Month in Review Snapshots of October’s most significant news and developments
City Wins Putnam Award for
Old Town Newhall
The City of Santa Clarita received the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence for its redevelopment efforts in Old Town Newhall, according to a city news release.
Recognized in the category of Economic Development through the Arts, the city began revitalizing Newhall’s Main Street in 1989 with the formation of the Redevelopment Agency. Since then, the city and its partners have revamped infrastructure, added the Veterans Historical Plaza, built a 17,000-square-foot community center, and opened the Old Town Newhall Library.
Today, the city is in negotiations with Laemmle Theatres and Serrano Development Group to develop a proposed arts, theatre, and mixed-use project near the library.
“At a time when many cities are forgoing the creative for the cost-effective, the Old Town Newhall Arts and Entertainment District illustrates how a comprehensive strategy focused on investment in the arts pays off,” said Mayor Marsha McLean.
Public Assists Sheriff’s
Station in Solving Crime
The public assisted the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station in identifying multiple crime suspects this month. On October 3, a woman noticed an unfamiliar check cleared her account. When she looked for her checkbook, she realized it had been stolen. Capturing an image from a Valencia business, deputies distributed the picture to the public and were able to successfully identify the suspect according to a news release.
In a separate incident, Canyon High School hosted a football game against Saint Francis High School, during which six students reported missing items from a locker room after the game. Beats headphones, money and other items had been stolen, and the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station conducted an investigation, reviewing security video footage. Through the surveillance images, detectives were able to identify and locate to suspects, who admitted to the theft. All the stolen headphones were returned to the victims.
Knight Bill is on President’s Desk
Rep. Steve Knight, representing California’s 25th congressional district, is only one step away from seeing his first piece of legislation become law. In March, Knight introduced House Resolution 1390, the Small Business Joint Venturing Act. The legislation would make the bidding process for federal contracts more competitive and cost-effective by allowing small businesses to form joint ventures and work together to obtain and fulfill government contracts, according to Knight’s press team.
“This bill is a win-win,” said Congressman Steve Knight. “It would help the hundreds of small firms in our community that are seeking federal government contracts, and would save taxpayers money in the process.”
The Small Business Joint Venturing Act passed the House 270-156 and is now headed to the President’s desk for signature.
Crime Solved 30-Plus Years Later
A man opened his front door to a Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station detective and a blast from the past when the officer returned the man’s firearm, which was stolen from his house in 1981. During a gun buy-back program in the San Fernando Valley, the detective recovered the stolen “Schmidt” .22 caliber revolver and verified its owner through registration records, which reported the theft in 1981. Standing on the doorstep, the original owner remembered shooting from his porch when he was younger. Now 82 years old, those days seemed far away.
Man Charged with Domestic Violence Murder of Bride
A 48-year-old man from Newhall was charged with the murder of his new bride, allegedly killing her during a domestic violence dispute in their home, according to a news release from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station. After attending a party together, Robert George Arvizu and his 25-year-old wife returned home. By the following morning, Courtney’s body was found in the home during a welfare check.
Arvizu was charged with two felony counts of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury. The two had been married two months before she was killed. If convicted as charged, Arvizu faces a possible maximum sentence of 30 years to life in state prison.
Haggen Stores Close
The second of two Haggen grocery stores in Santa Clarita announced its closure amid a widespread sweep of Haggen closures in the region. The Bouquet Canyon Road location was the second store to close in Santa Clarita, following the location on McBean Parkway. After opening more than 100 stores months ago, Haggen announced its plan to exit from the pacific Southwest market to realign its operations around 37 core stores and one stand-alone pharmacy, according to a news release from the company. Haggen filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early September.
Gov. Brown Signs
Senator Pavley Bill
Gov. Jerry Brown signed Sen. Fran Pavley Senate Bill 507, granting criminal prosecutors an opportunity to keep sexually violent predators out of communities, according to a news release from her office. The proposal provides prosecutors with the same access as defense lawyers to state hospital records of sexually violent predators during commitment reviews.
“SB 507 is narrowly crafted to only allow release of records that are pertinent to sexually violent predator cases,” said Pavley of Agoura Hills. “The bill is needed to avoid the release of dangerous offenders, who are likely to engage in more violent offenses.”
During the last four years, 47 sexual offenders were released to Los Angeles County and their cases dismissed, mainly because prosecutors were not privy to all pertinent medical information about the mental condition of offenders, prosecutors contend.
Paul Walker’s Daughter
Nearly two years after Paul Walker’s death in Santa Clarita, his 16-year-old daughter Meadow Rain Walker filed a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming the Porsche he died in had multiple design flaws, according to a CNN report. The suit alleges that defects in the car contributed to her father’s death.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported speed as the cause of the accident, after an investigation following the crash. The 2005 Porsche Carrera GT was traveling between 80 and 93 miles per hour when it collided with a power pole and trees and burst into flames, according to CNN.
Paul Walker, 40, died in crash on Hercules Street in Valencia on November 30, 2013. Santa Clarita resident Roger Rodas was driving; Walker was a passenger. Walker is best known for his role as Brian O’Conner in the Fast & Furious movie franchise.
Legacy Christian, AOC Named Blue Ribbon Schools
Academy of the Canyons (AOC) and Legacy Christian Academy were two of only 285 public schools and 50 private schools in the county to be recognized by the Department of Education for overall academic excellence, according to a news release from the William S. Hart Union High School District.
AOC, a middle college that allows students to earn both high school and college units, is the only public school in Santa Clarita to earn the award in 2015, while Legacy Christian Academy is the only local private school to receive the recognition this year.
“This special recognition exemplifies the overall quality and academic experience found only at Academy of the Canyons,” said Dr. Pete Getz, principal at AOC. “The entire school community is extremely proud of being recognized as a National Blue Ribbon school.”
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students either achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.
“The school consistently ranks at the top academically of all high schools throughout the county and state, and we are proud of the teachers and staff who can make this happen,” said Vicki Engbrecht, Superintendent of the Hart School District.
Last Month’s News
There are new developments to some of the news items included in the October issue’s Month in Review. See below for updates!
• ABX2-15, the end of life bill championed by local resident Christy O’Donnell, was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown – and O’Donnell lived to see it happen. O’Donnell, who is dying of cancer, fought for the legislation allowing terminal patients to request aid-in-dying drugs but never expected to live to see it enacted. It seems she got her final wish.
• Governor Jerry Brown also signed into law a bill to restore Bouquet Creek. In addition to providing maintenance and the restoration of water flow, the bill authorizes the Department of Fish and Game to take a rare fish, the unarmored threespine stickleback.
• Cemex filed an appeal against the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to terminate two 10-year contracts with the mining firm. If successful, Cemex would build a 56 million-ton sand and gravel mine in Santa Clarita.
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