Fostering hope in Indio

In this week’s newsletter: Sisters in Indio are making Mother’s Day special for youth in foster care, Palm Desert dives in on new districts, and more.

Welcome to Wednesday!

A pair of Indio high school students have successfully started their own nonprofit organization – and are now looking to help children in the foster care system.

  • Through their youth club called HOPE, which stands for Helping Other People Every Day, twin sisters Brianna and Natalie Fabian set out on a mission to collect donated gifts for a “Mother’s Day boutique” in May that will allow foster children to select free presents for their foster mothers, biological mothers or even social workers. 
  • For the past three years, the sisters have focused their efforts on helping the estimated 4,000 foster children in Riverside County. HOPE now has 12 members, all of whom are middle or high school students within Desert Sands Unified School District.
  • “We came up with the idea after we realized that a lot of foster children do not have the opportunity to give a gift to their moms for Mother’s Day,” Natalie said. “The boutique will give them the perfect chance to find a gift.”
  • Details: Want to learn more about the program? Email

Read Crystal Harrell’s complete story here.

District discussions start in Palm Desert

The Palm Desert City Council will hold a study session this week to discuss the possibility of changing from two districts to five.

  • Last November, 53% of city voters approved an advisory measure, which asked whether the city should have additional districts. Currently, District 2 has four councilmembers and comprises 80% of the city’s population, while District 1 has one.
  • Proponents argued that the two-district system is inequitable for District 1, and five districts would better reflect the population.
  • 30-page staff report recommends hiring a demographer to divide the districts. It also outlines several options, such as four single-member districts with an at-large mayor, or five single-member districts.
  • Bottom line: Don’t expect a final decision to be made at Thursday’s session (find meeting details here). The redistricting process would involve plenty of public input that could last into next year.

Spa success story

Desert Hot Springs is celebrating the renovation of the Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort and Day Spa Oasis after the property was granted a two-year forgiveness of the city’s 12% transient occupancy tax (TOT).

  • The 40-room hotel saved approximately $512,000 over the two years and it used that money to construct “The Oasis” outdoor guest space consisting of flow through tubs, an outdoor sauna, cabanas, and more.
  • City Councilmembers praised the hotel as a success story, calling it “an amazing transformation.” Still, Councilmember Russell Betts said, “The point of this isn’t to give away tax dollars. It’s to get more tax dollars coming in.”
  • Bottom line: Councilmembers want to continue the TOT forgiveness program for other properties in the city. So far, two other hotels have opted into the program.

Indio’s self-storage moratorium extended

The Indio City Council voted unanimously last week to extend its moratorium on the construction of new storage facilities for up to 10 months.

  • The moratorium was first passed in March, and the extension allows the council to hold several public meetings, surveys, and study sessions before making a final decision in January.
  • At last Wednesday’s meeting, three people who are currently working on the development of storage facilities asked the city to carefully consider the moratorium, but none of the speakers specifically said they were against it.
  • By the numbers: The city has 13 storage facilities and seven more in the works. In comparison, the surrounding areas of Coachella, La Quinta, Palm Desert, and Bermuda Dunes have just nine combined.

In other news

Renters of one La Quinta home are at the center of a storm involving a celebrity landlord and a house once declared a public nuisance by the city.

Drugs and heat were common themes as more than 200 people visited Indio’s JFK Memorial Hospital during the two weekends of Coachella.

It’s snake season, and that comes with a word of warning from local police.

What to watch for

Looking for a party with a purpose? Come Celebrate La Quinta’s 41st birthday!

You can celebrate the milestone Saturday with family, friends and neighbors at an annual picnic and celebration featuring non-stop entertainment, activities for children, snacks, refreshments and plenty of giveaways. 

Details: The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 the city’s Civic Center Park. Find more details about the celebration here.

⌛ And finally …

@travmsk via Instagram

A new mural and immersive art installation is now in place on a building at the corner of Palm Drive and Pierson Boulevard in Desert Hot Springs.

  • The mural covers the entire building and was painted by Los Angeles artist Trav in collaboration with the art collective Seventh Letter and Known Gallery. It’s Trav’s biggest work to date.
  • The city held a block party over the weekend to celebrate the unveiling, complete with local food trucks, music, and a student workshop.
  • Why it matters: Councilmember Gary Gardner stopped by the mural and called it, “A great new addition to the city and a kickoff to a revitalized downtown!”

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