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It's the new year! Time to get back into the swing of things and make a resolution to enjoy delicious meals out on the town at the many fine Santa Clarita Valley restaurants listed below. This month's selections will make your mouth water; dine on!
At this time of year we joyfully revel in tradition. Decorating a tree, sharing a family meal, singing carols; they're all part of the season. But the carols were written long ago. This is the 21st century. Our modern world has lost the meaning of those songs from bygone eras. Look at "The Twelve Days of Christmas." In our super-sized society, it's unlikely any lords, much less 10 of them, will leap any appreciable distance. And no one gives birds as gifts anymore. Geese? Not only does the humane society recommend against animal gifts, but have you looked at a modern SCV tract house lot lately?
Yeah, there were plenty of photogenic people who attended the Boys & Girls Club's Festival of Trees this year, but the award for "best dressed" didn't go to any of them; it went to the stars of the fest: the trees. Still, since this column is called "Movers & Shakers," we figured that the tree closest to our theme was the Loose Goose/RSVP wine tree. See, after you partake in its grapey goodness, you'll be a'movin' and a'shakin'. Ha! Ha?
New Year's Eve is the most important date night of the year. It's more than just the lead-in to scratching out "2006" on your checks for the next few weeks; it measures your success as a social animal. If you only go out once this year, New Year's Eve is a must. Don't spend another New Year's Eve watching tape-delayed coverage of Ryan Seacrest describing a bunch of shivering New Yorkers crowded into Times Square as some gaudy trinket slides down a pole. Let's try to start 2007 with something that won't have us mumbling into our sleeves when friends ask how we spent this most important of date nights.
Singles Night - January 11, 2007
7pm at Robinson Ranch
Here are the specials for the singles event:
• $9 Appetizers - Coconut Shrimp Skewers, Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms, and Baby Back Ribs
• $6 Wine Specials
• $6 Apple Martinis and Cosmos
• $5 A large variety of On-Tapped Beers

Robinson Ranch
27734 Sand Canyon Road
Santa Clarita, 91387
661-252-8484
The holidays are a wonderful to time give and finding the perfect present for your loved one is a good feeling. While in the holiday mood, it is a good time to look at the many nonprofits in the community. Volunteers are always the number-one-requested item on a nonprofit's wish list, but if time restraints are a problem for you, there are other things you can do to help these hard-working organizations. Toy drives and canned food donations are a common sight during the holiday season and residents of Santa Clarita are a giving group. The SCV Food Pantry, for example, receives 40 percent of their goods for the entire year during the months of November and December, according to Executive Director Belinda Crawford. "We have many individuals in this community who are grateful for what they have and they also realize there are those in the community who are in need," Crawford said. "You think we are an affluent community, but there are pockets of poverty."
There is plenty of holiday entertainment this season at some of Santa Clarita's local venues. Beginning with the ever-popular Nutcracker Ballet to some funny and heartwarming plays, the spirit of the season will come alive for everyone in the family.
It seems that the politicos are out in full force. Case in point: the Boy Scouts' Leaders of Character dinner sponsored by Total Financial Solutions. SCV council peeps like Bob Kellar and Cameron Smyth were there with "Last Boy Scout" Wayne Crawford (He has his own tractor!) and honoree Kevin "I've worked for the Dodgers and The Master's College and now I own a fancy car dealership with a hall of famer!" Malone (somewhere, an over-achiever feels shame).
Get a jump on the holiday season and a few inspirational ideas by wandering through four spectacularly decorated homes as the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Home Tour League kicks off the holiday with its annual Holiday Home Tour. This year's theme, "A Holiday Renaissance," will mark the 26th anniversary of the event and the celebration of more than 100 homes that have participated over the years.
Mac's Project, Inc. has announced its "Recycle for Life" program and the collection of aluminum, plastic and glass beverage containers. Proceeds from recycling efforts will raise money to benefit area children being treated at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and their families. By donating your recyclable beverage containers to the program, businesses are not only donating for the benefit of our area children but are doing something about our environment and helping to keep California beautiful.
Perhaps the best way to describe the Boys & Girls Club's Festival of Trees is to say that spending time there is like spending time inside your favorite Christmas card. And it's accurate to say that the families who have made the festival such an endearing part of their winter celebration don't just come to sample a taste of the holidays. They come to feast. They come for a holiday immersion and that's precisely what they get. First, the eyes are overwhelmed; more than 100 trees are on display, all meticulously decorated by some of the area's most inspired and creative artists. There are wreaths and table displays, and many of the trees themselves are fashioned as part of a vignette - a unique theme bound only by the imagination of the artist.
Cliche-speaking, a picture is worth a thousand words, but on November 5, they'll be worth some quested-after ribbons and much-needed funds to boot. The Santa Clarita Valley's Photographers Association will be hosting their fifth annual Photo Expo and Fall Print Competition at the Hyatt from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and this year's event brings multiple cultural and practical learning opportunities with it.
To doctors, it's known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS for short. To most people, it's known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. But to ALS patients and their loved ones, the disease is known more for what it inflicts than by what it is called. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Over time, it robs patients of muscle coordination and physical mobility, while usually leaving their minds intact.
Is there someone in your life who could use a break, a good turn or a bit of relief? How about a little color in their world - or perhaps some new color on their house? If you do, grab a pen because you may be moments away from making a big difference in his or her life. You may be moments away from brightening someone's day, even as you brighten the color of his or her walls, window frames and moldings.
What do you get when you mix hyper-exclusive wines with public servants who like to shake their money maker? If you were a guest at the Loose Goose Festival's Golden Goose Gala, you know that the answer is the newly nicknamed Steve "I've Got a Spell on You" Sturgeon, who made like Travolta and wowed the female crowd with his smooth moves. Steve, while you may still be in swoon state over your newfound popularity, know this, you debonair darling: You had us at "Hello."
If you had told me in February that the Inside SCV Singles events would draw over 500 people to numerous local hotspots all in the name of fun, I would have laughed you out of the room. I was hoping that our first event at Wolfcreek would boast 40 people; instead, we had over 150! Nearly a dozen events later, I'm still amazed at how many awesome single folks live or work in Santa Clarita. Over the last handful of months, I have met tons of regular attendees and have made more new friends than I can count.
Every life is its own incredible story. Those words form the motto of veteran entertainment industry producer Brad Sevy's latest project known as Wonderful Lives Productions. But those words are more than a motto. They are, in a sense, the reason behind what Sevy does. They have become the recipe for the magic he creates. The ingredients, on the other hand, are regular folks like you.
Singles Night - December 7, 2006
7pm at Abbey Lane Cafe
Hang out at Santa Clarita's newest eatery while mixing with other fun singles. Live music, appetizer specials, $5 house wine, $3.75 for all beers and a chance to meet your match; what more could you ask for?

Abbey Lane Cafe
25810 W. Hemingway Avenue
Stevenson Ranch
254-3090
Singles Night - November 16, 2006
7pm at All Corked Up
Enjoy live music and get out on the dance floor. Take advantage of the drink specials as long as you wear your nametag; $3 for selected import wine and $3.50 for selected import beers. Make sure you stick around for the special door prize drawing!

All Corked Up
26340 Diamond Place
Santa Clarita
799-7979
Longtime SCV resident Cathy Duus had no idea what was coming the day she decided to hang her first hummingbird feeder in her backyard back in 1995. But there were a few clues. That first feeder - the same no-frills, 16-ounce feeder you'd find at Target or Wal-Mart - emptied fast, suspiciously fast. "I was sure it had a leak," says Duus. "I just couldn't believe it would empty that fast." But this was no leak, not literally, anyway.
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