Covid conditions

In this week’s newsletter: A solemn anniversary, issues for the valley’s big screens & more.


Welcome to Wednesday, everyone.

It was just over three years ago that the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the United States, and in one month it will be the three-year anniversary of the first case in Riverside County, reported at Eisenhower Hospital in Rancho Mirage

Last Saturday, families who lost loved ones during the pandemic gathered in Palm Desert to honor their memories. The moment came with a reminder from Palm Desert Mayor Pro Tem Karina Quintanilla.

“(W)e have to keep their memories alive so that we’re able to tell people we have to work together so that we don’t repeat this,” Quintanilla said.

🎶 Setting the mood: Angels” by Robbie Williams

🚧 Street beautification complete

Riverside County recently completed a $5.5 million project to fix and beautify Highway 111 and Oasis Street in downtown Indio, marking the moment with a ribbon cutting last week.

  • Construction began in April 2022 and included work to repair Highway 111 from Arabia Street to Smurr Street, and Oasis Street from Highway 111 to the southern boundary of the county parking structure on Plaza Avenue.
  • Improvements included new paving, new street lighting, sidewalk upgrades, new curbs and gutters, ADA accessible ramps, striping, landscaped medians, a new traffic signal, and a new right turn lane. 
  • Why it matters: “This was a major county investment to revitalize Highway 111 and Oasis Street, improving access to downtown Indio, the justice center complex, and the main corridor leading to the Riverside County Fairgrounds,” said County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez during a Feb. 2 ceremony.

📽️ Big problems for big screens

Coachella Valley cinephiles are feeling the effects of decisions made by big and small movie houses made in part to the lingering impact of the pandemic.

  • The Tristone Palm Desert 10 Cinemas at the Shops at Palm Desert mall closed on Sunday, making it the third area movie theater to fold since the pandemic began.
  • In Palm Springs, the  Cultural Center made the difficult decision late last year to no longer show first-run movies at Camelot Theatres.
  • A nationwide shuttering of movie theaters has been blamed on a host of issues: shorter box office windows, the rise of streaming services, and the poor performances of any movie not centering on a superhero. 
  • What they’re saying: “It’s devastating,” said Bruce McFarlane, a Palm Springs resident, speaking about the dwindling big screen options. “Especially because this is a city that hosts a huge international film festival.”

🍣 Nobu readies for year-round service

Fans of the upscale Nobu dining experience in the valley are in luck starting later this month.

  • Nobu Indian Wells, an award-winning Japanese restaurant located in Stadium 2 of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, will open its doors to diners year-round beginning Monday, Feb. 13th.
  • The restaurant, which has been a staple attraction at the BNP Paribas Open annually since 2014, will offer its world-famous dishes to locals and visitors.
  • Details: Reservations, which can be made here, opened on Monday.


ONCE – Winner of Eight Tony Awards – at CVRep Feb. 21 – March 5

Based on the film of the same name, Once is a unique musical about love, courage, and the power of music. CVRep, your home for high-caliber theatre in an intimate setting. Conveniently located on HWY 111 in between Rancho Mirage and Palm Springs. Tickets available at

Click here for more information

📰 In other news

🏈 If you haven’t heard, the Super Bowl is this weekend. Wondering where to watch it, aside from the comfort of your own home? Here’s a rundown of valley venues showing the game. 

📖 A nonprofit program that aims to help children from low-income households read in English needs more volunteers in Indio, Oasis, and Salton City. Think you can help? Head here to learn more.

The Coachella Valley Invitational soccer event continues through Feb. 18 at Indio’s Empire Polo Club. A dozen MLS teams are participating, with matches continuing Thursday and this weekend

📅 Events

Coachella Valley Watercolor Society Art Show and Sale

Thursday Feb. 9: 5-7pm
Feb 10-12: 10am – 4pm
Free Admission
Opening Preview Reception Sale
Daily Artist Demos 11 and 1:30
Artists’ Center at the Galen
72 – 567 Highway 111, Palm Desert 

Ted Talk Hangout
Today | 1 p.m. | La Quinta Museum
Enjoy a TED talk on the big screen and then discuss. This month, the museum will watch “The Mission to Safeguard Black History in the U.S.” by Julieanna L. Richardson.

Meeting: Palm Desert Housing Commission
Today | 3:30 p.m. | City Hall
This meeting may be conducted by teleconference, and there will also be public access to the meeting location. Read the meeting agenda here

Meeting: Cathedral City Council
Tonight | 5:30 p.m. | City Council Chambers
Cathedral City Council meetings are open to the public, and are also broadcast live on Channel 17 or can be viewed online. Read the meeting agenda here

Meeting: Indio Planning Commission
Tonight | 6 p.m. | City Council Chambers
The City Council Chambers will be open to the public, and planning commission meetings are conducted both in person and remotely through Zoom. Read the meeting agenda here

Meeting: Coachella City Council
Tonight | 6 p.m. | City Council Chambers
A closed session will begin at 5 p.m., with the regular meeting starting at 6 p.m. Read the meeting agenda here

Free guided bird walk
Friday | 8:45 a.m. | Sunnylands
Led by a knowledgeable birder, this free 60-minute guided walk introduces guests to many local and migratory bird species in the Sunnylands gardens. Reservations are not required. Water, sun protection, comfortable closed-toed shoes and binoculars are recommended.

Indio Hills Badlands Trail interpretative hike
Friday | 9 a.m. | Indio Hills Badlands Trail
This trail is five miles long with an elevation gain of 600 feet. Bring two liters of water and snacks, and wear closed-toed shoes, a hat and sunscreen. RSVP is required and you must bring your ticket with you for check-in at 8:45 a.m. A tax deductible donation of $5 is appreciated. 

Dr. George’s Charity Car Show
Saturday | 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. | Indian Wells Tennis Garden
Head to Indian Wells to see more than 1,000 cars, trucks and motorcycles at this annual event, which will also feature food, music, raffles, vendors, pedal car races for kids and motorsports icon Peter Brock. 

The Living Desert: STEM Career Day
Saturday | 10 a.m. | The Living Desert
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., K-12 students are invited to meet professional women in STEM, learn about their professions and organizations, and have the chance to interact and ask questions. 

Indio Second Saturday
Saturday | 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. | Smurr Street and Indio Blvd.

This month’s headliner, Pulp Vixen, is an all-female band known for its high-energy performances and eclectic range that includes Top 40, Latin, R&B, hip hop and classic rock favorites.

Indio Certified Farmers’ Market
Sunday | 9 a.m. | Downtown Indio
Head to Indio between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to purchase fresh local produce, delicious food and drinks, and much more. 

Palm Desert Half Marathon & 5k
Sunday | Palm Desert Civic Center Park
The Palm Desert Half Marathon returns to the heart of the desert on Feb. 12. Race the Coachella Valley’s original half marathon, or run / walk the flat, fast 5K course. Kids ages four to 13 can run the 1K kids run.

Adult program: Book club
Tuesday | 2 p.m. | Desert Hot Springs Library
Join to discuss and explore selections from different literary genres. This month’s book: ”Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens. 

Twilight Valentine (for teens and adults)
Tuesday | 3:30 p.m. | Desert Hot Springs Library
Join for a special celebration of Valentine’s Day and “Twilight.” Are you Team Edward or Team Jacob?

⌛ And finally …

🐢 Punxsutawney Phil made his prediction last week in Pennsylvania, but in the Coachella Valley those who tend to our version of the famous marmot need students to make the predictions.

  • Phil emerged from his temporary home in Gobbler’s Knob on Feb. 2 — Groundhog Day — predicting six more weeks of winter after seeing his shadow.
  • That’s a common occurrence. Since the late 1880s, Phil has seen his shadow 84% of the time.
  • At The Living Desert, all eyes are on Mojave Maxine each year. The desert tortoise and her roommates typically enter brumation around Thanksgiving, and students are invited to guess when she might emerge.
  • The student who comes closest to predicting the exact date and time Maxine emerges wins a visit to The Living Desert for three dozen classmates.
  • Details: Interested in making a guess? You can do that here.

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