These outdated news releases and advisories are stored here for archival purposes. 


July 29, 2005

Performing Arts Center Box Office Set to Open

​Anticipating brisk ticket sales, the Vital Express Center for the Performing Arts will begin selling individual tickets at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 4. The 2005/06 Season Guide has been mailed to residents of the Santa Clarita Valley and all post office boxes.

Series tickets, which are available in four different packages, have been on sale since mid-July. Each package highlights different shows that provide an opportunity to see performances throughout the year. Three of the packages include a combination of commercial and academic shows, and a low-cost package features academic shows only. Series tickets may be purchased prior to Aug. 4 by returning the order form in the Season Brochure via fax or mail.

While series ticket sales will continue until the opening of the season on Sept. 16, purchasing series tickets prior to Aug. 4 assures priority seating.
There are three convenient ways to purchase tickets beginning Aug. 4:
Select your own seats online.
Call our Box Office at (661) 362-5304
Visit the Box Office at the Student Center, Room S-127
There are two box offices on the College of the Canyons campus; the main box office, located in the Student Center in room S-127 at College of the Canyons, will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, from Aug. 4 through Oct. 31. To purchase series and single tickets for performances, please go to this location. The box office located near the entrance of the Vital Express Center is only open on performance days and will open three hours before the start of each show.

“We are truly looking forward to the upcoming season,” said Karen Schmidt, theater manager. “There is a wide choice of entertainment at a variety of price points that make arts experiences at the center possible for everyone.”

The season kicks off with The Temptations on Sept. 16 and concludes in May with a spring concert by the Choir of the Canyons.

Community, commercial and academic shows, such as “Little Shop of Horrors,” the Soweto Gospel Choir, “The Velveteen Rabbit” and more are available throughout the 2005/06 season.

July 15, 2005

College to Offer Paralegal Program Beginning in Fall

To help prepare students interested in a paralegal career, College of the Canyons is introducing a paralegal program with two classes being offered in the fall. This new program will give students the opportunity to explore the paralegal field and is a good introduction for anyone interested in the legal profession.

“There are not very many fields where in two years you can be a professional,” says Deborah Orlik, the instructor and organizer of the program. “The paralegal field is one of them.”

The creation of this program began when Orlik realized there was nothing in the area for students interested in the paralegal field. She discovered the demand after surveying and interviewing students at high schools in the Santa Clarita Valley. Orlik approached the dean at College of the Canyons and was put in charge of creating the program.

The paralegal program will continue to add classes each semester until all classes are available to earn an associated degree over the course of two years.

The first class, Paralegal 101: Introduction to Paralegal Studies, is an overview of the history, philosophy and practice of the paralegal profession. It will also introduce concepts, terms and theories used by the paralegal.

Paralegal 110: Civil Litigation, the second class, is an overview of the basic functions and procedures found in a civil law office. Both classes will give students a general overview at the paralegal field.

In the future, classes on ethics in the paralegal field, computer classes specific for a paralegal, and writing and research for the paralegal field will be offered.

These classes are offered during the day for the traditional student and in the evening for the working adult. This allows anyone who is interested in the paralegal or legal field to enroll.

July 12, 2005

College Closes Cross Country Trails Due to Cougar Sighting

College of the Canyons officials have temporarily closed the cross country trails on campus due to the sighting of a large cat, likely a cougar, by a runner on Monday evening, July 11.

Large cougar tracks in the same vicinity, on the west side of the campus near the I-5 freeway, were reported to campus security on Monday morning. Security posted signs and a campus-wide e-mail advising of the possibility of a cougar on campus was immediately sent out to all faculty and staff so that they could increase their vigilance and pass the word on to students and others using the campus this summer.

Cougar tracks have been a relatively common spring and summer sight on the 154-acre campus over the years. Sightings of the big cats, however, have been relatively rare. Tracks are most often seen on the west side of campus where there is a natural water source and an abundant food supply.

Monday evening’s sighting occurred between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. with a runner on the cross country trail reportedly seeing the cat in a tree.
The college has reported the incident to the state department of fish and game with a warden expected to inspect the area on Tuesday or Wednesday, July 12 or 13.

“In the past, we have worked closely with the experts at fish and game to determine the best course of action,” said John McElwain, director of public relations at the college. “Usually we have sightings of tracks, but rarely have people reported actual sightings,” said McElwain.

The college wants everyone on its campus and residents in adjacent communities to be aware of the sighting so they can be well informed and exercise extra caution with their own activities, the activities of their children and their pets.

“We don’t want to sound alarmist,” stressed McElwain, “but this is the kind of information that people have a right to know.”

The state fish and game warden hopefully will be able to advise the college about whether there is more than one cat, whether he or she is just passing through or intends to stay a while, what patterns the cat is exhibiting and other details that will determine appropriate courses of action.

“It is important for everyone to understand,” said McElwain, “that until we know more about our visitor, everyone in the vicinity needs to be vigilant and cautious.”

July 12, 2005

Travel or Stay at Home to Learn More About Central America

The Intensive Spanish Institute study-abroad program has been given a special invitation to a concert by the youth symphony in the Nicaragua Palace of Culture. This concert is part of the study-abroad program being offered July 30 through Aug. 11 to Central America and Nicaragua.

The trip will give students the chance to visit schools and institutions, meet high-ranking officials and take classes to further explore the Central American culture.

In addition to the travel study, College of the Canyons is offering on campus the popular Intensive Spanish Institute for up to 3.25 units from July 25 through 29.

From beginner to advanced, the five-day Intensive Spanish Institute will provide instruction for students of all levels of proficiency with the Spanish language focusing on the Central American theme.

The institute is more than just language; it is a cross-cultural experience that will allow students to gain knowledge about current issues such as biodiversity, economics and culture.

Professor Claudia Acosta said: “It is a lot of fun and there will be great speakers.”

The institute offers a unique cultural experience by combining traditional courses with cultural workshops and guided group conversations all centered on Central American countries.

The Intensive Spanish Institute is for anyone who wants to be immersed in Spanish culture including teachers who need a second language, nurses and emergency services personnel, students who want an extensive language and cultural experience, and community members who want to learn more about the Spanish language and Central American culture.

For more information on the travel study or the on-campus Spanish Institute visit the Spanish Institute website at To register, contact the College of the Canyons Admissions and Records office at (661) 362-3280.

July 11, 2005

Instructor to Spend Year in Iraq as Civilian Fire Chief

​After 32 years of fighting fires in Southern California and another seven teaching the trade to both active-duty and aspiring firefighters at College of the Canyons, you’d think that Steve Dixon, chair of the college’s Fire Technology Department, would be ready to sit back and take it easy. But there is something in his psyche that just can’t do that.
Maybe it’s the anticipation of the adrenaline rush that first responders seem to crave, or the challenge of a huge job at a critical time, or perhaps the patriotism that courses through his veins. Whatever the reason, Dixon is taking on perhaps the most challenging job of his career. He'll take over as fire chief at a military base in Iraq later this month.

Set to depart for Iraq as early as July 18, Dixon says it is simply something he has to do. The twinkle in his eyes and the spring in his step the last few weeks on campus belie his 65 years and more than a full career in a physically and mentally challenging line of work. He is excited and filled with anticipation, not only for the work that he knows will be hard, exciting and dangerous, but also about all of the real-world experiences and lessons he'll be able to bring back to the classroom.

“In some respects,” says Dixon, “I have been frustrated in fulfilling my desire to serve my country. When I was 20 years old, I was hit by a car and seriously injured my knee. I always thought the military would be my career,” recalled Dixon, “but in the induction line, they saw a big purple scar on my knee from major surgery, and my hopes of a military career ended there.”

Dixon became a fireman and over the next 32 years served the public by focusing on protecting life and property. He vividly recalls the excitement and risks he faced while fighting fires at both L.A. riots (in 1963 and 1991), the huge Redondo Beach Pier fire, and during responses to dozens of major brush fires — one of which nearly engulfed his truck and fire crew.

“When 9/11 happened,” said Dixon, “I was already retired from the fire service and working at College of the Canyons. Many of my friends who were still active firefighters went to help out in New York City and I kept asking myself, ‘What can I do?’”

Last December Dixon saw an ad in a firefighting magazine looking for civilian firefighters interested in working on military bases in Iraq. “I went ahead and e-mailed the company. They were apparently interested in me and over the course of several months they requested, and I sent, a letter of interest, an updated resume and copies of my professional certificates.” The resume and certificates reveal a person with outstanding credentials. In addition to nearly 40 years of hands-on experience, he holds an associate degree in fire technology from El Camino College, a bachelor’s degree in management from University of Redlands, a variety of certifications from California and national fire academies, and experience as a paramedic and arson investigator, among other qualifications.

Dixon is certificated as a master fire instructor, and his accomplishments over nearly 40 years in the firefighting business are extensive. He retired from the Manhattan Beach Fire Department in 1995 and worked at Warner Brothers, L.A. Valley College and El Camino Community College prior to being hired at College of the Canyons in 1998.

In March of this year, the company interviewed Dixon over the phone for 30 minutes and shortly after offered him a job. Dixon’s wife of 32 years, Bonnie, is very supportive of her husband’s latest adventure, understanding that he is a patriot at heart and that he has always wanted to give back to his country. His three daughters and seven grandchildren are mostly in support of his decision, although some have expressed concern for his safety in the war zone.

Dixon requested and has been granted a leave of absence from his duties at College of the Canyons through June 2006 to serve in this capacity.
Dixon leaves Santa Clarita July 18 for a week of orientation in Houston, Texas and then on to Camp Victory in southern Iraq, from where he will be re-assigned to a military base somewhere in Iraq.

Is he excited? “You bet I am,” said Dixon, barely able to conceal his pride and enthusiasm for what he calls “a chance of a lifetime.”