CVIndependent

Fri11272020

Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

Local Issues

05 Jun 2020
Nathaniel Johnson walked past a CVS pharmacy in Hollywood with his phone camera trained on men running out of the looted store with armfuls of stolen goods. After a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, Johnson had protested police brutality for two days while dressed in civilian clothes. But that afternoon, he decided to change into the uniform he wore for five years—his Army fatigues. He had no idea that—across the street and two stories above him—a porn star and former reality show actress with 2 million Instagram followers was recording the events on her phone. “Get out of the CVS; you’re criminals,” shouted Farrah Abraham in a 57-second video posted to Instagram. ”Get out of CVS!” She turned her camera to Johnson. “This guy in the Army uniform is literally with them!” she shouted. She later took credit for sending 20 people to jail with her video, adding “I’m…
20 May 2020
Water infrastructure is finally coming to three underserved portions of the eastern Coachella Valley—if state budget cuts don’t get in the way. After nearly six years of work by Castulo Estrada, the rest of the Coachella Valley Water District board and Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, the water district announced in early May that the State Water Resources Control Board had approved two construction grants, totaling about $3.3 million. The funds will be used to complete three projects that will bring safe, reliable water service and fire protection to two disadvantaged communities and one elementary school in the eastern Coachella Valley. “The reason we put out the press release was because the financial agreement was executed,” said Estrada, the CVWD board’s vice president, during a recent phone interview. “Once an agreement has been executed, it’s a contract between the state of California and the CVWD for the execution of the project (for…
08 May 2020
Ever since the end of the Great Recession, Rancho Cucamonga has been on a tear. New retailers and restaurants have sprung up to serve the residents of its gated ‘burbs. The city’s population has swelled with Angelenos in search of cheaper housing. And at last count, its unemployment rate sat at just 4 percent. The city earned an upgraded credit rating earlier this year. But now that shopping and dining have been deemed non-essential activities, the good times are gone, said Rancho Mayor Dennis Michael. “Since we recovered from the Great Recession, we generated about $9 million in new sales tax revenue,” he said. “We’ve lost all of that gain. We’re basically starting from square one.” For local governments still sporting the budgetary scars of the last “once in a generation” recession, this downturn is at once familiar—forcing elected leaders to cut, furlough and delay—and entirely new. Never before in…
04 May 2020
Although the gates remain closed at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, anyone can hop onto social media to see some of the unusual breeds of animals that call this desert enclave home—all while learning from the videos, photos and descriptive content developed by the park’s team in an accelerated fashion these days. The aim is to inform visitors about the daily lives of this nonprofit zoo’s residents—while inviting visitors to make a much-needed donation. “We have 450 animals here who depend upon us,” said Allen Monroe, The Living Desert’s president and CEO, during a recent phone interview. “We have a commitment to them, and we’re fortunate enough to have a great animal-care team here, and a veterinary team to help support them. “Our first action (when the shelter-at-home orders were announced) was to make sure that the needs of the animals were going to continue to…
01 May 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom last week announced that eligible seniors throughout California could immediately get three free restaurant meals per day delivered to their door. Yet a week later, not a single meal has been delivered, and tens of thousands of Californians who have tried to sign up have been left disappointed, confused and maybe even hungry. During his press conference last Friday, Newsom said counties and cities were ready—but in reality, most were caught off-guard: Most didn’t know that such a program was under consideration. Now they are scrambling to identify restaurants and eligible seniors before federal funding runs out on May 10. It’s the latest example of how Newsom has announced an ambitious coronavirus response plan before details were hammered out—and in this case, even before the agencies recruited to carry it out were notified. Under the governor’s plan, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse 75 percent of…
28 Apr 2020
by  - 
Education is a big deal in my family. My grandmother was a teacher; my mom is a teacher; my aunt is a teacher; and my brother is on his way to becoming a teacher. Of course, modern teachers have never had to deal with anything like this before. California school buildings are closed through at least the end of this school year—and instead, teachers are doing their best to educate students online. Because of these unusual circumstances, I decided to talk to some teachers in my life—my mom, an old high school teacher and a couple of my college professors—via email or online chat (except for my mom) about what it’s like to be a teacher during a pandemic. “Theoretically, the quality of the learning should not be changed, but I can’t help but assume it has been diminished drastically,” said Corbyn Voyu, an assistant professor of English at College…
23 Apr 2020
While COVID-19 is obviously the world’s biggest current health challenge, people still have other health problems that need to be addressed in a timely fashion—and if you happen to be a low-income, uninsured resident of the Coachella Valley, one of the few options for good, quality care is Indio’s Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine clinic. According to the clinic’s website: “CVVIM is a member of Volunteers in Medicine, a national nonprofit alliance with more than 90 free clinics across the U.S., whose mission is to provide healthcare services in a compassionate, caring way to our neighbors in need.” The Indio clinic opened its doors in November 2010, and is the valley’s only free health center. However, CVVIM is not set up to directly treat COVID-19 patients like the local hospitals and the Desert AIDS Project are. “LabCorp, our lab-service provider, (won’t) process the (COVID-19) tests from us, because they are…
08 Apr 2020
About a month has passed since the first restrictive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic were felt here in Coachella Valley—and no group has been affected more than the valley’s seniors, who are at a much higher risk for serious illness and death from the coronavirus. In turn, the valley’s senior centers have taken on a daunting task: Finding ways, with suddenly depleted budgets, to serve their clients remotely—many of whom are already battling loneliness and isolation. “When all the centers shut on March 16, we started on our call-back list,” said Laura Castillo, the director of nutritional and operational services for the Mizell Senior Center in Palm Springs. “We were on the phone with clients, sometimes 45 minutes to an hour, just talking to them. “This (COVID-19 crisis) has created a real issue for a lot of our seniors. They’re scared. They don’t know where to go or what to…
07 Apr 2020
Blood tests for antibodies to the novel coronavirus will be “foundational, fundamental,” to sending Californians back to work, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday—but medical experts caution that there’s still a lot we don’t know about whether the tests are reliable enough to ensure people’s safety. Testing people’s blood for antibodies may help determine who has already had the disease and recovered. But just because someone tests positive for antibodies doesn’t necessarily mean they are immune to the virus—or that they will remain that way over time. Antibodies are immune proteins that attack viruses and other pathogens. Unlike the diagnostic tests that are backlogged across the country, antibody tests—sometimes called serologic tests—don’t sniff out the virus itself. Instead, they search the blood for these proteins, teasing out who has been infected, and who hasn’t. “We really need the antibody test. The whole country is waiting for a good antibody…
31 Mar 2020
Even in the best of times, an average of 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. That adds up to more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year. But these aren’t the best of times. As the nation and the world try to limit the damage of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are told to stay home as much as possible—and that means that under these stressful circumstances, a lot of domestic-abuse and sexual-assault victims are being forced to constantly stay under the same roof as their abusers. Angelina Coe is the executive director of Shelter From the Storm, the Palm Desert-based shelter and service provider for victims of domestic violence. She said the organization has needed to make a lot of changes during these unprecedented…