Category Archives: Video

Horror and comedy are on the menu for Universal Hollywood Horror nights

Universal Studios Hollywood will show off their very first 3D comedy maze this year at Halloween Horror nights opening Sept. 18, and will continue until Nov. 1.

The cast from the 2013 hit movie “This is the end”,  teamed up with the theme park to let guests experience an apocalypse while attending a party at James Franco’s Hollywood home.

Guests will find themselves feeling like they are in a life or death struggle against the demons of the underworld.

Just like the characters in the film, which include Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson, Universal guests will have to face the demon creatures one on one and hope they hurry their way to heaven by the bright blue light at the end of the maze.

This is the End”,  brings a new dimension of fear to ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ by fusing the best of two extreme worlds—horror and comedy— to create a literal and figurative three-dimensional experiential version of the film,” said John Murdy, Universal studios creative director. “Our collaboration with James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill to transform this outrageous movie into a terrifying maze underscores the impact of ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ as one the most influential Halloween events around.”

Other mazes will be featured at Halloween Horror Nights this upcoming fall such as,  “Guillermo del Toro Presents Crimson Peak: Maze of Madness”, “The Walking Dead:  Wolves Not Far”, “Insidious: Return to the Further”, and “Halloween: Michael Myers Comes Home.”

Universal Studio’s  guests can purchase add-on tickets to experience Halloween Horror Nights or buy a single night general admission ticket for $101.99. Multi-night passes are also available at the park or online at www.universalstudioshollywood.com

 

Can marijuana save Santa Clarita from heroin?

 

final 110 picSalty tears are streaming down Krissy Mcafee’s face as she begins to tell the reporters in front of her that she is heartbroken. Krissy’s heart is broken because her best friend and daughter, Carlie, overdosed on heroin and died the night before.

22-year-old Carlie Coulter was just one of 16 victims in 2012 to die from a heroin overdose in Santa Clarita, and Krissy is  just one of the many grieving mothers to suffer the unimaginable pain of losing your child to the monster that is heroin.

The sad truth is that the use of the drug is currently on the rise in America, and Santa Clarita still does not appear to be spared its share of casualties.

Drug overdoses in Santa Clarita appear to be on course to double last year’s numbers according to Sheriff’s Station officials. Current strategies in place to combat heroin use in Santa Clarita include increased emphasis on law enforcement.

This inspired the formation of the Juvenile Intervention Team by the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, tasked with breaking the cycle of increasing youth drug addiction and crimes associated with drugs. The city also created outreach programs like “Heroin Kills”, aimed at raising awareness of the dangers associated with opiates. While this strategy of increased education and enforcement yielded mild success for the city in recent years, the number of fatalities attributed to heroin continues to grow today. With current strategies failing to stop the growth of Santa Clarita’s heroin problem, some could argue that the answer lies with marijuana.

A study published in the Fall of 2014 by the American Medical Association concluded that states with medical cannabis laws were associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates, up to 25 percent lower than those without medical cannabis legislation. Another study conducted by Amanda Reiman, PhD MSW, in the Harm Reduction Journal in 2009 found that medical cannabis patients engage in substitution by using cannabis as an alternative to alcohol, prescription and illicit drugs, resulting in far less harm to the abuser. Reiman states, “There are actual properties of the cannabis plant that can aid in getting off of other substances. When you look at the withdrawal symptoms of drugs like opiates and alcohol—things like nausea, tremors, trouble sleeping—these are all conditions which cannabis is really good at fixing.”

While it can be argued that marijuana has clear medical benefits, critics often see marijuana use as the first step on a grim stairway leading to an eventual death from harder drugs. This line of thinking is derived from the gateway hypothesis, which suggests that the use of a gateway drug like marijuana will eventually cause the user to graduate to harder, more dangerous substances like heroin or methamphetamine. Current research can only provide evidence of association of later drug use when starting with marijuana, not causation. However, some experts like Dr. Henry David Abrahams, Nobel Peace Prize laureate disagree with the idea that marijuana leads to hard drug use. Abrahams stated in a 2013 interview that smoking cigarettes during adolescence is more likely to lead to drug or alcohol abuse later in life than using marijuana. Another popular belief is that marijuana is highly addictive, but research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that less than 1-in-10 people who use marijuana become dependent on it, whereas lifetime risk of developing dependence was 32 percent for nicotine, 23 percent for heroin, 15 percent for alcohol and 11 percent for stimulants.

Some local health care experts like Larry Schallert, Assistant Director of the Student Health and Wellness Center at College of the Canyons find themselves on the fence about medical marijuana benefitting Santa Clarita. When presented with the study conducted by the Harm Reduction Journal in 2009 regarding substitution, Schallert stated, “If you have an addiction to any kind of opioid, or alcohol, or methamphetamine, or cocaine and there’s some evidence that shows use of cannabis actually helps with harm reduction, decreases relapses, helps with the slope towards sobriety, or using it less then that would make a lot of sense and would constitute medical use of marijuana.” What worries Schallert is that medical marijuana dispensaries are often misused by those looking to use marijuana for strictly recreational purposes, resulting in unregulated self medication, especially among youth.

Implementation of marijuana as a substitute to ween off the addictive behaviors of hard drugs such as heroin or meth is largely due to the lack of scientific evidence available currently. The stigma that surrounds marijuana as well as its stifled scientific analysis can be attributed to its classification as a Schedule I drug, which categorizes marijuana with the potential to be just as harmful and addictive as drugs such as heroin and LSD. The classification also makes it extremely difficult for researchers to try and understand marijuana and its many properties. R. Douglas Fields, a neurobiologist from the National Institute of Health recently stated, “The government’s research restrictions are so severe that it’s difficult to find and show the medical benefit of marijuana.” Regardless, scientific progress continues to be made even with current government restrictions continuing to hinder efforts to understand marijuana. As for marijuana’s future in Santa Clarita, the city council is expected to endorse Assembly Bill 266 which will likely keep medical dispensaries out of Santa Clarita.

Love, not hate: Story of Bullying

Bullying is one of the leading causes that affect young children with long-term mental health effects. Franco Salcedo, resident of Santa Clarita, did not allow bullying to affect him, rather he brings about goodness in others.

Franco has been bullied from elementary school to freshman year of high school and with no support, his mindset as a child was affected. With no interference of adults stepping in, he stayed strong throughout the years.

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Brooks Gibs gives a quick view on exclusion and how the media loves to show hatred which influences a young audience.

Hatred is not the key way to go about life, and in Franco’s words showing love is all a child needs in order to have a balanced life.

Finding relevance in a community church

Higher Vision church recently celebrated 10 years in Valencia.

Its main focus has always been family based, and its message seems to have resonated within the community, it has a strong family presence with ministries for all ages from pre-k through high schoolers.

Its volunteers have an active role in its make- up and infrastructure for the constant daily ministries and connect groups, giving its members a place to stay “plugged in” on a regular basis.

Being active can mean volunteering in a service ministry from hospitality, consisting of assisting and making guest feeling welcome to joining a media team, in which you can find yourself learning to operate a camera, or mixing for the live stream.

The pastor and his staff are A-1 leaders and are passionate for the gospel, and their mission, that is to give back to a community that has welcomed them these past ten awesome years.

Addie Farley the ‘Mast Cell’ warrior

When Addie was 15 months old, doctors discovered her hemoglobin was low and she needed a blood transfusion.

She is currently on IV infusions of saline for hydration 2 times a week, IVIG (which is gathered from blood donors) monthly and iron infusions twice a month. She had a PICC line placed in Feb of 2014, which is basically a constant epi drip in order to keep her reactions under control.

Her triggers include: food, smells, temperature changes, medications (including those that are used to help treat mast cell disease,) and stress.

Addie’s mother, Christen Farley, along with Addie’s 3 older siblings Mikayla, Brandon, and Dustin have also been diagnosed with Mast Cell Disease. They all have different variations of the disease, and different treatments for their symptoms.

Despite the fact that she is fighting an every day battle, Addie still manages to find joy through her favorite activities which include playing with Play-Doh and coloring.

For more information, or those looking to donate to her medical expenses you can find Addie’s crowdfunding page at youcaring.com under the organizer ‘Angels 4 Addie’ or by clicking here.

99-year-old becomes oldest graduate in COC’s history

When you’ve been around long enough to witness the Great Depression, World War II, the civil rights movement and the moon landing, you don’t learn from college text books, college text books learn from you!

99-year-old Doreetha Daniels graduated today from College of the Canyons with no shortage of praise.

As the oldest graduate in the history of the college, Daniels received a standing ovation from students, faculty and staff during the ceremony.

After getting her diploma, Daniels received special recognition in Canyons Hall by COC chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook and Santa Clarita mayor Marsha McLean among others.

“I did it…I accomplished what I wanted to do and this is my dream come true,” Daniels said.

Daniels, who registered at COC three years ago, started attending classes at the Canyon Country Campus and made a personal goal to graduate before her 100th birthday.

Take a book, leave a book at a Little Free Library

It may look like a birdhouse or a mailbox, but it’s a Little Free Library and they’re popping up all over the Santa Clarita Valley. Little Free Libraries can be described as community book swaps. There are no library cards, dues dates or late fees, and you don’t have to whisper or stay quiet.

The Little Free Library movement was founded by Todd Bol. He modeled the first one after a classic school house as a tribute to his mother who was a school teacher.

“It’s for people to come and get together and to bring the community together and enhance reading and [for] everyone to enjoy the opportunity to read,” says Little Free Library owner Sandy Holguin. The concept is simple. You can either take a book or leave one.

“It brings the community together. We’re so busy with everyday life that people never really stop and pause and say hello and while you’re standing here, it’s such an inspiring thing to do that people will actually start talking and getting to know your neighbors and everyone in the community,” Holguin says.

Holguin recently opened up her Little Free Library. Hers is modeled to look just like her house.

“I would love to see a library filled with Arabic books, Spanish books, with anything so it just embraces all the community that’s here,” Holguin says.

There are currently an estimated 25,00 little libraries around the world. Santa Clarita is home to six official little libraries.

From Firefighter to Music Philanthropist

Jereme Ventura, Santa Clarita resident and the CEO of Animus Media Group (AMG) and Egoless Productions, turned his old life as a firefighter to start a new venture into the music industry. The name “Animus” is a Latin word meaning spirituality, loyalty, and respect. After many years of shooting and editing video for the Los Angeles Fire Department, he decided to make this an official company.

AMG’s belief to success is not to boast and to respect a client’s confidentiality. Clients have been extremely happy about the sound, the vibe, and not having to worry about who they meet or see walking outside of the studio. Ventura’s business expanded from Animus Media, “the mother-company,” to Egoless Productions. The expansion led to record labels to reach out and work with the company without having contractual issues. But most importantly, the meaning behind Egoless is what shapes the company.

The entertainment industry is filled with people who have an enormous amount of pride. According to Ventura, he named his business Egoless, “Because that’s what the industry is based around. Everybody’s egos and the thoughts of who they are. A lot of artist nowadays forget that it’s not you that’s the star, it’s actually your gift. And your gift is given to the people and the fans. But the fans are ultimately the stars because without them you’re nobody, you’re just somebody with a voice.” Jereme’s biggest desire is to touch people’s lives. As a firefighter, he acted as a community servant which led his humble heart to touch people’s lives through music and emotions. AMG and Egoless Productions is starting to put on concerts for foundations involving leukemia and autism. Jereme’s hopes of using music as a way to raise awareness to certain causes is the one of the most “Egoless” ways to go about the entertainment industry.

Herrick’s hard work defines Cougars

Meeting up with head women’s basketball coach, Greg Herrick I was able to find out the handwork beneath the talent. Greg Herrick has been coaching for COC as the women’s head coach for 23 years and coaching for a total of 37 years. He found his love for coaching at a young age, and with hopes of becoming a lawyer only then realized that his passion was on the court coaching. Being a basketball player, Herrick understood what needed to be done to create the recipes for successful season years to come.

Coaching for the women’s program here at College of the Canyons, Herrick has won countless league titles, ended up int the final four and many other accomplishments. He has had players inducted into the hall of fame and gotten countless players scholarships to play in ranked division basketball.

Coach Herrick just recently marked a milestone with his 500th win. If anyone knowns the recipe for a successful team and season its one of the most recognizable coaches in league, Greg Herrick.

Dr. Mosleh the professor behind the laughs

Dr.Majid Mosleh is one of the most interesting professors I have ever had the pleasure of being taught by. He is a very personable man with a knack for teaching others. Dr. Mosleh or simply “The Doc” as his students call him is someone who firmly believes that it is his duty to spread and share knowledge with others he meets and The Doc feels that the best way to reach the masses is through teaching others.

“Teaching is a very noble profession, some of the greatest inventions have come out of colleges and universities.” Dr. Mosleh is a very down to earth professor who prides himself on being easy to talk to and approach by his students, he even gave me chocolate and a cup of coffee during my interview with him. While talking to Dr.Mosleh I could not help but stop smiling, his charismatic personality radiates off of him and his humor is sure to leave the room in stitches every time he leaves.

Dr.Mosleh is a man who truly cares about his students, I was referred into his class by a friend and was instantly captivated by his teaching style. Students around College Of the Canyons are constantly praising Dr.Mosleh for his unique teaching methods which are not only easy to understand but humorous as well, he is a very down to earth professor who is always willing to have a chat.

A luncheon to honor cancer survivors

The Relay for Life of Santa Clarita Valley dedicated a luncheon to anyone who has battled cancer.

Survivors celebrated with music, food and prizes at the North Park Community Clubhouse in Valencia. Later, they shared their stories to motivate and inspire people who are currently fighting the illness.

The community is getting ready to participate at the Relay for Life Walk, a 24-hour event to raise money to continue providing services and fund research.

The event will take place at Central Park on Saturday, May 16. The walk will start at 9 a.m. with the Survivor Lap, when survivors will walk together as a sign to show their victory over cancer, and will end Sunday morning with the Fight Back Ceremony.

For more details visit the website www.scvrelay.org 

 

Dr. KC Manji- Music Authority at COC

Dr. K.C. Manji, C.O.C.’s music director, has been involved in music for more than 5 decades.
She started as a bass player, touring with musical greats like Frank Zappa, among others. However, her greatest strength may have been knowing her limitations.

After 10 years as a touring musician, Dr. Manji decided her playing was just not up to the standards of most of her contemporaries, and she decided to shift her focus to teaching.

Dr. Manji says she recognizes the huge changes that have taken place in the music industry in the last decade or so, and she understands how difficult it could be for even her best students to succeed as professional musicians today.

One thing she says has not changed is that as a musician you just have to do it. Dr. Manji says that one must rehearse and learn the craft as much as possible. This kind of work ethic does not offer any guarantees, but it certainly increases the chances of being successful, in music and in life.

Cecillia Barron: Teacher of Inspiration

Cecillia Barron is a professor at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita.  While she teaches a Sociology 101 class, she has had many diverse experiences that have influenced her life in a positive way.

From the time she took her very first sociology class, she knew this was her calling.

Barron described she had been through a lot in her life that had to do with sociology. “It just came naturally to me,” Barron said.

Before she became a teacher, Barron was a part of LA County Probation for more than 7 years.  Dealing with cases anywhere from manslaughter to truancy, she has seen many types of people come through the program.

Her own research on transgender children was conducted in order to give these children a voice.  Not many studies are done with them, and Barron saw this as a great opportunity to break gender barriers.

Hoping to plant the seed of inspiration, Barron continues as a mentor to her students.

COC Instructor Returns From South Korea Following Coverage of Unusual Protests

In an effort to champion democracy and undermine totalitarian propaganda, College of the Canyons media instructor and The Hollywood Reporter (THR) journalist Paul Bond flew out to South Korea this past April for live coverage of planned air ballooned drops of the Sony film “The Interview” into North Korean territory.

“This isn’t about just making a statement on free speech,” said Bond of the movement he profiled.

“Most of these activists are defectors who escaped North Korea. They were tortured, their family members were executed, and they all have gut-wrenching stories to tell about their lives in North Korea. The purpose of smuggling this film is to embarrass the Kim regime and to illustrate Kim Jong Un as he appears to the rest of the world — an object of ridicule.”

With an active duty army of 1.2 million, as well as its possession of nuclear weapons, some have argued that the North Korean military dictatorship is one of the most prominent threats to international security in the 21st century. For South Koreans that align with this stance, the North Korean government’s drastic response to “The Interview” was an affirmation of that argument.

On April 15, Bond witnessed a successful 10,000 DVD balloon drop led by Park Sang Hak, a former North Korean government employee who escaped the dictatorship with his family through a series of bribes and harrowing swims across the Amnok River into China.

The launch capped a long week in which activists were repeatedly shut down by South Korean officials, who according to Bond feared that the balloon drops would be met with North Korean retaliation.

“It was surprising to see how strenuous the objection in South Korea was,” Bond added. “The first time the cops descended on us, that was a news story repeated over and over and over for the whole week I was there.”

Featured in Bond’s coverage for THR is Jung Gwang II, a former North Korean citizen who was tortured and sentenced to work in a prison camp before escaping to South Korea.

Now 51, Jung smuggles Western media into his homeland along with other activists- many of whom nestled 12-minute subtitled edits of the movie in between snippets of state-  sanctioned propaganda in order to trick North Korean authorities.

But while the subject matter of the Seth Rogen comedy flick creates an obviously contentious situation in Korean territories, it is far from being the first American movie to go airborne.

“This film and other outside media is so explosive to a deprived populace ignorant of the outside world,” added Bond. “It can actually stir the people to revolt, which is the ultimate goal of the activists.”

According to Bond, who has since returned to the United States, South Korean activist Lee Min Bok has sent copies of “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Pearl Harbor” across North Korean air space in the past.

Sometimes desperate times call for a laugh, or two.

Young anglers find Castaic Lake ‘friendly’

During the first Saturday of May, Friends of Castaic Lake kicked off their Fifth Annual Tom Stout Memorial Fishin’ and Fun for Kids Day.

A crowd of nearly 400 eager young anglers and their families gathered at upper Castaic Lake and were given free tackle boxes filled with Pautzke bait and a fishing rod courtesy of Sports Chalet.

Kids ages 15 and under then put their fishing skills to the test in a contained portion of the lake that lifeguards netted off and the Department of Fish and Game then stocked with trout, specifically for this event.

After fishing, the kids were treated to a free lunch from Costco and raffles/prizes were given away to the participants.

For more information on future lake events please visit the Friends of Castaic website: http://www.castaiclake.com/focl.html

 

Wings for Life: Making It’s Way Back To Santa Clarita

Red Bull Wings for Life World Run returned to the City of Santa Clarita and served as the only west coast host city. Olympic athletes and even local runners came out to Santa Clarita early Sunday morning to support Wings for Life in achieving their goals. Wings for Life is a spinal cord research foundation, which funds world-class scientific research and clinical trials around the globe aimed to healing the injured spinal cord.

The Wings for Life world run is unlike any other race: 35 different cities across the globe all began with one start time on Sunday, May 3. Participants around the world all took off at 4 a.m. PST. Thirty minutes into the race, what is know as the “catcher car” moves onto the course and begins to chase the runners. Once the vehicle passes someone, his or her race is considered over.

Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn came out to show her support for the cause.

During the event Vonn said, “It’s definitely something that is very important to me and of course I want to help as much as I can”.

Jesse Billauer, professional surfer and an ambassador for the Wings for Life World run stated, ” It’s cool to put spinal cord injuries out on the map. There are a lot of people that maybe didn’t know anything about that; it could happen to anybody”.

Winners for the Santa Clarita race were Thibault Baronian at 34.3 miles and Shannon Rhalves at 29.6 miles.

Race participant Lemework Ketema won the world title after running a total of 49.7 miles in Austria. Winners are given the choice to run in any of the 32 cities for next year’s race.

Fashion Minute Special: Met Gala Red Carpet Looks

The 2015 Met Gala hosted many celebrities with unique red carpet looks that made heads turn. Everyone who walked the carpet had to get creative with the theme of China: Through the Looking Glass. Many celebrities wore red to match the famous carpet. The Hollywood North Entertainment hosts looked at the top ten best red gowns at the gala on this week’s Fashion Minute.

New addition at Carousel Ranch keeps lessons for kids going

At Carousel Ranch in Agua Dulce, children with disabilities aren’t just taking pony rides. It’s a place where they practice their body strength, speech and motor skills all on the back of a horse.

In the past, on days where there is rain or extreme heat, their lessons would have been cancelled. But now, thanks to help from the community and generous donations, Carousel Ranch has a new covered arena.

To some, it may just be some concrete and steel but to the children who ride at the ranch, this new covered arena means so much more.

Carousel Ranch is an equestrian therapeutic center for disabled children. Serving eighty five children, the center caters to all ages, all disabilities and with all individual lessons.

“A lot of our kids have severe seizure disorders. They can’t be out in extreme weather, they can’t be out in extreme heat which is our biggest problem here in Santa Clarita Valley, when it’s raining, ” said Carosuel Ranch Founder and Executive Director, Denise Redmond.  “They’re medically fragile so a lot of times, they can’t ride when the weather is not good.”

The new arena stands 21 feet tall and spans fifteen hundred square feet.

“The building of it was not too long. Between when the drills came out to start digging for the footings to when the roof came up was probably, oh I don’t know, about two months or so,” said Carousel Ranch Board of Directors Vice President Eric Stroh.

Redmond believes the new arena will make a personal difference in each child’s life. “The kids love coming here. This is the one thing they get to do. So while brothers and sisters are doing ballet and baseball and soccer on the weekends, this is their activity. This is something they can be proud of.”

One dead, one hospitalized after Canyon Country shooting

SANTA CLARITA,Calif. – Sheriff’s deputies responded to a shooting Wednesday afternoon in the 27500 block of Sierra Highway in Canyon Country.

One female was injured in the shooting and a male was pronounced dead at the scene. The female victim suffered minor injuries and was transported to a nearby hospital in stable condition.

The shooting took place inside of a unit of The Sierra Canyon apartment complex. It is still unknown if the suspects forced entry into the unit. The suspects were described as two adult males. A motive for the shooting has not yet been determined.

Sheriff’s are asking anyone with information to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at (323)890-5500.

It only takes a pint to save a life

Students at College of the Canyons have the opportunity to save people’s lives by donating blood every month. The blood drives take place at the college’s honor’s grove on a regular basis in attempt to raise the number of blood donors and help more people in need.

According to the American Red Cross a total of 9.2 million Americans donate blood every year. What sounds like an impressive number is in reality less than 10% of the people eligible to make a blood donation.

In order to donate blood people need to meet different requirements such as being at least 17 years old and in good health weighting at least 110lbs. Donors also need to drink plenty of water and eat a nutritious meal before donating blood.

Students who meet the requirements have the chance to donate blood today and again on June 17th.

 

High speed rail in the SCV? Residents say no!

A feisty meeting regarding The California High Speed Rail’s local impact was held at Canyon High Monday night. The gym was packed as residents from Santa Clarita, Acton, Agua Dulce, and San Fernando came to voice their concerns with the upcoming High Speed Rail plowing through their cities.

“It would be right next to an elementary school, a church and it would take out homes in the Sand Canyon Area.” said Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean.

According to McLean the schools at risk would be Sulphur Springs Elementary School, Pinecrest Elementary School and the affected church would be Church of the Canyons.

CHSRA Regional Manager Juan Caros Velasquez wants resident of Santa Clarita to know The California High Speed Rail Authority has a process and will study all the potential impacts to arrive at the alternative that is best for everyone.

The California high Speed Rail project was approved by California voters in 2008 with 52.7% in favor. The 800 mile project will stretch from San Diego to Sacramento, with 24 stops along the route. The bullet train is a completely zero-emissions form of transportation. By 2040, it is estimated the system will reduce vehicles miles of travel in the state by almost 10 million miles every day.

The Rail Authority will make conclude their local study in Spring of 2017, and the rails themselves will be up and running by 2029.

Wings for Life returns to Santa Clarita

On May 3rd, 2015, the world will once again run for those who can’t.

In 35 countries across the globe, thousands will take off at the very same time. (11a.m. UTC) As if that wasn’t unique enough, the race has no finish line! Instead the runners are followed by a Catcher Car, which takes off 30 minutes after the start. The last athlete to be caught- wins.

Among the thousands running for a good cause, will be Newhall’s own, Jeannie Rutherford who was the 2014 Wings for Life female division winner, who won right here in Santa Clarita.

Jeannie’s prize for winning the female division of the race was to choose a global location to run in 2015 and she chose Leper, Belgium, which she will be attending with her husband Mark and two children next week.

As a Team USA Duathlon member, Jeannie is use to running. In prepping for this year’s race however, she has found a new appreciation for logging in the miles, especially after meeting Wings for Life ambassador Tamara Mena. “Meeting Tamara at the end of last year’s race was so inspiring,” said Rutherford. “Every time I go out for a run and I’m to tired and don’t want to do it, I think of her. The fact is I still can do this and I need to do this.”

If you or someone you know would like to run for a good cause, there is still time to register. The entry fee is $50 and 100% of the funds raised from race registration go directly to the Wings for Life Foundation in support of Spinal Cord Research.

Online registration is officially closed, but you can also sign up in person at the

Westfield Valencia Town Center

24251 Town Center Dr.

Valencia, CA 91355

May 2 from noon –8pm

May 3 from 2:30am – 3:30am

Registration closes just before the race start time of 4 a.m.

As the clock ticks down on a race for global supremacy, will you be there to run for those who can’t?

For more information please log onto: www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com

College students use drugs to boost study, productivity

It’s rough out there for a student, especially if you’re a student who is also working part-time. Sometimes, you need a little help. A student spoke to Cougar News on a condition of anonymity.

She’s taking four classes this semester and working part-time in a restaurant. Her classes start in the morning and continue until mid-afternoon. After a mind-numbing six hour onslaught of new information, she heads home to get ready for work.

At the restaurant, she endures demanding diners with impossible expectations. Her co-workers often slack, making her job more difficult. After a busy day, the only thing she wants to do when she gets home is sleep…but she can’t. It’s 11:30 p.m. and she has a six-page research paper due in the morning.

Enter study drugs.

Drug use among college students is extremely common and has been well documented for decades. This type of drug use though, is somewhat of a novelty. It seems that young academics are now turning up, not to zone out from the milieu of college responsibilities, but rather, to zone in.

Study drugs, otherwise known as cognitive enhancing drugs or neuro-enhancers, are becoming common place in higher education.

In a 2003 report led by Sean Esteban McCabe of the Substance Abuse Research Center at the University of Michigan, the percentage of healthy students using prescription drugs for non-medical purposes ranges from zero to twenty-five percent, depending on the college.

http://academicdepartments.musc.edu/psychiatry/research/cns/upadhyayareferences/McCabe_2005.pdf

Adderall, which is usually prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, is the most prominent study drug.

Student reviews are favorable and it has made a name for itself for enhancing focus, mental clarity and improving memory. Students also cite increase in productivity as a common effect.

‘Addie’ as it has playfully been dubbed, isn’t the only neuro-enhancer students are turning to for their mid-term and finals week cram sessions.

Several other prescription drugs are popping up including Ritalin, Concerta, and Provigil to name a few. Students who have experimented with these drugs say the results and benefits are real. The question is, are they safe?

“If you take these kinds of drugs, they can cause heart problems, you can get addicted to them, so you build up a tolerance to them, you can get depressed, you can get agitated, you can have problems with anger and irritability, anxiety,”said Larry Shallert, Assistant Director of the Mental Health Program at College of the Canyons.

“This doesn’t make you smarter, these kinds of drugs. They may make you concentrate and focus on things, you may have felt like you did better on a test because of that, but the fact of the matter is, you probably didn’t, you probably just focused more. ”

Those who take Adderall and drugs like it are also prone to becoming side-tracked. Stories of students organizing their iTunes library for an hour or obsessively cleaning their rooms, instead of studying, are not unheard of.

Still, there are those who swear by it to boost their ability to study.

The student told us: “I had a large work load and it help me focus and get through studying…with four classes and a lot of homework, it’s kind of hard…I’m a big procrastinator…it takes me two hours longer to do an essay than it needs to, and it [Adderall] kind of just gets me focused…focused and ready to do it.”

Health experts like Shallert say the best way to boost cognition is to do it naturally. Be sure to get plenty of sleep and stay physically active. Health advocates also tout meditation and brain training games as a viable way to improve cognitive functions.

 

 

Newhall travels back to the Wild, Wild West

Newhall took a trip back in time to the Wild West, when the 22nd Annual Cowboy Festival came to Hart Park. The festival had vendors of all sorts, selling cowboys hats, to horse shoes, to peach cobbler and more.

While there were several different games that people of all ages could enjoy. Children and adults rode the mechanical bull, got personalized horse shoes, learned archery and participated in shows.

The event brought out families from all over Santa Clarita as well as other states to enjoy the live performances of western bands, watch a civil war reenactment,

Follow Up: Sexual Assault In COC Parking Lot

On March 30, 2015 between the hours of 8 and 9 p.m. a female student was walking to her car when she heard footsteps approaching from behind. She turned around, and a man grabbed her breasts then pushed her to the ground. The incident occurred on Campus Drive near lots 5 and 6 (east side of campus).

The suspect is described as a white male, 18 to 25 years old with facial hair, wearing a dark hoody with a gray baseball cap, basketball-type shorts and long socks. College of the Canyons is investigating the incident, but is not optimistic about finding any leads.

Michael Wilding, Assistant Superintendent of COC states, “It was one of those things where the victim didn’t have a lot for us to go on, and no witnesses came forward from the email we sent to the entire campus community.” On-campus assaults are very rarely reported on campus, but a study by the RTI International shows 19% of woman said that they experienced attempted or completed sexual assault since entering college.

College of the Canyons stresses the importance of being aware of your surroundings at all times and traveling with a friend whenever possible. Student Harlee Williams told us, “I don’t try to walk by myself- I always try to make sure I’m with someone else.”

Both the Valencia and Canyon Country Campuses also offer “Campus Escort Services”, a free service which is available to take students, faculty and visitors to any destination on campus. They will even drive you to your car at night.

For more information on Campus Escorts, visit their website.

If you or someone you know is a victim of assault on campus, contact Campus Safety at (661)-362-3229 or fill out their online tip form.

 

 

 

Students helping students; Peer Advisors popping up on campus

Canyons Peer Advisors are a group of students created to help other students at College of the Canyons. The idea originally started at UCLA, where they found that peers helping peers might be a useful idea to make advice and information more accessible to young people.

The Canyons Peer Advisors assist students through an array of activities such as giving directions, explaining the college’s different programs and services, or helping them reach their educational goal.

To be able to do so, CPA’s go through a five-weeks training and weekly meeting to ensure that the information and instructions they give is always up to date.

CPA’s have five different mobile stations at the Valencia and the Canyon County campuses as well as a steady spot in the administration building at the Valencia campus.

SCV Search and Rescue team-local heroes or average Joes?

“We don’t consider ourselves heroes or special for doing anything like this. It’s just a group of people that have and affinity towards helping,” says Santa Clarita Search and Rescue Team Member, Carlos Giron.

Not heroes? Some local residents might not agree. The Santa Clarita Search and Rescue Team is a group of volunteers who are on call 24/7. The group is part of the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Department and assists in a wide array of scenarios ranging from searching for lost hikers, to locating lost children or adults, to sometimes recovering the body of someone who has passed.

Search and Rescue Team Member Marco Pelaez says people would most be surprised to learn that this job is done on a one hundred percent volunteer basis. “A lot of people think that this job gets paid but it doesn’t. We’re doing this as volunteers and we’re doing this for the passion of Search and Rescue. And it doesn’t matter what time it is, you go and do it.”

No matter what the situation, Search and Rescue team members are willing to put their lives at risk. But its not the hiking, traversing water or challenging terrain that team members find the most difficult. Sometimes, the hardest thing for team members to do is set their personal feelings aside.

“There was a call out for a thirteen week old baby that went missing. And as my partners and I are searching for the baby you start thinking about all the possibilities…it’s very hard not to take it personal,” says Giron as he reminisces about past rescue missions.

To some members, being on the Search and Rescue team is about giving back to the community in their own special way.

Search and Rescue Team members Ken Wiseman agrees that sometimes the job does get personal. “Its very important to write checks for charitable group, or to be on boards, all of that is wonderful but there’s something very personal about going out on a search and rescue call. If anybody is the super man. I think it’s the ones who do this day in and day out for a living. We just get to feel a little of thrill and excitement of what its like to do some of what they do and better appreciate what we have in life I think.”

To learn more about the Search and Rescue Team you can visit their website. You can follow them on Facebook to stay updated with their rescues.

Valencia Lanes hosts royalty, local celebrities for charity event

SANTA CLARITA, CALIF – A young stylish DJ from San Diego sat outside the doors of Valencia lanes bowling alley on Saturday March 28th selling tickets to a celebrity/charity event going on inside. A photographer to her right was taking professional pictures of all their guests over a red carpet and professional backdrop.

So naturally, residents of all ages were curious to see who would show up to the event.

Actor and vine-star Melvin Greg, local music talent CJ Cab, DJ Aeiramique Blake from San Diego and singer Reuben Cannon otherwise known as Joe Eagle all came out to bring the community together.

Close and personal friend Siba Dlamini was also in attendance but no formal announcement was made to share her identity. Dlamini is daughter to Mswati III, King of Swaziland and was here as a personal guest to the event coordinators.

Amith Boteju and Reuben Cannon are friends and business partners, throwing celebrity/charity events all around the Southern California area.

Their company, Young Cannon Entertainment organized the event to give residents a chance to bowl with celebrity figures and raise money for single mothers and a local Valencia church.

“This event in particular was for all of the people in Valencia to come out and enjoy and feel like a celebrity themselves.” says Boteju.

‘Text Neck’ becoming an epidemic?

More and more people are coming to doctors with complaints of chronic neck pain. What those doctors are beginning to find out, is that the amount of time we spend looking down at our phones is in direct correlation with pain we feel in our neck.

The average human head weighs roughly 10-12 pounds in its normal resting state, and the more you curve your spine down, the more pressure that adds to your spine.

Doctors say that at a 60 degree curve of your neck, can add 60 pounds of pressure on the spine.

With the average American spending nearly three hours per day looking down at their phone, that adds up to a lot of neck pain.

Santa Clarita native, Super Bowl champ Shane Vereen given key to the city

Historic firsts continue to blaze trails in Santa Clarita as Shane Vereen, Super Bowl Champion and SCV resident par excellence, was presented the key to the city during a luncheon hosted by the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.

A celebration of accomplishment, arising with Vereen’s success as a Santa Clarita young scholar athlete with a 4.0 grade point average at Valencia High School to obtaining a degree in Media from Cal Berkley, and forging ahead to become the first SCV resident to win a Super Bowl Championship.  It is a victory in sports history, Santa Clarita history, and Santa Clarita African-American history.

“Not many communities have hometown heroes and Santa Clarita certainly has a lot of them, but he’s our first Super Bowl winner.  Not only is he a great athlete but he’s also a great human-being, and he was a great scholar,” said Terri Crain, CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Hundreds attending the luncheon represented a healthy cross-section of Santa Clarita’s richly diverse population, which focused on family, integrity, excellence, education, and hard work as a game plan for success.  Vereen attributed much to his parents for instilling the ethics that have culminated in his achievements.  First cousin to actor, Ben Vereen, Shane was born and raised in Valencia. He attended Valencia High School maintaining a 4.0 GPA while excelling in football, basketball, and track. In college, Vereen chose a Media major to help prepare him for a career after the NFL. According to Vereen, his future plans fluctuate but says his plans will be sports related.

“A lot of times people use the term “NFL – Not For Long” and I kind of took that to heart. My mother took that to heart more than anybody,” said Vereen.

Patriots’ Super Bowl victory behind him, Vereen now heads to the New York Giants.  His younger brother, Brock, also raised to excel, returns to the Chicago Bears. His mother, Venita Vereen offers advice to young sports families:

“Remember that kids are kids. Sports are fun but it’s not supposed to be their job at this young age. Let them be kids, let them play all sports, and remind them school is far more important than any sports they are playing,” she said.

Shane Vereen also champions the fight against childhood cancer by donating proceeds to L.A. Children’s Hospital from events, such as the luncheon and by hosting a football camp.

Curt Sandoval, Weekend Sports Anchor for KABC7, described his own recent experience with cancer and the efforts to raise money for local resident, Connor Coughenour, of the Warriors league.  It was Connor’s first time hearing Vereen speak. What did he like most?

“Just when he told you to believe in yourself,” said Coughenour.

There is an online donation page for Team Connor at http://www.gofundme.com/love4connor.

“We can all be very proud of our young people here in Santa Clarita as is evidenced by Shane and his accomplishments,” said Marsha McLean, Mayor of the City of Santa Clarita.

 

Arts Master Plan a work in progress

arts_summitHundreds of artists and arts patrons quickly filled the round table seating for the Santa Clarita Arts and Entertainment Summit hosted and facilitated by the City of Santa Clarita. As additional accommodations were set up for the overflow, city staffers and attendees were delighted with the huge response to the next step in the Arts Master Plan.

Mayor Marsha McLean opened the event with an enthusiastic welcome.

“I just happen to be the mayor of the City of Santa Clarita. I want you to know that if I were not the mayor, I would be sitting right out there with all of you because I love the arts,” said Mayor Marsha McLean.

The City of Santa Clarita Arts Commissioners and Councilmember TimBen Boydston took part in the discussion process coordinated by the Arts, Events, and Community Services Division.

An overview of the previous Master Plan and an outline of steps toward the next phase of planning was presented by David Plettner-Saunder, who helped pen the first phase in 1997-1998. The City allocated $75,000 toward the next phase slated for a ten-year plan. Summit attendees were invited to voice feedback in roundtable discussions, some in popcorn-style and others methodically going around the table, to ascertain three main points:

What does one like about the current arts opportunities in Santa Clarita
What are the challenges and
What solution(s) can one offer to address the challenges

These filters were applied to topics in rotating “breakout” sessions:
1. Arts education and lifelong learning in the arts

2. Public and private arts funding

3. Arts facilities

4. Next steps for public art

5. Arts programs for children and families

6. Arts and entertainment programming for adults

7. Newhall Arts District

8. Celebrating Western heritage

9. Advancing the arts community

10. Support for individual artists

11. Programming with/for Millennials

12. Other

Upon completion of the event, moderators were asked to announce a common theme voiced by the table participants. According to the table leaders, a repetitive concern was vocalized.

‘An affordable multi-use facility for gallery, performing space, workspace, office space for non-profits groups and artists – as well as a central website or app to provide better communication of arts happenings and providers.’

Going forward, the City requests residents to complete an online survey at www.santa-clarita.com.

“The City wants to hear from every single resident. We absolutely need to hear from you,” says Mayor McLean.

A follow-up summit is being scheduled for the summer.

Highlights of the event can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/WhzVMr4jpss

Cougar Baseball: More than just a game

Cougar baseball players live by the definition of team — a group of people with different skills and tasks who work together toward a common goal with meshing functions and mutual support.

When picking their dream teams fans usually choose Hall of Famers including Cy Young, Babe Ruth, Mike Schmidt, Honus Wagner and Jackie Robinson.

The Cougars have had a dream team of their own this season, with JC Cloney, Roy Verdejo, Dylan Freyre, Jose Haros, and Colton Burns working within the roster.

Reaching their dreams hasn’t always been easy.

After fracturing his spine in his junior year at Valencia High School, second baseman Colton Burns spent a year away from baseball, but didn’t let the injury keep him away from the game.

“Coming back from (the injury) and knowing that I could still play the game, and pushing through that to make sure I know that I can come back from anything,” Burns said, referring to his recovery as one of his biggest accomplishments in baseball.

For others, the success this season was unforeseen. Enter freshman right fielder and Saugus High School alum Roy Verdejo.

“I didn’t expect it,” Verdejo said. “I expected myself to hit maybe like a normal freshman right now, but coming up with seven homeruns was a big surprise for me, even for my family, just because it was my first year.”

While these Cougars may be young, they have excelled in the game so far and have much to be proud of.

Dylan Freyre, another Saugus High alum, was a two-time 1st Team All-League selection when he played for the Centurions, was named to the 2014 All-Western State Conference Team, in addition to being named a Golden Glove winner at third base last year.

As for shortstop Jose Haros, he was the three-time 1st Team All-League selection when he played at San Fernando High School. He was drafted in the 40th round by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2013, straight out of high school.

Despite how well their season is going, as a team, they know there is always room for improvement, case-in-point being Burns, who started the season as the number nine hitter and worked his way to the number one slot.

As for Freyre, he continues to make strides toward improving his craft.

“There are a lot of things I can improve on, like the way I field ground balls,” he said. “You can’t really be perfect, but I’d like to think so.”

Focused on speed, Verdejo looks to make corrections on hitting and swinging.

Baseball is more than just a single game for these athletes. For starting pitcher JC Cloney, who was introduced to the game by his older brother at the age of four, baseball defines life.

“It’s like a getaway,” Cloney said. “It’s my own little paradise. You come out here, you don’t really think about life much.”

Clooney uses the sport as his outlet, often channeling daily frustration into drive.

“If you’re having a rough day, you come out here and play some ball and you’re happy by the time you’re leaving the field,” he said. “We’re out here six days a week. If you’re having a bad day, this is where you come to make that day better.”

For Haros, whose first language was Spanish, baseball encouraged him to communicate in English.

“It was important to me to be fluent in English so I can talk with and communicate with my teammates,” Haros said.

No matter how far baseball has brings them, these athletes are still chasing their dreams.

Each player hopes to play through college, preferably for Division I or Division II schools with scholarships.

Don’t be surprised, however, if one day you buy a jersey with their name on it.

“My dream when I was a kid was to make it to Major League Baseball, make it to the major leagues, or right now it’s just go in baseball as high (a placement) as you can,” Verdejo said.

Looking back on their careers thus far, these Cougars have words of encouragement for young aspiring athletes.

“Always work hard rather than take days off,” Cloney said. “My dad used to tell me you’re either getting better or you’re getting worse — you’re never staying the same. So I think everyday you should do something to get better at baseball, no matter what it is.”

Haros’s advice: “Work hard, work hard at your position. Don’t take anything for granted, practice, as well. Focus in school because that’s going to be a part if baseball doesn’t work out, school can be there, as well.”

“Baseball is a game of failure, you just have to keep working at it and, I mean three out of 10 times in baseball is really good so you just have to keep working at it. No matter what, keep chasing it,” Freyre says.

For an update on the baseball team’s standing in conference, watch the Cougar News Sports Update, Wednesday, April 22, at 9:00 p.m., streaming live here on cougarnews.com.

Employers hopeful at this year’s COC Job and Career Fair

About 90 employers contributed to making College of the Canyons Job and Career Fair the largest it’s been in eight years on Wednesday, college officials said.

The Valencia campus’ East Physical Education Gymnasium was transformed into a career information center, where job seekers exchanged resumes with eager businesses and organizations. All of the employers attending the fair must have employment opportunities available, allowing for over 90 potential jobs.

Employers, those seeking employment and attendees transitioning to a new job are feeling a little more certain the job market will remain stable, according to Bill Guthrie, career advisor at COC’s Job and Career Center.

“A lot of people are very optimistic with some hesitation because in the past we had a little rise and then it settled back down, but they seem to think it’s actually going on the real rise if you will, because there’s jobs available and people are out there wanting to find jobs,” Guthrie said.

Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services, one of the largest mental health care providers in Los Angeles County, may just be one of those agencies that share the optimism. This was the first time the agency has decided to attend.

“We heard about [the job fair] through word of mouth and I think it’s a great area for us to recruit considering we have openings in Lancaster and Pacoima, so I figured why not, lets check it out,” said Wendy Becerra, a recruiting generalist at Hathaway-Sycamore.

Being prepared would ultimately be the best way to attend. Employers were sure to notice those who were properly dressed and candidates with their resume on hand, but the fair doesn’t discriminate against those who just want to find out some information on potential career options.

“I’ve had some people out in the corridor that were scared to come in, but just be comfortable, relax and start a conversation,” Guthrie said.

COC’s Job and Career Center website has the next job and career fair scheduled for April 29th at the college’s Canyon Country Campus from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Red Light Cameras Discontinued in Santa Clarita

Red light cameras are now defunct in the city of Santa Clarita.  This comes after a 3-2 vote from the Santa Clarita City Council in favor of letting the city’s contract with camera vendor Redflex expire last month sending a round of applause through a standing room-only audience.

The cameras created much controversy locally, with some locals saying the cameras trapped them into running a red signal. Citizen advocate Jim Farley explained this phenomenon in detail.

“The dilemma zone is an area that exists when the yellow light is too short,” Farley said. “It exists because there is not enough time for the driver to stop comfortably, but there is also not enough time for the driver to go safely.”

This “dilemma zone” is one of many reasons why the city council voted to eliminate the cameras.

City Councilmen Dante Acosta, TimBen Boydston and Bob Kellar voted in favor of discontinuing the program.

Boydsten expressed that the camera system was “a very unpopular program a lot of our citizens have been hurt really bad by.”

“Studies have shown that they don’t make intersections safer,” he said.

Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean and City Councilwoman Laurene Weste voted against the removal.

“They did make people adhere to the traffic laws,” McLean said. “I’m concerned that with them gone people will fall back into their old habits.”

The City’s Streets/Signage Division have removed all signs indicating intersections are “photo enforced” before a Redflex subcontractor removes all other infrastructure including poles and housing at a later date.

COC educating students on sexual assault and domestic violence

On Tuesday, College of the Canyons Invited Jackson Katz, a sexual rights activist, to speak on the subject of sexual assault and domestic violence. Although it is never an easy subject to discuss, he emphasizes “switching the paradigm” by not only looking at it as a women’s issue but also as a man’s issue and what they can do to help.

Cougar Café launches new Meatless Monday menu

Fans of foliage rejoice! You can eat meals without meat every Monday now at College of the Canyons.
The Cougar Café launched Meatless Monday on March 2015 to promote a healthier lifestyle.

Meatless Monday was originally invented during World War I as a food saving initiative and was recently relaunched because of the many benefits on both, people’s health and the world.

While going meatless reduces the risk of cancer, heart-disease and obesity, replacing just one meat meal with a plant meal was proven to have a significant impact on the environment.

In fact, producing one pound of red meat has a cost of 280 gallons of water, 3.5 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions and up to 50 square feet of land from pollution and deforestation.

COC Professor and dietitian Sheri Barke clarifies that “Meatless Monday is not trying to make you go vegan” but is rather an occasional, plant based alternative to raise awareness and promote healthier eating habits. She also emphasized the importance of eating lean protein whether it comes from a plant or an animal, and balance each plate by always including all main food groups. She explained that ideally each meal consists to a quarter of preferably whole grains, a quarter of protein and the remaining half should be vegetables and fruit.

You can try a different meatless meal at the COC cafeteria every Monday from 10:30 am to 2 pm.

New renovation plans for Old Orchard Park discussed

The Santa Clarita Department of Parks and Recreation held a second meeting at Old Orchard Elementary School to discuss two renovation plans for Old Orchard Park. Residents sat in and discussed the two developments as well as gave suggestions in hopes that the park will be versatile for all ages.

Tom Riley, parks development administrator for the city, discussed differences in both plans and what they hope to accomplish when they begin developing. Although there is much to do to the park, the two proposals will not accommodate all ideas and suggestions due to the budget and space of the park.

“The ball diamond in the park — it’s currently not lit for night play and there’s no proposal to put lights up on that part” Riley said.

Restoring the park will have a great impact on the adjacent elementary school, as students will it as their playground area during the day and not have to worry about outside visitors having access during school hours. The park is outdated which causes families to bring their children to the the school playground.

The overall outcome is to choose a proposal that will accommodate people of all ages and most importantly be safe.

Campus clubs offering students different opportunities

With thousands of students mindlessly passing each other by on the way to class everyday, the intimacy that a four-year college may demonstrate can at times feel non-existent on campus.

The clubs that College of the Canyons offers gives students the opportunity to change that educational isolation by bringing the teachings of the classroom into a setting were it could be discussed amongst peers.

This semester’s continuation of the ASG sponsored Club Rush event turned the center of the campus into an area where frisbee throwing and eating pizza in the grass seems like an everyday occurrence.

Fifty-four clubs are now available for students to choose from, most of which had tables set up in the Honor Grove, trying to attract students to attend regular club meetings, according to German Hernandez, the ASG Vice President of Inter-Club Council.

“It’s important for students to get involved [in clubs] because it gives them an outlet to really practice what it is that they’re learning, or really develop their interest, whatever that may be,” said Hernandez.

The Sigma Kappa Delta English Honors Society is hoping to continue English majors’ interest in the subject by working with the English club and previewing English programs that particular universities offer.

“For example, UCLA has a very extensive English program, so we’re going to have that on display for everyone,” said Colette Blake, president of the Sigma Kappa Delta English Honors Society. “We’ll let them know where they’re going and what to expect.”

Blake has been partly responsible for helping bring Sigma Kappa Delta back to COC, after the club disbanded five years ago. Blake’s former British literature professor, Ruth Rassool, urged her to become a founding member.

Besides this year’s resurrection of the honors society, students will also get to witness the collaboration of former COC Most Outstanding Club of the Year, the Geography Club, and the brand new Geology Club, according to Nick Walker, president of the Geography Club.

“Geography is so relevant to almost every major, that no matter what you are, it’s a place you can relate to,” Walker said. “The idea is to try to draw in the geography people, the geology people, just everybody. We’re basically going to do the same things. I’m not too sure about what they’re going to do exactly, but I know there is going to be a ton of collaboration.”

Geography club meetings will be held on Tuesdays in Boykin Hall room 112 from 5:20 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The English honors society meetings are Bi-weekly on Tuesdays at 2 p.m. in Student Center room 128. Sigma Kappa Delta does have minimum GPA requirements and requires a fee to join.

Canyons Hall dedicated during ribbon cutting ceremony

Bringing several key student services together, Canyons Hall officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony at College of the Canyons’ Valencia campus.

The new 46,000 square foot facility allows for services including Admissions and Records, Counseling, and Financial Aid to be kept under one roof. Located in the center of the campus next to the Student Center and Honor Grove, the facility allows new students to find what they need in an accessible place.

“One of the barriers to student success is the first step. The step of meeting with your counselors, seeing the Admissions and Records office, and finding out what the college can provide for you,” said Jared Moberg, the student trustee at COC. “This building removes those barriers to success and provides a good environment to establish with the college.”

The $17.8 million dollar facility replaces the old “A Building” and was funded through both state resources, and Measure M, a $160 million dollar bond measure passed by Santa Clarita voters in 2006.

Speakers at the ribbon-cutting ceremony included assistant superintendent Michael Wilding, Associated Student Government president Christine Colindres, and Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook.

“We know that in this building with coordinated services, that our students are going to be able to do better,” Dr. Van Hook said.

“Given the inspiration of what our students can do, this building is a foundation for student achievement.”

Vista Canyon set to break ground this May

The stretch of Santa Clara River along the 14 freeway between Sand Canyon and Via Princessa is about to get a huge makeover.

Vista Canyon is a new project from JSB Development, the same company who built the Valencia Town Center.

The development will be home to a new Metrolink station, apartments, shops, restaurants, a park, and a new movie theater.

JSB development partner Steve Valenziano, along with partners Jim Backer and Glenn Adamick, started putting the project together in 2005 and purchased the land in 2006.

JSB held a large number of public meetings to reach out to Canyon Country residents and see what kinds of services they would like on their side of town.

Residents on the east side wanted more stores like Trader Joe’s and have more restaurant opportunities. They wanted to be able to have the amenities that Valencia has without having to go to Valencia.

“Our project represented an opportunity to bring the east side of Santa Clarita some services and infrastructure it has been lacking to date,”  Valenziano said.

The Vista Canyon plan is very unique in that it is a very walkable plan the developers said.  “At no point in our project are you more than half a mile from the town center where all the services and restaurants will be.”

“We’re envisioning a gathering place. A place that has small shops, restaurants, wine bars, bookstores, a place where you really want to just go and meet with friends and have lunch or dinner.”

One of the major objectives of the city in the entitlement for Vista Canyon was to put corporate office space in the east side of the valley.

Valenziano says the goal is to lure businesses from Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley up to Vista Canyon to bring work to Canyon Country, and make life a little easier for commuters.

Vista Canyon will really center around the new town center and new train station.  It’s unclear at this point if the Via Princessa station will remain, or if the Vista Canyon station will take over as the new train station for Canyon Country.

JSB plans to break ground this May for land development.  The construction of Vista Canyon will be an ongoing process over the next six to seven years, so keep your eyes open for the big changes coming to the east side.

For more information on Vista Canyon visit www.vistacanyon.com or www.jsbdev.com.

Brush fire chars 3 acres near Industrial Center

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department arson investigators are looking into a brush fire that burned approximately three acres in the wash near the Valencia Industrial Center late Monday afternoon.

Los Angeles County Fire Department crews responded to the initial report around 3:45 p.m.

Initially described as a half-acre fire, the blaze grew to destroy nearly three acres by 5 p.m.

Three water dropping helicopters quickly responded to the scene as fire officials were able to have the fire 80 percent contained by 6 p.m.

No injuries or damage to nearby structures were reported.

Police detained several people at the scene, and authorities said they were brought in for questioning, but no arrests were made.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Arson/Explosives Detail at 323-881-7500. You may also provide information anonymously by calling the Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-222-8477.

Students meet with professionals during Media Day at COC

Video By: Allyssa Dickert

Partnering with West Ranch High School, the College of the Canyons’ Media Entertainment Arts department gave more than 350 students the opportunity to meet with professionals from several industries including film, animation, journalism, sound arts, and game design.

Media Day took place at College of the Canyons, where students could talk to 29 different media professionals of their choosing. The four-hour event was organized in four, 45 minute sessions.

Alongside the speakers, students were able to see industry equipment firsthand including a demonstration of an ABC7 news van, operated by photographer Frank Alli.

Professionals who spoke to students included ABC7’s Phillip Palmer,Leanne Suter, George Pennacchio, and Danny Romero, Disney video game designer Trevor Bennett, and producer/director Branden Morris, who owns a local production company.

“You have to figure out what works for you and move forward,” Palmer told students. “Listen to other people, get as much information as you can. But ultimately, you have to do what works for you.”

The event was co-organized by Jennifer Overdevest, a West Ranch television production teacher and Dave Brill, the Media Entertainment Arts department chair.

Media day first began six years ago at West Ranch, and has increased in both scope and size,  with the help of Overdevest and Brill. Both are pleased they helped make this year’s Media Day the largest so far.

“We heard from students today who said, ‘This is amazing, this gave me an opportunity to actually ask industry professionals questions that I would never had an opportunity to ask,” Brill said.

“I’m very happy with how Media Day turned out. It seems like the students really benefited from the diversity of the presenters, which was an important aspect of this Media Day, compared to previous years.”

Spotlight: Whittaker-Bermite Property

Not many cities have almost one thousand acres of vacant land lying in their center. Santa Clarita’s Whittaker-Bermite property is a 996 acre plot of land neighbored by Soledad Canyon Road on the north, Golden Valley Road on the east, Railroad Avenue on the west and Circle J Ranch on the south.

The property has contamination issues, the result of 50 years of various operations including the manufacturing of dynamite, fireworks and munitions for the department of defense. Those operations are responsible for leaving the contaminants that remain in the area to this day and consequently, those contaminants will take a lot of work to clean up. Whittaker is funding the clean-up, and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is in charge of monitoring the operation.

Jose Diaz, Project Manager Scientist for the DTSC states the two most abundant contaminants on the property are perchlorate and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  These contaminants are embedded in Whittaker’s top soil and ground water. Diaz assures everyone living or working in the surrounding community are completely safe.

The city’s current general plan for the property includes new roads, schools, parks and single-family housing units, but the land’s top soil will need to be cleaned before any new development can begin. Top soil is projected to be complete by the end of 2016. Ground water will take at least  20 years to complete, but the DTSC states ground water will not pose any health risks. The city has not announced when they plan to begin development.

 

Spotlight: Nicholas Cogswell

Nicholas Cogswell is a COC student working as the equipment assistant of the New Media department. At 22 years old, Nick is moving towards the completion of an Associate of Arts degree in filmmaking by Spring 2015.

At the beginning of his college career at COC, he was just another fresh student with an undecided major. After taking a few photography courses, Nick picked up on cinematography and realized his interest in production.

He then decided to intern for the new media department and that’s how he landed the position he currently has in the equipment room. Besides helping students handle expensive equipment, Nicholas has had a few exciting days at work. He recalls doing some work for Cougar News the day Six Flags Magic Mountain’s oldest treasure caught fire. “Once I finally got a break we found out that Colossus was burning and no other journalism student was there so Ron and Dave asked me to go help Heather get b-roll”.

That may be too much excitement for the laid back film major. For Nicholas nothing comes close to the anticipation of graduating and landing a job in the field. Now he is narrowing down colleges and universities to transfer to with the best cinema and media programs.