CVIndependent

Wed09302020

Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a varied and always-interesting journalism career over the last 25 years—but it hasn’t always been easy. In fact, I’ve covered some stories that were downright brutal in terms of their emotional impact.

When I worked for The Associated Press in the San Francisco bureau, I was one of the first handful of people to know that John Denver had perished after his small, experimental plane went down in Monterey Bay on Oct. 12, 1997. When I was a reporter for the Daily Sparks Tribune, I covered the first trial of Siaosi Vanisi, who sits on death row in Nevada after randomly ambushing and murdering University of Nevada, Reno, police officer George Sullivan with a hatchet, on Jan. 13, 1998.

And then there was Jan. 8, 2011, when a mentally ill 22-year-old opened fire outside of a Safeway in Tucson, killing six people and injuring 13—including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who somehow survived despite being shot in the head at point-blank range. I was the editor of the Tucson Weekly at the time.

Now, there’s this. The pandemic hasn’t been as dramatic or as sudden as any of the horrible events I’ve covered before—but in terms of the breadth of the death and devastation, it’s been far worse.

It’s not easy to cover these things … actually, that’s an understatement: It’s downright wrenching to cover these things. But it’s rewarding—because it means we, as journalists, are fulfilling our duty to our readers.

This brings me to the coverage the Independent has done since the reality of the pandemic set in—much of which is compiled into our May print edition, which hit the lonely streets this week. From Anita Rufus’ piece on the importance of advance directives/living wills, to Kevin Fitzgerald’s heartbreaking pieces on the struggles of our local senior centers and domestic-violence agencies, to Matt King’s looks at how various schools and teachers have adjusted to this time, to Valerie-Jean Hume’s piece on Alcoholic Anonymous’ transition from in-person to Zoom meetings, to Brett Newton’s introduction to homebrewing beer … I could go on and on, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll just say I’ve never been prouder of anything else in my career.

As April comes to a close, there’s one other thing I’m proud of, and humbled by—the amazing reader support we’ve received since this whole mess started.

Thank you to Ken Alterwitz, Debby Anspach, Gustavo Arellano, Jill Arnold, Scott Balson, Joanne Bosher, George Bullis, William Campbell, John Carney, Jeffrey Clarkson, Mark Cohen, Jeffrey Davied, John de Dios, John Delaney, Casey Dolan, Jim Flanagan, Richard Fluechtling, Joshua Friedman, Howard Goldberg, Lea Goodsell, Edward Guzman, Michael Herzfeld, Morgan James, Tony Gangloff, Jeff Hammerberg, Lynn Hammond, Vicky Harrison, Richard Hart, Laura Hein, Mark Horvath, Stephen King, Harvey Lewis, Shari Lipman, Alex McCune, Elizabeth McGarry, Jeffrey Norman, Alexis Ortega, Marsha Pare, Deidre Pike, Scott Phipps, David Ponsar, Roy Schaefer, Virgina Schubert, Ann Sheffer, Michael Strockbine, Miho Suma, Kenneth Theriault, Bryan Tosi, Darrell Tucci, Cara Van Dijk, Lydia Walker, Beth Wexler, Richard Wilson, Dennis Wodzisz and Leonard Woods for becoming Supporters of the Independent in recent weeks. (If I somehow missed someone, please accept my apologies.)

If you’re able, please consider joining them, so we can keep doing what we’re doing.

Again, thank you. Your support makes all the work—even when it’s emotionally trying—worth the effort. And then some.

Today’s links:

• Let’s start with more encouraging news on the increasing amount of science showing that drugs can indeed beat down COVID-19.

• Last night, a memo to police chiefs around the state said that Gov. Newson was preparing to close all beaches and state parks, following crowding issues here and there last weekend. Well, turns out he didn’t do that: Instead, he decided to pick on Orange County by closing ONLY the beaches there. Needless to say, this is NOT going over well in Orange County.

• I was again a guest on the I Love Gay Palm Springs podcast/videocast with the gang, as well as Dr. Laura Rush, Desert AIDS Project Director of Development Darrell Tucci, and LGBT Center of the Desert CEO Mike Thompson. Check out the increasingly alarming state of my hair herein.

• This is happening in the Coachella Valley, too, alas: The New York Times reports that restaurants have become an enticing target for burglars.

• The Palm Springs International Shortfest won’t take place in a physical way come June, organizers announced today, but the show will go on online.

• One of the most vexing elements regarding the battle against the coronavirus is that so many people who have it—and can spread it—show no symptoms. The Conversation breaks down how this is possible, and what it all means.

• And then there’s this piece, from the Los Angeles Times, about a man who had the virus in his body for 40 damn days. Yeesh.

• April has been, I think we can all agree, awful … yet the stock market had its best month in three decades. What are they smoking on Wall Street, you ask? Let’s overextend this metaphor with this answer: They’re smoking lots of sweet, sweet government cash.

• In other news, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are getting government cash to party like it’s 1969, and take man back to the moon. (Since there is no coronavirus there, can we all go?!)

• What’s the difference between a sanitizer and a disinfectant? Wait, is there a difference? According to CBS News, yes, there is.

• To nobody’s surprise, there are problems with some banks’ mortgage-forbearance policies. For example, as the Los Angeles Times reports, one man was told he could skip payments for six months … but he’d then have to pay all those missed payments in one lump sum. Yikes.

• Finally, Tom Hanks, America’s dad, is literally giving a part of himself to help save us all.

That’s all for now. Wash your hands. Buy our local-art-filled Coloring Book. Keep your fingers crossed that May is better … and congratulate yourself on the fact that a few hours from now, you will have survived the crapfest that was April 2020. Be safe. Back tomorrow.

Published in Daily Digest

So, uh, hi. How’s the pandemic been treating you?

Here at the Independent, we’ve been working harder than we ever. I’ve been dividing time between looking for funding, getting out our new Daily Digests five or six times a week (sign up for them here), new projects, and doing the “normal” Independent work (writing, editing, posting stories, etc.).

Here’s how that’s going:

• Our staff and contributors have been doing amazing journalism. Want proof? Look at all of the content compiled in our May print edition. Even though we don’t have enough advertising support to justify it, we decided to bump up this issue to 32 pages so print readers could get all of the important news and information we covered in April—regarding everything from the struggles of our local senior centers and domestic-violence agencies, to news on how our schools are coping, to advice on how to cut down on food waste. I can’t thank our writers and designers enough for all the work they’re doing.

• I am proud to announce that the Coachella Valley Independent is one of 400 local newsrooms around North America that received a $5,000 grant from the Facebook Journalism Project, in partnership with the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Local Media Association, to help us continue our reporting on the coronavirus crisis. We’re honored to be one of the recipients of this grant. Not only is it evidence of the quality work we're doing at the Independent; it’s a testament to all of the support and feedback we have received from you, our readers. I thank all of you who have reached out and offered a kind thought, or words of encouragement, or constructive criticism, in the last couple of months. This grant and your support will help us continue to do what we do—honest, local, ethical journalism, available for free to all.

• However … that $5,000 grant, while beyond helpful, doesn’t even cover one month of the losses in business we’ve had as a result of the pandemic. That’s why I am sooooo grateful to everyone who’s become a Supporter of the Independent in recent months. Dozens of readers have stepped up with amounts between $5 and $500—but again, it’s still not enough to make up for our other revenue losses due to the pandemic. If you’d like to join them and help us continue doing what we’re doing, visit our Supporters page.

• You can also support the Independent, the CREATE Center for the Arts and local artists by purchasing our local-art coloring-book project, Coloring the Coachella Valley Vol. 1. It features the work of local artists, as well as Independent file photos converted into coloring pages. All the proceeds will be split between the Independent, the CREATE Center and the artists whose work is inside. The 24-page book is available as both a digital download and as a printed 8.5 by 11 book, on quality paper, by the UPS Store. The digital downloads cost $20 each; both the digital download and the print version are available for $30 each (shipping included). Learn more and see a few sample pieces here.

• We know virtually every local small business is struggling right now—so we’ve started our new Adopt a Small Business program, an initiative designed to promote locally owned businesses AND support local journalism. You can help a favorite small business advertise in the Independent—at highly discounted rates: For $199, the small business will receive a quarter-page ad in a monthly print edition of the Independent; run-of-site ads in rotation for a month at CVIndependent.com; and at least one ad per week for a month in the Independent’s Daily Digest. The value of this package is more than $600. Find details here.

Thanks for reading the Coachella Valley Independent. Hang in there. Better days are coming.

—Jimmy Boegle,
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Published in Editor's Note

Is anyone else out there having problems watching TV shows and movies—because you’re constantly being reminded of things the pandemic has taken from us?

I’ve started often saying a new phrase (driving my hubby crazy in the process) while watching things from our comfy couch: Hey, remember when (insert word here) was a thing?

One recent night, we were watching Mean Girls. (I, somehow, had never seen it before.) The movie was cute and genuinely funny at times … but watching all these kids having their high school experiences (as messed up as some of them were) broke my heart, given that current students had their experiences ripped out from underneath them.

Remember when schools were a thing?

Another night, we watched the Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper version of A Star Is Born, and I was in a mood from the point, early on in the film, when Cooper’s character unwittingly wandered into a bar with a drag show (and, of course, one “real” woman singing in the form of Ms. Gaga).

Remember when bars were a thing? Remember when concerts were a thing?

Sigh.

Yeah, I know that one day, all of these will probably be things again. However, it’s gonna be a while—and while I am continuing to count my blessings, I’m also telling myself that it’s OK to mourn the losses we’re all facing.

There’s one other thing I am telling myself, that I’ll also say here: We’re likely in the worst of it now, and better times—not back-to-normal times, but better times—will be here soon, if we keep doing the right things …

• Before we get to today’s links, some Independent housekeeping ….

Today was a busy day of picking things up from the printers! First, our May print edition is here! As always, it will be available for free at locations across the valley, including Albertsons, Whole Foods, AM/PMs and all sorts of other essential businesses. However, if you’d like us to mail you a copy, we’d be happy to do that; get details here.

Second: Coloring the Coachella Valley, our fantastic coloring book project, is here! Digital downloads have been sent; we’ll mail out the first batch of physical copies tomorrow. Buy ’em here—and support the Independent, the CREATE Center for the Arts and local artists while doing so.

Today’s links:

• Good news: Gov. Newsom today said “we are just a few weeks away, not months away, from making measurable and meaningful changes to our stay-at-home order”—although he was none too pleased with reports of crowded beaches over the weekend Meanwhile, Bay Area counties have extended their orders through the end of May, with promises of “limited easing” as we go.

• More good news: IF it works, and IF things go well—both of which are HUGE ifs—a vaccine could be available in limited doses by September. IF IF IF.

Please no panicking … but meat may be harder to come by, and more expensive, due to various closures and problems in the supply chain.

• Related: Our friends at High Country News come to the Coachella Valley to tell the story of farmworkers seeing their hours drastically cut—and fears that a lot of food may go to waste.

• Schools may reopen in the fall. If they do, they may be run quite differently, according to The Washington Post.

• Missing baseball? ESPN’s Jeff Passan says there’ll be baseball at some point in 2020; it’s just a matter of when, where and how.

The SBA loan process continues to be a steaming dumpster fire.

• Warning: This is a difficult story to read. Out of Manhattan, the headline: “Top E.R. Doctor Who Treated Virus Patients Dies by Suicide.” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/27/nyregion/new-york-city-doctor-suicide-coronavirus.html?smid=fb-share

• Also a difficult read: The overall death rate is waaaaay up, even when cases attributed to COVID-19 are removed. This means that the coronavirus death toll is actually way higher than what’s being reported, for starters.

• Again, not fun: COVID-19 seems to be causing some younger victims to have deadly strokes. Yikes.

• Showing how little we know about this damned virus: The CDC has revised its list of COVID-19 symptoms.

On the footsteps of our interview with Dr. Rep. Raul Ruiz, The Wall Street Journal quotes him in a piece about the members of Congress who also just so happen to be doctors.

• OK … time for some levity! John Krasinski’s Some Good News is back with a potluck, of sorts.

• Elsewhere on YouTube, Randy Rainbow brings us “A Spoonful of Clorox.”

New to YouTube: The Palm Springs Library! Read more from NBC Palm Springs here.

• Already on YouTube, and planning a live-stream Swoon at the Moon event on April 30: Check out the Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory page!

That’s all for today. Wash your hands. Wear a mask when you must venture out. Be kind. Back tomorrow!

Published in Daily Digest