Indy Digest: July 1, 2021
At one point last year, I was sitting at my desk, editing a story. As I peered at the copy on the screen in front of me—in a font and at a size I’ve been using for years—I had a sudden and disheartening revelation.
I couldn’t see shit.
My glasses were not the problem; I’d just been to the eye doctor—this was shortly after eye doctors were allowed to reopen after, well, you know—and I had gotten a new pair of glasses with a slightly different but accurate prescription.
As I sighed and went into Microsoft Word’s settings to zoom in on the copy a little bit more, the words my eye doctor spoke to me at that aforementioned exam replayed in my head. “You’re just getting the start of cataracts,” he said. “It’ll be years until they’re bad enough that you’ll need to do something about them. But you are at that age where your eyes start to, uh, change.”
“Go to hell” is more like it. I am sure some of you can relate to this depressing and nearly universal sign of aging. Time marches on.
Anyway, all of this is on my mind for two reasons: First: As I started this newsletter, I realized that, well, the text was starting to seem a little blurrier. Again. Sigh.
Second: It’s July 1. Already. How did that happen? Where did the first part of 2021 go? To repeat: Time marches on.
In any case, welcome to the second half of 2021. Here’s hoping it’s a fantastic half-year for you and yours—a little blurrier, perhaps, but fantastic nonetheless.
From the Independent
Younger Voices: The City of Indio’s Youth Advisory Council Offers Elected Leaders Input—and Takes on Initiatives of Its Own
By Kevin Fitzgerald
July 1, 2021
Since 1998, the city of Indio’s Youth Advisory Council has given younger people a voice.
By Robert Victor
June 29, 2021
The actors in July’s evening “celestial traffic jam” are brilliant Venus; Regulus, the faintest of all the first-magnitude stars; and Mars, as faint as it […]
July 1, 2021
On this week’s variant-free weekly Independent comics page: Claytoonz queries the Founding Fathers about Juneteenth; The K Chronicles listens as upset white men vent a […]
The Lucky 13: Christian Colin, Lead Guitarist of Giselle Woo and the Night Owls, Featured in a New Hermano Flower Shop Concert Video
By Matt King
June 30, 2021
Get to know Christian Colin, the lead guitarist of Giselle Woo and the Night Owls.
This has been one of the busier news weeks in recent memory—and I am not even talking about Britney, Cosby or Bauer. Neither am I talking about drama in the vice president’s office, nor am I referring to the Trump Organization being charged with tax crimes. (If you missed that news, get on the Google machine and peruse; we’re offering more of a local focus here in the Digest these days). So … let’s get right to it:
• We have an official date for the gubernatorial recall election. Our partners at CalMatters report: “California voters will decide on Sept. 14 whether to throw Gov. Gavin Newsom out of office, making him the second governor in state history—and just the fourth nationwide—to face a recall. The announcement today from Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis comes after weeks of procedural wrangling by Democratic lawmakers and state officials to speed up the process for choosing a recall election date. Their apparent calculation is that the Democratic governor has better odds of defeating the GOP-backed recall if an election is held sooner rather than later.”
• DAP Health announced a big change in the way it runs its sexual wellness clinic. From a news release: “For the first time, all services provided by the DAP Health sexual wellness clinic will be offered to everyone for free. This change begins July 6, 2021. DAP Health anticipates a surge in sexual activity as the COVID-19 pandemic slowly fades away, resulting in a potential rise in STIs and HIV infections. ‘In fact, the health clinic saw an increase in STIs and HIV throughout the pandemic,’ said C.J. Tobe, director of Community Health and Sexual Wellness Services for DAP Health. ‘We are proactively protecting the community’s health if these trends should continue.’ … ‘To best respond to a potential public health crisis such as a surge in STIs or HIV, we are offering all sexual wellness services for free for at least the next six months,’ said Dustin Gruber, senior marketing manager at DAP Health. Free services will include STI testing—gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis—and treatment; pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP; post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP; and HIV and hepatitis C testing.”
• The Palm Springs Post offers an update on the changes regarding services for the homeless in and around downtown Palm Springs: “A plan to duplicate services for those experiencing homelessness currently being offered out of a building in the Baristo Park neighborhood is on track to be completed at Palm Springs Methodist Church less than a week from today, city officials learned Wednesday night. Linda Barrack, president and CEO of Martha’s Village, told those in attendance at a meeting of the city’s Affordable Housing and Homelessness Standing Committee that her organization should open the doors to a 24/7 overnight shelter with a cooling center at the church, 555 E Alejo Road, on July 6, while work continues to also offer those services at the former Palm Springs Boxing Club on South El Cielo Road. The opening of that facility, expected by the end of the month, would bring about the end of a permit for a similar facility, Well in the Desert on South Calle Encilia.”
• The Palm Springs Police Department sent out a warning today: “The Palm Springs Police Department has seen an increase in skimming devices in bank ATMs and fuel pumps. Here is how they work: The skimming device is inserted into the ATM, fuel pump point of sale or many other devices that accept credit/debit cards. The skimming device can read your card once your card is placed into the machine. Your personal information can be accessed wirelessly by the suspect and a hidden camera catches your PIN number as you enter it on the key pad. Some of these devices are virtually undetectable and are installed into the machine which prevents it from being removed by the user or law enforcement. If you suspect a device you are using has been compromised with a skimmer, please contact the business owner or the bank immediately as a technician must be called out to have it removed. If you become a victim of identity theft, call your local law enforcement agency.”
• The airport is adding yet another nonstop flight to its schedule. From the June 29 news release: “Allegiant today announces new service from Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to Nashville, Tenn. via Nashville International Airport (BNA) beginning Nov. 17, 2021. … The new route will operate twice weekly.”
• The Los Angeles Times put together a handy searchable database of the 200 or so California projects that are likely to be included in a federal infrastructure bill: “The House on Thursday approved an approximately $715-billion transportation infrastructure plan that would build and repair roads, bridges and rail systems around the country. The bill forms the House’s framework for President Biden’s infrastructure plan. While the proposal is likely to change during negotiations with the Senate as it progresses toward Biden’s desk, the bill includes $920 million specifically targeted to projects throughout California.” I did a quick search, and I found one local project: $20 million for a Monroe Street interchange in Indio.
• The folks at the BNP Paribas Open—delayed from April to October this year—announced the dates and details of its 2021 edition today. From the news release: “The BNP Paribas Open, a combined ATP Masters 1000 and WTA 1000 event, will be held October 4-17, 2021, it was announced today by Tournament Director Tommy Haas. The first-ever fall edition of the BNP Paribas Open will feature a women’s event with 96-player singles draws, 32-player singles qualifying draws, and 32-team doubles draws, while the men’s event will feature 56-player singles draws, 28-player singles qualifying draws, and 28-team doubles draws. … With health and safety as the tournament’s top priority, the BNP Paribas Open will require all fans, staff, sponsors, media, and vendors to show valid proof of full vaccination in order to enter the Indian Wells Tennis Garden for the tournament.”
• Riverside County announced earlier this week that it would now update most of its COVID-19 stats only once a week, on Wednesdays, rather than every weekday: “Officials said the website data will be updated Wednesdays starting July 7. The weekly updates will provide a more accurate look at data trends. Vaccine data will continue to be posted Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. More than 2.2 million doses have been administered in Riverside County and about 53 percent of the county’s population (12 years and older) have been partially or fully vaccinated.”
• This move by the county is sorta interesting, given this news, from The Associated Press via KTLA: “California broadly reopened its economy barely two weeks ago and since then an especially contagious coronavirus variant has spread among the unvaccinated, a development that has health officials on edge and already has prompted Los Angeles County to strongly recommend everyone resume wearing masks inside. The nation’s most populous state is averaging close to 1,000 additional cases reported daily, an increase of about 17% in the last 14 days. Officials expected an increase when capacity limits were lifted for businesses and most mask restrictions and social distancing requirements were eliminated for vaccinated people.”
• And if you need another reminder that the pandemic is still very much a thing, here’s a story from the AP out of Missouri: “Some COVID-19 patients are being turned away from an overwhelmed Springfield hospital where cases are surging and taken to less-stressed hospitals hundreds of miles away in Kansas City and St. Louis. CoxHealth system president Steve Edwards said Tuesday that the hospital in Springfield was on “COVID diversion” as the Delta variant gains momentum in the southwest part of the state, where large swaths of residents aren’t vaccinated, the Springfield News-Leaders reports.”
• The year 2020 was awful for many reasons, including this one, per the AP: “Hate crime in California surged 31% in 2020, fueled mainly by a big jump in crimes targeting Black people during a year that saw the worst racial strife in decades, according to an annual report released Wednesday by the state’s attorney general. … Black people account for 6.5% of the state’s population of nearly 40 million people but were victims in 30% of all hate crimes—456 overall, up 87% from the previous year. … While the overall numbers of hate crimes targeting Asians was low—89—that was more than double the number in 2019. The most events during 2020 were reported in March and April, just as the statewide shutdown and other pandemic restrictions took hold.” Sigh.
• And finally … The New York Times published an amazing investigation yesterday that I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention. I’ll let them explain it: “The work of understanding Jan. 6 has been hard enough without (a) barrage of disinformation and, hoping to get to the bottom of the riot, The Times’s Visual Investigations team spent several months reviewing thousands of videos, many filmed by the rioters themselves and since deleted from social media. We filed motions to unseal police body-camera footage, scoured law enforcement radio communications, and synchronized and mapped the visual evidence. What we have come up with is a 40-minute panoramic take on Jan. 6, the most complete visual depiction of the Capitol riot to date. In putting it together, we gained critical insights into the character and motivation of rioters by experiencing the events of the day often through their own words and video recordings. We found evidence of members of extremist groups inciting others to riot and assault police officers. And we learned how Donald J. Trump’s own words resonated with the mob in real time as they staged the attack.”
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