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After driving miles on a quiet two-lane highway, the white-washed rock structure seems to come out of nowhere. Once the home of a neighborhood beer bar frequented by Mint Canyon and Agua Dulce residents, The Oaks underwent a transformation 25 years ago when it acquired a new owner, an upscale look, an elegant menu and a French translation of its name - Le Chene.
Almost 130 years ago, the first commercially successful oil well in the Western United States began pumping in Pico Canyon west of the current Lyons Avenue/Interstate 5 intersection. In current U.S. dollars, the price per barrel was at $2.56 when the Pico #4 well began pumping, but dropped to a low of $.56 in 1892, during the height of oil production in Santa Clarita. Now, the cost of oil hovers around $50 a barrel.
While the first words out of the doctor's mouth were, "This will not kill you," the experience was very frightening. At age 18, Emily Weirich was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. She had her thyroid removed and received a clean bill of health until she turned 23, when the cancer came back. Far from her family and friends and had difficulty managing her part-time job as a figure-skating coach while dealing with the cancer treatment and the subsequent financial burden created by her illness.
Imagine a place where kids can go to have fun and be themselves while their parents are at work. A place that makes education its number one priority and molds children into mature, responsible adults. Pair this with a devoted staff of role models and you've got The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita.
Ok, so maybe you've personally never shot a friend or family member with "bullets" made of paint, but unless you reside in a cave, you've at least heard of the paintball phenomena. For those that are into the activity (or are interested on how to get started), do we have a great find for you - The Proving Groundz. This SCV-located 30,000-square-foot indoor paintball arena guarantees plenty of adrenaline-packed entertainment for both paintball veterans and beginners.
"Step out of the way," directed the security officer in front of Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA. It was a brisk November morning and the hustle and bustle of a thriving hospital community was reflected by the white coats, multicolored scrubs and business-attired personnel buzzing around the main entrance to the outpatient facility of one of the largest hospitals in the United States. To add to the surreal experience, ambulances pulled up in droves to greet passerby with a loud wailing siren and flash of bright lights. We were only there ten minutes, but we couldn't wait to get inside.
Created in 1975, Santa Clarita's only emergency room was designed to treat 17,000 patients annually. Last year, more than 38,000 patients were treated, and by 2010, the hospital anticipates that annual visits will grow to 55,000.
The Santa Clarita Symphony is a group of 75 professional musicians, many of whom live locally and perform with nationally recognized orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Led by maestro and music director Robert E. Lawson, the Symphony's goal is to provide a world-class orchestral experience that will enrich lives.
Bella Notte Fashio Show
Join the staff of Plantation Home and Garden on May 1 for a Bella Notte Fashion Show, food, wine tasting, and more. Call 299-1600 to RSVP or visit www.plantationhomeandgarden.com.

On May 1, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., the Child and Family Center will again host Santa Clarita's premier food-tasting event - The Taste of the Town. Seen by many SCV residents as the "must-attend" event of the year, Taste of the Town is an all-inclusive, all you can taste and drink fest featuring over 40 local restaurants and caterers. To add to the food-driven fun, live entertainment will keep guests young and old swaying in the sun as they enjoy "Margaritaville"-inspired sounds. Held this year at the Mann Biomedical Park in Valencia, Taste of the Town's new venue boasts better parking and convenience, so the relaxed ambiance of the islands will be easy to achieve.
Do you know when to hold 'em? Do you know when to walk away and know when to run?

You do if you haven't been living under a rock this last year. Poker, particularly the popularly televised Texas Hold'em version, has stripped away its "cigars and dark rooms" persona and taken a spot on the main stage of adult recreation.
Come experience what many consider the perfect musical comedy, as the Canyon Theatre Guild presents the legendary musical "Guys and Dolls." All the hot gamblers are in town, and they're all depending on Nathan Detroit (Joe Miele) to host "The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York." To get the money to hire the place, he makes a bet with high-rolling gambler Sky Masterson (Dean Thomas) that Sky can't woo local missionary Sarah Brown (Jennifer Guerrero). A true challenge for Sky, but Nathan's got romance troubles of his own - his chronically-engaged fiancee, Hot Box Dancer Adelaide (Rena Bailey Barrett).
They've tried it before - hiring architects and consultants to renovate and improve a once vibrant and essential commercial area in the city of Santa Clarita. These plans didn't take hold for several reasons - the scope was too big, the price tag unattainable and the community didn't have buy-in.
Tickets went on sale online Monday, February 7, for the College of the Canyons 2005 Speaker Series, featuring television news anchor Tom Brokaw, legendary sports figure Mike Ditka, and Tom and David Gardner, creators of The Motley Fool finance website.

Brokaw, who retired from NBC Nightly News after more than two decades as sole anchor, is scheduled to speak Wednesday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m. In his performance, Brokaw entertains, enlightens and informs the audience with his experiences and observations on the current state of our nation and the world.
When it comes to decision-making, sometimes splitting the difference just doesn't seem fair. On January 12, the Santa Clarita City Council voted 3-1 in favor of allowing Carousel Ranch, a therapeutic equestrian group for disabled children, to continue their stay at their current location on Ravenhill Road off of Placerita Canyon. To riders and staff alike, this was very good news. After all, trying to relocate eight horses, an office and tons of equipment is quite a trial, especially when there's no place good to go.
For those us of us who have had the pleasure of growing up in Santa Clarita, two things are obvious. One - it's a great, safe and beautiful place to raise a family, and two - if you are single and looking for that special someone, our social scene is almost non-existent. But have no fear, fellow partner-less friends. In honor of Valentine's Day, Inside SCV has compiled a list of some great places to go in search of your soul mate (or Mr./Mrs. Right Now). And while we make no promises that you will find him or her, at least there will be plenty of inebriating beverages on hand to dull the pain.
Anybody who claims they have never thought about joining a dating service is a liar - a big, fat, lonely liar. What is it about dating services that make people cringe in fear while simultaneously becoming overwhelmed with curiosity? Is it a pride issue, or perhaps just the phobia of meeting a psychopath? Whatever the reason, we must always keep in mind that for every normal person signing up for a little dating assistance there is always at least one other doing the same thing, and that "other" just might have your name written all over him or her.
For years Santa Clarita teenagers have fallen victim to a deadly trend - reckless driving. All too often this community is struck with the news that yet another accident has taken the lives of local youths. Some say we learn from our mistakes, but if so, why do these accidents keep happening?
"I don't want you to go back, but I know you have to," Pam Sweeny says quietly to her son Erik. He's been home from Iraq for additional training, and spent part of his leave time helping Santa Clarita's Blue Star Mothers make care packages for his comrades. Louder, Pam announces that her son turned 21 overseas, but that they celebrated when he returned home. Privately, she admits that having a son on active military duty can be paralyzing. "I would eat ice cream and barbequed potato chips while lying on the couch, watching the news, 24-7. I couldn't function. My friends didn't understand. The group has given me an outlet to do something."
So much has happened in the Santa Clarita Valley over the last few years, and 2004 has been no exception. We've seen the good, the bad, and the beautiful - with emphasis on the beautiful - and the valley continues to flourish.
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