creations in the world of the ‘70s sensation Queen.

It is the opening performance in the annual summer concert series at Central Park, located at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus.

Queen Nation is a tribute to one of rock and roll’s most successful bands. Lead vocalist Joe Retta recreates the iconic style of Freddie Mercury, and guitarist Mike McMannus nails the legendary riffs of Brian May, producing a live experience that some say could rival the original.

Concerts in the Park are free events put on by the City of Santa Clarita every Saturday night from July 8 through August 26. The family-friendly atmosphere allows residents and visitors to sit back, relax and enjoy the music all summer long.

Concert-goers are encouraged to bring beach chairs and blankets and food vendors will be on site selling a variety of concessions and snacks. For more information on Concerts in the Park, visit Santa-Clarita.com/Concerts.

Non Profit of the Week – L.A. SummerFEST

| SC Living | July 7, 2017

Next week is the opening of the 8th annual LA SummerFEST, an eclectic, free, cultural festival of music, theatre and community events. The LA SummerFEST brings together musicians, performers, and three non-profit organizations and even local churches for 14 events in 5 weeks, presented at the Rivendale Park and Open Space in Towsley Canyon. The free events include: an Evening of Praise Music (Saturday, July 22) with local churches, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Family Promise of Santa Clarita Valley; a Singer-Songwriter Concert (Saturday, July 29), with some of the best singer songwriters in Southern California; A Night at the Opera (Friday, August 4) with Center Stage Opera; Blues FEST (Saturday, August 5) presented in coordination with the SCV Blues Society; and Jazz at Rivendale (Sunday, August 6).

Also part of the LA SummerFEST is the free Shakespeare in the Park production, which this year is “Othello.” Performances are Fridays and Saturdays, July 21, 23, 28, 30, August 11, 13 and a special performance Saturday, August 12. Free Shakespeare in the Park is a tradition that reaches back nearly 30 years in the Santa Clarita Valley. Originally founded by David Stears with another theatre company, the tradition continues under the banner of the Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival.

The site is a park setting with wood chips. Audiences are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket, and a picnic. Beer and wine will be available at the performances, and food trucks will be available at select performances.
The company is working with the City of Santa Clarita.

“The LA SummerFEST grew out of the Shakespeare in the Park performances,” Stears said, the company’s founder and executive director. “We were bringing the stage, lighting and sound to create a venue for the Shakespeare performances, (and) we thought we could make the stage available for other community performances.”

The LA SummerFEST works with the City of Santa Clarita, and is supported from “pass the hat” donations, local contributions, and sponsorships from local businesses. SCSG is also working with the city to create a more permanent performance space at the Rivendale site.

While most all the performances are free and family-friendly, there are two events where tickets are required: the GALA Opening of the Festival, which includes dinner, wine and desserts; and the annual Broadway review, Something Old Something New, presented be Leslie Berra and her company of hand-picked singers. This year’s concert includes favorite Broadway, pop, and rhythm and blues.  Both events raise funds to support the festival and the SCSF educational outreach programming.

This year the LA SummerFEST is offering more to patrons coming to the festival. Audience members can reserve a FREE “ticket” for an event, which will guarantee them entry. For a small donation, patrons may also reserve “Prime” blanket space for four. Patrons who don’t want to bring a blanket and chair can now reserve a table and chair for the events. And for VIP treatment, patrons may reserve a private table with a glass of wine and selected deserts.

For more information about LA SummerFEST and to reserve tickets visit www.LASummerFEST.org. You can also “like” the festival on facebook at  facebook.com/LASummerFest.

During the year, the Santa Clarita Shakespeare presents an extensive educational outreach program, providing free and low-cost programs to local schools. Last year their production of “Scrooge’s Long Night” reached more than 10,000 local students. This year their original adaptation of “Wáli Dád, the Grasscutter” is expected to reach nearly 11,000 local students. If your school is interested in scheduling a performance, you can book now by contacting education@scshakespearefest.org.

Whether during the summer with a free summer series, or providing outstanding programming in our local schools, Santa Clarita Shakespeare is dedicated to bringing the best professional theatre to our community.

Santa Clarita Shakespeare is a 501(c)(3) community benefit organization. For more information about the Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival, visit: www. SCShakespeareFEST.org or follow on Facebook: facebook.com/SCShakespeareFest.

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