Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: March 10, 2022

It was almost two years ago that the Coachella Valley started shutting down due to the pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2.

On Monday in this space, we’ll mark the occasion of this newsletter’s two-year anniversary—and shortly after I hit “send” on that Indy Digest, I’ll be heading to the Palm Springs Cultural Center to take part in a forum titled “COVID, What’s Next?”

This forum is the inaugural “Community Conversation” being co-presented by the Cultural Center and our friends at the Palm Springs Post. The eight-person panel is headlined by Dr. Monica Gandhi, a professor of medicine and the associate division chief (clinical operations/education) of the Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases, and Global Medicine at UCSF/San Francisco General Hospital.

The event, according to a news release, “will feature a panel of relevant experts and community stakeholders to share perspectives on the ‘new normal’ as we continue to adapt to the demands and challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by a moderated audience discussion with comments and questions.”

Besides Dr. Gandhi and yours truly, the panel discussion—being moderated by Mark Talkington, of the Palm Springs Post—will include:

  • Dr. Les Zendle, director at the Desert Healthcare District
  • Dr. Jill Gover, director of behavioral health at DAP Health
  • Wes Winter, executive director of Mizell Center
  • Nichi Aviña, middle school science teacher at Cielo Vista Charter School and California Teacher of the Year 2022
  • Colleen Pace, chief sales and marketing officer at Visit Greater Palm Springs
  • Felix Tipper, GM of Birba Palm Springs

The event starts at 7 p.m. at the Cultural Center, 2300 E. Baristo Road, in Palm Springs. Admission is free; you can register to attend and submit questions in advance by clicking here. (You’re also welcome to send any questions to me, and I’ll forward them along to Mark.)

It’s sure to be an interesting discussion, and I hope to see ya there!

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

Civic Solutions: As Resort Life Proliferates, What About Affordable Housing?

By Melissa Daniels

March 8, 2022

The announcement of Disney’s new development in Rancho Mirage leads to a question: How will the people who are expected to work at these luxury resorts support their families here?

Empathy in Art: Meridy Volz’s ‘Keeping Still’ at the ‘2022 Artists Council Exhibition’

By Cat Makino

March 10, 2022

Meridy Volz’s “Keeping Still” is being featured at the 2022 Artists Council Exhibition, on display at the Galen in Palm Desert through Sunday, March 27.

The Weekly Independent Comics Page for March 10, 2022!

By Staff

March 10, 2022

Topics tackled on this week’s comics page include Steve Bannon, Tucker Carlson, well-hidden guitar shops, ice cream—and more!

More News

The weekly Riverside County District 4 COVID-19 report shows the improving state of the pandemic locally (District 4 = Coachella Valley + areas to the east)—but also serves as a reminder that the pandemic is not over, even if it sort of feels like it is. The good: Hospitalizations, cases and the weekly positivity rate (4.4 percent) kept declining during the week ending March 6. The bad: Four more of our neighbors died of COVID-19.

• You’ll have to keep masking up on planes and other modes of public transportation through at least April 18. However, the end of the federal mandate may be near. NBC News explains: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will work with government agencies to help inform a revised policy framework for when the mask rules can be lifted during this time, said the White House official. The requirement was set to expire on March 18 after having been extended twice before.”

• Gov. Gavin Newsom brought up the idea of a gas-tax rebate of some sort during his State of the State address on Tuesday. Our partners at CalMatters report: “The only new policy announcement came during an acknowledgment of spiraling gas prices, which have recently surpassed an average of $5 per gallon in California. After previously calling in January to pause the annual increase to the state gas tax scheduled for July, Newsom pledged to work with legislative leadership on a plan for a tax rebate for drivers. ‘Now it’s clear we have to go farther,’ he said, though he rejected calls from the oil industry and some lawmakers to ramp up oil drilling in the state. The governor provided no further details about who would receive financial relief or how much. At a post-event press conference, Dee Dee Myers, the governor’s top economic adviser, said the plan, which is not yet complete, would likely distribute billions of dollars to California residents who had registered their cars with the state.”

After extreme public pressure, the Disney CEO has promised to speak out against Florida’s awful “Don’t Say Gay” bill. CNN says: “(Bob) Chapek took a stronger stance against the bill Wednesday, telling shareholders that he called Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Wednesday morning to convey the company’s ‘disappointment and concern.’ Chapek said if the legislation becomes law it ‘could be used to unfairly target gay, lesbian, non-binary and transgender kids and families.’ ‘The governor heard our concerns and agreed to meet with me and LGBTQ+ members of our senior team in Florida to discuss ways to address them,’ Chapek said.” The Florida Senate passed the bill Tuesday, sending it to DeSantis.

• This is your twice-a-year reminder that 1) we have a time change this weekend, and 2) time changes are just terrible. A neurologist, writing for The Conversation, says:In a 2020 commentary for the journal JAMA Neurology, my co-authors and I reviewed the evidence linking the annual transition to daylight saving time to increased strokes, heart attacks and teen sleep deprivation. Based on an extensive body of research, my colleagues and I believe that the science establishing these links is strong and that the evidence makes a good case for adopting permanent standard time nationwide—as I testified at a recent Congressional hearing.”

• Here are a couple of events coming up next weekend that may be worth your time. First up is an event at the Plaza Theatre in Palm Springs on Saturday, March 19: “Acclaimed television producers David Lee and Peter Casey and celebrated actors David Hyde Pierce and Peri Gilpin will participate in a special fundraising event called Team Frasier Reunites to Save the Plaza Theater. The cast and creative team of the well-loved television show ‘Frasier’ will take the stage at the historic theater for a fun look back at the making of the pilot episode of the highly acclaimed and long-running television series on Saturday, March 19 at 1 p.m. Tickets are $125. Following the event, there will be a VIP ‘Meet the Creators’ catered champagne reception from 3-4 pm. The reception is a separate ticketed event priced at $50. The event is a fundraiser in support of the restoration of the Plaza Theatre, originally opened in 1936 and currently in need of refurbishment.”

• Second, from a city of Palm Springs news release, here’s something you can do before the Frasier event: “After a two-year hiatus, come join in a celebration of our 50 Palm Springs neighborhoods and the many wonderful things that make our city like no place else, when the Organized Neighborhoods of Palm Springs, (ONE-PS), host their 13th Annual Picnic & Community Expo on Saturday, March 19, in Ruth Hardy Park. The picnic, slated from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., features a FREE lunch for residents from three popular Palm Springs eateries along with great music and a myriad of informational booths highlighting local businesses, city services, commissions, and local neighborhood organizations. This year’s picnic will honor city of Palm Springs employees for their commitment and dedication to our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The event will also include free balloon rides starting at 10 a.m., weather permitting, face painting and children’s activities brought to you by Palm Springs Parks and Recreation and an always wildly popular pooch costume contest. Categories include ‘Cutest,’ ‘Most Original,’ and ‘Funniest.’” Find all the details here.

• And finally … one day soon, cancer could be detected in humans with the help of … ants? Yes, ants. CNet reports: “A team of scientists has found that ants can use their keen sense of smell to detect cancerous cells. The team used Formica fusca ants, also known as silky ants, and trained them through a reward system. ‘After a few minutes of training, these insects, which use smell for daily tasks, were able to differentiate healthy human cells from cancerous human cells,’ the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) said in a statement Wednesday.” Science!

Support the Independent!

If you value honest, ethical local journalism … or if perhaps you just want to buy me a drink to celebrate the upcoming two-year anniversary of the Digest, click that button below to learn how to become a Supporter of the Independent. As always, thanks for reading!

Read this Indy Digest at!

Jimmy Boegle is the founding editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent. He is also the executive editor and publisher of the Reno News & Review in Reno, Nev. A native of Reno, the Dodgers...