Independence Day, Veterans Day fireworks get City Council blessing

After voting down funding for the city’s annual Independence Day fireworks show for the first time in 50 years earlier this year, the Palm Springs City Council voted Thursday evening to direct city staff to allow the show again.

The 4-0 vote — with Councilmember Geoff Kors not present — does not provide blanket approval for all fireworks shows in Palm Springs. Instead, it simply allowed for consensus on a proposal by Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Middleton that city staff allow permits specifically for the city’s traditional Fourth of July and Veterans Day fireworks shows. The Council also asked staff to study the impacts of the handful of other shows typically permitted each year in the city.

Thursday evening’s move followed pushback from veterans and others in the community who were caught off guard in May when, by a 3-2 vote, the Council refused to approve money for fireworks at the city’s annual July 4 celebration. The funding was part of the Council’s consent agenda on the evening of May 6, which is typically approved without discussion. But after brief testimony from animal advocates, the funding item was pulled from the agenda and subsequently voted down.

“I really don’t want to revisit what happened in May,” Middleton said Thursday. “It was a difficult evening, followed by many, many difficult conversations and emails that each and every one of us received.”

Middleton’s proposal came with stipulations that staff work to minimize the impact of the fireworks displays on animals by providing exact times for the shows so that those who have animal companions can make arrangements to shelter them from the noise.

“The stories that they tell of the distress, the hurt that so many pets in our community have gone through as a results of the numerous fireworks displays are real and true,” Middleton said during deliberations on the issue. “Anyone who has seen an animal suffering because of the sounds knows of what I speak.”

Still, Middleton said, allowing fireworks on July 4 and Veterans Day is the right thing to do for “the men and women who put their lives at risk wearing our country’s uniform and for whom their sense of patriotism is absolutely fundamental to who they are.”

“Each and every one of those individuals loves this country and loves this city, and their patriotism should never be questioned,” she said in reference to both veterans groups and animal advocates. “I think we have overindulged in having far too many events of which fireworks are used. But there are two days that are absolutely fundamental to the celebration of the patriotism of this country — the Fourth of July and Veterans Day.”

In other action Thursday evening:

  • The Council directed staff to begin working with restaurant owners to determine who wants in and who wants out of a city program designed to impose design standards and collect fees on parklets. While staff recommended a Dec. 31 deadline for restaurant owners to apply to be part of the program, Council members asked that staff begin working right away with individual restaurant owners so that the removal of “eyesore” parklets might start as soon as possible.
  • The Council honored retired Palm Springs Police Chief Bryan Reyes with a video presentation and proclamation, followed by the presentation of a large thank you card from the city’s Chamber of Commerce. Reyes, who retired last month after 27 years of service in the city, joked that he spent the first two weeks of his retirement taking naps. Later, he added, “I look forward to being a tremendous cheerleader for this city.”
  • The Council received a COVID-19 update from city staff showing “a general downward trend” in the presence of COVID-19 in the city, including measurements in the city’s wastewater. In Palm Springs, 76 percent of residents age 12 and older are fully vaccinated, and 88 percent are partially vaccinated.

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Let’s Talk Community News

On September 21, you’re invited to join the editor of The Palm Springs Post and the publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent at Talk of the Town, presented by ONE-PS. The timely and informative virtual session starts at 5:30 PM and will focus on how independent publishers are working to build personal connections in their Coachella Valley communities by bringing them local news.

FIND DETAILS HERE


BRIEFLY

ARRAIGNMENT POSTPONED: A 31-year-old man accused of killing two Palm Springs residents while burglarizing their homes is now due to be arraigned next week. Luis Flores Cantor of Palm Springs is charged with two counts of murder, three counts of burglary, and one count of assault, with a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders. Cantor is accused of the slayings of 59-year-old Jennifer Dillon and 80-year-old Joseph Rajczi, who died months apart. The defendant appeared Thursday morning before Riverside County Superior Court Judge James Hawkins, who postponed Cantor’s arraignment to September 17 at the Larson Justice Center, giving him time to secure his own counsel if he desires.

NAME CHANGE: The Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau — the official marketing organization for the Coachella Valley — announced Thursday that it would begin operating as Visit Greater Palm Springs, effective immediately. Along with the change, a new logo was unveiled. Tourism remains the top industry in the region, providing one out of every five jobs. In 2019, 14.1 million people visited the greater Palm Springs area for a total economic impact of $7.5 billion.

ANIMAL SHELTER PROJECT: The Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters will host a volunteer project with local members on Saturday from 7 AM until 11 AM to construct two large pergola shade structures as well as place new AstroTurf at the Palm Springs Animal Shelter, 4575 E. Mesquite Ave. The area will be a new location for dogs to roam.

AIRPORT CONTEST: Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) is offering area residents a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas in a new contest that started Thursday and runs through September 26. The winner will receive two round trip tickets from Palm Springs to Las Vegas on Southwest Airlines, a three-night hotel stay at the winner’s choice of one of five Caesars Entertainment properties on the Las Vegas Strip, a nighttime helicopter tour of the Las Vegas Strip from Maverick Helicopters, and a $500 gift card. To enter, go to the airport’s Facebook page or click on this link.

SCHOOL COVID: As of this morning, the Palm Springs Unified School District is reporting 41 cases of COVID-19 among students and staff. That number is unchanged from Thursday. Schools in Palm Springs account for seven of those cases, including five among students and two among staff. That figure is also unchanged from Thursday. The most cases reported at any city school were at Palm Springs High School, where three cases were reports, including two among students and one among staff.


TODAY’S EVENTS

MIZELL EVENTS: Wii bowling, fitness classes, and Mah Jongg are offered today at the Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, starting at 8 AM. Today’s complete schedule can be found here.

LGBTQ+ YOUTH HANGOUT: If you’re between the ages of 14 and 20 and need a safe space to connect with other LGBTQ+ youth, The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert hosts a Zoom meeting each Friday starting at 2:30 PM. To “Zoom in,” you can register at this link.


COMMEMORATING 9/11

Multiple events in Palm Springs are planned to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in America. Among them:

  • The community is invited Saturday to a 20th anniversary memorial at Palm Springs Fire Department headquarters, 300 N. El Cielo Rd., to pay tribute to firefighters and police officers who perished on 9/11. The event gets underway at 8:30 AM, with a special ceremony starting at 9:11 AM.
  • The Palm Springs Air Museum is planning to fly a fleet of historic aircraft on a memorial flight on Saturday. The planes will depart from the museum around 9:45 AM and then fly over Palm Springs City Fire Station #2 before continuing to fly over 26 additional fire stations in the Coachella Valley and High Desert, as well as Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.
  • Palm Canyon Theatre, 538 N. Palm Canyon Dr., will present The Guys, a play by Anne Nelson about the aftereffects of the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The Guys will run Saturday, September 11, and Sunday, September 12. Showtimes are 7 PM on Saturday and 2 PM on Sunday. Tickets are $29.50; students are $15. All active police, firefighters, and military can call the box office at 760-323-5123 for complimentary admission, based on available space.

WEEKEND EVENTS

FOOD DISTRIBUTION: Well in the Desert distributes food every Saturday at 6 AM and 10 AM at 181 N. Indian Canyon Dr. For the early distribution, guests typically begin lining up at 5 AM and must show proof of residency (a rent receipt, utility bill, etc.). For both distributions, guests are asked to bring a box, bags or other containers to transport food items. More information is available by phoning the Well’s office at 760-656-8905. The Well also offers hot lunches Monday through Friday at 11 AM and 1 PM at various locations throughout the city. A complete schedule of those services is available here.

INDOOR MARKET: The Palm Springs Certified Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 8 AM until 12:30 PM and has moved indoors for the summer. The market is located inside the Palm Springs Pavilion, 401 S. Pavilion Way.

FLEA MARKET: A flea market and food fest is held Saturdays in September at 675 Crossley Rd. from 8 AM until 2 PM. Information can be found here.

SING-ALONG: The Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 E. Baristo Rd., and Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus are collaborating for nine weeks on “The All Summer Long Snazzy Sassy Songsational Summerific Sing-A-Long.” The final event is Saturday. A social hour is held at 6 PM and screenings start at 7 PM. Tickets are available here. Rosemary Galore is the mistress of ceremonies each week, encouraging the audience to sing and join in the fun.

T-DANCE: Oscar’s in downtown Palm Springs hosts its weekly T-Dance starting at 5 PM on summer Sundays and 4 PM in the winter. The first 100 people receive free admission. On the first Sunday of the month, the DJ will be Chi Chi LaRue. On other Sundays, house DJ Mr. Bob Scatch provides the music. Oscar’s is located at 125 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way.

BRUNCH: Multiple venues offer drag brunch, champagne brunch, and more on weekends. View a complete list here.

LIVE MUSIC: Many live music events are posted on this Facebook page, maintained since 2015 by two Palm Springs residents.

MOVIE TIMES: The Regal Theater, 789 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, and Camelot Theatres, 2300 E. Baristo Rd., offer first-run, fine art, independent, and foreign films in Palm Springs. Showtimes for the Regal are listed here. Showtimes at Camelot are here.


ONGOING

HUNGER ACTION: FIND Food Bank is engaging with the public through fundraising and awareness events this month in an effort to leave no local resident hungry. Multiple Palm Springs businesses, including EIGHT4NINE Restaurant and Lounge, Ace Hotel & Swim Club, the Kimpton Rowan Hotel, Grounded Body Works, and PS Underground, are joining in the efforts. This week, Starbucks at 110 N. Palm Canyon Drive downtown joined in the effort as well. You can bring in canned foods to that location at any time this month. For more information about all local events this month, go here.

LIBRARY CARD DRIVE: The Palm Springs Public Library is running its annual library card drive during the month of September. Library cards are free to residents of California and offer many advantages other than being able to reserve and check out books. Ready for a library card? Just head to this site to register.

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY: The Palm Springs Police Department will increase patrols throughout September to crack down on driving violations that put pedestrians at risk. As part of Pedestrian Safety Month, police will be searching for violations such as failure to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, illegal turns, failing to stop at stop signs or signals, and speeding.

VOTING OPEN: Our partners at The Coachella Valley Independent have started the process of determining the best of the best in the Coachella Valley for 2021-2022 and need your help. Nominations are currently being accepted via fill-in-the-blank voting through September 13. After that, the top vote-getters in each category move on to the final round of voting, and winners are announced on November 22. To nominate a business or person in any one of multiple categories, start here.

FILM FESTIVAL: All-access passes, six-packs, and individual tickets are now on sale for Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs LGBTQ+ Film Festival, held September 16 through 30 at the Historic Camelot Theatres at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2100 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way. This year, Cinema Diverse is offering a multi-platform experience with films available virtually and at the theater. Complete information about tickets for this year’s event can be found here. Sponsorship opportunities can be found here.

TRAM CLOSED: The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is closed for its annual maintenance. If all goes well, it should reopen on October 4.


COMMUNITY CONNECTION

Want to know what’s happening in your city and at agencies that make decisions affecting your neighborhood? See below for calendars, meeting agendas, and links to all city services, police reports, code enforcement reports, and more:

City of Palm Springs calendar of events | Official city contacts

Palm Springs Public Library calendar of events

Palm Springs Unified School District calendar | Board meetings

Desert Healthcare District Board of Directors meeting agendas

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

Street sweeping schedule

Palm Springs Disposal pickup schedule | Holiday schedules

Sunline Transit bus schedule

Currently active development projects

FIND Food Bank mobile market schedule

Well in the Desert daily meals | Food distribution

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