Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: Feb. 9, 2023

The post-earthquake(s) news out of Turkey and Syria keeps getting worse. Here’s the live updates page from BBC News. As of this writing, the death toll is beyond 20,000—an incomprehensible number.

The news is even more disconcerting when one considers that we could have an earthquake just as strong here in the Coachella Valley.

Scratch that: We WILL have an earthquake just as strong here. The only question is whether it happens later today, or it happens after all of our lifetimes—or somewhere in between.

Fortunately, if such a quake happened here, we would likely not experience the levels of devastation Turkey and Syria are currently enduring. Time magazine reports:

As recently as last November, civil engineers raised warnings that the country’s infrastructure was incapable of handling a large earthquake. Old buildings across the country don’t meet modern quake-resistant building codes, and experts told TIME that although newer construction plans often call for higher building standards, they’re sometimes not carried out on the ground.

But make no mistake: A magnitude 7.5 or 7.8 earthquake here would not only be deadly and devastating; it would change life as we know it in the Coachella Valley for years.

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times explored what would happen if such a quake happened along the San Andreas Fault—you know, the big fault that runs right through our valley here, where a magnitude 8.2 quake is possible:

In 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey and a host of other state government agencies and academics published a study called the ShakeOut Scenario that told the story of what could happen if a magnitude 7.8 earthquake returned to Southern California.

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake would be “so powerful that it causes widespread damage and consequently affects lives and livelihoods of all southern Californians. A catastrophe is a disaster that runs amok when a society is not prepared for the amount of disruption that occurs,” the report said.

The story then goes on to list some of the impacts Southern California would face: Some 1,800 dead and nearly 50,000 injured. Freeways to Las Vegas and Phoenix destroyed. Up to a million people left homeless. Utilities severely compromised.

All we can do is be prepared—make sure emergency plans in place; have first-aid kits and a stock of food and water on hand; etc.—because it will happen here one day. The only question is when.

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

The Weekly Independent Comics Page for Feb. 9, 2023!

By Staff

February 9th, 2023

Topics addressed this week include plasma rifles, Madonna’s face, bunny slopes, melon ballers—and much more!

A 2003 Rewind: Some TV Shows From 20 Years Ago Still Hold Up

By Bill Frost

February 9th, 2023

Two decades ago, a lot of great TV shows debuted. Here are some with revisiting.

Soul for the Culture: Thee Sinseers, Performing at Pappy and Harriet’s, Meld Sounds to Attract a Multi-Generational Audience

By Matt King

February 8th, 2023

Part of Thee Sinseers’ success is due to their intermingling of cultures. The band is a perfect fit alongside old-school Chicano love songs, beloved by so many across Southern California.

The Lucky 13: Lindsay Clark, Bassist of Primer and Garb; Performing With Garb at Rippin 247 on Friday, Feb. 24

By Matt King

February 7th, 2023

Get to better know Lindsay Clark, bassist of Primer and Garb.

Back—With More Dates! The Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival Celebrates 75 years—and Its First Iteration Since 2020

By Matt King

February 7th, 2023

Finally, it’s back: From Friday, Feb. 17, through Sunday, Feb. 26, experience the 75th Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival.

More News

Palm Springs wastewater testing shows levels of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) continue to decrease; in fact, they’re at the lowest levels we’ve seen in months: “The average number of copies (per liter) recorded at the city’s wastewater treatment plant decreased. The average of 313,408 copies/L from the previous week went down to an average of 291,303 copies/L for January 30 and 31.”

• Down in Indio, the Valley Sanitary District’s wastewater testing shows that the levels of SARS-CoV-2 remain low-ish there, too. The VSD is also testing for RSV (levels holding steady), flu (pretty much nonexistent) and something called “human metapneumovirus (hMPV): a seasonal respiratory virus that is related to RSV” (increasing rapidly). In other words: There’s still respiratory-virus danger out there.

For a prime example of how eff’d up this country’s medical system is, look no further than this Reuters article about the finances of Tenet Healthcare Corp.; that’s the company that runs the Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, JFK Memorial Hospital in Indio, and the Hi-Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree: “Tenet Healthcare Corp on Thursday beat Wall Street estimates for fourth-quarter results as growth in its outpatient service business put concerns around the hospital operator’s weak 2023 forecast at bay. The Dallas-based company’s shares rose nearly 5%, after initially falling in volatile premarket trade. The upbeat quarter was also helped by an early onset of the flu season which pushed up patient admissions.” Woo hoo! An early flu season is good for profits! Ugh!

Some cleaning products are being recalled due to a risk of bacteria contamination (which makes no sense, because aren’t cleaning products supposed to kill bacteria?). Whatever. NPR says: “Some Fabuloso cleaning products were recalled Wednesday over a risk of bacteria contamination, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. As of the recall, no incidents or injuries had been reported. The Colgate-Palmolive Company, the manufacturer of the popular brand, recalled about 4.9 million bottles in the U.S. and about 56,000 in Canada. Fabuloso says about 3.9 million of those bottles were never released for sale. The recall includes several types of Fabuloso Multi-Purpose Cleaner that were produced from Dec. 14 to Jan. 23 and sold online, including Amazon, and at major retailers such as Dollar General and Walmart. … Colgate-Palmolive noted ‘a preservative was not added at the intended levels during manufacturing,’ which could have allowed Pseudomonas bacteria to grow.” You can find the list of recalled products here.

Also from NPR: The latest thing to be messed up due to supply-chain disruptions is … credit cards? How? The article explains: “It used to be that if you needed to urgently replace your credit card or debit card you could get one within a week or so. Not anymore. It can now take up to eight weeks to get a new card. Over the years, credit cards have increasingly relied on chip technology for enhanced security. Embedded in those chips are a user’s account number, identification information, and cryptographic keys that make cards more secure than when they had magnetic stripes. When pandemic-related supply chain disruptions led to a massive chip shortage, card manufacturers found themselves suddenly scrambling alongside other industries that also rely heavily on chip technology. ‘Our industry is in competition, for example, with the car manufacturing industry,’ says Alain Martin who represents Thales, one of the world’s largest payment card producers, on the Smart Payment Association. ‘They use the same kind of chip technology and so because of this competition, there’s been greater demand, shorter supply, hence the delays.’”

Our partners at Calmatters take a look at the mess that is California’s housing market. A year or so ago, nobody could afford houses because of how much they cost; today nobody can afford houses because of the higher interest rates: “While the frenzied bidding wars that have defined parts of the state’s housing markets for more than a decade may have subsided, the monthly costs of a mortgage have left the state’s market more unaffordable than at any point in the last decade, particularly for lower- and middle-class families. In December, the state’s median home price dropped to $774,580, according to the California Association of Realtors, a 2.8% annual decline likely not significant enough to make a meaningful contribution to housing affordability.

• And finally … beware of woodpeckers, because they like acorns, and that can lead to worms. Here’s what I am talking about, via CNN: “A pair of California woodpeckers are surely crushed after a pest-control technician on a routine call recently found their massive trove of acorns cleverly stashed in the walls of a California home. The Sonoma County homeowners called on Nick Castro, owner of Nick’s Extreme Pest Control, when they spotted worms coming from a bedroom wall. They turned out to be mealworms, feasting on an incredible hoard of acorns, believed to be amassed by a pair of aptly named acorn woodpeckers. ‘It was really strange. I had never really seen worms with acorns before,’ Castro told CNN. But the weirdness was just beginning. After making a small 4-inch-square hole in the wall, Castro said the acorns began spilling out. That alone wouldn’t be terribly unusual, but they ‘just kept coming,’ he said. ‘It was pretty incredible to see the amount,’ said Castro. He estimates there were at least 700 pounds of acorns, likely collected over the past two to five years.”

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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...