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Summer Discipline
August, 2021 - Issue #202
High summer is the most chaotic time in Santa Clarita. Already this year, emergency teams have airlifted distressed hikers in Placerita Canyon and Towsley Canyon. Several small fires have surged through the dry brush. The City of Santa Clarita organized a "Medallion Hunt" for a black and gold medallion hidden in an SCV park. Clues written in coarsely metered, rough-hewn poetry ("Again" doesn't really rhyme with "friends.") sent Claritans scrambling in search of the finder's prize, a $100 gift card. Amid all the chaotic rescuing, burning and treasure hunting, though, are reminders that we're soon returning to more disciplined times.

Athletic Focus
While you eat that extra backyard barbecue hamburger, sip your third glass of sangria and watch yet another episode of "Too Hot to Handle" on Netflix, a nagging little voice in your head may be reminding you that not everyone has the luxury of indulging so freely. I can think of a couple Claritans who must remain particularly disciplined as the Tokyo Olympics approach. The first is Abbey Weitzeil, a Saugus High School graduate who earned a spot in Tokyo when she won the 100-meter freestyle at the US Olympic swim trials. Weitzeil is a very accomplished sprinter with a gold medal and a silver medal from the Rio 2016 Olympics. She has swum 50 meters in under 25 seconds without taking a single breath.
Alyson Felix is the most famous Olympian/phenom to claim Santa Clarita as her hometown. Now 35 years old, married and mother to a daughter named Camryn, Felix qualified for the 400 meters in track and field. It's just the latest installment in a spectacularly-long and decorated career. She won her first Olympic medal in 2004 and she could be adding to her substantial collection (Nine total medals!) this summer. Good luck, Olympians!

"It's just the latest installment in a spectacularly-long and decorated career. She won her first Olympic medal in 2004 and she could be adding to her substantial collection (NINE TOTAL MEDALS!) this summer."
Crime and Punishment
Local law enforcement has been imposing discipline after a number of unusual crimes this summer. In Stevenson Ranch, a man and a woman went on a shopping spree and used their laden shopping cart to ram past security. In a possible case of road rage, a man threw items at another driver, then grabbed a hatchet from his trunk that he brandished at them. In Gorman, just north of Santa Clarita, a massage therapist was arrested after allegedly using his gun to threaten a mechanic to fix his car; details offered by the involved parties differed.
There are also recent developments regarding several more devastating, high-profile crimes in Santa Clarita. A judge recently sentenced James Dorsey to 35.5 years in prison for stabbing his wife, Michelle Dorsey. At the very least, her devastated family was able to see justice served quickly. Firefighter Tory Carlon, who was fatally shot at a fire station in Agua Dulce by an off-duty firefighter, has been mourned and remembered by the whole community. Hearings have been underway for Stevenson Ranch resident Noel Fisher over multiple alleged sexual assaults. The case is sure to demand continued attention.

Back to School
In the unintentional experiment that was 2020/21 education, we learned that going to school via computer during a pandemic was not, exactly, an unmitigated success. In a recent article, researcher Xin Xie and co-authors found that success relied on students having technical skills, access to technology and "high self-discipline because they can be easily distracted by social chats, news, or games." Given that most students' parents don't have the self-discipline to avoid all those distractions, it's easy to understand why a normal school year will be welcomed by many. There's just something about being at school that makes you feel like you're doing school.
The William S. Hart Union High School District pegs August 10 as the first day of classes. It's not entirely clear what practices from last school year's limited in-person education will carry over. If returning to "normal" in-person education weren't tricky enough, the district is facing other big challenges. There's a budget deficit, classified staff are negotiating over stagnant pay and some teachers protested at a recent board meeting over a lack of raises. As summer ebbs, a plan that makes workers, parents and students all heart SCV schools seems like more than challenge enough.
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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