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Features

25 Jan 2016
In the United States, 20 people are physically abused by intimate partners every minute of every day on average, according to a 2015 National Coalition Against Domestic Violence report. That equates to more than 10 million victims annually. While there was a steady decline in the number of incidents reported in California from 2005 to 2012, the last two years for which statistics are available have seen increases, according to the California Department of Justice. In 2014, the nine cities of the Coachella Valley recorded 1,317 domestic-violence incidents; more than 20 percent involved the use of a weapon. On average, that works out to just less than four reported incidents per day in our valley—where Shelter From the Storm (SFTS) provides one of the only sources of hope to frightened and often desperate victims and their families. “There’s a high need, and we’re still the only provider out here,” said…
07 Jan 2016
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Since Jan. 2, a crew of self-proclaimed militiamen have occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon. The occupation is a reaction to the sentencing for arson of Dwight and Steve Hammond, local ranchers who have become symbols of the Sagebrush Rebellion over the last two decades. But the action goes far beyond just one family’s fight with the federal government: It’s an escalation of an insurgency sparked by the Bundy Ranch standoff in 2014. The Hammond family has been at odds with the Bureau of Land Management since the early ’90s, initially over grazing and water rights, and more recently over arson. The son and father were sentenced in 2012 and served abbreviated sentences—a year and three months, respectively. This October, the Hammonds were resentenced to five years each, with credit for the time they already served. That aroused the passion of Ammon Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy;…
22 Dec 2015
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When Chris Zander shared the news on Dec. 10 via Facebook that his husband—local LGBT activist and local Equality California field director George Zander—had passed away, many people in the community reacted with shock. George and Chris Zander had been attacked on Nov. 1 near Calle Encilia and Tahquitz Canyon Way in Palm Springs after leaving Hunters Nightclub. Two suspects, Keith Terranova and Christopher Carr, have since been arrested; both have pleaded not guilty to crimes including battery with serious injury, elder abuse and hate crime. The Palm Springs Police Department said Carr has nine previous arrests, and both Carr and Terranova have previously been convicted of battery. Chris Zander, 33, required stitches after being struck in the back of the head with a tire iron, while George Zander, 71, suffered a double-fracture to his hip, which required surgery. George had gotten through the surgery and was back home after…
09 Dec 2015
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When Sonoma State University professor Carl Jensen started looking into the new media’s practice of self-censorship in 1976, the Internet was only a dream, and most computers were still big mainframes with whirling tape reels and vacuum tubes. Back then, the vast majority of Americans got all of the news from one daily newspaper and one of the three big TV networks. If a story wasn’t on ABC, NBC or CBS, it might as well not have happened. Forty years later, the media world is a radically different place. Americans are now more likely to get their news from several different sources through Facebook than they would from CBS Evening News. Daily newspapers all over the country are struggling and, in some cases, dying. A story that appears on one obscure outlet can suddenly become a viral sensation, reaching millions of readers at the speed of light. And yet, as…
13 Nov 2015
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During the rise of professional skateboarding in the late ’70s and ’80s, one man involved in the industry became known not for riding a skateboard, but for the photos he took of skateboarding’s rising stars. Meet Jim Goodrich. He’ll be one of the legends appearing at the El Gato Classic in Palm Springs Friday through Sunday, Dec. 4-6. During a recent phone interview, Goodrich explained how he became a photographer. “It really was an accident,” Goodrich said. “I had a photography class when I was in high school, but I was sort of a kid without direction back in those early days. My brother started skateboarding, and that’s what got me interested in it. I got a homemade board and didn’t really know anything about the skateboarding scene. I played around with photography while I was in high school and never really thought about it. I just wanted to skate…
10 Nov 2015
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Wallace Stegner (1987): “The West is defined, that is, by inadequate rainfall. … We can’t create water or increase the supply. We can only hold back and redistribute what there is.” In the 19th century, as settlers moved West, the gold seekers got most of the attention and publicity. But more of settlers traveled West for a less exciting reason—to farm. In many cases, it never occurred to them that the land might not be suitable for the purpose. Some reports reached the East about desert lands, but they circulated mostly in educated circles. More common was talk of the fertility of Oregon, California and other places. Besides, farming increased rainfall. As white settlement moved West, the federal government sent four survey parties to case the joint. Led by Clarence King (1867-78), George Wheeler (1872-79), Ferdinand Hayden (1867-78) and John Wesley Powell (1869-1879), they took scientific approaches to their work.…
07 Nov 2015
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This weekend, downtown Palm Springs is being taken over by Pride. It’s been an amazing couple of years for Greater Palm Springs Pride, and the LGBT community in general. The festival’s move from Palm Springs Stadium to downtown last year was a huge success. In fact, organizers say Palm Springs Pride is now the second-largest pride celebration in California, bested only by San Francisco Pride. After the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality earlier this year, there is a lot to celebrate. One of the most recognized symbols of the LGBT community is the rainbow flag. The flag was designed in 1978, with a lot of revisions since. Its colors represent the diversity of the LGBT Community, and it has been used for pride marches and equality-related protests. For Palm Springs Pride this year, I thought I’d reach out to a handful of local LGBT community entertainers…
30 Oct 2015
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It’s 5:35 a.m. on Arenas Road in downtown Palm Springs. The short block of Arenas between Indian Canyon Drive and Calle Encilia—home primarily to gay bars and other LGBT-targeted businesses—is bustling with activity every afternoon and night. But at this hour, things are fairly calm. And just a little bit eerie. A beer truck is parked between two bars, and the driver is unloading a pallet of beer and soda to wheel down the sidewalk to the Circle K. A leafblower can be heard in the distance. Even though Eddie’s Frozen Yogurt has been closed for hours, and won’t be open for hours, its outdoor music system is on—and the Village People’s “Go West” is blaring among the empty buildings. In 25 minutes, this section of Arenas Road will formally begin its day. That’s when Score the Game Bar, at 301 E. Arenas Road, will open its doors. According to…
30 Oct 2015
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In 2011, Palm Springs’ Golden Rainbow Senior Center expanded its mission to serve all members of the LGBT Community in the Coachella Valley—and the LGBT Community Center of the Desert was born. The Center has come a long way since then, with the addition of new programs, including low-cost counseling. In an era when many LGBT centers around the country are struggling, the LGBT Community Center of the Desert’s membership is growing—and now The Center is getting ready to move into a brand-new building of its own. In November, the LGBT Community Center of the Desert will release details about the new space to the public. Mike Thompson, The Center’s chief executive officer, offered the Independent some information about the new building, and talked about why The Center needs a new, expanded space. “The Center has a big vision to truly be a community center for LGBT people living in…
23 Oct 2015
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When in the military, our servicemen and servicewomen often miss the comforts of home. That’s where the USO comes in. A lot of military members come through Palm Springs to get to and from the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms—and the Bob Hope USO at the Palm Springs International Airport is there to fill the need. It has been in operation since December 2006. During a recent visit to the Bob Hope USO, center manager Teresa Cherry offered a tour of the facility. It seems small at first, but once you get past the sign-in counter, the canteen, TV area, game room and other areas are sizable—and comfortable. She explained why the Bob Hope USO in Palm Springs came to be. “We have Marines and Navy (members) at Twentynine Palms, and when they were getting off the airplanes here, or were coming down here from up…

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