The Desert Sun’s 90th Birthday Celebration

December 7th, 2017

The Desert Sun’s Executive Editor and staff hosted a 90th Birthday Open House celebration Wednesday, December 6th from 5 to 6:30 pm (90 minutes).

Executive Editor Greg Burton welcomed the crowd of guests reporters and staff members in the newspaper’s Community Room. Many were drinking Apple Cider or munching on cookies, crackers plus cheese and/or turkey. After he had finished speaking Burton cut the celebratory birthday cake.

Burton’s comments included a history of the publication since its 1927 founding in the Coachella Valley. More about that history appear’s in his December article at He also covered a list of FAQs including many of those listed in “The Desert Sun Turns 90” summary page.

Following Burton’s report those present were divided into groups of ten with each headed by a Desert Sun staff member. Each group was led on a planned tour of the newspapers multi-floor facilities. Staff members were waiting at each of the sections to describe the function and answer questions. Among the areas visited were the Studio Room, Advertising, Editorial, Reporting and Printing Press.

I found both the Editorial section and the Printing Press among the most fascinating and informative. The large TV screen in the Editorial Section utilizes computer software to continually monitor online statistics from the digital version of the paper. Updating statistics included numbers of viewers, number reading an article, how long, and much more. The Printing Press was in operation during our visit and we observed papers moving along to the end of the automated ramp and being bundled.

I enjoyed The Desert Sun’s 90 minutes 90th Anniversary celebration. The opportunity to learn more about behind the scenes workings of our local newspaper, to meet so many from the staff, including reporters, and to visit areas where the newspaper work is actually performed was both informative and enjoyable.

Photos here include the Summary Page FAQs, the Printing Press room and those in our 10-member group.

Bond Shands
December 7, 2017
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The ABC Diane Sawyer’s Bruce Jenner interview

April 26th, 2015

     The Huffington Post’s review of the ABC Diane Sawyer blockbuster interview with Bruce Jenner was less about the content and instead emphasized the style. There are two perhaps overlooked but nevertheless very important stories coming out of the great interview.

     First, of course, is the actual interview of Jenner as a Transgender person which in itself was groundbreaking in so many respects.

     The second important story is the manner in which the interview was conducted. It’s so rare for members of the 4th Estate to treat subjects and issues with genuine respect, empathy and actually listen. Far too often reporters seek the sensational and gravitate to that which will produce headlines. The Sawyer interview was the work of a truly dedicated, talented and caring journalist who clearly her viewed role as perhaps little more than a scribe taking accurate notes.

     Kudos, in fact barrels of kudos, to Diane Sawyer and ABC for the manner in which the interview was conducted and presented. It’s the type of journalism not often practiced anywhere.

Bond Shands
April 26, 2015
The Notebook at

Click here to view the Huffington Post review referenced above.


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New Home for The LGBT Center of the Desert

December 16th, 2014

          The Ocotillo Club is a group of LGBT Center of the Desert members (The Center) who pledge at least $1,200 annually (or $100 monthly) to support the financial operating needs of the organization. The Club has quarterly brunch gatherings in the homes of club members. Last Sunday’s annual Ocotillo Club holiday gathering was held again in the beautiful home of Mssrs David Hood & George Sellers. I attended along with my friend Andrea who accompanied me as my guest.

           The tasty brunch was catered by LuLu California Bistro and it was very good. Creative beverages were continuously available. I’m primarily a vegetarian so the olive, lemon and celery in my Bloody Mary(s) satisfied my brunch needs until the real thing was ready for consumption. Despite pleas from the staff that we return to the brunch line for “seconds”, most had fully satisfied appetites and were unable to honor the request.

          The news report about The Center was delivered by Executive Director Mike Thompson who sprang the event’s biggest surprise. Last year it appeared The Center would be moving to a new building on South Calle Encilia. The surprise was that an entirely different location had been selected and purchase has been made possible through the generous support of two Ocotillo Club members. The new location’s address remains secret to protect the privacy of existing tenants, however, a move to the new building is planned for 2015. The location reportedly is a 10,000 sq ft building which more than triples the approximately 3,500 sq ft in the present facility. Since the need for more space is one of the most significant deterrents to The Center’s growth, the future for a larger organization now seems assured.

The Ocotillo Club Membership List 2014-12-15

The Ocotillo Club Membership List (Click for larger view)

          The Ocotillo Club, now in its second year, it’s approaching 100 members and still growing.

          In my opinion, and one shared by many others, the success of The Center, where similar efforts in the past have faltered, belongs to board chairman Randolph Lowe. He’s the one with the vision, drive and determination to make the organization truly representative and a service of and to the entire Coachella Valley LGBT community. A current focus is an expanded outreach to the LGBT women’s community so that The Center fulfills its mission as an inclusive full-service organization. As for the future, Randy’s selections of board members reflects his approach to management and outreach. Although his role is not secretive, he’s not one seeking limelight so his guiding role is often unnoticed. Nevertheless, with Randy at the helm the continued growth and success of The Center appears assured.

Bond Shands
December 14, 2014


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Bette Midler on Gay Culture

November 20th, 2014

“It used to be the love that dare not speak its name and now it’s the love that won’t shut the f__k up,” – Bette Midler.

The Divine Miss M’s love quote and more are in a new Bette Midler interview posted on The Advocate website. Other comments on Gay Culture include the following.

“Now the [gay community] has kind of gone mainstream. It’s sort of ordinary now, and a little bit of the specialness has rubbed away.”

“It used to be the love that dare not speak its name and now it’s the love that won’t shut the fuck up,” she jokes, stopping to let out a long laugh before adding, “but seriously, the great thing about the gay revolution is that it has become ordinary and I’m happy to see how far it’s come and to see the community be more at peace with itself and, I want to say, more homogenized. Even being considered a gay icon — which was something that used to be whispered and bandied about — has become sort of mainstream, and that’s a good thing.”

Click here to view/download a print copy of The Advocate interview.


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