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Horror Stories
October, 2023 - Issue #224
Santa Clarita doesn't need to wait for Halloween to have horror stories. Since the last column, there was an attempted pitchfork attack at a Home Depot. An arrest followed, and luckily, injuries weren't reported. A Valencia woman was arrested in connection with suspected human trafficking that involved her massage parlor. The very unpleasant smells from Chiquita Canyon Landfill continued long enough to prompt over 1,000 complaints from the public. Plenty of great stuff has happened over the same period - football games, community charity events and the return of pumpkin spice lattes. But there's no denying that beyond our front doors, troubling stories have unfolded.

StormQuake

Two days before Tropical Storm Hilary came to Southern California, The New York Times ran a piece entitled, "Tropical Storms in California Are Rare. The Last to Make Landfall Killed Nearly 100." That's a pretty scary horror story. Worse, it was true. California's tropical storm of 1939 caused deadly flooding and capsized many boats at sea. Hilary didn't do nearly as much damage in Santa Clarita. We had over five inches of rain, schools closed for the day, car accidents seemed to rise and some paths were washed out. The biggest flood was likely that of melodramatic social media posts.
The one twist in the not-so-horrible horror story was the simultaneous 5.1 magnitude earthquake in Ojai. No apocalyptic relationship between the disasters, right? Experts said it was pure coincidence. However, a study from earlier this year by researchers in San Diego argued that water and shaking may be linked for the San Andreas Fault. High water levels in an ancient lake, now roughly the Salton Sea area, were likely correlated with six of the past seven big earthquakes involving the fault. The weight and pressure of the water were suspected to help trigger quakes. Hopefully, there's no rush to test that theory.

"High water levels in an ancient lake, now roughly the Salton Sea area, were likely correlated with six of the past seven big earthquakes involving the fault. The weight and pressure of the water were suspected to help TRIGGER QUAKES. Hopefully, there's no rush to test that theory."
A Troubling Trend
Three stories that are equal parts troubling, sad and fatal played out in Santa Clarita this August. Within less than a two-week period, three middle-aged individuals were found dead in area parking lots. First, the Coroner's Office was charged with identifying a 55-year old man who seemingly perished on the second floor of a Westfield parking garage. Not long after, they had to identify a 51-year old woman who was found deceased in a Jeep on Tournament Road. Then, the Coroner was called yet again to identify the remains of a 49-year-old woman found in a car parked off of McBean Parkway.
In its coverage of these grim losses, The Signal noted that all were being regarded as non-suspicious. There may not be a pattern at all. The deaths might simply have been related to the facts that parking lots are heavily-trafficked areas and that we all spend an awful lot of time in our cars. And indeed, in the weeks since all of these fatalities, no additional information was added about unusual or criminal circumstances. Whatever the ultimate similarities and differences may be, the community is surely sorry for the families and their difficult losses.

Financial Jeopardy
Hollywood and fruit flies have both been scaring Claritans in the same way: financially. With our strong geographic and business connections, Hollywood's pain can be Santa Clarita's pain. As of my writing, the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA strikes were on-going. WGA writers joined an Amazon Warehouse strike in Santa Clarita to show cross-industry solidarity for labor rights, and local businesses like Air Hollywood and Santa Clarita Studios have been weighing in on the serious impacts of fewer film productions.
As for the flies? Santa Clarita is quarantined for Zeugodacus tau. It sounds like COVID 2.0, but it's actually an agricultural effort aimed at eradicating the tau fruit fly. The non-native insects lays its eggs on melons, squash, citrus, tomatoes, avocados and more. The maggots then hatch, eat, defecate and shed their exoskeleton three times before leaving their fruity home. This could become a major horror story for farmers, so potentially-infested produce and plants must not be moved. We shouldn't point fingers, but if we did, they'd be towards Stevenson Ranch, near where the flies were first detected. But no matter! All of the SCV hearts our farms and will cooperate to squash this pest.
This column is intended as satire and a (sometimes successful) attempt at humor. Suggestions and catty comments intended for the author can be e-mailed to iheartscv@insidescv.com.
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