Deserts

Travelers Brace for Airline Changes

This past week American Airlines announced it will start resuming full flights but will notify passengers when their planes are full giving them the option to switch. NBC Palm Springs spoke to travelers who had opinions on both the limited and full capacity. Many U.S. airlines have had to roll with the changes during the Covid-19 pandemic. That means mandatory face maks, heightened cleaning procedures, and encouraging social distancing as much as possible. Some airlines like Delta and Southwest have been capping their capacity around 60% as cases continue to increase in at least 40 states. “I’m not comfortable with that, the plane I was on was small enough that I had to sit two and two, there was no choice of that, they’re pretty full, but everybody I saw was wearing a mask and compliant,” said Revone Bauwens visiting from Tucson, Arizona. American Airlines did say they will notify passengers once flights are full and allow them to changes flights to lesser crowded planes until September 30th. “The amount of seat on the aircraft are in high demand,” said Ralph Lopez, VP of Integrated…

Warming temperatures threaten hundreds of fish species

As the planet’s oceans and rivers warm, increased heat could pose a grave threat to the fish populations the world depends on by the end of this century. That’s the alarming conclusion of a new study published Thursday in the journal Science. Among the species the authors said are at risk are some of the most commercially important species on Earth — including grocery store staples like Atlantic cod, Alaska pollock and sockeye salmon, and sport fishing favorites like swordfish, barracuda and brown trout. In fact, 60% of the fish species examined could struggle to reproduce in their current habitat ranges by the year 2100 if the climate crisis continues unchecked, according to the researchers. If governments recommit themselves to holding global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, however, the scientists found the number of species threatened could be far less — just 10%. “More than half of the species potentially at risk is quite astonishing, so we really emphasize that it’s important to take action and follow the political commitments to reduce climate change and protect marine habitats,” said Dr. Flemming Dahlke, a marine biologist at Germany’s Alfred Wegener…

San Bernardino County, cities to allow increased outdoor dining

San Bernardino County will allow restaurants in unincorporated areas to convert up to half of their parking spaces for outdoor eating after a state mandate earlier this week that ceased indoor dining and other activities after a surge in coronavirus cases.Per county guidelines, in general, permits will not be needed for the conversions during the period the […]

Lego debuts new sets featuring Marilyn Monroe, The Beatles, Star Wars and Iron Man

Lego announced a new line of “Lego Art” — a higher-end building set geared towards adult fans. The line, available for purchase September 1st, will launch with four themes: Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe, Marvel Studios Iron Man, Star Wars “The Sith” and The Beatles. The pieces, once they are completed, form beautiful mosaics worthy of permanent display. “Reconnect with your creative side, channel your inner artist and create a beautiful art display you’ll love. Give your personal space or office a touch of the iconic with your own version of your favorite pop art,” the Lego website said of the series. Each Lego Art canvas set will allow builders to choose one of three or four pieces to create, depending on which set you’re building. Two of them, the Iron Man and Star Wars sets, will offer the builder a chance to create one larger, “ultimate” piece if they’re feeling up for the challenge and willing to buy extra sets, the company says. The Lego line is showcased alongside the mantra “Listen-Build-Relax”, encouraging builders to work on their respective projects while listening to curated “soundtracks”…

21 Savage aiming to help kids with financial literacy during quarantine

21 Savage is expanding his mission to help underserved children during the pandemic. As a direct response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Grammy-award winning rapper announced he is launching a multi-tier expansion of his Juma Bank Account Financial Literacy program that offers financial resources nationwide. He is making a $25,000 donation to the City of Atlanta’s #ATLStrong Covid-19 relief fund, established by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and is launching Bank Account At Home — a free online financial literacy resource through a partnership with mobile banking services provider Chime and education technology platform, EVERFI. For the past two years, 21 Savage has partnered with award-winning national financial literacy nonprofit Juma for his youth-focused financial literacy program called Bank Account. Prior to the pandemic, the program provided underserved youth with access to career counseling, job training, and job placement at sports and entertainment facilities including Mercedes Benz Stadium and State Farm Arena. Most of the students have been out of work since March 11, after the pandemic forced stadium closures due to the pandemic furloughs. In partnership with Chime, the rapper is now making the program virtual…

Retailers face lighter crowds for Fourth of July weekend

Groups of shoppers wander downtown to kick off the holiday weekend, but locals say the crowds aren’t what they’re used to. “It doesn’t look like the Fourth of July, there’s a lot less people around” said Nando Nicoletti, a Cathedral City resident. As customers visit shops or grab a meal, some store owners are keeping their expectations low. “To me, this is going to be no different than any other Monday or Tuesday. Hopefully people are being safe and hopefully people who come here are respectful and know that you have to wear a mask on the sidewalk,” said Trevor Wayne, owner of Pop Art in downtown Palm Springs.  So far, hotel parking lots remain relatively quiet, and several firework shows have been canceled around the Coachella Valley, leaving many to compare this weekend to years past. “This gallery would be filled to the brim with people, and we serve wine. Obviously it’s not going to be a lot of people and we can’t let more people in then two at a time so that’s another issue,” said Karl Gottling with Gottling Gallery.  At various…

CHP Fourth of July Weekend Crackdown Starts Friday

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – California Highway Patrol officers will ramp up patrols on state highways and roads Friday evening and through the weekend to catch drunken and drug-impaired drivers as part of the agency’s annual Fourth of July crackdown. The CHP’s “maximum enforcement period” will begin at 6 p.m. and conclude at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, during which all available officers will hit the streets for targeted anti-DUI patrols. “Should the upcoming weekend include a road trip, stay safe and healthy with a few additional precautions,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “Obeying speed limits, buckling up and not driving impaired or distracted will be more important than ever.” Officers from the Beaumont, Blythe, Indio, Riverside and Temecula CHP stations will deploy on inland freeways, highways and unincorporated roads for the campaign. During last year’s Fourth of July MEP, the CHP arrested 1,317motorists on suspicion of DUI statewide, compared to 389 in the 2018 campaign, which lasted only a day. According to the agency, 21 people were killed in collisions investigated by the CHP during the 2019 enforcement effort. A total of 36 died across all jurisdictions statewide.…

730 New COVID19 Cases Reported Friday in Riverside County

Riverside County health officials reported 730 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases Friday and 14 additional deaths, bringing the county’s totals to 19,450 cases and 479 deaths. Here are the numbers for the Coachella Valley city-by-city: Desert Hot Springs: 306 cases, 3 deaths Cathedral City: 700 cases, 5 deaths Palm Springs: 345 cases, 16 deaths Rancho Mirage: 108 cases, 12 deaths Palm Desert: 436 cases, 30 deaths Indian Wells: 22 cases, no deaths La Quinta: 305 cases, 11 deaths Indio: 1,509 cases, 34 deaths Coachella: 1,233 cases, 11 deaths Thousand Palms: 57 cases, no deaths Bermuda Dunes: 51 cases, 1 death Thermal: 79 cases, no deaths Mecca: 189 cases, 5 deaths North Shore: 68 cases, 1 death Oasis: 127 cases, no deaths Sky Valley: 12 cases, no deaths Cabazon: 20 cases, 1 death Anza: 6 cases, no deaths   Currently, 479 people are hospitalized countywide and receiving treatment for COVID-19 symptoms, 120 of whom are in intensive care units. Some of the infirm are from Mexico and Imperial County, according to the Riverside County Emergency Management Department. The number of documented patient recoveries stands at 8,352. Gov.…

Fireworks Show at Agua Caliente Rancho Mirage Casino Still on, Tribe Says

RANCHO MIRAGE (CNS) – The only official fireworks show slated for the Coachella Valley this Fourth of July weekend will still go on as planned at a tribal casino in Rancho Mirage, an official said. The Fifth Annual Fourth of July Spectacular is still set to begin at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort in Rancho Mirage amid social distancing and other protocols aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, according to Kate Anderson of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The announcement comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday encouraged — but did not mandate — that fireworks shows slated for 19 California counties seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases be canceled to deter crowds from gathering in public, including those slated for Riverside County. The tribe, as a sovereign nation, is not obligated to heed the governor’s recommendations or orders. “We look forward to safely celebrating this national holiday with all of you,” tribal Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe said. For guests who visit the casino in person, the fireworks show will be a “drive-up” event, with required social…

Herman Cain is receiving treatment for coronavirus

Former 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is receiving treatment for coronavirus at an Atlanta-area hospital, according to a statement posted to his Twitter account. Cain, a contributor for conservative media outlet Newsmax, was hospitalized Wednesday “after he had development symptoms serious enough that he required hospitalization” and was informed Monday that he tested positive for the virus. “Mr. Cain did not require a respirator, and he is awake and alert,” according to the statement released Thursday. Cain, as a co-chair of Black Voices for Trump, was one of the surrogates at President Donald Trump’s June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “We honestly have no idea where he contracted it. I realize people will speculate about the Tulsa rally, but Herman did a lot of traveling the past week, including to Arizona where cases are spiking. I don’t think there’s any way to trace this to the one specific contact that caused him to be infected. We’ll never know,” Dan Calabrese, who has been editor of HermanCain.com since 2012, said Thursday in a post on Cain’s website. At least eight Trump advance team staffers who attended the Tulsa rally tested positive…

Taco Bell is releasing a grilled cheese burrito

Taco Bell unveiled its new grilled cheese burrito, which has both cheese on the inside and outside. The company said in a news release that it’s the “cheesiest new menu item of the year so far.” The fast-food chain said it took inspiration from the classic grilled cheese sandwich and added seasoned beef, seasoned rice, a three-cheese blend, crunchy red strips, chipotle sauce and reduced fat sour cream. All of it is wrapped in a warm flour tortilla “hugged by a warm layer of grilled cheese.” A vegetarian version is also available, with beans being swapped out for meat. Available only for a limited time at participating locations and while supplies last, the grilled cheese burrito will be available a la carte for $2.99 or as a part of a $5 box that comes with a crunchy taco, cinnamon twists and a medium drink. The company said that the grilled cheese burrito was first tested in November 2019 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. So far, reactions to the announcement on social media have been mixed. One Twitter user called it “the best Taco B item I’ve EVER eaten. Every Taco…

New funds to help restore the Salton sea

Despite pandemic related fiscal challenges, work on the Salton sea still remains a priority. Especially for Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, from the 56th district, who helped get funds of over 47-million dollars for new river and Salton sea mitigation projects. “In the coming months, we’ll be breaking ground in the southern western part of the sea, on the species habitat conservation plan that’s close to three or four-thousand acres of habitat restoration and air quality mitigation. So we’re seeing some work,” said Garcia.  Now more than ever, there’s urgency for people living in the far eastern valley. Even before the pandemic, respiratory illnesses have been an everyday struggle. Activists from the Coachella Valley like Leadership Counsel and Alianza call it an environmental injustice. “A community of color with low resources and low income, primarily farmworkers. and i think that context in itself is critical because we currently live in a pandemic with resources that we didn’t have prior to the pandemic,” said Patricia Gutierrez, from Alianza.   Juan Manuel Briceno, who lives in the North Shore Community has witnessed children and pregnant women all suffering with chronic…

Hugh Downs, anchor of ’20/20′ and ‘Today,’ dead at 99

Hugh Downs, the versatile and Emmy-winning broadcaster whose decades-long TV career ranged from anchoring ABC News’ “20/20” to the “Today” show to serving as Jack Paar’s sidekick on “The Tonight Show,” has died at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 99. Local outlet AZFamily was first to report the news of Downs’ passing, citing a statement from his great-niece, Molly Shaheen. Downs — who retired in 1999 — was essentially there for the very start of commercial television, serving as the announcer for the children’s show “Kukla, Fran and Ollie” and comedy legend Sid Caesar’s “Caesar’s Hour” in the 1950s. In 1957, when Paar succeeded Steve Allen as host of “The Tonight Show,” Downs became the announcer. The next year, Downs launched his run as the original host of the game show “Concentration.” When Paar left “The Tonight Show” in 1962, Downs — who had frequently substituted for Paar — thought he might be asked to replace him. Instead, the network hired Johnny Carson and Downs segued to NBC’s “Today,” where he spent nearly a decade on the morning program. At “Today,” Downs famously championed the…

Pair Accused of Murdering Missing Coachella Valley Couple Plead Not Guilty

BANNING (CNS) – Two men accused in the killings of a Coachella Valley couple who went missing more than three years ago pleaded not guilty to murder charges Thursday. Manuel Rios of Coachella and Abraham Fregoso Jr. of Indio were arrested last weekend, along with a third man, who’s charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact. Abraham Fregoso Manuel Rios Rios, 28, is charged with two counts of murder in the killings of Audrey Moran, 26, and Jonathan Reynoso, 28, who disappeared on May 10, 2017. Fregoso, 32, is charged with one count of murder, and both defendants are facing a special circumstance allegation of killing a witness of a crime, which make them eligible for the death penalty if prosecutors opt to seek capital punishment should they be convicted. The pair were arraigned via video conference by Riverside Superior Court Judge James Hawkins, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for July 13. Both remain behind bars without bail. Rios is being held at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning and Fregoso at the Riverside jail. Co-defendant Jesus Ruiz Jr., 41, pleaded…

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