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Summer Plans
June, 2021 - Issue #200
If Memorial Day really is the kick-off to summer, then summer is kicking. And thank goodness for that date on the calendar, because the other signs of summer have already been here for a while. The weather has been hot and sunny, it's been impossible to get any alone time at home and everyone has been antsy to go somewhere fun. Now that over half of adult Santa Claritans have been at least partially vaccinated, we're nearing the time when a stranger's stray cough may be regarded as merely gross rather than a Level-4 biohazard. It truly is time to start thinking about summer plans.

"Summer camp, summer school and summer vacations
ARE BACK. But few summer traditions unite Claritans quite like the summer Concerts in the Park series."
Sounds Familiar
Summer camp, summer school and summer vacations are back. But few summer traditions unite Claritans quite like the summer Concerts in the Park series. Just remember back to 2019. People earned prime patches of lawn with severe sunburns. Road rage flourished in the parking lot, clandestine drinking skills were sharpened and children screamed for every possible reason - bee stings, dropped ice cream, ennui... those good old days are coming back. This year, the Central Park concerts will run on Saturdays at 7pm from July through August.
Seven out of eight concerts are tribute bands. They're ready to play music familiar to moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas alike. The 1960s and '70s were when Tom Petty, U2, ABBA, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, the WHO and the Rolling Stones all got their start - and the 2020s is when they'll all get their greatest hits played in Santa Clarita - surely career high points. But the event is about more than music. It will be about cautiously reaffirming that a bunch of people can gather in a park without triggering public health alarms or, worse, social media ostracization. How nice to see neighbors listen to music... and maybe even relax.

Summer Roads
Planning for summer will mean planning for traffic and there are plenty of recent reminders to stay careful when you do. A water tanker truck went down a slope in Agua Dulce and a helicopter was required to bring one injured person to the hospital. Days later, a helicopter was requested but cancelled after five people went through a rollover crash on the 14 freeway. Even if vehicles aren't in a traffic accident, they can still spell trouble. Sheriff's deputies found nine kilos of cocaine in a car parked at a Lyons Avenue hotel and a man suspected of murder in Merced was arrested at a gas station in Castaic.
The last cautionary tale from the roads is of the sad, furry sort. A male mountain lion known as P-78 to National Park Service biologists met his end in San Francisquito Canyon. The cat was first collared in the Santa Monica Mountains in 2019 and it ranged widely. Biologists suspected that the cat's broken leg and ultimate death stemmed from being hit by a vehicle. It's a reminder that while many of us are itching to pick up the pace of life, some creatures were doing just fine with the pandemic quietude.

History Lesson
How crazy could this summer get? Many have looked to history. Yale Professor Nicholas Christakis says that, during humanity's past pandemics, people have become more religious and less likely to take risks. When historic pandemics ended, the pendulum swung the other way. In a recent book, Christakis predicted more risk, more spending of savings and more social interactions - familial, friendly and physical. It could be the temporary Las Vegas-fication of Santa Clarita. The roaring '20s came after the Spanish flu, so perhaps the roaring 2020s could come after coronavirus.
Not everyone totally agrees. In an interview with Politico, historian John Barry predicted less "wildness" and "fatalism" than people showed when the Spanish flu ended. That pandemic killed a far larger share of the population, so it may have shaken survivors and their behavior more profoundly. But he still foresees people wanting to cut loose and spend. I think that prediction probably fits the family-friendly SCV better. When you have to take the twins to swim practice in the morning, there's a limit to how loudly post-pandemic life can roar. Regardless, get ready to grab life and heart the SCV like never before.
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