Boston Marathon: Desert Hot Springs runner was one block away

Local runner Eduardo Herrada crossed the finish line 30 to 45 minutes before the Boston marathon bombing on Monday.

He was a block away waiting for a friend, who had been ahead of him, to grab his things.

“That moment, I was on my phone talking to my mom, and then there was an explosion,” Herrada told The Desert Sun. “I thought it was fireworks. Two minutes later people started running by; people started panicking.”

Eventually passersby told Herrada what had happened: Two bombs had exploded, killing at least three people and injuring dozens more.

Herrada knew his friend was safe, so he decided to wait for him.

“I saw a woman who was very scared, and she was looking for help. I offered my phone to help her,” Herrada said. “She started giving me the phone number, but she was so scared she never gave me the right name. Then she ran away.”

Herrada’s phone eventually died, but he found his friend two hours later. He was able to let friends and family know he was OK on Facebook before he lost power.

He made it back from the Boston marathon Tuesday morning around 9 am. He said it wasn’t hard getting out of Boston, but he realized TSA had upped their security measures for his return trip.

“They were asking more security questions,” Herrada said. “I had a padlock on my luggage, and they broke it.”

Now that Herrada is home he keeps up with events in Boston. He read Thursday they identified the two suspects and hopes they’re brought to justice.

Despite recent events, Herrada would love to run in the Boston Marathon again. “I like the city. I like the people; people are very friendly there,” he said. “If I had the opportunity, I’d definitely come back.”

Herrada encourages those watching the news to put themselves in the shoes of those who lost family and friends and explore ways they can help.

Marine Jr. ROTC cadets, Marine Corps supporter in the news

Mike Bickford, owner of Miracle Springs Resort & Spa in Desert Hot Springs, was honored for his support of local Marine Corps organizations during a Jan. 23 luncheon at the resort.

The luncheon was arranged by Marine Corps League Cpl. Jason L. Dunham Medal of Honor Detachment #1156 in recognition of Bickford’s support of the detachment, the Marine Corps Jr. ROTC cadets at Desert Hot Springs High School, and members of the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms.

Bickford, a Marine veteran who served during the Vietnam War, was presented with a special plaque from the detachment.

Ret. U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col Carl Lewke — detachment commander and senior Marine instructor at Desert Hot Springs High School — reports that seven of the school’s Marine Corps JROTC cadets have enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps — and all were present at the luncheon: Rigoberto Arce, D-metri Gardenshire, Joseph Madrid, Franciso Ruiz, Luis Patino, Juan Alvarado, and Luis Vargas.

This is a school-year record number of students who have signed enlistment papers to join the Marines.

“Three additional Marine Corps JROTC cadets have already signed their enlistment papers to enter the U.S. Army this summer as well,” Lewke said. “Those cadets are Bobby Carter, Jonathan Logan, and Tyler Shupe. “Thus far, ten 10 of the Desert Hot Springs High School Marine cadets will be entering active duty this summer.”

Last month, members participated in a drill competition held at Desert Hot Springs High School. The competition gauges participants’ military excellence and allows for units to demonstrate their drill preparations and ceremonial excellence.


Coachella Valley police use of force: How your department ranks

A SWAT team practiced at Palm Desert High School in July 2011 in this file photo (Richard Lui, The Desert Sun).

The Desert Sun ran a nearly four-page special investigation Sunday examining Coachella Valley police use of force:

Story: Coachella Valley use-of-force reports drop, but four deadly shootings ties record

Graphic: A closer look at use-of-force reports

Valley police shot seven people in confrontations in 2012, four of them deadly.

So far this year, valley police have shot two people. Palm Springs police shot a man Jan. 9 after they say he ran into three officers with a car. Three Indio police officers shot a man late Monday.

Nationwide, officers used force in 3.6 out of every 10,000 calls over a two-year period, according to the last-known comprehensive national study, published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police in 2001.

Here’s how your police department ranks for use of force — batons, dog bites, pepper spray, physical force, shootings, Tasers — according to The Desert Sun’s analysis of their data:


  • Palm Springs: 28 uses of force (4.36 times per 10,000 calls)
  • Indio: 21 uses of force (3.23 times per 10,000 calls)
  • Desert Hot Springs: 10 uses of force (2.87 times per 10,000 calls)
  • Cathedral City: 3 uses of force (0.68 times per 10,000 calls)


  • Indio: 31 uses of force (4.39 times per 10,000 calls)
  • Palm Springs: 22 uses of force (3.44 times per 10,000 calls)
  • Cathedral City: 9 uses of force (1.95 times per 10,000 calls)
  • Desert Hot Springs: 6 uses of force (1.67 times per 10,000 calls)


  • Indio: 35 uses of force (4.97 times per 10,000 calls)
  • Palm Springs: 28 uses of force (3.9 times per 10,000 calls)
  • Desert Hot Springs: 7 uses of force (1.72 times per 10,000 calls)
  • Cathedral City: 8 uses of force (1.57 times per 10,000 calls)


The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department — which oversees police services in Coachella, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage — could not provide comparable data.

After repeated requests, it gave The Desert Sun its data on shootings and dog bites, as well as stun gun use for January through August 2012 only.

The sheriff’s department does not track its deputies’ other force, including baton usage, pepper spray or physical force.

Marine Cpl. Craig Maddy, shot in head in Desert Hot Springs, “always wanted to be a Marine,” says mom

U.S Marine Corps Cpl. Craig S. Maddy

The Marine who suffered a single gunshot would to his upper body in a car-to-car shootout on Dec. 6 in Desert Hot Springs had been back from Afghanistan less than two months when the shooting occurred, Marine Corps officials said.

Cpl. Craig S. Maddy, 21, of Texas, served with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan from April to October, according to Capt. Lisa Lawrence-Arocho, director of public affairs, 1st Marine Division.

Desert Sun Kate McGinty attended a Desert Hot Springs Police press conference Thursday morning and has provided this report:

“The Marine who was shot in Desert Hot Springs was last week was struck in the back of the head “in cold blood” affer a fight in downtown Palm Springs, investigators said today.

During the hourlong press conference, Desert Hot Springs police released more details about the shooting and the Marine’s parents spoke to media to generate tips about his shooter.

Cpl. Craig Maddy and his friends, who are also Marines, got into a “physical altercation in downtown Palm Springs,” Sgt. Brian Link said. He did not release more specifics.

Their car was chased down Indian Canyon Drive by at least one person in a light-colored SUV early Dec. 6.

Someone fired at the car from the SUV with a rifle, striking Maddy in the back of the head, Link said. His friends pulled him from the back seat and tried CPR and packing the wound while waiting for paramedics.

No one in the vehicle with Maddy was armed, Link said.

Maddy remains in serious condition in an intensive care unit at an unspecified hospital. Doctors have told his family he is unlikely to survive.

“I refuse to believe that,” his mother, Vandi Frame, said. “I don’t care what form he’s alive in. He’s alive, and that’s what’s important for me.”

Frame called her son a smart man with strong leadership skills who was meritoriously promoted in boot camp to private first class.

Maddy’s parents worried that their son would be unfairly blamed for the shooting because he had been in a fight earlier in the night.

“No matter the circumstance, no one should be chased down and gunned down,” his stepfather, John Arnold, said. “This is not a video game.”

Raised in Texas, Maddy spoke about joining the Marine Corps since he was 3 years old, his mother said. He has four step-siblings, two of whom are in the Army and Navy.”

He was scheduled to move into the reserves in April, and intended to enroll in college to study finance, his parents said.”

Stationed at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Maddy deployed to Afghanistan on April 2012 and returned Oct. 2012.

Maddy, who has served in the Marine Corps for three years and four months, was deployed with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to Okinawa from July, 2010 to January, 2011.

Maddy has received the following awards and decorations: Combat Action Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (2), National Defense Service Medal, NATO Medal – International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Police ask anyone with information to call Det. Raul Sandoval at (760) 329-6411 Ext. 330, or Crime Stoppers at (760) 341-7867.

Marine Cpl. Craig Maddy, "always wanted to be a Marine," says mom Vandi Frame.

Desert Hot Springs’ failed $265,000 festival experiment: A timeline

Desert Hot Springs Mayor Yvonne Parks speaks during an April 2010 press conference about the Wellness & World Music Festival. (Crystal Chatham, The Desert Sun)

When the city signed a $250,000 deal with Tony Clarke to put on the Wellness and World Music Festival, the event was billed as a “world-class signature event” that could brand the city using its signature mineral springs.

But with one month until show time, the city announced the festival would be postponed — just days after the city handed over the final payment to the producer.

A Desert Sun investigation found that, when the city first hired Clarke in December 2009, it did not verify Clarke’s claims that he was an internationally known producer. It also paid Clarke an additional $15,000 to conduct a feasibility report on the festival.

The city did not solicit bids for the contract, skipping a series of steps outlined in its municipal code that call for a competitive recruitment process and thorough vetting of potential contractors before signing a consulting or professional services contract.

It eventually fired Clarke and vowed to revive the festival plans. On Tuesday, the City Council officially abandoned those plans.


Here’s a deeper review of how the plan progressed:

Dec. 1, 2009: Desert Hot Springs inks a $250,000 deal with Tony Clarke and his Tresed Ventures to be the primary sponsor of the first Wellness and World Music Festival.

Dec. 22, 2009: The city begins payments to Clarke with a $75,000 payment for “out-of-pocket” expenses.

June 28, 2010: Organizers announce that reggae singer Ziggy Marley will headline the festival. Health/lifestyle personalities; yoga trainers; and best-selling authors such as Rodney Yee, Colleen Saidman Yee and Dr. Steven Gundry will also join.

Aug. 19, 2010:  The final $25,000 wire transaction is made, completing the $250,000 contract. The city’s then-liaison with Clarke, Laura Green, added in an email exchange among city staff: “I guess we’re all in. … Deep breath.”

Sept. 7, 2010: With weeks to go before the Oct. 9-10 show time, but no ticket sale details announced, City Manager Rick Daniels announces a postponement, saying “we over-reached. We tried to do too much in too short a time.”

Jan. 4, 2011: Producers Baruch/Gayton Entertainment Group, which is named in the contract to co-produce the festival, back out of the festival. “There have been financial problems with Tony. He owes us money. He owes others money, who we have brought into the project,” Wayne Baruch told The Desert Sun at the time.

Jan. 16, 2011: The Desert Sun publishes a front-page investigation into the festival. Among the findings was that the city never verified any of Clarke’s claims of being a world-famous producer who has worked on major record labels and produced events with the likes of Johnny Cash, Michael Jackson and Nirvana.

March 1, 2011: The City Council met for at least the fifth time in closed session to consider a lawsuit against the promoter. Back in open session, council members argued over whether to reschedule the music festival for the fall.

March 15, 2011: Clarke signs legal paperwork to end his contract with Desert Hot Springs. As part of the agreement, Clarke will hand over all work on the festival. That includes parking, security and staging plans, as well as deposits on unspecified key talent and sponsors.

Aug. 30, 2011: In documents released to The Desert Sun under the public records law, Clarke claims he spent at least $247,321 on the festival. It lists broad categories like office supplies, professional services and travel.

May 24, 2011: The City Council chose five advisory committee members — two others were separately chosen by a city commission and a hotel advocacy group — to act as a festival advisory committee that would decide who could replace the festival producer.

Nov. 14, 2012: After meeting for more than a year, and reviewing three rounds of producers’ proposals, the advisory committee asks to be disbanded.

Dec. 4, 2012: The City Council agrees to disband the festival committee, without any comment.

Desert Hot Springs mayor wants ‘to be queen,’ city councilman says during debate

Desert Hot Springs Mayor Yvonne Parks (left) and Councilman Adam Sanchez

Desert Hot Springs City Council named its new mayor pro tem Tuesday — but not before one scorned city council member repeatedly vowed that he would no longer sit on any committees the mayor appoints him to because of the decision.

Mayor Yvonne Parks asked the council to approve Councilman Scott Matas as mayor pro tem, a selection that is made at the first meeting of every December at the mayor’s recommendation.

Councilman Adam Sanchez, the newest member of the council and the only one who has not served as mayor pro tem, kicked off a feisty 31-minute debate.

He accused Parks of unnecessarily “driving a wedge” between council members by nominating Matas.

“It’s almost like you just want to be the queen,” he snapped.

Sanchez — who sits on the policy and procedures ad hoc committee, which will present to the council in January — said he would prefer a rotating mayor pro tem position.

He warned that the mayor should never again ask him or any other council member why they couldn’t all get along.

“If that’s the way you’re going to continue to lead this council, you’re leading us down the wrong path, and for us to sit here and have to support this is the wrong thing to do,” Sanchez said. “… I will no longer serve on any committee you appoint me to.”

Parks, who said she followed council policy in choosing Matas, contended Sanchez was only upset because she didn’t select him.

“Why didn’t you bring this up earlier? Why didn’t you say something to me earlier? Why now?” Parks asked Sanchez.

After the heated debate, Matas was approved as mayor pro tem, 3-2. Parks, Matas and Mayor Pro Tem Jan Pye voted for the selection. Sanchez and Councilman Russell Betts dissented.

Meanwhile, later in the nearly five-hour council meeting, the council decided without any discussion to abandon the Wellness and World Music Festival after the city paid $265,000 in taxpayer funds.


Desert Hot Springs city manager automatic email: ‘No personal or political opinions’

Think twice before you send Desert Hot Springs City Manager Rick Daniels a snarky note — or anything at all.

Take a look at Daniels’ automatic “out of office” email, which doesn’t indicate he’s out of office but instead seems to be designed as an automated warning to anyone who emails.



From: Rick Daniels []
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2012 11:19 AM
To: McGinty, Kate
Subject: Out of Office AutoReply: City attorney


The City’s e-mail system and every e-mail sent to and from it are available for inpsection by any member of the public. I get many such requests for all e-mails. If you have something that I must have please call me at 760-408-4350 or 760-329-6411 x101. Avoid use of e-mail. If you must send an e-mail, please make sure that they are strictly related to business of the City and that there are no personal or political opinions, satire, or commentary.

If you need immediate assistance, please contact Kristie Ramos at (760) 329-6411 Ext. 260 or via email to

Thank you,
Rick Daniels
City Manager


Under the California Public Records Act, emails written to and from government employees are public record, and anyone can ask to look at them.

We haven’t seen the emails — yet — to know what kind of emails Daniels was receiving to prompt him to write such a warning.

Football: Week 9 Power Rankings

1. Palm Springs (6-2, last week No. 1): The Indians barely held on to the top spot, coming back to defeat La Quinta 20-14 in overtime last week.

2. La Quinta (2-6, 3): The Blackhawks wore down Palm Springs in the second half, running the ball effectively on tow long touchdown drives. They will look to build on that success.

3. Palm Desert (2-6, 2): The Aztecs’ playoff hopes got a boost when Palm Springs and Coachella Valley both came back to win last week.

4. Shadow Hills (5-3, 6): The Knights have won two in a row, and they are now ranked 10th in the CIF Southern Section East Valley Division, their first appearance ever in the poll.

5. Coachella Valley (2-6, 8): The Arabs climb three spots after stunning Cathedral City 27-24 in double overtime.

6. Cathedral City (5-3, 4): The Lions drop two spots after they couldn’t hold off Coachella Valley in the second half. Will the loss cost them a playoff berth?

7. Desert Hot Springs (4-4, 5): The Golden Eagles haven’t been eliminated from the East Valley Division playoffs after their loss to Twentynine Palms last week, but they likely will have to win their final two games to advance.

8. Indio (1-7, 7): The Rajahs have struggled in DVL play since beating Yucca Valley in their final non-league game.

9. Xavier Prep (2-6, 9): The Saints have won two in a row, and they return home Friday to face Capistrano Valley Christian.

10. Desert Mirage (0-8, 10): The Rams’ offense continued its improvement in a loss to Shadow Hills last week.


1. Desert Christian Academy (7-1, last week No. 1): Ranked first in Division I, the Conquerors close out the regular season against Desert Chapel on Friday.

2. Desert Chapel (7-1, 2): Ranked No. 2 in Division II, the Eagles can take over the top spot by beating Desert Christian Academy on Friday.

3. Marywood-Palm Valley (4-3, 3): The undaunted Firebirds can win the Majestic League by Cornerstone Christian on Friday.

Football: Week 8 Power Rankings

1. Palm Springs (5-2, last week No. 1): The Indians have held the top spot since the season began, and they can solidify their position with a victory over La Quinta at home.

2. La Quinta (2-5, 3): The Blackhawks move up one spot after Palm Desert’s 27-20 loss to Palm Springs. They can take over the top spot by beating the Indians on Friday.

3. Palm Desert (1-6, 2): The Aztecs need to win their remaining three games to have a chance to make the playoffs.

4. Cathedral City (5-2, 5): The Lions climb one spot after dominating the second half in a 40-7 victory over Indio.

5. Desert Hot Springs (4-3, 4): The Golden Eagles host Twentynine Palms in a key De Anza League matchup on Thursday.

6. Shadow Hills (4-3, 7): The Knights take over at No. 6 because of their 13-7 victory over Twentynine Palms.

7. Indio (1-6, 6): The Rajahs struggled in the second half of a 40-7 loss to Cathedral City.

8. Coachella Valley (1-6, 8): The Arabs will look to get back on track against Cathedral City on Friday.

9. Xavier Prep (1-6, 9): The Saints face Rancho Christian on Friday after a bye week.

10. Desert Mirage (0-7, 10): The Rams’ offense came alive in a 24-13 loss to Yucca Valley.


1. Desert Christian Academy (6-1, last week No. 1): Now ranked first in Division I, the Conquerors take on Division I No. 1 Joshua Springs at home Thursday.

2. Desert Chapel (6-1, 2): Ranked No. 2 in Division II, the Eagles host Bloomington Christian on Friday.

3. Marywood-Palm Valley (3-3, 3): The undaunted Firebirds are 2-0 in the Majestic League.

Football: Latest CIF Rankings

Palm Springs remains at No. 8 in the latest CIF Southern Section Central Division rankings released today. Desert Hot Springs is ranked 10th in the East Valley Division, their first appearance in the poll this season. In eight-man, Desert Christian Academy climbed two spots to No. 1 in Division I, and Desert Chapel is No. 2 in Division II.

Here’s the complete Central Division poll:

1. Summit (6-1, last week No. 1, beat Fontana 42-0, Sunkist League)

2. Heritage (6-1, 2, beat Temescal Canyon 24-7, Sunbelt)

3. Kaiser (6-1, 3, beat Bloomington 55-0, Sunkist)

4. Elsinore (5-2, 4, beat Lakeside 54-28, Sunbelt)

5. Arlington (5-2, 5, did not play, Inland Valley)

6. Paloma Valley (6-1, 6, beat Perris 49-6, Sunbelt)

7. J.W. North (4-3, 7, beat Valley View 17-10, Inland Valley)

8. Palm Springs (5-2, 8, beat Palm Desert 27-20, DVL)

9. Chino (5-2, 9, did not play, Mt. Baldy)

10. Rancho Verde (4-3, 10, beat Canyon Springs 52-6, Inland Valley)

Here are key matchups remaining in each league:

Inland Valley: No. 10 Rancho Verde vs. No. 7 J.W. North (Thursday); No. 5 Arlington vs. No. 10 Rancho Verde (Oct. 26); No. 5 Arlington vs. No. 7 J.W. North (Nov. 2)

Mt. Baldy: Colony at No. 9 Chino (Oct. 26)

Sunbelt: No. 6 Paloma Valley at No. 2 Heritage (Friday), No. 4 Elsinore at No. 2 Heritage (Nov. 2)

Sunkist: None; Summit defeated Kaiser 29-7 on Oct. 5