5 Things to Know: Monday, November 16

Welcome to 5 Things to Know – a daily rundown of things you might want to be aware of if you live in, visit, or just like being aware about what’s going on in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. As always, thank you for your continued support of Cactus Hugs.

1) The Coronavirus

Riverside County reported 1,668 new cases and 7 additional deaths since Friday. There have been 1,374 reported deaths from coronavirus this year in Riverside County.

Here is the latest on what’s going on in the desert:


  • The Chair of Riverside County’s Family Medicine Department said it’s quite possible that  hospitalizations and cases in Riverside County could increase by two-to-three times by this time in December if current trends continue. He said that many residents of the county are not taking the proper precautions (masks, distancing) as part of “virus fatigue.”
  • As cases surge, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that 40 California counties had moved back to more restrictive reopening tiers as the state’s coronavirus cases continue to spike. In 11 of those counties, the state said it was using an “emergency brake” -which dropped those counties two tiers.
  • Nationally, things are just not good at all:

Be safe.  Wear a mask. 

2) Historic Indio theater burns down

Firefighters responded on Saturday morning to a fire at Desert Theatre.  The blaze resulted in a total loss for the structure, which was built back in 1937.

3) The Palm Desert cross has also given up on 2020

Have you noticed that the cross that lights up nightly above South Palm Desert has not been on at night lately? You’re not alone. Many people have been calling Margaret’s Episcopal Church, which maintains the roughly 60-foot tall cross at the top of a hill, inquiring what’s up – and the answer is a short in the wiring. Donations have been coming in since the lights went out three weeks ago and parts to fix it are on the way.

4) Southwest now has a couple of flights in and out of PSP

A Southwest flight arrived in Palm Springs on Sunday fro the first time.  The airline is now offering one-way flights to and from Phoenix, Oakland and Denver for as low as $49. One official called the arrival of the budget airline a “game changer” and, who knows? Maybe they will figure out a route to and from Vegas would be a good idea for both locals and visitors once the pandemic is all said and done.

5) Gift Guide: Day 1

What the??  It’s already time to start shopping for the holidays!…even though it was 90 freakin’ degrees today in the Coachella Valley!  2020 is quite a year.   Over the next couple of weeks, Cactus Hugs will feature a few items you might want to pick up for yourself or as a gift for a loved one.  Some items will include affiliate links, which would mean that Cactus Hugs gets a small commission if you happen to buy something, but the price is still the same.

To kick off this holiday season, I am recommending, of all things, a sprinkler controller!  No, seriously…a freakin sprinkler controller.  Why?  Because it’s actually pretty great…that’s why!!!

When the wife and I bought a house last year, it was the first time not living the renter’s don’t worry about the landscaping lifestyle.  We had a small bit of grass and shrubs and added some flowers and crap and what the hell kind of water cycle am I supposed to set for all that?

Enter the Rachio Smart Sprinkler system.  I hesitated to throw down a couple hundred bucks on a sprinkler control, but I am here to tell you, it’s worth it.  My water bill has gone down, my landscaping looks far better, and it’s all because I don’t have to think about it anymore.

The Rachio system uses all kinds of data to calculate the best time for watering my different zones, how much water everything should get, and will even pause things those few times a year we get rain or the many days it’s just too windy for most of the water to end up where it should go.  You can also easily turn it on and off from anywhere, which is a fun feature when your jerk neighbor walks their dog into your yard to do its business.

Anyway, it’s not for everyone, but for people who want some nice landscaping and would rather set it and forget it, this thing is pretty dope.

You can check it out on Amazon here.

And don’t worry, there will be recommendations leaning more fun than practical on soon.

Stay safe.  Stay smart.  Practice Social Distancing.  Wear a mask.  

Have a nice weekend.