Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: May 19, 2022

The high gas prices are kicking this little newspaper in the butt … specifically, in the figurative wallet we carry in our back pocket.

Our partners at CalMatters report: “The average price of a gallon of gas has officially surpassed $6 for the first time in California—and U.S.—history. The Golden State set a new record Wednesday with an average per-gallon cost of $6.05, though the price climbed as high as $7 in remote Mono County, according to AAA. The national average, meanwhile, was nearly $1.50 cheaper at $4.56 per gallon.”

Great. This is a bad time for my vehicle to have less than an eighth of a tank left.

However, while it’s no fun to fill up my personal vehicle these days, that’s not the problem; newspapers are.

The cost of newsprint is often tied to gas prices, because newsprint rolls are big and heavy and need to be trucked from the paper mill to the printing press.

And then there’s distribution: My poor distribution driver needs to shuttle around the valley and high desert to 300-plus locations each month—and then he needs to do refill routes throughout the month at our highest-traffic locations. Of course, I am paying him more now to do all of this than I was at the start of the year.

I had hoped maybe there’d be some relief coming this summer. But that appears unlikely. CNBC reports: “John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital, said a $5 national average is in the cards for the busy driving season between Memorial Day weekend and the Fourth of July. ‘It appears [the national average] needs to go higher,’ he said Wednesday on CNBC’s ‘Squawk on the Street.’ ‘Last week we saw gasoline demand shoot up to what is typically summertime-type levels … there’s more upside here. Kilduff pointed to two key factors spurring demand despite high prices: pent-up demand after the pandemic, and a strong labor market, which means that people will pay what they have to, to get to their job.”

Of course, newspapers aren’t the only companies suffering from the high gas prices. All of the items at your favorite retail outlet arrive on trucks. So do the ingredients and food products used at your favorite restaurant? And if you’re planning on flying somewhere this summer, airplane fuel prices are high, too.

Bleh.

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

An Interesting Investigation: The Defense Team for a Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Accused of Bribery and Other Crimes Claims He Was ‘Railroaded’

By Kevin Fitzgerald

May 18, 2022

The defense team for Lt. Samuel Flores says the evidence they have compiled shows he was wrongly accused of bribery and other crimes.

Hiking With T: Thanks to the Oswit Land Trust, We Can Enjoy the Preserved Oswit Canyon and Palm Hills Areas

By Theresa Sama

May 17, 2022

Both Oswit Canyon and Palm Hills/Goat Trails are in south Palm Springs—and both offer some of the most precious and pristine hiking in the Coachella Valley

On Cocktails: Dreaming of Opening a Bar? Here’s What You’ll Need

By Kevin Carlow

May 19, 2022

If you are one of the many who thinks that opening a bar is a good investment, think twice.

The Weekly Independent Comics Page for May 19, 2022!

By Staff

May 19, 2022

Topics tackled on this week’s comics page include the scourge of “wokeness,” perjury, Trump endorsements, Chuck E. Cheese—and more!

The Lucky 13: Beth Allen, Bassist/Vocalist of Mötordead; Guitarist of Hot Patooties; Member of Alien Probe

By Matt King

May 17, 2022

Get to know Beth Allen, a member of various high-power high desert bands.

More News

Boy howdy, there’s a lot of COVID-19 out there. Cases are surging in New York. And in the Bay Area. And in L.A. Please be safe out there, folks. Masks are a good thing.

Speaking of masks … ABC News reports: “Increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are putting more of the country under guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that call for masking and other infection precautions. Right now, about a third of the U.S. population lives in areas that are considered at higher risk—mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. Those are areas where people should already be considering wearing masks indoors—but Americans elsewhere should also take notice, officials said.”

More booster shots are a-comin’. CNBC reports: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s independent vaccine experts recommended a Pfizer COVID booster shot for children ages 5 to 11 on Thursday, as infections rise across the country and immunity from the first two doses wanes off. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 11-1 in favor of a booster for the age group. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will likely sign off on the panel’s recommendation, which would allow pharmacies, doctors’ offices and other health-care providers to start administering the shots.”

The Biden administration is invoking the Defense Production Act to help solve the baby-formula shortage. The New York Times notes: “The moves are Mr. Biden’s first major initiative to respond to a crisis that has sown fear and frustration among parents across the country and prompted Republicans and Democrats alike to demand action. His decision came as the formula shortage was threatening to become a political as well as a public health disaster for the administration, and on the eve of the first congressional hearing, with Dr. Robert M. Califf, the head of the Food and Drug Administration, to delve into how it happened and what is being done to respond. The White House announced its plan only hours before the House took action of its own, approving an emergency infusion of $28 million for the Food and Drug Administration and a bill to loosen restrictions on what kind of formula can be purchased through the federal food aid program for women and babies.”

• Sigh. The upcoming hurricane season could be very, very bad. A professor of oceanography writes for The Conversation: “The Atlantic hurricane season starts on June 1, and the Gulf of Mexico is already warmer than average. Even more worrying is a current of warm tropical water that is looping unusually far into the Gulf for this time of year, with the power to turn tropical storms into monster hurricanes. It’s called the Loop Current, and it’s the 800-pound gorilla of Gulf hurricane risks. … This year, the Loop Current looks remarkably similar to the way it did in 2005, the year Hurricane Katrina crossed the Loop Current before devastating New Orleans. Of the 27 named storms that year, seven became major hurricanes. Wilma and Rita also crossed the Loop Current that year and became two of the most intense Atlantic hurricanes on record.”

Stories like this scare the figurative pants off me. NPR ominously reports: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s investigating 180 pediatric patients with hepatitis of unknown cause. The cases, which have included five deaths, have been reported in 36 states and territories over the past seven months. The count of cases under investigation has grown since the CDC’s last update on May 5, when the agency said it was investigating 109 cases. But the agency said that most of the latest cases are ‘retrospective’ cases—the CDC’s investigation involves reported cases that date back to October 2021, and many of them are just now being reported.”

• Can cities have past lives? If so, Palm Springs must have done something really weird involving statues to earn the inanely dumb statue karma it has right now. Our friends at the Palm Springs Post bring us the latest in the Mayor Frank Bogert statue drama: “A trial court in Riverside granted a restraining order Wednesday morning that will temporarily prevent the city from removing the statue of former Mayor Frank Bogert from in front of City Hall. … The Palm Springs City Council voted last year to start the legal process for removing and relocating the monument, which depicts Bogert on horseback and was installed in 1990. It was scheduled to be removed Tuesday, but a lone protester blocked that from happening. Others soon joined him, and the city elected not to remove the statue until a court can hear the merits of a case filed by Friends of Frank Bogert. Initial court hearings about that case are still weeks away.”

And finally … some journalists, like me, are just cantankerous souls with an affinity for swear words and bourbon. Others are utter heroes. Time Magazine tells the story of the Kyiv Independent: “The staff of the Kyiv Independent knew war was coming. They had spent long days in February reporting on an invasion that high-level sources had told them was imminent. Editor in chief Olga Rudenko and the other senior editors had consulted with the outlet’s two dozen or so staff members to make sure each had an evacuation plan and had withdrawn cash so they could keep operating if the banks closed. They had handed over passwords and instructions to contacts in North America on how to keep their website online in case their internet was knocked out. And yet as Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a ‘special military operation’ in the early hours of Feb. 24, none of them could quite believe what was happening. … In the days and weeks to come, the Kyiv Independent would become the world’s primary source for reliable English-language journalism on that war. Just three days in, its Twitter following had grown from 30,000 to 1 million; it now has more than 2 million. … The Kyiv Independent had launched a mere 14 weeks before the invasion—after a scandal over journalistic independence at their previous employer inspired the editors to strike out on their own, and pulled Rudenko, who is now leading a team under exceptionally difficult circumstances, back from what was meant to be a break from journalism.”

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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...