DAILY BRIEFING: November 24, 2021

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, November 24. Expect a mainly sunny sky today, with a high temperature of 76 degrees. First, some news you need to know …

Palm Springs High School next in line for pilot project that could help interest students in electric vehicles

It’s no Field of Dreams, but a small construction project at neighboring Cathedral City High School has a similar aim: If you build it, they will come.

“They” are students and faculty who attend classes and work at the school, as well as community members who frequent the campus for events. “It” is a charging station for electric vehicles that will feature a dozen units when complete. Installation of those units began Monday morning.

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While students are still more likely to be driving Toyotas than Teslas, the presence of the EV charging station may be what matters most.

“It’s going to be a great benefit,” said Julie Arthur, executive director of Facilities Planning for the Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD), during a site visit Monday. “If it’s visible, and students see it, it may help them get used to seeing things like this. They may even be thinking of a used electric vehicle, so they will have options like this for charging them if they do buy one.”

Cathedral City High School (CCHS) is the first school in Southern California to receive a charging station under a Southern California Edison (SCE) pilot program. Palm Springs High School is among the next schools targeted for the program.

Why CCHS first? “There are a lot of students who use this parking lot,” said Arthur. “And it’s in a high-visibility area [off Dinah Shore Drive]. There’s a lot of traffic that passes by here, so it just made sense.”

Monday’s installation was only the first step in the district’s journey to lower carbon emissions and a planned transition to what the state hopes is a zero-emission new car fleet by 2035. Arthur said installing EV infrastructure is vital because “these will help charge what will eventually be our own fleet of electric vehicles.”

What may be most attractive to district taxpayers is the cost. The installation is part of a state-approved $10 million SCE pilot project to provide electric vehicle charging stations to K-12 schools within the utility’s service area.

The project was made possible by legislation passed in 2017, which gave utilities like SCE the authority to develop programs to put charging stations at schools. The legislation also includes funding to produce educational materials about EVs for schools, which SCE will use to provide a curriculum focused on EVs, transportation, energy, and sustainability.

“Considering what schools have had to deal with to get students back into classrooms, it’s remarkable that Palm Springs Unified and other districts were willing to devote time to getting charging stations installed at their schools,” said Lisa Arellanes, a senior manager with SCE’s eMobility team.


Some of the submissions to the Main Street Palm Springs holiday banner art program are seen here.

BANNER FINALISTS: Hundreds of Palm Springs area students from Kindergarten to 12th grade have submitted original drawings hoping to be among those chosen to have their artwork become one of the newly created holiday banners that line Palm Canyon Drive during the winter holiday season. Of those who submitted artwork, Main Street Palm Springs President Joy Brown Meredith announced the finalists on November 20. Their names can be seen here. This year’s hand-painted banners feature “Winter Holidays…Palm Springs Style,” with particular emphasis on Palm Springs landmarks. An awards ceremony will be held at Frances Stevens Park in conjunction with the annual tree lighting ceremony on Friday, December 3, at 4 PM. Prizes and certificates will be awarded.

NEW PSHS PRINCIPAL: Michael Ventura has been named the new principal of Palm Springs High School, effective today. Ventura has been the school’s assistant principal and athletic director since 2018. He started his career in the Palm Springs Unified School District in 2003 as a sports medicine teacher at PSHS and developed the Palm Springs Academy for Learning Medicine (PALM). He replaces Brian Hendra, who was recently named director of Certificated Human Resources at the school district. The move was announced during the regular meeting of the Board of Education Tuesday evening. 

POLICE BLOTTER: Curious about crime in Palm Springs? Our weekly Police Blotter tracks dozens of reports of felonies and misdemeanors in the city. Our latest report for the week ending November 21 is available here

BOUNTY HUNTER CASE UPDATE: A bounty hunter accused of fatally shooting a knife-wielding fugitive in front of Palm Springs police officers trying to subdue him re-entered a not guilty plea Tuesday and is scheduled for a trial readiness conference on February 3. Fabian Hector Herrera, 36, was arrested in April for the shooting death of 33-year-old David Spann. Herrera has been charged with one felony count each of murder, being a convicted felon in possession of a gun, being a felon in possession of body armor, and being a felon in possession of ammunition, along with a sentence-enhancing allegation of causing great bodily injury. Herrera appeared at the Larson Justice Center on Tuesday for a post-preliminary hearing. Read the complete story here.


MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, offers a jam session, chair yoga, Spanish, and more programs today, starting at 8 AM. A complete list of everything offered can be found online here.

MOBILE HEALTH: A mobile health clinic will be parked at the James O. Jesse Desert Highland Unity Center, 480 W. Tramview Rd., from 9 AM until 4 PM. Operated and staffed by Borrego Health, the mobile unit will provide various medical services for residents.

HORA DE CUENTOS: La bibliotecaria Nancy Valdivia lee cuentos, canta canciones y enseña conceptos de aprendizaje temprano (miércoles en español y jueves en inglés) para estudiantes de preescolar de 10:30 AM a 11:30 AM Puedes ver los videos en YouTube aquí.

NOMINATIONS OPEN: The Palm Springs Human Rights Commission continues to accept nominations today for its annual Community Service Awards that recognize individuals and organizations for “Promoting Universal Human Rights Close to Home.” Information about how to nominate a person or organization can be found here. The deadline for submitting nominations is Wednesday, December 1.


Robert Coughlin’s watercolor and acrylic paintings will be featured in an online sale through Revival’s that starts this week.

ART AUCTIONTen DAP Health clients will have their art for sale in an artist spotlight on Revival’s website, found here. The online sale begins Thursday and runs through January 2. Among them is Robert Coughlin, who said recently that, “I really think that painting for me is my voice.” Typically, client art is displayed in the lobby of the Barbara Keller Love Building at DAP Health. But construction and COVID reduced the traffic flow through the hallway. All of the proceeds from the art sale will go to the artists. You can meet the artists online here and learn more about Revivals here.

BENEFIT RUNS: Registration for the city’s annual Wild Turkey Trot 5K is open now at runpalmsprings.com. The event is held Thursday at 8 AM and offers entrants a chance to get in some exercise before Thanksgiving dinner. It starts at 100 North Palm Canyon Drive. Another Thanksgiving Day run, which helps Martha’s Village and Kitchen, is being held virtually this year. More information on that event, sponsored by Fortem Financial, can be found here

ART CENTER EVENTS: Black Friday shoppers are being encouraged to shop local and small businesses this Friday at the Desert Art Center, where they can find the largest display of local fine art in the Coachella Valley from 10 AM until 7:30 PM. DAC is located at 550 North Palm Canyon Drive in uptown Palm Springs. Another event — Deck the Walls — is planned for December 3, when a new Winter show will open in the main gallery. That event is from 5 PM until 7 PM.

FREE WRAPPING: The Friends of the Palm Springs Library will be offering free gift wrapping, with some restrictions, at the Welwood Murray Memorial Library as part of Shop Small Saturday this weekend. The event will take place in the Cornelia White Community Room from 11 AM until 4 PM on Saturday, November 27.

USO GALA: The Bob Hope USO-Palm Springs, in partnership with The Management Trust, will present the 8th Annual Spirit of Hope Gala on Friday, December 3. The gala supports military service members and serves as a benefit for Palm Springs area programs and services. To purchase tickets to The Spirit of Hope Gala, visit this link.

STRUT AWARDS VOTING: Voting has started for the STRUT Awards, slated to be handed out next month in Palm Springs. The STRUT Awards are a people’s choice voting event designed to honor members of the local LGBTQ+ industry. Nominations were accepted in more than two dozen categories, and now it’s time to vote. You can do that by going here. Winners will be announced and celebrated on December 12 during an event at Margaritaville Palm Springs beginning at 6 PM. Tickets for the event can be purchased here.

TREE LIGHTING, PARADE: The 29th Annual Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade will return to Palm Canyon Drive at 5:45 PM on Saturday, December 4. One day prior to the parade, residents are invited to the Official City of Palm Springs Holiday Tree Lighting at 5:15 PM at Frances Stevens Park, 500 North Palm Canyon Drive.

DESERT JAM: The annual benefit for Palm Springs-based Well in the Desert — Desert Jam 2021: Jammin’ for the Well — is slated for Monday, December 6 at the Agua Caliente Resort Casino ballroom in Rancho Mirage at 6 PM. All proceeds benefit The Well’s work to feed and provide for those experiencing homelessness in our community. More information, including how to purchase tickets for the event, can be found here or by calling 760-285-7297.

POLICE AND FIRE EVENT: The Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce is taking reservations for its annual Police & Fire Appreciation Luncheon, held Tuesday, December 7, from 11:30 AM until 1 PM at the Palm Springs Convention Center. More information about tickets and sponsorship opportunities is available here.

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