5 Things to Know: Tuesday, September 8

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.  Here we go…

1) The Fires

There are currently 40 major fires burning across the state of California, though you already know this as your throat is scratchy, the Coachella Valley is filled with smoke, and the entire sky looks like it’s burning.

Some important links:

  • The LA Times is tracking each of the major fires on this online map.
  • By now, you have heard that the El Dorado Fire was started as the result of some pyrotechnic device used as part of a gender reveal party and has now burned over 10,000 acres. It’s not the first time that one these parties have led to tragedy.  The Press Enterprise recaps five gender reveal party  – which include a plane crash and a fatal explosion and, yeah, maybe it’s time to end these dumb parties.
  • As strong winds hit the state, experts believe things could get much, much worse and power companies are shutting down electricity as a precaution.

2) The Coronavirus

Riverside County announced 585 new coronavirus cases and 8 more people dead since Friday.  Here’s the latest in the Coachella Valley:


3) A 20-Year Old Hiker Died in Joshua Tree

A Yucaipa man died while hiking in Joshua Tree National Park this weekend. He was reported unconscious and in need of immediate aid about 7 pm Saturday night.

Benjamin Whittier was hiking in the Turkey Flats area of the park. His hiking partner called authorities who administered CPR to an unresponsive Whittier, but were unable to revive him.

Temperatures inside the park were well into the triple digits this weekend, with some areas seeing temps above 120.

4) 7 Fatally Shot at Illegal Marijuana Grow in Aguanga

Seven people were fatally shot at an illegal marijuana growing operation in Aguanga early Monday morning.

Deputies were called about 12:33 am for a report of assault with a deadly weapon at a residence on Highway 371, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

A woman suffering from a gunshot wound was taken to the hospital where she died.  Six other shooting victims were found at the scene. Authorities say there was over 1,000 pounds of marijuana and hundreds of plants.

No suspects have been found or named. An investigation is underway.  Police day they believe it was an isolated incident and there is not threat to the general public.

5) The ANA Inspiration

For the first time since the Indian Wells tennis tournament was cancelled at the last minute in March, a major event is taking place in the Coachella Valley. The ANA Inspiration is happening this week in Rancho Mirage.

The Desert Sun has a look at what it took to get the tournament moved from April to September.  The event is off to a tough start, as not only have fires filled the desert with smoke, but Charley Hull withdrew from the tournament this morning after testing positive for the coronavirus:


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. 💚🌵