Indy Digest: Nov. 11, 2021
In recent weeks, the Indy Digest has gained all sorts of new readers. If you’re new to the Digest because you voted in our Best of Coachella Valley readers’ poll, or because you signed up for the Digest at our Greater Palm Springs Pride booth … welcome!
I’d like to take this chance to explain what, exactly, the Independent is all about, using a handy Q&A format.
So … uh, what is the Independent all about?
Great question! We were founded in late 2012 by yours truly. My goal was to create an honest, ethical alternative newspaper to serve the Coachella Valley. We started out online-only, before producing our first print edition, as a quarterly, in April 2013. After a second quarterly in July 2013, we began publishing in print monthly in October 2013—and we’ve been published monthly ever since. In fact, the issue out now is our 100th print edition.
Congrats! So do you have more readers online, or in print, or what?
We have around 18,000 unique visitors to CVIndependent.com per month; we distribute 16,000 copies of our monthly print edition; and 5,500 of you get this Indy Digest now. So, people read us in all sorts of ways. Our goal is to make our coverage as accessible as possible, and free to all.
Everything you do is made available for free? Cool! So how do you make your money?
Two ways, primarily. First, we have an amazing set of advertisers who want to reach fantastic readers like you. Second, we ask readers who find value in what we do to voluntarily become Supporters of the Independent, if they have the financial means to do so.
So … is the Independent any good?
I’ll let you be the judge of that. While I could tell you about all the awards we’ve won and whatnot, I’ll instead encourage you to take what we call the “Independent Challenge.” We invite you to take 10 minutes or so, and compare the Independent—be it online or in print—to whatever other local publication you’d like. Look at what’s being covered, the quality of the design, the writing, etc. … and decide for yourself.
Who produces the Independent?
I’m the editor and publisher, as well as the person who brings you this Indy Digest twice a week. The short version of my bio: After graduating from Stanford University, I worked for The Associated Press before moving back home to Reno, Nev., due to family commitments. There, I worked for a small daily before becoming the editor of the weekly Reno News & Review. From there, I spent a little more than a year at the weekly Las Vegas CityLife before moving to Tucson, Ariz., and becoming the editor of the Tucson Weekly. I was there for a decade before my husband I moved here and started the Independent.
We have just one other person on staff: Kevin Fitzgerald, our amazing staff writer, who, before coming to the Independent, worked as a magazine journalist; as a TV-network advertising executive; in publicity photography at HBO, FOX and NBC; and as an entrepreneur. In other words, he’s pretty smart.
Finally, we have about 20 fantastic regular contributing writers, who cover everything from music, to hiking, to theater reviews, to cocktails.
In other words, a lot of talented people are part of the Independent.
So … what is this Indy Digest thing?
It’s the Independent’s twice-a-week newsletter. Before the pandemic arrived, we sent out one rather pedestrian newsletter a week, listing all the stuff published at CVIndependent.com over the last week. And that was it. This version of the newsletter was … well, it was a newsletter.
Then March 2020 came, and things started getting weird. You may remember that moment in history, when everything was closed down all of a sudden; misinformation was running rampant; and many people were scared, seeing as we’d never lived through a pandemic like this before.
At that moment, we decided to drastically revamp our newsletter. On March 13, 2020, we started sending the newsletter, renamed the Daily Digest, five to seven days a week. In each one, there was a newsy intro from yours truly, links to recent Independent coverage, and a personally curated list of links to important or interesting news stories from other, reliable news sources.
Eventually, we cut the frequency of the newsletter to three times per week, and then two, renaming it the Indy Digest. Today, it comes out every Monday and Thursday, with occasional special editions as merited.
Cool! So I have other questions about the Independent. What should I do?
Hit reply, and ask!
Whether you’re an Indy Digest newbie, or you’ve been with us for a while … thank you for reading.
From the Independent
By Kay Kudukis
November 10, 2021
Sallyanne Monti grew up in Brooklyn before she got married and had four kids. However, everything started to change in 1995 when she sent an email to the wrong address.
CV History: The Story Behind the Coachella Valley’s First Golf Course, Designed by Oilman Tom O’Donnell
By Greg Niemann
November 10, 2021
Today, there are more than 130 courses in the Coachella Valley—and it all started with a can-do oilman who built that first course hard against the San Jacinto Mountains in downtown Palm Springs.
November 11, 2021
Topics tackled on this week’s comics page include painful breakups, Kathy Griffin, state-fair seafood, race-baiting—and much more!
• This week’s Riverside County District 4 COVID-19 report is the very definition of a “mixed bag.” (District 4 = the Coachella Valley and rural points eastward.) As we’ve noted already, COVID-19 hospitalizations are up rather sharply, which is NOT GOOD. However … after several weeks of increases, the test positivity rate for the week ending Nov. 7 fell to 3.4 percent. Here’s hoping the decrease in the positivity rate portends a decrease in hospitalizations rather soon.
• All adults in California are now eligible for a booster shot. NPR explains: “All fully vaccinated adults in California seeking a COVID-19 booster shot should be eligible to get one, California Department of Public Health officials say. In a letter Thursday, officials directed health care providers not to deny booster shots to adult patients. The announcement opened up booster shot eligibility to millions of residents across the state. ‘Do not turn a patient away who is requesting a booster,’ California Department of Public Health Director Tomás J. Aragón said in the letter. ‘Allow patients to self-determine their risk of exposure.’ People in California who are 18 and older are eligible for a COVID booster shot as long as at least six months have passed their second dose of the two-shot Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two months must have passed since their Johnson & Johnson shot.”
• Meanwhile, the nationwide effort to get children ages 5-11 vaccinated is going fairly well. CNBC reports: “About 900,000 kids ages 5 to 11 have received their first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine since U.S. regulators cleared the shots for the younger age group Nov. 2, the White House said Wednesday. Roughly 700,000 more young children have appointments at local pharmacies to get their shots, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters.”
• Our partners at CalMatters explain that inflation is kicking California’s rear end right now: “Day-to-day life is getting more expensive in California, which already has a higher percentage of residents living in poverty than any other state in the nation when the cost of living is taken into account. That’s because skyrocketing inflation rates pushed consumer prices nationwide up 6.2% in October compared to the same time last year—the largest annual increase in more than three decades, according to federal data released Wednesday. Gas prices shot up a jaw-dropping 49.6%, with California snagging the title of the nation’s most expensive market.”
• Is College of the Desert playing politics and making substantial changes in plans—on which a lot of money has already been spent? Palm Springs Mayor Christy Holstege is worried that may indeed be happening, according to our friends at the Palm Springs Post: “Worried that College of the Desert (COD) leadership plans to cancel a campus in the city, Palm Springs Mayor Christy Holstege went on the offensive Thursday morning. ‘My residents are extremely concerned about how COD is operating and have questions about how decisions are being made,’ Holstege told the Desert Community College District Board of Trustees during its regular meeting Thursday morning. ‘We know you spent $22 million to purchase the mall. Now the site sits vacant with no information from COD, the president, or its trustees. It’s unclear what will happen to that site.’ At issue for Holstege and others is a recent decision by the college to unexpectedly cancel a project in Cathedral City and accusations from its recently retired president that East Valley elected officials are working to shift money promised for West Valley projects to Coachella.”
• The good folks at the Desert Rose Playhouse are taking a brief break from its popular production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch to present something rather unique and special. From the news release: “The Desert Rose Playhouse in Palm Springs, Coachella Valley’s only LGBTQ+ performance theatre, welcomes esteemed Los Angeles playwright-actor Michael Kearns in the lead role of Martha in an all-male iteration of Who’s Afraid of Edward Albee?. Directed by Ryland Shelton, the cast is rounded out by Michael Pacas as George, Anthony Nannini as Honey, and Robbie Wayne as Nick. The forthcoming staged reading, a twisted take on the classic play, debuts at the playhouse on Sunday, November 14, at 5:00pm. Tickets cost between $30 and $140.” Learn more and get tickets at desertroseplayhouse.org/product/whos-afraid-of-whom.
• And finally … on this Veterans Day, we’ll end with two stories that discuss the challenges some veterans are facing today. First: The Los Angeles Times today published a piece by Sarah B. Hunter regarding a study of Los Angeles’ homeless veterans: “(Los Angeles) has the largest VA medical center in the nation. There are federal housing programs exclusively for veterans. So why hasn’t Los Angeles been able to make a dent? To find out, I led a group of researchers who followed 26 unsheltered veterans starting in August 2019. We interviewed them monthly for a year to see what was barring vets from getting a permanent place to live. Securing housing was the stated top priority for the majority in our study—so the problem was not that veterans chose homelessness. Some made contact with programs meant to help them, but permanent housing didn’t materialize.”
• Second: USC professor Michael Messner, writing for The Conversation, looks at the long history of veterans who fought in wars—and then became outspoken advocates for peace: “As a young boy, I got my first hint of veterans’ aversion to war from my grandfather, a World War I Army veteran. Just the mention of Veterans Day could trigger a burst of anger that ‘the damned politicians’ had betrayed veterans of ‘The Great War.’ In 1954 Armistice Day was renamed as Veterans Day. In previous years, citizens in the U.S. and around the world celebrated the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 not simply as the moment that war ended, but also as the dawning of a lasting peace. ‘They told us it was “The War to End All Wars,”‘ my grandfather said to me. ‘And we believed that.'”
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