Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: May 17, 2021

Collectively, you lovely readers get a lot out of this Digest … but not quite as much as you used to.

And when it comes to the story links, you really like the local “From the Independent” stuff—but you’re losing interest in the national/international links to other news sources.

Those are the obvious conclusions that can be drawn from the analytics for this newsletter as of late. As a result, we’re going to be making some changes:

• Starting this week, the “normal schedule” for this Indy Digest will be for it to be sent twice a week—on Monday and Thursday,

• Yes, the name has changed slightly, from Daily Digest to Indy Digest, because it doesn’t make sense for something sent twice a week to be called “Daily.” (Yes, I know it didn’t make much sense when this email was sent three times a week, either. Please forgive me for that.)

• The Indy Digest may occasionally come out on days other than Mondays and Thursdays—when there’s big news, for example.

It’s been one hell of a ride ever since we started these Daily Digest newsletters in March 2020. During the frantic first months of the pandemic, we published them five or six times per week; last August, we changed to a “normal” three-days-per-week schedule, which is what we’ve been doing ever since. Over these months, we’ve been through the first wave, and the Black Lives Matter movement, and the second wave, and the bonkers election, and the third wave, and the insurrection on Jan. 6, and the vaccination push, and what we’re ALL hoping is the final reopening push.

That’s a lot.

After more than 14 months of craziness, a lot of you, understandably, are weary of the national and international news. That’s not to say you don’t care; it is to say you’re tired—and we are not dealing with the insane news cycles we were enduring last year at this time. We’re in calmer times now, thank goodness.

That said, the newsletter data points show you still care—a lot—about local goings on, and specifically the type of coverage the Independent provides regarding those goings on.

Moving the Indy Digest to a normal twice-weekly schedule will free up more of my time to focus on local coverage—while still allowing us to deliver the news roundups so many of you still value.

If you have any questions or comments about these changes, please hit reply. As always, thanks for reading—and following along through the unprecedented turbulence.

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

Teaching Tunes: The Academy of Musical Performance Is Bringing Back Its In-Person Summer Camp—and the Application Deadline Is Approaching

By Matt King

May 16, 2021

The application period for the Academy of Musical Performance’s summer camp, for students in grades 6-12, closes this Wednesday, May 19.

A Virtual Night in Brussels: Pomme Frite Offers a Taste of Belgium in Downtown Palm Springs

By Andrew Smith

May 15, 2021

A Palm Springs mainstay since 1999, Pomme Frite provides an immersive Belgian experience with its rustic brickwork and mustard-painted walls, along with a multitude of […]

Bloody Funny: ‘Riders of Justice’ Is Shocking, Violent, Hilarious—and One of 2021’s Best Films Thus Far

By Bob Grimm

May 17, 2021

Anders Thomas Jensen directs Riders of Justice with steady efficiency through all of the film’s wild turns and shifting tones, pulling great performances out of […]

And Now, the News

California will not be implementing the new CDC indoor mask guidance until June 15. In other words, if you’re inside somewhere public, you’ll need to mask up—vaccinated or not. The Associated Press explains: “‘This four-week period will give Californians time to prepare for this change, while we continue the relentless focus on delivering vaccines particularly to underserved communities and those that were hard hit throughout this pandemic,’ Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said. … California’s current rules say people who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear a mask outdoors unless they are attending crowded gatherings. But the state says those people must wear masks indoors unless they are meeting with other vaccinated people.”

• While California is being extra-cautious regarding masks indoors, many businesses are not (at least in states, unlike California, that have already adopted the CDC’s looser guidelines). Business Insider reports: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday relaxed mask guidance for fully vaccinated people—but many retailers and restaurants aren’t ready to welcome maskless customers. Macy’s and Kroger are among those saying they’ll still make masks mandatory for shoppers and workers in their stores. Walmart, Costco, and others have dropped their mask requirement—although individual states can still mandate masks in stores.”

Coming soon to businesses near you (hopefully): ventilation-system overhauls. Bloomberg News explains: “A quiet revolution has permeated global health circles. Authorities have come to accept what many researchers have argued for over a year: The coronavirus can spread through the air. That new acceptance, by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, comes with concrete implications: Scientists are calling for ventilation systems to be overhauled like public water supplies were in the 1800s after fetid pipes were found to harbor cholera. Cleaner indoor air won’t just fight the pandemic, it will minimize the risk of catching flu and other respiratory infections that cost the U.S. more than $50 billion a year, researchers said in a study in the journal Science on Friday.”

Here’s the latest report from the city of Palm Springs regarding the amount of SARS-CoV-2 in the city’s wastewater. The numbers, reassuringly, remain low.

• Brace yourself for a brutal fire season … a season which is already under way. Emily Hoeven writes for our partners at CalMatters: “It’s only May, and I’m already having to write about wildfires forcing Californians to evacuate their homes. Around 1,000 people were displaced from their homes Sunday as the Palisades Fire in Los Angeles County grew to more than 1,300 acres. … So far this year, California has seen 1,812 fires that charred nearly 9,400 acres—a massive uptick from the 1,159 fires that burned nearly 1,700 acres during the same time period last year, according to state data. That increase is even more sobering when one considers that last year’s fire season rewrote the record books.”

• Related: Here’s the latest update on that Palisades Fire, from the Los Angeles Times: “An arson investigation into the Pacific Palisades fire, which started late Friday, has led to the arrest of a suspect, authorities said Monday. Two people were questioned Saturday night about the fire, which has forced the evacuation of about 1,000 residents. One person was released, and the other — a man who has not been identified—was arrested Sunday afternoon, Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas said at a briefing at Will Rogers State Beach.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci yesterday discussed the fact that institutional racism has made the pandemic so much worse. The AP says: “‘COVID-19 has shone a bright light on our own society’s failings,’ Dr. Anthony Fauci said during a graduation ceremony for Emory University. Speaking by webcast from Washington, Fauci told the graduates in Atlanta that many members of minority groups work in essential jobs where they might be exposed to the coronavirus. He also said they are more likely to become infected if exposed because of medical conditions such as hypertension, chronic lung disease, diabetes or obesity. ‘Now, very few of these comorbidities have racial determinants,’ Fauci said. ‘Almost all relate to the social determinants of health dating back to disadvantageous conditions that some people of color find themselves in from birth regarding the availability of an adequate diet, access to health care and the undeniable effects of racism in our society.’”

• The state started letting restaurants sell cocktails to-go during the pandemic. That change may become a permanent thing, the Los Angeles Times notes: “Under (SB 389) in its current form, food would not be required for the sale of alcohol, though the practice of tightly sealing and clearly labeling cocktails would remain in place. The bill passed in the state Senate (last week) and now awaits a vote in the Assembly. If it passes, it can proceed to the Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa), who introduced the bill, sees the permanent sale of to-go cocktails as a way to help restaurants and bars that are still struggling to recoup their losses of the past 14 months.”

• An expert in Middle Eastern history explains an aspect of the current mess in Israel and Gaza you may not know about in a piece for The Conversation: “(The) main event is an unprecedented conflict taking place on the streets of Jerusalem, Haifa, Lod and elsewhere. It’s what scholars call an ‘intercommunal conflict,’ pitting elements of Israel’s Jewish population against elements of Israel’s Palestinian population who have had enough and have taken to the streets. Hamas could not maintain its credibility as a movement if it sat by while Palestinians in Israel battled Jewish Israelis there. The reality is that Israel is having its Black Lives Matter moment. As in the United States, a brutalized minority group, facing systemic racism and discriminatory acts, has taken to the streets. And, as in the United States, the only way out starts with serious soul-searching on the part of the majority. But after the spate of Palestinian suicide bombings in the early 2000s that horrified Israelis and hardened their attitudes toward Palestinians, this is unlikely to occur.” Sigh.

• Poor India. Just as some parts of the country are starting to see hopeful signs regarding the pandemic, India is now facing a deadly cyclone. The Washington Post reports: “A powerful cyclone struck India’s west coast Monday, forcing officials to move hospitalized coronavirus patients and suspend vaccination campaigns as the storm disrupted nationwide efforts to contain a surge of infections in the country of 1.3 billion.”

• And finally … I simply can’t stand the sound of my own voice on a recording—and chances are you feel the same way. A surgeon who helps people with voice problems, writing for The Conversation, explains that there are several reasons for this. Here’s one of them: “When you speak, the sound from your voice reaches the inner ear in a different way. While some of the sound is transmitted through air conduction, much of the sound is internally conducted directly through your skull bones. When you hear your own voice when you speak, it’s due to a blend of both external and internal conduction, and internal bone conduction appears to boost the lower frequencies. For this reason, people generally perceive their voice as deeper and richer when they speak. The recorded voice, in comparison, can sound thinner and higher pitched, which many find cringeworthy.”

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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...