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Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 - 2:57pm
This may be one of our busiest weeks at work, deep in the throes of handling multiple appeal campaigns for some great nonprofit organizations. That said, here I am, back from spending the first half of the day in the office, and bringing you some weekend briefs.
  • Turkey Day Hurdles: Nearly a decade after it first started, the annual Thanksgiving feast for the less fortunate in downtown Newhall, started by Roger and Shannon Hasper, has hit some potholes. The Haspers handed off running the event to South Valley Church, who have had to relocate to the Newhall Library parking lot after the city wanted $3,000 for a "traffic study" if it were held in Newhall. The story cites a 2003(!) farmers market crash in Santa Monica as a factor behind the traffic study the city decided was necessary. The church has also been told they cannot serve cooked food donated by the public. The Signal
  • Another Day, Another Bill: Hot on the heels of Sen. Barbara Boxer's bill aimed at ending the Cemex issue once and for all, Congressman "Buck" McKeon introduced yet another bill. KHTS
  • PAC Leader Resigns: After only a little more than a year and a half, the executive director of the performing arts center at COC has resigned. Evy Warshawski arrived in March 2013 to replace Adam Philipson, who now manages Red Bank, NJ's historic Count Basie Theatre. The Signal
  • Helping Hand for the Senior Center: Tuesday's City Council agenda includes a request for the city to set aside $3 million toward the construction of a new senior center. As a former SCV Senior Center employee, I can tell you that this valley needs a new facility for its growing senior population. Agenda
  • Einstein Again: Also on Tuesday's agenda is the expected official denial of Albert Einstein Academy's proposed Rye Canyon school site. Agenda
  • Cats of the Magic Kingdom: There is an Instagram account devoted to the feral cats that roam the grounds of Disneyland. LAist
  • Muy Bueno: Nice profile on the folks behind Solita, the latest eatery to open at The Patios, in a space that has seen two flawed and failed Mexican restaurants. My wife and I gave Solita a try last night and we were very happy. This is their first weekend being open, and they were slammed, but the staff was still very friendly, the drinks and food were delicious, and it was an all-around good experience. Here's hoping Solita is here to stay. The Signal
  • Changing Positions at City Hall: Armine Chaparyan, formerly the city's director of redevelopment and interim city clerk, is leaving for a position with San Gabriel. Stepping in as city clerk is longtime city staffer Kevin Tonoian. KHTS


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Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 - 2:13pm
Forgive my sparse output lately. Apparently, post-election writer's block in an annually recurring condition. Sooner or later, it will back to our irregularly programmed schedule. But for now, we're continuing a yearly tradition by expanding on 2013's "Five Ways to Make Thanksgiving More Delicious by Thinking SCV." Please enjoy and have a great Thanksgiving.

1. ABH: Always Buy Huntsinger

The Hunstinger name used to carry a lot of weight in this town. Huntsingers were on the Hart and (original) COC boards. But all these years later, this locally-owned turkey farm raises consistently delicious turkeys. They've never let me down, so a few years ago I resolved to never buy anything else. It used to be a thing you'd order at Gelson's or the butcher, but these days, you'll find a few in most local grocery stores. A little pricey, but always worth it. (Pic from their website. I hope they don't mind)

2. Give back and donate to the Downtown Newhall Thanksgiving Meal

When he owned his bike shop in Newhall, Roger Hasper hosted a free Thanksgiving for the community, first in his parking lot, then on Main Street. Roger kept it alive after closing his shop, but he moved to Indiana earlier this year, where he’s still doing great things. Here in the SCV, Newhall’s South Valley Church is keeping the important event alive. There are some changes this year: the city’s traffic concerns moved the event to the Newhall Library parking lot, and the County says they can’t serve food donated by the general public. But you can still help. You can donate money for food, you can donate clothes (clothing drive ends tomorrow), or you can volunteer.
They’re calling it Giving Thanks Giving 2014 and it runs from 9am to 1pm on Thanksgiving, and as always, it's free.

3. Go to the Sunday Farmers' Market at COC

If you're reading this on Sunday morning, stop what you're doing and go to the Farmers' Market at COC. Buy anything you were going to buy at the store. Everything will be better. It's really as simple as that. Also, Fuji apples are in season. Thanks to Larry McClements for the pic.

4. Invite them over

Do you know someone that doesn't have a place to go on Thanksgiving? Doesn't matter why. Reach out and invite them over. You'll be happy, they'll be happy (and thankful). The shoe might be on the other foot one day.

5. Make bread that tastes like SCV (if you know)

Nothing says an SCV Thanksgiving like bread that literally tastes like SCV. If you happen to keep a sourdough starter, you're already set, no matter its original birthplace. If you don't have any, you might want to ask around. The delicious labor-of-love/movement/community/inside joke that is Scott Ervin’s Speakeasy Bakery actually had its origin when, for a post-Thanksgiving family dinner, I asked about local pies. Banter ensued and Scott offered up an apple pie, clandestinely. Ever since then, if you know, you know.

6. From her house to yours, or: don't let gluten stop you

I discovered Allison Needham years ago when she wrote food columns for the Signal. She was great, so great that I nearly gave up my first opportunity to be published (food writing for a short-lived SCV weekly) because I thought I couldn't compare. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with celiac disease and she had to say goodbye to gluten forever. This year, she got approval from LA County to open Ginger & Fox, her home-based gluten-free bakery here in SCV. I asked, and she still has a little room for additional Thanksgiving orders, and the menu is right here.

7. Compare with with (thousands of) neighbors

About two years ago, the SCV Foodies Facebook group started almost as a joke, by Todd Wilson. A year later it had 300 members. In the last year, it’s grown to over 3,000 members and spawned a website. Apart from all the general goodness, there’s this thread dedicated to Thanksgiving recommendations

8. Forage for SCV's native purple sage

No herb says Thanksgiving like sage. One Thanksgiving, I spent the better part of an afternoon in an unfamiliar town searching grocery stores for some fresh sage. My family thought I was crazy, but I couldn't compromise. But did you know that a variety of sage is native to the SCV? I Heart SCV tells us all about it (with all the witty detail you'd expect), including easy directions on where to score some of your own.

9. Reflect on the first SCV Thanksgiving

Years later, still a great read: here's Jeff Wilson's piece on the earliest meetings between Europeans and Native Americans in what we now call the Santa Clarita Valley.

Honorable mention: Make this ridiculously amazing creamed corn with Lombardi's corn

Here's an entry from last year, that I'm including simply because I'm an evangelist for this recipe/gadget. I think Lombardi's has closed for the season, but I haven't been able to confirm. Tapia Brothers isn't selling corn at COC Farmers' Market, but you can get some at their stand in Encino, or you can also try Forneris Farms in Mission Hills. Otherwise, you can probably find corn at some grocery stores. Grocery store corn isn't as good, and we're pretty late into the season, so you'll probably want to add a little bit of sugar to make up for the loss in sweetness.

What is more Claritan than going to Lombardi's Ranch in the fall? You can keep your adorable pumpkin patch pictures. For me, Lombardi's Ranch is about Thanksgiving. They close for the season on the day before Thanksgiving, where I like to get a bag full of corn and make this very simple creamed corn recipe from the very famous Chino's Family Farm near San Diego. Just corn, butter and maybe a little salt. With some good, fresh corn, your family will be stunned. It works best if you get one of these things.




Posted by Mike Devlin   |   3 Comments »
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Friday, November 21st, 2014 - 7:30am
Sorry folks, there's no brief today, but tune in tomorrow for a special weekend edition. 

Posted by Josh Premako   |   1 Comment »
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Thursday, November 20th, 2014 - 12:16pm
  • Pain Indeed: The doctor who operates Santa Clarita Surgery Center for Advanced Pain Management was ordered to pay $1.2 million in a federal whistleblower fraud case. KHTS
  • Going Green and Saving Green: The Hart district has saved about $1.1 million since installing solar panel arrays in 2012. The district expects to save about $20 million over 20 years. The Signal
  • A Cautionary Tale: A 23-year-old SCV man was arrested after he allegeldy used the Whisper app to connect with and summarily engage in a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl. A sad reminder of how important it is to talk to your kids about the apps they're using. KHTS The Signal 
  • Keeping it Local: With a suspected selling price of about $100 million, the 120-acre Mann Biomedical Park has sold to local developer Dale Donohoe (who brought us Bridgeport Marketplace). The site was originally home to Lockheed's Skunk Works. SFV Business Journal The Signal
  • Keeping an Eye on Offenders: The county Probation Departmebt has received a $300,000 grant to keep a closer eye on serious DUI offenders, with measures including random drug and alcohol testing and unannounced home searches. KHTS
  • Washing Up the Wash: Teens from the city's Community Court program spent some time giving back to the community and cleaning up graffiti on a quarter-mile stretch along the South Fork Trail. City Briefs
  • Health Problems: An estimated 200,000 non-English-speakers in L.A. County could lose their Medi-Cal benefits because they didn't know how to fill out their renewal forms. Daily News
  • Tuition on the Rise: "Under the plan, the average annual cost of a UC education for a California resident would rise $612 to $12,804 next fall and to $15,564 by fall 2019. Tuition rates have been frozen for three years." The UC governing board approved a tuition increase this week. Daily News
  • It's Safe, Not Perfect: Law Enforcement officials reminded SCV residents that ours might be a very safe community, but it's not crime-free. So, you know, maybe lock your doors. The Signal
  • Shameless Plug: Newhall Refinery, easily one of the SCV's best restaurants, has added a gorgeous private dining room for special events or large-party reservations. Oh, and the walls also happen to be adorned with some photos of distinctly SClaritian scenes courtesy of yours truly. 


Posted by Josh Premako   |   1 Comment »
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Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 - 8:30am
  • Here We Go Again: Sen. Barbara Boxer has introduced a bill aimed at ending the Cemex issues once and for all. If it passed, the bill would cancel the cement company's sand and gravel mining leases in Soledad Canyon and direct the BLM to sell off land near Victorville for compensation. KHTS The Signal
  • Traffic Warning: There may be a memorial car show, expected to cause traffic backups, coming up on the anniversary of a crash that killed two men last year after they were driving at unsafe speeds in Valencia. Actor Paul Walker and Roger Rodas were doing about 80-plus mph in a 45 zone when the Porsche they were in crashed. KHTS
  • A New Face on the Saugus District Board: Film executive Chris Trunkey has been appointed to fill the seat on the Saugus Union School District board left vacant by Doug Bryce, who resigned from the position in September. Trunkey is executive VP and CFO for Phoenix Pictures. The Signal
  • Coming Back for Seconds: A woman was arrested in Valencia on residential burglary charges after she allegedly came back a second time. The Signal
  • A Stark Reminder: We use the phrase "drank the Kool-Aid" all the time, but maybe this is a good reminder to use a different phrase. Thirty-seven years ago today nearly 1,000 people were dead in Guyana, most followers of cult leader Jim Jones, after drinking a lethal dose of fruit punch, thus the origin of the phrase. LAObserved


Posted by Josh Premako   |   1 Comment »
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Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 - 8:30am
  • Couple Denies Sponsorship: A couple named in a wrongful death suit filed by the parents of Karla Brada, murdered in 2011, deny they were AA sponsors for her or her killer. The Signal
  • Turning on the Incubator: Today at 11 a.m. the city will officially open the business incubator it has built in the old Newhall library branch. Four startups already have space in the building. The Signal
  • The Artist is In: Arroyo Seco took part in the city's Artist in Residence program that gives students an up-close look at the artistic process, as painter Suzi Kades spent a week creating a piece for the school. KHTS
  • Maybe a Reason to Visit Larsen's: Piano-playing Ruth Allen began her singing career in wartime London. On Friday night, the 85-year-old who wrote "You Are Never Too Old" will play at Larsen's Steakhouse. KHTS
  • Hot on the Heels of Closure: The Newhall Ralphs store may have shut its doors, but the grocery chain is hiring 1,200 people throughout SoCal, though it doesn't appear any of the positions are in the SCV. Daily News
  • A Crappy Explanation: Dave Bossert (whose blog happens to run an ad for Chiquita Canyon) reasons again that the real problem in Val Verde might not be the gigantic landfill next door, but poorly maintained septic systems. SCV Beacon
  • Consulting or Something: Outgoing Congressman "Buck" McKeon is getting ready to move back to Alexandria, maybe be a lobbyist, maybe write a book about his life as an American. Politico


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Monday, November 17th, 2014 - 12:12pm
  • New Faces for Castaic: Two incumbents were unseated in Saturday's election for the Castaic Area Town Council. KHTS The Signal
  • Chiquita Still Eyeing Expansion: The proposed plan to massively expand Chiquita Canyon Landfill could go beforethe county Board of Supervisors in the spring. In case you forgot which landfill, it's the one that only receives about 20 percent of its trash from the SCV. KHTS
  • Clearing Out the Greens: It looks as though the city is getting closer to demolishing the Valencia building once home to The Greens. The property was eyed for a hotel several years ago. The Signal
  • Was Prop 47 to Blame?: That's the question The Signal asks after a homeless man was arrested, then released with a misdemeanor citation a day before allegedly trying to kidnap a local teen. And of course, since he's Hispanic, a Signal commenter naturally assumes he's an illegal immigrant. The Signal
  • Increases and Decreases: Despite a 14.4 percent increase in Santa Clarita's population in 2013, the city reports an overall decrease in crime. The Signal
  • Cold Pizza: As many have already noted on social media, Saugus pizza parlor Lamppost has shut its doors abruptly after about 20 years. The Signal
  • Not Part of the Job Description: A 21-year-old Valencia Target employee was arrested after he was allegedly caught taking photos of a woman in the changing room. KHTS
  • More Symptoms of a Flawed System: The LA Times has revamped its vacation days system. "To get any time off, a reporter or editor will have to go to a supervisor and make a case 'subject to their professional judgment and to the performance expectations of their supervisor that apply to their job.'" LA Observed
  • City Makes Cutbacks: Since the summer, Santa Clarita officials report the city has cut back its water usage by 20 percent. Going by stats from 2003, the city reportedly uses about 5.4 percent of the water in town, to the tune of about 1.4 billion gallons per year. The Signal


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  Recent Comments:
James Farley writes:
Great post Mike. Tapia told me they will have corn up until the Sunday before Thanksgiving at the...
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bluto writes:
After some of the comments in the Signal after the 4th of July tragedy, I can see why the city...
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HenryJennings writes:
Well done. Thanks....
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The Speakeasy Bakery writes:
Honored to be a part of this list. We're on a mission, and Thanksgiving traditions should include...
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As the crow flies, it's not very far between the 5 Freeway in Santa Clarita/Castaic and Santa...
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SCVMJB writes:
Thanks Josh for the photos at Newhall Brewery...
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Don Ricketts writes:
I don't think the expression "drink/drank/drunk Kool Aid" has its origin in the Jim Jones...
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Leslie writes:
Calstrs unfounded liability was addressed last year. Teachers increased their contribution to the...
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The Nokia N75 was published in 2008 and was styled as a flip Nokia N-series phone. For example,...
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Actually, CALPERS lost more than $1 Billion in its indirect investment in LandSource, which was...
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