Produced by Kendall & Mark • 11/30/22

🐪 Happy Wednesday, where we're knee-deep in holiday activities, the Tamale Festival, and much, much more. 'Tis definitely the season, people.

☀️ Outlook: It's beginning to look a lot like winter (as we know it, at least). Temperatures will be consistently in the 60s for highs and 40s for lows. Bundle up.

🎶 Setting the Mood: "Sedona" by Houndmouth

First things first: The hidden success story of Desert Hot Springs

Data contained in a recent report shows the streets of Desert Hot Springs are dramatically safer than they were two decades ago.

Desert Hot Springs, a city often given a bad rap, may actually be one of the Coachella Valley's biggest success stories, according to data buried in a recently-released 84-page report. 

Driving the news: The city went from having the highest level of property, violent, and total crime per capita of any valley city 20 years ago to completely reversing most of those statistics.

  • For example: In 2001, for every 1,000 residents, 77 could be expected to be the victim of a property crime. In 2021, that number fell to just two residents per 1,000.
  • The statistics come straight from federal records and are part of a Coachella Valley Economic Partnership report released in October.

What they’re saying: Desert Hot Springs Mayor Scott Matas said the positive numbers come as no surprise after decades of reform.

  • “We’re not perfect, but those crime numbers show there’s a big impact thanks to how we police, at the outreach we do [with] our residents, churches, and other organizations,” Matas said. 

Looking back: New crime-reduction tactics the city deployed involved upgrading City Hall, bringing back the police department, building a new state-of-the-art dispatch center, and utilizing community policing.  

Worth noting: There’s more good news for the city when it comes to jobs. Desert Hot Springs is one of a handful of desert cities that actually added jobs between February 2020 and February 2022.

  • Matas says that’s thanks to the thriving cannabis industry, which has produced 2,700 jobs, 36% of which belong to Desert Hot Springs residents.

Yes but: The same report shows that Desert Hot Springs has the lowest median household income in the valley at about $42,000. Matas says getting that number up is a priority, along with improving education. 

Bottom line: For city leaders, one the consistent challenges is overcoming the outdated impressions of Desert Hot Springs. “We’re not going to put our head in the sand,” Matas said. “We know that image has been a problem for entrepreneurs and corporate retail.”

  • Matas says that if investors drive through the city, they can see the opportunity for themselves.

Read Kendall Balchan's complete story here.

Next up: IID narrowly votes to unlock $250 million in federal money for troubled Salton Sea

The Salton Sea is set to benefit from $250 million in federal money for environmental cleanup and restoration following a vote Tuesday evening by the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) Board of Directors.

Driving the news: The Department of the Interior announced Monday it had reached an agreement with leaders from the California Natural Resources Agency, IID, and the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD). 

  • The money, distributed over four years, comes from the Inflation Reduction Act and is in addition to the nearly $583 million already promised to the sea from the state.
  • It will be used to help mitigate the impacts of the worsening drought crisis impacting the sea.

Yes, but: Most of the money is contingent on IID and CVWD making good on plans to use less water from the Colorado River.

  • IID is the entity that receives the most significant share of the river, and its rights to its water date back more than a century.

At issue: The agreement hinged on a critical vote from the IID Board of Directors that was far from unanimous.

  • IID directors Alex Cardenas and Javier Gonzalez argued against approving the agreement at Tuesday’s meeting, citing concerns over consequences for farmers.
  • Other directors won out in the end, and the motion to approve the agreement passed 3-2. 

What they’re saying: “This is a great step, but I think we need a lot more,” said Frank Ruiz, Salton Sea program director for Audubon California. “We need to continue discussing water sustainability in the region.”


Reduce Stress. Sleep Better. Tone your Body. Stretch your Muscles. Clear Your Mind. Practice Yoga.

Yoga Central is the desert’s only Outdoor Yoga Studio. Offering classes for all levels 7 days a week. Tons of Shade. Plenty of Breezes. Endless Good Vibes. Call to receive a special Buy One; Get One Class Free offer. (760) 861-8574.

Feel better, Look better, Be better. Visit our website for class schedule:

🗞️ In other news ...

🌳 Indio is moving forward with plans for John Nobles Memorial Park and needs your input at a meeting tonight. (KESQ)

🎄 If you're in the market for a Christmas tree or a holiday plant, here's where to find them in the valley. (Desert Sun)

🍝 Want a 'perfectly balanced dish'? You'll want to head to Cathedral City for the spaghetti carbonara at Sammy's Place. (CV Independent)

📅 See & do

🫔 Head out east this week to experience one of the best events the Coachella Valley has to offer: the Indio International Tamale Festival. From tomorrow until Sunday, visitors can sample classic tamales (and a whole lot of other food) from a wide range of vendors, listen to live music, enjoy carnival rides and more. 

If you go: Admission to the event at Miles Avenue Park is free, but you can buy passes online for some of the bigger attractions (like the bounce house, rock climbing wall, roller disco, etc.) ahead of time. 

Plus: The festival is also introducing Mercadito de Noche, a festive night market on Thursday and Friday nights from 5 to 10 p.m. The market will have food, rides, holiday lighting, mercado shopping and entertainment.

For more: Check out the festival's website

📌 Also this week

Parent workshop: Information about fentanyl 
Today | 5:30 p.m. | Indio High Performing Arts Center
All parents from Desert Sands Unified School District are welcome to attend a workshop about the dangers of fentanyl. 

Community input meeting on Indio park
Today | 6 p.m. | Indio City Council Chambers
The City of Indio welcomes feedback on the future John Nobles Memorial Park. 

La Quinta Tree Lighting Ceremony
Friday | 6 p.m. | Civic Center Campus, La Quinta
The City of La Quinta will host its annual tree lighting ceremony to kick off the holiday season. The free event will feature a visit from Santa. 

WildLights at The Living Desert
Select dates in December | The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
It's that time of year again — the holiday lights are back at The Living Desert! Visitors can enjoy the zoo's annual "magical winter wonderland" on select dates throughout December. 

Tree Lighting Celebration at The River
Friday | 6 p.m. | Rancho Mirage 
Looking for more tree lighting festivities after La Quinta's Friday event? Check out the celebration at The River at Rancho Mirage, where there will be guest speakers, live music, a holiday raffle and a toy drive. 

La Quinta meet-and-greet
Dec. 6 | 5:30 p.m. | La Quinta City Hall
The community is invited to attend an open house from the City of La Quinta: an opportunity to meet and chat with city staff and council members while enjoying light refreshments. 

North Pole Village and Mayor's Tree Lighting 
Dec. 7 | 5 p.m. | City Center Plaza, Cathedral City 
A tree lighting ceremony — with a twist! The event includes a visit from Santa, candy canes and a free movie. The North Pole Village will remain as a static display until Jan. 9. 

🎁 Your guide to holiday events

The 2022 holidays are in full swing in cities throughout the Coachella Valley, and we’re here to try and help you sort through everything happening.

Click here for our complete list of events.

And finally ...

While you may be focused on securing and standing up your Christmas tree right now, officials with the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) want you to think about trees of a different sort.

Driving the news: All IID customers living in the Coachella Valley are invited to pick up a free tree in La Quinta on Friday. It's the second round of the district's new “Tree for All” program. 

  • To receive a tree, you first need to register here. Then, on Friday between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. go to the library in La Quinta, located at 78-275 Calle Tampico.
  • Available trees include crape myrtle, southern magnolia, burgundy desert willow, and jacaranda.

Why it matters: If cared for as directed, the new trees will provide many benefits to you and your neighborhood including energy savings, improved air quality, habitat for wildlife, increased property values, and additional neighborhood walkability.

Details: Customers may participate in the Tree for All program once every 12 months. More information is available here.

🎄 Kendall still prefers a real Christmas tree.

💡 Mark is afraid to plug in his tree lights because he just knows half of them will not work.

📝 Miss a week? Read past newsletters here.

📣 Want to reach thousands with your message? Email us here.

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