Volume 39 | June 2020
Mayor Pro Tem
Dear Indio neighbors,

We will long remember May of 2020! The last couple weeks have been particularly difficult. I look forward to the day that my columns will no longer reference the Covid threat. Not there yet, I am afraid. As you are no doubt aware, the State and County of Riverside have issued guidance on how businesses of different sorts may now begin reopening under specified safety standards. That is key, because as people start venturing out from home, the world will actually get less safe for a while. We all hope that good sense and caring about one’s neighbors will prevail. If the disease spikes and we end up closing schools for another semester, that would be a crisis within a crisis. 

We are very hopeful for our businesses and unemployed citizens that our economy will start to come back now. We remain very concerned about the well-being of our health workers and front line employees on one hand, and for the plight of our small businesses and unemployed citizenry on the other. I do not recall any previous time in my work experience when we had to worry so long about such a large part of our community. I want to personally thank every person who has reached out to your neighbors during this crisis to help those who are blameless victims of this disease. 

As if the world were not already challenged, the recent killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis was a tragedy and a reminder that Covid is not the only serious malady we face in our world. I am so glad to be affiliated with our caring, professional Indio Police Department.  The techniques and attitudes used by those who killed Mr. Floyd are entirely out of line with what decent Police agencies use. There is no excuse for that, and I wanted to use this space to say right out loud, that we condemn what they did. We are dedicated to being a Police Department that rejects targeting and discriminatory practices. That does not suggest that human beings do not occasionally make mistakes, but an egregious act of that magnitude is purely unacceptable.  It is our daily mission to help create the conditions in Indio where every resident, every visitor can enjoy a mutually respectful environment. There are those among us who are challenged by life circumstances that deprive them of opportunity. A small city government can lend assistance, but a whole community with the size and heart of Indio can do much more. We can turn around 2020 if we resolve to seek out those missions of the heart.

So while it may seem mundane by comparison, let me pivot to the more common reporting I do in these newsletters. One of the first things we can do to recover in Indio is to help re-establish our local economy. I am happy to say that development activity in Indio has stayed very strong even during the pandemic. Our City Community Development and Public Works staff have stayed open to serve the development community and to keep employment active. We are processing new home permits on a daily basis. We have had more than 300 single family home permits issued in the last year and many more in the works. We have new multi-family and mixed use development applications going through plan check. Activity among retail developers is also strong. In recent days, we have moved forward with the fabulous Vallarta Market (at the old Marshall’s site), Chipotle and Auto Zone (same neighborhood), Dunn-Edwards Paint and Dutch Bros Coffee (on Highway 111) and Arby’s (near Walmart). Redevelopment of the Indio Grand Marketplace (formerly Indio Fashion Mall) is once again picking up steam.

And finally, I want to keep my commitment to honor Dads this month, after singing the praises last month of the extraordinary Moms in our midst. I send Happy Father’s Day wishes to every Dad who has helped homeschool the kids, cooked a few meals, helped clean around the house, given up TV sports for family puzzles or Hallmark movies, OR put family in front of self. Kudos to all Dads who qualify!

Please take care. There is still danger out there. We hope you will shop local, lend a hand to a neighbor, and enjoy your community. But most of all, please be safe.


Mark Scott
City Manager

As part of the city's outreach to residents about what's happening around town, Mayor Glenn Miller provides video updates every Friday. Watch for his videos on the city's Facebook page , and on our Indio.org/coronavirus page. You will hear information about why the city instituted a facial covering order, new developments in the works, the reopening of the Indio Grand Marketplace, and our plans to celebrate our city and its residents. You can also find daily videos on the city's Facebook page highlighting local businesses and community partners as they work to reopen, provide services, and take care of us all during chaotic times. Most recently, our videos profiled programs offered by Imperial Irrigation District to work with residents who are having a tough time paying their utility bills, the new Vallarta Supermarket opening off of Jackson Street in the fall, the COVID-19 testing process at the Riverside County Fairground in Indio, and a food giveaway to the community from Chandi Group USA and Gurdwara Sahib Indio.

In late May, Governor Gavin Newsom granted approval for Riverside County to begin accelerated Stage 2 reopening. This list changes daily and is current as of June 1, 2020. For the latest on what is allowed and open in Indio, including parks and city amenities, please see our sector by sector reopening guide on the city's website.

Approved to reopen as of June 1, 2020:  
  • Destination retail (retail stores), including shopping malls and swap meets 
  • Dine-in restaurants (other amenities, like bars or gaming areas, are not permitted in Stage 2)
  • Schools with modifications 
  • Manufacturers 
  • Logistics 
  • Childcare for those outside of the essential workforce  
  • Office-based businesses (telework remains strongly encouraged) 
  • Select services: car washes, pet grooming, and landscape gardening 
  • Outdoor museums, and open gallery spaces and other public spaces with modifications 
  • Churches, temples, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship were granted reopening status in Riverside County with modifications, and following statewide guidance.
  • Barbershops and hair salons (following statewide guidance to allow for haircuts, styling and coloring)
  • Short term rentals (following guidance from Riverside County, as well as requirements from the City of Indio)

The Woman's Club of Indio (WCI) is the oldest service club in the Coachella Valley; making a difference for over 100 years. In 1940, WCI established its High School Scholarship Program to assist qualifying Indio students. The program now includes all three Indio high schools: Amistad, Indio, and Shadow Hills. In 2007, the Club established the Empowering Women through Education Scholarship, to help Indio women with educational and/or vocational training enter or reenter the workforce. 
This year the WCI is pleased to recognize 12 outstanding Indio students, who through their impressive academic and community work, have earned a WCI Scholarship. It was an especially difficult decision to make, with an overwhelming number of applicants. This lead the 2020 Scholarship Committee comprised of Peg Boortz, Rosalva Campos, Nyra Fahmie, Sue McNeil, Lupe Ramos-Amith, Patricia Ruth, Bonnie Tucker, Rochelle Watson, and Judy Woodard to split the final scholarship into 3, to allow for more students to receive an award.
The WCI High School Scholarship recipients include:
Receiving $1,500 each:
  • Isis Gonzales, Amistad HS
  • Samantha Cardenas, Indio HS
  • Karisma Cuevas, Indio HS
  • Brandy Sepulveda, Indio HS
  • Sophia Gonzalez, Indio HS
  • Andrew Cervantes, Shadow Hills HS
  • Kailee Koyanagi, Shadow Hills HS
  • Rogelio Torres, Shadow Hills HS
Receiving $500 each:
  • Jade Heredia-Salas, Indio HS
  • Reynaldo DeLaTorre, Shadow Hills HS
The Empowering Women through Education Scholarship recipients include:
Receiving $1,500:
  • Jeanette Corral-Flores, CSU San Bernardino
Receiving $500:
  • Arely Zarco, CSUN
CLASS OF 2020!

Desert Sands Unified School District's graduations are fast approaching. Originally, celebrations were going to exclusively be virtual, online broadcasts. With new direction from health officials, DSUSD will now also be conducting "drive through commencements". The schedule for the three high schools located in the city of Indio are:
Amistad High School 
Virtual Graduation: Monday, June 1 at 7:30 pm
Commencement Ceremony: Tuesday, June 2 at 9:00 am
Shadow Hills High School
Commencement Ceremony: Monday, June 8 at 3:30 pm
Virtual Graduation: Tuesday, June 9 at 7:30 pm
Indio High School
Virtual Graduation: Wednesday, June 10 at 4:00 pm
Commencement Ceremony: Wednesday, June 10 at 7:30 pm

Three John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital nurses were honored Monday, May 11, 2020 at the New York Stock Exchange closing bell. On the eve of Florence Nightingale’s 200th Birthday, the virtual NYSE bell ringers were Patricia Gates, Rosa Sanchez and Anabell Sanchez, who are all emergency department nurses from JFK Memorial Hospital. The City of Indio is proud of Patricia, Rosa and Anabell for representing JFK and the Desert Care Network in celebration of Hospital Week!

Golf fans the world over may know Susie Maxwell Berning for winning 11 times on the pro circuit, including four majors. But they may not know her as an Indio resident, and soon, as one of only four golfers to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, class of 2021.

Maxwell Berning lives at Heritage Palms, and despite her successes, or maybe because of them, continues to teach within the Coachella Valley. "We have great weather here. It's a great place to live - although maybe we don't want to tell too many people," she says with a laugh.

The Commissioner of the LPGA called Maxwell Berning to tell her about the World Golf Hall of Fame. After being nominated in 2018, she says she didn't think she would be considered for the honor again.  

"I was totally shocked," Maxwell Berning says, adding that architect Marion Hollins, former PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and Tiger Woods are the other three members of the 2021 class. "Some of my best friends are in the World Golf Hall of Fame. It's such an honor to be recognized alongside them."

Like Woods, Maxwell Berning has won three U.S. Open titles, "Although I won them all before he was even born," she says.

Because of difficulty in scheduling large events, Maxwell Berning doesn't know exactly when the induction ceremony will take place, but it could be as early as June of 2021. Ceremonies occur only once every two years.

The city of Indio also plans to recognize Maxwell Berning at a future event.

The city of Indio is excited to announce the appointment of our own Environmental Programs Coordinator, Sara Toyoda, to the Statewide Commission on Recycling Markets and Curbside Recycling. The Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery selected Toyoda along with 17 others from public agencies, private solid waste enterprises and environmental organizations around California, to issue policy recommendations to encourage market development, and to provide regular feedback on public messaging. One of the key issues Toyoda will face as a Commissioner, will be to recommend policy to resolve some of the challenges caused by the shutdown of recycling facilities in Indio and across the state. At this time there are critical challenges to recycling, and this commission provides an opportunity to focus on some of the greater issues. Toyoda has a Master’s in Public Administration and has been with the city of Indio for nearly 13 years.

We are pleased to announce another year of providing Indio Water Authority customers with high-quality drinking water that surpasses all state and federal drinking water standards. The 2019 Annual Water Quality Report (also known as the Consumer Confidence Report) will be available online at  www.indiowater.org/ccr2019 beginning June 1, 2020. We invite you to explore the report to learn about your water supply and quality, conservation rebates, and more. To request a hard copy of the report by mail, please call (760) 391-4038.
Reductions in normal water use or complete building shutdowns can create microbial hazards such as mold and Legionella (the cause of Legionnaires’ disease). Please flush the stagnant water from your pipes and plumbing fixtures prior to reopening. Click  here  to view our 8-step guide to safely reopen your business or visit  www.indiowater.org/Covid19  for links to helpful resources on how to flush your water lines.
Indio Water Authority provides updates on important water information throughout the year. We encourage you to sign up for the IWA eBlast by visiting  www.IWAUpdates.com

A public outreach virtual hearing with CalTrans and the city of Indio is scheduled for June 9, 2020, from 4 to 6:00 p.m. The purpose of the hearing is to keep the public updated about the Interstate 10/Monroe Street project. In addition, the  Draft Initial Study/Environmental Assessment (IS/EA)  is now available for review and download.

If you are unable to participate in the virtual hearing, and have comments about the IS/EA, please submit your comments in writing no later than June 22, 2020 to: California Department of Transportation, ATTN: Renetta Cloud, Senior Environmental Planner 464 W 4th Street, 6th Floor, MS 823 San Bernardino, CA 92401 or via e-mail to:  Interstate10_Monroe_Int@dot.ca.gov . Please include “Interstate 10 Monroe” in the subject line. If there are no major objections, Caltrans will proceed with the project’s design.

To attend the virtual hearing, go to the  City of Indio's website  for a Zoom meeting link. To attend without internet access, use the following call-in numbers:

• English - (253) 215-8782 and enter the Webinar ID: 953 6052 2503

• Spanish - (872) 240-3311 and enter the Access Code: 126-113-853

The public review period runs from May 22- June 22, 2020.

The current estimated project cost is between $63-$65 million, and construction is scheduled to begin in late 2023. 

Helping low and moderate-income earners buy new homes. At its May 20, 2020 meeting, Indio's City Council approved the city's continued participation in the Riverside County Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) Program , which is implemented and managed by the Riverside County Economic Development Agency. The City of Indio has participated in the County’s MCC Program since 2002 to increase homeownership opportunities in Indio. A Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) entitles qualified homebuyers to reduce the amount of their federal income tax liability for an amount equal to twenty (20) percent of the mortgage interest paid annually on a primary mortgage loan. A homebuyer’s federal income tax liability is directly reduced by the amount of the tax credit and homebuyers can qualify more easily for their primary mortgage loan, since lenders may factor in the tax credit when underwriting the loan application. This Program can assist eligible homebuyers in the purchase of new and existing single-family and/or manufactured homes. Now that Indio has formally opted into the program again, interested and qualified prospective homebuyers may apply directly to the EDA through their lender.

Cinema Culturas Film Festiva l has launched the first of two Storytelling and Film Competitions that are planned for 2020 to inspire youth to "Keep on dreaming in challenging times."
The competition has an educational focus: science, fiction and nonfiction themes under the umbrella theme "Keep on dreaming in challenging times." Students can write or film their stories in three languages: English, Spanish and Purepecha (indigenous language from Mexico that's common in the Coachella Valley, especially among farmworkers). 

Submissions are free and will be accepted now through June 29, 2020. For more information, visit  https://www.cinemaculturas.com/film-competition

The Lights at Indio Golf Course is back to normal hours! Seven days a week you can hit the links from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Tee times for golf and footgolf can be reserved by calling the golf shop at 760-391-4049.
Of course things have changed a little due to COVID-19. 
We are strictly enforcing Park 'n Play guidelines:
  1. Health comes first. Protect yourself and others stay 6 ft apart.
  2. If you're inside the building, everyone must wear a mask. No mask, no service, no questions.
  3. One person riding per cart.
  4. Please leave the flags in the cups.
  5. No more than four players in a group.
  6. Golfers should properly dispose of any trash they may have, including trash in their golf carts.
  7. Golfers are encouraged to make tee times over the phone so we are able to separate tee times 15 minutes apart.
  8. Golfers should leave the course immediately after playing to eliminate congestion/gathering on the property or in the parking lot.
  9. The driving range is open to the public from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and we allow only 10 golfers to hit at a time to help maintain social distancing.
In addition to golf and foot golf, the post office is open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. .
We have discounts in our snack bar and are currently offering 20% off all merchandise for a limited time only.
Stay healthy and we look forward to seeing everyone soon!

Indio's Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is leaving an impression on a global scale. On May 21, 2020, WE Movement featured YAC in its live virtual WE Celebrate event. WE Celebrate is held around the world, and this year, YAC was highlighted in WE's California broadcast alongside celebrities Lily Collins and Ariel Winter, human rights advocate Martin Luther King III, and motivational speaker Jay Shetty.

Indio High School Junior Denise Campos, YAC’s Publicist, took the spotlight in a two minute long video segment explaining how YAC's neighborhood cleanup events inspired the group to create and distribute hygiene kits to the homeless at Coachella Valley Rescue Mission.

This was only the second year of YAC's involvement with WE Day, and they were one of the smallest groups to attend last year's massive event at the Forum in LA. "Despite their size, YAC was selected because of the incredible name they’ve made for themselves in  We.org ," said Rosalva Campos, YAC Community Programs Administrator. "To have Indio recognized for their community service is humbling."

In addition to their participation in the actual WE Celebrate event, Indio's YAC was also featured on KESQ and in the Desert Sun. To learn more about participating in YAC, email  rcampos@indio.org  or at (760) 541-4414.
WE Celebrate is sponsored by Allstate, which offers a grant to help groups fund their ideas. Indio’s YAC applied for the Allstate WE Volunteer Now program to help bring their hygiene kit initiative to light. The $250 grant received helped offset some of the costs of the 100 hygiene bags given to CVRM, raising the rest of the money themselves during their snow cone fundraiser at Desert Recreation District's Halloween Carnival in October.

Did you know that the Coachella Valley cities are among the lowest 20 responsive areas in Riverside County? Census data directly correlates to the amount of federal funding distributed to schools, hospitals and other public works, with over $700 billion dollars available.  As of May 26, these are the self-response Census Survey percentages in the Coachella Valley.
  • Cathedral City 55.6%
  • Desert Hot Springs 53.2%
  • Palm Desert 51.3%
  • Rancho Mirage 50.1%
  • Coachella 50.1%
  • Palm Springs 49.6%
  • La Quinta 48.6%
  • Indio 47.4%
  • Indian Wells 43.1%
Do your survey now at  my2020census.gov  It only takes minutes.
The City of Indio is the largest and fastest growing city in the Coachella Valley with more than with more than 89,000 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