About Kate McGinty

Kate McGinty has worked as a public safety watchdog on the iSun investigative team. She is now The Desert Sun’s digital editor of engagement. Follow her on Twitter at @TDSKateM and on Instagram at @kjmcginty.

#PolTwt: Cops tweet thousands of times in first global police tweet-a-thon

Windsor Police

Windsor police in Canada have tweeted about patrol stops and taken Twitter followers behind-the-scenes of labs in the March 22 tweet-a-thon. (Screen grab from Twitter)

Law enforcement officers have sent more than 35,000 tweets Friday in the first ever “global police tweet-a-thon.”

At least 250 agencies around the world, including the FBI, are participating in the event, which was coordinated by social media strategist Lauri Stevens.

Like an online ride-along for residents to see their patrol officers, there are only two rules: Tweet local, and add #PolTwt.

It’s ranged from a glimpse inside the 911 dispatch center to live-tweeting a traffic citation to a video about what it takes to solve a homicide.

Stevens came up with the idea more than a year ago, NBC News reports.

“Isn’t that the craziest thing?” they quoted Stevens as saying. “I had this idea and here we are. That’s the power of social media.”

Coachella Valley law enforcement are not participating.

The Cathedral City Police Department tweets occasionally, and the Palm Springs Police Officers Association has an account but hasn’t tweeted yet.

The other valley law enforcement agencies do not have accounts.


How to see the Police Tweet-a-Thon:

Twitter’s 7th birthday: See celebrities’ first tweets and a video timeline

Twitter celebrates its 7th birthday day — marking the first public tweet sent on March, 21, 2006: More than 1 billion tweets have been sent since.

First tweet ever sentTake a look back at celebrities’ first tweets (see more at USA Today):

Neil Patrick Harris first tweetEllen first tweetJames Cameron first tweetAnd finally see Twitter’s video showing its timeline — tracking the first hash tag and first retweet (in 2007) to the first tweet from space:

Palm Springs weather heats up, Thermal breaks record

Palm Springs

Weather forecast as seen at 10:10 a.m. March 14.

Thermal hit a record high of 97 degrees on Wednesday.

That edged out the previous March 13 record of 96 degrees, which had been set in 1997, according to the National Weather Service.

That compares to the normal of 81 degrees.

Meanwhile, temperature hit 95 degrees at the Palm Springs International Airport, the second weather station in the valley.

That was 17 degrees warmer than normal, but shy of the record of 98 degrees set in 2007.

Temperatures on Thursday could hit near the day’s record of 96 degrees set March 14, 1972.

“It’s going to be pretty darn close to the record,” AccuWeather.com meteorologist Ken Clark said late Thursday morning. “I could see that being reached or even surpassed.”

While Southern California has been the hottest place in the nation, temperatures will gradually begin dropping to a projected high of 87 degrees by Sunday, Clark said.

Temperatures in the valley could drop back down to normal — and even cooler than normal — within the next 10 days, Clark said.


Pope Francis: Riverside Co. bishop weighs in on pope, Latin America and gay marriage

Bishop Gerald Barnes in Thermal

Bishop Gerald Barnes walks through Thermal after an Easter mass in this March 2008 photo. (Wade Byars/The Desert Sun)

Bishop Gerald Barnes — who oversees the diocese in Riverside and San Bernardino counties — spoke to reporters on Wednesday about the unexpected but “delightful” selection of Pope Francis.

Barnes oversees the No. 12 biggest diocese in the U.S. with about 1.2 million Catholics.

He is the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs and a member of the board of the Inland Empire Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

Question: What was your first reaction to Pope Francis?

Bishop Barnes: I was surprised initially, because I had not heard that name circulated among the media as well as among some church leaders …

I’m happy that it’s a man from this continent that understands the life situation of people in this part of the world, and especially in the southern hemisphere, so I’m very happy.


Pope Francis

Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

How significant is it that Pope Francis is the first pontiff from the Americas?

It’s of tremendous significance. We have not had a pope from outside of Europe for centuries now, and to acknowledge the universality of the church.

It points to the importance of the church in the southern hemisphere, and it also points to the importance of America and the gifts that this continent brings to the church.

There was just a tremendous amount of delight. There’s a real excitement right now on the part of our people, so I think that’s what most of us are feeling right now.


You mentioned that you hope Pope Francis — the son of an Italian immigrant — could shed more light on immigration.

There is a tremendous amount of work that has to be done throughout the world, not only in our own country, dealing with the flow of immigrants.

It is a major issue in all parts of the world, and I would hope that he would begin in his pontificate to show a strong leadership in the call that we must have to respect people wherever they are from and to treat each other as sisters and brothers.

We must not lose respect for any person, and in many parts of the world including some places in our own country, there is a lack of respect for other countries or immigrants.

My prayer is that the son of an immigrant in the new world would help guide us in that way also.


How much of an impact will Pope Francis have on the U.S.?

He seems to be a very saintly type of person — very simple, humble, a man that seems to give the impression of being close to his faith and close to his God, and I think that is something that will benefit the American church.

(He seems to be) a man who has through the years … brought people of other Christian denominations to come together and pray, and to pray for peace.

He’s been that kind of a figure of peace. I think Americans will find those things very appealing, because I think that’s something that poses a hunger in our heart.


How do you think he will handle the sex abuse scandal in the U.S.?

He’s going to have to address it vigorously and courageously. It is a scandal. It’s a scandal. It’s affected our church, there’s no doubt about it and it has not been handled always in the right fashion.

My prayer is that as we address this issue, which cannot continue in our church — it cannot continue anywhere — and my prayer is that we would begin to address this to our churches to help all our families and our parishioners eradicate this wherever it exists.

This has to end, and I would hope that he would take that strong leadership in this.


The Catholic Church has a firm stance against gay marriage. Do you expect Pope Francis, or his successor, to ever evolve on that issue?

I do not. I think it’s the way we as Romantic Catholics view marriage. Marriage, a commitment of love, yes, and marriage a commitment to the openness of life.

This cannot take away from the respect that we must have for people of whatever orientation — gays, lesbians, transgenders, heterosexuals. All people must be treated with respect.

But when we as Roman Catholics speak about marriage, we speak about marriage as the commitment and love of one man and one woman with the openness to life.


Pope Francis' stance on gay marriage

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis waves the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

Why do you think the pope’s selection is of such interest?

It isn’t only Roman Catholics who look to the pope.

People of good will, of other churches, look for a moral leader, whether they agree with the church and all its teachings, whether they’re members of the church or not.

I think the world looks for someone like this, that we have a recognizable moral leader that we know is going to give that kind of attention and thought when he speaks and when he leads his people, so I’m very excited to see it’s been a great opportunity for people in our country.

Pope Francis on gay marriage: ‘A destructive attack on God’s plan’

Pope Francis' stance on gay marriage

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis waves the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

Pope Francis is the first pontiff from the Americas — but how will he represent the LGBT community?

“While his selection may be historic, it may also mean more of the same when it comes to gay rights in the Catholic Church,” the Huffington Post reported.

Argentina approved same-sex marriage in 2010, making it the first country in Latin America to allow gay couples to wed.

However, as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio declared the bill a “destructive attack on God’s plan,” The New York Times reported in 2010.

That and gay couples’ adoption of children would “seriously damage the family,” The National Catholic Register reported he said in 2010.

Cardinal Bergoglio continued: “Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”


He has clashed with the president over his opposition to free distribution of contraceptives, CNN reported.

One thing is clear: Pope Francis takes over as the church is divided over many issues in the U.S.

Lapsed Catholics have become the nation’s second largest religious classification, after Catholics, representing 10 percent of U.S. residents, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Most U.S. Catholics surveyed — 54 percent — support gay marriage, compared to 47 percent of all Americans, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this month.

Pope Francis: How the papal vote works

Pope Francis makes his first appearance March 13, 2013.

Pope Francis makes his first appearance March 13, 2013. (screenshot from Gannett video)

Pope Francis emerged today.

The 76-year-old is the first pontiff from the Americas and the first Jesuit pope.

USA Today and The Associated Press provided insight on how the Argentinian got to be elected as the 265th Successor of Saint Peter.

Who votes?

The 115 cardinals hold four votes each day until two-thirds of their ballots bear the name of the same man.

After each vote, the Vatican will release smoke from a chapel chimney. Black smoke means no two-thirds majority, so no new pope.

White smoke means we have a winner.


Pope Francis

Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Church. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

How many votes does he need?

A winner must receive 77 votes, or two-thirds of the 115, to be named pope.


Who voted for Pope Francis?

The new pope will never truly know who voted for him.

Cardinals used to sign their names to ballots, but stopped doing so because of an old history of intrigues and tensions, when people would fear reprisal for their choices.

Even so, factions of cardinals will have made their views known during informal talks between votes.


Was that a really fast vote?

Yes — especially because there was no clear leader heading into the papal conclave.

In centuries past, conclaves dragged on for weeks and months, sometimes years. During a 13th-century conclave that stretched for weeks, a leading candidate died.

The longest conclave of the last century went on for 14 rounds over five days, and yielded Pius XI — in 1922.

These days the discussions are much quicker.


Pope Francis

Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

When does he pick his name?

Every time a new pontiff is chosen in a conclave, a senior cardinal goes up to him and asks: “And by what name do want to be called?”

The question is popped immediately, while all electors are still locked in the Sistine chapel. So the winner had better have done his homework and already picked a name.

Shortly after, the senior cardinal reads out the pontifical name in Latin from the main balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica as part of the “Habemus Papam” — “We have a pope” — formula that proclaims the election of a new pope.

Palm Springs anniversary: Gifts that show off our desert oasis

Palm Springs will celebrate its 75th anniversary in April — and The Desert Sun wants to help showcase what’s best about our city.

We need your help to rank the Top 10 gifts for the Palm Springs area.

We have so many great artists, chefs and visionaries who set up shop at the Village Fest, the Street Fair at College of the Desert, the Palm Springs Open Air Market, in small businesses or on their own Facebook pages.

What gifts scream “Palm Springs” to you? Do you have any specific souvenirs that you’d recommend a visitor search out?

Snake Jagger's "Some Like It Out" Marilyn Monroe poster

Palm Springs artist Snake Jagger painted this Marilyn Monroe image, called "Some Like It Hot." (Courtesy photo)

We’ll get the ball rolling — but hope you’ll chime in via the comments below:

Now it’s your turn!

Add your gift ideas in the comment section below. In a week, we’ll let you vote to determine the Top 10 gifts for Palm Springs.

We’ll publish the Top 10 list as part of a special package slated to be published in early April.

Election Day on Tuesday: Vote for State Senator in District 40

Sample ballot for State Senator

Sample ballot for State Senator (via California Secretary of State).

Tuesday marks the special primary election for a seat in the State Senate.

Voters will eventually replace Juan Vargas, who resigned from District 40 after winning a seat in the U.S. House.

Hector Raul Gastelum, Xanthi Gionis, Anna Nevenic and Ben Hueso are on the ballot.

This election includes voters in parts or all of Blythe, Cathedral City, Coachella, Indio, Mecca and Thousand Palms.

Nearly 45,000 vote-by-mail ballots have been issued in Riverside County. More than 9,500 — or 21.5 percent of those — have been returned, the Registrar of Voters said Monday.

Voters will be able to cast ballots at 21 polling places.

To find your assigned polling place, visit the Registrar of Voters office website at or call (951) 486-7200.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. through 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Zagat names nine places to eat, drink in Palm Springs

Cheeky's in Palm Springs

Blondie's Eggs Benedict with real bacon, sauteed argula, Deb's Cheddar Scone an hash browns at Cheeky's in Palm Springs. (Jay Calderon, The Desert Sun)

In a blog posted earlier this month, Zagat named nine “places to eat and drink in Palm Springs right now.”

Lesley Ballaname picked “new and classic standbys” that she hoped would come in handy during Coachella:

  • King’s Highway (at Ace Hotel)
  • Bar
  • Workshop Kitchen + Bar
  • Las Casuelas Terraza
  • Tinto (at Saguaro)
  • Norma’s and Mister Parker’s (at Parker Palm Springs)
  • Cheeky’s
  • Matchbox
  • Clementine Gourmet Market and Cafe*

* This is the only one on the list not actually in Palm Springs. It’s on El Paseo in Palm Desert.

It’s a good start — but I must admit I’m just a little glad most of my all-time favorites didn’t make the list.

Victor Regalado: Friends build roadside memorial, plan memorials

Victor Regalado

Victor Regalado posted this self-portrait via Instagram.

Victor Regalado will be memorialized in a series of events scheduled for the weekend.

Regalado, 18, was killed early Sunday when the Jeep he was riding in crashed and rolled over in Indio. As many as four valley teens could face criminal charges.

The following events are scheduled for this weekend:

Saturday, 9 a.m.: Friends will host a car wash at Regalado’s workplace, Lamppost Pizza, to raise money for the mourning family.

Saturday, 6:30 p.m.:  A candlelight vigil will be held at Shadow Hills High School, where Regalado was a student.

Sunday, 5 to 10 p.m. A wake will be held at Forest Lawn mortuary in Indio.

Monday, 10:30 a.m. Services will be held at the Our Lady of Soledad Catholic Church in Coachella. Mourners will proceed to the Coachella cemetery immediately after.

Victor Regalado crash scene

Friends have set up a roadside memorial for Victor Regalado near Adams Street and 40th Avenue in Indio. (Kate McGinty/The Desert Sun)

Friends have also setup a roadside memorial at the crash site, on Adams Street just north of 40th Avenue in Indio.

See video from the crash seen, as seen Friday, here.

(Click below the video at the top.)