City spends weekend celebrating new holiday, return of statue

A pair of events spanning the weekend brought city residents out to celebrate, despite an excessive heat warning.

On Saturday, dozens gathered at James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center off Tramview Road to recognize Juneteenth. The weekend was capped with hundreds attending the official unveiling of the Forever Marilyn sculpture downtown Sunday evening.

For organizers of the Juneteenth event, the day marked not only an opportunity to celebrate with games, food, arts and crafts, music, and informational booths, but a chance to educate the community about America’s newest federal holiday. The day,  also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day, celebrates the moment in 1865 that the last enslaved people in America learned of their freedom.

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“If you don’t know about Juneteenth, that’s OK,” said Jarvis Crawford, president of the Palm Springs Black History Committee, speaking to the Unity Center event attendees. “You’re going to learn about it today. Share what you learn with your friends and your coworkers, even those who say, ‘You’re my favorite Black friend.’”

Hundreds turned out for the official unveiling of Forever Marilyn Sunday evening in downtown Palm Springs.

Sunday’s statue unveiling came with its own educational opportunity. Forever Marilyn, by artist Seward Johnson, depicts actress Marilyn Monroe in a well-known scene from The Seven Year Itch, in which Monroe’s skirt is raised by a blast of air from a subway passing underneath the grate she stands over. Critics of the 26-foot-tall statue have filed lawsuits and created petitions, hoping to stop installation of the statue they label sexist, misogynistic, and uncalled for in the era of #metoo.

For others in Palm Springs the statue, which was previously located here between 2012-2014, is just whimsical art that recalls a bygone era when Hollywood celebrities descended on the city, helping to create its image as a sun splashed playground of the rich and famous. Monroe is said to have been discovered here in the late 1940s at the Palm Springs Racquet Club by an agent from the William Morris Agency.

“When she was here last time, day and night, every time my wife and I drove by, people were smiling and having a good time,” said Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Middleton during her remarks at the unveiling.

“How many people here today are happy to be around people who are smiling?” she asked, receiving cheers from the crowd.

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Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort in Palm Springs.

GOLF ENDANGERED?: Is golf under threat in a city known as a golf mecca? That’s the fear of one group — Save PS Golf — formed earlier this month to voice concerns over the possible sale of city-owned Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort to an environmental group. That group, Oswit Land Trust, hopes to purchase the two courses that make up the resort, combining them with a pair of dead and dying private courses nearby to form the Mesquite Desert Preserve. Read the complete story here …

COVID-19 FINE APPEALS: Two businesses fined for alleged violations of COVID-19 restrictions will be appealing those fines at an upcoming meeting of the city’s Administrative Appeals Board this week. Larry Bitonti, owner of Hair of The Dog Saloon, 555 S. Palm Canyon Dr., was fined $40,000 between November 2020 and January 2021 for various alleged violations of the state emergency orders regarding indoor eating and drinking. Lee Morcus will be appealing a $5,000 fine levied against Kaiser Grille, 205 S. Palm Canyon Dr., for allegedly failing to comply with physical distance regulations at the restaurant in February.

DEAL REACHED? Palm Springs and Well in the Desert are moving forward with plans to relocate the homeless services facility to the former Boxing Club on South Calle Encelia. Exact terms of the agreement will be discussed in a City Council executive session June 24, but a staff report recommends moving forward, with the hopes that The Well will be moved out of the Baristo Park neighborhood by the end of September. The recommendation follows questions about the organizations finances that appear to have been answered.

MUSEUM SCRAPPED: The planned relocation of the Museum of Pinball from Banning to The Desert Sun building on Gene Autry Trail appears dead. The museum’s founder told the newspaper Sunday that costs associated with renovating the building to house the museum were just too prohibitive to continue. Among other work needed would be removal of a printing press, which the owner of the museum said would take four months to disassemble. That’s time the owner doesn’t have, he said, as storage fees at the museum’s current location pile up.



MIZELL: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, offers multiple events today, starting at 8 AM. Included in the activities are several fitness classes. To attend in person you must be a registered member. For details on today’s events, turn here.

STORY TIME: ‘Read-To-Me Story Time and Craft’ takes place via YouTube today, starting at 10 AM. The event is hosted by Nancy Valdivia, children’s librarian at the Palm Springs Public Library. This week’s craft is a “very hungry caterpillar,” and materials may be picked up at the library, 300 S. Sunrise Way.

APRON PAINTING: At 10 AM, you can watch Librarian Sharon Ballard paint an apron using vegetable stamps on the Library’s YouTube channel. Pick up your kit at the library today and try it yourself while supplies last. To pick up a kit you must be registered in the 2021 Adult Summer Reading Program. Registration is available via this link.

TEEN SUMMER PROGRAM: Teens are invited to learn how to tie-dye using bleach, beginning at 10 AM. Pick up a kit with everything (minus the bleach) at the library and check out the instructional video on YouTube. Kits include: a black T-shirt, squirt bottle, rubber bands, and vinyl gloves.

ARCHITECTURE: The city’s Architectural Advisory Committee meets at 5:30 PM this evening via Zoom. An agenda is available here and the instructions for participating are here.


MIZELL EVENTS: Tai Chi, Zumba, and more events are offered today at The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, beginning at 8 AM. For a complete list, turn here.

REUINION DEL PLAN GENERAL: La ciudad está llevando a cabo su tercera reunión comunitaria para discutir su Plan General 2040, a partir de las 5:30 PM en la Vista Del Monte Elementary School, 2744 N. Via Miraleste. La reunión es en Español. Para obtener más información, haga clic aquí.

VILLAGEFEST BOARD: The VillageFest Board meets at 5:30 PM. Information on how to view or participate in the meeting, including an agenda, can be found here.

POWER BASEBALL: The Palm Springs Power plays this evening at Palm Springs Stadium, 1901 E. Baristo Rd. First pitch is at 7:05PM. A complete schedule is available here.


MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, holds multiple events today, including Zumba, Dick Brodie’s Jam Session, a fitness class, and bariatric surgery information A complete schedule of today’s events, including how to register for both in-person and online attendance, can be found here.

APPEALS BOARD: The city’s Administrative Appeals Board meets today at 4 PM. An agenda can be found here. Among items on the agenda are two appeals of fines issued to businesses in the city — Hair of the Dog Saloon and Kaiser Grille — for alleged violation of COVID-19 emergency orders.

PLANNING COMMISSION: The city Planning Commission meets at 5:30 PM. Information on participating in the meeting, as well as an agenda, can be found here.

POWER BASEBALL: The Palm Springs Power plays this evening at Palm Springs Stadium, 1901 E. Baristo Rd. First pitch is at 7:05PM. A complete schedule is available here.


MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, holds multiple events today, including an in-person Alzheimer’s support group. A complete schedule of today’s events, including how to register for both in-person and online attendance, can be found here.

FOOD AVAILABLE: FIND Food Bank distributes food in the city today at two locations. A mobile market will be set up at the James O. Jessie Desert Highlands Unity Center, 480 W Tramview Rd., from 4-6 PM. Food is also available at the community food bank, 610 S. Belardo Road, between 5 PM and 7 PM. That location is open every Thursday. A complete calendar of food distribution in the community is available here.

FREE MUSEUM ADMISSION: The Palm Springs Art Museum offers free admission from 5-7 PM this evening. Tickets are required and can be obtained here.

CITY COUNCIL: The Palm Springs City Council holds its regular meeting tonight at 5:30 PM. Information on viewing the meeting online, as well as an agenda, can be found here.


MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, ends its week with a pair of fitness events as well as the return of in-person Bingo with Bella Da Ball, which starts at 1 PM.

POWER BASEBALL: The Palm Springs Power plays this evening at Palm Springs Stadium, 1901 E. Baristo Rd. First pitch is at 7:05PM. A complete schedule is available here.


Want to know what’s happening in your city and at agencies that make decisions affecting your neighborhood? The following links should help:

City of Palm Springs calendar of events

Palm Springs Library calendar of events

Palm Springs Unified School District calendar

Mizell Center calendar of events

Desert Water Agency calendar

ONE-PS calendar of events

Police reports | Submit a police report

Code compliance reports | Report a code violation

Current road projects and closures

Currently active development projects

FIND Food Bank mobile market schedule

Palm Springs Disposal pick-up schedule


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