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L.A. County Public Library To Reopen 30 Additional Locations On May 10

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Los Angeles County Public Library

Los Angeles County Library announced this week it will reopen an additional 30 of its 85 libraries for select in-person service beginning May 10, as the county nears the “yellow” tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. 

The scheduled reopening will raise the total number of reopened libraries to 60 across L.A. County at 75% capacity, while also maintaining six feet of physical distance for customers.

“In preparation for reopening additional doors to the public, LA County Library is working diligently to ensure safety protocols are met and appropriate preventative measures are in place,” officials said in a statement. 

The additional libraries that are scheduled to reopen are part of a phased reopening plan that prioritizes library openings based on geographic location, building availability, and the ability to accommodate physical distance guidelines and Public Health protocols. The library has placed an emphasis on equity with special consideration for reopening libraries in underserved areas where residents prioritize in-person services.

The additional libraries that are scheduled to reopen starting May 10 include Acton Agua Dulce Library, Castaic Library and Topanga Library, among others.

Additional libraries across the county will be added to the library’s reopening plan.

On April 19, L.A. County Library reopened its first 30 locations including  Stevenson Ranch in the Santa Clarita Valley, as well as Lancaster, and Quartz Hill in the Antelope Valley.

Outdoor programming for a limited number of participants will begin in early summer 2021 and will be available at select libraries. 

Sidewalk service and book drops will remain available at participating libraries. L.A. County Library continues to offer enhanced digital offerings, including a temporary digital library card to access eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, movies, online classes and more.

To view the current list of reopened libraries, visit the library reopening page here.

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Median Santa Clarita Valley Home Price Reaches Record High

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Santa_Clarita_Homes
Photo By Chevy via Creative Commons License

The median Santa Clarita Valley home price has risen to a record $795,000 as the number of homes listed remains below average.

A total of 277 single-family homes changed owners during April in the Santa Clarita Valley. Inventory rose to its highest level in five months, however, remained lower than previous years, according to the Southland Regional Association of Realtors (SRAR).

Sales were 66.9% higher than a year ago as the local, state, and national residential real estate markets struggled with the full impact of pandemic-related stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns.

Realtors also assisted the close of escrow of 96 condominiums, an increase of 54.8% from a year ago, though down 13.5% from this March, according to SRAR.

“Demand for housing remains high throughout Santa Clarita with many homeowners realizing that selling now would attract highly favorable offers and a quick sale,” said Nicole Stinson, chair of the Santa Clarita Valley Division Council of SRAR in a statement. “Today’s low interest rates on home loans can offset some of the impact of rising prices fueled by a tight inventory.”

The total of 242 active listings reported at the end of April was the highest in five months but was 41.0% below a year ago and well short of what is needed to satisfy demand.

“Even with the slight rise in supply, the inventory for the tenth consecutive month was less than a one-month supply, with April unprecedented low,” said Tim Johnson, the Association’s chief executive officer in a statement. “Given the heavy, pent-up demand for housing, it’s unsurprising that prices keep rising.”

Record-low 0.6% supply at the current pace of sales compares to the 3.7% average monthly inventory reported over the last 13 years. Fueled by heavy demand, low interest rates, and limited properties listed for sale, the median price of the 277 homes that changed owners during April rose to a record $795,000, an increase of 26.2% from a year ago.

The condominium median price of $435,000 was up 13.0%, but was 6.5% below the March median of $465,000, the record high. Even with the tight inventory, sales are expected to remain strong over the coming months. 

There were 390 open escrows at the end of April, an increase of 105.3% from the pandemic-depressed tallies of April 2020.

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Castaic Dam Modernization Efforts Move Forward

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Castaic Dam (1)
Photo By: Chris Silva, DWR Division of Engineering

Two key projects are set to begin as part of ongoing modernization work at Castaic Dam in the Santa Clarita Valley to reduce risks from a major earthquake. 

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) will oversee the installation of new equipment to monitor the dam’s stability and work to strengthen the dam’s intake tower access bridge.

“These projects are important to helping us ensure Castaic Dam continues to operate safely and provides reliable and affordable water supply,” said DWR Deputy Director Ted Craddock, who oversees the State Water Project. “In addition to providing water supply for Southern California, Castaic Lake offers many recreational opportunities for surrounding communities.”

Monitoring equipment known as piezometers will be installed in wells adjacent to the dam’s east side. The piezometers will measure groundwater trends over time to monitor the dam’s stability. DWR will install a total of nine new piezometers and decommission three aging piezometers to improve data collection capabilities for reliable and accurate data.

During the piezometer installation, construction equipment, such as drill rigs and heavy machinery, will be used to perform the work. Increased noise and activity at the site are expected during the project, which should be completed by the end of June 2021.

 As the piezometer work wraps up, Castaic Dam’s intake tower access bridge work will begin. It is expected to continue until spring 2022. Bridge work includes strengthening the tower bridge piers, which requires the temporary drawdown of Castaic Lake to access the piers.

 During the drawdown that will begin in May, all visitors are advised to stay safe during fluctuating water levels by being aware and staying away from hazards in the water. The reservoir will reach a low elevation of 1,380 feet above mean sea level by fall 2021. 

The water level will be lowered by over 100 feet during this period. By spring 2022, Castaic Lake will return to normal operations with water levels based on available conditions at that time.

 DWR kicked off the Castaic Modernization Program in 2018. The program includes reducing seismic risk to the intake tower and access bridge, evaluation of the spillway to identify and implement necessary modifications, and earthquake monitoring capabilities on various dam components.

 For more information about the Castaic Dam Modernization Program, visit the DWR website.

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Santa Clarita Motorcycle Deputy Released From Hospital After Crash With Big Rig

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Deputy Chad Perrigo Santa Clarita Motor Deputy Crash

A Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station motorcycle deputy was released from the hospital on Tuesday after a crash with a big rig last month.

Chad Perrigo was greeted with cheers and applause by his fellow deputies while being wheeled out of Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.

“Today, personnel gathered around & applauded his determination & courage as he was released from the hospital,” said SCV Sheriff’s Station officials on social media. “Thank you for your prayers, messages & well wishes.”

Perrigo has been a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for nine years, with the past two years spent as a motor deputy at the SCV Station.

On April 28, Perrigo sustained major injuries after a crash with a big rig on Creekside Drive near McBean Parkway.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said a semi-truck failed to yield for oncoming traffic while making a left turn, which resulted in a head-on collision with the motorcycle. 

The driver of the big rig remained on scene and was cooperative with traffic investigators, according to a station spokesperson. 

“It’s going to be a long road to recovery,” Villanueva said. “Our thoughts and prayers to him and his family. It’s again illustrative of the dangers of this job.”

A GoFundMe was created to benefit Perrigo’s wife and children, according to Kristen Deschino, who organized the fundraiser.

“He is not only a beloved member of the station’s motor team but also a devoted husband and father to three young boys,” Deschino said. 

To donate to the GoFundMe, visit here.

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