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Getting Noticed
March, 2010 - Issue #65
It's not hard to get noticed in Santa Clarita. Standing in the middle of McBean during rush hour, painting one's house a shade forbidden by the HOA, or driving a car made before 2007 are all viable options for those craving attention. Getting noticed is certainly something on the minds of the 11 candidates vying for election to City Council. The SCV Press Club will be giving notice to those worth talking about at the Newsmakers Awards Gala Dinner on March 19. And City Hall is hoping for its share of the spotlight this month at events celebrating the long-awaited completion of the Cross-Valley Connector and ground-breaking for the Newhall Library. In this spirit we focus on getting noticed in SCV, specifically: those who have been positively noticed for noticing those who wished to remain unnoticed; an attempt to notice everyone; and a chance to notice nature.

Hide-and-Seek
Seems that not everyone living in Castaic is an upstanding, law-abiding citizen. This winter, a couple of million-dollar busts proved that a few bad apples in the northern reaches of our valley are up to no good.

First, there was the discovery of a million dollars worth of marijuana plants in a house on Royal Road. A neighbor who noticed a bad smell coming from the house led Santa Clarita Sheriffs to the indoor pot farm. Despite several similar busts in recent years, pot-growing Claritans still don't seem to understand that it's hard to conceal the scent of 500 marijuana plants from the people next door. Oops.

In January, a LoJack system in a stolen vehicle led to the second million-dollar discovery of the season. The vehicle recovery system's signal led deputies to a sprawling bare-dirt area on Faimham Street where there were another three dozen stolen vehicles. It was an unusual collection including boats, trailers and Caterpillar tractors. A special taskforce from the L.A. Sheriff's Department assisted local detectives with the ensuing investigation. Needless to say, this is a major victory for the Sheriff's Department and closed vehicle theft cases spanning several years. It's reassuring when those who count on their activities going unnoticed get noticed by the Sheriff's Department.

Show-and-Tell
Are you out of work? Can you count? Then you're in luck! 2010 is the year of our national census, and Santa Clarita's office on Tourney Road will be busy censusing people living in Santa Clarita, the Antelope Valley and parts of the San Fernando Valley. A flurry of press releases and stories from local media outlets suggests that between 1,000 to 1,800 people will be temporarily employed for the effort to count every man, woman and child in America. According to the website, pay is $17 and hour for Census Taker positions.

Even if you don't want to work for the U.S. Census Bureau, you'll still get a chance to partake in the census fun when you receive official forms this month. They ask how many people are living at your residence and for racial and gender information. As an incentive to complete the form, the Census Bureau notes that the data they collect helps determine how some $400 billion in federal aid is dispersed. In that case, maybe we should all say that our homes have 28 people living in them. We want to get noticed, right? If honesty prevails, though, at least we'll get to update those "Welcome to Santa Clarita, Population XXX,XXX" signs.

Nature on Notice
Cheerfully, Dorothy Parker observed, "Every year, back comes Spring, with nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off and the ground all mucked up with plants." So it is in Santa Clarita, where spring's warmth and sunshine trigger nature's frenetic abundance. Perhaps because spring's show is so brief here, we're able to enjoy the yapping and mucking up more than Ms. Parker.

There are many opportunities to see wildlife and wildflowers up close this March, and our local parks are ready to help you and your family discover the names, habits and stories of spring's creatures. Bird walks are being offered at Placerita Canyon and Castaic Lake (more information is available at placerita.org and mycastaic.com). You may even glimpse a Bald Eagle that was discovered at the lake in December. A "36" on its orange identification tag revealed that the bird had flown all the way from picturesque Catalina Island to spend the winter at Castaic Lake. Perhaps it heard that the bass fishing is better here. If you prefer nature in a greener, leafier form, at 1 p.m. on March 27 there will be a leisurely walk at Towsley Canyon Park that promises "wildflowers galore." Taking a stroll with one of Santa Clarita's many knowledgeable naturalists is like getting a behind-the-scenes tour of our wild backyard and a vibrant reminder of why we heart - and should take notice of - springtime in SCV.

This column is intended as satire and a (sometimes successful) attempt at humor. Suggestions, catty comments and veiled threats intended for the author can be e-mailed to iheartscv@insidescv.com.
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