Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: June 17, 2021

What if you threw a big party to celebrate the end of harsh restrictions after the height of a devastating pandemic … and nobody came?

Well, that’s basically what happened in downtown Palm Springs on Tuesday night, June 15.

I am exaggerating slightly; as you can see from the photo below, there were SOME people at the mini VillageFest, which took over the section of Tahquitz Canyon Way between Palm Canyon and Indian Canyon drives from 5 to 8 p.m. However, when we were there around 6:30, the number of people there (not counting vendors) hovered around the dozen mark.

The anemic turnout can be blamed on one word: HEAT. As you probably already know, Palm Springs recorded a record high for the date of 120 degrees on Tuesday. By the time we made our way to the celebration, it had, uh, “cooled” down to 117 or so.

As a result, the whole thing was a big bummer, albeit an understandable one. My husband was the one who insisted that we go; he had in mind a joyous community celebration like the one Palm Springs had on June 26, 2013, when people celebrated at “Forever Marilyn” (which seemingly wasn’t controversial then … go figure) after the U.S. Supreme Court repealed part of the Defense of Marriage Act, setting the stage for gay marriage to be legal once again in California.

But, alas, a festive celebration was not to be—120 degrees is hard to combat outdoors, after all—even though, in many ways, June 15, 2021, was just as big of a deal as June 26, 2013 was, if not bigger. The fact that Palm Springs was welcoming VillageFest vendors back for the first time in 15 months in and of itself was a huge deal. (And, boy, did I feel bad for those poor vendors who toughed it out Tuesday night.)

Fortunately, as long as the SARS-CoV-2 variants are kept at bay, there will be plenty of other opportunities to celebrate.

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

Music and Art in Nature: Mario Lalli and Dave Catching Bring the Beneath the Desert Sky Summer Concert Series to Joshua Tree National Park

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Empowering Youth: Inland Congregations United for Change Is Working to Develop Young Leaders in the Eastern Coachella Valley

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June 16, 2021

Inland Congregations United for Change in the eastern Coachella Valley has formed a tight-knit group of youth leaders who are working on issues including mental […]

I Want to Work! A Frustrated Veteran of the Service-Industry Says Close-Minded, Pre-Pandemic Thinking Is Dooming Restaurants

By Anonymous

June 15, 2021

I am a hospitality/food and beverage employee who wants to work—but I also want to be valued, fairly compensated and treated humanely.

Theatrical Baby Steps: CVRep Eases Its Way Back Into Live Shows With Its Summer Classical Music Series

By Matt King

June 17, 2021

After being closed to live audiences since March 2020, CVRep is finally opening its doors again. for its Summer Classical Music Series.

Hiking With T: Yes, It’s Hot—but It’s Still Possible to Enjoy the Great Outdoors With Schedule Adjustments or a Little Travel

By Theresa Sama

June 15, 2021

The Coachella Valley is surrounded by a vast array of beautiful national parks and forests, state parks, and quaint mountain towns—where temperatures are 10 to 30 […]

The Weekly Independent Comics Page for June 17, 2021!

By Staff

June 17, 2021

Topics tackled on this week’s comics page include housing costs, hairballs, critical race theory, bipartisanship—and more!

The Indy Endorsement: The Meatballs in Marinara at Vicky’s of Santa Fe

By Jimmy Boegle

June 16, 2021

A few weeks ago, I discovered the meatballs in marinara appetizer at Vicky’s of Santa Fe—just in time for the restaurant’s annual summer closure.

More News

• As expected, the state today loosened up face mask rules for vaccinated people at their workplaces. The Associated Press explains: “California regulators on Thursday approved revised workplace pandemic rules that allow employees who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus the same freedoms as when they are off the job, including ending most mask requirements. The revised regulations approved by the governor-appointed California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board come after weeks of confusion. The rules adopted in a 5-1 vote now conform with general state guidelines that took effect Tuesday by ending most mask rules for vaccinated people. Gov. Gavin Newsom immediately issued an executive order waiving the usual 10-day legal review. The new rules will take effect as soon as they are filed with the secretary of state.”

• The state also announced today that unemployed Californians will soon need to prove they’re looking for work in order to keep getting their EDD benefits. KTVU (San Francisco) explains: “California will stop giving unemployment benefits to people who are not actively applying for jobs, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration announced Thursday. Federal law requires people who are out of work to be actively looking for jobs to be eligible for unemployment benefits. But the federal government let states waive that requirement during the pandemic because so many businesses were ordered to close. California has waived its work-search rule since March 2020. But Thursday, the Employment Development Department said it would resume the requirement July 11.”

This just in from the National Weather Service: “Palm Springs officially reached 123 degrees this afternoon. This has TIED the all-time high temperature record. Palm Springs has reached 123 degrees three other times in recorded history.” Earlier reports had indicated Palm Springs hit an all-time-record 124, but apparently, when the NWS double-checked, they learned we only managed a record-tying 123. To which, I say: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

• The Palm Springs Post had a fascinating item in its June 15 edition, which you can find by clicking here and scrolling down a bit. Here’s part of it: “Visitors hoping to cool off at the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway ran into a roadblock using the attraction’s website starting Memorial Day weekend. For 18 days starting May 28, the Tram’s ticketing website malfunctioned, bringing online ticket sales to a halt. Its website stated that tickets were sold out or offline. The ticketing website came back to life Monday morning, and is now processing tickets. The outage also appeared to affect the Tramway’s email system and credit card processing. … On Monday, spokesperson Greg Purdy could not say whether the incidents were malicious, but he did add they are ‘now under investigation by an outside IT firm.'” Hmm.

• Speaking of fascinating items within a larger context: The city of Palm Springs sent out a news release on Tuesday talking about various changes taking place post-reopening. It included this could-be-a-really-big-deal item on residential evictions: “For residential tenancies, beginning July 1, 2021, residential landlords can take their tenants to small claims court in order to recover unpaid rent debt, regardless of how much the tenant owes. In addition, by June 30, 2021 residential tenants must pay at least 25% of the rent due during the period of September 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021, to avoid an eviction action being filed. Finally, beginning July 1, 2021, residential tenants will have to pay the full amount of their future rent in order to be protected from eviction.” In other words: Expect a lot of evictions to take place very soon. Sigh.

• Here are two frustratingly related items. First comes this plea from the fantastic folks at the American Red Cross: “The American Red Cross is experiencing a severe blood shortage as the number of trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries rise—and deplete the nation’s blood inventory. Donors of all blood types—especially type O and those giving platelets—are urged to make an appointment to give as soon as possible to prevent further impact to patients. Right now, hospitals are responding to an atypically high number of traumas and emergency room visits, as well as overdoses and resulting transplants. In comparison to 2019, the Red Cross has seen demand from trauma centers climb by 10% in 2021—more than five times the growth of other facilities that provide blood transfusions. … Patients need the help of the American people. Schedule an appointment to give blood now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.”

Second comes this story from NPR: “Gay and bisexual men in England, Scotland, and Wales can now donate blood, plasma and platelets under certain circumstances, the National Health Service announced this week in a momentous shift in policy for most of the U.K. Beginning Monday, gay men in sexually active, monogamous relationships for at least three months can donate for the first time. The move reverses a policy that limited donor eligibility on perceived risks of contracting HIV/AIDs and other sexually transmitted infections. … Despite efforts by advocates to change regulations in the U.S, the ability for gay and bisexual men to donate blood is still restricted. … The Food and Drug Administration’s current policy states a man who has sex with another man in the previous three months can’t donate. Federal rules previously made such donors wait 12 months before giving blood, but due to low blood supplies during the pandemic the federal government changed the policy in April.” Sigh.

College of the Desert has received a generous grant—$18 million, according to various accounts. Inside Higher Ed explains: “Just six months after making headlines for giving away $4.1 billion in donations to nonprofits and higher education institutions, philanthropist and writer MacKenzie Scott announced Tuesday that she had gifted more than $2.73 billion to dozens of colleges that are broadening access to higher education for underrepresented students, as well as advocacy organizations focused on helping those students succeed.” (Scott was once married to Jeff Bezos, a fact NBC Palm Springs ineptly tried to overplay in an apostrophe-challenged headline on the station’s website: “BEZO’S EX WIFE DONATES $18 MILLION TO COLLEGE OF THE DESERT.”)

• And finally … last week, I mentioned that Riverside County would never be able to say it reached the yellow (least-restrictive) COVID-19 tier. Even though the county qualified for the first time with the stats released on June 8 to move from orange to yellow, the state required that counties qualify for two straight weeks to move up—and the state officially did away with the tier system as of June 15. Well, the state released new stats anyway on the 15th, “for informational purposes only” … and Riverside County is indeed one of the 29 counties colored in yellow. We made it, baby! We made it!

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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...