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Wednesday, Feb. 15 | ☀️ 63°/41°

Welcome to Wednesday.

This week provides the opportunity to celebrate dates, and not the ones many of us went on Tuesday evening (happy belated Valentine's Day). The county fair starts Friday in Indio, but so does the National Date Festival. Need some fun facts? Date palms were first planted here in the 1890s and cover roughly 6,500 acres today. Our date industry employs about 2,500 people. Approximately 95% of the dates sold in the US come from the Coachella Valley. That's plenty of reason to celebrate!

🎶 Setting the mood: "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" by Beyoncé
The Coachella Valley, seen here in the distance, owes its rugged beauty in part to the fact the San Andreas fault runs through it. (Photo: Shutterstock)

💥 On shaky ground

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake and aftershocks that struck Turkey and Syria this month left behind a trail of devastation. Most alarming for Coachella Valley residents might be the fact they happened along a fault line similar to the one found here. What would happen if a similar earthquake happened here? Researchers weighed in:

  • The 800-mile-long San Andreas fault that stretches from the Salton Sea to Cape Mendocino is similar to other faults in New Zealand and Turkey. Because the fault is long, mature, and on land, it makes California one of the most active seismic zones in the world.
  • Simulations show that if a 7.8 earthquake hit Southern California, 1,800 people could be killed, 50,000 injured, and 500,000 displaced.
  • However, California will likely avoid some of the structural devastation seen in Turkey and Syria because more of our buildings have been retrofitted to survive earthquakes.
  • Bottom line: Seismologist Lucy Jones at Caltech says the state has had 7.8s in the past, and they’re in our future. “There’s no way to say when it’s going to be happening,” she said. “Compared to the long-term average, we’ve been quiet for a while.”

🏛️ 'Recovery village' derailed

After Coachella City Council members expressed doubts about the project, Riverside County officials decided not to build a 450-bed “recovery village” in the city.

  • The project would have provided assistance and temporary housing for people with substance abuse and mental health issues. Facilities like these are in short supply in the county, particularly in the east end.
  • Council members initially supported the idea, but came to the conclusion that the city could not handle a project of that size. 
  • The site was supposed to be home to the city’s first hotel, and city officials also expressed concerns over the loss of tax revenue. 
  • Bottom line: The county still intends to place a behavioral health campus in each of the five supervisorial districts, and county officials say they are actively looking for a new location.

🏗️ Restrictions extended

Looking to foster a more vibrant downtown, Desert Hot Springs officials voted to extend a moratorium last week on certain businesses in its core commercial area.

  • The measure is aimed at encouraging development of businesses such as restaurants, bars, breweries, cannabis retail, and farmer’s markets. It discourages more than 80 others, including warehouses, grocery stores, urgent cares, and vehicle repair shops.
  • First implemented on Jan. 17, it was approved for just 45 days. With the extension approved on Jan. 7, it will now be in place for a maximum of two years. During those two years, the city will develop and implement a specific plan that could eventually make the restrictions permanent. 
  • Bottom line: The city’s community development director, Erick Becerril, said the downtown area should play a “critical role in bringing together residents to shop, socialize and share a collective experience in the city.”


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📰 In Other News

🚨 A 33-year-old Indio man was identified Monday as the victim in a collision between a motorcycle he was operating and a vehicle in a Palm Springs intersection Sunday afternoon. There is still no word on exactly what happened.

😷 A local software engineer became the Coachella Valley's unofficial COVID-19 record keeper during the pandemic. The CV Independent's Kevin Fitzgerald explains what motivated him and what his plans are now that Covid has faded a bit into the background. 

A 2017 Palm Desert High School graduate is aiming to make the opening day roster of the Chicago Cubs after a brief appearance with the team last season.

📅 Events

Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival
Feb. 17 through Feb. 26 | Indio

Back for the first time since 2020, the fair and date festival will be in full swing starting on Friday and lasting until Feb. 26. Visit for tickets and more details.

Cathedral City special City Council meeting
Today | 2 p.m. | Council Chambers
Read the meeting agenda here, and watch the meeting streamed online here

Indio City Council / Indio Water Authority meeting
Tonight | 5 p.m. | Council Chambers
City Council meetings are conducted both in person and remotely through Zoom. Read the meeting agenda here

Randall Henderson Trail: Interpretative hike
Thursday| 8:30 a.m. | Palm Desert
A volunteer docent will take you on a guided hike through the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, giving excellent views of the Coachella Valley. RSVP is required. A suggested $5 donation is encouraged to support Friends of the Desert Mountains volunteer programs.

Rancho Mirage City Council meeting
Thursday | 1 p.m. | Council Chambers
The City Council meeting will begin at 1 p.m. For more information, visit the City of Rancho Mirage's website

Indian Wells City Council meeting
Thursday | 1:30 p.m. | Council Chamber
A special closed session starts at 12:30 p.m., and the regular City Council meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. Read the meeting agenda here.

Palm Desert City Council meeting
Thursday | 4:30 p.m. | Civic Center
A closed session begins at 3:30, and the regular session starts at 4 p.m. Read the meeting agenda here

Modernism Week 2023
Thursday through Feb. 26 | Multiple locations 
The annual modernism festival officially returns this week, and events span different parts of the Coachella Valley, not just the City of Palm Springs. Check out the Modernism Week website for more details about events and activities near you. 

Veterans Fishing Day Trout Derby
Saturday | 7 to 10 a.m. | Lake Cahuilla Veterans Regional Park
Join RivCoParks and Supervisor Perez's Fourth District Veterans Cabinet for a veterans fishing derby on Saturday. Free (with ID) for veterans, military and family within the same vehicle. For non-veterans, entry is $10 per person upon check-in, and an additional $5 at the derby booth. 

Zoo Families: Wildly Diverse!
Saturday | 9:30 a.m. | The Living Desert 
Not all animal families look alike — this family program invites you and your pride to learn about the animal families at The Living Desert. The event includes an up-close animal experience, story time, a craft, tram tour and admission to the zoo afterwards. (Prices vary)

Desert Art Festival at The River
Saturday, Sunday and Monday | Rancho Mirage
Enjoy an array of art presented by some of the best artists in the Coachella Valley at this three-day festival. Don't forget to check out the live art exhibits throughout The River common areas all weekend. 

Palm Desert Certified Farmers' Market
Sunday | 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. | 72559 Highway 111
Head out to the weekly farmers' market in Palm Desert on Sunday to find fresh produce and much more. 

Sunday Sounds: Concert Series
Sunday | 2 p.m. | Civic Center Park Amphitheater
In partnership with Desert Recreation, the Palm Desert Library is presenting an ongoing concert series. This Sunday, the group HotFlash will perform, covering your favorite rock 'n roll hits.

Play: "The Mousetrap"
Thursday through Sunday | Indio Performing Arts Center
For almost 70 years, Agatha Christie's "The Mousetrap" has kept millions of people from every corner of the globe on the edge of their seats. This thrilling murder mystery returns to Desert TheatreWorks this weekend and next. ($40)

Submit Your Event

⌛ And finally ...

The interest list for the Disney Cotino Storyliving Community project in Rancho Mirage has officially opened up. The 618-acre project will feature 1,700 homes and a 24-acre swimmable water lagoon.

  • A recent email update was sent to those subscribed to the mailing list, letting them know that sales are anticipated to begin later this year.
  • Disney has not revealed the estimated home cost, but says they will be market rate. 
  • The site is located off Bob Hope Drive, between Frank Sinatra and Gerald Ford drives. There are also plans to add a hotel, retail buildings, and restaurants. 
  • At issue: The project has drawn national attention from Disney fans, but also concern from locals worried about the ongoing drought. 

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