Daily Briefing: Statue sitter, cakes for kids, and more

It’s Wednesday, 5/18.

☀️ Today’s weather: Sunny skies and 101 degrees.

? Setting the mood: High Horse” by Kacey Musgraves

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❌ Situational awareness: Please note that if you were planning to attend the 3rd Wednesday Speaker Series, originally scheduled for this evening at the Mizell Center, it has unfortunately been canceled.

This is a 4-minute read. Off you go …

Leading off: Statue stays put

The city’s love-hate relationship with statues took another twist on Tuesday when a lone protester refused to move from the base of a statue of a former mayor, preventing the city from removing it and placing it in storage. 

Driving the news: Amado Salinas of Palm Springs, a US Navy veteran who is active in both the local and regional American Legion, sat down at the base of the Frank Bogert statue around 8:15 a.m. He was prepared to wait until a court hearing took place to consider an injunction against the statue’s removal.

  • “This is about the city canceling out every little thing the residents have stood for,” he told city staff and media, who quickly gathered around him. “We just want our day in court.” 

About that case: The Friends of Frank Bogert filed a lawsuit against the city last month, and an initial hearing is weeks away. However, the group’s attorney put in for a temporary restraining order against the city moving the statue until that hearing takes place. That request is supposed to be heard this morning. The attorney was unsuccessful in getting it moved up to Tuesday.

Settling in: A handful of Bogert supporters joined Salinas Tuesday, promising to stay “all day and all night.” By nightfall, they had taken over watching the statue.

  • As of this morning, the only signs of life near the statue were a dedicated crew from KESQ and two cars in the City Hall parking lot.

Keeping the peace: Palm Springs police said they have no plans to arrest anyone. City staff appeared to be ready to hold off on removing the statue until the dust settled.

  • Mayor Lisa Middleton: “A group of residents who did not agree with the city’s decision to remove the statue are exercising, peacefully, their First Amendment right to address City Council. We encourage everyone to remain peaceful in this process and to work collaboratively.”

At issue: The Palm Springs City Council voted last year to start the legal process for removing and relocating the monument, first installed in 1990. That decision came at the end of a five-hour virtual joint meeting with the city’s Human Rights Commission attended by more than 130 people.

  • But wait: The Bogert statue isn’t the only one splitting the community. A large figure of actress Marilyn Monroe, currently on display downtown, caused an uproar when it was brought back to town in June 2021.

In brief: Let them eat cake

Starting in June, the Coachella Valley will be home to a chapter of Cake4Kids, an organization that bakes and delivers free birthday cakes to underserved kids who might not otherwise get one.

Bringing back birthdays: When you’re a kid, the whole kid universe revolves around the winter holidays, Halloween, and your birthday.

  • But for young people in underserved communities, those hallmarks of childhood may be missed.

The cause: Cake4Kids serves children from all walks of life, focusing on kids in foster care, in group homes, survivors of domestic violence or human trafficking, living in low-income housing with or without a parent, or even unhoused kids. 

Local impact: The soon-to-launch Coachella Valley chapter has so far partnered with the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, Olivecrest Foster programs, The LGBT Center in East Valley, and the Boys and Girls Club.

What’s next: Now that the groundwork is laid, organizers are asking for volunteers who can help bake cakes, cupcakes, cookies, or brownies for these kids.

  • Volunteers can choose how often and which cakes they want to bake.

For more information: Call Ray Biller, the Coachella Valley Ambassador for Cake4Kids at 760-671-0107 or reach out online here.

  • Read more about how the organization got started in 2010 in the Bay Area.

? AM Roundup: Grab a cup & catch up

Meet the candidates vying to become the state assemblymember representing Palm Springs. (KESQ)

Riverside County has the highest number of properties at risk for wildfires in the country. (The Desert Sun)

⛳️ There’s a new general manager at the Indian Canyons Golf Resort. (Palm Springs Life)

Ahead of budget preparations, Riverside County says there are no revenue shortfalls on the horizon (NBC Palm Springs/CNS)

? On tap

Join Mayor Lisa Middleton and local cyclists at the Ride of Silence tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Ruth Hardy Park.

Global event: The Ride of Silence helps raise awareness for cycling safety, and honors those that have been lost or injured while cycling on public roads.

  • Last year, 405 different locations around the world participated in the event.

“The Ride of Silence will not be quiet:” Organizers say even though cyclists have a legal right to share the road, drivers aren’t aware of the law, and may not be aware of cyclists themselves. That too often leads to tragic accidents.

  • The number of preventable deaths from bike accidents has increased 44% in the last 10 years.

All are welcome: All levels of bicyclists are encouraged to join. Be sure to bring a helmet.

? Also today: 

  • The PSHS Spirit of the Sands Band and Visual Corps holds its “Final Blast Concert”tonight to bid farewell to band and visual corps directors Brian and Beverley Ingelson. It starts tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Richards Center for the Arts at Palm Springs High.
  • The Palm Springs Sunshine Sisters are having coffee and tea in Palm Desert at 1 p.m.
  • The Palm Springs Public Arts Commission holds its regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. online.

? Looking ahead:

  • Rare Books LA hosts its Palm Springs show this weekend at the Hotel Zoso.

  • The next REAF-PS House Party, benefitting the Cathedral City Senior Center, is planned for Saturday at 5 p.m.

And finally …

Raymond Cree students Haley Sorra and Lithai March pose with teacher Marilee Miller (far right) and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mike Swize. (Photo courtesy PSUSD)

A dozen seventh-graders from Palm Springs Unified School District’s six middle schools were awarded cash and other prizes last week at a Palm Springs Air Museum event after taking first or second place in the first Western Wind Essay Contest.

Driving the news: Overseen by The Foundation for the Palm Springs Unified School District, the district’s first-ever middle school essay contest was conceived and brought to the district by community leaders and philanthropists Terri Ketover and Sen. Barbara Boxer, and Western Wind Foundation President Jeremy Hobbs, who underwrote the event. Twelve teachers submitted 250 entries.

  • The competition was designed to encourage personal essay writing skills on “Overcoming Adversity.” 

Details: Following dinner provided by Lulu California Bistro owner Jerry Keller, remarks by Ketover and Hobbs, and excerpts from each essay read by Boxer, first-place students received $500 in cash, and second-place winners were given $250. Each of the winners also received a Kindle and a $100 Amazon gift card to purchase Kindle books. 

  • All participants received a contest T-shirt. Each of the 12 participating teachers received a Foundation classroom grant for supplies or materials.

Palm Springs schools: Winners from Cielo Vista Charter School were Neveah Cardozo and Jazmine Recinos; Raymond Cree Middle School honorees were Haley Sorra and Lithai March.

Kendall remembered to reach out to her favorite teachers and tell them thanks for all they do.

Mark is recalling the band directors who made a difference in his life. 

Miss a day?Read past newsletters here.

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