Free Tribute Concert Band Series First Wednesday Of Each Month Kicks Off Dec. 6 In The Downtown Park

Palm Springs, CA

From December 2023 through May 2024, the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce, working in collaboration with James Elliott Entertainment, will host a series of free, monthly tribute band concerts at the new Palm Springs Downtown Park.

The tribute band performances will be held on the first Wednesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. Only acts who look, sound, and perform like the real thing will be featured.

December 6th features Kenny Cetera’s Chicago Experience, a tribute to Chicago; January 3rd features Tina Turner by Debby Holiday; February 7th is a tribute to Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley; March 6th brings ABBAFab; The Garth Guy showcases April 3rd and we end the series May 1st with Wanted, the ultimate tribute to Bon Jovi. 

Sponsors of this series are the City of Palm Springs, PS Resorts, The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Eisenhower Health, Desert Care Network, Grit Development, Miralon, Palm Springs Animal Shelter, Palm Springs American Legion Post 519, HM Hospitality Consultants and VRON. 

The concert series is FREE and open to everyone.  Bring your beach chairs and blankets and enjoy live entertainment in our beautiful new downtown park.

Co-producer James Elliott Entertainment has more than 20 years of experience in the music industry. His company books acts at several casinos, and currently provides tribute bands to the Lake Arrowhead Concert Series. 

“Our city now has the perfect outdoor venue in which to host a concert series like this,’ says Chamber CEO Nona Watson, adding that all current COVID-19 safety protocols will be followed.   “Our goal is to bring visitors and residents from throughout the Coachella Valley to downtown Palm Springs during the middle of the week so as to provide a boost to our local bars, restaurants, and retail businesses. We also believe these special events will increase hotel room nights thanks to those attending weekend conventions and events extending their stays.”

 Dates and links to the tribute band websites can be found on the Chamber’s website at

Braille Institute Coachella Valley hosts a Holiday Pop Up Shop

Palm Desert, CA

Braille Institute Coachella Valley will offer a 1-day Holiday Pop Up Shop on Monday, December 11 from 1 – 3 pm at the Braille Institute Coachella Valley location at 74-245 Highway 111 Suite #E101 in Palm Desert. At this event, Braille Institute staff will team up with representatives from GiftedBack which offers products exclusively made by blind and visually impaired individuals and from Vistas, the in-house shop
for Braille Institute. Handmade crafts and useful everyday items that make life easier for those with little or no vision will be on display. Attendees will be able to talk with representatives from both organizations to do further on-line shopping. Bilingual staff will be on hand as well. No reservations are required to attend this free event. For more information, call 760-321-1111.

At the Vistas Pop Up Shop, shoppers may browse an assortment of items created for people living with low vision, including white canes, talking watches, kitchen accessories, writing aids, games, and more. At the GiftedBack Pop Up Shop, shoppers may browse for one-of-a-kind holiday gifts created by gifted blind artists, crafters, and knitters. All items sold at GiftedBack support independent blind and visually impaired artists and give back to the art community.

“Selecting items for the visually impaired can sometimes be confusing or difficult,” said Amy J. Sand, Regional Manager of Braille Institute Coachella Valley. “We created these Pop Up Shops to help take the stress out of purchasing items that can improve the quality of life for those living with diminished vision. We are excited to offer a hands-on opportunity for people to try out Vistas items before they purchase them, and we are very excited to team up with GiftedBack to showcase the outstanding arts and crafts created by blind and visually impaired artists. We hope this pre-holiday event will become an annual tradition.”


(Iconic Kaufmann House in Palm Springs, drawn by Artist Carrie Graber)

Palm Springs, CA

The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) has installed its 2024 Leadership Team. Leading the team is C.A.R. President Melanie Barker, a licensed Yosemite REALTOR® for two decades. Serving with Barker are President-elect Heather Ozur, Treasurer Mark Peterson and Chief Executive Officer John Sebree. The 2024 officers begin their official term this week at the close of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) Conference and Expo held in Anaheim, Calif.

C.A.R. President Melanie Barker

Barker, along with her mother, Jan Ramos, is co-owner of Summit Real Estate, a sales and property management company in Oakhurst, Calif. As a U.S. Navy veteran where she served as a quartermaster handling the ship’s navigation duties, service is something that comes naturally to Barker.

At the state level, Barker has been a C.A.R. Director since 2007, serving on numerous committees in various capacities including Executive, Legislative, Federal, and Strategic Planning & Finance committees. Most recently, she was Liaison, Public Policy. Barker served as president-elect in 2023.

At the national level, Barker has been active with the National Association of REALTORS®’ Board of Directors since 2012. She served as its Federal Finance Housing Policy Chair in 2021.

Her service to organized real estate began almost immediately upon becoming a REALTOR® when Barker began volunteering as Government Affairs Director of the Yosemite Gateway Association of REALTORS® from 2006-2008. She then was 2008 and 2015 president of that local Association, which merged with the Fresno Association of REALTORS® in 2016. She served on the Board of Directors of the Fresno Association of REALTORS® from 2016-2019 and as its treasurer in 2020.

Barker is a member of NAR’s Presidents Circle and in 2021, was inducted into NAR’s RPAC Hall of Fame. She has served on the Women’s Council of REALTORS®, California and was twice named REALTOR® of the Year in 2006 and 2019.

Her volunteer service extends beyond the real estate industry. Involved in her community, she is also passionate about serving the Mountain Area Youth Organization in Oakhurst, where she has been active on its Board of Directors since 2011 and served as its president from 2013-2015. She was 2020 Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year and the Chamber’s 2018 president.

C.A.R. President-elect Heather Ozur

Palm Springs REALTOR® Heather Ozur serves as C.A.R. President-elect. Ozur has been a REALTOR® with over two decades of experience, specializing in residential property with The RECollective in Palm Springs and San Diego communities.

Ozur has been a dedicated and active voice in the REALTOR® community. She has served as the 2014 President of the Women’s Council of REALTORS® California. With the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, she has served as a Director since 2008, serving on various committees, including Strategic Planning and Finance, Professional Standards, Transaction, and Regulatory, Federal, Legislative, and Business Technology Forum. She previously served as 2022-2023 Treasurer.

At the national level, Ozur is a Director with the National Association of REALTORS®. She has served as the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, a member of the Finance Committee, and an RPAC Major Investor representative. She is a graduate of the NAR Leadership Academy and an RPAC Golden R Presidents Circle Hall of Fame. In 2019, Ozur was the National President of the Women’s Council of REALTORS®.

At the local level, Ozur served as the 2010 and 2011 President of the California Desert Association of REALTORS® and as Secretary of the Greater Palm Springs Association of REALTORS® from 2015-2018. In 2013, she was honored as the CDAR’s REALTOR® of the Year.

C.A.R. Treasurer Mark Peterson

Southern California REALTOR® Mark Peterson serves as 2024-2025 CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) Treasurer.

Peterson, also broker & CEO at RE/MAX Masters in La Verne, Calif., has deep passion for his work in providing exceptional service and guidance to his clients for the past 38 years. In addition to serving his clients, Peterson also is active with his local, state, and national associations of REALTORS®

At the local level, Peterson was 2004 president of the Citrus Valley Association of REALTORS®, where he served on various committees, including Personnel, Budget & Finance, Local Government Affairs, and Board of Directors.

At the state level, Peterson has served as a State Director for the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® since 2001. He has served on such C.A.R. committees as Federal, Strategic Planning and Finance, Taxation & Government Finance, MLS Policy, Real Estate Business Services, Public Policy, CREPAC Trustees, and Global Real Estate Forum, as well as the Investment Subcommittee. He also was an Assembly Key Contact and Federal Political Coordinator.

C.A.R. Chief Executive Officer John Sebree

John Sebree joined C.A.R. as chief executive officer in February 2022. Sebree previously was chief executive officer of Missouri REALTORS®.

Prior to his role in Missouri, Sebree served as senior vice president of Public Policy for Florida REALTORS® for 11 years. Prior to that, he worked in NAR’s Government Affairs division of the in Washington, DC for 13 years.

Sebree was a senior legislative representative working with the congressional delegations of eight states. Prior to NAR, Sebree worked for two years for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs.

Leading the way…® in California real estate for more than 117 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® ( is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with more than 200,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.

Iconic SoCal sports broadcaster FRED ROGGIN named Celebrity Grand Marshal of 2023 Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade

Palm Springs, CA

Award-winning Southern California sports broadcaster and Coachella Valley resident Fred Roggin, who recently retired as Sports Director at NBC4 Los Angeles after an incredible 43 years, will join Canine Mayor Buddy Holly and several other hometown community grand marshals leading the way down world famous Palm Canyon Drive when the 31st Annual Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade returns to downtown on Saturday, Dec. 2.

The parade, the City’s signature holiday event, which brings as many as 100,000 residents and visitors to downtown annually, kicks off at 5:45 p.m. at Palm Canyon and Ramon Road – and features spectacular twinkling floats, magnificent marching bands, huge holiday balloons, and a visit from Santa Claus of course! Once again, the Festival of Lights will be broadcast live on NBC Palm Springs. Coverage begins at 6 p.m.

In addition, Roggin will join the City Council, Canine Mayor Buddy Holly, Santa Claus, and the parade’s group of hometown community grand marshals, who include local film critic Manny the Movie Guy, Palm Springs native Hannah Wright, the winner of the reality series “Love Island,” and Fire Chief Paul Alvarado and his wife, former local reporter Kitty Alvarado, for the lighting of the City’s spectacular 22-foot Holiday Tree on Friday, Dec. 1 at 5:15 p.m. sharp in Frances Stevens Park. Prior to the Tree Lighting, the Holiday Student Banner Awards kick off at 4 p.m.

A broadcasting icon in Southern California, Roggin was part of the longest running evening news team with weathercaster Fritz Coleman. Many Southern Californians will remember the legendary “Fritz & Fred” promotional campaign of comical ads that revolutionized news marketing and programming in the 1980s and 1990s. In addition to anchoring weeknight sports, Roggin hosted “Going Roggin,” a popular weekend sports commentary program – and created and hosted “The Challenge,” a live multi-platform football show that aired after Sunday Night Football for 16 seasons. His signature creation, “Roggin’s Heroes,” highlighted remarkable plays in high school sports; a first of its kind at the time, which led to the show becoming a national syndicated hit.

(Fred Roggin)

Roggin has earned over 30 Los Angeles Emmy Awards, more than 20 Golden Mike Awards, three prestigious Associated Press Awards, and numerous Los Angeles Press Club Awards. He was inducted into the Southern California Sports Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame in 2014 and the California Sports Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame in 2019. He continues to co-host his own radio show on the Los Angeles Dodgers Radio Station AM 570 and the iHeart app, with former professional football player Rodney Peet. In addition to sports, Roggin has been a guest on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson twice and hosted a talk show on the Game Show Network.

“The City of Palm Springs is excited to welcome the legendary Fred Roggin to Palm Canyon Drive as the Celebrity Grand Marshal of the 31st annual Festival of Lights Parade,” said Mayor Grace Garner. “A broadcasting icon, Fred is revered by fans throughout Southern California as the region’s sports authority that we’ve all known, loved, and watched on our televisions for more than four decades. We are thrilled to have him join us as we celebrate the magic of the holidays, Palm Springs style!”

Palm Springs Speaks Speaker Series Announces Full Speaker Schedule for Season Five

(Pictured, Actress Fran Drescher. The line-up includes an Emmy and Golden Globe Nominated Actress, a Best-Selling Author, and a Legendary Entertainer)

Palm Springs, CA

The Friends of the Palm Springs Library are thrilled to announce that the remaining speakers for Season Five Palm Springs Speaks have been selected and the full line-up includes appearances by Fran Drescher on Thursday, January 25, 2024 at 7:30 PM at the Richards Center for the Arts at the Palm Springs High School, Terry McMillan on Tuesday, February 27, 2024 and Billy Dee Williams on Thursday March 7, 2024, both at the Palm Springs Cultural Center (Historic Camelot Theatre) located at 2300 East Baristo Road, Palm Springs.

“We are so excited about our Season Five line-up,” said Jeannie Kays, Director of Library Services. “This caliber of speakers demonstrates our commitment to bring a diverse offering of thought-provoking and timely speakers to the Coachella Valley. We appreciate the on-going support of our sponsors, including The City of Palm Springs, LULU American Bistro, Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs, PSUSD Foundation, The Palm Springs Cultural Center, The Development Department, Alfred A Knopf Publishing, and Follet Books, who, without their help we could not present such a robust speaker’s series.”

A VIP catered reception will begin at 6 PM for a limited number of attendees to have an exclusive photo opportunity with our speakers on the stage and, when available, receive a copy of their book.

Tickets for each event start at just $35 so there is a ticket price for every budget! ADA spaces are available. To purchase tickets or for more information about the speaker series, visit

About Fran Drescher
Fran Drescher has received two Emmy and two Golden Globe nominations for her portrayal as the lovable “Miss Fine” on CBS’s hit series, The Nanny, which she both created and executive produced. She also created, executive produced and starred in the groundbreaking TV Land sitcom, Happily Divorced, which was inspired by her real-life relationship with her gay ex-husband, Peter Marc Jacobson.

An accomplished author, Fran received the prestigious NCCS writer’s award for Cancer Schmancer, which, along with Enter Whining, were New York Times Best Sellers. She also penned the celebrated children’s book, Being Wendy.

A 20-year uterine cancer survivor, Fran turns lemons into lemonade and pain into purpose through her leadership as a cancer advocate. She is the Founder, President, and Visionary of the non-profit, Cancer Schmancer Movement. Fran has won countless awards for her leadership, including the John Wayne Institute Woman of Achievement Award, the Gilda Award, City of Hope Woman of the Year Award, The Albert Einstein Medical School Lifetime Achievement Award, Queens College Lifetime Achievement Award, the Citizen Artist Award, the Human Rights Campaign’s Ally for Equality Award, and the Stonewall and Liberty Bell Awards for her advocacy of Gay Civil Liberties. She is also the current President of SAG-AFTRA which recently negotiated a landmark contract with the studios for their members.

About Terry McMillan
One of America’s most beloved and critically acclaimed authors, Terry McMillan became the empowering voice of a generation of women with her New York Times #1 bestsellers Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Known for “irreverent, pitch perfect tales of women’s lives.” McMillan’s seven bestsellers are rich in fearless wisdom, heart-touching characters and unforgettable stories of friendships, healing, intergenerational bonds, and women saving their own lives. A passionate champion of growing older by looking joyously forward, McMillan boldly rejects the concept of “mid-life crisis.” Instead, she evangelizes that anyone, at any age, can “change lanes” to reinvent themselves, overcome obstacles, get out of ruts, and pursue postponed dreams.

McMillan’s latest novel, It’s Not All Downhill from Here, was published in March of 2020 and will be given to VIP attendees.

About Billy Dee Williams
Heralded actor and legendary entertainer Billy Dee Williams was born and raised in New York City. He has starred in more than forty television shows and movies combined and seven Broadway plays. He became a true pop culture icon, playing Lando Calrissian in George Lucas’s The Empire Strikes Back, which was the first Black character in the Star Wars universe. It was a role he reprised in the final film of the original trilogy, The Return of the Jedi, and in the recent sequel The Rise of Skywalker. He lives in Los Angeles.

Williams’ memoir, What Have We Here? is being published in February 2024 and will be given to VIP attendees and available for sale at the event.

Salton Sea Authority Commemorated 30 Years of Commitment and Collaboration

(Left to Right Bob Hargreaves, City of Palm Desert Attorney, Rick Daniels, Former Salton Sea Authority Executive Director, Gina Nicole Dockstader, Salton Sea Authority Secretary, Altrena Santillanes, Salton Sea Authority President, G. Patrick O’Dowd, Salton Sea Authority Executive Director, Castulo R. Estrada, Salton Sea Authority Vice-President, Phil Rosentrater, former Salton Sea Authority Executive Director)  

Indio, CA

The Salton Sea Authority (Authority) concluded its 30th anniversary commemoration on Thursday, November 16, 2023, with an event at Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, CA. The tribute honored the Authority’s three-decade commitment to preserving and restoring the delicate ecosystem of the Salton Sea, while acknowledging the pivotal contributions of individuals and organizations.

Stakeholders, government officials, community members, and environmental enthusiasts
united to celebrate the achievements and reflect on the challenges faced in preserving the Salton Sea. Engaging speeches and presentations emphasized the need for sustained collaboration and support.

“We extend our gratitude to all the attendees, stakeholders and community for their support. Collaboration remains key in restoring the Salton Sea ecosystem, and we are committed to securing its sustainable future,” stated G. Patrick O’Dowd, Salton Sea Authority Executive Director/General Manager.

Distinguished individuals, organizations and former Authority’s Executive Directors and Board members were recognized for their exceptional contributions to the Salton Sea’s preservation and restoration. Their dedication was praised for driving progress and promoting an optimistic future for the Salton Sea and its surrounding communities.

During the event, a testimonial was presented by Tom Kirk, the former director of the Authority, now serving as Executive Director for the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG). Serving at the helm of the Authority from the late ‘90s to 2006, Kirk provided valuable insights through a pre-recorded interview, reflecting on the Authority’s priorities three decades ago. He shared that “Human health wasn’t a primary concern for the Salton Sea Authority during that period. Our elected officials were more focused on mitigating flood damage rather than the Sea’s potential drying up. It was an entirely different landscape thirty years ago.”

In addition, Susan “Susie” Ming, PE, representing the United States Army Corps of Engineers, District, provided an update on the Imperial Streams and Salton Sea Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study. This effort, authorized by Congress in the 2020 Water Resources Development Act and funded through the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs act, seeks to identify a project that will feasibly and sustainably revitalize the Sea. And once completed this “mega” project will be eligible for significant financial support from the federal government.

During the event, Executive Director O’Dowd also provided the board an update on the Authority’s considerable efforts to understand the evolving Salton Sea landscape and its potential risks to the local community’s health and welfare. To accomplish this, the Authority is proactively engaging with state and federal representatives to explore legislation which might create a framework for assurance that changes at the Salton Sea are not producing adverse impacts to human health and safety. In addition, working in collaboration with State, local, and non-government entities, the Authority is exploring how to consolidate data from the vast array of regional air monitoring efforts to better manage the risks from airborne hazards. This strategy would go a long way in instilling confidence in the community that they are not being harmed by the continuous changes occurring at the Salton Sea.

For more information about the Salton Sea Authority and its initiatives, please visit