5 Things to Know: Friday, September 11

Welcome to 5 Things to Know, which may or may not become a recurring daily post on this here website. Who knows! For now, this replaces the daily coronavirus updates that have been running on this site since March.  Since the pandemic affects all of us, that will remain a big part of these updates – but, as it also, sadly, becomes part of our regular daily lives,  this format allows us to share information on some other things going on in and around the Coachella Valley that you may want to be aware of as the situation becomes our new normal.

As always, thank you for your continued support of Cactus Hugs.

1) The Fires

Dozens of fires continue to burn in California, Oregon, and Washington.   California has now seen five of the top 20 largest fires in the state’s history occurring this year:

As of Friday afternoon, 20 people have died in the fires in California:

The images of the fires are just surreal:

Some important links:

  • The LA Times is tracking each of the major fires on this online map.
  • The El Dorado Fire has now burned 13,715 acres in San Bernardino County and is 31% contained.
  • As bad as the fires have been, those who buy into the bonkers QAnon conspiracy theories are making things even worse by spreading fake news – including a rumor that “Antifa” members had been arrested for setting the fires.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill on Friday that would allow inmates who’ve worked on the frontlines of wildfires to work professionally as a firefighter once they’ve successfully completed their prison time:

2) The Coronavirus

Riverside County announced 205 new coronavirus cases and 9 more people dead of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.  Here’s the latest in the Coachella Valley:

Some important COVID-19 reads:

  • Riverside County currently has 180 people confirmed to be hospitalized with coronavirus as of Thursday – which is 32% of the 550 coronavirus hospitalizations from the county’s peak on July 14.
  • College campuses all over the country are seeing outbreaks as the fall semester begins. The New York Times posts about how colleges became the new COVID-19 hot spots.
  • NBC News reports on dozens of first responders who answered the call during September 11, only to die during the coronavirus. As many as 68 types of cancers and dozens of respiratory ailments reported by many 9/11 first responders left them “uniquely vulnerable to an illness that attacks the lungs and the immune system,” according to an attorney who revealed that 22 of the 20,000 9/11 first responders and survivors he represented with ground zero-related illnesses have died this year of COVID-19.

3) The Virgin Hotel Sure Looks Like it isn’t Happening in Palm Springs Anymore

The downtown Palm Springs development that was built on scandal has now suffered its latest setback as Grit Development – which was once known as Wessman Development prior to that whole FBI raid and all of those corruption charges – stated that they have mutually agreed with the hotel developer to postpone the project due to coronavirus.  As the Desert Sun reports, the hotel now may become 62 condos instead…because, sure, that’s what downtown Palm Springs needs.

4) Inmate Beaten to Death at Riverside County Jail Identified as Cathedral City Man

An inmate killed in an attack at the the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning on Tuesday has been identified as 29-year-old Rosendo Echevarria of Cathedral City.  Court records show Echevarria was facing several felony child-molestation charges.  The Sheriff’s Department declined to answer questions from the Press Enterprise such as whether he was in general population or being provided protection because of his status as a person accused of molesting a child.

5) Indio Wants Your Ideas for a New Park

The city of Indio is asking residents what they want to have at a proposed park on 40 acres of land between Indio Blvd. and Ave. 44.  You can email your ideas to [email protected] or post them this Facebook page.

Updates will resume on Monday.  Have a nice weekend. 

As Cactus Hugs continues to evolve and find its way during the pandemic, I just wanted to say thank you for your continued support. It means a ton. 

Stay safe.  Stay Smart.  Wear a mask. 💚🌵