Produced by Kendall & Mark • 12/07/22

🐪 Happy Wednesday, where we're here to tell you we've heard your feedback and continue to try and make improvements and get into a groove. As we mentioned at the outset of this venture, we are taking a "crawl, walk, run" approach. We're still very much crawling as we figure out how to cover the community a bit different than others and how to deliver that coverage (including via this newsletter). 

  • Your feedback is crucial to knowing which steps to take as we try to stop crawling and start walking. You can always offer that feedback by sending an email to Mark (who is a real human and promises to reply). 

☀️ Outlook: Mostly sunny and in the 60s for the next week, with lows in the upper 40s. It's all about the layers, people.

🎶 Setting the Mood: "Tusk" by Fleetwood Mac

First things first: 'It’s been 30 years, and there’s still dirt'

Indio Mayor Waymond Fermon shows design concepts for a park honoring city pioneer John Nobles during a meeting last week.

The city of Indio is serious about getting residents’ input on a new park that will honor John Nobles.

Driving the news: Last week, Mayor Waymond Fermon gathered a little over a dozen residents at Indio City Hall to gather ideas for the forthcoming park that will be located south of Highway 111 and east of Monroe Street.

  • The park is one of the first phases that will be built as a part of the Indio Grand Marketplace surrounding the defunct Indio Fashion Mall.

Background: John Nobles, the park’s namesake, settled in Indio in the late 1930s. He and his wife, Miranda, were gifted the land that would become Nobles Ranch by one of the city’s first doctors, Dr. Reynaldo Carreón. 

  • Nobles Ranch flourished at a time when Black community members could not be sold land. Nobles built up the ranch into a thriving neighborhood with businesses, schools, and churches.

Context: In the 1980s, David Miller, the owner of the Indio Fashion Mall, decided to expand the mall directly into the Nobles Ranch neighborhood. The city used eminent domain to kick about 100 families out.

  • Some former residents eventually reached a settlement with the city.

Why now: The mall expansion was never built.

  • “It’s been 30 years, and there’s still dirt,” Fermon said. “It’s disrespectful to the folks who lived there, and it’s unacceptable.”

The goal: With a $2.1 million budget set aside for the John Nobles Memorial Park, city officials want residents, and in particular people who used to live in Nobles Ranch or their descendants, to tell them their priorities for the park.

What they’re saying: At last week's meeting, residents said wanted features like a community garden and a place for concerts. But the biggest priority for everyone in the room was to honor the legacy of Nobles, not just through plaques and banners, but by investing in the community the way he did. 

What to look out for: The city hopes to finalize the layout of the park within the next three to four months.

Read the full story here.

Next up: Cathedral City officials address disturbing police video

In this screenshot from police body camera footage posted on Reddit, a Cathedral City police officer is seen leaping over the hood of a car.

We now know more about an incident involving the Cathedral City Police Department from 2020 that is receiving attention on social media.

Driving the news: A Reddit user posted the body camera video on Dec. 1 and then it was reposted on Twitter where it has received nationwide attention.

  • Why now: City officials say the video from Nov. 21 2020 was released last month via a public information request. 

What happened: The video shows a driver being arrested at around 3 a.m. for suspicion of felony evading, assault with a deadly weapon (his vehicle), resisting arrest, reckless driving, and violation of probation. The man is being removed from the vehicle and detained on the ground by officers when a third officer, Jeffrey Aguirre, leaps over the hood of a car and begins beating him with a baton.

  • Before the body cameras started rolling, city officials said CCPD had attempted to pull the man over for vehicle code violations, but when he didn’t pull over they began a pursuit that ended when the man allegedly crashed his vehicle into a patrol car.

The man was treated at a hospital for a bone fracture in his leg, then transported to jail.

  • The city does not know where the man is now, but he does have an active felony warrant. He is not pursuing legal action against the department or the former officer.

What they’re saying: “The incident was investigated thoroughly by the department’s internal affairs division and the use of force was also reported to the California Department of Justice in February 2021,” City Manager Charles McClendon said in a written statement Monday.

The results: After an internal investigation, it was determined that Aguirre’s use of force was excessive. He is no longer with the department, but city officials did not give a reason why.

What to watch for: Last month, just before releasing the video, CCPD requested an independent investigation by the District Attorney’s office. Independent investigations like that are not standard for use of force incidents, according to a city official.

  • That investigation has not been completed.

Read our full story here.


Enjoy an unforgettable experience on a private wind 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 stray pig was found wandering the streets of Indio on Monday. Animal Services was able to relocate the wayward hog — named Kiwi — with its owner a little while after it was first spotted and kept safe by police. (KESQ)

⚖️ A valley man suspected in a quadruple murder won't have his case declared a mistrial, a judge ruled Tuesday. (NBC Palm Springs)

🤒 COVID-19, flu and RSV cases continue to rise in the Coachella Valley. (Desert Sun)

📅 See & do

Get in the giving spirit this holiday season by donating a toy to Martha's Village & Kitchen in Indio. Bring a new, unwrapped toy for children zero to 18 years old — or a gift card for older children. And if you really want to make a difference, you can host your own toy drive to benefit the social services organization.

What to donate: If you want to help but you're lacking gift inspiration, Martha's Village outlined a few ideas on their website. For infants to 5-year-olds, toys, books, stuffed animals and games would be appreciated. Six to 12-year-olds might like Legos, puzzles, games, electronics and gift cards, while you could get teenagers gift cards, music, accessories, perfume or cologne. Parents and adults would also appreciate gift sets, sweatshirts, sweats, socks and slippers. 

When to donate: Drop off toys by Thursday, Dec. 15. Find out everything you need to know about the toy drive here

📌 Also this week

Annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Coachella
Tonight | 5:30 p.m. | 1515 Sixth Street, Coachella
Enjoy special appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus, and free food to sample and enjoy. 

North Pole Village and Mayor's Tree Lighting 
Tonight | 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. 

Ornament decorating
Thursday | 3 p.m. | Thousand Palms Library 
Children will have the opportunity to paint and decorate small ornaments for the holiday season.

Anime-Ated Holiday Parade
Friday | 6 p.m. | Cesar Chavez Street & Westerfield Way 
Enjoy a festive, anime-themed parade through the streets of downtown Coachella, followed by a celebration that includes an ice slide, carnival rides, a live DJ and food vendors. 

Family STEAM Day
Saturday | 9:30 a.m. | Sunnylands
This year’s team will share their passion for the arts and sciences by curating several STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) activities.

2nd Annual Jingle Bell Holiday Bash
Saturday | 1 p.m. | Desert Hot Springs Library
Take a photo with Santa, make crafts and more.

Parade of Lights and Holiday Festival
Saturday | 5:45 p.m. | Desert Hot Springs
Join the City of Desert Hot Springs for their annual Parade of Lights and Holiday Festival.

A Festival of Lessons and Carols for Christmas
Sunday | 7 p.m. | St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church
The St. Margaret’s Choir will be joined by readers and the organ for this yearly presentation of music for the season.

La Quinta Artist Studio Tour
Sunday | 10 a.m. | La Quinta Historical Society
La Quinta's artist studio tour is back this year, with $10 tickets. 

Zoppé an Italian Family Circus
Until Dec. 12 | 68651 Grove St., Cathedral City
The family circus is set up in Cathedral City for only 10 days, next to the Jurassic Wonders exhibit. 

Santa Photo Meet-Up
Dec. 14 | 4 p.m. | Cathedral City Library
Celebrate the holiday season by taking a photo with 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 the month. 

🎁 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 ...

Mayor Scott Matas hands out certificates as Emily Pearson, executive assistant to the city manager, reads names of Civic Academy graduates.

For more than a dozen residents of Desert Hot Springs, Tuesday night was a very unique graduation ceremony.

Driving the news: The 15 community members who received certificates from Mayor Scott Matas are the first class to graduate from the city's Civics Academy, a first-of-its-kind program in the Coachella Valley.

Closer look: During the seven-week program that began in October, participants were introduced to nearly every aspect of city government and the inner workings of multiple departments.

  • They met weekly at City Hall, learning about topics ranging from code compliance to the city manager's office.

Credit for guiding the graduates along the path to better civic awareness goes to Emily Pearson, the executive assistant to City Manager Luke Rainey. As she read the names of graduates in City Council Chambers Tuesday evening, Pearson said they were not the only ones who benefited.

  • "I really have to say that I learned a ton during the course," she said. "It was a total team effort."

Why it matters: "You can't believe everything on the Internet," Pearson later joked. That's undoubtedly true, and programs such as Civics Academy help cut through misinformation about the community by placing citizens directly in front of city leaders with the goal to "educate, engage, and inform" them.

  • The hope is that the new graduates, armed with facts about how the city actually works, will not only feel more connected to City Hall but help combat misinformation online and in person.

What they're saying: "I know so much more about the city of Desert Hot Springs than anybody here now," joked Walker Beverly after receiving his certificate. 

Learn more about the Civics Academy and look for an announcement about the next one here.

📺 Kendall feels left out because she's not watching White Lotus.

🍪 Mark is knee deep into the holiday cookies.

📝 Miss a week? Read past newsletters here.

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

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