Posts Tagged ‘Santa Clarita’

Santa Clarita Paseos

April 26, 2011

Santa Clarita isn’t usually the first city that pops into people’s minds when they think of a vacation destination, unless they are planning a trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain.  The truth is, many people are not aware of things they could do here in the Santa Clarita Valley, a beautiful master-planned bedroom community north of Los Angeles that is kept very clean.  One of the things the city is known for is the Paseos, which are hidden trails all throughout the community where bicycle riders and joggers can go about their daily exercise.  These connecting trails give residents an easier time getting to parks, entertainment, shopping, and employment centers while enjoying the scenic path as well as being friendly to the environment.

Santa Clarita, CA, may be known as the city where Six Flags Magic Mountain is located, but the city has also created a network of bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly paths and hidden trails, or paseos for local residents and visitors to enjoy.There are five different trailheads in Santa Clarita so far, which include:

Promenade Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter the trailhead off the east side of McBean and park your car at the shopping centers nearby.

Auto Center Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter it off the north side of Valencia Bl., at Auto Center Ct.  There is off-street parking for vehicles and horse trailers.  Benches, drinking fountain, and information kiosk can be found on site.

South Fork Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter it off the south side of Magic Mountain Pkwy., between Valencia Bl. and San Fernando Rd., on the west bank of South Fork River.  There is off- street parking for vehicles and horse trailers.  Picnic tables and drinking fountain can be found on site.

Camp Plenty Road Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter it off the south side of Soledad Canyon Rd., at the Camp Plenty Rd.  Off-street parking available.  Drinking fountain can be found on site.

Lost Canyon Road Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter it off the south side of Soledad Canyon Rd., at Lost Canyon Rd., just south of the intersection beneath the freeway underpass.  There is some street parking available.  Benches, drinking fountains, water spigots, and hitching posts can be found on site.

If you’d like to explore the city’s paseos, download and print Santa Clarita’s “Trails and Parks Map” or Newhall Land’s map, “Valencia’s Paseos“.

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Joie Montoya

Short Sale Mistakes a Realtor Should Not Make

February 18, 2011

Have you ever gone to an open house and you hear the realtor mention that the house is on short sale?  If you aren’t familiar with real estate terms, “short sale” can sound like a positive thing, but unfortunately, it’s not.  A house that is on short sale can, in fact, take months longer to buy than a house that is simply for sale or for lease with an option to buy.  For a realtor, this type of house can be harder to sell, depending on their clients, so the way they handle a short sale or present the house on short sale can make or break the deal.  Here are a few things your realtor should avoid when dealing with a short sale.

  1. A house that is on short sale can take months longer to buy than a house that is simply for sale or for lease with an option to buy.  Here are some common short sale mistakes your realtor should avoid.Make sure you are familiar with the short sale process; do not go into it blind.
  2. Do not hire an unqualified professional to negotiate with the bank.
  3. Do your homework!  Make sure you keep following up with bank representatives regarding the short sale.
  4. Do not price the property above market value to try to cover full payoff.
  5. Do not submit an offer that is too low or buyer financing that is not strong enough.
  6. Do not pay any upfront fees for someone to facilitate a short sale.
  7. Do not be unaware of how to approach business cases to lenders.
  8. Do not expect the process to be much shorter than is realistic.

Make sure you are confident with your realtor and that you can trust him/her to get you through the short sale process securely.  With an increase in short sales this year, both home buyers and home sellers should look into the process to avoid any confusion in the future.

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Joie Montoya

From Piggy Bank to Union Bank

January 20, 2011

Please retweetUncertainty drifts into peoples’ minds when they think about how to keep their money safe.  You may think that keeping your money hidden somewhere in your bedroom is the best solution, but keep in mind that piggy banks can be easily broken into.  On the other hand, Union Bank promises they can be trusted to keep your money secure.

Life lessons applied in real life. Blogger Joie describes the life lessons she learned about saving money as a child, then applying those lessons when she opens a bank account at Union Bank.Since I was little, I’ve been taught that saving money, although it is overlooked, is a very valuable skill.  Whether it was in a piggy bank or lock box, I always figured out a way to keep my money stored in a safe place.  As I got older, though, I knew it was time to start looking for more appropriate and secure ways to keep track of my money.  Opening a bank account may not seem like such a big deal to most but it is, in fact, an important step towards sound money management.  Personally, I never put much thought into opening a bank account, figuring that things would fall into place.  Now that I’m older and starting to make my way into the business world, though, I realize it is a necessary initiative. More and more adults are finding that teaching their kids to save money is an essential lesson to learn.  Millions of people have gone through some financial struggles during the recent downturn in our economy.  Now with the economy slowly improving they would like to make things better for their kids.

My dad taught me a technique that can help weather any economic fluctuation.  He told me that when I got my paycheck, I should divide it three ways: 10% to the church, 50% to the bank, and 40% to live on.  To this day, I’m grateful to him for teaching me that valuable lesson.  Once I opened my first bank account at Union Bank I was able to manage my money and achieve the financial goals I set for myself.  For those who have not been taught similar financial lessons, Union Bank offers counseling on the importance of saving your money.  If you are not able to put as much as 40% of your earnings into your savings, Union Bank’s new policy can help.  With your permission, they authorize a monthly $25 transfer from your checking account to your savings account.  Keep all this in mind when you consider opening a bank account at Union Bank or teach your kids the importance of money management.  It is never too late to start saving.  In the long run, you are only helping yourself.

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Joie Montoya

Home Affordable Modification Program

September 22, 2010

Please retweetAs a realtor for EXIT Realty in Santa Clarita, Chris Gabledon not only provides traditional real estate services such as helping people buy or sell a home but, in the down economy, helps troubled homeowners by processing short sales and loan modifications, as well.  In troubled times, it is best that you turn to professionals like Mr. Gabledon, who can help go over your options with you and objectively figure out the best course of action for you to take, such as the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

Chris Gabledon, realtor for EXIT Realty SCV of Santa Clarita, CA, can help you navigate through the unfamiliar territory of applying for a home loan modification if you fall behind on your mortgage payments.What is the Home Affordable Modification Program?  The U.S. government program “provides eligible homeowners the opportunity to modify their mortgages to make them more affordable” with the goal of lowering the monthly mortgage payment to less than 31 percent of the household’s total income.  In other words, homeowners that can no longer afford to make monthly loan payments may qualify for a loan modification.  Enacted in February 2009, the program has since been modified earlier this year with expanded flexibility:

for mortgage servicers and originators to assist more unemployed homeowners and to help more people who owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth because their local markets saw large declines in home values.

In order to make the home loan modification permanent, struggling homeowners must take these steps:

  1. Find out if you qualify to participate in the free home loan modification program.  Complete this questionnaire on the Making Home Affordable website to determine whether you are eligible or not.
  2. Start the loan modification process by submitting an “Initial Package” to your lender, which includes the following:
    Request Form (Request for Modification and Affidavit)
    Tax Form (Form 4506T-EZ)
    Verification of income
  3. Follow up with your mortgage lender to make sure that they received the Initial Package and if additional paperwork is needed.
  4. Complete the trial period of the loan modification by following the payment requirements and providing any additional documentation in a timely manner.
  5. Once you successfully complete the trial period and all paperwork has been received on time, your home loan modification will become permanent.

During this down economy, millions of homeowners have suddenly found themselves behind on their mortgage payments and vulnerable to scam artists that make promises they cannot keep.  While the federal government did create the Home Affordable Modification Program to help these troubled homeowners, scam artists are doing their best to get to uninformed and desperate homeowners first.  The federal government has setup a toll-free number, the Homeowner’s HOPE™ Hotline, at 1-888-995-HOPE (4673), providing information about the Making Home Affordable Program.  They have created a video, “How You Can Avoid Foreclosure Scams“, providing a list of things to look out for so that you can avoid becoming prey to scam artists.

Tips to avoid scams

  1. Beware of anyone who asks you to pay a fee in exchange for a counseling service or modification of a delinquent loan.
  2. Scam artists often target homeowners who are struggling to meet their mortgage commitment or anxious to sell their homes.  Recognize and avoid common scams.
  3. Beware of people who pressure you to sign papers immediately, or who try to convince you that they can “save” your home if you sign or transfer over the deed to your house.
  4. Do not sign over the deed to your property to any organization or individual unless you are working directly with your mortgage company to forgive your debt.
  5. Never make a mortgage payment to anyone other than your mortgage company without their approval.

Remember, even though you maybe months behind on your mortgage and are at risk for foreclosure, you are not without answers.  However, applying for a home loan modification maybe a daunting and overwhelming task for you to take on by yourself.  Chris Gabledon of EXIT Realty can help ease the application process for you, making sure you only have to go through it once.

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Francis M. Unson

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Staying sharp: Welders battle for supremacy

September 17, 2010

Please retweetWelding companies such as Valencia Welding in Santa Clarita, CA, compete with other companies in Southern California that provide similar services.  Not only can company president, Rick Montoya, and his team provide welding services in aluminum and copper but, as his “resume” shows, in more exotic materials like titanium, as well.  What can up-and-coming welders of today do to build a skill set and impressive clientele list as detailed as Mr. Montoya’s?

A good head start would be to take part in FABTECH 2010, North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, finishing and welding event, which takes place in Atlanta, GA, from November 2-4, 2010.  While around 22,000 attendees are expected to descend on Georgia World Congress Center and visit the 1,000 exhibiting companies during the three-day conference and trade show, the event that attendees should not miss is the American Welding Society-sponsored 2010 Weld-Off Competition.  Out of 24 student welders that competed in SkillsUSA Championships 2009 and 2010, six will face off in a series of contests and only three will advance to the WorldSkills Competition in 2011, in London.

Armed with contest drawings that conform with the latest editions of American Welding Society standards, student welders are tested on the following aspects of welding:

  • measuring weld replicas using weld measuring gauges
  • laying out a plate and using oxyacetylene equipment to cut several holes checked for accuracy and quality
  • gas metal arc welding on steel making welds in various positions using short circuiting transfers
  • flux cored arc welding using a shielding gas, making welds in various positions
  • using a combination machine capable of providing the correct welding current for shielded metal arc and gas tungsten arc welding.

Welding competitions and trade shows will make sure that North America remains competitive in the welding industry on a global scale, particularly by producing high-quality welders that can complement Valencia Welding.

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Francis M. Unson

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Cruises: Leave the booking to travel agents. Here’s why

September 3, 2010

Going on vacation is your chance to relax, have fun and, for a week or two, give you a vastly different schedule of activities that, unlike work, you actually look forward to.  Hanz and Hachelle Pena of the Cheap Travel Deals in Santa Clarita understand that and can help take care of planning your next cruise.  There are some parts of vacation planning that you would prefer leaving to travel agents.  Why, you ask?

Why should you leave booking your next cruise to travel agents? Because you have a list of things to bring and take care of before the trip, and a huge number of activities to choose from during the cruise.When you are planning a cruise, you are going to make a lot of choices:

  • The cruise line you’d like to go on and how long you’d like to be out to sea
  • The airline you are going to take to the departing city
  • Hotel accommodations or car rental at the departing city if you decide to make that city a tourist destination, as well

and so on.  You should leave much of this part of the planning to travel agents because you have your own list of pre-trip things to take care of, too.

You have even more decisions to make before you leave home for your cruise, such as:

  • How much clothes you are going to pack
  • How much spending money to set aside
  • How many memory sticks to bring for your digital camera
  • Calling a pet-sitter
  • Making a quick dash to the corner drugstore for motion sickness pills, just in case
  • Refilling prescription medication so you don’t run out during the trip
  • Making sure you have your plane tickets and passport on-hand

Sometime later when you have finally arrived at the cruise ship, you have an even longer list of things to choose from.  The list of on-board activities on a cruise ship is so vast that you will not get around to doing all of them on a single cruise.  Just ask any cruise director.  Sure, they could rattle off a list of activities (not exhaustive) that may include, but are not limited to:

  • Deck parties
  • Spas and salons
  • Fitness centers
  • Indoor and outdoor sports centers
  • Cartoon-themed, children, and adults-only swimming pools
  • Wave pools
  • Theaters for movie screenings and full-production plays or musicals
  • Interactive comedy shows
  • Ice skating rinks
  • Sports bars, pubs, and cocktail lounges
  • Cafés, buffets, fast food restaurants, and formal dining
  • Piano lounges
  • Pool bars
  • Shopping centers and promenades
  • Casinos

Remember, it’s not a practical goal to try to do everything that a cruise ship has to offer.  You will not make the most of your time if a good portion of your time is spent going from one activity to another.  Yes, time is a finite commodity on-board, so budget your time wisely, prioritize the activities that you want to do, and stick with those activities.  You will feel more accomplished devoting your energy to a handful of activities.  Furthermore, when you book your next cruise, you can begin where you left off with a new set of activities.  With all the activities to choose from during the cruise, you might as well leave booking the cruise to Hanz and Hachelle Pena of the Cheap Travel Deals so that you have one less set of things to worry about.

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Francis M. Unson

 

Spacetron Metal Bellows – “Aerospace Welding Apprentice Program”

July 3, 2010

Rick Montoya, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Spacetron Metal Bellows in Santa Clarita, California, wants to pass on the knowledge of welding to a new generation of welders who may very well design, construct, and launch hardware destined for outer space.  With that in mind, Rick created the “Aerospace Welding Apprentice Program“.

Rick Montoya, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Spacetron Metal Bellows, created the "Aerospace Welding Apprentice Program", designed to take apprentices through a rigorous, one-year program, working on actual aerospace hardware.Spacetron Metal Bellows’ program is designed to take apprentices through a rigorous, one-year program, working on actual aerospace hardware and learning the techniques for welding groups 1-4 and 6.  Part of the apprentice’s training includes learn the techniques of titanium structures, welding bellows, tubing, ducting, hose assemblies, tanks, pressure vessels, piping and machined parts.  While the program turns apprentices into high-quality welders, companies that hire this newly forged lot benefit in many ways:

  • Allows your company to maintain its production schedule without reallocating welders/welding operators and/or QA Staff for training purposes.
  • Having the apprentice observe, learn, and prepare for the welding of the Aerospace hardware to be performed by a certified aerospace welder, Spacetron Metal Bellows.
  • Being able to meet production schedules and ship hardware to your customers, meeting all your company and NADCAP Welding requirements while the apprentice is going through the on-the-job apprentice program.
  • Able to increase new programs by adding new certified aerospace welders and/or welding operators to your company team.
  • After the completed Apprentice Program, you will have a certified aerospace welder and/or welding operators ready to join your team with the experience needed to work on your aerospace products, with the freshness to be molded into your company’s operating philosophy.

If you feel that you are ready to take on the challenges of aerospace welding, or if you’d like your employees to undergo additional training, please contact Rick Montoya.

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Francis M. Unson

Spacetron Metal Bellows

July 1, 2010

You may have noticed that for three weeks in June, I did not write a new blog entry.  I spent those three weeks designing a new website for Spacetron Metal Bellows from the ground up.  The previous web “design”, ill-conceived and put together on-the-fly, no longer served the needs of the company.  The new web design has fewer HTML pages but displays more pictures, information, and even a new social media interface with Flower Blossoms.

Rick Montoya: co-founder of Flower Blossoms, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Spacetron Metal Bellows

Rick Montoya, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Spacetron Metal Bellows

Even though I updated Spacetron Metal Bellows’ website to conform with current web design principles and practices, the purpose of Spacetron Metal Bellows has remained the same since the company’s founding in 1982.  Rick Montoya, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Spacetron Metal Bellows (as well as co-founder of Flower Blossoms), founded the Santa Clarita company

“[T]o serve the aerospace industry in the process of gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), specializing in titanium assemblies, bellow assemblies, and vacuum chambers.”

The company’s work, during the first ten years of business, focused on hardware for the B-1 Bomber and NASA’s Space Shuttle programs.  Subsequently, Rockwell International awarded the company with two contracts:

Spacetron Metal Bellows has served a long list of aerospace clients, designing and building Spacetron Vacuum Chambers to the client’s specifications, fabricating and welding titanium structures, and providing many complex assemblies.

The company’s website provides an abridged list of projects involving Rick Montoya and Spacetron Metal Bellows.  Trust me; compiling an unabridged list is itself a project .  Nonetheless, very small snippet of projects that Rick has worked on includes NASA’s Hyper-X, the B-1 Bomber, MX missile, Space Shuttle, Airborne Laser (ABL), F-35, and NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program with Rocketplane Kistler (RPK).  Even though he specialized in welding nuclear piping assemblies, he has expanded his capabilities in welding materials such as titanium, Inconel, stainless steel, aluminum, and bellows assemblies.  28 years in business has allowed him to build an extensive supplier network and take on challenging projects with confidence.  If your company has a welding project that requires additional consulting, contact Rick Montoya.  The added value he provides may save your company hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars.

Spacetron Metal Bellows was founded in 1982 to serve the aerospace industry in the process of gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), specializing in titanium assemblies, bellow assemblies, and vacuum chambers. Rick Montoya serves as President and Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Rick Montoya, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Spacetron Metal Bellows
Corporate Office
25136 Anza Dr.
Valencia, CA 91355

Ph (Direct): 661.312.2193
Ph (Office): 661.294.9018
rick [AT] spacetronmetalbellows [DOT] com

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Francis M. Unson

Valencia Welding Repairs McDonalds’ Brass Statue

June 29, 2010

While Rick Montoya, president of Valencia Welding in Santa Clarita, California, receives jobs from phone calls or emails asking for his assistance, he sometimes gets a weld repair job by being at the right place at the right time.

One afternoon, when Rick brought his daughter to McDonald’s at the Pavilion Shopping Center for lunch, he glanced at a bronze statue of a child skiing downhill inside the restaurant.  The statue suffered some damage with part of one of the skis broken off.  Rick immediately contacted Mr. Schutz, owner of a number of McDonald’s franchises throughout the Santa Clarita Valley, including the aforementioned franchise.  Rick offered to repair the ski, and Mr. Schutz was more than happy to oblige.  Rick and Bobby Alatorre, one of Rick’s welding apprentices, brought the statue to Valencia Welding’s workshop and spent the next two days repairing the broken ski.  After they completed the weld repair, they brought back the statue to McDonald’s and returned it to its location inside the restaurant.

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Francis M. Unson

Union Bank: Interview with Oscar Dominguez, VP and Manager (part 3)

April 5, 2010
  1. Please retweetAre you looking to hire in the coming year?
    Yes.  Union Bank is focused on hiring as many talented individuals in banking and financial services.  The bank just added a new facility in Scottsdale, AZ, and hired 600 of the local residents.  We are a major employer in the Los Angeles area with a production center in Monterey Park.  Locally in Santa Clarita, we are looking to expand here as well.  We’ll be adding additional offices to service the communities of Saugus and Castaic and, subsequently, hire new employees.  We’re looking forward to adding value to the communities by offering ample employment opportunities.
  2. What have you done to go the extra mile for your client?  Please explain.
    One of the unique things is treating the customer as a person so they do not think that they’re just a number.  We take a personal interest in our customers.  What we do is send out Christmas and birthday cards as well as “Thank you” cards.  We want the customers to believe that our business is a partnership.  We also reach out to our customers by offering them incentives such as “Customer Appreciation Day” and offer them a gift.  We also make calls to our customers and ask them if there is anything the bank can do for them.  We are dedicated to contacting our customers on a regular basis and, rather than asking what we do well, we ask what we can do to improve their experience at the bank.  One of the critical things that Union Bank put in place is our calling efforts, where we pick up the phone, dial up our customers, and do the old-fashioned, “Hello. How are you doing?  Are we meeting your expectations?  If not, how can we provide a better experience for you?  If we are, thank you very much and please share that with others.”

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Francis M. Unson


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