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Wednesday, Jan. 25 | 72°/51°

Welcome to Wednesday, and welcome back (eventually) to the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival. Organizers of the popular event, last held prior to the pandemic, announced its return recently, along with at least one part of its entertainment lineup — a monster truck show. Mark your calendars for Feb. 17-26. While you wait, maybe try making one of these date recipes.
🎶 Setting the mood: "It's only Wednesday" by Crash Kings

First things first: A win-win in Indian Wells

Talon Burgess outside Indian Wells City Hall. (Photo: Maria Sestito)

The Cathedral City resident who spent most of his military career leading and managing others is hoping to do that in local government. Indian Wells is giving him the chance.

Driving the news: Rather than thinking about retirement, Gunnery Sgt. Talon Burgess is ending his 20-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps by spending six months as a fellow with the city of Indian Wells, learning everything he can about city management.

  • Burgess is the first veteran fellow hosted by the city through the International City/County Management Association’s (ICMA) Veterans Local Government Management Fellowship SkillBridge Program. 
Why it matters: Indian Wells is among just nine cities in California participating in the program and the only city offering it in the Coachella Valley.

Zoom in: During his time in Indian Wells, Burgess will be spending time in each of the city’s departments, learning and getting hands-on experience in each of them. His goal is to become a city manager in the next five to 10 years. 

What they're saying: “I think it’s good to get him exposed to all the different areas of the city because it truly can show that he has that experience in local government. It’s really about getting him as much experience as he can in six months to help him find a great career.” — Peter Castro, Indian Wells deputy city manager

Bottom line: Burgess is still being paid by the Department of Defense as he finishes up his final six months of military service. The program is intended to help him transition from military life into a civilian one. 
  • “It’s a win-win,” he said. “It’s a win for me because I get some experience, but also a win for them because they get another hand around here to help with different projects and whatnot.” 
Dive deeper with Maria Sestito's complete story.

In brief: Let there be lights

Aging lighting at the La Quinta Sports Complex needs to be replaced, and the city is working on it. The red circles here indicate two light poles that are being replaced.

A planned fix for lighting issues at popular La Quinta sports fields may eventually lead to a complete revamp of the facility.

Driving the news: At its regular meeting last week, the La Quinta City Council approved allocating an additional $50,000 in Measure G funds to help pay for removal and replacement of two failing light poles at the Sports Complex. The additional money is needed, city staff wrote in a report, to help offset increased costs for materials as well as interim pole support or temporary lighting.

  • Funding for the entire $250,000 project was included in the 2022/2023 capital improvement program budget.

At issue: Two poles are beyond their 30-year lifespan and need to be replaced, and lights atop the new poles need to be upgraded to be safer and more energy efficient. The lighting was first installed in 2014, leading to concerns from neighbors that it lead to light pollution.

Why it matters: The sports fields are heavily utilized by the La Quinta Youth Sports Association in the evenings for youth baseball and softball activities, as well as school activities for the adjacent La Quinta Middle School and Harry Truman Elementary School.

Bigger picture: The popularity of the sports fields, as well as those at Colonel Mitchell Middle School, led to discussion by council members about how best to address future needs of those who participate in youth sports.

  • “I think it’s important that we take a real serious look at this sports complex and look at a long term planning process to bring this perhaps into the twenty-first century,” said Councilmember Kathleen Fitzpatrick.
Next steps: For now, only the new lighting at the Sports Complex is moving forward. That work, performed by Ace Electric, should be completed by September.

Enjoy an unforgettable experience on a private windmill farm.

You’ve arrived in Palm Springs once you see the iconic wind turbines. Whether you take a self-driving tour or a guided golf cart tour, you will be taken on a journey to learn about wind energy, how they work and the history of the first wind farm. You can get up close to a modern wind turbine up to 400 feet high.

Click here for more information.

In Other News

💰 A valley-based company apparently performing payroll services in the cannabis industry was the recipient of a $1.37 million Paycheck Protection Program loan, claiming 185 employees. But when the Coachella Valley Independent checked into the company recently, reporter Kevin Fitzgerald couldn't find any employees. 

  • Attempts by The Independent to contact the company's founder were unsuccessful. Furthermore, the Small Business Administration states that companies involved in the marijuana business weren't eligible for the loans.

🏘️ Indio residents will have a chance to comment on a proposed 180-unit affordable housing apartment project during a Planning Commission hearing today.

  • Representatives of Lift To Rise, a nonprofit dedicated to easing the valley's housing shortage, are backing the effort, along with multiple other partners.

💄 A one-time assistant to Mae West recalled his time spent with the bawdy, groundbreaking writer-actress while watching a play put on by Cathedral City-based Coachella Valley Repertory that centers around her.


2023 The Southwest Arts Festival
This week | Empire Polo Club, Indio
The acclaimed art festival will feature a variety of traditional, contemporary and abstract fine works of art, as well as jewelry and quality crafts. The event starts on Thursday and ends Sunday.

Adult paint & craft hour
This afternoon | 3:30 p.m. | Desert Hot Springs Library
A mason jar guided craft. All supplies will be provided.

Teen time games
Thursday | 5:30 p.m. | Desert Hot Springs Library
Play board games, hang out and start a video game tournament with friends.

Author Talk: Maria Victoria Castillo, "Field Work Through the Eyes of a Child"
Friday | 3 p.m. | La Quinta Museum
Author Maria Victoria Castillo will discuss her experience harvesting crops from Coachella Valley fields with her family during the 1960s and 70s.

Saturday | 2 p.m. | Desert Hot Springs Library
All ages are invited to enjoy a traditional Mexican game. There will also be fun small prizes.

Drag bingo benefiting Animal Samaritans
Saturday | 3 p.m. | The Barracks Bar, Cathedral City
Join Animal Samaritans for a drag bingo fundraiser at The Barracks Bar. Must be 21+ to attend.

St. Olaf Choir: West Coast Tour 2023
Jan. 30 | 7 p.m. | St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Palm Desert
For more than a century, the St. Olaf Choir has set the gold standard for choral singing, performing for millions around the world. Tickets, available here, are $45 for general admission and $10 for all students.

Submit Your Event

And finally...

Efforts are underway to launch a new chapter of a service organization in the Coachella Valley, and you're invited to join.

Driving the news: A kickoff is being planned next month for the Greater Coachella Valley chapter of Kiwanis, which currently has a chapter in Palm Springs.

  • Those with an interest in joining are invited to the event, held at a private residence in Indio, on Monday, Feb. 6, at 6:30 p.m.
Why it matters: Kiwanis was formed in 1915 with the intent of promoting business networking. It soon expanded to include community service. Today, members are active in supporting libraries, youth activities, granting scholarships, and more.

Details: If you're interested in attending the kickoff, reach out to Delia Guzman at 714-317-9535 or email

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