Coachella Valley Independent

Daily Digest: April 12, 2021

My initial plan was to write about last night’s gun-violence news … but then more gun-violence news broke before I could do that.

Welcome to the United States in 2021.

Last night, it happened in a suburb of Minneapolis—a city already a little raw due to the ongoing trial of Derek Chauvin. According to NBC News:

A Minnesota police chief said Monday he believes an officer wanted to use a Taser, but mistakenly drew a service weapon before fatally shooting a Black man at point-blank range during a traffic stop.

The Brooklyn Center Police Department released body camera footage of Sunday’s encounter that ended in the death of Daunte Wright, 20, who was shot in the Minneapolis suburb about 14 miles north of where George Floyd was killed last year.

The footage appeared to show Wright getting out of his car and then getting back inside as officers attempted to apprehend him on an outstanding, undisclosed misdemeanor warrant that they discovered after they pulled him over in a traffic stop.

As Wright got back into his car, a female voice could be heard shouting “Taser!” before Wright was shot, video appeared to show.

That same female voice could be heard saying, “Holy s— I just shot him,” as the car pulled away, police said.

This afternoon, it happened in Knoxville, Tenn. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel:

A teenage boy was killed and a police officer wounded Monday afternoon in a shooting at Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville, police and sources told Knox News.

The Knoxville Police Department confirmed the fatality in an emailed statement, and confirmed the shooting without details on its Twitter account. The shooting occurred at about 3:15 p.m. A medical examiner’s vehicle left the school about 5 p.m.

One source with direct knowledge of the incident who was not authorized to speak told Knox News the wounded police officer is the Austin-East school resource officer. He was shot in the hip, the source told Knox News.

The source also said one person was detained.

Beyond these links and excerpts … I just don’t know what to say. These things keep happening, and little to nothing keeps getting done.

We’re broken, folks. Anyone out there got any practical, doable ideas on how to fix us?

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

Colors for the Community: Flat Black Art Supplies Celebrates Urban Art and the ’90s With a Group Show

By Matt King

April 12, 2021

On Saturday, April 17, Flat Black Art Supplies will hold an opening reception for The 90’s, an art show featuring works from 17 local artists. […]

And Now, the News

• This just in, from Randy Garner, the public relations manager of Visit Palm Springs: “On behalf of Curative, the company administering the COVID-19 vaccines at the Palm Springs Convention Center, I wanted to assist them to get the word out that there are lots of openings for vaccines today and in the coming days. The vaccine is open to anyone age 16 or older. No need to make an appointment online, although making an appointment may be quicker. … The Convention Center is located at 277 N. Avenida Caballeros. Park free in the east parking lot and simply walk across the street to the entry door.  Please bring ID.” Go get your shots, folks.

• Related, because of the last sentence in the quote above, is this piece from The Washington Post: “Immigrants have been turned away from pharmacies and other places after being asked for driver’s licenses, Social Security numbers or health insurance cards—specific documentation not mandated by states or the federal government but often requested at vaccination sites across the country. … Often the request comes in English, a language many of the vaccine-seekers don’t fully understand. Some state agencies and businesses that provide vaccinations have acknowledged the problem and vowed that it will stop.”

• Riverside County is asking residents to take a survey—in either English or Spanish, with all answers confidential—regarding the vaccine process. According to the news release: “Riverside County has launched an online survey that seeks input from residents regarding their views about the COVID vaccine. The survey is part of an effort to better understand the public’s feelings about vaccination and the experiences they have had with coronavirus to this point. “Knowing how residents are feeling about vaccination helps us to know how we can better assist them with any concerns they may have about the vaccine,” said Kim Saruwatari, director of Riverside University Health System–Public Health. … The brief survey may be completed online in just five minutes and poses questions that gauge residents’ level of information about vaccination, and whom they consider the most trusted voices when deciding matters related to the pandemic.” The survey link is here. I went ahead and took it myself, and while some of the questions seemed oddly phrased, it was quick and painless. I also LOL’d when, at the end, “Done! Your information was sent perfectly.” Sent perfectly?

The Los Angeles Times poses a fascinating question: “Are herd immunity and the California coronavirus variant preventing a West Coast spring surge?” The answer, of course, is, “We don’t know. Maybe?” Nonetheless, the piece makes for an interesting read.

The Georgia voting law changes have been discussed a LOT lately, following the removal of the MLB All-Star Game and other things from the state. Meanwhile, some Republicans are crying foul, claiming the law has been misrepresented. If you’re curious about what is actually in the law, here’s a fantastic explainer from The Washington Post. (Spoiler alert: The law isn’t all bad … just mostly bad.)

• Related and VERY interesting, from CBS News: “More than 100 of the nation’s top corporate leaders met virtually on Saturday to discuss ways for companies to continue responding to the passage of more restrictive voting laws across the country, a signal that the nation’s premier businesses are preparing a far more robust, organized response to the ongoing debate. With some CEOs chiming in from Augusta National Golf Club, site of the Masters golf tournament, attendees on the high-level Zoom call included leaders from the health care, media and transportation sectors and some of the nation’s leading law and investment firms. ‘The gathering was an enthusiastic voluntary statement of defiance against threats of reprisals for exercising their patriotic voices,’ said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a Yale University management professor who helped organize the confab.” 

• This headline from The Hill made me sigh: “40 percent of Marines have declined the coronavirus vaccine.” Key quote: “‘The Navy and Marine Corps are providing substantial educational information broadly, and working with commands to ensure Marines, Sailors, and beneficiaries have accurate information regarding the safety and efficacy of the vaccines to encourage individuals to get immunized,’ Capt. Andrew Wood, a Marines spokesman, told The Hill in a statement. The data showed that 75,500 Marines have received the vaccine and 48,000 have declined it. Overall, the acceptance rate is 61.1 percent.”

This update from The New York Times on the border crisis is harrowing. The story’s start: “The desperate plea landed this week in the email inboxes of employees in government agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and NASA: Will you consider taking a four-month paid leave from your job to help care for migrant children in government-run shelters packed with new arrivals at the border? The request to much of the federal work force came from the Department of Health and Human Services, which is at the heart of a frantic effort by the Biden administration to keep up with a surge in young people crossing the southwestern border hoping to reunite with relatives already in the United States. The numbers are daunting. In March, border agents encountered nearly 19,000 children at the border—the largest number recorded in a single month—most of them fleeing poverty and violence in Central America. And the flow of migrant children is expected to only increase in coming weeks.”

• A group of supporters has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help save Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, which has been closed since the pandemic began. According to the fundraiser page (and please ignore the dangling modifier): “The Purple Room is a Palm Springs institution. Originally opened in 1960, Michael Holmes had a vision to bring the glamour and excitement of the supper club back to Palm Springs. After extensive renovations and eight years of hard work, Michael was able to offer the very best in dining and entertainment in an intimate setting to our beautiful community. Michael is a very independent person who believes hard work and dedication will reap its own rewards. Unfortunately, he is financially devastated and not sure how he can continue. The Purple Room employs 32 staff, 12 regular musicians and countless entertainers throughout the year.  We are in danger of losing this great community asset.” As of this writing, the fundraiser has collected more than $70,000 of a $240,000 goal in just three days.

• Good reopening news out of the city of Indio. According to a news release: “In response to Riverside County’s changing public health tiers, and the resumption of some in-person learning for students in middle and high school, the Indio Teen Center at 81678 Avenue 46 is now open to youth in grades 8 to 12. The Teen Center provided free, quality programming for out-of-school time throughout the pandemic virtually, and is excited to resume those activities in person on Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.  The April calendar includes tennis, giant chess, tie-dye, and creating sloth garden planters!  Programming will take place outdoors. Teens continuing on distance learning can continue to participate in virtual programming, with contactless program supply delivery on Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. The center will have a limited capacity at 50 teens at one time, and is open for those who are attending school in-person. Schools have divided students in hybrid learning into cohorts, and the Teen Center will follow that schedule. Therefore, on the days those students attend school in-person, they can attend the Teen Center.” Check out the Indio Teen Center site for more details.

• Buried within this ZDNet piece about a Facebook sorta-hack, after which info from 553 million Facebook users was posted online, is this helpful tidbit: “To see if you have been included in this data breach, you can go over to Have I Been Pwned, a search engine service offered by security expert Troy Hunt. As data leaks occur, data dumps are added to the engine in order to allow the general public to type in an email address or phone number—in an international format—and see if their information has been published online.” I am sad to report I have been pwned multiple times.

• And finally … after we mentioned in this space last week that one of our neighbors was appearing on Jeopardy!, a couple of other readers wrote in to let us know about other locals’ TV appearances. Jonathan Goldman wrote in to say: “I will be a contestant on a rebroadcast of Master Minds, from Game Show Network, cable channel 6, Tuesday, April 13, at 4:30 p.m.” And Karin Jaffie let us know: “Three famous drag queens (two live here) are going to be on the Game Show Network Wednesday (April 14). … Heklina, Scott Coker Free (Pippi Lovestocking) and Ethylina Canne” will appear on Get a Clue. So consider yourself informed!

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Jimmy Boegle

Jimmy Boegle

Jimmy Boegle is the founding editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent. A native of Reno, Nevada, the Dodgers fan went to Stanford University intending to become a sportswriter—but fell...