From the Publisher, Tracy Dietlin
This issue marks Coachella Valley Weekly’s 10 years of being a publication. Every year on our Anniversary we put all of the previous year’s cover on that issue’s cover. Last year and the year before we did the same, however, it was our 8 year Anniversary in 2020 that we were not able to actually print the paper due to the Covid pandemic and everything shutting down for quarantine. It was a devastating blow!
I immediately knew that I couldn’t give up and had to pull my big girl panties on, roll up my sleeves and continue to publish every week even if only online. And that is what we have done every week since over the last 2 years. Even when I was so very sick with Covid and pneumonia and the aftereffects of it throughout most of 2020, I was not going to let my publication fail…not my baby.
Thanks to Phil Lacombe my amazing partner, we started doing a weekly newsletter/eblast putting CV Weekly in everybody’s inbox on top of publishing online. That really helped keep us more relevant since we were not in print.
The exciting news is that we have been back in print for a couple months now and are moving forward in a strong direction.
Owning my own publication had been a dream of mine for many years and on March 29, 2012 my dream came true. It’s taken a lot of hard work and determination over the years as CV Weekly has literally been my life. I eat, sleep and breathe everything CV Weekly.
I am proud of the issues that we published each and every week as we had to change our focus from being an entertainment driven publication to a new direction to cover the events of the time. I have an amazing team to thank for their unwavering support during the last year. (Please see list below). Especially when the majority of all of our advertising dollars dried up for months and it was by the skin of my teeth that I and we, were able to make every week happen.
I also want to thank all the community members that have made very generous donations over the last 2 years and still continue to so that we can keep going.
We also have another very exciting project in the works that I can’t quite mention yet, but it will take CV Weekly to another level so standby for that.
I would also like to thank all of our loyal readers and advertisers over the last 10 years for all of your support.
The last 10 years have been stressful, all consuming, fulfilling, rewarding and everything in between, but most of all my dream came true and I wouldn’t trade them for anything! Here’s to another 10. Cheers!
NOW for the THANK YOUs:
I would like to thank our current team. First, I want to thank my partner, Phil Lacombe who has been by my side through all of this. He has handled our social media and the Club Crawler Nightlife from the beginning and handles the weekly digital eblast newsletter. I could not have done this without his love and support.
Second, I want to thank Robert Chance, our amazing Art Director. Not only does he design creative covers, build ads, does photography for many of the covers, lays out the publication, but he also does assistant editing. He is irreplaceable, a friend, family, and simply THE BEST!
Next I want to thank Billy Westley, who since the beginning drove from Hemet every week out to Sylmar to pick up the paper and then helped deliver it. You are a valued member of the team. And now with our new printer he doesn’t have to make that drive anymore as they get delivered to my front door. Thank you for still delivering the paper every week. And a thank you to Matthew Kovach for assisting Billy in delivering.
Bobby Taffolla, who handles the weekly website management and saves all our butts every week when corrections are needed at the drop of a hat. You have done a fantastic job and it is much appreciated. You my friend are a rockstar!
Crystal Harrell, our head feature writer. You joined us a few years ago and I can’t thank you enough for all the top-notch articles you have written during this pandemic. You are an amazing young woman and brilliant writer and I’m fortunate to have you on my team.
Thank you to Esther Sanchez, our head music writer. You deliver quality music articles about the local music scene and have a unique voice with your interviews.
Thank you Lisa Morgan, who has held many positions since day one, including Sales Manager, Head Music Writer and all round CV Weekly cheerleader.
Thank you to Kirby our Advertising Account Executive who has been kicking but lately.
And I’m very proud to announce our newest Account Executive Kathy Bates to our team. We go back 27 years and I’m glad she chose CV Weekly as she had many other offers.
To all of our other current feature writers: Tricia Witkower, Rich Henrich, Denise Ortuno, and Laura Hunt Little, your contributions are most appreciated.
Thank you to our current columnists, many who have been with us since the beginning, like Robin Simmons, Haddon Libby, Dale Gribow, Rick Riozza, Janet McAfee, Eleni Austin, Raymond Bill, Sam DiGiovanna, Rob Brezny, Craig Michaels and DeeJae Cox. Your continued support and dedication over the last 10 years and especially the last two has meant the world to me.
Thank you to writers that have come on board over the last several years who have added additional quality content to our publication: Ruth Hill, Michelle Borthwick, Aimee Mosco, Lynne Tucker, Chris Clemens, Daniel Paris, Nadia Popova, Dennis Shelly, Madeline Zuckerman, and Ed Heethuis.
There are several past columnists that were with us for many years whose contributions were so important: Heidi Simmons (my biggest fan and cheerleader), Bronwyn Ison, Bruce Cathcart, Sunny Simon, Jason Hall, Dr. Peter Kadile, Marissa Willman, Elizabeth Scarcella, Aaron Ramson, Flint Wheeler, and the late Judith Salkin. Thank you to our Art Director for the first year, Oscar Arbulu, who helped shape the design of the publication, and Ivan Urias and Rudy Mendez who were the first to handle distribution.
A big thank you to all of our photographers over the years that provided quality work: Laura Hunt Little, Chris Miller, Robert Chance, Iris Hall, Steve Young, Brian Blueskye, Esther Sanchez, Scott Pam, Lani Garfield, Kurt Schawacker and Crystal Harrell.
Each and every one of you have made this publication the success that it is. I have the BEST TEAM!
And finally I must acknowledge and thank my very dear friend, our local legend, the late BB Ingle. His support throughout the years was immeasurable. He was on more of our covers than anyone. Most importantly he was on our very first mock cover. When I told BB I was going to start my own publication in 2012 and asked if I could put him on the mock cover to use to be able to go out and sell ads for our actual first issue he said “Absolutely!” So we did a St. Patrick’s Day cover; his favorite holiday.
Over the years, every chance that he got to speak publicly about CV Weekly, including his acceptance speech when he was honored with the “Lifetime Achievement Award for Best Promoter” at the 2019 CV Music Awards, he would always say: “Tracy and Phil have never missed putting out an issue every week in all these years!” And you were right BB…even during the pandemic we still put out an issue every week. Love and miss you BB!
Crystal Harrell – Head Feature Writer
As a lifelong resident of the Coachella Valley, I grew up with a fervent passion for journalism and a longing to know more about the desert around me. To satiate my curiosity about the people, culture, and history of my home, I began freelance writing for various local outlets after graduating college a few years ago. I came across an open writing position at CV Weekly, and as fate would have it, quickly became Head Feature Writer. I am immensely grateful for the chance to write for this wonderful publication, and regard it as one of the greatest decisions I ever made in my journalism career so far. My gratitude towards Tracy, Phil, and the entire team at CV Weekly is immeasurable. I will always be thankful for how they took me in as a young writer and decided to take a chance on me. A special thanks also goes to those who read my stories every week. Through my various article assignments, I have gotten to meet so many talented, incredible people and attend phenomenal events that form the cultural fabric of our Valley. I will continue to prioritize bringing our readers stories that not only inform but inspire the creative, ambitious drive displayed within our community.
A little over ten years ago, I stood up against corruption in city government and was fired by my employer as the result of a phone call to my CEO by that city manager. I eventually settled with the city and former employer – none of the city leaders were reelected, and the city got a new manager. While my efforts may not have changed the world, it did expose a problem in one city that voters quickly remedied. While exposing the bad behavior was the right thing to do, it showed who my true friends are. It also introduced me to newfound friends who came to my side as I fought the entrenched powers of government and business. Tracy and Phil were two of a small group of friends who were there for me throughout.
Haddon Libby – Business Columnist
Today I have a truly wonderful life with the noise of ten years ago far behind me. I own and operate an investment management business that operates to the fiduciary standard of care, a level of client care that less than one in 20 investment advisors adhere to. We have won small business awards for our efforts in the community and with our clients. Additionally, I’m married to my best friend with our oldest daughter away at university and twins finishing 5th grade. While that moment in time ten years ago is not one I would choose to repeat again, it made it possible for me to reset my life and do the things I love to do with the people I care about.
Thank you Tracy and Phil for being true friends through thick and thin!
Dee Jae Cox – Theatre columnist
I met Tracy Dietlin, a superstar businesswoman in the Coachella Valley, in 2013 when she appeared as a guest on my radio show California Woman, which featured women who lead and inspire, a perfect description of who Tracy is. The Coachella Valley Weekly was entering its second year of publication and she was taking desert publishing by storm. Towards the end of 2014, I approached her and asked about writing for her. I’m a playwright, director and producer and wanted to write a column on Coachella Valley Theatre. She immediately agreed and offered me the opportunity to write theatre reviews and features and so “Breaking the 4th Wall,” was created. In the seven and a half years (and over two hundred articles,) since I began writing for the CV Weekly, I’ve had the most supportive and incredible experience that a writer could hope for. Tracy inspires loyalty because she is not only a brilliant and creative businesswoman, but she’s a caring humanitarian who deeply cares about the people she works with and loves the desert community. I’m so proud to be a member of the Coachella Valley Weekly and I’m truly grateful for the opportunities that this publication has provided in allowing me to write about what I love, theatre!
Michelle Borthwick – Keto is Easy Coach Columnist
Tracy Dietlin is a visionary who has made so many positive changes in our valley. She combined a “what’s to do” and “what’s happening” with a community newspaper full of topics that people are genuinely interested in… without filler copy. I’m blown away by her tenacity during the pandemic to continue on and make the pivots necessary to not only survive but to thrive. It’s with great honor that I’ve contributed a column on Keto for many years. Keep Going Tracy…celebrate your 10 years of taking an idea to the reality of a successful publication to a star shining so brightly over the Coachella Valley!
I am honored to be part of the CV Weekly team for many reasons. I feel the CV Weekly is a classy and diverse news publication that covers most every interest in the Coachella Valley. As a Fire Chief, I have seen many incidents that have injured or claimed/changed the lives of many. Our world is changing quickly and providing safety messages to the public is important to me. As a good friend Gordon Graham says “if it’s predictable. It’s preventable!” The ability to write fire & life safety articles for the CV Weekly provides that opportunity to provide information (predictable) that may help save a life or protect assets (preventable) of people both in the Coachella Valley and beyond.
Though my primary residence is in Orange County, and I serve in Los Angeles, the Coachella Valley has been my second home for over 25 years. Writing for the CV Weekly has made me feel ‘entrenched’ and part of the Coachella Valley. Writing for and reading the CV Weekly has provided me opportunities to attend great events, restaurant’s, art exhibits & shows, concerts (thank you Tracy Dietlin) shops with great deals and visit places of interest I never knew existed. Most importantly, I have met new friends and, read some very interesting articles and keeping me abreast of what’s happening in each community out here in the Coachella Valley.
Thank you, Tracy and Phil, for providing me the opportunity to write for the CV Weekly, but mostly, thank you for your kindness and friendship. I am truly honored!
This is the fourth year I have been a contributing writer for your amazing publication.
It’s been a challenging couple of years especially with Covid-19 but we all hung in and came out better and stronger.
I can’t thank you enough for this opportunity to be part of your team. I look forward to writing many more articles for CV Weekly.
Congratulations on 10 fantastic years.
Eleni Austin – Consider This Columnist
I can’t remember if Tracy asked me to write for Coachella Valley Weekly, or I just arrogantly offered up my services. We had already known each other for about a decade, and she knew I was an opinionated smart-ass with some music knowledge, but that doesn’t always translate to the printed page. Luckily, she decided to take a chance.
I’d officially like to thank Tracy and Phil for allowing me to share my passion for music on a weekly basis with the world. I had written for the Desert Sun for about five years when I was in my early ‘20s, but exited stage left when they were subsumed by the giant corporate monster in the late ‘80s. I never looked back, but around the time CVW was up and running, the time seemed right to return to writing.
Tracy and Phil have given me free reign with my column, they never filter me, even when I’m on a hypercritical rant. They allow me to channel my (not-so) inner Bitch Goddess and let the opinions fly, at a leisurely and sometimes long-winded pace. In a world where information is disseminated in tiny, snack-size bites, being able to state my case and spin a yarn is a luxury.
More importantly, these two have worked tirelessly to create a great weekly newspaper that concentrates on entertainment and pop culture. It isn’t always easy, but somehow, week after week, Tracy and Phil continue to defy the odds. Obviously, it’s a true labor of love.
So, I salute them, and I also want to give a shout-out to Robert Chance and Bobby Taffolla for all their hard work as well and all the writers at CV Weekly and the staff that give their all. Covid has cratered many businesses, I am happy that Coachella Valley Weekly is here to celebrate it’s first decade.
You guys deserve this victory lap.
Ruth Hill – Cannabis Columnist
Congratulations to Tracy and Philip on Ten Years with CV Weekly
In March 2017, I looked for a local publication for an article about cannabis. As a registered nurse, a writer, and a new convert I was under no illusion that my cannabis articles would find the lite of day in The Desert Sun. Bob Knuuttila, a cannabis specialist, introduced me to Tracy Dietlin.
I had never committed to any publisher with a regular schedule. So, in preparation I joined the Wordkeepers poetry group lead by Dorothea Bisbas, held every Wednesday afternoon at the Rancho Mirage Library. The poetry group demand of a 1st draft poem every week disciplined me with the success of creating a bimonthly article for CV Weekly.
CV Weekly is the best news weekly for all the events in Coachella Valley. When my first article was accepted in April of 2017, to the Cannabis Corner, I was thrilled. Tracy and Phil allow me editorial license to write information that not everyone will agree. I feel Tracy and I are a team. We collaborate on graphics and when Tracy asks for an extra article, it pushes me to be on top of my writing.
Thank you for 5 years, Tracy, and Phil, you are the best. Ruth A Hill RN
Lola Rossi – Desert Rhythms Columnist
Some of you may remember Desert Rhythms, a newspaper that was started by Robin Linn back in 1993. Her vision was to promote local musicians in the newspaper because she felt the local music scene was overlooked. I helped by selling some ads for her and a few times, I helped her layout the paper. It was truly a labor of love. Her paper only lasted one year, but soon after, the Nightlife issue was started in the Desert Sun.
Before I moved to Palm Springs, I sang in a band called Sheer Pleasure in South Philadelphia. We were featured on a TV show called “Live at Nine” which is on YouTube now with several other performances. I started singing with Johnny Meza at the Riviera Resort in Palm Springs while working at The House of Fabrics. In 1995, we recorded our first CD and started performing at Country Clubs and private parties in the Coachella Valley and parts of Northern and Southern California.
Jazz was being featured in a handful of restaurants and to help promote the Valley’s local music scene, I started writing the Palm Springs Jazz page in the LA Jazz Scene in June of 2002. This paper led me to the Desert Entertainer and on April 3, 2003, I was writing the “Out on the Town” column that was changed to the “Desert Rhythms” column one month later, in honor of Robin Linn. In the June 16, 2005 issue, the name changed to “Valley Rhythms”.
In the September 15, 2005 issue, I announced “The First Annual Coachella Valley Music Awards will be held at Spotlight 29 Casino at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 27. All Coachella Valley residents and especially music fans are encouraged to vote for their favorite soloist, vocalist and band who have been nominated to receive an award. Go to coachellavalleymusicawards.com to see the nominees and cast your vote. The voting ends at midnight on Saturday, September 24.” By the way, we won 3 awards.
For those who participated and attended, this was quite an achievement for Tracy Dietlin. As we all know, time flies by and circumstances change. But the desire in her heart never wavered and for 7 years, she took the time to plan and was ready to unleash her “new baby”.
I wrote my last column for Desert Entertainer in the February 17, 2011 issue. One year later on the same day, Tracy called me and asked me to be one of the first writers to be part of the Coachella Valley Weekly mock copy to promote her new publication to the advertisers.
On Thursday, March 29, 2012 all of their work was realized in the First Coachella Valley Weekly Issue. Soon after, they started an award show called The Best of The Desert, which led to the Annual Coachella Valley Music Awards. I was very happy to garner the Best Adult Contemporary Vocalist Award in 2014.
Congratulations and May God Continue to Bless You, Your Family and the CV Weekly.
Bobby Taffolla – Website Manager
Congratulations Tracy and Phil for 10 years of CV Weekly! It’s been a pleasure to watch your dream grow and persevere even through the hardest of times. I am honored to be a part of the team for the last 5 years. Here’s to 10 more my friends, cheers!
For nine of the ten years this publication has been operating, I have had the privilege to meet and work with some amazing people from all walks of life, from a variety of careers and talents. People who, in one way or another, impacted my life professionally, educationally, charitably, and even spiritually. I’ve been able to attend and contribute to some awesome events, to hone my craft of the visual arts, and to seize lucrative business opportunities along the way. All this is thanks to Tracy Dietlin… My friend, family and business partner all in one. Big thanks to you and Phil and all of the CV Weekly family!