Bo & the Bluesdrivers Tell Me More

| Tell Me More | July 18, 2014

Led by world-class guitarist “Bo,” the Bluesdrivers considers its group a “band of brothers.” Bo and friends J.J. Garcia on drums and Brian “Chewy” James on bass and vocals are gaining a following in Los Angeles and its surrounding area.


Before moving from Florida to L.A. 14 years ago, Bo, who likes jazz, funk, soul and rock & roll, performs such originals as “Out in the Streets,” audience fave “Walkin’ in the Park,” tasty instrumentals like “Sea Song” and “Chillin,” along with well-chosen covers of classics by Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Pink Floyd and ZZ Top, among others.


The Bluesdrivers backbeat is provided by the stalwart team of J.J. and Chewy, who have worked together for close to two decades, performing in the band Stone and currently with the steadily growing rock group Judge Jackson. The longtime rhythm section have several national tours under their belts and a resume that includes collaborations with famed horror director John Carpenter, both on-screen and as part of the soundtracks for his films, including Vampires and Ghost of Mars. Judge Jackson has performed and recorded music that has appeared on a variety of TVshows, movies and sporting events, including Fox Sports and Super Bowl XLV.


For more information call 818.203.9694 or email [email protected].



The Historic Rock Inn

| Tell Me More | July 14, 2014

In addition to its unusual location (out in the boondocks, some say), Lake Elizabeth’s Rock Inn, is more than just a restaurant. You also might ask, “Is it worth the drive?”

Well, only if you like hearty food, a casual atmosphere, and a lot of space. The dining area is one big room with a pool table and vaulted ceilings. The servers are very friendly, and dress is casual. There is plenty of room for groups to meet – in fact, there is a patio area, plus a balcony, plus a kind of “den” upstairs, where an AA  meeting was occurring on this writer’s visit.

The rooms for overnight stay (which appear to get little use) are about as folksy you can get, and with a price tag of approximately $75 a night. Beds are topped with quilts, and there are shared bathrooms. Some rooms have sinks – a retro green one in one of the rooms. It has a cabin-like feel.

Drive up to form your own opinion. The Rock Inn is bound to strike people differently. It is located at 17539 Lake Elizabeth Road in Lake Hughes. Contact: (661) 724-1855.

New Stores at Westfield Valencia Town Center

| Canyon Country Magazine, Tell Me More | July 14, 2014

In addition to new tenants on The Patios this year, including LYFE Kitchen, Solita, and CA Fish Grill, there are new retail stores coming in the next year, says Stacie House, marketing director for the mall. If popularity is any indication, one such store should appeal to residents from teenage to 50 years old.

“The next 12-months will bring anticipated additions to the center that we believe the community will be very excited about” says House. “We will welcome several new tenants, including H&M, as well as a handful of new restaurants. We are looking forward to the future of Westfield Valencia Town Center as we carry out our vision to be the best shopping center and lifestyle destination in the best community.”

Westfield Valencia is located at 24201 West Valencia Blvd. in Valencia.

Hearth and Home, tell me more

| Tell Me More | June 6, 2014

Local contractors shared some of the trends they have been seeing in home repair and remodeling lately. Most claim an uptick in business when the housing market tanked. A lot of residents seemed to forget selling their homes and, instead, put money into improvements and remodels. Local contractor Gene Elson has been hired to do quite a few residential projects, many of them bathroom remodels.

When it comes to tile choices, Elson says that customers are getting a “spa” inspired look by requesting large tiles – such as 12-inch by 12-inch for walls and 16-inch x 16-inch on floors. Elson also says that he has been installing a fair number of track lighting fixtures.

The contractor pays a lot of attention to detail. When he installs a free standing Jacuzzi tub or shower door next to the countertop, he designs it so that it doesn’t leave a small area in between, which makes it harder to clean. Elson welcomes the opportunity to redesign the space, not just do an installation.

The Roles of Rick Herbst – tell me more

| Tell Me More | June 5, 2014

By Martha Michael

While the role of husband and father are the most important to Canyon Country resident Rick Herbst, the one that is most widely known is that of “Ric Lansing” on the daytime drama, “General Hospital.”

“When I studied acting in New York, I remember (friends remind me of this), I’d say, ‘I’m never going to act on a soap.’ It’s the wish/dream of every young actor. Personally, I didn’t want to, but once I got in it, I learned: if you’re bringing truth and realism to it and your own personal investment, it is what you were trained to do. I know what the stereotype is – over the top, highly dramatic medium, but it’s very instinctual – one of the best training grounds for every actor. I had friends say, ‘I could not do what you do, bro. We shoot a page a day. You guys shoot 80, a hundred pages a day.’”

Herbst, whose professional name is “Rick Hearst,” has a way of pointing out the tremendous advantage he has by working on a soap, at the same time acknowledging it is not the pinnacle of most actors’ careers.

“You learn to literally absorb the material, get really good at memorization,” he said. “Every moment isn’t a golden nugget of art. Sometimes just a moment of time you’re trying to present.”

There has been a lot of discussion about the role of daytime dramas, a.k.a. “soap operas,” in today’s media-saturated world. Some, including “All My Children,” for example, have moved to the Internet. Herbst has a handle on the climate change, and has given it a lot of thought.

“It’s still a very viable medium,” said Herbst. “The view on it has shifted. It’s not the old days of the cave-ins, this and that. Reality television has caused us all to know what’s coming. To surprise anybody with anything is very challenging. That’s why you see the rise in reality television. I think people want to get lost in a story. It’s a new form of soap opera.”

Herbst described how popular actor James Franco came to “General Hospital,” portraying a temporary character. “He brought  his own set, was there for awhile and developed a large fan base that he never had,” said Herbst. “I’ve been in this medium for a very long time – production costs caused us to adapt and change.”

Pets for Patriots

| Tell Me More | May 5, 2014

Pets for Patriots
Linking animals to veterans is a win-win situation. Veterans get a new friend and animals gain a home.
The website offers interested parties some participating veterinary locations and adoption agencies. You simply input your zip code. Locations are available in hundreds of cities.
Says the Petsforpatriots.com website:
Our goal is to give the most overlooked pets a second chance at life by helping them get honorably adopted by veterans and service members: adult and special needs dogs and cats, and large dogs. The hard truth is that a majority of these types of animals will be killed or, if in a “no kill” facility, can face near permanent homelessness.
Pets eligible for adoption in our program must meet one of the following criteria:
 Dog or cat, two years or older
 Special needs dog or cat, e.g., birth defect, disability, chronic medical condition, old age, etc.
 Large dog (40+ pounds at the time of adoption), regardless of age
To be eligible for our program benefits, a Pets for Patriots-approved veteran must adopt a pet that meets one of the above criteria from any of our approved adoption partners.

Beth Zimmerman is the founder, executive director and chief executive officer of Pets for Patriots. According to the website, Zimmerman is the inspiration behind Pets for Patriots. Growing up, her family home was never without a dog or two, always adopted from local shelters. Seeing so many dogs and cats at risk of death had a profound impact on her, and she always felt saddened that she couldn’t save them all. As a result of these experiences, Zimmerman developed an abiding passion for animals, particularly those that were neglected, abused and unwanted. She dreamed of one day saving every shelter animal in the country so that they could know the warmth and security of a forever family. At the same time, her family shared more than a love of animals; patriotism ran deep in the Zimmerman household. Her parents impressed upon all their children an abiding respect for our nation’s history, as well as for its veterans, service members and military families.

Zimmerman brings more than 25 years of corporate and entrepreneurial experience to Pets for Patriots, including a decade as a practicing architect and more than 10 years as a business and branding strategist for companies such as First Data Corporation, Western Union, Pacific Gas & Electric and many others. In founding and leading Pets for Patriots, she is dedicated to healing at both ends of the leash by helping the most vulnerable shelter dogs and cats get a second chance at life with veterans who need a new best friend.

Beth Zimmerman is the proud co-parent of Bunny, a senior Beagle mix, and still dreams of saving every shelter animal in the country – a vision she now hopes to realize through Pets for Patriots, one pet and one veteran at a time.

Petition Wars: What People Were Saying at City Council Meeting

| Gazette, Tell Me More | April 29, 2014

Patti Sarpizio at City Council – Just wanted to make sure that all of you got copies of these photographs. Alright, I’m here tonight because I’m a very concerned resident of the city of Santa Clarita. I’m sure you’re aware that people are collecting signatures for a referendum against City Ordinance 14-02 the now Metro billboard agreement. I’d like you to know what’s happening since the beginning of the referendum process. There is illegal activity going on in our city to prevent citizens, voters, the right to exercise to petition their government. The laws regarding a referendum are clearly spelled out in California Election Code section 9241. There are people in the city who have the lawful right to collect signatures. Who are paid to do such a thing and it is totally legal to do that. There are also people here who have been paid to block the signature gathering process. The blocking activity stepped up after the Metro executive committee meeting in which the Metro executive committee extended this issue for 30 days. Residents, multiple residents, have observed incidents where petition blockers have started arguments with shoppers, signature gatherers, people who have registered, many people have registered unsubstantiated complaints to store managers against people who are properly behaving and collecting signatures. I’d like for you to take a moment to look at the pictures I’ve provided with you tonight. The first picture is a photograph taken at Carl Boyer Dr. Wal-Mart. The woman in the black hat, I’m going to call her Black Hat Lady because I don’t know her name and the black woman there. The Black Hat Lady is a petition blocker. The black woman was falsely accused of batter, she did not touch the Black Hat Lady who was exercising her right to collect referendum signatures.  Picture number 2, same woman, Black Hat Lady, different blouse, different day. Man standing beside her, All Vision executive who is involved in the 50-year contract with the City of Santa Clarita. Picture number 3, a swarm of blockers who are blocking the petition gathering process, this happened yesterday at Target on Golden Valley. Picture number 4, Black Hat Lady again, happened today at Stater Brothers Market, blocking a petition gatherer’s lawful right to gather signatures on this referendum. The sheriff of Santa Clarita has been called several times and several times, many times, check their log, since Saturday, the day before Easter. We’ve collected names, and phone numbers, photographs and videos, of petition gatherers, shoppers, and other residents who have observed the unlawful obstruction of the Democratic process to sign a referendum and to collect signatures on the referendum. We can verify that blockers have been hired by Citizen’s Solution. Blockers have refused to show their petitions which is against the law. I would like to know what our City Council is going to do about this. I would like to know what the sheriff of Santa Clarita is going to do about this?

Alan Ferdman at City Council Meeting – …I would like to talk to you about the oath the majority of you took just this evening. In it you pledged to protect the Constitution of the United States and California so I ensure you would tell me you will protect the rights of our citizens to make their voices heard through use of the lawful referendum process. Unfortunately, California Law sets the bar so high it takes a team of lawyers to put it together and a staff of workers to obtain a required number of signatures equal to a number larger than the number of residents who voted in the last City Council election. As with any issue there will be people opposed and they have the right to voice their opinion as well providing that they do so in a lawful, reasonable manner. Yet today we see paid blockers who harass those individuals collecting signatures, harass our residents, and hamper the Democratic process. This is not the atmosphere Santa Clarita needs, wants, or deserves. You as our Councilmembers can quickly remedy the situation with a simple letter addressed to All Vision indicating your dissatisfaction with this method of doing business and demand they discontinue the process of blocking our citizens from exercising their constitutional rights. I think it’s a very important issue and I hope that you take action extremely quickly. We need to and must keep Santa Clarita free of practices to trample on our citizen’s ability to exercise their rights as so indicated by law. Thank you very much and I hope you take action very quickly.  

Steve Petzold – I speak to the same concerns that Patti and Alan had. You may have seen the email I sent you on Monday morning very concerned about the harassment that we’re been having out with the petition gatherers at the various locations here across Santa Clarita. I personally feel that it would be helpful if the city issued a statement or a press release saying that the petition gatherers are acting in a legal fashion and that they should be given protection by the county sheriff. We don’t have a lot a lot of detail about what happen during the arrest on Saturday. Today I got a report that there was blockers down at Trader Joes so I went down there and in fact there  are 3 individuals who are blocking the petition gatherers at Trader Joes. It was up to a private security guard from Copper Hill to hold back and restrain the blockers from harrassing the petiton gatherers. I called the non-emergency number at the Sheriff’s office and then told that officers were responding to the Trader Joe’s location yet during the 15 or 20 minutes I was there, there were no officers that came. I’d like Sherrif Johnson here to take the opportunity to address the coucnil and let them know exactly what the policy is of the Sheriff’s department relative to the harrassment of petition gatherer’s at Trader Joe’s. thank you for your consideration of this issue and I think it’s important especially with the upcoming Cowboy Festival I think the petition gatherers should be given a place and guidance as to where they can locate themselves outside this highly attended location.

Joe Montes City Attorney: With regard to the Cowboy Festival, the United States Supreme Court, in a similar situation involving a county fair has outlined the rules appropriate for signature gathering activity at an event that is a paid admission, city sponsored, event. the city is able, for purpose of safety and traffic flow, is able to designate an area where individuals who are interested in doing that activity can undertake that activity. City staff has looking at appropriate areas, one has been in the parking field and one in the event itself. Anybody going into the event itself will have to buy a ticket but there will be a designated area within the event and also in the parking field. It is important that the signature gatherers understand that they need to stay in those areas because this year especially we do have a slightly different layout at the Cowboy Festival there will be different traffic concerns in terms of moveemnt of people and there are a lot of buildings constraining the site. So we want to make sure that the traffic flow continues to move and the areas that will be designated will be areas where lots of people will be moving past so that shouldn’t be a concern. With regard to the blockers, the cases I’m familiar with regard to collecting signatures for referenda are on private and shopping centers all deal with the situation of the store tryin to restrict the activities, not dealing with other individuals who may be advocating not signing the petition to the extent there is a physical altercation between individuals out there and it rises to the level potentially of a criminal concern and that would be within the perview of the sheriffs to address.

TimBen Boydsten: Mr. Montes, with regard to the signature blockers, you are not aware of any state law or any city law that has any penalty for people that would be interfering or trying to stop people from signing signatures for a referendum or petition?

                Joe Montes (in response): I am not, I am aware that with regard to the Penal Code there are certain provisions that deal with blocking pedestrian traffic on public property, I’m not aware of a similar rule with regard to private property. Again it might be the Sheriff has some insight into exactly what level of interference constitutes a violation of the Penal Code to their policy, but I’m not aware of a specific Penal Code section or City Ordinance that would deal with this situation.

                TimBen (response) : Is it possible for your office to look and see if anything from the state with regard to that you may not be aware of since you got this at the last minute?

                Montes (response): That’s at the pleasure of the council, we can certainly do that.

TimBen (end response):The other thing, for me, whether there is you know, the billboard referendum is successful  or not has become a secondary question as far as I’m concerned. It is very disturbing to me that we have people coming in from out of town that are seeking to block people from signing a referendum at all. I think the Democratic process wherein we have the right to petition our government is sacred and it is unfortunate that it is taking place within the City of Santa Clarita. I know it is taking place within the City of Santa Clarita because I have a firsthand experience with people who are paid to try to stop people from gathering signatures and my wife equally was harrassed by someone who, that is appaently their job because they are seen around town. Whether you’re for or against the billboard deal i think we’re past that with regard to this. This is, this is where people are just trying to put their right down, people should have the freedom and the ability to go and sign a petition for anything. This is Amercia and it disturbs me a great deal and I don’t know is there any way that the city has a legal right Mr. Montes, to address a letter to the All Vision company who is a possible future business partner to tell them that we do not approve of this?

                Montes (response):well in terms of a legal right certainly the city can send any letter the city would like to send. If the council is going to give direction to send that letter I think that may have an agenda issue, that’s not an agencised topic for tonight but certainly if there were some violation of the law that were discovered I think that all the parties would be put on notice

                TimBen: Would my fellow councilpeople be amenable to putting this on the agenda for the next meeting. (silence) Do I have any support for that from anyone? Putting the, a discussion of a letter to a possible future business partner with regard to how they’re conducting business at this time in our city.

                Councilmember in response: I believe I heard the City Manager indicate that there’s going to be a follow up with our Sheriff’s department on this matter and I think we ought to leave it at that.

                TimBen (in response): I’m not hearing enough support from the council to put that on the agenda then I cannot do so.

Later in the evening:

Berta Gonzalez-Harper: Okay, this time around I have to be a little less nice. I am responding to people who were here regarding the “so called” (hand motions) blockers of petition gatherers. Okay, I can’t speak for every person at every location but the woman in the black hat is a local resident. I met her for the first time on Saturday when I arrived at the Wal-Mart in Canyon Country while they were loading a woman who was screaming at the top of her lungs, ‘I ain’t done nothing!’ And I asked her (woman in the black hat) what had happened, she told me what had happened, another woman standing with her, also a local resident told me she had a shopping cart pushed into her the day before. I personally, I’m a local resident, I’m not paid by anybody to do anything, spoke with nine, nine, petition gatherers. Out of the nine, one was civil and respectful when I declined and said why I was declining. Every one of the other ones provided incorrect information such as, ‘sign this and the billboards will come down,’ ‘sign this because they made a backroom deal and you guys were aced out of it and they’re going to do this whether you like it or not,’ and tons of comments like that by people from Kentucky, I ask! Florida, Illinois, two brothers from Missouri so don’t tell me that this is a pristine, local grassroots effort because it’s not. And just as you Mr. Boydston say that they have the right to gather those petitions, I as a resident, have the right to say, you are not telling people the truth  and this is why and you don’t have to like it so it’s not as one sided as you are trying to portray this. These people are lying to people and trying to get people to sign these petitions under false pretenses. As a matter of fact this reminds me an awful lot of that whole library 30,000 petitions that all these people signed that included my name, the one person that really was never going to sign that petition. So I caution you, be careful of who you guys lay down with because you’re not only going to come up with fleas you’re coming up with mange.

Triumph Foundation Ambassadors

| Canyon Country Magazine, Tell Me More | April 7, 2014

Here are some of Triumph’s Ambassadors:

Anthony Orefice
Bobby Rohan
Will Matay
Melissa Allensworth
Domonic Corradin
Janette Knudson
Alvin Malave
Michele Altmirano
Alex Romero
Olivia Almalel
Robert Tyler
Tim Cleveland
Michael Garafola
Erik St Amant

Your Animal and Anesthesia

| Tell Me More | April 4, 2014

By Dr. Amanda Gillen

Placing animals under general anesthesia is one of the riskiest, and most common, procedures we perform on pets daily. Even routine procedures, such as spaying and neutering, require the placement of your pet under full, general anesthesia. General anesthesia carries its own risk, regardless of whether your pet is anesthetized for 10 minutes, or for three hours.

You want to reduce the risk of complications with anesthesia, so become an educated consumer of veterinary medicine before you make any decisions. Ask your vet, call around, and inform yourself, before making the decision to place your pet under anesthesia.

There are fewer risks of complications for surgery if the following precautions are taken. Prior to the procedure:

Your pet is fully examined by your veterinarian and evaluated as to level of anesthetic risk. A repeat of this evaluation by your veterinarian, not an assistant or technician, must be done within 12 hours of anesthesia, as required by law. This repeat evaluation is performed right before anesthetic drugs are administered to your pet.


Any necessary pre-anesthetic work-up (blood-work, radiographs, EKG, etc.) is done as close to the procedure as possible. If too much time has lapsed, it may need to be repeated. This work-up is vital to determine if additional precautions are necessary. It helps us determine which anesthetic protocol and drugs are most appropriate for your pet.

A pre-anesthetic blood panel is required on all pets. The older the pet, the more parameters that need to be checked. Peri-operative IV fluids are required on all pets.

Pre-emptive pain control greatly helps speed up the recovery process. It is easier to manage pain before it begins than to catch up with treating it after. Make sure some type of pain control is used (butorphenol, morphine, fentenyl, buprenex, metacam, etc.).

One of the biggest risks to anesthesia is a drop in blood pressure to the kidneys. This can be avoided by using peri-operative IV fluids via an intravenous catheter and monitoring blood pressure every few minutes. Often the effects of low blood pressure during anesthesia are not immediately obvious, but show up later in life as early kidney, or liver disease, seizures, etc.

Advanced Care Animal Hospital staff calls you the day before to remind you about your scheduled drop-off time and  to fast your pet (not applicable to young puppies or  kittens) beginning that night.

During the procedure:

Newer inhaled gas anesthetic agents (isoflurane or sevoflurane) are used. Separate, sterile surgical packs, fresh scalpel blades, needles, and suture are used for each individual patient.  Everyone in the surgical suite is capped and masked, and anyone moving in the surgical field is gowned in a sterile cap and gown.

At Advanced Care Animal Hospital, your pet is monitored at all times by someone other than the surgeon and that person is skilled in monitoring anesthetic depth via respiration, heart rate, pulse strength, oxygen saturation, jaw tone, eye position, etc. State-of-the-art surgical monitors are placed on every patient while anesthetized, and a Registered Veterinary Technician monitors the patient, and the monitors.  The surgical suite has a higher pressure in its ventilation system, compared with the rest of the hospital, to keep “bad air” out.

Anesthetic drug protocols are tailored to each individual patient, and to each individual procedure. A “one-size-fits-all” approach to anesthesia is a recipe for disaster. Make sure your vet has different anesthetic drugs available, and anesthetic protocols are being used for different patients and procedures.

After the procedure:

Your pet is monitored through its post-anesthetic recovery. The immediate post anesthetic recovery is when most anesthetic complications can occur. At Advanced Care Animal Hospital, an experienced, registered, anesthetic technician is dedicated to your pet, to ensure a smooth, problem-free, recovery, until your pet is fully awake. A circulating warm air blanket, and comfortable bedding, is provided for your pet’s recovery. As soon as your pet is stable enough to go home, we encourage our pet owners to pick them up, as pets do better with recovery at home, whenever possible.  Post operative pain medications, plus antibiotics as needed, are administered.  Upon discharge, you receive instructions for at home care as well as how to administer medications. Plus, a re-check appointment is made for staple/suture removal and to evaluate the recovery status of your pet.

We encourage you to call at any time following surgery with questions or concerns (or to leave a message out of hours).

Our hospital has a staff member call the following day to make sure your pet’s first night post-surgery was acceptable. Talk with the doctor performing the surgery about the procedure as well as follow-up care. Also, help your pet recover faster and more comfortably by giving it properly prescribed pain medication for a few days after surgery.

While low cost spay/neuter clinics abound, and these clinics are able to provide surgical services at lower cost, this is only achievable by not following most, if any, of the precautions above. At Advanced Care Animal Hospital, the safety, and well-being of your pet, are paramount.

Dr. Amanda Gillen is the owner and veterinarian at Advanced Care Animal Hospital, 19406 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country. Contact ACAH at (661) 263-4334 or visit www.advancedcareanimalhospital.com.




Tell Me More on Andrew and Triumph Foundation

| Tell Me More | April 4, 2014

Triumph Foundation

Triumph's group of care basket building elves: Black Olive, Melissa Allensworth, April Hickey Reeves, Tony Mavros, James Rohan, Janette Knudson, Kirsten Hatchel Skinner, Nadine Adair, Andrew Skinner, Chris Rohan, Julie Skinner and Anthony Orefice at Triumph Foundation.

Triumph’s group of care basket building elves: Black Olive, Melissa Allensworth, April Hickey Reeves, Tony Mavros, James Rohan, Janette Knudson, Kirsten Hatchel Skinner, Nadine Adair, Andrew Skinner, Chris Rohan, Julie Skinner and Anthony Orefice at Triumph Foundation.

Ambassadors & Other Volunteers
There are about 20 core members of Triumph Foundation who are “ambassadors,” according to founder Andrew Skinner.  “They aren’t involved in everything every day, but when we do a major hospital outreach, they are our core,” he said.

Triumph held a Christmas Party at its monthly SCI (Spinal Cord Injury) Support Group that meets at St. Jude Center for Rehab & Wellness in Orange County. There were group discussions, socializing and a raffle for presents. Volunteer Ambassador Tony Mavros of MobilityWorks attended almost every event.

Triumph had 20 volunteers come over to build 100 Care Baskets and Backpacks to deliver to people who were newly paralyzed and were going to spend their Christmas in the hospital. Our elves set-up a production line of resources, goodies, and small presents and constructed each basket with love.

Dr.Sarah Fraley is not only on staff at the hospital as a psychiatrist and the coordinator of the Long Beach VA’s SCI peer support

Dr. Sarah Fraley

Dr. Sarah Fraley

program, but she is also a very active member of Triumph Foundation attending events and helping them as a volunteer building Care Baskets, etc.


More on Andrew & Triumph

Triumph Foundation stretches as far south as the Saddleback area, out to San Bernardino, up to Bakersfield, up to Santa Barbara and down to Long Beach.

“What I enjoy mostis  when I bring a care basket, that tool kit tothe  newly injured,” says Andrew Skinner. “Seeing them again a few months or years later to see how far they’ve come from the initial visit, to see them triumph…get their lives moving again – even if they don’t have 110 percent improvement physically, it’s also emotional. The foundation’s named “Triumph”  number one, because we always wanted to be solution-oriented, not just to be a shoulder to cry on. We provide that kind of support, but we want to be more than that to people when they become paralyzed. It’s a slogan for what we’re trying to do. My family has always ridden also (Triumph Motorcycles, British bikes).”

Raising capital has always been Skinner’s biggest obstacle. “We are a small charity, with big hearts but not the pocketbook to match,” he says. “We’ve always been outreach first. Then figure out how to fundraise to accomplish it.”

This Memorial Day weekend is “Wheelchair Sports Day” at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex. It’s the third annual — a two-day event. “It’ll be fun – wheelchair hockey, raquetball, basketball,  also art and painting, creative stuff.  We want to provide some sort of outlet to change their focus. There will be a resource fair also. The goal is to not only introduce them to the wild world of adaptive athletics, but introduce them to the programs.  It’ll be information that’s relevant to disability community.”

The Sanctuary

| Articles, Santa Clarita Living, Tell Me More | March 7, 2014

sanctuary4“Now is the winter of our discontent.” This is the first line from Shakespeare’s “Richard the III.”  Steinbeck borrowed this phrase for his last novel, “The Winter of our Discontent.”

I was reading this book and thinking about the winter of 2013, the bone chill brought on by the year’s loss of family members, the holiday blues. There were the frantic celebrations with family and friends that put one year out of its misery and summoned the strength to begin another. W2s arrive in winter and the tax man cometh soon. All of these things independently jumped, unseasoned, into a pot and began swirling around together, so I began to, well… stew.

I’m not normally a person that stews about things or stirs up the pot. I like to put a sanctuary3spoonful of sugar and a dash of sunshine to my recipes. But, clearly there was need for more than a shopping spree at a crowded mall. I needed sanctuary. So, Steinbeck and I were off to the ocean.

It’s a 1 ½ hour drive north on the I-5 through the grapevine to the 46 West towards Paso Robles. Once on the 46, I stopped at a market to get a drink and some gas. James Dean made his last stop here before dying in a car crash on this road. Well, that wasn’t making me feel any better. I drove carefully for another 1 ½ hours past wineries, oil wells, groves and fields of produce. At Paso Robles you go north on the 101 for about one hour, past Carmel and Monterey, until you reach the Marina turn off. Then it’s a good 30 minutes across agricultural lands until you reach…The Sanctuary.

sanctuary6“The Sanctuary Beach Resort” is situated on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary on the Monterey Peninsula. It is not the view of craggy cliffs and windswept trees normally associated with this region, but a view of endless soft, silky, soothing sand dunes. The view of the beach goes on for miles without a person or building in sight. It is the only time I have felt so alone with the ocean. At night the hotel lights a bonfire in the pit, where guests gather to spin their stories. My ocean view room was built on the sand surrounded by native plants. People from all of Monterey County come to the nearby park to watch the intense sunsets. Here windsurfers take flight, gliding with the seagulls over the ocean.

The Sanctuary, with its kid’s playground and pool, is great for families. Traveling with someone who requires a wheelchair, however, is difficult, due to all the sand.

sanctuary5Upon check-in you are assigned a golf cart and asked to park your car in the lots near the lobby. This is a nice touch for peace and quiet within the resort. This property leases certain rooms to “Windmark” for its “time share travelers.” But, there are no pitches or prizes given here. The Spa is simply a space to do massages, so don’t expect the full spa experience of saunas, indoor Jacuzzis, and steam rooms. The hotel rooms are either Deluxe or Junior Suite, and the Suites have additional square footage for a seating area. But all the amenities, including a refrigerator, coffee, robes, toiletries and fireplace, are the same.

Three days and nights I sat reading Steinbeck upon a sand dune, staring, as the waves rolled in and out. Heading back to the 101, I first stopped in Salinas. Steinbeck was born here, and at his home (now a National Landmark) I ordered lunch by the sanctuary1fireplace where he once put pen to paper. I finished my lunch and closed the chapter on this trip.

Once home in Santa Clarita, I opened a bottle of ale and Shakespeare’s Richard the III. What the ale! What Shakespeare actually says is, “Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by his son of York, all the clouds that low’rd upon our house in the deep bosom of the ocean buried.” SO, this is NOT the winter of our discontent. No need to simmer and stew over things. All our troubles have been buried in the ocean! The time for unhappiness is past!

The Sanctuary received the 2012 Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Award.
For more information about The Sanctuary visit www.thesanctuarybeachresort.com
sanctuary2Or call toll free: 877-944-3863


By Marilyn Hackett

Become a Health Coach!

| Tell Me More | March 6, 2014

As Nathan was shrinking and getting healthy, I was observing Nathan and nursing our son. About six months later, I began the program for myself and loved it so much, right off the bat, that I decided I wanted to become a health coach during my second week on the program! I was ready to share the amazing feeling of health and wellness that was spreading throughout my life and my family’s life!

While I lost 50 pounds, I was helping others lose weight, get off of meds, and develop healthy eating habits! Family, friends, and even acquaintances, were asking how Nathan and I did what we did. All we did was share our story!

It is easy to become a health coach! Just share your story, your knowledge of the Habits of Health and your enthusiasm with someone just like you! Studies show that mentoring others helps you to stay accountable and successfully maintain your own healthy habits.

Take Shape for Life is a field-led organization, with Dr. Anderson as the medical director and co-founder. We have an amazing team of health coaches who support each other, and we get direct training from our health coach and the company as we run our businesses. The training process is simple and step by step. Take Shape for Life provides the training and the tools that support success during every phase of your career.

This is such a rewarding business to be a part of! The amazing compensation plan for Take Shape for Life has afforded us the ability to increase our income and spend more time together as a family doing the things we love to do.  As a stay at home mother with an income I can tell you it is the best thing that ever happened to our family, and my goal is to share it with more families and bring more mothers home from their jobs.

 Contact: Samantha Miles, Certified Health Coach at 661-877-5347 or email [email protected] or visit http://slimmiles.tsfl.com/explore.

Samantha’s Story

| Tell Me More | March 6, 2014

The story of Nathan and Samantha Miles had some turns in the road. Samantha explained it for Santa Clarita Living Magazine:

My family’s journey with Take Shape for Life began in November of 2011. We had a good friend who had become a health coach to help her parents who were struggling with health issues and were on six different medications, each for diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol. While speaking to our friend one day, I discovered that she was a health coach, and I asked her if she thought she could help my husband.  

 My husband, Nathan, had been the “heavy” child and adult all his life, and had tried a variety of diets. None of them seemed to have any consistency and real results. Nonetheless, he figured it couldn’t hurt to try one more thing!

 Nathan quickly noticed that this program was far different from any “diet” that he had tried in the past. First of all, it was an optimal health program and he and his coach had conversations that focused on creating habits of health in his life, not just focusing on weight loss! Secondly, he was losing weight! Not just a little – a lot! He was able to feel satiated from the food and not have the same cravings that in the past had tempted him! He was actually “detoxed” from all of the sugar and refined carbs that he was previously addicted to. He quickly realized that this was a program that he could not only do, but that could change the way that he looked at his health forever!  

 Besides losing 90 pounds, Nathan has discovered a fondness for eating six small meals a day and that he gets a lot more energy from healthy eating. He has also developed the healthy habits of motion and healthy sleeping patterns. Take Shape for Life literally gave him a new outlook on life!



| Tell Me More | March 6, 2014

By Rabbi Mark Blazer

The central meaning of Passover is liberation, and hence, it is also called zeman heiruteinu—the season of our liberation. We understand liberation, politically—the move from slavery to freedom, as well as through spiritual transformation—the transition from the idolatry of our ancestors to the religious liberation eventually experienced through the Exodus and the giving of Law at Sinai. At the root of both of these liberation experiences is God. In Judaism’s view, slavery draws legitimacy from idolatry; democracy is ultimately grounded in the God-given dignity of every human being. Totalitarianism, the total worship of any human creation, is the idolatry of our time. The God who created and loves us gives us freedom as our right and denies absolute authority to all human governments and systems.

Another name for Passover is hag ha-aviv—the holiday of spring. Following the bleakness of winter, spring marks the rebirth of the earth with the bursting forth of green life. Pesach is a celebration of rebirth and hope that annually reminds us that no matter how terrible our situation, we must not lose hope.

A favorite song during Passover is a litany called Dayenu. This rousing liturgical piece is a list of the miracles that God performed from the Egyptian Exodus through the restoration of the Israelites in their homeland.


On one level, Dayenu reminds us of the cumulative manifested power of God during this experience of liberation, but on another, it also reminds us that there were stages in this historical drama. Taken further, Dayenu, reminds us that even in our own lives we need to take one day at a time. All change takes time, and occurs incrementally, a little bit each day. Whether its rehabilitation from illness, recovery from addiction or reaching any of our personal goals, after each step we say Dayenu—this was a good day and I’ll take it.

But, we never forget our final vision. We can’t be trapped being self-congratulatory, and we cannot make our steps, our transitory stages, our final stop. We must always remind ourselves that for all our successes, we haven’t completely realized our dreams. And that’s why the last words of the seder are always “L’Shana Haba’ah B’Yerushalayim-Next Year in Jerusalem.”  Tomorrow will be even greater.

Temple Beth Ami will be celebrating a FREE community Seder the second night of Passover, Tuesday night, April 15 at 6:00 p.m., led by Rabbi Mark Blazer and Cantor Kenny Ellis. Call (661) 255-6410 for information and reservations or visit www.eventbrite.com/e/santa-clarita-community-seder-free-tickets-2509100788.


Calling All Creatives!

| Gazette, Tell Me More, Uncategorized | March 5, 2014

You have some upcoming opportunities…

The ARTree has a heavy hitter coming to speak to attendees at its upcoming meeting on March 19. Glenna Avila, artistic director of CalArts Community Arts Partnership, will be guest speaker at the meeting, held at 6:30 p.m. in the Old Town Newhall Library.

Glenna Avila created one of the highly visible murals created in Los Angeles for the 1984 Summer Olympics. She now shepherds arts education programs that reach thousands of youth in Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.theartree.org.

NAME THE STAGE at SummerFest!

L.A. SummerFest at Rivendale is the home of the Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival, and they are building a new outdoor stage. Community members have the chance to sponsor the stage.

 The Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival has received a grant from the City of Santa Clarita to assist in securing a new stage of the growing festival. The new stage will be a temporary and portable stage. The new stage is expected last for the next 5 years or so until a more permanent performance space is built. Contact the organization for more information:email davidste[email protected]



Decorate Recycling Bins for the Chance to Win Cash Prizes

Community members are invited to use their imagination and creative flair to transform an everyday curbside recycling cart into a work of art for the City’s cArt aRt Competition, which promotes reusing and recycling household items. Residents, families, school groups, clubs, teams, church groups and other organizations are encouraged to participate in the competition, which is open now through Monday, March 24, 2014. 

All cArt aRt submissions will be on display at Earth Arbor Day on Saturday, April 12, 2014.  Winners will receive cash prizes in the following categories: Grand Prize $200; Most Creative $100; Best Local Flair $100; Best Green Theme $100; and Fan Favorite $50. 

Artists must provide everything used in the art project, with the exception of the recycling cart, which can be painted or left natural. 

Participants must complete an entry form before receiving a FREE container from Waste Management.   Containers that once held hazardous waste products cannot be used in the competition, including used containers of paint, oil pesticides, cleaning products and chemicals.

All entries must be submitted between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. at the Environmental Services booth at the City’s Earth Arbor Day event. The 2014 Earth Arbor Day celebration will be hosted at Central Park on Saturday, April 12, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Contact Laura Jardine in the City’s Environmental Services Division at (661) 255-4376 for information.


College of the Canyons will host “Indie Saturday,” celebrating independent filmmaking. The public is invited to the film event this Saturday, March 8 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Besides the screening of films created by COC students and K-12 students, “Indie Saturday” will also screen Ramon Hamilton’s powerful film “Smuggled” and Sheila Sofian’s animated documentary “Truth Has Fallen.”

The location for the film fest is in Hasley Hall, Room 101, on the college’s Valencia campus. For information, contact Jennifer Brezina at (661) 362-5919 or at [email protected].


Sierra Hillbillies Square Dancing

| Tell Me More | February 27, 2014

Started in 1967, the Sierra Hillbillies took its name from the Sierra Hills housing tract in Canyon Country. The group has remained active for decades, sharing vacations and even an appearance in the Pasadena Rose Parade! They are currently a group of about 50 participants, many of whom love to go camping.

The non-profit organization promotes Western Square and Round Dancing, and accept participants — single or couples. The group meets regularly, the first Sunday of the month from 2-5 p.m. at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center. They begin with round dancing, from 2-2:30, then “square up” until 5 p.m.

The group visits other square dancing groups as well, and they accept visitors from other clubs. To find out more, visit sierrahillbillies.org.

Celeb Quotes from Celebrity Waiter Dinner

| Gazette, Tell Me More | February 27, 2014

Celebrities at the Celebrity Waiter Dinner:

Tippi Hedren, famous for her starring role in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” and operator of the Shambala wildlife preserve in Acton, made an appearance Saturday night at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center Celebrity Waiter Dinner. Also Charles Howerton, best known for his Grumpy Grandpa role in Oscar Mayer commercials and reality star Luis Pizarro of “Operation Repo.”

Hedren, of Acton, said she was pleased to support such a “fabulous event for a wonderful organization.”

Howerton, of Woodland Hills, said he had “a great time” at the event. “This is really fun,” he said.

“Grumpy Grandpa’s” sentiment was echoed throughout the evening by guests who proclaimed the event, “the best party in the Santa Clarita Valley.”

Pizarro said he was happy to attend the event. “We’re all going to be seniors one day,” he said

Where in the World is Wolitarsky?

| Articles, Tell Me More | February 8, 2014

Drew and Rex

When Drew Wolitarsky came home to Santa Clarita for his winter break from University of Minnesota, he ran across a lot of strangers and acquaintances, in addition to his friends. A lot of adults stopped him around town – most that he knew, and some he didn’t.

When Drew went out to eat with one of his good friends in Canyon Country, he was approached, as usual, by a couple of local residents. They asked about school, football, etc. Drew chatted with the visitors, who were  familiar and friendly, comfortably acquainted with him, but they were totally unfamiliar with Drew’s friend…who was their neighbor!

AMS Fulfillment: An Unusual Business

| Canyon Country Magazine, Tell Me More | February 7, 2014

It’s a huge company that works with numerous clients, movies thousands of pieces of merchandise…but it doesn’t own any of its products.

AMS Fulfillment

“We are a third party warehouse,” says Steven Helmle, vice-president of business integration for AMS. “We receive orders from our clients’ customers.”

The company owns large warehouses, where its customer base has storage, enabling AMS to do business with even large, big box stores, such as Macys and Target. “It’s a key business-to-business and business-to-consumer services company.”

AMS Fulfillment also hosts annual and twice-yearly warehouse sales. “That’s a completely different part of our business,” says Helmle. “We do sales sometimes twice a year, sometimes more – it’s more for our clients. It’s a great way to move gently used returns, or overstock instead of storing it.”

The discounts can be dramatic, says Helmle. “A lady’s handbag that retails for $150 can go for $25,” he says. “A few times a year we have multi-client sales – where you find everything from soccer gear to a lady’s handbag.”

These warehouse sales sometimes draw 2,000 people. “We generally have a huge warehouse sale in the beginning of December,” he says. “Occasionally we do a huge sale for Toms shoes. Those sales are out of control. People literally show up the night before and camp out. One of the sales was 7,500 people. Over 300 people camped out. They did an email blast – took their customer list all the way as far as San Francisco, down to San Diego. They have a huge following. A few yrs ago we rented a warehouse for it.”


Visit www.AMSFulfillment.com.

Albertson’s Cuts Half of its SCV Stores

| Tell Me More, Uncategorized | February 6, 2014

On February 20, two of the four Albertson’s stores in the SCV will close their doors. Both the Canyon Country store and the Albertson’s in Stevenson Ranch will leave this valley, due to a lack of customers.

Sheriff Lee Baca’s Blog Post

| Gazette, Tell Me More | January 30, 2014


When Sheriff Lee Baca decided to step down in early January, the department was swirling in controversy which will take time to be investigated and resolved. When Baca announced he would not be running for another term, he posted on his blog the following:


“As your elected Sheriff for the past 15 years, I have held fast to the Core Values of this great department.

And they are:

“As a leader of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, I commit myself to perform my duties with respect for the dignity of all people, integrity to do right and fight wrongs, wisdom to apply common sense and fairness in all I do, and courage to stand against racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and bigotry in all its forms.”


This, and more, are located on the site: http://www.lasdblog.org/sites/page_render.aspx?pagename=shq_blog


Tony Strickland Responds to State of the Union

| Gazette, Tell Me More | January 30, 2014

It’s easy enough to criticize a politician’s words…especially when he/she is on “the other side” politically. It is better when someone has some alternate solutions.

After this week’s State of the Union address by President Obama, one of the critics was Tony Strickland, a congressional candidate in the 25th District. Here is what he suggested:

“Income inequality cannot be addressed with new government social programs. The real solution to income inequality is a strong economy with sustained job growth. Over the past five years this President has stifled, suffocated and tied our economy up with red tape and government bureaucracy.  His failures have created a stagnant economy with high unemployment and when a huge section of the economy is unemployed, of course there is income inequality.  In Washington, I will fight for conservative policies that will create a thriving economy with real job growth.”

Wolitarsky Family Mourns Loss

| Gazette, Tell Me More | January 30, 2014

When Drew Wolitarsky left for college last summer, he would learn the commitment level expected of college level football players. The record-setting receiver from Canyon High School now attends University of Minnesota, where he had a successful season playing for the Gophers.

Sadly, the Wolitarsky family lost Drew’s grandmother and, since he was thousands of miles away, he had little freedom to mourn with his family. While the other five members of his family flew to Canada for his grandmother’s funeral,  #82 was on the football field, playing the sport he committed to when he signed on for a full-ride scholarship. Players are excused from games for very few occasions — the higher you go, the greater the expectations. How much does the ante increase at the NFL level?!

Death Cafe

| Gazette, Tell Me More, Uncategorized | January 27, 2014

Dinner with Strangers to Talk about Death

By Martha Michael

An ironic new movement has come to town: it’s an idea that is just taking its first breath, but its focus is on taking one’s last.

In an almost eerie resemblance to a wake or funeral, strangers gather for food and conversation, all with a desire to process grief, beliefs, feelings and experiences associated with death. These group discussions are called “Death Cafes,” and they are cropping up nationwide, breathing new life into the concept of death – coping with it, wrestling with it, accepting it, even questioning it.

“It is time for people to be able to talk openly and honestly about death and life in a safe space,” explains Betsy Trapasso, who is launching the movement in Los Angeles. “Death Cafes offer people this opportunity, which is why the movement is taking off all over the world.”

Death Cafes bring together people with as disparate of backgrounds and experiences as one can imagine. The first group held in Santa Clarita included a pediatric oncology nurse, grieving parents, a social worker, a Shaman, an east coast intellectual, and a gay man wrestling with his religion. Much of the discussion, in fact, centered on beliefs about the afterlife.

Says Trapasso, “Our objective is to increase the awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.”

The Death Café website and Facebook page will tell you that “at Death Cafes people come together in a relaxed and safe setting to discuss death, drink tea and eat delicious cake.”

For this community, Trapasso led a group, complete with dinner and comfortable seating and made the handoff to Lisa DeLong of Canyon Country, who is now facilitating “Death Café Santa Clarita.”


“Having this conversation in a loving, safe environment,” says DeLong, “is a great gift. Letting the process of grieving take as long as it takes.”

DeLong knows firsthand what that process feels like, as she lost her eldest child, a son named Justin, to cancer 13 years ago. And her second son began battling cancer when his age was just in the single digits. Lisa DeLong and Shawneen Rubay recently founded “Justin Time Children’s House,” a new non-profit organization designed to aid kids who are in the grieving process. (See Sidebar)

Before you consider this a foreign, bizarre topic, or think that you have to be looking terminal illness in the eye, you have to consider the scope of its relevance. Perhaps you were one of the 700,000+ likes or 34,000 shares of the Michigan bride’s Facebook page, where she posted a photo of herself, clothed in her fluffy white gown, clutching her bouquet and kneeling at her father’s grave. Or maybe you saw the viral video of the (not actually engaged nor getting married anytime soon) “bride” having the wedding dance with her dad, because he wouldn’t live to see her wedding day.

The topic literally touches everyone in this lifetime, and each Death Café experience is different, as a host of related topics reveal themselves. According to Trapasso, some Death Café facilitators choose to come with a discussion “menu” prepared, but she likes to let the conversation evolve.

“What we hope to accomplish and why we are creating a Death Cafe is to create an environment where others can speak and share about what is often considered the ‘unspeakable,’ death and dying,” explains Rubay. “We welcome the conversations in hope that the participants will feel a sense of connection and freedom to ask their questions and express their views on the subject without fear or judgment.”

While the topic seems random, it really dovetails nicely with the current culture. Nowhere else can foodies gather and combine it with one of the biggest cultural buzzwords around: conversation. After all, citizens are advised daily – whether the topic is the Zimmerman trial, same-sex marriage or political ethics – to join the conversation.

So, why not try a new topic?



For more information, visit www.DeathCafe.com and

www.JustinTimeChildrensHouse.org or find both Justin Time Children’s House and Death Café Los Angeles on Facebook.
Justin Time Children’s House

The name is a nod to Justin DeLong, the son of co-founder Lisa DeLong, who launched the non-profit organization with Shawneen Rubay earlier this year. These two women aim to provide a community in which no child has to feel alone in grief. The mission of Justin Time is to help children and families who are grieving the death of a loved one find hope and healing within themselves.

In a drop-in community space in Newhall, the staff will offer art therapy and writing workshops as part of its program, structures through which emotional support can be offered.



Shawneen Rubay, Lisa DeLong and Betsy Trapasso brought Death Cafe to Santa Clarita


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Doug’s Rant – Video Edition

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