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Alice in Bridal Land Alice Goetschel brings Basics to Brides

Travel Time Overnight Destinations, Cruises Weekend Trips

Local Leisure Clubs, Dancing, Visual Arts

Enterprise Zone and Taxes Break the Code

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19347 Soledad Cyn. RD. • Canyon Country • (661) 298-0062

For independent adults, ages 55 and better! Come and see what makes us different from all the other independent adult communities in Santa Clarita! Pay us a visit and meet our friendly on-site staff. Schedule a tour of our spacious apartments, resident garden, and learn about our fun-filled calendar of events. We are truly the best in independent living for people ages 55 and better! You owe it to yourself to check us out!

Winter Rent Special: First Month FREE with the signing of 12 Month Lease Community Features: • Safe and Secure Grounds • Private Bus and Car Free of Charge • Life Grows On Resident Garden • Off-leash Dog Park • Dedicated On-site Activities Director • Beauty Salon • Organized Day Trips to Tourist Attractions • Library and "State-of-the Art" Computer Center • Recreation Center and Pool • Nearby Shopping and Banking • Fun-Filled Calendar of Events and Classes

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AYSO REGION 677 FALL 2010 SOCCER REGISTRATION FOR PLAYERS & VOLUNTEERS Boys & Girls ages 4 to 18 (Born between August 1, 1991 and July 31, 2006) *A Birth Certificate is required if you did not play in Region 677 in the Fall 2009 Season Early Registration Fee: $115.00 per player includes: Shorts, socks, jersey, pictures. THERE IS NO FUND RAISING FOR THE 2010 SEASON AYSO’s six philosophies separate us from the pack:

Balanced Teams Positive Coaching Good Sportsmanship Everyone Plays Open Registration Player Development


Before attending registration, go to (Region 677’s website) Click on the registration link - click on eAYSO logo. Follow the instructions. Please complete the form in its entirety. Then bring FOUR copies of your completed registration form to registration.


Place: BOYS & GIRLS CLUB 19425 Stillmore @ Sierra Vista Jr. High School Thursday March 25 7:30-9:00 PM (Coaches Only) Thursday April 1 7:30-9:00 PM Saturday April 17 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM Saturday May 1 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM registration dates are subject to change check for current information

AYSO Region 677 strongly believes in Balanced Teams. To this end, any player in a competitive division (U10 - U14) that did not participate in the program during the 2009 Fall Season must be evaluated prior to being placed on a team. Evaluation times and dates will be handed out at registration. **Please Note** This process is NOT a "try-out". Each player attending the evaluation will be placed on a team. This is simply a tool to allow Region 677 to better balance the teams. Contact (661) 252-AYSO or for additional information. Taxpayer ID# 95-6205398

What’s Inside... FEBRUARY 2010 PUBLISHED BY Valley Publications






vel 20




EDITOR Martha Michael

26 | Sprin g

Training T rip

OPERATIONS MANAGER Jean Sutton GRAPHICS Jocelyn Kornfeld ADVERTISING SALES Kathleen Fox Mike Ludwig, Debbie Watson Cheryl Anderson




a | C

12 | Wedd ings

| T ax B reak s

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mimi Slawoff, Marilyn Hackett Cary Osborne, Linda Vanek Cathy Riso

also 34 | Holocaust Survivor Speaks Crowd attends Season of Diversity event


| COC New Medical/Biotech Program

MAILING ADDRESS: 27261 Camp Plenty Rd. Canyon Country, CA 91351 Ph: (661) 298-5330 Fax: (661) 298-5338

On the Cover: Flower Girl Amelia Nesheim

46 | Smooth Blend Not the Usual Grind

50 | Carnival Cruise Trip to Mexico 10

Canyon Country Magazine

February 2010

Correction: Last month a website was listed for Denise Saylor’s painting/ murals business. The correct website is: Canyon Country Magazine regrets the error.

Letter From the Editor With my daughter in Mexico

Time for Travel, Leisure and Love In the last 12 months I traveled outside the country twice – my husband and I went to St. Lucia in January and we took our family to the Riviera Maya (outside Cancun) in August. Except for the language, I didn’t find much difference between the eastern and the western Caribbean. But then, I’m not a travel expert. Some of our contributors, however, are seasoned travelers. Marilyn Hackett has covered California, and in this issue she shares her trip to Santa Ynez with us on page 38. Mimi Slawoff’s high seas adventure is on page 50, and Cary Osborne will convince even non-sports fans to take in spring training on page 26. Linda Vanek makes wedding planning sound like fun on page 12. And, speaking of fun, we covered some leisure time activities on page 16 and a chance to enjoy the arts on page 20. One of the most inspirational experiences I had in the last 30 days was attending “A Season of Diversity” with speaker Elaine Geller, a Holocaust survivor. She had an amazing story, and I recount it for you on page 32. Many residents feel like mere “survivors” of 2009, especially with challenging job situations. For local business owners, the City of Santa Clarita’s “Enterprise Zone” is an attempt to ease some of the pressure, especially relevant as tax time approaches. Read about it on page 24. On our website you can enter your event on the calendar, see previous issues of the magazines, buy or sell something on our free classifieds link or get more local scoop!

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Valentine’s Day Events Police Blotter: crimes & misdemeanors in your neighborhood Marriage Myths you may still believe How’s our Real Estate? Martha Michael’s Moneysavers and talk with me at

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Before ‘I Do’ By Linda Vanek

love? Goetschel has developed a comprehensive questionnaire to help couples during their first consultation define what they truly want from their wedding.


he average wedding takes over 300 hours to plan, according to a survey from the International Association of Bridal Consultants. Most of us don’t even have an extra half hour in a day, and uncovering the kind of time to visit an average of 45 vendors to make countless decisions seems impossible. There must be a better way than the old fashioned version of a bride and her mom planning the wedding. There is. Wedding consultant Alice Goetschel of Memorable Occasions/ Weddings by Alice comes with 20 years of experience, knowledge of quality vendors and venues, a calming presence in emergencies and an absolute love of her job. “My favorite part is getting to know the family and help them celebrate life’s milestones in a meaningful and special way. I really enjoy the personal aspect,” Goetschel commented. “I become


Canyon Country Magazine

an extended member of the family. I have ideas to make milestone celebrations more memorable.” A love of weddings since she was young encouraged her to volunteer to help, and experience as a bridesmaid “over and over” gave her ample opportunity to taste a variety of weddings. She realized that families needed someone to help who wasn’t emotionally involved and who wouldn’t be taken away from enjoying the day and the guests. “I invented the idea but there wasn’t such a job yet,” she recalled. In 1990 she found a class to become a wedding consultant and hung out her shingle combining wedding planning with her 30-year career as a now retired kindergarten teacher. How does a newly engaged couple begin the daunting task of planning a special day to celebrate their

February 2010

“The first thing is to set the date and the number of people. Then you fill in the blanks,” she noted. “The most difficult part is getting a venue. People aren’t aware of places that exist. There are some private places for small parties,” Goetschel said. Armed with her knowledge of quality florists, caterers, photographers and bakeries, in addition to locations, Goetschel does the legwork of contacting places to check on availability. Memorable dates like 10-10-10 or 8-9-10 make it easy to remember your anniversary, but fill up quickly. After cutting the typical vendor list down by 2/3 through prescreening, Goetschel recommends several contacts for each category for the bride and groom to visit. They might take the book that she co-authored on their visits to compile information and make decisions easier. “The Simply Elegant Wedding Planner” (www.weddingplannernotebooks. com) is a notebook with questions to ask, important ideas to consider, pages for notes and slots for business cards. Envelopes for receipts and pictures are included to make continued on page 14

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continued from page 12

information easy to organize and accessible. Each couple typically has at least one element that is significant to them. It might be an exceptional cake, special music or location. With an average wedding costing $20-30,000, planning the budget is a balancing act, according to Goetschel. She helps couples come up with creative ways to combine their hobbies, interests or cultural heritage into the celebration. For instance, one bride arrived in a stagecoach and another couple had goldfish bowl centerpieces to show their love of fishing. Wedding trends change with time and one current innovation is to have activities for the guests while the couple is taking formal pictures. In addition to food, there might be a strolling magician, string quartet or even a photo booth. There is sometimes a post-reception party where the bride and groom change their clothes and continue the evening with their friends. Parents often host a brunch the day after the wedding, especially for out of town guests. If the couple hasn’t left on their honeymoon, they might come to the brunch and open gifts. Also popular are “Save the Date” magnets or cards to allow guests to make travel plans. New colors include a very dark burgundy red that’s almost black, and jewel colors like emerald green


Canyon Country Magazine

and ruby red. Chocolate brown has been a consistent favorite. Brides also might use a “toss bouquet” so that they can keep and preserve the original. There are services that will press flowers artistically in a frame or freeze dry the flowers. While there are plenty of music groups and bands available, a DJ is often more affordable and can provide a variety of lighting, act as the master of ceremonies, and even bring special bubbles that don’t leave spots when they pop on your clothes. A new moneysaving trend is to personalize the music by using what’s on an iPod. We’ve all heard horror stories of things that go wrong at weddings, but Alice, her assistant and their large container of emergency supplies are prepared for just about any problem. Anything from the usual Tylenol and needle and thread to a floral emergency kit to create missing corsages is included and brings a huge level of comfort to the bridal party and family. If you need it, it’s in there. The “Santa Clarita Wedding Professionals” is a group that Goetschel waited for years to join. They allow only two members from each wedding planning category at a time and “Brides call them the ‘A-team,’” according to Goetschel. The organization provides a valuable and inexpensive service to brides in Southern California. Every quarter they have a bridal

February 2010

seminar to explain how to plan a wedding, avoid common mistakes and how to save money. There’s plenty of time for a question-andanswer time with the 20 professionals from the organization. The cost is $10 for a bride and guest and the next event is March 2, 2010. Doors open at 6:30 pm at the Hyatt Regency Valencia and, since seating is limited, RSVP at 661.296.6191. Their website (www. states, “Your vision is our passion.” Three hundred hours is a huge investment of time. An experienced professional like Alice Goetschel not only can save a bride time, but can help her realize the dream for the perfect start to the couple’s new life together. Celebrating their love can be meaningful and relaxing with the right way to plan. Alice Goetschel can be reached at or 661.270.9448.

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Local Leisure Canyon Country residents find leisure in a myriad of ways. Jump into one of them – you can make friends and enjoy your free time too.

So You Think You Can… Seeing Stars Founded in 1984, The Local Group Astronomy Club is a nonprofit, educational organization providing volunteer speakers and telescopes for events. Meetings are held each month at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center and are open to the public. You can join the group for quarterly “star parties” at the Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park in Agua Dulce. On the Saturday nearest to each new moon, the club joins other Southern California amateur astronomers at Mount Pinos. The next star party is tentatively scheduled for the night of Saturday, February 20 at Central Park. Visit for more information about the Astronomy Club. Make sure you click on the “Picture of the Day”!


Canyon Country Magazine

In the Swing One of the most popular leisure activities today is ballroom dancing. Preciado’s Ballroom has been bringing ballroom back into the forefront in the SCV for years. Residents can take classes for as little as $10 in “East Coast Swing” and “Social Practice” or group “Rumba” or “Waltz” lessons. Preciado’s offers a chance to prepare for an upcoming wedding also. Contact the studio at www.pbds. tv. Squared Away The Sierra Hillbillies promotes Western Square Dancing and Round Dancing in the SCV. The group welcomes couples and singles of all ages to club dances, held on the second Friday of each month at the SCV Senior Center. They also visit dances held by other groups in different areas of the state. continued on page 18

February 2010

Top: Eusebio Preciado with Charlotte Kleeman Bottom: Husband and wife James & Loretta Baron

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continued from page 16

Teams, Schools, Clubs & Businesses

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Firewood $50 a pick-up load, split, and seasoned, ready to burn in Canyon Country Attn: Tree cutters: I will pick-up your wood for free Ask for OAK SPECIAL!!


Sierra Hillbillies Anniversary Dance The Sierra Hillbillies hold classes each year at Mitchell Community School in Canyon Country. New visitors are welcome to attend classes beginning in the fall. Contact the group by visiting http://sierrahillbillies. org.

Bridge to Somewhere Bridge is a centuries-old card game involving a bidding process and taking tricks. In addition to games and groups available through the Santa Clarita Senior Center, there is an active “contract bridge” community here.

OFFICE SPACE Soledad/Sierra Hwy, Cyn. Country

(661) 287-4559

Canyon Country Magazine

Lessons are available, occasionally through Pinsky, and also on the organization’s website. Those who are interested can download free interactive lessons on Pinsky began playing bridge in the mid-1970s, and met his wife, Kathy Swaine, when she received a lesson. For information about the league or lessons, contact Rand and Kathy at (661) 253-1105.

Approved ADA Therapy Office $750/month


Rand Pinsky and an associate run two games a week through the name, “The Valencia Bridge Studio.” Held Tuesday nights at 6:45 p.m. and Thursday mornings at 10 a.m., the games are sanctioned by the American Contract Bridge League. Players earn points, which increase their rankings in the bridge world. According to Pinsky, all levels of ability have a place in the system. “We try to keep it as friendly as possible, we have a reputation for that,” he says.

February 2010

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Fibromyalgia Is Not Your Fault Clinical studies have shown the majority of fibromyalgia patients started having symptoms after a traumatic event like a car accident, work injury, or a fall. If you suffer with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue, you know how demanding life can be. One fibromyalgia patient said it like this…“For people who take good health for granted, it’s hard to imagine a condition that makes simple tasks great tests of will and determination.” Contrary to what some people believe, you’re not lazy or crazy. Fibromyalgia is a real disease with real pain. Maybe your past doctors don’t even think fibromyalgia is a real disease, but you know it is. You feel it every day -- when you wake up in the morning, when you try to keep your house cleaned...even simple tasks like cooking dinner become a chore. Mark Pellegrino, MD (author of The Fibromyalgia Survivor), reported that after studying over 2,000 fibromyalgia patients’ files, he found two-thirds of fibromyalgia patients started having symptoms after a traumatic event like a car accident, work injury, or a fall. Another study published in the 1997 issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism, said fibromyalgia is 13 times more likely to occur following neck injury than following a leg injury.

Prescription drugs are at best “masking tape” that covers up the daily warning signs of a painful disease. My name is Dr. Joanne Buettner, owner of SCV Family Chiropractic. Over the past thirteen years I’ve used gentle treatments to help many fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue patients feel better and live healthier, more joyful lives. Because of this, I’m running a special offer for women with fibromyalgia. For 15 days only, $35 will get you all the services I normally charge new patients $260 for! What does this offer include? • An in-depth consultation about your health and wellbeing where I will listen…really listen…to the details of your case. • A complete neuromuscular examination. • A full set of specialized x-rays to determine if a spinal problem is contributing to your pain or symptoms… (NOTE: These would normally cost you at least $170). • A thorough analysis of your exam and x-ray findings so we can start mapping out your plan to being pain free. • I’ll provide answers to all your most probing questions about fibromyalgia. The offer is only good until March 1st. Call now 661-255-2822.


The Arts Get Framed B & R Art Gallery in Canyon Country is using its website to maximize enjoyment of art pieces. You can view “The Art and Science of Framing” on for help with the preservation of prints and originals, including glazing, mats and liners. Owners Dave and Barbara Joseph also offer personal assistance to customers in the store. B & R is located at 17726 Sierra Highway in Canyon Country; (661) 298-2038.

Santa Clarita Artists Association One of the SCV’s main sources of inspiration and promotion of art, the SCAA holds special events several times a year, plus monthly meetings with speakers. This month, Carolyn Counnas will demonstrate “The Seven Principles of Creating Depth in Your Paintings” on Monday, February 15 at Westfield Town Center Community Room beginning at 7 p.m. Contact SCAA at for details. View Carolyn’s artwork at

town. The public can view exhibits at: Tesoro Adobe Historical Park, at 29350 Avenida Rancho Tesoro in Valencia; Canyon Theatre Guild, 24242 Main Street in Newhall; Elite Smiles Dental Office, 24155 Magic Mountain Pkwy in Santa Clarita; Providence Holy Cross, 26357 McBean Pkwy in Valencia; and now at Thelma’s Morning Café, 22876 Copperhill Drive in Saugus. In addition to its displays at Providence Holy Cross cancer care facilities, the medical group and the SCAA partner in the “Art of Healing Program” contest, held for elementary aged children in Santa Clarita, where a U.S. Savings Bond is awarded to the winner. SCAA has also “adopted” and sponsors an art school in Tanzania, where impoverished children get free art lessons and a daily meal. Artist Carolyn Counnas

Creating Love Santa Clarita Creative Guild presents “Love is in the Air,” a Sunday afternoon Gala, where guests can enjoy the fruit of featured fine artists and seasoned musicians. There will be live painting exhibitions, live music entertainment by local jazz musicians. Hors d’oeuvres, desserts and non-alcoholic drinks will be served, in addition to a no-host bar at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom, 24500 Town Center Drive in Valencia. The gala is on Sunday, March 14 from 2-5 p.m. Tickets are $15-before the show/ $25-at the door. For ticket information call 661.312.3422 or 661.254.2404.

ESCAPE to the Theatre One of the best known children’s theatre groups in the area, E.S.C.A.P.E. Theatre produces 3 - 4 shows per year involving hundreds of kids in each. This month the young actors will appear at the College of the Canyons Performing Arts Center with “Li’l Abner” on February 19-21. Visit the organization’s website at for showtimes and prices.

More Kids Onstage The Canyon Theatre Guild in Newhall is giving teens, pre-teens and adults alike the opportunity to get a live experience of a favorite

SCAA members have art displayed in several venues around

continued on page 22


Canyon Country Magazine

February 2010

(866) 898-3949 27303 North Sara Street, Santa Clarita, CA 91387


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film. “High School Musical 2 On Stage” runs through March 5 on Friday and Saturday evenings and matinees. The Canyon Theatre Guild is located at 24242 Main Street in Newhall. Visit www. for tickets and showtimes.

We REPeat: Head to the Theatre And for the adults, the Repertory East Playhouse has added a few features. The Hydeaway Lounge pours beer, wine and spirits before and after each show for one hour. And a recurring production called “24 Hour Theatre” is suggested for age 13 and over. This creative concept is a challenge for the actors, who have one day to come up with a hilarious show, given just a phrase to work with. The popular Neil Simon play, “Lost in Yonkers” runs through February 20 on weekends. Waiting in the wings is “On Golden Pond,” opening March 12. The Repertory East Playhouse is located at 24266 Main Street in Newhall. For more particulars, visit www. or call (661) 288-0000.


Canyon Country Magazine

Theater Well Worth the Wait By Cathy Riso

Santa Clarita finally has its own state-of-the-art theater for live productions of theater, music, and even films. Golden Valley High School opened in 2004 to meet the growing educational needs of the Santa Clarita Valley. With Title 1 Hardship funding, the school began with 9th and 10th grade classes, and a shell of a promised theater. For five years, the drama students at Golden Valley traveled to Valencia and Newhall to perform. Each year, leadership at the high school hoped for funding to complete the facility, and each year, everyone waited. Finally, thanks to the persistence and hard work of the L.A. Board of Supervisors, principals Jackie Snyder and Sal Frias, Assistant Principal Joel Nelson, and Golden Valley Theater Director Janie Prucha, Golden Valley High School’s theater is a reality. Funding was provided by Measure V, with a matching grant from Prop 1D. Active construction began last April, and dedication ceremonies were held November 10 to a packed

February 2010

house. The facility was well worth the wait, beyond the potential of original plans. Seating 527 audience members, it features a 48-Channel Surround Sound Board, and ETC Ion Digital Intelligent Lighting System, a Motorized Screen and HD Projector, 20 “Countrymen” Wireless Microphones, and a beautiful lobby, suitable as a gallery. There is also ample parking, and an adjoining amphitheater. The facility can be changed from a concert hall to a cinema within minutes. “The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens” was Golden Valley’s first production in the new theater, followed by numerous awards ceremonies, conferences, and winter choir and band concerts. Prucha, the fine arts chair at Golden Valley, believes the facility will soon be available, not only for Golden Valley’s students, but for the entire Santa Clarita community. This is a long awaited, and much needed addition to Santa Clarita’s landscape. Future productions include Golden Valley’s spring musical, “Grease,” in April, and an all-star alumni show on June 26.

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Canyon Country Magazine

February 2010

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Field Trip

By Cary Osborne

I’ve been pestering you this winter about traveling to Arizona for Major League Baseball’s spring training. You guys are so hard to convince. I’ve heard the excuses. But we can make it happen. Just hear me out. We’re baseball fans, right? I know a couple of you aren’t, but trust me, this will be fun for all of us. There are 15 Major League teams that do their preseason workouts and games in Arizona, including the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels. The great thing is, most of those teams are within an hour of each other. The Dodgers are just out-

side of Phoenix in Glendale and the Angels play in Tempe. I think we want to drive there, right? One of you said you can’t make the drive. So you’d have to fly. So here’s the deal. We’ll drive from Santa Clarita to Phoenix — that’s about 405 miles, or a six- to seven-hour drive. I know, six or seven hours in a car is rough. But the experience will be worth it. I sought out some opinions and asked what to expect from spring training, so I asked some representatives from the Dodgers and Angels.“For those who come during the two weeks before games start Feb. 19 through March 4,

there are tons of opportunities to interact with the players, get autographs and watch big leaguers from seats that are right in front of you ... the equivalent of the Dugout Club at Dodger Stadium,” said Josh Rawitch, Dodgers vice president of communications. “The Ballpark is about one quarter of the size of Dodger Stadium, so the intimate feel of the game from every seat is also unique, and there’s obviously no berm (grass) seating at Dodger Stadium, where fans can come in your bathing suit and lay out in the sun. It’s something that many fans across the country have had the opportunity to experience for decades, but that really only became easily accessible to Angelenos last year with thecontinued on page 28


Canyon Country Magazine

February 2010

Photo of Dodgers Spring Traning, by Juan Ocampo, Los Angeles Dodgers

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team’s move to Glendale (Ariz.).” If you guys didn’t know, the Dodgers moved into their new spring training home, Camelback Ranch, in 2009. For 61 years, the Dodgers called Vero Beach, Fla. their spring training home until the move last year. The Dodgers share Camelback Ranch with the Chicago White Sox. Camelback Ranch is 141 acres and includes a lake, 12 practice diamonds and the main stadium, which has room for 13,000 – including 3,000 in the grass area behind the outfield fence. So we can go there and sit in the stands, hang out in the Legends Deck (which is basically a party deck), or we can sit on the grass.

Sound intriguing? Obviously we don’t have to be that elaborate with dining. And we actually don’t have to plan that much.

Above: Entrance to Tempe’s Diablo Stadium during spring training; Below: Angels game during spring training in Tempe’s Diablo Stadium; photos courtesy of Los Angeles Angels

The Angels offer a similar package starting at $586 with a dinner featuring a special meet and greet with a player.

What’s the damage? It’s $10 to $47. Since we have to pick someone up at the airport, we can go directly from Phoenix International Airport to the Angels’ home at Tempe Diablo Stadium. It’s just six miles away. Tickets are just $6 to $29. Since I know not every one of you are big baseball fans I asked a representative of the Angels about the draw for the non-aficionado. “If you’re not a huge follower of baseball, you’ll become intrigued by it,” said Tim Mead, vice president of communications for the Angels. “I think once the season starts, what everyone sees is the games. They don’t see the work involved.” Spring training is the work. We’ll get to see the chemistry being built, lots of player interaction and the basics being worked on. It’s almost like we’ll see what little leaguers and high school players do on a daily basis, just the names involved are Manny Ramirez and Torii Hunter.


Canyon Country Magazine

The Dodgers and Angels offer travel packages that include tours, hotel rooms and tickets to games. For the Dodgers, the packages start at $471. They include hotel, tickets to a game, rental car and a postgame reception with select players and a shirt.

Not convinced? Well, what about the weather. We can hike the scenic red rocks of Camelback Mountain. We can check out the Native American fine art at the Heard Museum. There are about 35 golf courses in the area. Almost as many day spas. It’s too bad that the Talking Stick Resort, a 15-story casino/hotel, doesn’t open until May 1, but we have something to shoot for in 2011. The food? Well, I read about this breakfast spot in Phoenix called Matt’s Big Breakfast. Bon Appetit magazine’s Web site said when the place opens at 6:30 a.m., there might be 20 people lined up outside. And there’s this restaurant called Kai that is the world’s only Five Diamond Native American restaurant. Listen to the name of this dish: grilled tenderloin of buffalo from the Cheyenne

February 2010

OK, say we do this in a weekend, we don’t do any packages and we don’t see the Angels or Dodgers. We have so many options — the White Sox, Cubs, Brewers, Rangers, all the California teams and more. We could drive there early on Friday and get a cheaper hotel room and with tickets as low as $5, it won’t cost a ton. Some teams offer all-inclusive food packages. The Arizona Diamondbacks have a $25 all-you-can-eat party deck. All players are supposed to report to spring training on Feb. 23. The first weekend of games is Friday, March 5. Basically, every game starts at 1:05 so we could stay until Sunday and hit the road to go back home around 4:30 p.m. or 5. Sure, we’ll be back late that night. But it’ll be worth it. I have never seen baseball this way — the beginnings, the interaction, the downscaled intimate version of Major League Baseball. What do you guys think? Cary Osborne is the Assistant Managing Editor at The Signal


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Just a Walk in the (Dog) Park By Dilini Hemachandra

Now, thanks to the City of Santa Clarita, there is another place where dogs and their best friends can bond. Canine Country is the newest dog park to open in the SCV, as part of Phase Four of the Santa Clarita Sports Complex. The dog park has covered picnic areas, seating, and walkways. It provides residents with plastic bags so owners can easily clean up after their dogs. The 60-acre recreational complex includes an aquatic center, a lighted one-mile walking trail, gymnasium and a sand volleyball court. The parking lot can hold up to 200 parking spots for residents. Phase Four, including Canine Country, took 12 months to complete and cost $88,000 to build. 19413 Soledad Cyn. In Canyon Country

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A Season of Diversity Holocaust H olocaust S Survivor urvivor D Draws raws C Crowds rowds o off A All ll A Ages By Martha Michael

Elaine Geller

In addition to speaker Elaine Geller’s details about surviving Nazi concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen, during WWII, there was another big story. It was the tremendous numbers the presentation attracted. Part of the City of Santa Clarita’s “A Season of Diversity,” from the Human Relations Forum, more than 300 kids and adults gathered at Rio Norte Junior High School to hear Geller speak.

“The event drew a huge crowd for several reasons; the topic was very interesting and relevant to what is going on in the world today; John Costanzo, the principal at Rio Norte, and Greg Lee, coordinator of diversity for the Hart School District, did an excellent job in marketing and encouraging students and staff to attend,” explained Janine Prado, community services administrator for the City of Santa Clarita. The 72-year-old Geller recounted the abuse, starvation and loss she experienced from the age of four to almost nine years old. Born in Poland, just she, her father and two brothers survived the Holocaust and came to America quickly after the war ended, thanks to an uncle living in Brooklyn. “My grandparents and my mother were massacred,” she continued. “My 16-year-old sister went to Auschwitz and died in the ovens.” She was separated from her family early, but an aunt stayed near to Geller. It was key to her survival, from being herded onto cattle cars to surviving in the concentration camp on 400 calories a day, with just dirty water to drink. “I was thrown over an electric barbed wire fence onto a truck, and hid under coal,” she said. “I had tuber-


Canyon Country Magazine

February 2010

culosis, typhus and lice,” Geller described. “I was shaved bald, was beaten.” Geller told the audience about guards releasing dogs to attack the kids, just “for fun.” This came up during the question-and-answer period, when several inquiries pertained to the way her experiences have affected the rest of her life. After more than 60 years, she still experiences terrifying flashbacks in the presence of free-roaming animals, particularly dogs, she said. She answered some of the questions with facts gleaned from studies of Holocaust victims. “The first 20 years we were in shock. The second 20 years we were grieving,” she explained, adding that since that time the victims have been talking about their experiences more than before. She gave the audience other statistics from the Holocaust. “The average age of a Holocaust survivor today is 83,” she began. “One hundred of us die daily.” Geller also had figures to make plain the basic goal of the Holocaust. “The plan was to murder 11 million Jews, which was the number of Jews living in Europe at the time. Six million Jews were killed. And 1 ½ million of them were children under 18,” she said. Geller had a strong overall message. “History does repeat itself in different forms, different degrees,” she said. “If you pollute morally, ethically and spiritually, you become part of the dirt.” After pointing out how Hitler, ironically, did not seem to match much of the blonde-and-blue-eyed version of the Arian ideal, Geller said, “When you are filled with so much anger, rage…you look in the mirror and see what you want to see, not what’s really there.” She added that Hitler, despite his agenda, was elected a second time. “To be less than a productive citizen is to give Hitler a posthumous victory,” said Geller.



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Lab Tech Program Debuts at Canyon Country Campus


ver the next decade the presence of an ever growing and aging population, paired with the emergence of increasingly dangerous strains of viruses and diseases — and the development of new and innovative medical tests needed to diagnose such ailments — is expected to create a nationwide demand for trained medical laboratory personnel. “Currently, as with all health care occupations, there is a shortage of personnel qualified to work in hospital and biotechnical labs,” said Sue Albert, dean of Allied Health at College of the Canyons. In response to that increasing need, during the spring 2010 semester the COC Allied Health Division will launch its new Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT) program designed to prepare students for jobs in the high-demand medical and biotechnical lab industries. “The new Medical Lab Technician program will help to meet the need for laboratory technicians across the state, and indeed the nation,” Albert said. “Thanks to the support of the local hospitals and biotechnical labs in the area, College of the Canyons is the first community college in the region to offer such a program.”


MLT professionals play critical roles in collecting the data and information needed to provide care to patients and/or perform research used in the scientific exploration of many areas throughout the larger medical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Common tasks associated with the position include the analysis of body fluids and cells to look for bacteria, parasites and other microorganisms; testing blood for drug levels that show how a patient is responding to treatment; and the testing and analysis of lab specimens using microscopes, cell counters and other sophisticated laboratory equipment. A certified MLT technician in the state of California typically earns a median income of more than $38,000 a year, finding employment in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, public health facilities and other commercial laboratories — where their training and communication and research skills are highly valued. According to statistics provided by the United States Department of Labor, employment of MLT professionals is expected to grow by 14 percent between 2008 and 2018 as population growth and the development of new testing procedures increases

Canyon Country Magazine

February 2010

the volume of medical tests conducted each year. Although hospitals will continue to be the major employer of clinical laboratory workers, employment is also expected to grow rapidly in medical and diagnostic laboratories, offices of physicians, and all other ambulatory healthcare services. Housed at the college’s Canyon Country campus, the MLT program integrates a mixture of classroom lectures, laboratory work and clinical training designed to foster a development of the technical, analytical and problem-solving skills required of the profession. “This cutting-edge program will provide students with an avenue into the high growth health care industry and is a wonderful addition to the lineup of programs available at College of the Canyons,” said Dr. Dena Maloney, Vice President, Canyon Country campus. “With the addition of this new curriculum, the Canyon Country campus now offers 17 associate degree programs through a combination of online and on-ground classes.” Students who complete the roughly two-year program will receive an associate in science degree in MLT and be eligible to sit for the national certification exam. This program

The College of the Canyons Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT) program integrates a mixture of classroom lectures, laboratory work and clinical training designed to prepare students for jobs in the high-demand medical and biotechnical lab industries.

will be offered pending approval by the California Community College System Chancellor’s Office and the California Department of Health Services Laboratory Field Services unit. To be eligible for enrollment into the MLT program students must have completed English 101 or an equivalent course and at least four units of prerequisite coursework in each of the following areas: anatomy, physiology, microbiology, preparatory general chemistry. Students must also hold a valid phlebotomy technician certification. MLT program applications can be found online at the college’s website or picked up in the Allied Health office (Aliso Lab room 311) located on the COC Valencia campus. For more information about the college’s Medical Laboratory Technology program or to download the application please visit


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Rustic & Refined Santa Ynez Valley By Marilyn Hackett

There are two ways to get to the Santa Ynez Valley from Santa Clarita. One is along the coast through Santa Barbara and Solvang. The other is driving up and over the mountain by Lake Cachuma. The lakeside drive gives you a great view of the Santa Barbara coast and empties you out into glorious golden pastures. These pastures are old California. A tranquil time of the stagecoach rumbling down Main Street, grazing cows, California Missions and Victorian Inns. The town of Santa Ynez boasts a lot of history, but things have changed. The stagecoach now offers a wine tour and the Victorian Inn…well, it is and it isn’t Victorian. The Santa Ynez Inn was built in 2001 and I have never had so many amenities offered in any century. Entering through the leaded glass doors, a charming library sits to the right and a gracious dining room with fireplace welcomes you to the left. A winding staircase leads to the rooms above. The rooms are decorated with everything you would expect of opulent Victorian times; a fireplace, soothing music, complimentary bottled water, a crystal chandelier on the ceiling, beautiful art, plush satin robes, slippers, bath salts, an oversized shower and Jacuzzi tub. It also has a separate room with a make-up table, and everything is gilded in gold. The furnishings and linens are expensive and plush. Outside the window I looked down on children playing in their family’s front yard. Normally this might be intrusive, but here it did not bother me at all. A large breakfast is offered in the morning. In the evening is a wine tasting hour with hors d’oeuvres and complimentary chair massages. Late evening before bed complimentary desserts and coffee are served. There is a fitness center or “suite” as they call it. The hotel has a sauna and free weights, good machines, bottled water, outdoor Jacuzzi and a spa menu.

Top: Mirabelle in Solvang Center: Room at the Santa Ynez Inn Bottom: Santa Ynez Inn exterior

38 38

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So, my friends, drink in the pastoral setting, sip the wine, and relax by the old windmill. In either direction up and down Main Street are great restaurants, a neighborhood grocery store and fun art galleries. At the end of the night just put out your embroidered “do not disturb” sign and sleep peacefully on your memory foam pillow.

If you are hypnotized by the area, as I am, then consider one more night at the Mirabelle in Solvang. This property is Old European Luxury. The excellent service, comfortable rooms, and residential feel of this property lure you into a state of grace. Cookies, cocoa and a game of chess draw you into the sitting room. If you knew how unbelievably good the complimentary breakfast is, you would dream of it all night. The restaurant also serves dinner from the best chef in Solvang! Do not miss eating at the Mirabelle! Staying at the Mirabelle is a romantic experience. Find these properties on the web: & http://www.solvanginns. com/mirabelle_inn.html



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Put Some Sizzle in their Summer By Martha Michael

Parents are plotting out the course of spring break and summer already, and topping the list of choices is camp. Families can keep it nearby or not, depending on the subject matter, but suffice it to say, there are options. Riding the high of an “Award of Excellence” for its website, the City of Santa Clarita’s Camp Clarita is a popular one for locals. Online registration begins on Tuesday, March 16 at 8:00 a.m. for the four-week camps (or eight weeks for both sessions), divided by age group: -Wee Folks Camp is for 3-4 years old -Little Folks Camp is for 4-5 years old -Ranger Camp is for grades 1-3 -Explorer Camp is for grades 4-6 -Voyager Camp is for grades 6-9 Activities vary from arts and crafts in the Wee Folks Camp to the Voyagers’ visits to theme parks, bowling and swimming pools. Visit for more information. You may call (661) 284-1465 or email also. Spending the summer with Huckleberry gives your child hands-on arts and academics with seasoned teachers. This year Huckleberry Creative Learning Center will hold 1-2 weeklong camps beginning June 21, including: -Science Camp: ages 5-8 -Science Camp: ages 9-12 -Acting Technique: ages 9-12 -Acting Technique: ages 5-8 -Cooking Camp: ages 9-12 -Thinking Games: ages 10-12

Wasewagan, an accredited member of the American Camp Association, is about 100 miles from Santa Clarita. There are four two-week camps for kids, beginning June 27, or campers may come for just one week. The kids are housed in cabins and participate in everything from canoeing to “capture the flag.” Some campers also take advantage of a two-day rafting trip and a two-day surfing trip. Visit “Crazzy Craig” at Vibe Performing Arts Studios is holding “Camp Broadway” over both spring break and summer. Kids will sing, dance and act in a musical review. Each session ends with a performance, making every student feel like a star. The studios have more than 25 instructors, seven studios, a dance studio and a multi-purpose theatre. Its aim is to foster confidence and stronger self-esteem in children and teens who take the classes. Camp Broadway will tackle the audition process, motivational skills and positive development of the students’ talents, at every level. One- and two-week camps are held Monday-Friday for ages 7-16 from 9am-3pm. Cost for a one-week session is $224, and for a two-week session, $349. Spring Break dates: April 5-9 Summer dates: June 21-25; June 28-July 2; July 12-23; July 26-August 4 Vibe Performing Arts Studios is located in Valencia Plaza at 24460 ¼ Lyons Avenue. Call 661-255-7464 or visit

For ongoing courses visit the website at Wasewagan Camp and Retreat Center, with “Crazzy Craig” Johnson from Lazy J Camp in Malibu, has several weeks this summer set aside for kids in Angelus Oaks, near Big Bear.


Canyon Country Magazine

February 2010

continued on page 42

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continued from page 40

For the 17th summer, the College of the Canyons Extension will host the Institute of Reading Development to provide reading instruction for all ages. Classes will include pre-reading, reading enrichment, speed-reading, comprehension and study skills, and efficiency reading for work, school and recreation. Everyone from four years old through high school can enroll in an age-appropriate course. There are also classes for high school seniors, collegeage individuals and adults in speed reading and comprehension. Programs range in price from $199 to $299 per session with a variety of class times and dates. Visit reading.asp. Sunshine Day Camp begins priority enrollment for summer camp on March 3. Kids from kindergarten through ninth grade have local locations with activities all summer. For families struggling with these tough economic times, Sunshine has a special offer in place. One


Canyon Country Magazine

February 2010

camp for children from kindergarten age to sixth grade charges a lower rate, although the kids get the same tried-and-true Sunshine safety and seasoned leadership – they just stay on campus at Oak Hills in Valencia. For a completely different experience, Sunshine offers a “Travel Camp” for grades 4-9, where excursions are the main attraction. The students get to Disneyland, the beach, Universal Studios, and many other field trips throughout the summer. This camp meets at Legacy Academy in Valencia. Sunshine’s third camp is “Adventure Camp” for kids entering first through sixth grade. It is held at three sites: Fair Oaks Ranch, Pico Canyon and Valencia Valley schools. They take two field trips each week and receive special guest entertainers, water play and other activities. For Sunshine’s calendar, pricing and general information visit

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News That’s Not The Usual Grind

Bowman’s “Roadtrip Nation” Journey DO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE F FUNDING DROPPED O own D Our Domestic Violence Center of the Santa Clarita Valley is getting more news about dropped funding. Last year the organization received word that it would lose 100 percent of its state funding. And in the proposed 2010-2011 budget there is no allocation for funding the program. It will also not receive its contracted monies totaling $207,222 this year from the Department of Public Health. The agency is the only one providing comprehensive domestic violence services in the 200-square-mile Santa Clarita Valley. Canyon Country experienced a domestic violence related death last month, when 64-year-old Gordon Starr shot his wife to death. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, 2009 saw four deaths related to domestic violence. The Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita Valley is asking for community and legislative support to keep its doors open. Visit its website, or call the outreach center (661) 259-8175 for more information.


Canyon Country Magazine

February 2010

The Roadtrip Nation Experience began for Bowman High School students last month, which means 16 weeks of self-discovery. Students at the Santa Clarita high school will be organized in teams of four to conduct interviews and film sessions reflecting the theme, “define your road in life.” Bowman is one of only three continuation schools in the state chosen to pilot the Roadtrip Nation Educational Program, based on an odyssey by three newly graduated college students which evolved into a PBS television series, three books, an online community and a student movement.

Lane Change nge From now through March 22 expect lane closures sures at Soledad Canyon n Road and Whites Canyon. On the upside, it is because the City of Santa Clarita is conducting a right turn pocket circulation and nt project. safety improvement d a retaining The project will add wall, sidewalk, pedestrian ramp, catch basins and involve paving, striping, traffic signal modifications and the addition of a right-turn lane. The City has scheduled a portion of construction for nighttime to avoid disrupting daytime travel.

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Smooth Sailing


ur family vacation last summer was among the best we’ve had. Not because it was the most exotic or action filled. But because it was relaxing, affordable and our family-of-five enjoyed every minute together. In fact, it was smooth sailing from start to finish. We spent five fabulous nights onboard the Carnival Elation ship sailing through Baja, enjoying a fun cruise with good food and a variety of activities. Every few years or so, we go on a cruise for our summer vacation. We find that as our kids grow, so do our cruise options, making this an ideal choice for family travel.

By Mimi Slawoff

Last July, we gathered our brood, then ages 14, 18 and 20, for a budgetfriendly cruise with lots to offer everyone. If you’ve got teens, you know that it’s not always easy planning a trip that appeals to all on board. But we agreed early on that this would be a low-key trip. For example, we usually plan our shore excursions in advance. Not this time. We decided to wing it. Having visited many cities in Mexico over the years, we weren’t sure we would even leave the ship (we did). As a family travel writer, this was hardest on me because I usually like to prepare a sightseeing itinerary (albeit with enough flexibility for change). But, I was open to unplanned adventure. And downtime. This was key to family harmony.

Formal night. Left - right: Bruce Mendelson, Michael, Megan, Mimi and Christina Slawoff-Mendelson


Canyon Country Magazine

February 2010

At the time of our trip, the 14-deck Elation had recently begun operating a series of three-, four- and five-day cruises with two itineraries departing from San Diego. The five-day cruises departing Saturdays feature two full days in Cabo San Lucas; the five-day cruises departing Mondays include both Cabo and Ensenada. In addition, Carnival’s Elation has cruises departing Thursdays that visit Cabo. These itineraries are valid through April 2010. Baja trips, starting at $184 per person, are also available from Long Beach. On our itinerary, we visited Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada. Shortly after boarding, we explored the ship and enjoyed beautiful views of the San

Wine tasting onboard the Carnival Elation.

continued on page 52

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continued from page 50 Diego skyline as we tion creating detours, we left the port around 5 opted for a water taxi p.m. Our ocean view instead. Having been stateroom on the upper warned by cruise staff to deck had a good central be wary of these water location to restaurants, taxi operators, we made pools and activities. sure to secure a private We had arranged for boat ride to avoid being an early dinner seatkept waiting while the boat ing, 6 p.m., and were was overfilled with more pleased to find we had tourists. Water taxis can The Los Arcos rock formations and arch border the Pacific a private table for five topple when overloaded. Ocean and Sea of Cortez in Cabo San Lucas, situated on the southern tip of the peninsula in Baja. in the Inspiration dining We were approached by room, one of two formal a slew of taxi operators simple yet sufficient. It has three pools restaurants. Our head waiter, Erich, but chose one who agreed to bring (one equipped with a waterslide), a and assistant server, Putu, were wonus to the beach without other passen12,000-square-foot spa and fitness derful and indulged our son Michael’s gers for $12. We were still a bit nercenter, a library where you can check appetite for three nightly entrées vous but the short ride to the beach out books and games, a casino, (he’s tall and thin, I don’t know where was safe and scenic. and several lounges with bars. Daily he puts all that food). Erich and Putu and nightly shows take place in the quickly learned our names, as well as After swimming in the warm, gentle Japanese-themed Mikado Lounge, a our food and beverage preferences. surf, we hailed a cab (about $5) from multi-level, 1,200-seat theater. They were so friendly that by the end the closest luxury hotel to bring us to of the week, my husband, Bruce, nearby Cabo Wabo. We lingered over While Megan floated in and out of the a good lunch (and margaritas) before sang a duet (“That’s Amore”) with young teen club, our older kids found walking back to the ship. Along the Erich during an Italian-themed dinner. plenty to do – and not do. Christina way we browsed through shops for was content to read a book poolside small souvenirs. The heat was stifling After dinner the first night, our while Michael joined in frequent pickand by the time we reached the ship 14-year-old daughter, Megan, signed up basketball games. With the luxury we were exhausted. up for the Circle C program, aimed of time on our hands, Bruce and I at ‘tweens and teens ages 12 - 14. participated in a wine tasting with the But we had two days left to relax, Unlike trips when she was younger, maître d’ in the dining room. It was a swim and play. When the ship pulled she now had the privilege to check casual and lovely event. into port in Ensenada at the end herself in and out of the program. This of the week, the kids chose to stay was a big hit with her since it gave Bright and early the next day, the ship onboard. Bruce and I took a short her the ability to select her activities, glided slowly into Cabo San Lucas, walk about town but returned to the such as video games, dances, karalocated at the southern tip of the Baja ship to join the kids for mini-golf and oke and parties. Shore excursions peninsula. We stood on the outside ping-pong. included parasailing. The cruiseline’s deck for better views of Los Arcos, other children’s programs are Camp the famous rock formations and arch As the ship departed for San Diego Carnival for ages 2 – 11, and Club 02 that are situated where the Pacific in the late afternoon, we lounged on for ages 15 – 17. Ocean and Sea of Cortez merge. chairs at the back of the ship, tanned, Once the ship dropped anchor, we relaxed and content. Our first full day at sea was spent furboarded tenders to reach the shore. ther exploring the ship’s venues and Baja cruises are also available from Long amenities. After a leisurely breakfast Our plan was to swim and lounge at a Beach. If you’re looking for a longer cruise, buffet at Tiffany’s, a large poolside nearby beach, followed by lunch (per consider the Carnival Splendor, which offers eatery that also offers a full lunch bufMichael’s request) at Cabo Wabo year-round, seven-day Mexican Riviera service fet, we strolled the decks. Compared Cantina, owned by musician Sammy from Long Beach. For more information, visit to newer, larger ships outfitted with Hagar. We began walking but it was onboard theme parks, the Elation is very hot, and with nearby construc-


Canyon Country Magazine

February 2010

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“Let me show you the way Home.” $8000


Short Sales Foreclosures Standard Sales First Time Buyers

First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Tax Credit up to $8000 The popular extended First Time home buyer program offers the opportunity for qualified homebuyers into the first half of 2010.

New Repeat Buyers Incentives Tax Credit up to $6500. The new homebuyer program offers a new opportunity for qualified purchasers who have owned previously to make a move up and take advantage of the lower home prices and interest rates.

Purchase agreements must be signed by April 30, 2010, And closings must be final by June 30.

Karen Fosbrook California Realty 24200 Magic Mountain Parkway, Suite 105 Santa Clarita, CA 91355

Lic #1737987

(661) 645-0910

Thinking of Buying, Selling or Investing?... or Just Curious About What Your home is Worth? Call Me Today for a Free Market Evaluation of Your Property!

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Canyon Country Magazine  
Canyon Country Magazine  

February 2010