Volume 43 | October 2020
INDIO CITY COUNCIL
Mayor
Mayor Pro Tem
CITY MANAGER'S MESSAGE
Dear Indio Neighbors,

I promised myself I am going to write this month’s column without complaining about the Covid challenges, serious though they may be. And I promised to avoid any comment about the trauma that is election season! I do want to say, however, how grateful I am that we live in a community where such capable people step up to run for elected office. And not only our elected officials. We have very talented people working as volunteers for governments, our schools, medical community and nonprofits. Modern day barn raisers!

So with that opening, what I really want to do is pivot to say thank you to our business community. This has been such a bizarre year (is that a complaint?) because businesses considered “essential” have had heavy workloads, often working heroically to serve us. While so many of our other businesses (many of which are vital to our quality of life) have been shuttered and fighting for survival. Now that the State is allowing some level of reopening, I hope all of us will do our best to support these vital businesses that have suffered so badly. These businesses constitute the heart and soul of a community — they serve our basic needs and create character and authenticity. Please support them.

Meanwhile, all of us at City Hall plead with the public to exercise extreme discipline in observing safety protocols. If we fail to do that, we risk another spike and another shutdown, which could be devastating to these businesses.  

That’s my message for October. This is a great time of year. Let us remember to enjoy that which is so right in Indio. And #1 on my list of what is right in Indio is all of you. We appreciate you and your very special families. Be safe, be kind.

With great respect,
Mark Scott
City Manager
mscott@indio.org
NEWS OF INDIO
2020 STATE OF THE CITY

Take a closer look at our economic activity from the past year, celebrate the City's 90th anniversary, and look at future development in this virtual event on Oct. 22. The Indio State of the City and Business Awards is brought to you by the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the City of Indio.

The event, featuring Mayor Glenn Miller, will stream live on various social platforms from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and will be rebroadcast at 6:30 p.m.

In addition to a city update, local business professionals will be recognized for professional accomplishments and significant contributions to Indio. To watch the event live, tune in to the City and the Chamber's Facebook pages. For additional information contact the Chamber at 760-347-0676. 
IPD STAYS 'IN' TO REACH 'OUT'

Current times call for creative measures, and Indio's Police Department is pulling out all the stops to stay 'in' this month for multiple events.
Traditionally, IPD uses National Night out to show the public they are here to serve and protect.  On Oct. 6, we invite you to join the Indio Police Department on Facebook Live as they break down all of the essential services they offer to make Indio safe and inclusive. The virtual event will begin at 5:00 p.m. and will feature Chief Mike Washburn, Mayor Glenn Miller, City Manager Mark Scott, FIND Food Bank CEO Debbie Espinoza, and of course, the superb Indio Police Department family.

"We want our community to know, that despite restrictions which have reduced our in-person interactions with those we serve, the Indio Police Department is committed to continuing our traditional events which build and maintain positive police-community relationships," said Indio Police Chief Mike Washburn.

Tune in to participate in trivia, see the winner of our coloring contest (download the flyer here), and learn more about the outreach Indio's PD does in our community, including hosting a food drive with FIND Food Bank. Until Oct. 8, drop off donations of non perishable food items to Stater Bros. and Ralphs stores in Indio, and FIND Food Bank will distribute it to those experiencing food insecurity throughout the community.

This October IPD is also creating 'buzz' through their virtual Coffee with a Cop event. Coffee with a Cop is a nationally recognized outreach event that allows for collaboration between law enforcement and the community. This year, with generous support from Vintage Coffee House, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, IPD is placing cardboard cutouts of our police officers at various coffee shops within the City of Indio. Take a selfie with the officers’ cardboard cutouts all day on Oct. 7, and use the hashtag #IndioCWC to post on Instagram, and IPD will select the winners!

Participating Coffee with a Cop locations:
  • Vintage Coffee House (49-990 Jefferson St.)
  • Starbucks (81952 US Highway 111)
  • Starbucks (82041 Ave. 42)
  • Starbucks (42250 Jackson St.)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts (42-225 Jackson St.)

National Night Out Food Drive:
  • FIND Food Bank (83-775 Citrus Ave.)
  • Ralphs (49-908 Jefferson St.)
  • Stater Bros. (81-056 CA-111)
WATER BILL ASSISTANCE OFFERED BY IWA AND UNITED WAY

Water is a basic necessity. However, due to unexpected circumstances, some customers find themselves in financial hardship that renders them unable to pay for this essential need. To help eligible customers who are having trouble paying their water bill, Indio Water Authority partnered with the United Way of the Desert.

Known as the Help2Others Assistance Program, the partnership is committed to providing critical support to customers when they need it most. Since the program launched in March 2020, IWA has provided one-time bill payments of up to $100 for nearly 150 households through United Way.

You can apply for the program by visiting the United Way of the Desert website at www.unitedwayofthedesert.org/help2others or call (760) 323-2731 ext. 105 for assistance. The application can also be completed online by clicking the link below:


The program is funded by a combination of IWA’s non-rate revenue and tax-deductible donations made directly to United Way of the Desert by check or online. You can help your community and make a donation today!


VOTE BY MAIL LOCATIONS

In California, the upcoming Nov. 3 election is all vote by mail, and every eligible voter will receive a ballot by mail starting Oct. 5. If you have not registered to vote, please do so by going online to www.registertovote.gov by Oct. 19.

The County of Riverside Registrar of Voters has designated 80 secure ballot drop-off locations throughout the County. Three ballot drop-off locations are in Indio: Indio City Hall (100 Civic Center Mall), Indio Water Authority (83101 Avenue 45) and the Indio Teen Center (81-678 Avenue 46). The drop-off location at City Hall will be open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., starting Oct. 5 up until Election Day on Nov. 3. The Indio Water Authority and Indio Teen Center Drop-Off locations will be open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., from Oct. 5 up until Election Day.

In addition to the drop-off locations, 120 Voter Assistance Centers will be set up throughout the county. Staff at these centers will assist with in-person voting, voter registration, provide replacement ballots if needed and answer any questions regarding registration. The County Registrar of Voters advised that these centers be used only if absolutely necessary. Social distancing will be practiced and face coverings will be strongly encouraged.

The Voter Assistance Centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. The four designated locations in Indio are the Indio Teen Center, Indio Water Authority Corporate Yard, Indio Public Library, and the Riverside County Office of Education (47110 Calhoun St.) All this information is also available on our website.
HITTING IT OUT OF THE (SPORTS) PARK

From shade structures to splash pads, a skate park to walking paths, the City of Indio is looking for ideas to build a major park on City-owned property west of Jackson St. between Ave. 44 and Market St.
Once the City receives ideas from the public, they will be submitted to the state as part of the grant application process. Grants will be awarded to projects based on outreach and committed funding, among other criteria.

Dozens of people attended the first in-person, socially distanced, and outdoor event at the site of the proposed park last month, weighing in with their priorities, and looking at options to make their ideas a reality.

To help obtain grant funding, make a note to attend at least one of the following scheduled events, and submit your own ideas on the Indio Sports Park Facebook page (Facebook.com/IndioSportsPark). Questions and comments can also be sent to indiosportspark@indio.org
  • Tuesday Oct. 6 (Virtual) 7 p.m. 
  • Saturday Oct. 17 (outside of River of Life Church at 82631 Ave. 44) 9 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
  • Thursday Oct. 29 (Virtual) 7 p.m.
  • Saturday Nov. 7 (outside of River of Life Church at 82631 Ave. 44) 9 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
INDIO STANDS OUT FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND PLANNING

For the second year in a row, the City of Indio snagged a platinum distinction from the Institute of Local Government for its commitment to the environment. ILG will honor Indio as a 2020 "Best Sustainability Practices" Beacon Award Winner during two virtual events in October. For 11 years, the Beacon Program has encouraged, supported and recognized voluntary action by local governments throughout California to address climate change, promote energy innovation and create more sustainable communities . "Indio demonstrated no less than six strategies in all ten categories of sustainability," said the ILG's Kim Danko. "The platinum spotlight award is the highest category a city can achieve." Some of the categories include energy efficiency and conservation, waste reduction and climate-friendly purchasing.

The City added new sidewalks for pedestrian connectivity, added electric vehicles to the municipal fleet, synchronized traffic signals for better traffic flow, which reduces emissions, provided waste collection events for residents and provided water conservation programs that are above and beyond.

Indio also recently earned accolades from the American Planning Association Inland Empire Section. The IES promotes planning-related activities and continuing education functions for its members in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. The City of Indio took home two awards in two different categories: A Healthy Communities Category Award for the Indio Safe Routes to School Master Plan, and the Merit Award for the Indio Complete Streets & Drainage Master Plan.

Read more about Indio's Sustainability Practices here, and learn how you can help fight against climate change in Indio by going to Indio.org/sustainability
CENSUS DEADLINE EXTENDED

On. Oct. 2 the U.S. Census announced the deadline to self-respond would be extended once again though Oct. 31, giving residents of Indio additional time to participate. The response rate in Indio as of Oct. 4 is just 54.2 percent, far below the state and national averages.

The 10 question 2020 Census is safe and anonymous, and dictates funding for local programs, healthcare, education and infrastructure to our community for the next 10 years. In addition, Census data is used to allocate representation in government. A low response rate means diverse communities, such as Indio's, will not receive adequate representation when congressional and state legislative lines are drawn. To fully take advantage of planning and funding for health clinics, roads, programs like Head Start, college assistance and much more, it is vital to participate in the Census. Respond here and encourage others to do the same. 

If you are still receiving notices to respond, aren't sure how to respond, or have other questions about filling out the Census, attend one of the City's Census Help Pop-up's through the month of October. Representatives from the U.S. Census are available to help in English and in Spanish. Details can be found at Indio.org/2020Census Or check the U.S. Census Bureau's Frequently Asked Questions page.
SPRUCING UP OUR SPLASHPADS

A combination of hard-to-get parts, a pandemic and property damage put Indio's five water play areas out of commission. But work is underway to repair the much sought-after recreational areas, with the goal of having them operational again very soon.

In addition to repairs to water play features, improvements are being made to rubber playing surfaces at Cahuilla Park, Dr. Carreon Park, Dominguez Park, Miles Ave. Park, and North Jackson Park. These surfaces are being replaced where needed and tested before installation to make sure they meet safety standards.

Expect more details on an official reopening as these repairs continue to be made, and easing COVID restrictions allow for more access to park amenities.

UPDATES FROM THE DTW STAGE

Who would have thought six months ago that theatre worldwide would be dark due to a worldwide pandemic? Our community partners at Desert TheatreWorks hope that you and your family are safe and healthy as we continue to find our way through this difficult time. "The DTW Family remains strong and healthy; however, we miss our community, friends and patrons terribly," adds Ron Phillips-Martinez, CEO of DTW.

But Phillips-Martinez also has some good news to share! Desert Theatreworks recently received the most nominations of any valley theatre company for the Desert Theatre League’s annual Desert Star awards. DTW at the Indio Performing Arts Center was nominated for 72 awards! The winners will be announced Oct. 4. Visit deserttheatreleague.org for a full list of nominees and more information.

DTW has been on pause since March 14, halting its SOLD-OUT performances of The Producers. Since then it has been awaiting guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the State of California as to when it would be safe to resume operations. "DTW takes the safety of our guests seriously and we will not resume operations before we can safely do so in an environment we can all feel comfortable in," said DTW Artistic Director Lance Phillips-Martinez. Regardless, DTW will be presenting a virtual play reading series this fall and virtual improvisation classes. Follow Desert Theatreworks on social media or visit dtworks.org for updates.

IPD GOES PINK

October is upon us and the Indio Police Department will once again raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research through participation in the Pink Patch Project. This project partners with law enforcement agencies across the country to bring attention to the fight against breast cancer and support breast cancer research organizations in combating this devastating disease.

For the month of October all uniformed Indio Police Department staff are authorized to wear pink patches, chevrons and hash marks in place of the traditional blue patches on their uniforms in return for making a monetary donation toward the Pink Patch Project. Also, after receiving many requests for its return, IPD is excited to announce the pink Indio Police unit will be out on the streets for the month of the October again this year. The pink unit design has had a drastic makeover for 2020, so keep an eye out for it in our community!

For further information or to purchase the Indio Police Pink Patch, please send an email to pinkpatch@indiopoa.org. All funds received from all sales of the pink patches are donated to cancer research. The Indio Police Department would also like to thank the Indio Police Officers Association for their generosity in designing and supplying all of the pink patches. Because of this, no public funds were used.
'IN' THE NEWS

Indio's front-line medical workers got some much deserved publicity this month, as James Athanasen, Intensive Care Unit Nurse at JFK Memorial hospital received $1,000 as part of Toyota and Honda of the Desert’s Essential Worker of the week program. NBC Palm Springs' Thalia Hayden surprised James in front of the hospital and in front of many of his colleagues. James was nominated by his peers at JFK for his continued professionalism and dedication to the hospital’s sickest patients, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a privilege to be a part of honoring one of our ICU family for his dedication to our patients and their families during this challenging time!" said Anne Engleman, Director of ICU at JFK Memorial Hospital. "We are grateful to Toyota and Honda of the Desert for their commitment in recognizing health care workers on the front line. I am proud to be a part of the ICU and the JFK team.”
PPE FOR FREE!

Giving Indio businesses a chance to reopen safely, and minimize the cost for them to do so! Personal Protective Equipment, including three-ply non-medical grade masks and rubber gloves, are now available for distribution to Indio businesses.

The City’s COVID-19 PPE Business Assistance Program officially launched at the end of September, and several Indio businesses have already taken advantage. The program offers non-residential businesses such as restaurants, retail stores, offices, convenience markets, and non-profit 501 (c)(3) organizations free and limited supplies of PPE through the City’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, and with approval of Indio’s City Council. Until supplies last, PPE will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and to alleviate the financial burden on Indio businesses to purchase their own PPE.
To complete an online form use this link.

Businesses must possess a current business license and operate in Indio to be eligible. Once approved, these businesses and non-profits will be notified and provided instructions for the pick-up of their PPE.

Those unable to complete the online form can contact Juan Rodriguez at (760) 391-4028 or by email at housing@indio.org
WHO RULES THE YAC? (GIRLS)

The Indio Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is the city’s youth leadership group that actively participates in numerous community activities, including street clean ups, city events, and suicide prevention education. For the second time in twelve years the 2020 Youth Advisory Council is made up of all female representatives!

Congratulations to: Denise Campos (Mayor, Indio HS), Miabella Cancino (Indio HS), Alyssa Garcia (Mayor Pro Tem, Indio HS), Katherine Escalante (Indio HS), Trinity Hernandez (Treasurer, Shadow Hills HS), Stephany Lopez (Shadow Hills HS), Kelly Lopez (Secretary, Indio HS), Kindra Medel (Shadow Hills HS), Edna Mora (Indio HS), Jaqueline Orozco (Shadow Hills HS), Eliana Perez (Indio HS), Tabitha Ramirez (Indio HIS), Sherlyn Rivera (Indio HS), Sienna Rodriguez (Indio HS), Victoria Terriquez (Xavier Prep), Ellie Thompson (Shadow Hills HS), and Tania Valdez (Indio HS).

In September, the Indio Teen Center secured a $1,000 grant through Riverside University Health System- Behavioral Health for the Each Mind Matters Suicide Prevention Education Campaign. The center will host three virtual events in the coming months and post Suicide Prevention posters throughout the City of Indio to bring awareness to the educational campaign.
FIGHTING FIRE WITH PREVENTION

Annually the City of Indio recognizes Fire Prevention Week during the first week of October. This year's focus is on fire safety in the kitchen. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. The leading cause of fire in the kitchen is unattended cooking. When you cook in the kitchen, stay in the kitchen. If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly and stay in your home. Keep anything that can catch on fire away from your stovetop. Keep kids away from the stove or areas where hot food or drink could fall or be pulled down on them.

"The most effective way to keep your family safe is to maintain smoke alarms to detect and alert people to a fire in the early stages," said Indio's Fire Chief Robert Fish. "Smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death during a fire. A working smoke alarm in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half."

  • Test smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries twice a year. 
  • Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
  • Have a fire escape plan and practice it with your family.  

"The Indio Fire Department is proud to serve the citizens of Indio," said Fish. "We urge you to always be prepared for the event of a fire inside and outside the home."
SUNLINE REFUELED

Exciting changes are coming to Indio with SunLine Transit Agency’s new Refueled initiative. This new initiative features many benefits specifically for Indio residents starting in 2021! In January, residents will see a new service called SunRide which will pick you up at your home and drive you to designated SunLine bus stops within a defined zone, reducing your travel time by foot.

The new Consolidated Fixed Route Network will combine SunLine’s existing 15 routes into nine (9) local routes which will provide more “one-seat rides.” This means fewer transfers and a more comfortable and leisurely ride for customers. The new 10 Commuter Link will provide service for Indio residents, with the regional connector starting its journey at SunLine’s Indio transit facility and traveling to the San Bernardino Transit Center & Metrolink Station, connecting you to greater Southern California!

And last, but not least, the proposed Route 111X will significantly reduce travel time from Indio to Palm Springs with only five (5) stops along Highway 111. To learn more about SunLine’s Refueled initiative, visit www.SunLineRefueled.org or step on board our Mobile Outreach Vehicle, which can be found cruising around the Coachella Valley Monday through Saturday.
DO YOU HEAR THE BUZZ?

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is becoming more noticeable in Indio and the rest of the Coachella Valley. As the weather cools, they will become even more active trying to find food – YOU! This mosquito is black and white, and aggressively bites during the day. Their painful bites are found on ankles and elbows and they live primarily in urban neighborhoods.

This pesky mosquito lays her eggs mainly on the inside surface of containers that can hold water around the home or office such as plant pot saucers, old tires, bird baths, toys, and buckets. These eggs can survive months in dry containers until the container is filled by rain or irrigation water.
Do the following actions weekly to reduce your mosquitoes:

  • Regularly drain or throw out containers that hold water in the yard. 
  • Keep swimming pools in working order, or if you no longer plan to use it, consider filling it in.
  • Clean and scrub the inside of any containers that have held water to remove mosquito eggs on the surface that may be hiding there.
  • Refresh pet water bowls daily and birdbaths weekly. 

For more information about the Aedes aegypti and repellent tips visit www.CVmosquito.org 
CAREER EDUCATION OPPORTUNITY

The City of Indio is home to the Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE) School of Career Education. The School of Career Education, which also has a location in Riverside, provides a career technical curriculum in eight programs for careers such as Nursing, Phlebotomy, Dental Assistants, Medical Assistants, Welding, Business Occupations and Pharmacy Technicians. Students take part in a twelve-week program and then are able to utilize their skills in the workplace. Some of these recent graduates are now employed as COVID-19 testers.

The RCOE proudly stated that, "Our students are prepared to be adaptive, versatile and ready to assist on the frontlines. The School of Career Education is proud to have been a part of the education of all its former students who are currently working during this global pandemic."

Classes at the School of Career Education began on Sept. 1, and are being offered in Spring 2021, with financial aid available. Learn more at https://riversidesce.org/
The City of Indio is the largest and fastest growing city in the Coachella Valley with more than 90,000 residents. Nearly 1.4 million people visit Indio every year to attend its world famous arts, food, and music festivals. With nationally recognized public safety services, exceptional schools, great parks and senior and teen centers, no wonder more than 2,700 new housing units are in construction or being planned throughout the city in addition to new hotels, restaurants and retailers. Indio was the first city incorporated in the Coachella Valley on May 16, 1930, and is governed by an elected City Council that employs a City Manager. The City of Indio embraces its diversity and provides outstanding municipal services to enhance the quality of life for its residents, visitors and business community.
City of Indio |100 Civic Center Drive | (760) 391-4000
information@indio.org | www.indio.org