About Liz Kelly Nelson

Liz Kelly Nelson is Assistant Managing Editor, Digital at The Desert Sun. Follow her on Twitter @lizkellynelson.

Jessica Pare and John Kastner: Palm Springs weekend!

Trina Turk, John Kastner, Jessica Pare and Jonathan Skow (aka "Mr. Turk)

“Mad Men” star Jessica Paré rocked Prabal Gurung when she walked the red carpet at last week’s Season 6 premiere in Los Angeles, but over the weekend she was all about Trina Turk on a visit to Palm Springs with boyfriend John Kastner.

Paré plays Megan Draper, second wife of Jon Hamm’s character Don Draper, on the AMC show.

On Saturday, Turk Instagrammed a picture of Paré and Kastner, who popped in to her Palm Springs boutique to try on a few of the designer’s togs. Later, Paré herself posted photos of dinner out at Melvyn’s, along with the caption “Old timey dinner at Melvyn’s.” Then, the next day Turk posted another picture of Paré lounging (poolside, we assume) wearing a Trina Turk swimsuit.

This is a quick return to PS for the 32-year-old starlet, who hosted the Dwell VIP Hello Again dinner during Modernism Week in February.

Below: Pare in Prabal Gurung at the “Mad Men” premiere:

Miley Cyrus and Miranda Cosgrove hit up Palm Springs

Celebrities love Palm Springs and, really, what’s not to like — at least in March before temperatures climb into a steady diet of 100-plus degree days. On St. Patrick’s Day weekend, at least two teen queens (one current, one now a 20-something) visited the Coachella Valley for a little rest and relaxation.

Miley Cyrus was spotted lounging poolside in either Palm Desert or at The Ace in Palm Springs and, according to several attentive media outlets, was not sporting the engagement ring given to her by “Hunger Games” hunk Liam Hemsworth — who may or may not still be in the picture.

Meanwhile, “iCarly” star Miranda Cosgrove and a bevy of gal pals took the high road — or the high wire — up to the top of Mt. San Jacinto for a birdseye view of Palm Springs and Long Valley. Cosgrove (second from left above) posted a pic to her Instagram account.

Commented Cosgrove on Twitter, “:).”

Have you had any recent area celeb sightings? Let us know.



Victor Regalado memorials set for this weekend

Victor Regalado

In this undated Twitpic, Victor Regalado snaps a self-portrait.

Victor “Krook” Regalado, the Indio teen who died  in a crash Sunday after fatefully tweeting the words “we drunk driving,” will be remembered this weekend at several events, according to a Facebook page set up to memorialize him.

On Saturday, friends will host a 9 a.m. car wash at Lamppost Pizza — where Regalado worked for about a year. All proceeds from car washes and pizza sold during the event will go to Regalado’s family.

Then, at 6:30 mourners will gather for a candlelight vigil at Shadow Hills High School, where Regalado was a student.

T-shirts memorializing Regalado will also be available at Saturday’s events. They will read, “ ”In Loving Memory Victor “Krook” Regalado. ’94 Till.” One of Regalado’s friends explains that he always said, “94 Till…” And, says the friend, “As you can tell, Victor’s not going anywhere.” A portion of proceeds from each $20 T-shirt sale will go to Regalado’s family.

On Monday, students at both Shadow Hills and Indio High School wore white to remember Victor, who was the sole fatality when the Jeep he was riding in went out of control and rolled about 4 a.m. on Adams Street near Avenue 40. The driver, who suffered minor injuries, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. Details about two other passengers remain cloudy.

MORE: Victor Regalado remembered on social media


Officer Mike Crain’s wife: ‘Every day we renewed our love’

Mike Crain funeral Christopher Dorner case

A funeral hearse carrying the casket of Riverside Officer Michael Crain arrives at the Grove Community Church in Riverside, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. (AP)

Regina Crain, the wife of slain Riverside County police officer Mike Crain, who was killed by ex-LAPD cop turned fugitive Christopher Dorner last week, spoke on Tuesday (Feb. 13) at his funeral, which is still live-streaming here on mydesert.com.

Here are her words:

“I think everybody thinks I’m nuts for getting up here and talking. I’m beginning to think they’re right. People tell me that I’m being so strong and I know that I am and I’m not sure where it’s coming from.”

“I thought maybe reading our wedding vows would be a good place to start.”

“And that’s how it was with us. Every day got better. Every day we renewed our love and I knew how much he loved me and how much he loved those babies.”

“I just kept waiting. Everything seemed too good, too perfect. I know there’s lots of people who have wonderful relationships. I felt mine was perfect. And I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. It just seemed like a dream. I just kept waiting for something to happen, but it never did.”

“I’m gonna miss our weekends. We were busy for a lot of it. The kids had so many different things going on.”

“Every Sunday morning I made breakfast. He liked breakfast. He loved food. He loved chocolate, he loved food and he loved hash browns.”

…I really didn’t know how to make hash browns nicely for a long time.”

“That’s what I’m going to miss. Things like that. That’s just our daily — that was our bonding time.”

“Family was just so important to him. There was nothing he would not do [for us].”

“I just want to close by saying I knew that communities would reach out. I know that a lot of people love Mike and that people would be here no matter what. But I didn’t realize the sheer scale and how many people are touched by his life. It gives me great comfort to see that and I want to thank you all.”

Full coverage of the Christopher Dorner case

First pictures: Michael Douglas as Liberace in ‘Behind the Candelabra’

Michael Douglas and Matt Damon Liberace Scott Thornson Behind the CandelabraOver the weekend, what is purportedly the first photo of Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in character as Liberace and his lover, Scott Thornson, hit the Internet. The pair are co-starring in the Steven Soderbergh-directed HBO movie, “Behind the Candelabra,” about Liberace’s “tempestuous” six-year relationship with Thornson.

Bone up on your Liberace knowledge before the movie airs (it’s set for an as-yet-unspecified spring debut) with video, photo galleries and key events about Liberace’s life and death — in Palm Springs — in 1987.

And let us know what you think of Douglas and Damon? Convincing transformations?

Are Coachella Valley school leaders over-compensated?

Doris Wilson

Desert Sands Unified School District Superintendent Doris Wilson in April 2005, when she was named Riverside County School Administrator of the Year. Wilson receives the largest annual pension of Coachella Valley school district retirees. (The Desert Sun)

Are school officials over-compensated? In conjunction with California Watch, Desert Sun reporter Nicole Brambila took a closer look at the salaries and benefits of Coachella Valley school superintendents in recent years. Compensation has gone up, which means bigger pensions once those officials retire.

“Superintendents’ pay among the three Coachella Valley school districts has risen over the past four years — with Desert Sands Unified seeing the largest increase — at the same time educators have been struggling to balance their budgets, according to data from a California Watch investigation,” writes Brambila in a Sunday front page story.

And it’s a statewide trend. Per California Watch:

“With California’s public school system facing economic uncertainties — even with the passage of a tax increase under Proposition 30 — some of the most financially troubled K-12 districts have been elevating the payroll for top administrators, a review of district data shows.”

See for yourself: Check out pensions of more than 1,600 Coachella Valley school employees in our searchable pension database.

So what happens next? Twelve percent of Coachella Valley school system retirees — including four superintendents — may find themselves under investigation under new policies designed to prevent inflated benefits.

“Teachers are on the side line watching this happen as they see not even a cost of living raise in 8 yrs, the school year shortened for students, and forlough days for all district staff,” writes one commenter. “It’s been ongoing for several years. I’m glad this is finally being investigated.”

Mary Bono Mack breaks her wrist snowboarding, plans to work on book

Mary Bono MackFormer Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack will be spending the first weeks of her new civilian life convalescing. Bono Mack broke her wrist over the weekend while trying her hand(s) at snowboarding at a Colorado ski resort. But the injury won’t stop her from working on a new project: a book.
Bono Mack was, according to her official Twitter account, vacationing at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort with husband Connie Mack when the incident happened.

First (above), Bono Mack tweeted about giving snowboarding a try on January 18. Then, on Sunday (Jan. 20), Bono Mack tweeted to share news of her injury with her 10,751 followers.

Her followers were quick to send their best wishes for a speedy recovery, with one even suggesting she seek medical attention from her Congressional successor, Dr. Raul Ruiz.

“Maybe Congressman Dr Ruiz can take a look at it ?! ;o),” tweeted DustDevil65.
Bono Mack recently told The Desert Sun’s Bruce Fessier she was working with a literary agent and was in talks with several cable news networks about a possible on-air gig with her husband.

Live like Batman in Adam West’s one-time Palm Springs home

It isn’t exactly the bat cave, but a home once owned by ’60′s-era Batman Adam West is on the market in Palm Springs for $1.5 million — a bargain for anyone who aspires to live like a superhero (or an actor who once played a superhero on TV).

Adam West Palm Springs HouseThe 3,189-square-foot home is a modernist’s dream. Built in 1954, the house is situated in Palm Springs’ Old Las Palmas neighborhood, tucked into a mature stand of palm trees and sited next to a spacious kidney-shaped pool flanked by a flagstone patio. The structure features three bedrooms, five baths and floor-to-ceiling walls of windows serving up desert and mountain views.

Per Realtor.com, the home was renovated in 1984 under the direction of modernist Albert Frey and also features a fountain, a master bath with matching marble tubs and a two-car garage.

Not to mention the satisfaction that will come from knowing you’re laying your head in the very spot where Batman once laid down his own masked noggin. West, by the way, received a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars in 2010.

Alas, the house does not include a faithful manservant who will also lay down his life to protect your secret identity.

Images courtesy Realtor.com. See more at the listing.

Quadrantids meteor shower will be visible over Palm Springs

Quadrantids meteor shower Joshua TreeHelen Mirren and Bradley Cooper aren’t the only stars headed for Palm Springs. Astronomy buffs may want to set their alarm clocks for midnight tonight. That’s when the Quadrantid meteor showers are scheduled to arrive in the skies over the Coachella Valley. The showers have a short peak of just eight hours, per Elizabeth Weise writing in USA Today, and peak viewing for our area is slated between midnight and 3 a.m. Thursday.

The Quads were first observed in Italy in 1825 and are named after an obsolete constellation, Quadrans Muralis, named by a French astronomer in 1795.

More crucial info from the article:

Peak time occurs from 8 to 9 a.m. Eastern, 5 a.m. Pacific on Thursday. This makes the predawn hours Thursday the best time to look for Quads in North America, said Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.


AccuWeather reports that the best states for viewing the meteor shower will be in southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and southern sections of Nevada and Utah.


The Quad’s peak is really the only time to watch them because the rate of meteors striking the earth’s atmosphere quickly diminishes. That’s different from most other big showers such as the Geminids and Perseids, which have good rates for a couple of days centered on their respective peaks.

If you happen to snap any pictures, make sure to send them to us here.

(The picture above was shot by The Desert Sun’s Richard Lui in Joshua Tree during the 2010 Perseid meteor shower.)