In a War Zone: Indio Pastor Jason Duff Talks About Being in Israel at the Start of War

Pastor Jason Duff (third from left) and his tour group.

On Oct. 7, as Hamas attacked Israel, Pastor Jason Duff could hear numerous explosions as he was at his hotel in Galilee, about 90 miles north of Gaza.

Duff, who leads the nondenominational Garden Fellowship in Indio, was in Israel with his wife and four friends, planning routes for future tours, when he first heard of the attacks.

“We were driving along the shores of the Dead Sea toward Galilee when we heard reports of rockets being fired,” he said. “After many trips to Israel, I didn’t think anything of it. There were always reports of a couple rockets being fired.”

But soon, Duff said, he realized that this was something far more serious.


Behind Closed Doors? The Drag-Queen ‘Culture Wars’ Come to a La Quinta Neighborhood—and Bring up Questions About Transparency

This April 10 event invite was rescinded two days later after Trilogy residents voiced unspecified “concerns.”

On April 10, the Trilogy at La Quinta homeowners’ association announced a bingo evening, scheduled for May 18, to be hosted by local drag queen Rusty Waters.

Two days later, the HOA took it back.

In the April 12 message to residents, the Trilogy at La Quinta Maintenance Association board said unspecified “concerns” had been “voiced by some members of our community regarding Mr. Waters,” causing the event to be “modified.”


Worthy Citizen: Legendary Drummer Alvin Taylor Fights for Justice for Section 14 Survivors

Alvin Taylor: “I remember coming home when I was 10 years old, and seeing my house and the other houses being destroyed. We lost everything.”

He’s played with Stevie Wonder, Billy Preston, Cher, Jimi Hendrix and Elton John. He once stayed at George Harrison’s home to record an album. Little Richard heard him play at the age of 14 and purportedly said, “Honey, when I heard you play the drums, my big toe just shot straight up in my boot. It made me want to scream like a white lady!”

This happened when Alvin Taylor was working as a hotel busboy, and he was called upon to sit in with Soul Patrol; the regular drummer was too drunk to play. Also in the audience that night: Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Billy Preston.


Surf’s Not Up: A Look Behind the Scenes at the Successful Battle Against La Quinta’s Proposed Coral Mountain Resort

After five hours of debate stretching late into the evening of Sept. 21, the La Quinta City Council unanimously rejected the proposal for the Coral Mountain Resort project.

The project would have included a hotel, hundreds of houses and what was touted as the largest artificial wave basin in the world. Such a development would have required a switch in zoning, from “low-density residential” to “tourist commercial.” However, it will not come to be—thanks largely to a grassroots group, La Quinta Residents for Responsible Development (LQRRD).

The rejection came as a welcome surprise to at least one core member of the group, Alena Callimanis.


Competition for influence over Vista Santa Rosa may end in bit of a draw

Both Coachella and La Quinta want to have some control over county land they share a border with. A recent move by Coachella may help solve the issue.


Vista Santa Rosa, 8,000 unincorporated acres bordered by three valley cities, is at the center of a complicated dispute.

A tug of war between two Coachella Valley cities over an 8,000-acre section of unincorporated land shows no sign of letting up. It could end up with residents of the area having a new address.

At issue: Vista Santa Rosa is a census designated area bordered by La Quinta, Indio, and Coachella. It has everything you’d expect to find in the eastern part of the valley: homes with expansive views, farmland, and horse pastures. It’s also at the center of a complicated dispute with roughly 3,000 residents and a relatively unknown commission caught in the middle.


Coral Mountain Controversy:
After the La Quinta Planning Commission OKs the Proposed Development, Opponents Demand a Commissioner Resign

After the April 26 meeting of the La Quinta Planning Commission, the group La Quinta Residents for Responsible Development (LQRRD) demanded that Kevin McCune, one of the commissioners, immediately resign.

At that meeting, the commission voted to recommend approval of the controversial Coral Mountain Resort. The proposed 386-acre private resort would include a half-mile-long wave pool, containing 18 million gallons of water, along with 600 homes; a 150-room hotel; hiking and biking trails; spa and wellness facilities; adventure-sports facilities; and a restaurant and market. The commission voted…



Obama faces a tall agenda in Asia

With unemployment topping 10% and his healthcare plan still facing Senate action, President Obama has plenty to keep him busy at home. But on Thursday, he will head to Asia for more than a week, a trip that underscores the White House’s conviction that a close partnership with China and other Pacific Rim nations is crucial to American interests.

Obama is scheduled to stop in Japan, Singapore, China and South Korea, bringing to 20 the number of nations he has visited since taking office in January. That’s a record, according to the Obama administration; no other president has traveled to so many countries in his first year in office.

Although the centerpiece of the trip is China, the loudest pre-journey reaction has come from Japan. On Sunday, thousands of demonstrators rallied in Okinawa and Tokyo over the future of a Marine base on the distant southern island, home to roughly half of the 50,000 U.S. troops stationed in Japan.

The protesters sought to put pressure on Japan to stop construction of a new U.S. military airfield with two runways, part of a 2006 agreement between the two nations.


Japanese PM candidate Vows to Stay Away from Controversial Shrine

The campaign to succeed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who announced his intention to resign earlier this week, is now officially down to two candidates, and their comments have already provided some clues to what Japan’s post-Abe foreign policy might look like. Catherine Makino reports from Tokyo.

The former chief cabinet secretary, 71-year-old Yasuo Fukuda, appears to be the leading candidate to replace Mr. Abe. His opponent is the former foreign minister and current leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, 66-year-old Taro Aso.

Fukuda is a political moderate, who says his aim is to create warm relations with Japan’s neighbors, especially China and South Korea. Aso, a conservative, has annoyed China in the past with disparaging remarks.

Japan’s relations with the two countries deteriorated badly during the tenure of Mr. Abe’s predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi. A major reason was Mr. Koizumi’s insistence on making regular visits to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 14 convicted war criminals among Japan’s 2.5 million war dead. Japan’s neighbors see the shrine and the visits as glorification of the country’s militaristic past.


Sexist Taunts in Japan Hit a Fertility Nerve

The heckling of an unmarried female assemblywoman in Tokyo highlights a work-life imbalance problem that is tied to delayed motherhood

TOKYO (WOMENSENEWS)– The recent public sexist heckling of a female lawmaker by male colleagues in the Tokyo Assembly may be shameful for the nation but it is not exceptional.

That’s the view of Kuniko Tanioka, a university president who spent many years as a rare woman in the Japanese National Parliament.

“The entire notion of human rights and discrimination against women in Japan is behind the global standards of today,” Tanioka, president of Shigakkan University in Japan, said in a recent phone interview. “I hope that men of the global community will educate Japanese men because they don’t listen to women, although women are trying to make a difference from the inside.

But she doubts the international and national attention to the incident signifies rapid changes for women to come. As proof, she points out that the Tokyo Assembly voted not to punish the lawmakers responsible for their sexist jeers.