Evans: a man for all seasons

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John Annarino

Patrick Evans is a familiar face in the Coachella Valley. If you haven’t seen him weeknights delivering the weather news and “Eye on the Desert” on CBS Local 2, you might have seen him as an auctioneer or emcee at dozens of charity events.
Photo courtesy of CBS Local 2

Anyone attending the 27th annual Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational in Indio in February was treated to more than a star-studded golf tournament. That’s because Patrick Evans, chief meteorologist at CBS Local 2, was there — to not only deliver a weather forecast but to donate and serve the Italian sausages made by his Rancho Mirage company, Fulvio’s Foods.

“My sausage business is near and dear to my heart.” said Evans. “It honors my father, Fulvio Antonio Iachetta, who passed on the family recipe to me. Fennel and the distinctive anise flavor are what make our sausages truly Italian. I’m happy to say Fulvio’s Foods is now served in more than 20 restaurants throughout the Coachella Valley.” 

Evans dropped the Iachetta from his name. “Patrick Evans was a lot easier to deal with,” he said.

Early starter

He started his broadcasting career in his hometown, Charlottesville, Va. While still in high school Evans became floor director and camera operator for WVIR-TV’s evening newscast. 

The job continued while he was a student at the University of Virginia, where he studied environmental sciences, communications and political science. He became the weekend weatherman at WVIR, and after graduating was promoted to a full-time weather position at the station.

“As soon as I started spending time around a newsroom, I knew I wanted to be a meteorologist,” said Evans. “Not a weathercaster but a meteorologist, who has a very specific college education in environmental sciences and climatology.”

In 1990, he accepted an offer from CBS affiliate WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Va. Besides doing the weather, it gave him the opportunity to do feature stories and live segments.

As fate would have it, the woman weathercaster he replaced at Roanoke became his wife, but not until 16 years later when their paths crossed again in Palm Springs. But after five years of marriage, the couple divorced.

In 2000, he received a call that fulfilled a lifelong desire to move west. He was offered the position of chief meteorologist at the Orange County News channel.

Two years later that led to a position in the Palm Springs area with new Coachella CBS affiliate, KPSP TV 2. When financial troubles shut down the station, the late Jackie Lee Houston launched CBS Local 2 and hired Evans.

He’s been delivering his weather forecasts ever since —- weekdays at 5:30, 6:30 and 11 p.m. He also hosts “Eye on The Desert,” the only live arts and entertainment program in the Valley. It airs 6:45 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Multitasker

“A nice thing about doing the weather is I don’t have some of the restrictions anchors have. I can do a show like ‘Eye on The Desert,’ which gives me the freedom to interact and be involved in community affairs. That’s extremely important to me.”

Attesting to that, he was awarded a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars last year. He was honored for his work with philanthropic organizations throughout the Valley. Evans finds time to emcee — and even auctioneer — at fundraising events all over town. “They have only to ask and I’m there.”

He is on the boards of Family YMCA of the Desert, Desert Symphony, and Pathfinder Ranch and advises the H.N. and Frances Berger Foundation board that in partnership through CBS Local 2 awards a monthly $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight grant.

“Eye on The Desert” has presented some interesting interviews.

“Two of my favorites were Tony Bennett and Tom Hanks, great guys, accommodating and friendly,” said Evans. “The person I’d most like to interview now is President Obama, on a golf course and not talk politics.

“The silliest interview I’ve ever had was with Jack Hannah, the famous animal guy. He put a baby tiger on my lap, an albino python around my head, and let a beat cat sit on my head. All in the space of four minutes.”

But he’s not all work and no play. Several years ago he rescued three dachshunds. “I have some free time between 7 and 11 p.m. so I’m able to get home and feed and walk my dogs — Sophie, Guinness and Ryan.”

Every chance he gets, he golfs. Evans was invited to play in the Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational golf tournament and the recent Special Olympics tournament. “I play with my news anchor colleagues, Kris Long and John White. As a struggling golfer, I’ve learned the meaning of humility.”

Great pipes

Turns out, Evans is a surprisingly good saloon singer, favoring such Sinatra favorites as “Summer Wind”, “A Foggy Day” and “Lady Is a Tramp”. He sings at the Nest, Club Trinidad and other clubs around the valley. Chances are on a Sunday afternoon he’ll be crooning at Melvyn’s in Palm Springs while his good friend Mikael Healey backs him up on piano.

“Patrick has a smooth and disarming way of charming an audience,” said Healey. “He’s a natural. He’s cool and the audience loves him.”

So does his television audience. “I love what I do, and I guess it shows,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed each stage of my career. Turning 50 (in 2016) will be a great milestone and, hopefully, a great party. My deepest regret is that my father won’t be there to celebrate with me.

“I’ve really found a home here in the desert. Living in Rancho Mirage is my idea of paradise.

“As for the future, maybe someday I’ll open an Italian restaurant with a piano bar, where I’ll warble a tune or two, and serve — hey, what else? — my Dad’s great Italian sausage.”