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The Coachella Valley

IN VOL.3, NO.2







More than 40,000 readers throughout the Coachella Valley

Gay weddings are booming

Fun at the pink motel Ruby Montana, a Universal Life minister, has married three couples at her Coral Sands Inn, including artist Helen Macfarlane and Siouxzan Perry of Girlwerks Media. She wears a fez from her collection



By Jorie Parr Re-legalized last summer, same-sex wedding bells have been ringing all over greater Palm Springs. If you haven’t been involved in one, you may have been invited to one. Romantic nuptials are in the air; we live in one of the gay capitals of the world. Event planner Gregory Goodman, who holds forth from his store My Little Flower Shop in Palm Springs, understands from personal experience. He married his 15year (haven’t heard about any impulse gay nuptials) partner in grand style. During the brief legal window in 2008, Goodman and Alan Kelly tied the knot in their then home in Los Feliz (Los Angeles), with 250 attending. Since Goodman is Jewish, he insisted on having a fiddler on the roof, well, the balcony. And Kelly, being Irish, inexplicably asked for a Scottish bagpiper. Guests were greeted with leis to wear, and the florists built a glorious chuppah for the ceremony. A full dinner was accompanied by klezmer and jazz bands. At the end of the celebration, they handed out Pink’s hot dogs. Has anything changed, being married? “It’s a totally different feeling. You’re committed,” Goodman says. He went on to comment on the local gay wedding scene. In his experience, it’s about 70-percent double grooms, 30 percent double brides. As for venues, “There are a lot at the museum, in the sculpture garden and inside the main entrance. Then there are the Ace and Hard Rock hotels, and the historic O’Donnell house.” He lets fly that tropical flowers are popular here. And photo booths. Complete cost varies from $2,000-$500,000. As a producer he arranges for linens, catering, photography, music, valet and more. And the ceremonies, they never get old. “I tear up,” he says. Next project, a very large one, he hints, features a celebrity couple. But he won’t say more.



Older skiers are making more of a mark on the nation’s slopes; plus, visit festivals, farms and museums along the Ag Trail page 19

Event planner Gregory Goodman is pictured at his store, My Little Flower Shop, in Palm Springs. At his own wedding, there was a fiddler on the roof (sort of).

to officiate. She played cupid to Macfarlane and Perry, bringing them together via Facebook. The red-carpet December wedding party at the pink motel was snugly enclosed under a tent warmed with heaters for the sit-down dinner. Decorator Jay Jones enhanced the scene with linen table cloths, flowers, the lot. There was a covered dance stage and, despite inclement weather, Montana says, “There wasn’t a hitch in the glitch. It went on to the wee hours.” Montana can supervise the weddings, but if a couple wants to do it themselves, it’s OK. For food she just recommends “Guacamoles: they deliver.” And she’s partial to Jake’s: “They do a lovely job.” Wedding parties take over the Coral Sands, plus its sister adjuncts — the Casa

Redonda and, across the street, the Casa Lone Palm — “the first home built in Las Palmas, Spanish hacienda [style].” She operated a vintage store, Ruby Montana’s Pinto Pony, in Seattle before coming to Palm Springs in 2000 — “I was born to live in flip-flops and shorts,” she says. “Each room in Coral Sands has its own character, like leopard carpet in the Liberace chamber.”

Clothing optional Across town, Michael Green of the Triangle Inn is a wedding officiate, too. In an e-mail he wrote, “We’ve done traditional weddings, small weddings, even a couple of naked weddings. Most have been for [people] who have been together for 10 or more


Time to dress up for Fashion Week; plus, Jewish Family Service presents an award and a hospital guild honors its founders page 23

FITNESS & HEALTH k Healing power of music k Diet can alter genetic destiny LAW & MONEY k Modernism Week deals k Volunteer for the Kraft





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On Obamacare The Affordable Care Act. It’s been the Sure there were bugs to be worked out, answer to my prayers. not unlikely in such an epic undertaking. My wife, Liz, had a pre-existing condition But applications are now being handled that kept her insurance premiums high with ever-greater ease. As of late January, while providing minimal benefits. Thanks almost 3 million people were enrolled. It’s to the healthcare act, all that crucial that we don’t allow the has changed. disruptions to obscure the She now has lifetime coverpositive changes. age. No longer need she worry The Affordable Care Act about her coverage being puts consumers back in charge abruptly ended. She now has of their healthcare. Insurers preventive care, which includes may no longer preclude people such procedures as mammofrom buying insurance because grams and physicals. And she of pre-existing conditions. now has a low co-pay and deThey may no longer charge ductible. older people much higher preFROM THE The Affordable Care Act PUBLISHER miums than younger people. (ACA) has been a life-saver By Michael Brachman They may not charge women for my wife and me — emomore than men. And they must tionally and financially. share pricing and benefits information with And not just for us. One of my employees, their consumers in a meaningful way. who couldn’t afford any kind of insurance, Prior to Obamacare, more than 8 million can now afford coverage, simply because people suffering from significant health isthe government helps pay the premium for sues, such as cancer, diabetes, heart dispeople with low incomes. ease and pulmonary conditions, would A friend of mine, long out of work, had have been unable to find affordable coverno insurance coverage at all. The govern- age at all. Now, none of them can be exment stepped in and paid the premiums cluded or socked with inflated premiums. that got him and his family covered. That’s a population that easily swamps the

Beacon The Coachella Valley






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The Coachella Valley Beacon is a monthly newspaper dedicated to informing, serving and entertaining the citizens of the Coachella Valley area, and is independently owned and operated by On-Target Media, Inc. under authority of the Beacon Newspapers, Inc. Other Beacon editions serve Howard County, Md. and Baltimore, Md., as well as Greater Washington, D.C. Subscriptions are available via third-class mail ($16), prepaid with order. Send subscription order to the office listed below. Publication of advertising contained herein does not necessarily constitute endorsement. Signed columns represent the opinions of the writers, and not necessarily the opinion of the publisher. • Publisher..........................................................................Michael Brachman • Local Valley Contributing Writers ..................................John Annarino, ...................................... Jorie Parr, Jamie Pricer, Madeline Zuckerman

Coachella Valley Beacon 1001 South Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 217 Palm Springs, CA 92263 Phone: 760-668-2226 • Email: Other content and design provided by The Beacon Newspapers, Inc., Kensington, Md. • Publisher ........................................................................Stuart P. Rosenthal • Graphic Designer ....................................................................Kyle Gregory Submissions: The Coachella Valley Beacon welcomes reader contributions. Deadline for editorial is the 20th of the month preceding the month of publication. Deadline for ads is the 15th of the month preceding the month of publication. Please mail or email all submissions. © Copyright 2014 On-Target Media, Inc.

number of people made worse off by the act. But even those who are griping about higher bills may be better off than they think. Those pre-ACA policies may have been cheap, but the coverage provided by many of them was

often so threadbare as to be practically worthless, leaving policyholders one serious illness away from bankruptcy. So I repeat: The Affordable Care Act has been the answer to my prayers. God bless it.

Letters to the editor Readers are encouraged to share their opinion on any matter addressed in the Coachella Valley Beacon as well as on political and social issues of the day. Mail your Letter to the Editor to The Coachella Valley Beacon, 1001 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Ste 217, Palm Springs, CA 92263 or e-mail to Please include your name, address and telephone number for verification. Editor’s note: The following letters are in response to the Beacon’s January cover story, “Giving back gives life meaning.” The first is written by one of the philanthropists profiled in the story. The second is a letter sent to the philanthropists in the article, and the third is to the Beacon. Dear Editor: I’m so pleased with everything. The photo is lovely, the article is brilliantly written, and — the best part of all — is that all the information in the article is written exactly as it was told to you. Now that’s the true test of any responsible, reputable writer. Peggy Cravens

To Sandy Woodson and Peggy Cravens: A friend gave me a copy of the Beacon with your beautiful pictures and glowing article about you two. No one could deserve a splash in the press more than you. You give generously of your time and finances for many worthy causes. Hooray for Madeline Zuckerman for her tribute to you! Mary Ellen Dear Editor: Fine article about our wonderful Sandy and Peggy, the importance of giving time as well as money, and role-modeling philanthropy for our younger generations. Betty Baxter

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Health Fitness &

COMING CLEAN There is no evidence that anti-bacterial soaps prevent the spread of germs — and they may even pose health risks BOOST OMEGA-3S Salmon, sardines, seaweed and fortified foods all provide a hefty serving of omega3s, which may convey heart benefits NEED MORE ENERGY? Many so-called energy boosters don’t really work to perk you up; plus, how to make your own

Patients find joy and healing in singing singing could possibly strengthen a weakened speaking voice.”

Rewiring the brain Medical research proves that singing can do just that. Speech originates in the left hemisphere of the brain. When a person’s speech mechanism is impaired through loss of use or disease, the left hemisphere no longer sends strong speech signals. SongShine vocal therapy uses music to switch channels, attempting to forge a different pathway, using other areas of the brain, a process known as neural plasticity. As the patient continues to sing, the vocal mechanism is strengthened, and a retraining or speech recovery process begins. “It’s sheer joy,” said Pam Thompson, a Parkinson’s patient, “to sing and feel the pain slip away.” For those interested in being part of a performance group, there’s an additional class called SongShine Singers and Players. It’s led by Peter Harris, associate director of SongShine. Harris studied at Juilliard in the drama division, at Broadway's Circle in the Square Theater School, and at the Drams Therapy


By John Annarino The vocal warm-up began with class members humming the notes of the scale. Then they sang “me may ma mo moo” over and over again — funny sounds that their singing made beautiful. The class is called SongShine Basics, and it’s taught by a remarkable woman, Dr. Ruthanna Metzgar, founder and president of the SongShine Foundation. Metzgar, a professional singer who has headlined concerts in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan, has spent 40 years as a voice teacher. Believing in the joy and healing power of music, Metzgar developed a vocal therapy program for persons afflicted with Parkinson’s, stroke effects, aging voices and other neurological disorders. The therapy is designed to strengthen the speaking voice through singing exercises that help with breath management, diction, imagination in role playing and group singing. “It all began about seven years ago,” said Metzgar. “I received a phone call asking if I would consider doing something with music for the Traub Parkinson’s Center at Eisenhower Medical Center. It seemed natural to say yes because I often wondered if

Music from Fiddler on the Roof was featured at the SongShine 2013 Celebration Concert. From left, Doreen Edwards as Grandma Tzeitel, Peter Harris as Tevye and Pam Thompson as Golde.

Institute of Los Angeles. Highlights of his 20-year professional acting career are the original tour of Les Miserables and performing in the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Conn.

“Peter's passion is contagious,” said Metzgar. “As director and actor, Peter brings his very special talents to each of our perSee SINGERS, page 6


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Healthy diet may alter our genetic destiny By Sharon Palmer, R.D At one time, if your mother had cancer, your genetic destiny for this disease seemed to be etched in stone. At least that was the old way of thinking about genetic predisposition for diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. But there’s been a paradigm shift in the way experts understand our inherited genetic profile, according to Roderick H. Dashwood, Ph.D., who spoke on genetics and nutrition at the 10th Annual Nutrition and Health Conference in Seattle last year. Just as we pass down genes for eye color and body frame from generation to generation, so also we pass down genes for disease susceptibility. But Dashwood reports that scientists now know that genes can be switched on and off. DNA and other proteins in the gene contain molecular “tags” that instruct a gene to be active or inactive. Environment and lifestyle can trigger these tags to be added or removed — essentially turning the gene on or off. Basically, you can alter your gene expression — the process by which inheritable information from a gene is translated and made into a functional gene product in the cell — and thus suppress the path of disease. For example, in the case of a genetic risk

for cancer, Dashwood noted, “This has led to the idea that we might be able to drive cancer cells the other direction. You can turn on tumor suppressor genes to silence cancer cells.”

A new field: nutrigenomics Our understanding of genetics took a giant leap forward because of the Human Genome Project, a landmark endeavor that called upon a team of international researchers to map all of the genes — together known as the genome — of our species. Completed in 2003, it gave scientists the ability to read our genetic blueprint, and also opened up our knowledge of how we can modify the negative effects of our genetic profiles. Since then, the field of nutrigenomics — the study of how foods affect our genes, and how individual genetic makeup can make people respond to foods and nutrients in different ways — has grown. One of the most exciting aspects of nutrigenomics is its potential for opening up new avenues for preventing diseases that people are genetically predisposed to — such as diabetes, obesity, inflammatory disorders, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. What you put on your plate may make a big impact on your genetic profile — and

even on that of your children. Animal studies have shown that a mother’s diet can impose long-term alterations in the genetic expression of her offspring. For example, a high-fat maternal diet can change the offspring’s gene expression and behavior toward a desire for more palatable foods, according to a 2010 article in the journal Endocrinology. Your overall diet pattern, calorie intake, consumption of particular compounds and nutrients in foods, exposure to food chemi-

cals, as well as lifestyle may affect how your genes function. While many foods and nutrients are being studied, here are some of the most exciting areas of interest in the field of nutrigenomics: 1. Diet pattern A healthy diet pattern may shift your genetic expression towards cancer protection, according to a 2013 study published in NuSee NUTRIGENOMICS, page 6

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Nutrigenomics From page 5 trition Journal. Canadian researchers compared the effects on genetic profile of a healthy diet — which included high intakes of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and low intakes of refined products — with a Western diet, which included high consumption of refined grains, sweets and processed meats. Gene expression profiles pointed towards a potential increase for cancer risk with the Western diet and decreased risk of cancer in the healthy diet group. 2. Lifestyle An overall healthy lifestyle may have an even more significant impact on your genome. Research shows that physical activity alone has a pronounced impact on genes, lowering risk for type 2 diabetes and obesity. And in a 2008 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a

lifestyle plan that included a healthy plantbased diet, moderate exercise, and stress management techniques altered the expression of over 500 genes in men with early-stage prostate cancer, indicating that these changes could help slow the progression of cancer. 3. Fruits and vegetables We know that eating lots of fruits and vegetables is good for a number of health benefits, and now you can add genes to the list. A 2010 Norwegian study showed that antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables induced changes in gene expression that optimized the body’s defense processes. And research has zeroed in on the impact of specific plant foods on the genome. Scientific findings presented at the Annual Nutrition and Health Conference indicate that sulforaphane, a compound in broccoli, appears to turn on tumor inhibitor genes to suppress cancer. Other dietary components appear to have similar action, including iosthio-

F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 4 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

cyanates, which are found in sulfur and cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, kale, broccoli and watercress; organoselenium compounds found in garlic; biotin-rich foods such as chard and egg yolk, and alpha lipoic-acid-rich foods, such as green leafy vegetables. Other possible cancer suppressants include resveratrol in grape skins and red wine, isoflavones in soy, and bioactive compounds in walnuts, which might promote alterations in gene expression. 4. Micronutrients Many essential vitamins, such as B-vitamins, folic acid and choline, provide important compounds called methyl groups that help create genetic tags that turn genes on or off. If your diet is lacking in these nutrients, you may not be able to express the genes needed for good health, according to Lynn Adams, Ph.D., a Science and Technology Fellow with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 5. Food chemicals

Adams reports that some chemicals in the food system, such as bisphenol-A (BPA), found in food packaging and containers, can interfere with genetic expression in regions of the brain and reproductive organs, according to preliminary research. It’s worth noting that the research in nutrigenomics is still in its infancy, and it’s too soon to know for sure how effective dietary changes are in altering gene expression on an individual basis. The good news is, the research coming in supports what we already know: An optimal diet for disease prevention is a Mediterranean eating pattern, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and low in highly refined grains, sweets and processed meats. Reprinted with permission from Environmental Nutrition, a monthly publication of Belvoir Media Group, LLC. 800-829-5384. © Belvoir Media Group. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Singers From page 4 formances. He played the role of Tevye in our 2013 presentation of Tevye and His Daughters, featuring music from Fiddler on the Roof. “Under Peter’s direction the SongShine Singers and Players are now in rehearsal for an April 1 presentation of a concert version of Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man. Singing “Pick a Little, Talk a Little” from that show is a delightfully challenging vocal exercise.” Harris also works with Metzgar on certification training, workshops, conference presentations and motivational speaking. And as the Voice Team, they work with all types of voices on an individual basis.

Want to sing? SongShine Basics classes: Noon-1 p.m. Mondays, Palm Desert Community Presbyterian Church, 47-321 Highway 74, Palm Desert. $5 per class for 10 classes. SongShine Singers and Players classes: 1:30 to 3 p.m. Mondays. $6.80 per class for 22 classes. Information:, Ruthanna Metzgar (425) 210-3612, Peter Harris (760) 327-1460. For individual work, visit




You can properly dispose of anything with a plug — such as computers, monitors, microwaves, televisions and toasters — at Palm Springs’ 24-hour electronic waste drop off at 425 Civic Drive in Palm Springs. (760) 323-8214, End-of-life electronics can also be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at 2055 Executive Dr., Palm Springs. (760) 327-6012

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Health Shorts Anti-bacterial soaps don’t work After more than 40 years of study, the U.S. government says it has found no evidence that common anti-bacterial soaps prevent the spread of germs, and suggests they may in fact pose health risks to consumers.

Scientists at the Food and Drug Administration announced in December that they are revisiting the safety of triclosan and other sanitizing agents found in soap in countless kitchens and bathrooms. Recent studies suggest triclosan and similar substances can interfere with hormone levels in lab animals and spur the growth of drugresistant bacteria. “I suspect there are a lot of consumers who assume that by using an anti-bacterial soap product, they are protecting themselves from illness, protecting their families,” said Sandra Kweder, deputy director

F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 4 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

in the FDA’s drug center. “But we don’t have any evidence that that is really the case over simple soap and water.” Under a proposed rule, the agency will require manufacturers to prove that antibacterial soaps are safe and more effective than plain soap and water. Products that are not shown to be safe and effective by late 2016 would have to be reformulated, relabeled or removed from the market. The government’s preliminary ruling lends new support to outside researchers who have long argued that the chemicals are, at best, ineffective and at worst, a

threat to public health. While the rule applies only to personal hygiene products, it has implications for a broader $1 billion industry that includes thousands of anti-bacterial products, including kitchen knives, toys, pacifiers and toothpaste. The FDA rule affects virtually all soap products labeled anti-bacterial, including popular brands from CVS, Bath and Body Works, Ajax and many other companies. The rule does not apply to hand sanitizers, most of which use alcohol rather than antiSee HEALTH SHORTS, page 9



HELP YOUR GARDEN Two Palm Springs stables are offering free horse manure to be

used for natural fertilizer. Bring a bag or container and a shovel. Los Compadres Stables, 1849 S. El Cielo Rd., (760) 534-6562 or Smoke Tree Stables, 2500 S. Toledo Ave., (760) 327-1372. Note of caution: Depending on where you spread horse manure, it may need composting for awhile.


MEDICAL INFO You can follow the valley’s three major hospitals on Facebook, Twitter and on your Smartphone:,,,

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Health shorts From page 8 bacterial chemicals. Most of the research surrounding triclosan’s safety involves laboratory animals, including studies in rats that showed changes in testosterone, estrogen and thyroid hormones. Some scientists worry that such changes in humans could raise the risk of infertility, early puberty and even cancer. FDA scientists stressed that such studies are not necessarily applicable to humans, but the agency is reviewing their implications. — AP

Boost omega-3s in your diet The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend increasing “the amount

and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry.” The main reason is that fish and other seafood contain two omega-3 fats associated with a reduced risk for heart problems: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Science suggests that eating about 8 ounces of a variety of seafood each week may convey these heart-healthy benefits. Problem is, most of us aren’t getting the recommended amounts of these omega-3s. Try the following ideas to help you get more: 1. Go for omega-3-rich fish. While all seafood contains some omega-3 fats, fatty cold-water fish have higher concentrations. Popular omega-3-rich picks include salmon and sardines (both provide more than 1,000 mg. per 4-oz.serving) and light tuna (about 250 mg. per 4 oz.).



NIGHTLIFE AT THE ZOO The Living Desert, 47-900 Portola Ave., Palm Desert, has started

a Park After Dark program on select Friday nights to teach guests of all ages about wildlife behavior after dark. That includes glow-in-the-dark scorpions, rabbits, moles and other animals. Songs, stories and s’mores around a campfire are included. Members: $30 adults, $15 children; nonmembers: $40 adults, $25 children. (760) 346-5694, ext. 2506,

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2. Try some seaweed. Need a reason to eat sushi? Seaweed (nori) and kelp (wakame, kombu or dulse) are both algae, which provide some DHA/EPA. 3. Consider fortified foods. More and more food products for tified with DHA/EPA are finding their way to supermarket shelves. The following are foods that you might find for tified with DHA/EPA: a) Eggs: Eggs are fortified by adding flaxseed and/or algae supplements to hens’ feed. One large egg may contain up to 500 mg. omega-3s (some of which is DHA/EPA).


b) Milk: Some brands of milk add fish oil or algal oil to give a DHA/EPA boost (don’t worry, you can’t taste it!). 1 cup of this fortified milk delivers up to 50 mg. of DHA/EPA. c) Peanut butter: As with milk, some brands are adding fish oil. A 2-tablespoon serving provides about 30 mg. DHA/EPA. 4. Talk with your doctor about supplements. If you don’t eat a lot of fish, taking an omega-3 supplement might be a smart choice. Talk with your doctor about whether supplementation might be right for you and, if so, what to look for on labels. — Eating Well


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Do ‘energy boosters’ really perk you up? By Dr. Anthony Komaroff Stroll the aisles of any pharmacy or health food store, and you’ll see a multitude of herbs and other supplements that claim to boost energy, as well as soft drinks and socalled energy drinks that include them. Yet there’s little or no scientific evidence to support the claims made by most of these substances. The fact is, the only thing that will reliably boost your energy is caffeine or another stimulant —and their effects wear off within hours. Here’s a look at some of the substances commonly touted as energy boosters: 1. Chromium picolinate. This trace mineral is widely marketed to build muscle, burn fat, and increase energy and athletic performance, but research has not sup-

ported these claims. 2. Coenzyme Q10. This enzyme is found in mitochondria, the energy factories of our cells. Coenzyme Q10 supplements have been shown to improve exercise capacity in people with heart disease, and may do the same in people with rare diseases that affect the mitochondria. In other cases, the effects are not clear. One small European study suggested that people with chronic fatigue syndrome might benefit from supplementation with coenzyme Q10, but more research is needed. 3. Creatine. The body makes its own creatine; it is largely found in muscle. But it’s also widely sold as a supplement. There is some evidence that taking crea-


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tine can build muscle mass and improve athletic per formance requiring shor t bursts of muscle activity (like sprinting). But there is little evidence it can do the same in older adults, or that it can reduce a feeling of fatigue in anyone. 4. DHEA. Sometimes marketed as a “fountain of youth,” dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is touted to boost energy as well as prevent cancer, heart disease, and infectious disease, among other things. The truth is that this naturally occurring hormone has no proven benefits and some potentially serious health risks. Some research shows that DHEA can damage the liver. It can also lower levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol. And because this hormone is related to estrogen and testosterone, there is concern that it may increase the risk for breast and prostate cancers. By increasing levels of testosterone, it can also encourage acne and facial hair growth in women. Until further research clarifies the side effects, it’s wise to avoid taking DHEA. 5. Ephedra. Although ephedra was banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004 because of major safety concerns — including increased risk of heart attack and stroke — it remains available for sale on the Internet. Any effectiveness that ephedra may have in terms of

boosting energy probably results from two substances it contains — ephedrine and pseudoephedrine — that may increase alertness. There’s no safe amount of ephedra you can consume. If you want to boost your energy by stimulating your central nervous system, a cup of coffee or another caffeinated beverage will work just as well. 6. Ginkgo biloba. Derived from the maidenhair tree, ginkgo biloba has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine and is now a common dietary supplement in Western countries. Its effects on cognition (thinking), mood, alertness and memory have been the subject of many studies, but many of those studies have not been of high quality. A Cochrane Collaboration review found the evidence was too weak to conclude that ginkgo biloba improved cognition in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Regarding memory in people without dementia, the evidence is contradictory. Some studies suggest that ginkgo biloba may improve some aspects of mood, including alertness and calmness, in healthy subjects. By making you more alert and calm, it may increase your sense of energy. 7. Ginseng. This relatively safe and popuSee ENERGY BOOSTERS, page 11

Say you saw it in the Beacon | Fitness & Health

C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N — F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 4

Energy boosters From page 10 lar herb is said to reduce fatigue and enhance stamina and endurance. It is sometimes called an “adaptogen,” meaning it helps the body cope with mental and physical stress, and can boost energy without causing a crash the way sugar does. Data from human studies are sparse and conflicting. Some studies report that ginseng improves mood, energy and physical and intellectual performance. Other research concludes it doesn’t improve oxygen use or aerobic performance, or influence how quickly you bounce back after exercising. 8. Guarana. This herb induces a feeling of energy because it’s a natural source of caffeine. But consuming a lot of guarana, especially if you also drink coffee and other caffeinated beverages, could ultimately lower your energy by interfering with sleep. 9. Vitamin B12. Some doctors give injections of vitamin B12 as “energy boosters.” But unless they’re given to correct anemia that results from a true deficiency of the vitamin, there is little evidence that vitamin B12 treatments boost energy. Instead of relying on a supplement for energy, I recommend switching to a healthful diet — more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, lean protein and unsaturated fats — and exercising more. That’s truly a better way to beat an energy shortage, and it’s one your whole body will appreciate. © 2014 President and Fellows of Harvard College. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



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Feb. 13+


The 9th annual Modernism Week from Feb. 13 to 23 will offer more than 100 events, including home tours, films, lectures, double decker architectural bus tours, a Modernism Show at the Palm Springs Convention Center, nightly parties and live music, walking and bike tours, a Prefab Showcase and Modern Living Expo, tours of Sunnylands, vintage fashion, classic cars, garden tours, a vintage travel trailer exhibition, and more. Some events are free; otherwise, various costs and locations. See

Make your own natural energy drink By Karen Ansel When you’re feeling sluggish and need a pick-me-up, maybe you reach for an energy drink or a can of soda. But would you be better served with something else? This refreshing lemony drink will give you a caffeine energy boost when you don’t want coffee. It’s a double-strength brew of green tea plus yerba mate, and delivers about 135 mg. caffeine plus antioxidants. Compared with store-bought energy drinks, this homemade energy drink recipe saves about 150 calories and has less than half the sugar. Add an extra-fresh taste by garnishing the rim with chopped mint.

Yerba mate is a tea made from the leaves of a South American tree. Look for it with other tea in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets or naturalfoods stores.

Energy drink recipe Serves 1 (1 1/2 cup serving) Ingredients: 1 cup boiling water 2 green tea bags 1 yerba mate tea bag 1 1/2 tablespoons agave, honey or sugar 2 tablespoons lemon juice Ice cubes Chopped fresh mint (optional) Preparation:

Put boiling water in a heatproof measuring cup. Add green tea and yerba mate and steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags, squeezing the excess liquid into the cup before discarding. Stir in sweetener and lemon juice. Add 6 ice cubes and stir until they’re melted and the drink is cold. If desired, wet the rim of your serving glass and coat with chopped mint. Add more ice to the glass and pour in the energy drink. Nutrition: 97 calories, 0 g. fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 26 g. carbohydrates, 24 g. added sugars, 0 g. protein, 0 g. fiber, 11 mg. sodium, 95 mg. potassium. © 2014 Eating Well, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC



F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 4 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

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Midcentury-designed buildings along South Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs will be lighted from 5 p.m. to midnight during Modernism Week.

Modernism Week offers great freebies By Jamie Lee Pricer Coachella Valley Beacon’s continuing search for deals, discounts and free offers turned up a trove of freebies in Palm Springs in February — free Modernism Week activities. Popular with attendees from all over the world, the annual celebration of midcentury modern design, architecture, art, fashion and culture will feature more than 150 events Feb. 13-23. Here are those with free admission: Feb. 12-March 12: An exhibition of the famed Palm Springs architect Hugh M. Kaptur, AIA, will be held at the Palm Springs Public Library. Presented by the Palm Springs Modern Committee, the ex-

hibition focuses on Kaptur’s career and celebrates and documents his life’s work in Palm Springs through photographs and renderings. A lecture focusing on his commercial and civic architecture design in Palm Springs will be offered from 10:30 11:45 a.m. Feb. 22. Feb. 13-23: Illuminated Modern is a free nightly self-guided exhibition along Palm Canyon Drive that showcases a specially curated selection of midcentury and contemporary buildings designed by prominent desert architects. 5 p.m.-midnight. Feb. 14: The opening reception for Midcentury and Beyond at M Modern

Gallery will feature art work by SHAG, Chris Reccardi, Lynne Naylor, Bosko, Michelle Bickford, and more. A Print Release Party at SHAG the Store on Feb. 15 will celebrate the release of SHAG’s newest limited edition serigraph, “The 55th Annual Cocktail Climb.” 6-9 p.m. Feb. 14: A reception at the Palm Springs Historical Society will follow the dedication ceremony on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars for Hugh M. Kaptur, AIA, at 2 p.m. at the corner of Baristo Road and South Palm Canyon Drive. Feb. 17: More than 60 vintage automobiles from the 1930s through the 1980s will be on display at the Vintage Car Show outside the Palm Springs Convention Center.

noon-3 p.m. Feb. 19: Palm Springs Preservation Foundation board member Gary Johns’ popular slide lecture, “Lost, Saved & Endangered: Modernist Architecture in Palm Springs,” is entertaining, informative and replete with amusing anecdotes and rarely seen vintage photos. 8:30-10:30 a.m. (RSVP required, see website for more details.) Feb. 23: Back by popular demand, the Modern Yard Sale is a celebration of midcentury modern collectables with unique wares and tchotchkes for sale. 8 a.m.-noon For details: Visit, go to the ‘Events’ tab and select ‘Free.’

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C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N — F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 4

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How to find and use the best credit cards By Elliot Raphaelson For most financial institutions, extending credit (and collecting interest from the credit card holders) represents a significant portion of their income. Their objective is to develop products that will maximize their profit. Your objective, on the other hand, should be to use the credit they offer to maximize benefits for you. Here are some suggestions. First, make every effort to pay down your outstanding credit card balances to reduce interest charges — and eventually carry no balance and avoid all interest charges. Use money from savings accounts earning low interest to reduce your outstanding credit card balances, which probably charge you considerably higher interest. Keep in mind that if you do not pay your credit card balance in full each month, it is likely that you are incurring interest charges as soon as you purchase something. If you are unable to pay your balance on any card in full at the end of the month, use a different credit card (with no annual fee) for new purchases, and pay the bill in full at the end of the month. This way you will not incur additional interest costs.

presumably they’re on their guard now.] Chase Freedom Visa changes its promotions every three months, selecting a few categories to pay back 5 percent cash or credit, and offering 1 percent back for all other purchases. For example, during the first three months of 2014, there is a 5 percent credit for gas stations, movies and Starbucks. New cardholders will receive a $200 bonus for spending $500 in the first three months. If you have an account with Fidelity, the Fidelity Rewards American Express Card offers a 2 percent credit for all purchases. The Capital One QuicksilverCash Rewards (Visa) card offers 1.5 percent cash or credit for all purchases, with a $100 bonus for spending $500 in the first three months. The Blue Cash American Express Card offers a 3 percent credit for supermarket purchases (up to $6,000 per year), 2 percent for gas, and 1 percent for all others, with a $50 credit if you spend $1,000 in the first three months. The bottom line is that you can use multiple cards and receive at least a 1.5 percent discount for all purchases if you are selective. There is no downside in using multiple cards if you pay your balance each month.

Take advantage of rewards Rewards cards can be another way to take maximum advantage of credit. What’s best for you will depend on your spending habits. There are several no-fee credit cards (some of which I list below) that provide significant cash or statement credits, and no interest charges as long as you pay your balance in full. Target’s REDcard offers a 5 percent immediate credit on all Target purchases, and offers very good prices, especially on grocery items. [Editor’s note: Target’s recent problems with hackers’ theft of shoppers’ private information might be a concern. But

Cards for medical bills Another way to use credit cards to your advantage is paying for medical expenses. Some credit cards available for medical expenses have received poor press lately. My experience with CareCredit has been very good. I use it whenever I have major expenses, because as long as I pay the bill within the designated period (sometimes 12 months, sometimes 18 months), it is interest-free. It is crucial to pay your balances in full by the deadline; otherwise, interest will be charged for the whole period at high interest rates. It is also very useful to have a line of credit

Retirement isn’t an end. It’s just the beginning. A long and successful career should be followed by a long and happy retirement. But it won’t happen on its own. You have to be sure you’re investing properly to help you reach it, and then follow a solid strategy both now and through your retirement years. As a Financial Advisor, I have the experience and tools to help you develop a strategy that is right for you, to adjust your investments as needed and to manage your wealth through all the potential changes to come. Call to arrange an appointment today and let us help you keep your wealth working for you.

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available. One option, if you own your home, is a home equity line of credit. I rarely use mine, but there was no fee for opening it, and the interest rate is quite low. I incur no interest expenses or any other costs unless I use it. It has helped me avoid paying the much higher interest on my CareCredit card: I have used my line of credit periodically to pay off my CareCredit medical bills by the deadline. Lenders, especially credit card issuers, earn significant income when consumers

do not pay their full balance. If you pay in full each month, credit cards can be very useful. Unfortunately, about 50 percent of consumers always carry a balance. As a court mediator, every week I see the unfortunate result of lawsuits initiated because consumers are unable to make even minimum payments. Use credit wisely. It’s too easy to pay only the minimum each month, and find your balances out of control. ©2014 Elliot Raphaelson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 4 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

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Say you saw it in the Beacon | Law & Money

C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N — F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 4


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F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 4 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

Short-term bond funds offer higher rates By Carolyn Bigda Low yields, combined with talk of the Federal Reserve scaling back its easymoney policies, have left bond investors with a big headache. So it’s no surprise that investment firms are rolling out short-term high-yield bond funds to try to ease the pain. At least four companies, including Fidelity, did so in 2013. Like other junk bond funds, the new products invest in debt issued by companies with a lower-than-investment-quality credit rating.

The relatively high interest payments from the bonds provide a cushion against rising interest rates. (Bond prices and rates generally move in opposite directions.) In addition, the new funds’ short maturities (about 3.5 years, on average) should further insulate their share prices from rising rates. “When you shorten the investing time frame, you can have much more confidence in a company’s credit story,” said Matt Conti, lead manager of Fidelity Short Dura-

tion High Income (symbol FSAHX), which launched in November. The big catch is that most short-term junk funds don’t have much of a record. Moreover, the flurry of new funds is coming at a time when junk’s yield advantage has shrunk. At the end of 2013, the gap between shortterm junk bonds and comparable Treasuries was a bit more than 4 percentage points. A year earlier, the spread was 6.6 points. If the economy stumbles and investors get nervous about the ability of companies to repay their debts, junk bond prices could fall, said Chris Cordaro, chief investment officer at RegentAtlantic Capital.

How to choose the funds So stick with funds that favor bonds rated BB (the highest quality of junk) and B. Wells Fargo Advantage Short-Term High Yield Bond (STHBX), which has a record of more than 16 years, is a good bet. The fund yields 2.1 percent, and over the past year it

produced a total return of 3.7 percent. That’s nothing to brag about. But when the junk bond market swoons, the fund tends to beat its peers. In 2008, for example, Advantage lost 5.8 percent, compared with a plunge of 26.4 percent for the average junk bond fund. Fidelity does a good job with bonds, so its new fund bears watching. The fund aims to keep about 10 percent of its assets in high-grade bonds, providing a bit more protection against market shocks. Prefer a longer track record? Consider Fidelity Floating Rate High Income (FFRHX), which buys bank loans made to low-quality firms. Interest rates on those loans reset every 30 to 90 days, so the fund is well protected from rising interest rates. The fund yields 2.5 percent. Carolyn Bigda is a contributing editor to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. ©2014 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




Need help enrolling in Covered California health insurance? JFK Memorial Hospital in Indio and Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs can help. Enrollment deadline is March 31 for the new programs. Call the Path to Health information line at (866) 893-8446.

“Dad Couldn’t Remember How To Get Home.” An esti tiimate ted 5.2 millionn Am ted A mer eriican anss ha havve A Alz lzhheiimer’’s ddiisea ease. Th The number b of A of Ame meri rica ican ans ns with Alzheiime mer’ r s has more than douubled since 1980. The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease will continue to grow — by 2050 the number of individuals with Alzheimer’s is projected to exceed 13.8 million. Half of all nursing home residents have Alzheimer’s disease or a related disorder. A person with Alzheimer’s disease will live an average of eight years and as many as 20 years or more from the onset of symptoms. The average cost for nursing home care is over $83,950 per year but can exceed $97,820.

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Kraft Nabisco has openings for volunteers By Jamie Lee Pricer Without an army of volunteers, three major sport events in the Coachella Valley simply would not happen. Between them, the Humana Challenge, BNP Paribas Open and Kraft Nabisco Challenge need nearly 3,000 volunteers. While the Humana golf tournament was played in January and the BNP Paribas (March 3-16) has filled its quota of volunteer slots, at press time more volunteers were needed at the Kraft Nabisco LPGA tournament, April 1-6 at Mission Hills Country Club, Rancho Mirage. “We have about 580, but we need 800,” said volunteer coordinator Diane McPherson. So why volunteer? Humana Challenge volunteer chairman Greg Wean said it goes beyond “seeing some incredible golf. It’s the camaraderie with fellow volunteers and giving back to the community and local charities.” That, plus watching the sport’s top athletes compete under usually hard-to-beat desert skies.

Loyal volunteers Many of the Kraft’s volunteers are repeat snowbirds who schedule their time in the desert around the LPGA’s first major of the season.

“We have a return rate of about 75 percent,” said McPherson. “We even have one man from Australia this year who said volunteering at the Kraft was on his bucket list.” Volunteers are expected to work at least three four-to-six-hour shifts, “but we have lots of volunteers who love the job and are out there all day,” McPherson said The Kraft provides training where necessary, a polo shirt and wind jacket, a visor or ball cap, a weeklong volunteer credential, plus one guest credential, meals and snacks and parking.

Many ways to volunteer What do volunteers do? Everything from scoring to fetching players from the Palm Springs International Airport. Here are some of the still-open volunteer positions: Admissions/will call: Staff the ticket area to ensure that all spectators have the proper tickets. Fan experience: Work with an expected 50,000 visitors at registration, hitting nets, putting contest, golf simulator and other activities. Marshals: This largest group of volunteers manages the flow of spectator and player traffic, noise level of galleries, locates errant shots, and alerts the gallery of any potential hazards during play.

Merchandise: Assist fans who buy souvenirs, general merchandise and apparel. Also, stock merchandise, welcome customers, bag purchases and cashier. Operations: Oversee on-site golf cart distribution and operations. Parking: Assist off-site parking: collect parking fees, traffic control and load passenger shuttles. Player transportation: Prepare courtesy cars for each LPGA participant. Pick up and drop off players at the airport. Scoring tent: Verify cards are properly handled and ready for LPGA official pickup, and help pros at the autograph tent. Pro-Am days: Sit green side on holes 9 and 18, and collect pro-am scorecards and deliver them to the pro-shop scoring window. Security: Check credentials and on-site

parking passes. Direct guests to appropriate parking lots Tournament relations: “Official” goodwill ambassadors of the KNC. Check credentials, answer questions, greet and direct players, celebrities and guests of the tournament. Volunteer tent: Help distribute food and beverages, goodie bags, pick up and restock during the day. Volunteer transportation: Drive shuttle vans to/from volunteer parking. Provide limited transfers to/from hotel and course Tuesday and Wednesday. Uniform distribution: Pre-tournament, distribute uniforms to volunteers. Interested in volunteering? Contact Diane McPherson at (760) 324-4546 or go to


Feb. 14+


Camel and ostrich races, a nightly Arabian Nights musical pageant, entertainment, a carnival and agriculture, livestock, homemade goods and art exhibits are just a sample of events at the 68th annual Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival, 82-503 Highway 111, Indio. It will take place from Feb. 14 to 23, and hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Admission is $9 adults, $8 seniors 55 +, $7 kids 6-12. Parking is $8-$12; free on the side streets. 1-800-811-3247,


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F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 4 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

Four companies worth falling in love with By Carolyn Bigda One of the cardinal rules of investing is never fall in love with a stock. But for all you incurable romantics, we’ve found four companies that may be candidates for a long-term relationship.

L Brands (symbol LB; recent price, $53) You may not be familiar with the company, but you’ve probably heard of two of its sensual subsidiaries: Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works. Both retailers gar-


Feb. 20+

STAR STRUCK? COME TO THE GOLF TOURNAMENT Here’s your chance to take photos of celebrities and perhaps

have a chance for a quick chat. It’s the Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational amateur golf tournament, with dinner parties, luncheons, silent and live auctions, a fashion show and a black tie gala with Wayne Newton, Thursday-Saturday Feb. 20-22. Tickets are $100-$1,000. Golf packages are $3,500-$25,000. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84-245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio. (760) 674-8447,

ner more than one-fourth of all sales in their markets, and both have room to grow. Analysts see L Brands, which does about $11 billion in sales annually, boosting earnings by 12 percent in the fiscal year that ends January 2015. At 17 times estimated earnings for that year, the shares are a bit more expensive than the overall market, but the price is fair given L Brands’ growth potential. Signet Jewelers (SIG; $74) This Akron company owns the Jared and Kay Jewelers chains. Signet now has more than 1,400 stores in the U.S., and should be able to generate annual sales growth of at least 6 percent for the next few years, said Gregory Herr, co-manager of FPA Perennial Fund. The firm’s aggressive advertising — you’ve no doubt heard that “Every kiss begins with Kay” — will also help. The stock

trades at nearly 15 times projected earnings for the year that ends January 2015. Tiffany (TIF; $83) U.S. sales have lagged, so the 176-yearold company has been expanding its lowerpriced sterling-silver collection to appeal to a broad customer base. In addition, the New York City company continues to expand overseas. Sales in Asia, excluding Japan, grew by a whopping 22 percent during the quarter that ended October 31. The stock jumped 9 percent on the day the earnings report was released, and now sells for 22 times projected earnings for the year that ends January 2015. That’s not a bargain price, but it’s reasonable given the strength of Tiffany’s iconic blue-box brand. Southwest Airlines (LUV, $21) It’s hard not to fall for the company with the market’s most heartwarming stock symbol. Like other airlines, Southwest shares have been on a tear; they’ve nearly doubled over the past year. A rebound in business travel has helped. But perhaps the best thing the industry has going for it is the recent spate of airline mergers, which helps to reduce competition. Moreover, Southwest’s CEO recently suggested that the airline may start charging for checked baggage. Imposition of baggage fees wouldn’t be good news for budget-minded fliers, but it would likely endear the company to investors. Carolyn Bigda is a contributing editor to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. Send your questions and comments to And for more on this and similar money topics, visit © 2014 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


Feb. 19


Dee Dee Myers, White House press secretary during President Bill Clinton’s first term, will offer insights from the perspective of a political analyst and commentator at 7 p.m., Wednesday Feb. 19, in the City of Rancho Mirage Speakers Series. The program will take place at the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences at Eisenhower Medical Center, 39-000 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $45-$60. For details, call (760) 770-3205 or (760) 324-4511.

Feb. 20


Free Medicare counseling will be offered from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday Feb. 20, at the Indio Senior Center, 45-700 Aladdin St., Indio. Make an appointment at (800) 434-0222.

C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N — F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 4

Say you saw it in the Beacon



Leisure &

Older skiers spend more time on the slopes. See story on page 20.

Ag Trail traverses sites around the county By Jamie Lee Pricer Ready for one-day trips that promise more than 100 opportunities to explore, learn, taste and buy farm fresh products? Then grab your camera and hit the Riverside County Ag Trail. Unveiled by the County Supervisors a year ago, the Ag Trail covers about 400 miles, stretching in zigzag fashion from the southwest corner of the county to the Arizona state line in Blythe. Its stops include festivals, farms, museums, wineries, stands and farmers markets and tours. It’s appropriate the Ag Trail was created to support the county’s agricultural interests and support tourism. Agriculture has a $4.3 billion impact in Riverside County. Pri-

mary products include citrus, tree and vine crops, vegetables, melons, field and seed crops, and livestock and poultry and their related products. It accounts for about 15,000 jobs. Some 1,700 farming operations ship fruits and vegetables to more than 67 countries. At least one Ag Trail business owner is enthusiastic. Brett Manion, who owns and runs Madison Street Produce in Indio, where a media blitz launched the Ag Trail in 2013, says he saw an uptick in business. “I think it’s fantastic. I was really excited when it was kicked off at our location,” he says. “With the media coverage, we saw an in-

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crease in people coming to Madison Street. I think it affected people living farther away who saw it on TV. We had more calls from people asking us what we had, particularly strawberries.” As far as firm numbers of new, first-time visitors almost a year later, he agrees it’s hard to really know. “We’ve had people come by who have said, ‘we didn’t know you were here,’ but unless you ask everyone if they knew of us because of the Ag Trail, it’s tough to figure out.” Likewise, county officials have yet to devise a plan to track visitor numbers. “It’s still so new, it’s hard to see the impact,” says Darin A. Schemmer, communications director for 4th District Supervisor John J. Benoit, whose district includes the Coachella Valley and who was one of the Ag Trail proponents. Nonetheless, the Ag Trail can offer adventures, educational opportunities for all ages, scenery ranging from cityscapes to lush hillsides to palms that tower over the sprawling desert, and maybe a surprise or two. These Ag Trail sites in and near the Coachella Valley are listed on the county Ag

Trail site (, most with their web addresses:

Festivals and parks Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival, Indio Highland Springs Resort Lavender Festival California Citrus State Historical Park, Riverside (Personal note: A gorgeous park perfect for a day’s outing and a picnic.) Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival

See AG TRAIL, page 21


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F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 4 — C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N

Avid older skiers stick with their passion wear designer. Despite breaking his leg in a wipeout two years ago, Obermeyer still skis each day. Sure, younger people still make up the majority on the slopes — the average skier is 38.5 years old — but, “The person who skis the most in a given year is 65 and older,” said Michael Berry, president of the NSAA, based in suburban Denver. Bragging rights go to those age 68 and older, who averaged 9.5 days skiing last season. Boomers — those age 50 to 68 this year — also skied more than the national average of five times per year, according to an NSAA survey released in August. “You don’t want to sit in your rocking chair and look at the view,” said 70-year-old Billy Kidd, who won a silver in the slalom at the

1964 Olympics. “You want to remember your days of youth, and you love that feeling of adrenaline and dealing with the variables of skiing.” Clearly, others old enough to remember Kidd in his heyday feel the same way. Those ages 45-54 made up 20 percent of skiers last winter, up from 14 percent in the 1997-98 season; the 55-64 age group made up 12 percent, up from nearly 5 percent, and those 65 and older rose to 5.5 percent from 2.5 perAP PHOTO/70+ SKI CLUB

By Karen Schwartz If you’ve walked into a ski lodge the past few years, likely as not you’ve seen tables filled with gray-haired skiers wearing sweaters so old they’re back in style. That’s because the number of skiers on the far side of 50 — some on the very far side — has been creeping up each year, according to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA). Credit advances in artificial hips and knees that make it possible for skiers to continue enjoying the sport; shaped skis, along with better snowmaking and grooming that make skiing easier; and high-speed lifts and luxury touches like ski valets that make it more pleasant. “There are no excuses,” said 93-year-old Klaus Obermeyer, the Aspen-based ski-

cent, according to the NSAA study.

Innovative gear Kidd, who skis almost daily in his role as an ambassador for the Steamboat Ski Resort, said one thing that has changed as he’s gotten older is his gear. Indeed, Kidd is a walking billboard for the latest innovations. His skis and poles See SKIERS, page 21

Dee Wang, 89, a member of the 70+ Ski Club, skis with her great-grandchildren in Park City, Utah. The National Ski Areas Association says the number of older skiers on the slopes has been rising each year, and those skiing the most days a year are 65 and older.

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C O A C H E L L A VA L L E Y B E A C O N — F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 4

AG Trail From page 19

Leja Farms, Coachella Coachella Valley History Museum, Indio The Living Desert, Palm Desert


rant with garden seating.) Coachella Valley Certified Farmers Markets in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Coachella

7 Hot Dates, Mecca Oasis Date Garden, Thermal (Personal note: Here you’ll find the widest variety of date shakes offered anywhere. Try the peanut butter date shake. OMG.)

Stands and markets Madison Street Produce, Indio Shields Date Garden, Indio (Personal note: The royalty of date shakes reigns here, plus Shields now has a terrific restau-



their passion. The Florida Ski Council has 17 clubs in the state and at least one trip going every week of the ski season. The largest club, the Tampa Bay Snow Skiers and Boarders, takes about 1,000 people a year skiing, said Clair Quenzler, the council president. These dedicated watchers of the discounts for skiers agree that the perks seniors used to get from ski resorts have been reduced as their numbers increase. Several resorts have raised the eligibility age for discounted lift tickets, or they’ve limited deals to weekdays. “To be fair to the ski areas, it’s a business for them as well,” said Doug Lofland, 56, one of the owners of the Over The Hill Gang International.

ows. A west-facing slope will have better definition. • Be cognizant of higher altitude and hydration. • Walking in ski boots can be more challenging than skiing, so companies have developed lightweight shoes, like Pakems, that you can carry with you during the day for a quick change. • Consider taking a gondola or chair lift down the mountain if weather sets in or

From page 20 are lightweight carbon fiber. His Osbe helmet does away with goggles and replaces them with a built-in visor that provides better peripheral vision. He traded in traditional ski boots for soft Apex boots, which provide support through an external frame. (For putting on traditional ski boots, many older skiers swear by the Ski and Snowboard Boot Horn.) “At 20 years old, I didn’t care about comfort,” Kidd said. “I still have to have control...but the top priority for me is comfort.” Certainly, there are challenges as skiers age, not the least of which is finding friends who are also still skiing. Clubs like the 70+ Ski Club, based in North Kingstown, R.I., with more than 4,000 members, and the Over the Hill Gang International, based in Colorado Springs with 3,000 members, offer camaraderie, discounted tickets and ski trips near and far. Even those who retire to Florida still pursue

Ski tips So what suggestions do experts have to help us keep on skiing for decades? • Stay in shape. • Try to choose slopes with less traffic, so you can safely ski a little slower. • Think about afternoon sun and shad-

The site shows a cluster of several dozen wineries in Temecula and one in Mira Loma.


If you go • The Ag Trail is not one select route, but rather a collection of sites. You can pick and choose where to go according to your interests and time. • Maps on the county website show sites in the categories listed above. • Website:

you’re tired. • Consciously chose your danger level. “The repercussions of making a mistake are too great,” Kidd said. And finally, enjoy — like the 89-year-old who sent the 70+ Ski Club a photo of herself skiing with her great grandchildren. “There are not many sports four generations can do together like that,” said club president, 42-year-old Richard Lambert. — AP


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Why pay to become a Trusted Traveler? Want an easier time in airport security ments.) lines? The TSA has opened up enrollment If you qualify and are interested: in its “Precheck” DHS Trusted Traveler • Arrange an appointment and visit an program to anyone who wants application center, where you to join — and who’ll pay the provide the usual biographic $85 fee for five years’ participainformation, document your tion. citizenship (passports are As a Trusted Traveler, you best), provide fingerprints, are eligible to use presumablyand pay a nonrefundable $85 shorter airport security lines, application fee. You can comand you are exempt from replete part of the process onmoving your shoes, belt, light line. jacket, your quart-size bag for • If accepted, TSA issues small containers of liquids, and you a “Known Traveler NumTRAVEL TIPS taking your laptop out of your ber,” or KTN, which you give By Ed Perkins carry-on baggage. to your airline when you buy a To enroll, you have to be a U.S. citizen or ticket. As a practical matter, the best way to lawful permanent resident who has not do this is to enter your KTN in your airline’s been convicted of serious felonies. (Check frequent flyer profile.• When you fly, your boarding pass quirements) for the full list of require- shows your Trusted Traveler status.

Covers most airlines The program works through airlines, not airports, but most airlines that serve big airports belong to the system, including Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, United, US Airways and Virgin America. Currently, more than 100 U.S. airports have Precheck security lines — mostly the larger, busier ones. But not all boarding areas have Precheck lines, even though a participating airline may fly there: for example, Precheck is not available for Hawaiian Airlines at Los Angeles, even though Hawaiian participates at other locations. For now, enrollment is something of a challenge. The first active enrollment center opened at the Indianapolis airport last year, and on Jan. 15 TSA opened one at Dulles International Airport in Virginia. TSA plans to open more this year and ulti-


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Customs and immigration International travelers returning to the United States can take advantage of two automated kiosk systems to speed the oftentedious re-entry process: • Global Entry is the more comprehensive. Its enrollment process is similar to Precheck, except that the fee is $100 (for 5 years), enrollment centers are available at 29 large U.S. and eight Canadian airports, and kiosks are available at these and a few other airports. Once enrolled, you place your passport and fingers on the kiosk’s reader, enter a few details, and the kiosk issues a document that lets you bypass the immigration and customs desks completely. I’ve used it, and it cuts a lot of time out of the procedure. • Several important international gateways have installed kiosks that read your passport, but you still have to go through the immigration and customs line. Trade reports indicate that these kiosks can cut processing time substantially, but not as much as Global Entry.

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mately have up to 300. So, for now, your best bet is to get into Precheck by enrolling in some other Trusted Traveler program that provides a KTN (and thus includes Precheck benefits). These include Global Entry (international travel, generally), Nexus (travel to Canada) and Sentri (travel to Mexico). Meanwhile, you may also get Trusted Traveler treatment for no cost by being called out of the general line at the screening point on a random basis. But you can’t ever predict when that might happen. In operation, Precheck is supposed to get you into a faster screening line than the one used by others. But quite a few travel writers have reported slower lines at Precheck than the regular lines.

Unless you fly several times a year, paying $85 for Precheck or $100 for Global Entry is probably not a good value, especially given that you might be able to get through at least occasionally without enrolling. But if you’re a frequent flyer, Precheck may work often enough to justify the cost. And if you’re a frequent international traveler, Global Entry looks like a very good deal, both because of the domestic and international benefits as well as the nationwide availability of enrollment centers. [Editor’s Note: Nexus, intended for Canadian travel, costs only $50 for five years. While it doesn’t include benefits for other international travel, it does confer eligibility for domestic Precheck benefits, and costs $35 less than TSA’s Trusted Traveler program.] Send e-mail to Ed Perkins at © Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Arts &

Singer and dancer Jason Graae will perform at a lunch to benefit Jewish Family Service. See story on page 24.

Time to dress up for El Paseo Fashion Week signer at 73-300 El Paseo in March. Hometown hero Michael Costello returns with his men’s, as well as women’s, apparel on Wednesday, March 19 for “The Superstars of Project Runway.” The Palm Springs resident shares the limelight with Uli Herzner, Victor Luna, Ari for Andy South (Ari was Andy pre-transformation), Irene Shabayeva and Helen Castillo. Earlier that day at 10 a.m., there’s a press conference for the Project Runway cadre, but it’s also a meet-and-greet open to the public. On Thursday, March 20, it’s free to all comers when from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the designers offer a trunk show and will be on standby to help buyers with fittings and advice. The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (Los Angeles) launches the shows on Monday, March 17. Graduating students debut their talent — “Really amazing kids,” says Stein, who is a professor at FIDM. Veteran Fashion Week viewers would tend to agree. Unfettered by business restrictions, the students can unleash their creativity. Bradon McDonald, known for Project Runway, is one of the FIDM group. “Street Seen on El Paseo” on Tuesday, March 18, heralds a parade of El Paseo retailers showing us what they’ve got. Break dancers and graffiti artists join the fray, never mind the dress code of the evening. It’s the little black dress. “We’re urbanizing El Paseo,” says Stein, who no doubt will wear an elegant LBD. Friday, March 21, it’s “The Best of Saks Fifth Avenue,” which can be pretty darn good

with world-class labels from the likes of Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli, Alexander McQueen, Pucci and Ralph Lauren for women, with Etro and Dolce & Gabbana for women and men. If you go, hang onto your ticket. It will get you into what is likely to be the best after-party of the week. It’s at the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert in the Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden, “a great place for a party,” says Stein. It wouldn’t do to hit Fashion Week unprepared. So there’s the tradition of the Sunday, March 16 “Style and Beauty Bash.” More than 30 salons and spas offer their services with hair styling, cuts and makeup for a chari-

table donation of $30. Men, by the way, can See FASHION WEEK, page 25


By Jorie Parr Fashion mania will sweep over the valley in the wake of the 9th El Paseo Fashion Week, March 16-22, presented by Palm Springs Life (PSL) magazine, with title sponsor Saxony Group. Trimmed this year to an actual 7-day week, the event headlines Palm Springs-based designers Michael Costello and Jim Mullin of JM Couture, and culminates with Zang Toi, the first New York notable to participate. The Beacon talked to Susan Stein, the fashion director/creative producer of the event. Stein, who as PSL fashion director is credited as the architect of Fashion Week, checked off some of the highlights. The Malaysia-born Zang Toi is something of a coup. “He’s a real couturier, 100 percent devoted to his art,” Stein said. In 2006, she took Kevan Hall, the first featured designer, over to meet Zang Toi at his Saks Fifth Avenue trunk show. “I took Zang Toi’s card, and I stayed in touch.” Zang Toi’s collection climaxes the week on Saturday night, March 22. “His clothes are gorgeous, fantasy clothes,” says Stein. Perhaps as a pure back drop, the audience is asked to wear white. Title sponsor Saxony Group showcases Jim Mullin, formerly of Chicago, now of Rancho Mirage, on Thursday, March 20. Determined to dazzle, the versatile Mullin will send lingerie, swimsuits, sportswear and couture evening raiment down the catwalk. A real estate investment firm, Saxony will open a JM Couture store for the de-

Fashion Week El Paseo producer and fashion maven Susan Stein wears a white eyelet coat by Valentino.

St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church Presented by Desert Friends of Music

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A toast to, and roast of, Michael Childers sistance services. “Monies raised at the March 6 luncheon will support the broad range of social and counseling services that have assisted residents of the Coachella Valley for over 32 years,” says Executive Director of Jewish Family Service of the Desert Maureen Forman, LCSW. In 2013, JFS provided services to 5,000 men, women and children.

Song for the occasion Lyricist David Zippel has written a “Roast” song about Childers’ life. Zippel, who has received a Tony Award, two Academy Awardnominations, two Grammy nominations and three Golden Globe nominations, is one of few contemporary lyricists who have achieved



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success on Broadway, in Hollywood and in pop music. Zippel’s “Roast” will be performed by singer and dancer Jason Graae, who has won two L.A. Drama Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Musical Theatre. “This song is an affectionate parody of a famous song toasting and roasting our dear friend Michael, who I have had the privilege of knowing for a couple of decades,” says Zippel. “It is a special delight to be asked to honor someone you adore. I think the world of Michael because you just cannot find a better friend.” A range of Childers’ celebrity friends, including Michael Feinstein, Stephanie Powers, Bruce Villanch, Doris Roberts, Bob Mackie, Peter Bart and Sen. Barbara Boxer, will reminisce about Childers’ starstudded life in a video tribute. Barbara Keller, Terri Ketover, Ed Gubman and Bernie Fromm will co-chair the event, joined by emcee Patrick Evans of CBS Local 2. Major event sponsors include Helene Galen, Harold Matzner and Jerry and Elaine Morgan. Media sponsors include the Coachella Valley Beacon, Palm Springs Life magazine, CBS Local 2 KPSP, ABC, Fox, CW Palm Springs and Money Talk Radio 1200.


By Madeline Zuckerman Jewish Family Service of the Desert will present its inaugural humanitarian award on March 6 to valley resident Michael Childers, internationally-renowned celebrity photographer, producer and philanthropist at a gala luncheon. Hereafter, the Michael Childers Humanitarian Award will be given to an individual who has benefited causes and organizations in the Coachella Valley. Childers is being honored for his work over the past six years, having produced Jewish Family Service of the Desert’s soldout “One Night Only.” The event raised in excess of $1 million to benefit Jewish Family Service of the Desert’s critically-needed counseling, senior care and emergency as-

Singer and dancer Jason Graae will perform a special "Roast" song at the March 6 luncheon honoring Michael Childers.

If you go What: Gala luncheon honoring Michael Childers Where: Hard Rock Hotel, 150 S. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs When: March 6, reception at 11:30 a.m., lunch follows Tickets: $150 Information: (760) 325-4088,

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Fashion week From page 23 get a shave and a haircut. It happens from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the action will include extreme hair and makeup demonstrations.

Gay weddings From page 1 years. We’ve [served] California residents as well as couples from all over the United States and Canada. It’s been a great way to contribute to our community.” The fancy Hollywood Regency-style Viceroy Palm Springs offers a package that includes a pair of bouquets or boutonnieres, floral arrangements with a stylized white rose petal aisle, white Chiavari chairs with black cushions for guests, a male or female officiate, two hours of photography, one hour of DJ, acoustic guitar or strings, and overnight accommodations for the just-weds. Food and beverage bills are extra, but the basic charge is $5,000 Sunday through Thursday, $7,000 Friday and Saturday. Not so much if you compare it with Bridezilla prices — and the Viceroy is a very chic setting.

Jon and Gary and Bob and Craig Jon Von Erb and Gary Williams met at the Bourbon Pub in New Orleans in 1975 and have been together ever since. Last fall, they decided to go for it, and asked long-time pals,


And once beautified and ready to browse, one can check out the series of about 20 pop-up shops under the big white tent, which as usual is prominently placed off El Paseo at Larkspur Lane in Palm Desert. In case Fido has FMO, fear of missing out,

not to worry. It’s “Le Chien” time at 5 p.m. that same day with cocktails, a silent auction plus music and entertainment, then the main event at 6 p.m. — a canine fashion show with the theme of “Famous Dogs of Hollywood.” We’re talking Rin Tin Tin and Lassie for a start.

For the model walkers as well as the pooches, there’ll be chic accessories. Stein points out that, besides their other endearing attributes, undeniably, “Pets are accessories.” Infor mation:

Bob Hoffman and Craig Bruce, fellow expats from San Francisco, to join them. Von Erb says, “We’re close comrades, and we wanted to join our families and collective friends together.” And there was also sharing the expense. And so they were married in the Von Erb-Williams Palm Springs back garden at sunset. Guests came from all over, from New York and Alaska, Kentucky and the California coast. Once a floral designer, Von Erb decorated the tables, buffet and bar area with local blossoms — bougainvillea, roses, birds of paradise. Von Erb and Williams wore lighter outfits, crèmes, greens and blues to reflect the pool and garden, and Hoffman and Bruce chose darker apparel. On top of the cake were two sets of groom dolls in similar attire. The invitations specified no gifts. Von Erb says in effect that most gay couples get married after a long relationship and don’t really need any toasters.

Tempe, Ariz., to get married recently. In an e-mail, Thompson writes, “Some friends of ours, a gay couple, recently came here to get married and recommended it. Also, Palm Springs seemed like an exotic getaway.” Her mother, Barbara Thompson, flew in from Sausalito to join them. She hosted a festive lunch for the three at Le Vallauris. Victoria writes “It was so special, like a fairy tale. The food excellent, and the chef was charming.” He improvised a wedding cake that was “incredibly delicious and a

great surprise.” Afterward, the ladies went around the corner and visited the impressive Palm Springs Art Museum. “I spent the whole day in my wedding dress without anyone giving me an odd look,” Victoria says. Earlier, at the county clerk’s office in Indio, the women found “everyone so friendly, we did not feel uncomfortable, which was the experience our friends had as well. It seemed like everyone was celebrating with us.”

Tory and Deb do It Victoria Thompson and her partner of 20 years, Deborah Hamilton, drove in from

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Hospital guild luncheon honors founders Woolley was responsible for inviting her friends to our very first tea at Morningside, which got the ball rolling for the desert guild.

“My husband, Dr. Morton Woolley, was surgeon-in-chief at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, and he was keenly aware of the important support guilds can provide,” said Jane Woolley. “I was a retired physician when Shirley Pettis Thompson approached me to get involved in establishing this desert guild. Knowing it could make a difference in raising much-needed funds for new equipment, teaching services, and other things that are not part of patient care monies that come into the hospital, I decided to get involved. “I invited many of my friends, including Dale Rotner, Mardell Brandt, Joyce Engel and Jeanne Mace to join the guild. Many of

Helping thousands of children “The children in the Coachella Valley did not have a hospital with the capabilities of Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, so this was the closest facility for them to seek medical attention,“ Thompson added. Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital is recognized for its expertise, research and capabilities. Over the past 20 years, it has helped 1.2 million children of the Inland Empire, including critically ill and/or injured children from the Coachella Valley. Approximately 5,000 Coachella Valley children received care at children’s hospital in 2013.

these ladies are still involved in the guild activities today. “As an honoree, I am extremely proud of this group and cannot tell you how much this guild means to me and my husband, who is a graduate of Loma Linda University and an advocate for children. He is very proud of the work this guild has done for Loma Linda.” Big Hearts for Little Hearts Desert Guild has raised $ l.5 million since its inception.

Learn more: Contact desert guild president Joyce Engel at (760) 413-4469, or visit


By Madeline Zuckerman The Desert Guild Chapter of Big Hearts for Little Hearts of Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital honored its two founders at its Feb. 3 annual fundraising boutique and luncheon, which benefited critically-ill children of the Coachella Valley. An overflow crowd of 350 guests paid tribute to the founders — the Honorable Shirley Pettis Thompson and Jane Woolley, M.D. — for their vision in establishing the desert guild 12 years ago. “Of course, it is a real honor, and I think that it is always nice to have your work acknowledged,” said Pettis Thompson. “I started the desert guild chapter because I felt it would be a great advantage to raise muchneeded funds to help these children. Jane

Participating in the Big Hearts for Little Hearts of Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital were Coachella Valley patient Jacob Pannell, Dr. Antranik Bedros of Loma Linda University Children's Hospital, and Jamie Bailey, Jacob’s grandmother.




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February 2014 | Coachella Valley Beacon  

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