La Quinta skatepark catches air

In this week’s newsletter: The X Park keeps rolling, a Desert Hot Springs man makes medical history, and more.

Welcome to Wednesday! Let’s catch up with what’s happening in the Coachella Valley …

A year after its soft opening and six months after its grand opening, La Quinta’s X Park appears to be catching on with both local and national extreme sports participants.

  • A representative from Action Park Alliance told the La Quinta City Council last week that the park averages about 3,600 monthly users of all ages – roughly 2,200 of them from La Quinta. While daily admission is available, about 1,000 people pay for a yearly membership, which ranges from $25 to $50, depending on residency.
  • The park has earned rave reviews and hosted more than a dozen events attended by pro skaters like Tony Hawk and even Olympic skaters.
  • “I hear nothing but good comments about it,” said Mayor Linda Evans. “It’s inspiring and exciting.”
  • Next up: The park is looking forward to hosting even more events in the coming year, including the World Wheelchair Motocross championship in December.

Paul Edmonds, right, with Dr. Ahmed M. Aribi. (Photo: City of Hope)

Medical history made by Desert Hot Springs man

A Desert Hot Springs man is telling his story after becoming the fifth person in history to enter remission from HIV.

  • Paul Edmonds joins four others, including the late Timothy Ray Brown of Palm Springs, who entered remission. Edmonds’ story is unique among those in remission: At 67, he is the oldest among them and has had HIV the longest.
  • Edmonds had HIV for more than 30 years and was recently diagnosed with leukemia. He received a stem cell donation from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that made the cells resistant to most HIV infections. Soon after the transplant, Edmonds received word that his leukemia was in remission, and after careful monitoring, his HIV had also gone into remission. He has since been able to stop taking his HIV medications.
  • Bottom line: Researchers hope that the success Edmonds experienced can be replicated, especially considering his age, cancer diagnosis, and the length of time he had HIV.

Park improvements on the way

Park improvements are coming to a pair of valley cities following recent approval by elected leaders.

  • Cathedral City councilmembers voted unanimously last week to approve about $223,000 to renovate portions of Panorama and Century parks.
  • Included in the work will be renovations to tennis courts at both Panorama and Century parks. Tennis courts at both parks will be resurfaced and refreshed with new court posts and nets. The half-basketball court at Panorama Park is also slated for conversion to a full court. 
  • But wait: Installation of shade structures is also planned at both Cathedral City parks by the end of this month, a move similar to that approved in Palm Springs by that city’s council last week as well.

In other news

✊ Dozens of people rallied for immigration rights in front of Indio City Hall on May 1, International Workers’ Day.

A local nonprofit made up of young professional mentors wanted to help east valley students, but they’re finding it hard to sustain connections.

The valley’s hockey team has one final chance tonight to stay in the AHL playoffs. The Colorado Eagles lead the best-of-five series 2-1.

What to watch for

Watch a movie under the stars at Sunnylands

The popular event series “Films in the Gardens” is returning to Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage this week. The movies will run for three consecutive Friday evenings in May and are all free of charge. This week’s screening is the 1996 film “Big Night,” about two brothers who run an Italian restaurant.

Details: Gates open at 7 p.m. on Friday and the film starts an hour later. Both parking and admission are free, and reservations are not required. Filmgoers are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, blankets and small picnics, but large coolers, alcohol and pets are not allowed. Find everything you need to know about the event here.

⌛ And finally …

The now infamous Red Barn bar in Palm Desert has new owners and a new lease on life after years of very public problems.

  • The bar, located in the center of Palm Desert on Highway 111, gained attention when its then-owner John Labrano started spray painting messages on his roof like “Save jobs! Hang a politician,” seemingly about his criticism of pandemic-related closures of bars and restaurants.
  • The bar caught fire in the summer of 2020 and was heavily damaged. Cal Fire never determined a cause.
  • Problems for the Red Barn had been brewing long before the pandemic, Labrano had not paid property taxes since 2016, and the restaurant was foreclosed on in January 2022 after he failed to make loan payments. 
  • Next up: The new owners, who formed an LLC, hope to revive the bar and have it open for business late this year or early next year, according to a report in The Desert Sun.

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