Short on doctors, long on waits

In this week’s newsletter: The valley faces a critical shortage of some doctors, Indian Wells is getting a park, and more.

Most Americans are feeling the impact of staffing shortages across all healthcare fields. Some places, however, have been hit harder than others. The Coachella Valley is one of those places. Healthcare companies here say it can take a year or more to hire a new primary care doctor. Patients report waiting months for an initial visit.

Across The Inland Empire, one of the fastest growing regions in the state, fewer than 30 primary care physicians exist for every 100,000 residents. That’s a critical shortage, according to experts. 

We’ve been hearing from many people in the community for months about this issue, and most have asked us to look into it. So we did, and you can find our comprehensive story over at our sister publication here.

⛲ A first for Indian Wells 

Indian Wells is one step closer to having its first city park, but approval didn’t come without some concerns.

  • Last week, the City Council approved a design concept for a new park that will be located at the corner of Eldorado and Fairway Drive. Planning for the park began in November 2021 and the city purchased the plot of land for $1.07 million.
  • After feedback from residents, councilmembers decided on a concept for a park with a winding concrete path, desert lush plantings, and space for plaques. Check out a rendering here.
  • Some community members were worried that the park would encourage camping or loitering, but a representative from the Sheriff’s Department assured them that the passive park without benches would not attract loitering.
  • What they’re saying: Mayor Donna Griffith said she wanted a “perfect, beautiful, passive park” that is true to the city’s brand.

Valley housing market heats up

The latest data from a local real estate organization shows home prices in the Coachella Valley rose for the second month in a row and are now close to the recent peak in prices we saw six months ago. Experts say that lines up with seasonal trends.

  • Home prices in February reached a median of $682,000, only 4% below the peak price of $700,000 six months ago.
  • Three cities had the biggest price gains: Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City, and Desert Hot Springs.
  • On March 1, inventory in the valley was at 1,956 units — slightly down compared to one month ago.
  • Bottom line: By now, analysts had hoped we’d have about 2,500 units in the valley, but they say the reason why we haven’t hit that mark is that new listings remain “near historic lows.”

More money for turf conversion in Rancho Mirage

The popular turf rebate program in Rancho Mirage is getting an injection of additional city funds.

  • Last week, the City Council voted to allocate another $300,000 to the program from the city’s general fund, bringing the program’s total to $3.25 million.
  • The turf replacement will result in an estimated 95 million gallons of water saved annually. 
  • Why it matters: Staff said the program is in “high demand” and they regularly get calls from residents, commercial properties, and HOAs eager to move forward with turf replacement projects.


ONCE – Winner of Eight Tony Awards – at CVRep Through March 11

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.

Find tickets here

In other news

After a truck hauling carrots overturned in Desert Hot Springs last week, new concerns are being raised over the safety of a dangerous intersection.

A joint roadway project between Indio and La Quinta to slurry seal Jefferson Street began Monday and will continue until later this month. 

The desert has a new radio station, as the former ‘Channel Q’ is now MeTV Music at 103.1 on the dial. 


Three Pianos, Six Hands
March 20 | 5:30 pm | McCallum Theatre 
Palm Springs International Piano Competition Concerts & Events announces the return of Three Pianos-Six Hands. Following the concert, make sure to attend a dinner at Morningside.

2023 BNP Paribas Open
This week and beyond | Indian Wells Tennis Garden
The annual tennis tournament is officially back in action this week, and runs until March 19. Tickets and a full list of activities can be found here. (Ticket prices vary.)

Burner: A group exhibition of international street artists
This week and beyond | CODA Gallery, Palm Desert 
This collection features works from globally renowned street artists and will be on exhibition (and available for acquisition) at the CODA Gallery until March 24.

The Desert Symphony: 34th Anniversary Gala
Tonight | 5 p.m. | The Show at Agua Caliente Rancho Mirage
Starring Grammy winner Jon Secada, accompanied by The Desert Symphony. Find tickets here. ($45 – $75)

Meeting: Cathedral City City Council
Tonight | 5:30 p.m. | City Council Chambers
A study session will be held at 3 p.m., with the regular council meeting at 5:30 p.m. View the meeting agenda here

Meeting: Coachella City Council
Tonight | 6 p.m. | Zoom / In person
A study session will be held at 5 p.m., with the regular council meeting an hour later. View the meeting agenda here

Indian Wells Certified Farmers’ Market
Thursday | 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. | Southwest Church

Shop produce from local farmers, fresh food and artisans each week October through May.

Family movie night: “Strange World”
Thursday | 4 to 6 p.m. | 1500 6th St., Coachella
Join the Coachella Library for its weekly family movie night. This week’s film: “Strange World.” 

Chess Club
Thursday | 4 to 6:30 p.m. | 78275 Calle Tampico, La Quinta
Every Thursday, the Coachella Chess Club will provide instruction and assistance to those learning to play chess. Anyone, from adults to children as young as 10, is welcome to drop in on a game or learn how to play in small group settings.

Rancho Mirage Certified Farmers’ Market
Friday | 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. | Rancho Mirage Amphitheater

The weekly event hosts local artisans, chefs, food vendors, farmers, and musicians from October through May.

Water Lantern Festival
Saturday | 3 to 7 p.m. | Palm Desert Civic Center Park
Make sure to secure your ticket for Saturday’s Water Lantern Festival: a unique floating lantern event “that is all about connections.” ($26.98 – $50.99)

John Stanley King, benefiting YMCA of the Desert
Saturday | 4:30 to 7 p.m. | The Gardens on El Paseo, Palm Desert
General admission includes two glasses of wine and first come, first served seating in lawn chairs. Find tickets here. ($20 – $35)

Boys & Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley: Grand auction gala
Saturday | 5 p.m. | Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa
At 5 p.m., a cocktail reception will welcome guests. At 6:30 p.m., in another nearby ballroom, guests will enjoy dinner and a live auction. (Ticket prices vary.)

Palm Desert Certified Farmers’ Market
Sunday | 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. | 72559 Highway 111, Palm Desert
Fresh produce and artisan vendors can be found at the farmers’ market every Sunday, from October through April. 

Indio Farmers’ Market
Sunday | 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. | Downtown Indio
The market features locally harvested fruits and vegetables, fresh food, chefs, artisan vendors, yoga, and more.

La Quinta Farmers’ Market
Sunday | 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | Old Town

Find fresh produce, flower bouquets, organic foods, live music and more from October through April.

Suavecito Sundays
Sunday | 5 to 8 p.m. | Veterans Park, Coachella
“Suavecito Sundays” is back with live music from Nacho Bustillos. Join for an impressive display of classic cars, live music and delicious food. This event is free to the public.

⌛ And finally …

Expect to see flocks of Bird scooters in Indio for another year. The City Council recently passed a new operating agreement with the company that will allow the scooters to operate in the city for another year.

  • The new agreement has all the same terms as the previous pilot agreement with an added profit-sharing arrangement which will bring in 10 cents per ride to the city.
  • A presentation from city staff revealed that in the past year, there had been more than 34,000 rides, 68,500 miles traveled, and eight tons of CO2 saved. The average trip distance was 1.8 miles.
  • Councilmembers were encouraged by the program and eager to take it a step further, suggesting the addition of e-bikes during festival season. 

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