High heat drives locals indoors

Dan Murphy colors Pokemon pictures with his granddaughter Avery Smith at the Newhall library on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

With temperatures well above 100 degrees in Santa Clarita every day this week, locals are looking for places to cool off with their friends and families.

The SCV Senior Center is also seeing a steady stream of guests come in to participate in activities and visit with friends, according to Director of Volunteers, Recreation and Education Robin Clough.

“The heat is not going to stop them,” Clough said of the seniors. “They are resilient.”

John Avalon joined a group of men at the Senior Center to play pool all afternoon. This is not unusual for the group, but the air conditioning served as a bonus.

“These are all my boys,” Avalon said. “It’s too hot to do anything. When I went outside, I felt like I stepped into the gates of Hades.”

Avalon said he braved 96 degrees at 11 p.m. the night before, but preferred to stop by the Senior Center any chance he could get to avoid repeating it.

“I’ve seen it hot, but this is a new hot,” he said. “It has a different quality to it.”

The senior center was hosting line dancing until 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, but stays open as late as 10 p.m. when there is live music.

A trip to a city library has been in order for multi-generations.


A woman walks into the Newhall library on Wedesday, August 30, 2017. The library will remain open until 9 p.m. to act as a cooling center. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

For Avery Smith, this meant a day around town with her grandfather and brother. After enjoying lunch at McDonald’s when she got out of school, her grandfather towed her over to the Old Town Newhall Library to do her homework and color before heading to the arcade.

“It feels nice,” the young library guest said about staying indoors. “I’m coloring a cat and I’ll give it to papa.”

Community members like Smith and her grandpa have been going to the city’s three libraries, which are all designated cooling centers, for free air conditioning and activities.

The libraries are open until 9 p.m. each day until Sunday this week, allowing the community to watch a movie, play games or continue to use the library’s resources.

“I’m glad the community can come in to relax and take a breather,” branch manager Gina Roberson said. “It’s nice that we can provide them with a place to cool off.”

Whether it be just for a moment while waiting for the bus to come or for an entire afternoon of activities, Roberson said she is glad locals can utilize the libraries’ internet access and books while they escape the heat.

“We have definitely seen more people in the library because it is hot,” librarian Yanira Cidon said. “They’re using the spaces a lot more.”


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