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Schools, scores and foul play

From The Signal Archives

Posted: August 20, 2009 10:41 p.m.
Updated: August 21, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Editor's note: As The Signal celebrates 90 years of service to the Santa Clarita Valley, we offer this peek into the SCV of days past. Following is from the Aug. 16 to Aug. 23, 2004, The Signal.

Kidnap-for-murder conspiracy
"A woman whose son killed four people in a 2000 car crash on Soledad Canyon Road has been charged with laundering ransom money in a kidnap-and-murder conspiracy.

"A federal grand jury indictment accuses Gitte Lellan of conspiring with and laundering money for five people suspected of killing Russian immigrants after the victims' families paid their ransoms.

"Three of the men could face capital punishment for allegedly kidnapping and killing the immigrants, and then sinking their bodies in a reservoir near Yosemite National Park.

The federal indictment accuses the former Santa Clarita Realtor of laundering $48,730 worth of ransom money.

Hart district ranks high in state tests
The William S. Hart Union High School District boasted results in the California Standards Test above state and county averages, but showed deficiencies in certain areas.

"Valencia and Hart high schools can boast a high percentage of students ‘proficient and above' in language skills compared to other schools in the state, but 63 percent of their sophomores and 83 percent of Hart High's juniors fall ‘below basic' understanding in algebra.

"The figures also demonstrate a correlation between the percentage of poorer students and those with limited knowledge of English."

Teen alcohol, drug use on the rise
"Contradicting a statewide study released Wednesday showing a decrease in teen drug and alcohol use, local teens are smoking marijuana and using alcohol in increasing numbers, two local drug counselors said.

"‘For us, it's been exploding,' said Cary Quashen, executive director of the behavioral health unit at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital."

"Methamphetamine use is rampant, said Sharon Holiday, the program coordinator for the DAYPEC program.

"The number-1 drug among teens is marijuana, followed closely by alcohol.

"‘And there's an explosion with crystal meth right now,' Quashen said."

State-of-the-art sounds
"The College of the Canyons' new Performing Arts Center will open in October with a $400,000 state-of-the-arts acoustics system, only the third of its kind in the country.

"‘The system digitally alters the architecture of the theater space,' said George Johnson, Lensic Performing Arts Center technical director."

The Acoustical Control Center, or ACS, "creates artificial acoustics by placing microphones, amplifiers and speakers in a strategic arrangement."

New schools in the SCV
"Students and school administrators are basking in the afterglow of moving into three brand-new schools built within the William S. Hart Union School District.

"Fresh paint, out-of-the-box equipment and pristine campus courtyards greeted students this week as Golden Valley High School opened on a Santa Clarita hillside, while the dual-purpose Rancho Pico Junior High School campus in Stevenson Ranch conducts classes for West Ranch High School students.

Keysor-Century admits to fouling water
"A bankrupt Saugus plastic materials maker has pleaded guilty to numerous felony charges and will pay $4.3 million in fines for lying about emitting high levels of cancer-causing pollutants to the community.


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