Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: July 12, 2021

My mom and I recently had a discussion about her need for an emergency bag in case she has to, yet again, evacuate due to a wildfire.

She lives just outside of Reno, Nevada, on property my family has owned for the better part of a century. The first evacuation order (at least that I know of) happened a decade or so ago. There have been two or three since—the most recent one earlier this year—but fortunately, her home has never been seriously imperiled.

Given what’s happening in the Western U.S. due to climate change and drought, it’s not a matter of if my mom’s ever going to need to evacuate again. It’s a matter of when.

It’s no surprise that earlier today, the top story on Los Angeles Times’ website was headlined: “California hit by record-breaking fire destruction: ‘Climate change is real, it’s bad.’” Here’s how the story begins:

California is off to another record-breaking year of wildfires as the state enters its most dangerous months, with extreme heat and dry terrain creating the conditions for rapid spread.

More than twice as many acres burned in the first six months of this year than during the same period last year—and hundreds more fires, officials said.

June saw a series of destructive blazes that swept through rural counties at the northern edge of the state, fueled by a historic Pacific Northwest heat wave. But July is already shaping up to be worse.

The Sugar fire had spread to 83,256 acres as of Sunday, making it the largest so far this year in California. Flames swept into the small town of Doyle, destroying homes and other structures. Sparked by lightning in the Plumas National Forest, it forced 3,000 to flee their homes in Plumas and Lassen counties.

My mom and I had that initial discussion a couple of weeks ago, and I was relieved when she told me over the weekend she had indeed completed the bag—containing clothes, items she’d need for her dog, and other essentials.

Now I am wondering if I should be preparing a bag myself. I live in the middle of Palm Springs, and I feel pretty safe. But … should I? Because it’s not a matter of if the Coachella Valley is again going to be hit by wildfire. It’s a matter of when.

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

The XX Factor: Meet Rachel Reedy, the Real-Life Cowgirl and Doctor at Ridgeline Veterinary Clinic

By Kay Kudukis

July 10, 2021

Meet Rachel Reedy, the woman behind the Ridgeline Veterinary Clinic, in the debut edition of our new column, The XX Factor..

Her First Blaze: An Excerpt From Rodney Ross’ New Novel, ‘Diversionary Fires’

July 12, 2021

An excerpt from Rancho Mirage author Rodney Ross’ new novel, Diversionary Fires.

Passing the Baton: ‘Black Widow’ Offers the Marvel Character a Nice Sendoff—While Introducing a Key New Character

By Bob Grimm

July 12, 2021

Black Widow is a fine sendoff for Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff, and an even finer intro for Florence Pugh’s new Marvel entry, Yelena Belova.

More News

• After taking 2020 and 2021 off because of, well, you know, those big music festivals in Indio are slated to return in 2022—and the Stagecoach lineup was announced earlier today. Here’s the lineup poster. If you want to see headliners Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood and Luke Combs on April 29-May 1, 2022, tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m.

Our partners at CalMatters are reporting that the state has crunched the numbers—and determined that California taxpayers will shell out at least $12.3 billion to fight COVID-19. Key quote: “That’s more than the gross domestic product of 50 nations. More than the value of the Dodgers, Yankees and Giants combined. Almost double General Motors’ profits last year. Enough to give $313 to every single Californian. And that doesn’t include $110 billion from the feds to boost unemployment checks, and billions more in federal stimulus money, rent aid and loans to businesses shuttered for much of last year. … What did our federal and state tax dollars buy? Truckloads of N95 respirators and surgical masks desperately sought by health care workers in the early days of the pandemic, purchased through a controversial $1.4 billion contract. Hundreds of millions of gowns and plastic gloves. Extra beds in hospitals. Medical interpreters to handle hundreds of languages. Laptops for students suddenly thrust into remote learning. Temporary workers to trace contacts of infected people and answer hotlines swamped by unemployed Californians seeking benefits. One of the biggest price tags was for state prisons, where 227 infected prisoners have died and combatting COVID-19 has cost nearly $1.6 billion. Other big price tags: Testing for the virus, at more than $1.8 billion, and $1.1 billion in lab equipment for overloaded public health labs.”

• Also from our partners at CalMatters: If you have children 17 and under, and your family income is $150,000 or less, you can expect a financial boost soon: “Monthly $300 payments are in the works for California families struggling to make ends meet. The IRS begins the roll-out of the Child Tax Credit on July 15 as part of the American Rescue Plan. Qualifying households will receive up to $3,600 annually per child, which will benefit families across the state.” Click the link to learn how it all works.

• The pandemic is NOT. OVER. From the Sunday Los Angeles Times: “Los Angeles County has recorded more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases in three days, part of a troubling rise in cases as viral transmission increases among unvaccinated people. It was the first time since early March that the county reported three consecutive days with more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases. The numbers underscore growing concerns about how the highly contagious Delta variant is spreading among unvaccinated people. Officials have said those who have received vaccinations have an excellent chance of being protected.”

• I repeat: The pandemic is NOT. OVER. From our friends at the Mississippi Free Press: “Mississippi public-health officials are urging some vaccinated residents to begin wearing masks again and to avoid large crowds as the more contagious COVID-19 Delta variant spreads across the state. ‘We’re kind of in a tough spot right now. We’re seeing a pretty nasty surge of the Delta variant. We’re seeing a marked increase in cases, hospitalizations. Deaths are sure to follow,’ Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said during a livecast Mississippi State Medical Association discussion on Friday. … ‘We are way undervaccinated as a state. We have a vast pool of unimmunized people who are a perfect breeding ground for Delta variant, and it’s gonna kill folks. And it’s already killing folks.'”

• The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is likely to soon get slapped with another warning. CNBC reports: “About 100 preliminary reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome have been detected after 12.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine were administered, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement to NBC News. Guillain-Barre is a rare neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system. The cases reported after receiving the J&J shot largely occurred about two weeks after vaccination and mostly in males, many aged 50 years and older, according to the CDC. Available data do not show a similar pattern with Pfizer’s or Moderna’s vaccine, the agency said. U.S. regulators are expected to emphasize that the J&J vaccine is safe and that its benefits clearly outweigh the potential risks, the (Washington) Post reported, citing people familiar with the situation.”

The Ace Hotel and Swim Club is slowly gearing back up after, well, you know—and they’re hosting an in-person job fair from 4-7 p.m. this Tuesday and Wednesday (the 13th and 14th) in The Commune. According to the info the Ace sent us: “In anticipation of a great fall season, we have strong growth opportunities in many areas. Positions available including Amigo Room bartender, events bartender, servers and houseperson, room service attendants, line cook, massage therapist, licensed hair and makeup artist, front desk agents for lobby and spa and lifeguard.”

• And finally: Supply-chain issues and other factors have driven up the cost of many goods. As a result, retailers have raised prices accordingly. But … how does that work at a store like the Dollar Tree? The Wall Street Journal, via Fox Business, explains: “In many cases, consumer-goods companies such as Procter & Gamble Co. and General Mills Inc. are passing those price increases onto consumers. For a chain that attracts shoppers with mostly $1 products, adapting can be more challenging. The majority of Dollar Tree’s products are store brands, which gives it flexibility in an inflationary environment. Last year Dollar Tree changed the packaging on a bestselling over-the-door metal hanger, Mr. (Michael Witynski, the chief executive) said, moving to a smaller, less-expensive cardboard hook for shelf display. The retailer started shipping $1 gift bags, another big seller, in boxes of 72, up from 24 to save on shipping costs, he said. Cartons of fresh eggs fluctuate between 18, 12 or 6 packs, depending on costs.”

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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...