[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Santa Clarita CA
Today in
S.C.V. History
December 15
1987 - Incorporation: Santa Clarita officially becomes a city [story]

ZontaMarleeKath[KHTS] – It was an evening of laughter, tears and fundraising in the Santa Clarita Valley as Marlee Lauffer, senior vice president of marketing and communications for Newhall Land, was feted for her “Awesome Elegance” at the 29th annual Zonta Tribute Dinner hosted by the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley.

The annual tribute dinner chose Lauffer to honor for her years of service to the SCV.

“The honor really goes to Zonta and the people who are here tonight because they are raising money for great programs,” said Lauffer. “But I’m thrilled to be part of it.”

Laura Peckham, president of the SCV Zonta Club, said Lauffer was deserving of the tribute because of her years devoted to charitable and business causes in the SCV.

“Marlee has given of herself to the sick, needy, elderly and lost as well as being a champion of arts and education and a leader of our business community,” said Peckham. “As a club we are proud to honor her tonight. I would like to introduce Miss Awesometown herself, Marlee Lauffer.”

Lauffer entered the ballroom to the classic showtune “If My Friends Could See Me Now.”

During the evening Lauffer was alternately gently roasted and celebrated. Each speaker was preceded by a classic musical theater standard including “Getting to Know You,” Cockeyed Optimist,” “9 to 5,” “Can’t Say No” and “Bosom Buddies.”


Curtis and Fleming

Dianne Curtis, past International President of Zonta International and Cheri Fleming, president of Soroptimist International of the Americas, spoke first about Lauffer’s extensive community service.

“We honor Marlee Lauffer, a woman who takes the time to make a difference in her community and the world,” said Curtis. “It is difficult to know how many lives you have truly touched, but I know you will continue to help future generations.”Dianne Curtis and Cheri Fleming at the Zonta Tribute of Marlee Lauffer. Photo by Michele E. Buttelman.

“Marlee’s story is truly incredible,” said Fleming. “Philanthropically Marlee has taken an active role in many, many nonprofits, added a dose of Marlee magic, and a created a greater good for our community.”

Fleming also had a little fun at Lauffer’s expense; “outing” her “unfortunate taste in country music” and making note of her usual red lipstick which Fleming said could be called “Marlee Red.”


Jim Means

Lauffer’s brother, Jim Means followed.

When the family moved to California from the East Coast Means said “Marlee immediately became involved in school politics, holding several offices in both junior high and high school.”

He shared his frustration as growing up as “overachieving Marlee’s younger brother.”

“We went to the same junior high and high school and had the same teachers. Marlee was named valedictorian in junior high school, a distinction that she received in high school as well,” Means said. “All through high school our family would travel around the state watching her compete in speech contests. She amassed a huge collection of awards, honors and trophies.”

He said he told teachers who had known his older sister to “lower their expectations” at having him in class.

After the humorous presentation, Means turned serious and told his older sister, “Marlee, this group thinks you’re pretty awesome, I could have told them that a long time ago.”


zontaMarleedignitariesGreg McWilliams

Greg McWilliams, president of Newhall Land, and Lauffer’s boss, stole the show with his amusing stories of working with Lauffer and her ever-present iPhone, which he claimed was actually a part of her hand.

McWilliams told a story about Lauffer and a trip to Orange County where McWilliams tried to speak to Lauffer about the presentation they were about to make, but couldn’t get Lauffer away from her phone. He eventually decided to text her.

“I said, ‘need to talk to you,’” McWilliams said. “Boom, I get this text back, ‘I’m on my way to Orange County I’ll call you when I get there.’”

The audience laughed loudly and applauded.

However, McWilliams wasn’t finished.

“When we got to Orange County and we were walking into the office building she turned to me and said, ‘Don’t I owe you a call?’” said McWilliams, as he provided the punch line to the story.


Elizabeth Hopp

Longtime friend, Elizabeth Hopp, appeared on the podium wearing a giant pair of red lips, a nod to Lauffer’s ever-perfect application of red lipstick.

Hopp told the audience about her long friendship with Lauffer, which began in 1991.

She also spoke about Lauffer’s qualities of “kindness, compassion, humility, intelligence, humor and dedication.”

Between Hopp’s touching remarks she also included a few “digs” including:

“Marlee single handedly invented ‘Marlee Time,’ which is about 20 minutes past ‘Standard Time.’”

“She is so dedicated to standard time that I actually once saw her attending a mixer in Canyon Country.”

Hopp ended her speech with a list of Lauffer’s accomplishments, including “winning the Heisman Trophy.” Hopp admitted that last honor was false, but that all the other accolades were factual, including two tours as president of the Santa Clarita Chamber of Commerce.

“This community has fallen in love with Marlee Lauffer,” said Hopp. “And the feeling is mutual. She has gone so far above and beyond what was required of her by Newhall Land. And she has never stopped caring about this town and the people in it. She has never stopped giving of her time or her personal resources. She is gracious, kind and, of course, elegant.”


Hafizi and Chegwin

Linda Hafizi and Rose Chegwin, who Lauffer dubbed “friends in wine,” paid tribute to Lauffer’s love of musical theater with an amusing give and take that included the titles of more than 30 Broadway shows and songs.

Examples: “We all know she’s ‘Legally Blonde’…,” said Chegwin.

“The slogan ‘awesometown’ has probably created more ‘Spamalot’ than any other slogan used for Valencia,” said Hafizi.

After the duo finished their “show business” they each paid tribute to Lauffer.

“A true friend is someone who knows all about you but still loves you,” said Hafizi. “I am so happy you are my true friend Marlee, it makes me so happy you are a true inspiration to all of us.”

Chegwin offered up a toast to Lauffer: “May your name always be in lights. Let’s raise our glasses to Marlee.”


Katharine Lauffer

Katharine Lauffer, 15, took the stage and sang, “Mama, a Rainbow” from the musical “Minnie’s Boys.” As her daughter finished her musical tribute Lauffer could be seen dabbing her eyes, as were many of the attendees in the audience.

As Lauffer tearfully greeted Katharine on stage the audience rose for a standing ovation of the duo.

“What a night,” said Lauffer. “My mascara and fake eyelashes are coming off.”

She then paid tribute to the women of Zonta, “who have always been the movers and shakers” in the SCV.



The evening also included a silent and live auction as well as “fund-a-need” donations to help support the club’s programs.

The Zonta Club of SCV, a member of Zonta International, was established in 1974 and offers scholarships to women and girls, helps women achieve self-sufficiency with LifeForward workshops, assists victims of domestic violence with a domestic violence court advocacy program and promotes interest in science and math by sponsoring a Lego robotics team.

Zonta International includes clubs in 67 countries with nearly 33,000 members worldwide. The mission of Zonta International is to help women and girls locally and internationally.

For more information about the Zonta Club of SCV visit www.scvzonta.org.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.


You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017
The nonprofit WiSH Education Foundation is out to raise $100,000 to fund improvements in Hart District school libraries.
Friday, Dec 8, 2017
United Way of Greater Los Angeles has set up the Southern California Wildfire Fund to help victims of these fires rebuild their lives.
Wednesday, Dec 6, 2017
The nonprofit Way Out Recovery SCV will hold a celebration of lives lost to drug and alcohol addiction and honor loved ones left behind on Thursday, December 7 at 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec 6, 2017
The Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging's 2017 Annual Assembly at the SCV Senior Center in Newhall, originally scheduled for Thursday, December 7, has been rescheduled for January 11.
Monday, Dec 4, 2017
The Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center's "Scholar Series" will feature a robotics presentation by NASA-JPL engineer Mike Garrett at the center in Newhall on Tuesday, December 12, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1987 - Incorporation: Santa Clarita officially becomes a city [story]
With an offense that challenged the program’s single-season goals record, The Master’s University women’s soccer team was almost almost never out of any game it played: The Mustangs were always within striking range.
Lady Mustangs Within Range of Directors’ Cup Top Spots
When Ed Jackiewicz met Tera Trujillo in spring 2015, she was studying at a desk she’d carried to the corner of the California State University, Northridge soccer field, in a “time out” of sorts, unable to practice because she’d just earned a D in an economics class.
CSUN’s “Under Armour Faculty” Promotes Academic Success in Student-Athletes
When Rafael Munoz recalls his time at the Layer 8 Computer Security Club at California State University, Northridge, he feels proud and thankful.
CSUN’s Tech Education Makes Top 10 List
The city of Santa Clarita Arts and Events division is currently seeking proposals for solo exhibits for 2018 in the gallery space at The MAIN, the City’s newest arts venue in Old Town Newhall.
City Seeking Artists for 2018 Solo Exhibits
NORTHRIDGE, Calif.---CSUN Men's Basketball returns to the road for the final time in the non-conference season this weekend.
CSUN to Face-Off Against Formal Rival Eastern Washington
Here is a list of Santa Clarita arts-related events for Friday:
Dec. 15: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
This Friday and Saturday (Dec. 15-16), The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance brings their annual Winter Dance Concert to the REDCAT stage.
Dec. 15, 16: Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance Concert at REDCAT
The William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board has approved naming Dr. Collyn Nielsen as Chief Administrative Officer and Jan Hayes-Rennels as Director of Special Programs and Staff Development.
Hart Appoints Nielsen, Hayes-Rennels to District Office Positions
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The CSUN men's volleyball team was picked to finish third in the inaugural Big West Men's Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll announced Thursday.
Big West Pre-Season Coaches Poll Puts Matadors Volleyball at No. 3
A 44-year-old transient was arrested by SCV Sheriff's Station deputies Wednesday afternoon after he allegedly tried to pick up his 8-year-old niece from a school in Santa Clarita.
Suspect Arrested in Attempted Kidnapping
It was a night to honor exceptional mentors at California State University, Northridge, but the five recipients of the 2017 Don Dorsey Excellence in Mentoring Awards just wanted to talk about their students.
CSUN Pays Tribute to Mentors Who Have Made a Difference
The words leapt right off the page and hung in the air, heavy, encircling the audience. Their creator stood, offering his gifts of verse — shared in a powerful baritone voice.
Literary Star Power Comes to CSUN
While critical fire conditions continue through Friday, the final numbers for the Rye Fire have been released.
Officials Release Final Numbers on Rye Fire
The William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board held it’s annual reorganizational meeting Wednesday night, naming Steve Sturgeon as Board President.
Steve Sturgeon Named 2018 Hart Board President
Castaic Elementary School is collecting gently used children's clothing and toys for the victims of the Creek Fire in Sylmar.
Local School Collecting Clothes, Toys for Creek Fire Victims
Gusty Santa Ana winds fanned the Thomas Fire's eastern flank Thursday, prompting officials to call for mandatory evacuations for areas near Fillmore.
Officials Issue Evacuation Orders for Fillmore Residents
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued the following statement in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to repeal net neutrality rules instituted in 2015. These rules protect consumers' access to online content without interference or manipulation by an internet service provider:
Becerra Condemns FCC’s Net Neutrality Ruling
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement Thursday on the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting:
Feinstein Issues Statement on Five Year Anniversary of Sandy Hook
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education and its Secretary, Betsy DeVos, for refusing to process debt relief claims submitted by tens of thousands of students who took out federal student loans to attend Corinthian Colleges, Inc. (Corinthian).
Becerra Lawsuit Alleges Devos, Education Department Refusing to Process Debt Relief Claims
CAL FIRE has released a statement on its Facebook page regarding the death of one of their own:
CAL FIRE Engineer Killed Battling Thomas Fire
1931 - Season's first major storm deposits 9 inches of snow in Newhall, 10 in Saugus [story]
The Sheriff’s Department and CHP will participate in a special year-end "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" enforcement campaign from December 15 through January 1.
LASD, CHP Join ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ DUI Campaign
The Caribbean is back, better than ever, and Valencia-based Princess Cruises is offering the best fares of the season during the “Exclusively Caribbean Sale,” on 7-, 8-, 10-, 14-day sailings departing February through April 2018.
Princess Cruises ‘Exclusively Caribbean Sale’ Offers Season’s Best Fares
Designer and animator Jamie Tan (Film/Video BFA 15) started baking cakes and fancy French pastries as a meditative practice to help her balance the 20 credit semesters she was taking as a student at CalArts.
Jamie Tan on Art, Baking for Rojas’ ‘Theater of Disappearance’
CalArts School of Critical Studies faculty Janet Sarbanes recently received a grant from The Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program for her essay "Reframing the House of Dust: A Meditation in Many Parts."
CalArts’ Janet Sarbanes Wins Writers Grant from Creative Capital
Artist and CalArts alumna Carrie Mae Weems (Art BFA 81) concludes her year-long residency at New York’s Park Avenue Armory with a day-long convening of artists, writers, poets, musicians and social theorists on Sunday, Dec. 17.
Dec. 17: Weems Wraps Year-Long NYC Residency
Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean C. Logan was named winner of the 2017 Electoral Ergonomy Award at the International Electoral Awards on December 5 in Dead Sea, Jordan.
LA County Registrar-Clerk Wins International Electoral Award
The CSUN women's basketball team looks to extend its winning streak to four when the Matadors return home to face the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks on Monday, December 18.
Dec. 18: CSUN Women’s Basketball Team Goes for 4
Sport fishing permits for 2018 are now on sale from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Sport Fishing Licenses for 2018 Now on Sale
The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the Santa Clarita Valley and other areas of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties through Friday morning.
Critical Fire Conditions in SCV Though Friday
Steve Gerischer, proprietor of Larkspur Garden Design, will simplify the art of rose pruning and share tips on keeping your roses flourishing at the next installment of CSUN's CSUN-al Gardening series on Saturday, Jan. 13.
CSUN-al Gardening to Tackle the Prickly Topic of Pruning Roses
The Master’s University profiles 2017 men's basketball star Brock Gardner.
TMU Basketball’s Brock Gardner – Tough Decisions, Terrific Transfer
The list of Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes, released recently, was backloaded with four athletes from The Master’s University.
4 TMU Men’s Soccer Players Named NAIA Scholar-Athletes
During October, 15 junior high and high school campuses in Santa Clarita hosted a toiletries drive as part of their annual DFY in SCV community campaign.
DFY in SCV Students Help Others in Need