| Canyon Country Magazine, Spotlight News | October 13, 2014

Best Pizza
Chi Chi’s
Known for its Italian specialties, including various pizzas and pastas, Chi Chi’s is a local pioneer in the business landscape of Canyon Country. First opened in 1968, the eatery has drawn faithful customers for half a century. It features a full menu and a full bar.
27117 N. Sierra Highway, Canyon Country
(661) 252-4405

Best Dry Cleaners
Darling Cleaners #2
The Ha family opened their first dry cleaners in West Hills two decades ago, then moved to the SCV and expanded their business to this easy access location eight years ago. The hallmark of Darling Cleaners #2 is the thorough, detailed quality of the dry cleaning process.
18721 Via Princessa, Canyon Country
(661) 298-7283

Best American/BBQ
Rattler’s Bar B Que
Known to residents both in and outside of the Santa Clarita Valley for a quarter of a century, Rattler’s Bar B Que draws crowds due to the restaurant’s commitment to the its loyal guests. Though its décor is clean and contemporary, the chefs still serve up favorites, including its signature rolls.
26495 Golden Valley Road, Santa Clarita
(661) 251-4195

Best Car Wash
Water Wheel Car Wash
Celebrating 32 years in business, Water Wheel Car Wash has been owned and operated by Albert Naber and his family since 1982. The detailing services have been enhanced over time, and Water Wheel staff members still give the same great service. The charitable Naber family offer more than $80,000 in fundraisers and donations per year throughout the Canyon Country community.
27567 Sierra Hwy, Canyon Country, CA 91351
(661) 251-3600

Best Acupuncturist
Kenneally Acupuncture and Healing Light Resource Center
Kathleen Kenneally has been practicing in the Santa Clarita Valley for more than 12 years and comes from a long line of doctors and medical practitioners. Together with a professional and caring staff, Kenneally Acupuncture and Healing Light Resource Center is dedicated to optimizing your health and wellbeing in a warm, safe environment. Staff members are proud to offer the highest quality of holistic care and are dedicated to helping people achieve health on all levels.
27225 Camp PlentyRd.
(661) 252-4100

Best Mexican Restaurant
Considered some of the most authentic Mexican food around, Betitos also serves up drinks and is known for its margaritas. It is coyly situated in a corner space near New World Dance in Canyon Country, but its menu has numerous variations of burritos, tacos and other Mexican fare. Many of Betitos’ patrons are repeat customers who eat there regularly.
18902 Soledad Canyon Road
(661) 251-0557

Best Asian Restaurant
Mom Can Cook
Located near the Canyon Country post office in an exotic wood building is Mom Can Cook, a favorite of locals for authentic Thai food. With an artistic interior, it has patio seating and friendly wait staff. You never leave hungry, with a menu of Siamese noodles and spicy sauces with the meats and vegetables of Thailand. Mom really can cook!
18358 ½ Soledad Canyon Road
(661) 251-8103.

Best Park
Canyon Country Park
Of dozens of Santa Clarita venues, Canyon Country Park is unique, due to its multiple uses, split levels and eye-catching views. The City Council and staff aim to provide residents and visitors with beautiful places to play, exercise, and connect with friends, family and neighbors.
17615 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country
(661) 259-2489

Best Grocery Store
Ralphs Market
The Ralphs in Canyon Country has the fastest checkout time in the store’s district. The average wait time is 13-19 seconds for a customer to reach the cashier. The full service meat and seafood department, bakery and deli are all big draws for residents, and the store boasts an active floral section. The staff concentrates on making each customer feel appreciated, and the added bonus is fuel points at Shell gas stations.
19340 Soledad Canyon Road
(661) 252-6226

Best Italian Restaurant
Marazzito’s Pizzeria and Italian Ice
This family-owned business delivers and caters homemade Italian food, including pizza with a crust recipe that is over 100 years old. The dough is a cross between sourdough and heaven. The restaurant seats 26 and the menu spans options from meatball sandwiches to rich pastas. Marazzito’s is a newcomer to Canyon Country, but already a favorite.
18921 Soledad Canyon Road
(661) 298-7323.

Best Restaurant
Piccola Trattoria
Often considered the most authentic Italian food in the Santa Clarita Valley, Piccola Trattoria combines a casual lunch and takeout service with an elegant night spot for a gourmet dinner—all in the same location. Tucked away in Canyon Country, this jewel packs in customers, easily satisfied with flavorful food served up by owner Angie and her staff, most of them from Italy.
18302 Sierra Hwy
(661) 299-6952

Best Hardware
Sand Canyon Paint and Hardware
For almost two decades, Paul Dell’Olio has served the Canyon Country community with a handy location for paint and hardware. Now moving into a more central location, “Paul’s Paint and Hardware” will make its home on the corner of Sierra Highway and Soledad Canyon Road by year’s end. Customers will continue to enjoy the personal service of local resident and expert Paul, at any location.
16680 Soledad Canyon Rd.
(661) 252-1572

Best Thrift Store
Since Goodwill opened in Canyon Country just a few years ago, local shoppers can not only find better deals than paying retail, their dollars go to work transforming lives. Thousands of individuals with disabilities and disadvantages prepare for and secure jobs each year with the proceeds from the Goodwill Thrift Stores.
22830 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country
(661) 260-1164

Best Boot Camp
Fight For it Now
Vanessa and Lyndan Coleman aim to teach their clients how to foster a healthy lifestyle, gaining strength and pushing limits, rather than focusing on a skinny body. The couple prompts others to make fitness a habit, helping them to develop a passion for exercise. Fight For it Now offers participants the support they need to stick with a boot camp program.

Best DJ
DJ Greg Barbacovi
Most locals recognize DJ Greg for his appearances at The Drifters in Canyon Country approximately twice a month. He also hosts rockin’ dance parties, often at Mabel’s Roadhouse, and has performed as DJ at nearly 400 weddings. He began working in the ‘80s and has become a nationally recognized Motocross announcer from such competitions as “Day in the Dirt” and “The California Gold Cup.”
(661) 839-7111

Best Auto Repair
Auto Doctor
Bill Haffamier at the Auto Doctor is a favorite because he streamlines the car repairs to save his customers labor costs. He guarantees his work, and his customers say he’s both competent and honest. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, the Auto Doctor has been a popular mechanic in the SCV for years.
18005 Sierra Highway
(661) 252-7005

Best Pharmacy
“At the corner of happy and healthy” is its tagline and it fits, say Canyon Country residents. The chain store’s strong points include an efficient, drive-through pharmacy and it is open 24 hours a day. Whether it is immunizations, photo orders or everyday stationery and snacks, local customers are keeping the Canyon Country store thriving.
19266 Soledad Canyon Road
(661) 251-9433

Best Hairstylist
Cary Holt
A Santa Clarita hairstylist for 25 years and resident of the SCV for 40 years, Cary Holt has a lot of local fans. She currently works at Boulevard West Salon in Canyon Country, where she enjoys creating highlights and adding color to her clients’ hair. The whole family can get cuts by Cary, whether she’s maintaining favorite looks or doing makeovers. Look up Hair by Cary on Yelp.com.
Boulevard West Salon
18515 Soledad Canyon Road
(661) 713-3788 Call or text

A Story of Wasted Water

| Canyon Country Magazine, Spotlight News | October 10, 2014

by Josh Heath
With half of California’s water storage gone and preliminary discussions about daily water rationing in the works, each drip of the liquid that gives us life has become more vital than ever.

water 3By contrast, there are currently 7 million gallons of water being released every day into the Santa Clara River—for no purpose water 2whatsoever.

Stepping in to propose a solution to this problem is City Councilmember Bob Kellar. Councilman Kellar is in preliminary talks with community leaders to recycle the water by constructing new piping to get it back to the community.

And send it where? Canyon Country Lake.

Constructing a lake in Canyon Country would entail major engineering, Kellar said, but would, in the end, provide the area with a scenic view, all the while recharging the valley’s aquifers. If such a lake were to be tacked onto the project, it is unknown how long it would take to be constructed.

No details are available about the project at this time, as Kellar stressed that talks are in their beginning stages.
“Anytime we can conserve our water and recharge our aquifers is good public policy,” Kellar said.

George Thomas, owner of Route 66 Classic Grill, is excited about the prospect of Canyon Country getting a lake, and feels it would do a lot to re-invigorate an important area of the Santa Clarita Valley.

water 1‘”It would be wonderful to get a nice scenic water feature like what they have in Bridgeport. My grandson loves it there. He likes seeing the turtles and the ducks,’’ Thomas said.

Thomas first discovered the wasted water during a bike ride along Bouquet Canyon in the center of town. Looking to his side, he saw a 42-inch pipe gushing out water. Mortified, Thomas made his way to City Hall, where Councilman Kellar informed him of efforts being made to tackle the issue. According to Thomas, a similar pipe exists off of the Old Road on the west side of the 5 freeway.

Sources say it is still too early to say which proposal is more likely and that the simple fact the problem is being addressed is promising.

‘’I’m not an environmentalist, but I realize that you can’t just throw resources away. We have for a very long time, but now the resources are becoming scarce,’’ said Alan Ferdman, president of the Canyon Country Advisory Commitee, a local political group.

The cleaned water is released into the Santa Clara River, due to Federal Law and the fact that the funds to construct the infrastructure needed to recycle it have been hard to obtain.

In total, 20 million gallons are released into the Santa Clara River every day. And 13 million of the gallons are required to be released in the river in order to maintain habitats protected under the endangered species act. It is also meant to ensure that enough water flows downstream to farmers in Fillmore and Ventura, sources said.

An equitable amount of river water must make its way to Sylmar and Ventura, or else members of that community could file suit for an equal portion of those resources, according to Lynne Plambeck, president of SCOPE (Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment), a local environmental group.

Legally called an adjudication, the long and costly process would result in precise water allocations being handed down for both Santa Clarita and the other parties who file suit.

Plambeck, also a member of the Newhall County Water District, voiced her support for a recycling of the 7 million gallons of water, saying that such an action would not receive opposition from the environmental community.

‘’Getting that water back to Santa Claritans is a vital task. It is good we are getting to it,’’ Plambeck said. “But, I think that the best way to do it is to put it back into the upper Santa water 5Clara River and allow it to recharge the water supply wells.”

Governor Jerry Brown, in an executive order this year, called on Californians to conserve their water usage by 20 percent. Recycling those 7 million gallons of water would conserve our water supply by eight percent, putting Santa Clarita halfway in line with the governor’s recommendation with that single action alone.

One big hurdle still in front of recycling the water is the cost of new infrastructure. Dan Masnada, general manager of the Castaic Lake Water Agency, stated that 5,000 acre feet of new recycling piping would cost approximately $50 million.

The Castaic Lake Water Agency had a project to recycle the water in the works, but had to delay it due to the agency’s controversial purchase of Valencia Water, according to sources. The move, which cost approximately $70 million, came under fire from members of the community who felt it unethical for the Agency, a water wholesaler, to purchase Valencia Water, a water retailer.

The Castaic Lake Water Agency had previously purchased another local water retailer in 1999, the Santa Clarita Water Agency. In response to this, the California Legislature passed AB 134 in 2001. The law stated that any further expansion of the Castaic Lake Water Agency’s retail services could only come with authorization from the Legislature. Agency officials did not obtain such authorization for their 2012 purchase of Valencia Water, according to sources.

Masnada called such accusations false, saying that regardless of the Valencia Water purchase, the money was simply not available for the project and that if the job was undertaken, consumers would not see
benefits for four to five years.

‘’We are talking huge hikes in consumer water bills with that kind of a project,’’ Masnada said.

Two new development projects, Vista Canyon and Newhall Ranch, will include their own recycling procedures, according to sources close to those plans. Local environmental groups are concerned, regardless of the recycling efficiency of the proposed projects, about where exactly the water will come from to break ground on the developments in the first place.
According to Jim Backer, president of JSB Development, the organization developing the Vista Canyon site, water will be recycled using similar infrastructure that would be needed for the Santa Clara River water. A reclamation plant will be built for the site, which would recycle all the sewer water that would come from the community.

The plant would be so efficient that it would recycle enough water to cover 100 percent of the planned community’s non-potable water needs. All potable water, or water needed for drinking purposes, would come from the Santa Clarita Water Agency.

‘’The only additional resource needed would be the potable water,’’ Backer said.

14th Annual Bow-Wows & Meows Pet Fair

| Santa Clarita Living, Spotlight News | September 15, 2014

Canine Stunt Show

Canine Stunt Show

Filling the park with pets and pet lovers for the 14th year, Bow-Wows & Meows will present its annual attractions, including The Extreme Canines Stunt Show and The Fun Dog Show, with competitions for “best vocalist,” “mystery mutt” and “pet-owner look-alike.”

Always emphasizing the importance of adoption, the Pet Fair, held in William S. Hart Park on Sunday, October 12 beginning at 11 a.m., will have more than 200 dogs, cats, puppies and kittens from all six Los Angeles County Animal Shelters. They will be discounted to $30 and ready to go home, all spayed or neutered, immunized and microchipped.

Sponsored by Natural Balance, Petcurean, Animal Medical Center and Santa Clarita Animal Hospital, the fair will feature:

Community education presentations on Spay & Neuter at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m.
Personalized ID tags and children’s bracelets
Huge “Super Raffle” at $1 per ticket
Food Truck Court with dining options                             (including vegan and vegetarian)
Shopping opportunities
Low-cost vaccines from TAGS
Free microchips from The Lucy Pet Foundation and               Free Rabies vaccines from TAGS
County pet license renewals

Aliyah_Baby_Liza“Adoption is not only cost-effective, it saves shelter animals and reduces the overpopulation problem created by irresponsible breeders and pet stores,” said Yvonne Allbee, founder of Bow-Wows & Meows, Inc. “Our goal is to give every homeless pet a second chance at a wonderful life at the fair and send the shelter trucks back empty.”

Leashed, well-behaved dogs of all breeds are welcome to attend the fair with their owners. Shuttled parking is available for people/pets by Hart Park for just $3 (main park entrance).

Since it began in 2001, the Valencia-based Bow-Wows & Meows, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, has adopted out more than 1,500 shelter pets at its annual fairs.

“Last year, the community adopted over 170 pets at Bow-Wows & Meows. This year, we have a goal of hitting or exceeding the 200 mark. With the catfantastic $30 adoption fee and the wide selection of dogs, cats, puppies & kittens to choose from plus six additional rescue groups, we believe that’s totally possible,” Allbee said.

She encouraged pet lovers to get involved by spreading the word about Bow-Wows & Meows through social media via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BWMPetFair) or Twitter (@BowWowsPetFair).

“It’s so easy to make a difference for these pets. Tweeting or Facebooking alone can make a huge impact by bringing more adopters to the fair, helping us save as many lives as possible,” Allbee said. “We can also use volunteers to help pass out posters and flyers in the community prior to the fair. For more information, visit our website at www.BowWowsAndMeows.org.”

Fair1Bow-Wows & Meows Pet Fair, Sunday, October 12 at William S. Hart Park, 24151 Newhall Avenue, Newhall. 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Free. For more information, visit www.BowWowsAndMeows.org or call (661) 297-5961. Hart Park offers shuttled parking for people/pets for just $3 and free parking remains available in the surrounding community areas.

Fall Fundraisers

| Articles, Santa Clarita Living, Spotlight News | September 12, 2014

Sept 13
An Evening Under the Stars
The Michael Hoefflin Foundation is holding the Evening Under the Stars Gala and Charity Auction for the 21st year, but with a new twist. Not only is the event moved back to its original side of the SCV — Canyon Country — but also an aerial acrobatics troupe will provide the entertainment. Supporters of the non-profit, which was founded by Chris and Sue Hoefflin and their son, Michael, who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 10, will gather at Robinson Ranch Golf Club’s 18th hole for the event. There will be a catered dinner, drinks, silent and live auctions, as well as the unique show by Bella Circo. Tickets are $150 and can be purchased by calling (661) 250-4100 or by visiting www.mhf.org.

September 20
Santa Clarita Heart Walk

This annual 5K, held at Westfield Valencia Town Center, raises money for the fight against heart disease and stroke. Registration for the Santa Clarita Heart Walk will begin at 7:30 a.m., with the program at 8 a.m. and the walk beginning at 8:30 a.m. There will be a 5K Walk/Run, 1 Mile Survivor Route, Kids Fun Zone, Live Entertainment, Health Expo, Free Health Screenings and CPR Demonstrations, Sponsor Booths and giveaways. There is no fee to participate, however walkers are eligible to receive a free Heart Walk T-shirt when they raise $100 or more. For more information, visit www.HeartWalkLA.org, email alisha.castro@heart.org or call 213-291-7094.

Oct 4
Rubber Ducky Festival
For the 12th year, the Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers will host a family-oriented fundraiser open to the public. Held at Bridgeport Park in rubber-ducky1Valencia, crowds will gather from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to watch rubber ducks “race” across the water to declare a winner. You can adopt a duck and contribute to the non-profit organization by visiting the website: www.duckrace.com/scv. Winners need not be present to win.

Proceeds benefit Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers, Inc. Duck adoption helps to support patient care for uninsured and underinsured residents of the Santa Clarita Valley. The Center’s mission is to enhance wellness to the residents of Santa Clarita Valley by providing quality outpatient health care services and programs, health education, community resources and referrals. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, vendor, or volunteer for the 12th Annual Rubber Ducky Festival call (661) 257-2339, ext. 302.

Oct 11
Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes

Participants will gather at the Mann Biomedical Park, 25141 Rye Canyon Loop in Valencia, for the walk beginning at 8:00 a.m. for registration. It is a four-mile walk that includes a continental breakfast, a light lunch, music, a healthy living fair, raffle, silent auction and entertainment.

For more than 20 years the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has raised money for the cause with Step Out. Teams can be formed with family and friends, companies, clubs/organizations, schools, or residents are welcome to walk as individuals. In the weeks leading up to the event, participants ask friends and acquaintances for donations to support their efforts and help fund critical research for a cure and educational programs in the community.

Teams are given a web page with access to tools to help raise funds for the walk. They are able to customize the page with their reasons for walking, send emails to ask others to donate, and even download Facebook and smart phone apps. For more information, contact Lori Blumenthal at (888) 342-2383 ext. 7413 or visit http://stepout.diabetes.org.

October 26
L.A.R.C. Ranch Halloween Festival

All ages are welcome to attend the L.A.R.C. (Los Angeles Residential Community) fundraiser for an afternoon of food, games and music. Held on the L.A.R.C. Ranch property, 29890 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus, the luncheon, carnival games and dance begin at 1:00 p.m. D.J. Bino Bates is providing the music. All proceeds benefit the programs, services and facilities of LARC Ranch, which provides residential and day program services to developmentally disabled adults.

Tickets are $125 each for adults and $50 for children. Family packages are available for $325, which includes tickets for two adults and two children.

Because of the extreme drought, which caused hardship for the L.A.R.C. facility, due to a huge reduction in its well water supply, the fundraiser has a heightened importance. The organization has been trucking water in to its 100-plus residents for months.

For tickets and more information about the Halloween Festival, call 661-296-8636, ext. 219 or visit www.larcfoundation.org.

L.A.R.C. Ranch was founded in 1959 by a group of parents who envisioned a better life for their developmentally disabled children. The 65-acre L.A.R.C. Ranch provides homes, recreation and social activities, and day training activity centers for developmentally disabled adults.

November 8
Light the Night Walk

This annual event for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, furthering the non-profit’s mission to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. The walk will take place at Bridgeport Park in Valencia at 7:00 p.m., following a Fall Festival with games and prizes for families.Participants carry illuminated lanterns to show support for cancer survivors and the loved ones lost to blood cancer.

For more information or to register, visit www.lightthenight.org/calso.
To learn more about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, visit www.lls.org.

PAC to Celebrate 10th Anniversary with a “Season of Celebration”

| Canyon Country Magazine, Spotlight News | August 2, 2014

Offering local audiences a “Season of Celebration,” the 2014-15 Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC) at College of the Canyons 10th Anniversary Season will feature a wealth of talent for audiences of all ages to experience and enjoy.

“The PAC’s 10th Anniversary Season of programs has been carefully crafted to offer our valued patrons a variety of artistic options from which to choose,” said Evy Warshawski, PAC executive director. “I invite you to join us as participants in this season, and engage in all that the PAC brings to this community.”

Throughout the 10th Anniversary Season, local residents will have the opportunity to experience an eclectic mix of internationally acclaimed acts and artists, without ever having to leave the Santa Clarita Valley.

“This will definitely be a year-long birthday party that you won’t want to miss,” said Warshawski.

Highlighting the 2014-15 PAC schedule are performances by:

Emmy Award-winning comedian, author and humorist Paula Poundstone — Sept. 6, 2014

Paula Poundstone

Paula Poundstone

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and co-founder of the band  Traffic, Dave Mason — Sept. 18, 2014

315publicity-(13)-color-1Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum selling country artist LeAnn Rimes — Sept. 28, 2014

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Mavis Staples —Nov. 1, 2014

Legendary wildlife expert and TV personality Jack Hanna —Nov. 2, 2014

Tony Award and Drama Desk Award nominee Stephanie J. Block — March 7, 2015

Croatian cello virtuosos Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, the 2Cellos — March 23, 2015

American folk singer and veteran songwriter Arlo Guthrie — April  12, 2015

10-time Grammy Award-winning artist Bobby McFerrin — April   18, 2015McFerrin_F copy 2

Grammy Award-winning acoustic group Carolina Chocolate Drops— May 19, 2015

In addition, patrons will have multiple opportunities to mix and mingle with their favorite artists as part of the PAC’s meet-and-greet events, often held in support of the PAC K-12 Educational Outreach Program.

The season also includes the COC Arts on Campus program, as well as the COC Art Gallery’s 2014-15 exhibition schedule.

Other acts and artists visiting the PAC as part of the 2014-15 COC Presents season include: Travis Brass, the premiere ensemble of the United States Air Force
Band of the Golden West; The Orquesta de Baja California; Hawaiian hula troop Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu; the multi-media theatrical experience Basetrack; illusionist Jason Latimer; The United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra; Rockapella; Versa-Style Dance; Lightwire Theater; Story Pirates; and Trinity Irish Dance.

As in years past, the PAC will also host a number of College of the Canyons theatre, music and dance department productions, as well as other community group performances. Those productions include “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “The Nutcracker” (Santa Clarita Ballet), “Annie” and “The Sound of Music” (ESCAPE Theatre), and the musical programs “A British Holiday,” “Mozart: Requiem,” and “Defying Gravity” with Stephen Schwartz (Santa Clarita Master Chorale).

PAC 2014-15 ticket sales are now on sale. Tickets can be purchased online, over the phone, or in person at the PAC box office.

For more information about the PAC 2014-15 season or to purchase tickets visit www.canyonsPAC.com or call the PAC box office at (661) 362-5304.

Canyon Country Civic Developments

| Canyon Country Magazine, Spotlight News | August 1, 2014

Recent Projects
The Plaza at Golden Valley was recently acquired by an affiliate of Merlone Geier Partners from Terramar Retail Centers, LLC. The 618,000-square-foot regional shopping center recently added a Sizzler and Jersey Mike’s Subs.

construction webLocal developer Williams Homes has begun grading on the “Trestles” project, located on Soledad Canyon near Camp Plenty and Whites Canyon. The residential development will add 137 single-family detached condominiums; models will be available in 2015.

Citywide Film Statistics
The City of Santa Clarita saw record numbers for Fiscal Year 13/14.  During this timeframe, the City issued 531 film permits, which led to 1,370 film days and an estimated economic impact of $33.5 million. This is the fourth consecutive year of increases in each category.

The following productions were filming in Canyon Country
in the Second Quarter of 2014:

Film-reel webTelevision
The Bridge – Sand Canyon area home
Jennifer Falls – Rancho Deluxe
Mud, Sweat & Gears – Rancho Deluxe, Sand Canyon area home
Outrageous 911 Calls – Sand Canyon area home
Perception – Sable Ranch/Rancho Maria
Ray Donovan – Golden Valley High School

A Place Among the Dead – Sable Ranch/Rancho Maria
Bounty Hunter – Sable Ranch/Rancho Maria
Curve – Sable Ranch/Rancho Maria
Good Grief – Super 8 Motel
The King’s Rook – Sand Canyon area home
Married Young – Greenbrier Estates
Seattle Road – Rancho Deluxe
Somebody to Love – Sand Canyon area home
Some Kind of Hate – Sable Ranch/Rancho Maria
Submarine Kid – Rancho Deluxe

Ashley Furniture Home Store – Carl Boyer Ashley Furniture
Napa – Sable Ranch/Rancho Maria
Outback Steakhouse – Rancho Deluxe
Subaru – Canyon Country Library (JoAnne Darcy)
Walmart – Carl Boyer Walmart, Fair Oaks Ranch Community School

Student Films
A Teenage Drama (AFI) – Sand Canyon area streets
The Sheriff of Chevron (CalArts) – Art’s Liquor
Untitled Animal Comedy (CalArts) – Robinson Ranch Golf Club

Citywide Jobs, Businesses, Sales Tax Revenues and Unemployment as of June 2014
The City of Santa Clarita added more than 3,000 jobs in 2013, according to the most recent numbers (Q4), with the fourth quarter of 2013 at 77,969, compared to 74,931 in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The unemployment rate in the City of Santa Clarita in June 2014 has decreased to 5.0 from 6.3 in June of 2013.

Current hotel occupancy rates are as follows:
June 2014
Occupancy %                        86.7%       Year to Date (78.1%)
Average Daily Rate (ADR)   $125.70     Year to Date ($115.79)

*Content courtesy of Jason Crawford, City of Santa Clarita
marketing and economic development manager

Full Circle Hoefflin Gala Returns to Canyon Country

| Canyon Country Magazine, Spotlight News | July 31, 2014

By Martha Michael
One could easily say that this year’s Michael Hoefflin Foundation Gala has “come full circle.”

Bella Circo Photo by Mari Provencher

Bella Circo Photo by Mari Provencher

Not only is it back to the community where it all started — Canyon Country — its featured entertainment this year is “Bella Circo,” an acrobatic

Bella Circo Photo by Mari Provencher

Bella Circo Photo by Mari Provencher

troupe with an aerial act, the type of performance you might find at “Cirque du Soleil.”

The 21st Annual “Evening Under the Stars Benefitting Kids with Cancer” will be held on Saturday, September 13 at Robinson Ranch Golf Club in Sand Canyon. Guests will gather on the 18th hole for a dinner, auction, silent auction, and the Bella Circo performance called “La Galleria.”

“I love Cirque du Soleil shows – I don’t think anybody out here has done this,” said Gillian Stone, Michael Hoefflin Foundation executive

Bella Circo Photo by Mari Provencher

Bella Circo Photo by Mari Provencher


After years hosting the event at the Mann Biomedical Park in Valencia, more than just a few residents from the east end of the SCV are pleased about the return of the gala.

“We had attended the Hoefflin event for years when it was located in Canyon Country. It was one of our favorite events,” said Rand Ferris of Canyon Country. “It was so convenient and was always the talk of the area. It had such a neighborhood/local feel. When they moved across town, we attended for the first couple of years, but it just didn’t have the local feel or convenience and eventually fell off of our radar. It is such a good cause and I’m excited to hear that it is returning to Canyon Country.”

Though the event was a successful fundraiser at the Valencia location, Hoefflin Foundation staff members felt it was time for a change. The catalyst for making the transition was the status of the Mann Biomedical Park, which was recently sold.
“They are in escrow, so couldn’t commit,” said Stone. “It’s nice to have a change, anyway. We looked at several sites, and Robinson Ranch almost immediately got back to me … we tasted the food and it was delicious.”

The different physical nature of the venue — the 18th hole on a golf course versus a relatively flat park that hosts numerous events — underscored the choice for a change in entertainment from previous years. The Evening Under the Stars has almost always ended with a dance to such musical acts as Eddie Money, band members from Earth, Wind & Fire, and Christopher Cross.

“The topography (at Robinson Ranch) is a little bit hilly. I decided if I take away my dance floor, then I can get my tables closer to the stage. Auctioneers have been telling me for years that we need to get people closer,” said Stone. “We’ll get people in tight, where it’s nice and flat.”

The event will begin at 6 p.m. Attendees will enjoy a dinner catered by the Sycamore Bar & Grill at Robinson Ranch, and the opportunity to bid on many unique auction items.

“We’ve been going to the Mann Biomedical Park for quite a few years … you don’t want to make changes when things are going well,” said Stone. “But we are really excited about being at Robinson Ranch. They have been so incredible, so easy to work with.”

Any changes create new challenges when it comes to planning a non-profit fundraiser, not the least of which are budgetary concerns. “This is an expensive event to begin with. We have a low budget, because we want to spend the money on the children,” explained Stone.

The troupe is designing a new show for this performance, which Bella Circo can also use at another event booked two weeks later. “And at a minimal cost,” said Stone. “It was a win-win for us.”

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 Stone. “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.”

Event co-chairs this year are Brenda Neilson from the Bank of Santa Clarita and Dan Sterkel of Nissan of Valencia. To purchase tickets or get more details about the event, visit www.mhf.org.

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.

The Rock Inn – Just a Stones Throw Away

| Santa Clarita Living, Spotlight News | July 15, 2014

Santa Clarita resident, Keith Michael at the front entrance

Santa Clarita resident, Keith Michael at the front entrance

By Martha Michael

While many in this community are marking the year that passed since the “Powerhouse Fire,” the focus on the foothills due north of Santa Clarita needs not stop there.

Just take a “Sunday drive” and wind north, either on Bouquet Canyon Road or San Francisquito Canyon, where you will eventually pass through Green Valley and reach an unincorporated community in the Sierra Pelona foothills. You may have been there for a round of golf, back when the Lake Elizabeth course was open.

Also referred to as Elizabeth Lake, the web site says the area is part of Lake Hughes. Regardless of the name, you will find yourself in a quaint,

One of the guest rooms

One of the guest rooms

little community where one of the most noticeable features of the town is an eye-catching, old, stone-covered building called The Rock Inn.

Built by Joel Hurd, Sr. in 1927 to 1929, according to www.historicrockinn.com,  the original building was a wood structure that burned down, and was later built of steel, concrete, and stone after fire destroyed the first attempt. It served
as an inn, store, post office, and gas station, in fact, it still has gas pumps as evidence of its long history of serving passersby.

Now, its dramatic doorway draws you into a casual restaurant, where locals show up frequently — both for the familiar comfort-food (hamburgers, flavorful pulled pork) and live music. A pool table takes center stage and the room is lined with booths and filled with tables. The bar/restaurant is very roomy and has unusual vintage fixtures and decor.

Bar Restaurant area

Bar Restaurant area

Guests who inquire are lucky enough to get a glimpse of the seven rooms above the restaurant, some with the luxury of balconies, even party areas. People are known to plan parties on the patio, renting the rooms for friends, so no one has to take the long, winding road home.

If it is just an afternoon lunch or a simple dinner, however, a Santa Clarita resident returns by the same route, choosing either San Francisquito Canyon or Bouquet Canyon Road back to suburbia.

For more about The Rock Inn, visit www.santaclaritalife.com and click “Tell Me More.”

The Magic of Soccer

| Santa Clarita Living, Spotlight News | July 7, 2014

by Martha Michael

Back (L-R):  Asst. Coach Francisco Perez, Mick Shaffery, Jose Pena, Jeysen Rodriguez, Niall Shaffery, Anthony Alfonso, Zack Nobles, Joshua Santana, John Linn, Head Coach Sergio Salvadori Front:  (L-R):  Arman Tagavi (may be joining team), Raul Veladez, David Hussey, Angel Acosta, Francisco Perez, Matthew Santana Not Shown:  Derek Waldeck, Blessing Stewart and Jake Chadbourne

Back (L-R):  Asst. Coach Francisco Perez, Mick Shaffery, Jose Pena, Jeysen Rodriguez, Niall Shaffery, Anthony Alfonso, Zack Nobles, Joshua Santana, John Linn, Head Coach Sergio Salvadori
Front:  (L-R):  Arman Tagavi (may be joining team), Raul Veladez, David Hussey, Angel Acosta, Francisco Perez, Matthew Santana
Not Shown:  Derek Waldeck, Blessing Stewart and Jake Chadbourne

While the World Cup may have enraptured a world of spectators, there are groups who are captivated by soccer year round, and are not satisfied with sitting on the sidelines.

That describes the SCV Magic. A youth soccer club made up of 26 teams this year, the Magic is a melting pot of talent, proven this year by the performance of the U17 team, which just finished competing in the National Cup competition. The team lost to last year’s national champions in the quarter finals.

The teams in the club compete in the Southern California Developmental Soccer League. If that sounds fundamental, it may be surprising to know that the U17 team is made up of high schoolers who are being sought by universities and Olympic training teams.

Mick (Michael Shaffery), a Hart High School junior, is the team’s goalkeeper, and tried out for the Olympic development program a few seasons ago. This summer he has a trip to Florida with Pro Sports Pathways, which is an invitation-only opportunity to play in front of English coaches who are recruiting for their youth program, which feeds into their professional programs.

Mick’s twin brother, Niall, is a mid-fielder, which means he spends most of his time on the field running. Niall plays both center-mid and outside-mid.

Proud mother of twins Mick and Niall, Joni Shaffery adds that several of the team’s members are in demand. “There is a lot of

Mick Shaffery

Mick Shaffery

talent on this team,” she says. “The players play for different high schools – they’re all standout players. Francisco Perez, as a freshman, was team captain at Golden Valley. He is being scouted by top Division I colleges.”

Most of the SCV Magic team players on this particular team have the chance to play at Division I or Division II schools, Joni Shaffery adds.

“The club is aggressively trying to get these players into good colleges, with good scholarships,” she says. “They’re all good students, many above 4.0 GPAs, with AP classes. They’re not trying to get into college just with athletic ability.”

Locally, a few play for the soccer teams at Valencia High School, one player is at Golden Valley, and a good majority play for Hart High School, the team that won the Foothill League championship this year.

Niall Shaffery, Zack Nobles, Francisco Perez

Niall Shaffery, Zack Nobles, Francisco Perez

“They’re such good friends, most have been together at least five or six seasons,” says Joni. “They compete hard in high school, but they hug afterwards.”

A few players on the Magic U17 travel from the San Fernando Valley, because of the success of the club and this team.

“Several of our club coaches are coaches for local high schools (many also have ‘day jobs’), most are very consumed by soccer. Several of the coaches are from European and Latin American countries,” says Joni. “Some of the powerhouse clubs are in Orange County and San Diego regions, but our club has definitely stepped up its reputation.”

Joni Shaffery has been a fairly permanent fixture in the league. She is on the board of directors for SCV Magic, and she is currently the director for sponsorship and fundraising. “It’s been fun to be a part of the club,” she says. “My kids have played seven seasons. I’ve been on the board for five. I enjoy my role in this club because it actively promotes the highest level of soccer and is committed

Raul Velasquez and Angel Acosta

Raul Velasquez and Angel Acosta

to giving the club experience to all youth who have the ability to compete at this level, regardless of financial ability.” The club gives

Anthony Salvadori

Anthony Salvadori

out 25 full scholarships to assist families who could not otherwise move up to the club level training. This training includes top level coaching, strength and conditioning and skills/goalkeeper sessions. These programs would not be possible without the club’s corporate sponsors, Poole & Shaffery, LLP and Stay Green Inc.

The SCV Magic is currently holding an ongoing fundraiser called a “Goal-A-Thon.” The players get pledges ($2 per goal, for instance). Those who pledge pay by the number of goals the player kicks. Money is being raised so the youth can travel throughout the Western Region to compete at higher levels. You may sponsor a player on the BU17 team through July 18, 2014.

The SCV Magic will also hold a Casino Night on September 13. Those funds help with the scholarship and training programs for all club players.
For contact information, visit www.scvmagic.com.

The Roles of Rick Herbst

| Canyon Country Magazine, Spotlight News | June 5, 2014

RickHearstLiving next door to a tall, dark and handsome soap opera star is something most people can only joke about. Except for the 135563_8414neighbors of Canyon Country resident Rick Herbst.

The four-member Herbst family has left a big footprint in Canyon Country, contributed, in part, by Rick’s 12-year career as attorney “Ric Lansing” on ABC-TV’s “General Hospital.” Using the professional name “Rick Hearst,” the actor has been seen on the big and small screen, including another soap opera turn on “The Bold and the Beautiful” before taking his current role.

While few people would expect a TV celebrity to settle in Canyon Country, it made sense for Hearst.

“Back in 1999 my wife and I and our boys were living in North Hollywood, renting a house there and it was a nice little area, Valley Village,” said Hearst. “My mom and stepdad and grandparents were living in Texas, and my mom said, ‘Look, you’ve been living away from me for 17 years and I’m done. I’ve gotta be closer to my children and grandchildren. We discussed it and we started looking around at areas. We looked at developments, at Stevenson Ranch and then Fair Oaks Ranch.”

The availability of space and the value for their money was what brought the Herbst family to choose Fair Oaks Ranch to establish roots, and they found a house in Canyon Country for Rick’s parents and grandparents also. It was August of 2000.

“Schools and space. That was our primary impetus for wanting to come up here. So, we packed up the truck and moved to Canyon Country,” he said, mimicking “The Beverly Hillbillies” theme song. “We had a house in New York we were renting out. We could sell that house and buy something here brand spanking new.”

Hearst grew up in New York, an only child from a tightly knit Italian family.

He attended high school in Plano, Texas and met his wife, Donna Smoot, at University of Texas in Austin.

rick and donnaIn a bit of irony, Rick and Donna began their romance in the iconic “Luke and Laura” days of “General Hospital,” a show in which he could never imagine he would land a leading role.

As a family man, it is easy to wonder how Hearst could pull off a successful career with the demands of long work days and maintain a happy household, with a marriage of almost three decades and two grown children.

“It’s a great schedule,” said Hearst. “It’s the most conducive to having a real life. If you’re on a nighttime television show, you are working 14-hour days.”

Hearst pointed out the contrast in being a part of various sides of television, including the difference between working on a daytime or a nighttime show.

“Here’s the way it is in television,” he explained. “You can work 14-hour days, depending on the script, etc., or you can work four. Yesterday I was there at 7:15 a.m. I had hair and makeup done, wardrobe … then went on the set, rehearsed the scenes, then we went up to shoot it. Yesterday I was done at 12:45. That’s an average day — a five- to eight-hour day.”

It was a real bonus for Hearst’s two sons, Nick and Cameron.

“I was able to be – I made it a point – at my kids’ functions,” said the actor. “When they were playing Little League or soccer, I was always there.”

photoHearst continues his involvement in some of his sons’ former activities. For instance, once a year he still goes to Fair Oaks Ranch (Community School) to read to students on Dr. Seuss Day.

The Herbst boys attended several local schools. They both attended Valley View Community School and Fair Oaks Community School, Nick attended Pinecrest School, also Golden Valley High School, while Cameron attended LACHSA (L.A. County High School for the Arts).

“My kids are pretty adaptable to a lot of different environments,” said Hearst. “They were both born in New York. We moved when Cameron was 18 months old, now 18 yrs old, and Nicholas was about four and a half and now 22, almost 23.”

Both young men are actors, singers and dancers. Cameron graduated from high school in 2013 and is currently attending the prestigious Boston Conservatory studying Musical Theatre, and Nick studied in New York after high school and will be returning to Point Park’s Musical Theatre Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA. The whole family shared their talents with the SCV in different programs.

Donna has choreographed several productions at Golden Valley High School as well as ESCAPE Theatre for seven years. Hearst directed “Peter Pan” for ESCAPE. Nick and rick 2Cameron received the lion’s share of their coaching and training in the arts from their parents, in fact.

One thing that SCV residents can count on from the Herbst family is that they do not expect the star treatment.

“I run into people and they’ll look at me and sometimes they’ll ask me, ‘Do you know so-and-so?’ their neighbor, etc. … It’s never invasive,” said Hearst. “Do I ever get upset? Never. I would never get upset at someone. ‘Thank you’ is all I say. It’s something I do, that I love to do, that I get paid to do.”

Hearst is in the process of developing his own program, teaching his craft to others. Read about his plans, his attitude about the arts, and more about the Herbst family at www.santaclaritalife.com and click on “Tell Me More.”

Women’s Conference to Help Attendees Reach “Beyond Barriers”

| Canyon Country Magazine, Spotlight News | June 5, 2014

2014Flyer_WCThe annual College of the Canyons Women’s Conference returns this summer with a lineup of inspiring presenters and empowering breakout sessions designed to help attendees reach beyond the barriers faced throughout their lives and achieve their dreams.

The 2014 College of the Canyons Women’s Conference “Beyond Barriers: Reaching Your Full Potential” will take place from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 10, at the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, located on the college’s Valencia campus (University Center Drive entrance).
Focusing on the variety of personality traits and lifestyle attributes which often lead to professional success and personal satisfaction, event organizers have focused this year’s Women’s Conference around the following key information strands:
Balanced & Healthy Lifestyles
Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
Motivation & Empowerment
“The ‘Beyond Barriers’ theme is about women reaching their full potential and striving for their dreams without limits,” said Dr. Diane Fiero, assistant superintendent/vice president, human resources at College of the Canyons. “Join us for a day of education, motivation and empowerment provided by inspirational women doing amazing things in our community and around the world.”

Serving as the keynote speaker at this year’s Women’s Conference is award-winning actress, filmmaker and executive director of the ERA Education Project, Ms. Kamala Lopez.

Lopez launched her professional acting career while still in high school, when she was cast on “Sesame Street” as the recurring character “Mercedes.” The young actress would go on to attend Yale University, double majoring in philosophy and theatre studies, before returning to the silver screen and appearing in more than 30 feature films, including “Born in East L.A.,” “Deep Cover,” “The Burning Season” and “I Heart Huckabees.”

In 1995, Lopez formed the production company Heroica Films with a mission to write, direct and produce media for women, about women and utilizing women, both in front of and behind the camera.

Lopez is also the founder and executive director of the ERA Education Project, a new national media campaign dedicated to educating the public about the need to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. She is also currently directing the documentary film “Equal Means Equal,” which examines the status of American women in society today.

Lopez is a 2011 National Women’s Political Caucus Women of Courage Award winner, and in 2012 was named one of the 21 Leaders for the 21st Century by Women’s eNews.

Joining Lopez at the conference will be an esteemed panel of 12 presenters speaking on a variety of career fields and areas of interest.

The 2014 COC Women’s Conference is being sponsored by presenting sponsor Boston Scientific Neuromodulation, Valencia, the COC Student Development Office, Mellady Direct Marketing, Wolf Creek Restaurant and Brewing Company, KHTS AM 1220, Bake You Happy, and College of the Canyons.
General admission tickets are $30 ($35 after June 6) or $20 for COC students and staff.
Admission includes access to the entire conference, including a continental breakfast, three morning breakout sessions of the attendee’s choice, lunch and an afternoon keynote presentation. There will also be vendors on site, and an exciting raffle to conclude the day.
For more information about the 2014 College of the Canyons Women’s Conference and the full lineup of featured presenters, or to register to attend, visit www.canyons.edu/Offices/WC/ or contact the Women’s Conference event desk at (661) 362-3426 or womensconference@canyons.edu.

Boot Campaign

| Articles, Santa Clarita Living, Spotlight News | May 5, 2014

indexMaking heroes into homeowners is the aim of the Boot Campaign, a unique fundraising effort backed by Cherry Creek Mortgage Company in Valencia. Their efforts ensure that service members, veterans and their families have support and access to one of the most basic human needs – shelter. The Boot Campaign is helping to facilitate forever home ownership for wounded service members through mortgage-free home presentations alongside Military Warriors Support Foundation, a program partner of the Boot Campaign.

bootThe Boot Campaign is a national non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating awareness, promoting patriotism, and providing assistance to military personnel, past and present, and their families. Started in 2009 by five women from Texas, known as the Original Boot Girls, the Boot Campaign encourages Americans to “get their boots on” as an easy and tangible way to express one’s patriotism and gratitude for all who serve. Proceeds from all Boot Campaign combat boot sales, events, direct donations and corporate sponsorships fund the campaign’s five assistance initiatives: Jobs, Housing, Wellness, Urgent Assistance and Family Support.

Celebrations What’s Trending?

| Articles, Santa Clarita Living, Spotlight News | May 1, 2014

Wedding Cakes/Catering

10153145_694733120587056_1568259417_nFor today’s bride, there are new challenges in making cuisine choices on that special day. There are rising food sensitivities and information exposing the harms of consuming genetically modified organisms (GMOs), in addition to an abundance of artificial ingredients and animal products in foods.

Many brides will be seeking catering resources that are conscientious about health and safety –with gluten-free diets, allergy issues, dairy intolerance, etc. Solutions to these concerns are precisely the aim of Cup My Cakez, a small boutique bakery that specializes in vintage-inspired event cakes and treats that are all 100% gluten free, natural and vegan. Owner Caitlin Byrne will customize one’s menu to fit most other dietary needs as well, such as soy or corn free.

“I source seasonal and organic produce and make EVERYTHING from scratch,” says Byrne. “Seriously, from my whole grain flour blends to my rainbow sprinkles, I tackle all the small details commonly overlooked by bakeries that buy their ingredients pre-made and processed.

Cup My Cakez is currently a made-to-order delivery service, working mostly online, but Byrne plans to open a storefront and expand to be an eco/budget friendly, all encompassing event-planning service in the near future.

To contact Cup My Cakez, visit www.CupMyCakez.com or email Cupmycakez@gmail.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Party Paints
Pink Butterfly webFace painting is as popular as ever in the SCV. But, says one local artist, it’s not the same old hearts and stars.

It’s “full-blown artwork,” says Hayley Tassa of Dragonflylola in Santa Clarita. “I most enjoy painting whimsical designs, like fairies, flowers, and butterflies at children’s parties.”

The Canyon Country resident offers a range of services, including body painting, henna artwork, balloon twisting, glitter tattoos and airbrush tattoos. She offers what she calls face and body artistry to the Santa Clarita area.

“I started as a little girl painting,” says Tassa. “I studied fine art, graphic design and animation, then worked in animation. So, I would say I have 35+ years of knowledge and studies under my belt. I also keep working at my craft taking classes from master face and body artists from all over the world.”

Tiger ready to post webDragonflylola can be found at as many types of celebrations as a person can imagine, including school functions, festivals, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, quinceaneras, grand openings, corporate celebrations, birthday parties, family gatherings and non-profit organizations. Tassa has also had a booth during the Sheriff’s Haunted Jailhouse event for three years, and hopes to return to the Chili Cook-off in Castaic again.

“I love giving back to the community as well, so I offer my services to local non-profits.” says Tassa. “I have been painting for the past three years in a row for Carousel Ranch for their holiday celebration with Santa, and next month I will be painting for the Domestic Violence Center at their Fairy Berry event at Robinson Ranch.”

To contact Dragonflylola, visit www.Dragonflylolaartistry.com or email Dragonflylola@gmail.com.

Invite by Evite
In keeping with the rate by which marriages are changing the meaning of “traditional,” weddings are being handled differently than our grandparents executed theirs. It hardly seems possible, but events that are even as formal as weddings have taken to the Internet.

Brides and grooms are opting for “e-invitations” instead of printed, embossed notecards with hand-written envelopes. A recent evite went out, and the RSVP called for guests to repondez s’il vous plait online. The instructions took the responder to the site designating where the wedding ceremony would be and the reception, complete with choice of entrée.

My, how times have changed.

The Triumph of Andrew Skinner

| Articles, Canyon Country Magazine, Spotlight News | April 3, 2014

Kirsten and Andrew at one of Triumph's events

Kirsten and Andrew at one of Triumph’s events

It was a tragedy. A strong, athletic, virile young 25-year-old heads to the snow to do some snowboarding, but an accident brings

Kirsten and Andrew after his accident

Kirsten and Andrew after his accident

him home with life-changing disabilities. Andrew Skinner of Canyon Country was now quadriplegic.

“This injury kind of left me like a newborn,” said Skinner. “I had to learn how to do everything myself…then returning to the community and reintegrating into activities and sports and things. I had a lot of training and a lot of people who had gone through this before me.”
Skinner’s brother and his wife, Kirsten, urged him to use his new knowledge and understanding, in part to fill some of the gaps in care that people with spinal cord injuries were experiencing. In 2008 Triumph Foundation was born.

“When we first started I never dreamed it’d become the force it’s become now,” said Skinner. “I never dreamed I’d be a philanthropist.”

It began when they simply began visitations at a hospital in Northridge. “We’d meet people with different needs, and we’d try to solve them,” he said. “Then it was one more hospital and one more hospital, and now we’re going to a dozen different rehab centers and hospitals. Every year we grow.”

Financed  mostly through individual donors, Triumph’s biggest fundraiser each year is a “Casino Night” in July at the Hyatt Regency in Valencia.

“We wanted to do something fun and social,” said Skinner. “We’ve gone to a lot of other fundraisers and you sit at a table and eat dinner, but you don’t get to mingle and get to know people. We really get to meet some of  the people who have been impacted by our organization. It’s more of a family atmosphere. I’m not a big gambler, but its fun — it’s like playing games.”

Skinner quit his job two years ago as a “leap of faith” to work for the foundation full-time. He goes after more grants and other funding, also planning events and getting sponsors for them.

“It’s a labor of love,” he said. “We run about a dozen support groups all over Southern California – most once a month.  I also get lots of calls and emails from people needing mentorship, many who are newly injured. There is also a cycling clinic every month — we do sports every week.”

TRgroup photo webThere are close to 3,000 individuals in Triumph Foundation’s network. In addition to Skinner’s family members, who work tirelessly for the foundation and serve on the board of directors, there are approximately 20 core members who are “ambassadors,” who get involved with a major hospital outreach, for instance.

Meet Triumph’s Ambassadors at Tell Me More tab.

Kirsten, Andrew and Betty

Kirsten, Andrew and Betty

Andrew Skinner’s wife, Kirsten, gave up a promising corporate job after the accident. She quit to stay by Andrew’s side. Later, she got an early childhood development degree and started teaching at Kindercare. Kirsten is now the assistant director there.

“It puts things in perspective,” said Andrew, regarding Kirsten’s life and career direction. “She wanted to do something fulfilling, more purposeful than just punching a timecard.”

Meet the Skinner’s little girl, Betty, and learn more about Triumph click on Tell Me More.

New Health Program Takes Shape

| Articles, Santa Clarita Living, SC Women, Spotlight News | March 6, 2014

Samantha Miles

Samantha Miles

The approach of spring (and with it, the distant footsteps of bikini weather) means that “heading back to the gym” and starting a weight loss program (again!) seems commonplace. Often times, however, a person enters the process alone, and the lack of support almost creates a rate of failure that seems inevitable.

Enter Samantha Miles, a certified health coach, whose job it is to be sure her clients are not on the journey alone.

“My role is to inspire, guide and support the client’s goals,” Miles explains. “I help clients all across the nation, and I do my business primarily over the phone. When we talk, we discuss the client’s goals and motivation to continue with the program.”

The program is called “Take Shape for Life,” which includes meal substitution with products from Medifast. But, beginning the dietary protocol is just the beginning. Men and women in the program also get Samantha Miles at no extra charge – a mentor for people who desire a way to make healthier choices.

“Take Shape for Life is not a diet!” Miles says. “It is an optimal health program designed to help people learn to create the habits of health in their life! I help my clients understand their current habits and show them how to develop the skills, discipline and knowledge they need to succeed.”
The Take Shape for Life website emphasizes its long-term support process.

“The program starts with a phone call between me and the potential client,” Miles explains. “I process a credit card order for them online and order them their food. The food takes five days to arrive. The night before the client starts, we have a phone conversation to go over the days on the program.”
Miles sees this program as a good fit for modern culture. “There is a crisis of obesity in America today,” she says. “In 2010, 36 percent, or 78 million, U.S. adults were obese. The problem isn’t that people aren’t trying to lose weight, the problem is that what they are doing isn’t working.”

Samatha before and after

Samatha before and after

It’s the success stories of both Samantha and her husband, Nathan Miles, that

Nathan before and after

Nathan before and after

fueled the couple’s desire to start Take Shape for Life. In fact, all of the company’s health coaches have had a similar experience. “Health coaches loved the program so much they are now paying it forward and sharing what they learned and experienced with others, and spreading the health that they have found!” says Samantha. “I became a health coach after watching my husband lose 90 pounds in about nine months on the program, and literally change his health and his life overnight!”

A mother-of-four, including an infant, Samantha began with the nursing mothers program and took off the 60+ pounds that she had gained. “I was successful and lost 60 pounds in six months on the program,” she says.

Read more about Nathan & Samantha’s weight loss experience at “Tell Me More” tab

Samantha became a health coach in May of 2012, and she has stayed in that role (and kept the weight off) for two years. She received her health coach certification from MacDonald Center for Obesity Prevention and Education at the College of Nursing at Villanova University. She had previously earned a bachelor›s degree in film and television at California State University, Northridge following two years at College of the Canyons.

The Miles Family

The Miles Family

Samantha and Nathan came to the Santa Clarita Valley to settle in Castaic 13 years ago. Three of their children attend Live Oak Elementary School in Castaic and they have a 2 1/2-year-old at home.

“I moved to Santa Clarita Valley in 2001 because I wanted to raise a family and I felt that this community had everything to offer for a family, and I have been correct,” she says. “I couldn’t think of a better place to live.”

Take Shape for Life has over 10,000 health coaches across the nation, and Samantha has personally helped more than 200 people get healthier.

“Clients beginning their journeys with Take Shape For Life will notice results quickly,” says Samantha. “Family, friends, even acquaintances will ask what you’re doing differently, and it’s natural to want to share your story with them.”

Read more about becoming a health coach at “Tell Me More” tab

Samantha has her sights set on broadening her customer base. “My goal is to expand my health coaching practice and develop more health coaches in my organization, so that I can widen my circle of influence and spread the health and happiness to more Americans!” she says. “I can help anyone who wants to get healthier, whether that means losing weight, learning to eat better, getting more quality sleep, learning health habits of motion, and creating a healthier mind and well being.”

For more information about Samantha Miles and Take Shape for Life, visit http://slimmiles.tsfl.com/explore or email Slimmiles@me.com.


No One Likes To Shiver – Room 22 Gives Back

| Articles, Canyon Country Magazine, Spotlight News | February 13, 2014

By Angela Tiano

Room 22 with their blankets

“It’s good to give back, because then they will be your friend” (Elijah, age 10)

There is more happening than reading, writing and arithmetic in Mrs. Kayla Bastedo’s Room 22 at Sulphur Springs Community School. In addition to their daily academic standards, last semester Bastedo’s students began working on a “giving” project. The 14 boys and one girl in the 4th, 5th and 6th grade Special Day Class handcrafted more than 30 fleece blankets that have been donated to the Santa Clarita Valley Homeless Shelter and Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.
These soft and colorful blankets offered a lesson to the students, that helping others in need can be a rewarding experience to both the giver and the receiver. Elihu, 11, reflected on the project. “It took time, but we worked together to make the blankets. It made me feel happy and excited,” he said.

In the midst of a class discussion immediately following their project, Mrs. Bastedo and her students sparked a conversation that created a motto to help them remember their hands-on giving experience: “No one likes to shiver.”

With their new tagline in mind, Gavyn, age 10, suggested, “We should make pillows next year.” The recent holiday season was the start of a new tradition for Room 22, and was made possible with the enthusiasm of the students, their teacher, and their aides.

How Great The Arts

| Articles, Canyon Country Magazine, Spotlight News | February 11, 2014

By Martha Michael

Darlene Marcos

How to Paint a Mural
Budding artist or not, you will either gain some painting pointers or just enjoy getting some insight into the mind of a talented local muralist at the next meeting of the Santa Clarita Artists’ Association (SCAA). The talent of artist Darlene Marcos will be front and center at this month’s art demo, entitled “How to Paint a Mural.”

“My sole source of income has been surrounded by art from the time I was 18 years of age,” said Marcos. “As a ‘fine artist,’ I have enjoyed creating canvases for shows and illustrating books for my ideas, likes and wants. As a ‘muralist/finisher,’ I have enjoyed creating for others from their ideas, likes and wants. Color plays a big factor in designing for homes and businesses. The murals and finishes must flow with the concept of their personal surroundings. Finishes are a tool for muralists to complete the walls encompassing the murals. Many faux finishes and decorative finishes are used inside and outside the mural – definitely a handshake between two worlds. I have now been a professional muralist for over 35 years.”

The SCAA’s meeting will be held on February 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble in Valencia, and it is free and open to the public. Arrive

One of Darlene’s Murals

early, as there is often standing room only. For information regarding SCAA, contact www.santaclaritaartists.org or call (661) 244-7689. Barnes & Noble is located at 23630 Valencia Boulevard in Valencia.

Arts Alliance Revival
Over the years, Santa Clarita has seen the Arts Alliance come and go. It’s baaaaaack!

The non-profit committee was formed in 1997, as a coalition of artists and arts organizations coming together to address arts needs in the community. The group was hosted by the City of Santa Clarita, and it accomplished some key pieces of history: the development of a Cultural Arts Master Plan, advocating for support for additional funding for the Performing Arts Center, advocating for an Arts Commission, and arts funding.

While the entity faded away for a time, it was recently given new life, and members are currently being sought to become involved. The group acts as a forum to discuss issues that face the local arts community: on-going arts funding, public art, local venues, development of an arts center, and further development of the Arts Commission. Its aim is to foster local jobs in the arts and strengthen the local arts economy.

“It was always the goal of the Arts Alliance to be independent of the City,” said David Stears, a founding member of the Arts Alliance. “Now is a great time to revive the Arts Alliance. The arts are on the verge of a renaissance in our community.”

Currently the Arts Alliance can be found on the following forms of social media: Facebook.com/ArtsAllianceSC, a twitter account called @ArtsAllianceSC, email ArtsAllianceSC@gmail.com, and a facebook group for artists: Facebook.com/groups/ArtsAllianceSCV. Anyone can sign-up for a monthly newsletter at the website: http://artsalliancesc.weebly.com.

The Arts Alliance is open to all artists, performers, arts organizations, and arts supporters in the entire Santa Clarita Valley. Currently there is no formal structure to the group, however there are plans for a future meeting. Anyone interested in participating, organizing, or hosting a physical meeting, send an email to ArtsAllianceSC@gmail.com.

Community Education Courses to Debut at Canyon Country Campus

| Articles, Canyon Country Magazine, Spotlight News | February 9, 2014

Beginning this spring, the College of the Canyons Community Education department will offer a series of personal and professional development courses at the college’s Canyon Country campus.

The College of the Canyons Community Education department provides a wide breadth of valuable educational services designed to meet the needs and interests of all community members.

Community Education students range in both age and skill level, and include working professionals, business minded entrepreneurs, parents, traditional junior high, high school and college students, older adults and other community members seeking educational, vocational, and personal enrichment.
With classes offered at both the Valencia and Canyon Country campus, and online, students will find courses in subjects including art, computer skills, food preparation handling, driver’s education and traffic school, English as a Second Language (ESL) and a range of other subjects.
Community Education courses do not earn college credit, and are designed to provide students with a positive learning experience focused on the exchange of information and personal enjoyment.
Included among this semester’s selection of Community Education courses being offered at the Canyon Country campus are the following:

Introduction to Painting (Oil/Acrylics)
Four class meetings
Saturday’s from 9 a.m. to noon
Feb. 22 to March 15

Introduction to Computer Basics
Two class meetings
10 a.m. to noon
Feb. 22 & March 1
Introduction to MS Word 2010
Two class meetings
Saturday’s from 10 a.m. to noon
March 8 & March 15

Introduction to MS Excel 2010
Two class meetings
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
March 22 & March 29

“Community Education courses provide wonderful opportunities for the residents of the Santa Clarita Valley to learn new skills, interact with students with similar interests and enrich their daily lives,” said Diane Stewart, Dean of Community Education at the college. “We are very excited to bring these learning opportunities to the Canyon Country campus.”

For more information about the College of the Canyons Community Education department or to register for an upcoming class please visit www.canyons.edu/communityed.

Canyon Country Campus Update
Enrollment at the College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus continues to surge, with more class sections continually being added in order to meet demand.

During the fall 2013 semester nearly 5,400 students attended classes at the Canyon Country campus. Meanwhile, the 40 class sections offered at Canyon Country during the winter session represented the campus’ largest winter schedule since 2008.

In addition, an estimated 315 class sections will be offered at the Canyon Country campus during the spring 2014 semester — representing a high mark for spring.

To help put this all in perspective, the number of full-time equivalent students taking classes at the Canyon Country campus is on par with several of the state’s smaller community colleges!

For more information about the College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus please visit www.canyons.edu/CCC.

Where in the World is Wolitarsky?

| Articles, Canyon Country Magazine, Spotlight News | February 8, 2014

It was winter break for “true freshman” Drew Wolitarsky, who is recognized across the Santa Clarita Valley, after record-breaking years on the Canyon High School Cowboys football team. He returned to the University of Minnesota in early January, where he began  his second semester, and back to football practice, though it is off-season now.

While the sport of football has often been compared to the art of war, there are other similarities that sometimes go unnoticed. It may be due to the seriousness with which football is treated by fans, coaches and athletes, but Wolitarsky has become acquainted with some of the sacrifices built into competing at the college level. Not only did John and Audrey Wolitarsky celebrate Christmas without the third of their four children this year (the University of Minnesota Gophers had a game two days later), but the family gathered without Drew to mourn the death of someone close to him. To read more about his loss visit www.santaclaritalife.com.

Though thousands of miles away from Santa Clarita, Drew Wolitarsky has developed a family atmosphere with teammates. In fact, after rooming in a dorm situation with fellow players, a group of them are moving into an apartment together this semester.

The living quarters are still on campus, said Wolitarsky, and when asked about food, he said, “Everything is provided, they take care of everything we need.”

What they need includes tutoring in multiple subjects, food, transportation and more for the players who, like Wolitarsky, attend U of M on full-ride scholarships. At Christmas the team resided in a hotel, offering as nice a holiday as possible while away from their homes. They all dispersed following their game against Syracuse University in the Texas Bowl on December 27.

For the couple of weeks that Wolitarsky was home in Canyon Country, he was stopped all over town, sometimes by adults he had never met. A lot of the conversations were the same, including, “What’s it like living in Michigan?” Wolitarsky would usually go on with the conversation, resisting the urge to offer a correction, such as, “I don’t know…I go to University of Minnesota.”

As for adapting to the obvious contrast in climate conditions, the college student said that when it is really cold, they simply stay indoors a lot more. He added that playing football in the extreme cold is less than ideal. “When it’s really cold, the ground feels like rocks,” he explained.

After covering the differences in weather, most people asked about school, whether he was happy with his choice of colleges, etc. His answer to that one, by the way, is “yes.”

A funny thing happened when Wolitarsky and his friend went out to a Canyon Country restaurant a couple of weeks ago. Read about it at www.santaclaritalife.com and click on “Tell Me More.”

Comments Off on New Generation Sizzler Fast Casual Dining comes to the Plaza at Golden Valley

New Generation Sizzler Fast Casual Dining comes to the Plaza at Golden Valley

| Articles, Canyon Country Magazine, Spotlight News | February 7, 2014

When Del and Helen Johnson opened the first “Sizzler Family Steak House” on January 27, 1958 in Culver City, they had $50 in the cash register. Families were filling the big, vinyl booths after ordering from massive signage menus behind the counter. Steak dinner was $1.19 and steak and lobster was $2.99. A children’s top sirloin was 60 cents.

Fast forward 56 years later, and on January 6, Santa Clarita became one of the newest of Sizzler’s 152 restaurants in the United States and Puerto Rico. For anyone who remembers the Sizzler from “way back when,” they can recall it was sort of known for serving what was mid-century trendy (what we now consider mostly bland, processed food reminiscent of the age of “TV dinners”). Now, the franchise is a new generation Sizzler.

“Everything is made from scratch, our meat comes in fresh and we cut them into steaks,” said a representative from the Sizzler corporate office. “The prep on our seafood – we cut it in house. There’s nothing here where we open the bag and pour it into the container.”

The restaurant is known for its steak and seafood, plus the endless salad bar, where its offerings, such as crisp Romaine lettuce, are fresh. Almost all of the salad dressings are also made from scratch, on site. In an interesting twist, the bleu cheese dressing is the same recipe used in the first days of Sizzler’s existence more than 50 years ago.

“We have a few things that are old school and a lot of new – now we have penne pasta, linguini, fettucini,” he added. “We used to do tri-tip, and now we’re back doing tri-tip in house again.”

Your eyes will also tell you there have been changes. “Years ago, we had peach and teal with brass. And in the ‘90s we had ‘mean green’ booths and lots of wood,” said the Sizzler rep. “Now it’s in the 21st century – LED TVs, nice décor, LED lighting. And the marketing has changed…signage is new, upbeat, farm fresh. It’s not low grade. It’s hand made.”

Sizzler is located at 19013 Golden Valley Road in Santa Clarita; (661) 250-7300 or visit www.sizzler.com.

Valentine’s Day Things to Do

| Articles, Santa Clarita Living, SC Women, Spotlight News | January 20, 2014

Here are some-we will add more!

Love Train
Plan on a ride to remember if you choose the Fillmore & Western Railway as your Valentine’s Day destination. This is your chance to finally make it to one of the Murder Mystery Dinner Train events. The “Love Train” will stretch the “Love Boat” theme to extremes, with strangely familiar characters all in ‘70s style costumes, setting the mood with music, while dancing (or dying) to the Disco beat! You will enjoy a three-course meal and, with less-than-serious sleuthing, solve a murder, or just sit back and enjoy the entertainment.
The train departs at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $89. Fillmore & Western Railway is located at 364 Main Street in Fillmore. Make reservations by calling
(805) 524-2546 or visit www.fwry.com.

Heart-Shaped Steak
Stay at home this year and throw something special on the grill – like heart-shaped steaks. Contact Bob’s Country Meats in advance to order yours. The shop is located at 19012 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country; (661) 251-5995.

Le Chene
If it’s an exotic dish, such as ostrich or bison, or elaborate wine offerings you are looking for this year, head to this Zagat-rated venue. For Valentine’s Day, Le Chene French Cuisine is offering a special menu for dinner, seating from 5:30-10:00 p.m. Le Chene is located at 12625 Sierra Hwy in Santa Clarita, near the border of Agua Dulce. For reservations call (661) 251-4315.

Date Night Painting
Pinot’s Palette will host date night painting, where two canvases make up one painting (each member of the couple paints one side). The creative staff at Pinot’s is also offering a package which will include champagne and chocolates. This Valentine’s Day event will run from 7-10 p.m. Pinot’s Palette is located at 25850 McBean Pkwy in Valencia. For more information, visit www.pinotspalette.com/valencia.

Bee Sweet
Nothing could be sweeter than taking your honey honey tasting! If you’ve never been to Bennett’s Honey Farm in Fillmore, a romantic drive over the hill at this sweet time of year for some raw, gourmet honey sounds perfect. The honey tasting room and store are open seven days a week, Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bennett’s Honey Farm is located at 3176 Honey Lane (Hwy 126) in Fillmore. Call 805-521-1375 or visit www.bennetthoney.com

And, the day after:

February 15

Santa Colorita 5K
Fun Run
Families will gather at Castaic Lake Recreational Area on Saturday morning, February 15 for an active event for all ages – the Santa Colorita 5K Fun Run. It is an un-timed, five-kilometer “race” where runners are doused with “colors” at the end of each kilometer. It’s friendly dousing, as family members and other supporters will splash non-toxic, non-rash inducing colored corn starch on runners, proclaiming their completion of each leg of the race.

At the finish line is a “Color Festival,” where brilliantly colored powder will be released onto the runners, and visitors will enjoy live music, food, games and more. For more details, call (661) 702-6977.

Action Academy: a Sober School for Junior and Senior High School Students

| Canyon Country Magazine, Santa Clarita Living, Spotlight News | January 17, 2014

By Cary Quashen, CAS

In a historic move, on January 13, 2014 the William S. Hart Union High School District and the Action Family Foundation began partnering to open a sobriety school for local junior and senior high school students attending school within the school district’s boundaries. The campus will open at the Action Family Zone located at 20655 Soledad Canyon Road, Unit 24 in Santa Clarita.

Currently there are 20 slots available for students, 10 for junior high and 10 for senior high students, and more added as the school grows. There will be 10 students per classroom and they will attend school Monday – Thursday. Action Academy students will attend one to two semesters, and return to their established school sites. All schoolwork at the Action Academy is accredited, just as it is at their regular school sites.

The educational component is comprised of University of California (UC) approved courses, A-G courses, and online course work via the APEX program, which includes Math, English, History, Science, Physical Education, and electives. Just as in a regular classroom, grades and credit reports are issued to students every quarter, and all grades and credits are transferable. Students will also have access to college planning with their school counseling staff.

Creating a partnership between the William S. Hart Union High School District and Action, and centered around a sober school, has long been a dream of mine. While there are other sober schools across the nation, I believe this is the first time a school district and a drug treatment program have partnered together opening a sober school. The district is providing the teaching staff and curriculum, and Action is providing the drug counseling staff and therapeutic services to help kids maintain sobriety.

For many alcoholic and drug addicted teens, the sober school offers teens a fighting chance to embrace sobriety, overcome their problems and live happy and successful lives. Recovery schools fill in the educational gap and emotional holes opened when kids use. Because classes are small, teachers can check in with each student regularly. Students also receive extensive drug counseling and recovery skills. And each student will have specific education goals and an individual treatment plan. The treatment curriculum includes life skills, addiction education, family and group dynamics, relapse prevention, as well as individual and group therapy. Students who attend the Action Academy will improve their decision making and leadership skills, as well as coping and resistance skills.

If you know junior or senior high school students who have trouble with addiction, now is the time to get them the help they desperately need. Adolescence and our American culture glorify and promote substance abuse and, unfortunately, easy access to alcohol and drugs combines to create a perfect, and sometimes a deadly, storm for our teens and their families. While teens often start their sobriety quest thinking “sobriety sucks,” we can no longer justify writing off teen substance use as a rite of passage or bad behavior. Addiction is not a behavioral problem or even a choice. Addiction is a disease and our teen’s behaviors while battling addiction is a cry for help. And teens do recover.

For further information about the Action Academy, one may call Alex Urbina at (661) 467-2714 or Kathy Hunter at the William S. Hart Union High School District at (661) 259-0033, extension 210.

Cary Quashen is a certified addiction specialist and the founder and president of ACTION
Parent & Teen Support Group Programs and ACTION Family Counseling Centers. Quashen may be reached at (661) 297-8691.

Best of Canyon Country 2013

| Articles, Canyon Country Magazine, Spotlight News | December 6, 2013

Best Restaurant – Mom Can Cook
What makes this restaurant special is that Mom is really cooking! The food is authentic and prepared from her own personal recipes. The décor at Mom Can Cook adds to the true experience of Thailand, while also giving customers the comfort of a home-cooked meal.
18358 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country
(661) 251-8103



Best American/BBQ – Rattlers Bar-B-Que
A tremendous favorite and widely known to communities outside of the SCV, Rattlers
Bar -B-Que is celebrating 25 years in the Santa Clarita Valley. Management is committed to its loyal guests, serving up specials and, of cours, its signature rolls. Look for Rattler’s at holiday parties this season, as it is a favorite for catering.
26495 Golden Valley Road, Santa Clarita
(661) 251-4195

Best Asian – Love Sushi
Known for some of the tastiest sushi for miles around, Love Sushi offers both Korean and Japanese fare. Customers sit comfortably in booths, tables and at the sushi bar, where you can watch the chefs creating unique displays. With both take-out and dining, many Canyon Country residents make Love Sushi a regular stop.
18521 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country
(661) 299-6526

Best Italian – Piccola Trattoria
This family owned and operated restaurant offers an unforgettable dining experience, say Canyon Country customers. The core values at Piccola Trattoria, according to staff members, are good food, warm hospitality and great service. They view the customers as guests for the evening, and what diners receive is the taste of Southern Italian recipes made with fresh, local produce.
18302 Sierra Hwy, Canyon Country
(661) 299-6952

Best Mexican Food – Casa Vieja
Authenticity is key for Casa Vieja, where all of the meals are prepared with the highest quality of meats, produce and tequila from Jalisco, Mexico. The staff at this popular venue makes service and hospitality a priority, offering customers the refreshment of its margaritas.
18401 Soledad Canyon Road , Canyon Country
(661) 252-9804



Best Pizza – Chi Chi’s
This pioneering eatery has been serving Santa Clarita since 1968, from the days of cowboys, onion fields, tumbleweeds and coyotes. More than half a century later, Chi-Chi’s still creates a huge variety of pizza options, pastas and a full bar.
27117 N. Sierra Highway, Canyon Country
(661) 252-4405

Best Dry Cleaners – Carriage Trade Cleaners
The staff offers personalized service to customers, focusing on punctual completion of orders. The dry cleaning is odorless and safe for suede and leather, plus there are professional alteration services available.
19324 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country
(661) 252-0606
Best Auto Repair – Platinum
Though the business specializes in the repair of Toyota and Lexus vehicles, the Platinum team works on all makes and models. Owner Pat McCollum has been in the auto repair business for more than 20 years, and launched Platinum in 2002. He tackles everything from oil changes to body work, paint, and even interior upholstery.
26858 Ruether Avenue, Santa Clarita
(661) 250-7925

Best Hardware Store – Sand Canyon Hardware
For some, the Benjamin Moore paints are the draw. For others, it’s the quick visit for a much-needed tool or home repair part. Owner Paul Dell‘Olio has developed a faithful neighborhood clientele, ordering the merchandise his local friends need, and offering individualized attention to every customer.
16680 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country
(661) 252-1572

Best Chiropractor – Eddy Chiropractic
Phil and Chris Eddy have designed their father-and-son practice to develop a trust with patients, keeping them fully informed about their care. In addition to Dr. Phil’s 26 years of experience, since he opened his practice in Canyon Country, patients have the added bonus of his background as a physician’s assistant.
19038 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country (661) 252-5192

Best Attorney – Jeff Armendariz
Having practiced criminal law for more than 16 years, Jeffrey D. Armendariz has experience, both as a deputy district attorney and, currently, as a criminal defense attorney. He runs a busy Santa Clarita practice, which takes him to courthouses in six counties. Frequent appearances in Santa Clarita Superior Court and involvement in numerous community groups have earned Armendariz a high profile reputation.
25124 Springfield Ct., Suite 250, Santa Clarita
(661) 288-1959

Best Hair Salon – Studio Bijoux
Customers of Studio Bijoux get more than just a new hairstyle – the salon has a full boutique with purses, jewelry, clothes and other items. The eight hairstylists offer extras, like hair extensions and Brazilian blow outs, and three manicurists and one esthetician perform facials, nails, waxing, airbrush tans and body wraps.
18712 Soledad, Canyon Country
(661) 252-9106

Best Disc Jockey – DJ Greg
He is a nationally recognized Motocross announcer from such competitions as “Day in the Dirt” and “The California Gold Cup.” DJ Greg began in the early 1980s and has performed at nearly 400 weddings. His popularity has grown from dance parties he hosts two nights a week at Mabel’s Roadhouse and twice a month at The Drifters in Canyon Country.
(661) 839-7111

Best Dog Sitter/Walker – Lisa’s Lucky Dogs
Lisa and her staff understand that there is a growing need for professional pet sitters and dog walkers, stepping in to fill the void when pets are left alone and feel the emotional impact. They approach the job professionally, not like a hobby, caring for the animals like they were their own.
(661) 755-5107

Best Grocery Store – Vons  
Serving Canyon Country for nearly 40 years, Vons is proud to bring a first-class shopping experience to area residents. The newly remodeled and expanded store provides more than 52,000 square feet of shopping space, including a Starbucks, pharmacy and departments with larger selections.
16550 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country
(661) 252-3838

Best Pharmacy – CVS
It is one of the largest pharmacies in Canyon Country, juggling both the filling of prescriptions and the sale of thousands of goods. The management at CVS Pharmacy credits a dedicated group of employees who do a great job of taking care of their customers’ needs and embracing the company’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health.
19424 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country
(661) 251-5444

Best Thrift Store – Goodwill
When locals transform their looks for less at Goodwill, they also transform lives. Thousands of individuals with disabilities and disadvantages prepare for and secure jobs each year with the proceeds from the Goodwill Thrift Stores.
22830 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country
(661) 347-7965

Best Park – Canyon Country Park
Of dozens of Santa Clarita venues, Canyon Country Park is unique, due to its multiple uses, split levels and eye-catching views. The City Council and staff aim to provide residents and visitors with beautiful places to play, exercise and connect with friends, family and neighbors.
17615 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country
(661) 259-2489

Best Fitness Program/Boot Camp – Fight For It Now
At this boot camp the leaders will not yell or scream at you, but your limits will be pushed. Instead of focusing on a skinny body, the passion of owners Vanessa and Lyndan Coleman is to teach people how to live a healthy lifestyle, make fitness a habit, not a hobby, and surround themselves with supportive people in the process.


The Trick to Treatment Addiction Specialist Cary Quashen Serves Community for 30 Years

| Articles, Canyon Country Magazine, Spotlight News | October 4, 2013

By Martha Michael

Cary Quashen

Most of us know there is no easy fix for addiction, nor for life with an out-of-control teen. The sheer existence of terms like “road to recovery” and “12 steps” underscores that such battles demand time-consuming transformations.

When this community looks for a “transformer” of sorts, very often they find it in the successful programs of ACTION and its founder, Cary Quashen, whose name is virtually synonymous with that of the non-profit organization.

Quashen developed and operates ACTION Family Counseling Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers with 12 locations and 16 programs in the Southern California area. These involve alcohol and substance abuse intensive outpatient and residential treatment programs for both teens and adults, and sober living facilities in Bakersfield and the Santa Clarita Valley.

Quashen began working on these challenges in the community about 30 years ago, later forming the non-profit foundation in 1989 and the corporation Action Family Counseling in 1997.

ACTION Foundation offers a parent-teen support program with several different aspects at many different schools. There are recovery-based self-help groups, assemblies at almost every school, both private and public, among seventh grade students and older. Some of the work the foundation provides includes interventions at schools.

“Today we got called by one of the high schools. A kid was apparently high, so we drug tested him, assessed him,” Quashen explained.

One of the program’s most popular offerings is a free parent-teen support program, held every Tuesday at Canyon High School. The teen groups are led by certified counselors and cover issues such as truancy, gang activity, family issues and self-esteem.

“Parents are in the other room with trained facilitators,” said Quashen. “We want to empower parents – so they don’t feel like they’re all alone, that it’s the end of the world…we introduce them to other parents to give them hope, where they’re not going to be judged.”

ACTION has a similar group held at Hart High School at the same time – Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. – for Spanish-speaking families. “We have had it for over a year,” said Quashen. “It’s the only one of its kind.”

When asked whether or not Quashen envisioned himself in this line of work when he was younger, the answer was sort of mixed. “I didn’t want to be the person that kind of wasted their life and did drugs and, unfortunately, my life took that road for a period of time,” he said. “Then I got clean and sober – this Christmas Eve it’ll be 34 years.”

The Action Family Counseling arm of the organization has residential treatment centers totaling over 150 beds for adolescents and adults. One of the better known venues for this community’s adolescents is called “The Ranch” in Santa Clarita. “It is a place where they come and they can spend usually about 30 days to get kids out of the situation they’re in, to find out who they are and get clean,” he said. “Across the street is the adult ranch, where there are six adults in the house, where they can get away from everything and get better.”

ACTION also has an intensive outpatient program, where those in recovery can attend three hours a day, three times a week. It is a very structured program with strong leadership. There are ACTION programs in Kern County and Ventura County, and one forming in Las Vegas.

“We don’t have any more drugs than any other city like us,” said Quashen. “We are talking about it more. We aren’t hiding our heads in the sand…I’ve never seen a community get so involved in it and not deny it.”

Quashen is also the executive director of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Behavioral Health Unit, a 23-bed locked psychiatric unit.

Another resource in Canyon Country that ACTION offers is a drop-in center called “The Zone” on Ruether Avenue and Soledad Canyon Road. “It’s an alternative to suspension, it is part of a sober academy in conjunction with the schools,” Quashen explained.

Whereas many other prominent local organizations for high-risk teens have successful support systems, ACTION has a number of different levels of treatment. “We are geared toward high-risk stuff, we are licensed to treat people, we have residential, intensive programs and we work with all the boarding schools,” Quashen explained.

The Quashen Family, L-R Sean and Jessica Quashen holding Nicholas, Cary, Kirsten, Courtney and Scott
Photo by Renee Bowen www.reneebowen.com

Quashen’s eldest son, 25-year-old Sean, just left Afghanistan, after serving as a marine for four years. His second son, 21-year-old Scott, is now working with his father at ACTION. Cary Quashen’s youngest is 15-year-old daughter, Courtney.

“Even though I trust my kids completely, I’m very involved with what’s going on with them,” said Cary Quashen. “I stay very involved with their life, not micro-managing, but I’m involved.”

Cary Quashen hopes his work will “help people become united.”

“ACTION takes its own route – it pulls us in directions that it wants to go…it brings us there. It kind of has its own life,” he said. “We go where we’re needed.”

Quashen likes to joke that he would like to go out of business, “but…that isn’t happening anytime soon,” he said. “We are in no hurry to grow, but, unfortunately, we are growing.”

ACTION has a 24-hour helpline, where you can call if you have questions: (800) 367-8336.

Page 1 of 31 2 3

Doug’s Rant – Video Edition

  • WatchDoug’s Rant June 22
  • WatchDoug’s Rant June 15