DAILY BRIEFING: February 17, 2022

Good morning. It’s Thursday, February 17. Expect sunny skies and a high near 72 degrees today. First, some news you need to know …

Seven outstanding teachers named at city schools, will be considered for districtwide honor next

Seven teachers at city schools are among those from the Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD) who will be vying for a districtwide honor in March. They could go on to be named a California teacher of the year.

Last week, the district made the announcements, surprising the honorees with classroom celebrations. Those honored at Palm Springs schools were:

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  • Rosie Distefano
  • Araceli Wagner
  • Jennifer O’Connor
  • Hugo Cruz
  • Tim Nugent
  • Veronica Silva
  • Roberto Wheaton

Distefano currently teaches third grade at Cahuilla Elementary School. She has been teaching for 16 years.

Wagner teaches second grade at Cielo Vista Charter School. She has been teaching for 19 years.

O’Connor has been teaching for 20 years and is currently a fourth-grade teacher at Katherine Finchy Elementary.

Cruz currently teaches second-grade dual immersion at Vista del Monte Elementary School. He has been teaching for four years.

Nugent is the physical education teacher at Raymond Cree Middle School. He has been teaching for 32 years.

Silva is a science teacher at Palm Springs High School. She has been a teacher for eight years.

Wheaton is a social studies teacher at Desert Learning Academy who has been teaching for 35 years.

A committee of Palm Springs Teachers Association (PSLA) past teachers of the year will now use criteria from the county and state levels to decide if any of the seven move on from the district level to represent PSUSD at the county level.

Last year, Nichi Avina, a science teacher at Cielo Vista Charter School, was chosen as one of five recipients of the 2022 California Teachers of the Year honor by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. 

The Many Lives Of Mary Woronov: An Ebersole + Hughes Megaspective.

Each week features a rare appearance by Mary Woronov, a VIP Cocktail Hour, and a Q+A or reading. Exclusive to the film series are Woronov’s newest painting series, “The Story of the Red Show,” as well as an accompanying retrospective of her astounding oil works from the 1970’s to present. Gallery opens for a VIP Reception Feb. 25. Subscribe to our newsletter and stay connected.  

?  Briefly

Modernism Week kicks off in the city today, celebrating all things midcentury architecture and design. (Photo courtesy Modernism Week)

MODERNISM STARTS: Modernism Week, a celebration of all things midcentury architecture and design, kicks off in Palm Springs today. The 11-day festival lasts until Feb. 27, offering more than 350 events, including tours, film screenings, lectures, and nightly parties. Kicking off the celebration tonight is the Modernism Week Opening Night Party themed “Love, Modernism Style.” The 1970s glam-style party will be at Indian Canyons Country Club, designed by Donald Wexler and Richard Harrison. Closing the festivities will be an 18-hole tournament at the Seven Lakes Golf and Country Club on Feb. 27. The tournament will conclude with an awards ceremony and cocktail party at the clubhouse’s terrace designed by William Cody. Other events include double-decker bus tours, tours of the historic Annenberg Estate at Sunnylands, a classic car show and a vintage trailer show. Ticket information and event listings can be found at modernismweek.com.

FAMILY SUES: The family of a man killed by an unlicensed bail agent in the city last April has filed a lawsuit against the city, two police officers, and its former chief of police, among others. In a 65-page complaint for damages filed last month in Riverside County Superior Court, the family alleges the parties named in the lawsuit are responsible for the wrongful death of David Spann, 33, who was shot at his apartment in the 100 block of East Via Escuela in the early morning hours of April 23, 2021, allegedly by Fabian Hector Herrera. Herrera, who pleaded not guilty to murder charges last November, was attempting to apprehend Spann on behalf of a bail bond company, which is also named in the lawsuit. In body camera footage from Palm Springs police officers who arrived at the scene, an order to shoot Spann can be heard. No Palm Springs police fired their weapons. Herrera is next scheduled to appear in court in April.

RESTAURANT NEWS: Diners lamenting the end of Venezia Restaurant & Pizzeria in Racquetclub Center in northern Palm Springs last fall have been rejoicing in the opening of Palmina by Puglia. The new Italian eatery, located in Venezia’s former spot at at 2500 North Palm Canyon Dr., opened recently for evening dinner service. Currently, only outside dining is offered after 5 p.m. as the interior undergoes renovations. Chef Antonello Zito said success with his Lake Arrowhead location prompted him to open in Palm Springs. On the opposite end of the city, Luchows Chinese restaurant in Rimrock Plaza has closed three months after opening, and just a few weeks after a ceremonial ribbon cutting, “I like building things and creating this space is a project that helped me get through the bad times of the lockdown,” wrote owner Paul Kakuschky on Facebook. “But running a fast paced restaurant on a day to day (basis) is a whole different animal, and the Bubble I was in during the pandemic has burst.” Kakuschky said he hopes to sell the restaurant, which had been a welcome addition in the city when it opened last November, and that the business is “up to code for a fast turn-key transition.”

ARMY BAND PERFORMS TONIGHT: The United States Army Field Band performs tonight at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The patriotic concert, called “This We’ll Defend,” takes place at 7 p.m. at 277 N. Avenida Caballeros. Proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours is required for entry, and masks must be worn indoors.

? Today’s events

Highlights of what’s happening today in Palm Springs. Find complete listings on our community calendar.

  • The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert offers a chat group for all women — no matter how you identify — at 10:30 a.m. You can find information about the event here.

  • Palm Springs police continue their series of community meetings at 4 p.m. Today’s meeting is at Cahuilla Elementary School. Details are here.
  • Racism, Antisemitism and Sexuality Discrimination in Palm Springs is the topic of a talk this evening scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Palm Springs Art Museum. The event is free, and details are here.
  • The Measure J Oversight Commission meets at 5:30. Find details here.
  • Villagefest is happening Downtown, starting at 6 p.m. The weekly outdoor street fair takes place at Downtown on Palm Canyon Drive.
  • Palm Springs High School Theatre Company presents its annual Seasons of Love Showcase this evening at 6:30 p.m. Complete information is available here.

  • Desert Rose Playhouse continues its next performance — The Drag — tonight at 7 p.m. at its venue along South Palm Canyon Drive. Details are here.

?  What to watch for

  • Desert Ensemble Theatre continues its season at the Cultural Center with the California premiere of Saltystarting Friday.
  • The Desert Art Center launches its Mid-Mod Show with a Tiki -Taki Luau Reception from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Friday.
  • The annual Caravan through African-American history takes place on Feb. 21. Complete details on this always popular free event can be found here.
  • Palm Canyon Theatre has scheduled its next performance – Palm Springs Getaway – for three weekends starting on Feb. 25.
  • Heart-to-Heart Palm Springs is selling tickets for its March 12 Military Women Appreciation Luncheon. Details are here

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