Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: Oct. 11, 2021

I am beyond sick and tired of writing about COVID-19 … but it’s inescapable.

The ramifications of SARS-CoV-2 touch virtually every aspect of our society. The arts. The economy. Politics. Even the environment—all are affected by COVID-19, in some way or another, as we approach the two-year anniversary of the official discovery of the virus. And this is going to remain the case for quite a long time.

I came to this realization today as I gathered the information for this Indy Digest. Actually, realization is not the best way to put it. Came to a begrudging acceptance is more accurate, as awkward as the phrase is.

The catalyst for all of this was the latest Palm Springs wastewater SARS-CoV-2 testing report, and the news that testing done on Oct. 4 and 5 showed higher levels of the virus than the week before.

This uptick, really, is probably not a big deal. The increase was slight, and the amount of the virus in the wastewater is still a very small fraction of what it was during the worst days of the pandemic last winter. The levels have been seesawing in recent weeks, and this week, the seesaw is pointing upward. Could it be the start of a scary trend? Yes, but knowing everything we know now, it’s highly unlikely.

Still … seeing the graph head upward made me come to that aforementioned begrudging acceptance that COVID-19 ain’t going nowhere. Even though almost everything in society is open (thank heavens), and I’m personally not worried much about the virus due to the fact that I am fully vaccinated (as are virtually all of my friends and family members), it’s still here, and it’s gonna be here for a while. It’s going to be an ever-present specter that both hurts people and haunts society for a very long time.

COVID-19 doesn’t care that I am tired of it. Nor does it care what anyone else thinks of it. It’s a virus—a virus that will be one of the defining elements of our world for years to come.

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

Comfort Cuisine Converted: Wilma and Frieda Takes Familiar Food and Gives It an Upgrade

By Andrew Smith

October 11, 2021

Since opening Wilma and Frieda in 2013, Kelly McFall has been racking up fans and awards for her creative, eye-catching breakfast and brunch offerings.

Art Outreach: The Artists Council Looks to Create Connections With Its First In-Person Exhibit Since the Pandemic, ‘NEXUS’

By Cat Makino

October 11, 2021

NEXUS is the Artists Council’s first in-person show since the pandemic arrived, and it serves as a christening, of sorts, of the group’s now-official permanent home, the Artists Center at the Galen.

End of a Bond Era: In ‘No Time to Die,’ Daniel Craig Cements His Status as the All-Time Best 007

By Bob Grimm

October 11, 2021

Daniel Craig has been bitching about playing the character that made his career for quite some time now. Fortunately, his discontent doesn’t show onscreen, and No Time to Die is a nice capper for him as 007.

More News

Our friends at the Palm Springs Post look at the latest news on vacation rentals in the valley: “On Thursday, Rancho Mirage, which earlier banned short-term vacation rentals outside of private neighborhoods, elected to ban them entirely. That city joins many others in the Valley, including Cathedral City, Palm Desert, and La Quinta, in moving to restrict or forbid short-term rentals. In 2018, Palm Springs voters overwhelmingly defeated Measure C, which would have phased out short-term rentals here. Since then, the number of licensed rental units has grown 26 percent. In the past year alone, despite the ongoing battle with COVID-19, the total number of registered vacation rentals in the city increased nine percent. Palm Springs currently has no cap on vacation rental licenses, and elected officials have not proposed enacting a moratorium.”

More Americans will likely soon become eligible for COVID-19 booster shots. The New York Times explains: “(The) Biden administration is eager to shore up the protection provided by all three vaccines. And federal officials have become increasingly worried in particular about the more than 15 million Americans who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which is less effective than the others. On Thursday, the FDA’s advisory panel of vaccine experts will discuss safety and efficacy data regarding booster shots for Moderna recipients. On Friday, the group will discuss Johnson and Johnson boosters. The agency typically issues decisions within a few days of advisory committee meetings.”

• Gov. Gavin Newsom’s deadline to sign or veto the bills set to him by the Legislature came and went over the weekend—and as a result, a lot happened. Our partners at CalMatters summarize thusly, following up this quote with a list of highlights: “Newsom signed his final bills on Saturday, a day ahead of the Oct. 10 deadline to act on the 836 proposals state lawmakers sent to his desk. Of those, he signed 770 (92%) and vetoed 66 (7.9%), according to Sacramento lobbyist Chris Micheli.”

• One of the bills he signed was of particular interest to me and my fellow journalists across the state. The Sacramento Bee says: “Police must allow journalists access to closed-off demonstrations and protests, under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The new law, Senate Bill 98, requires that journalists be given unfettered access to closed-off protests, and prohibits law enforcement officers from assaulting, interfering or obstructing journalists from covering such events. Journalists at such scenes ‘shall not be cited for the failure to disperse, violation of a curfew or resisting arrest,’ according to a California Senate floor analysis of the bill.” This bill was need after too many journalists were arrested while covering the various protests over the last year and a half.

One of the bills he vetoed was of particular interest to prospective college students. Our partners at CalMatters say: “With Newsom’s dissent, Assembly Bill 1456 won’t become a reality, rebuffing a Legislature that unanimously supported the legislation. It would have increased by about 150,000 the number of community college, Cal State, University of California and private college students eligible for the Cal Grant—the state’s chief financial aid program. It would have done this by expanding eligibility to students who are low-income but for various reasons can’t access the grant today. Cal Grants last for four years of full-time enrollment for all students. The veto affects community college students far more than any other, though. Roughly 110,000 more students at community colleges would have become eligible for the Cal Grant. Without it, they lose out on $1,648 a year while in community college and free tuition at a Cal State or UC. And though Cal State and UC students are also affected, another financial aid plan in the works will include them, but not community college students.”

• Hey, you may not be able to afford college, but you will be able to get to-go cocktails for the foreseeable future! Eater SF reports on a bill the governor did sign: “As anticipated for many months, Governor Gavin Newsom signed three bills on Friday, October 8, finally officially putting cocktails to go into state law. Selling takeout cocktails and serving alcohol in parklets are now here to stay in California, at least for the next five years. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Senator Scott Wiener joined the governor for a small press conference at Oakland’s Kingston 11, the Jamaican restaurant known for jerk chicken and rum punch. There Newsom signed three key bills affecting cocktails and parklets: State Bill 389, State Bill 314, and Assembly Bill 61.”

Americans on organ-transplant waiting lists who refuse to get COVID-19 vaccines are finding themselves, in some cases, no longer on organ-transplant waiting lists. NBC News reports: “Across the country, growing numbers of transplant programs have chosen to either bar patients who refuse to take the widely available COVID vaccines from receiving transplants or to give them lower priority on crowded organ waitlists. Other programs, however, say they plan no such restrictions—for now. At issue is whether transplant patients who refuse the jabs are not only putting themselves at greater risk for serious illness and death from COVID infections, but also squandering scarce organs that could benefit others. The argument echoes the demands that smokers quit cigarettes for six months before they receive lung transplants or that addicts refrain from alcohol and drugs before they receive new livers.”

• And finally … it’s Indigenous Peoples Day—which today was recognized for the first time by a U.S. president, by the way. The day comes as acknowledgements at events that they’re taking place on land stolen from Native Americans become more common. Three anthropologists, writing for The Conversation, take the position that such acknowledgements actually may do more harm than good: “…Historical and anthropological facts demonstrate that many contemporary land acknowledgments unintentionally communicate false ideas about the history of dispossession and the current realities of American Indians and Alaska Natives. And those ideas can have detrimental consequences for Indigenous peoples and nations. This is why, in a move that surprised many non-Indigenous anthropologists to whom land acknowledgments seemed a public good, the Association of Indigenous Anthropologists requested that the American Anthropological Association officially pause land acknowledgments and the related practice of the welcoming ritual, in which Indigenous persons open conferences with prayers or blessings.”

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Jimmy Boegle

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...