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Stories by Megan Burks

San Diego Council Members To Mayor: Make Our Neighborhoods A Budget Priority

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Budget season has arrived in San Diego. The City Council kicked off the six-month-long process Wednesday with a call for investment in neighborhoods south of Interstate 8.

After Two Decades, Mexico May Get Its Own International Cottage At Balboa Park

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Balboa Park's world got bigger when the San Diego Planning Commission approved adding nine cottages to the park's international village, including one to represent Mexico.

Glass Pool Enclosure At New Mid-City YMCA Poses Problem For Muslim Swimmers

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Mid-City's new YMCA boasts an impressive glass-enclosed swimming pool. The problem for this largely-immigrant community? It doesn't offer much privacy for Muslim women who want to swim and keep modest.

Martin Luther King Jr. Remembered At All Peoples Celebration

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Voting rights attorney Ryan Haygood of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense & Educational Fund spoke at the All Peoples Celebration Monday morning.

Suspensions, Expulsions Down In San Diego County

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The Fallbrook Union High School District and the Grossmont Union High School District had some of the highest discipline rates in the county. But both are seeing their rates fall.

California Governor Calls $113B Budget Precariously Balanced

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California Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday released a record $113 billion state spending plan that asks the University of California to do more with less so the nation's largest public university system can avert tuition hikes.

Pope: El Cajon Priest Does Not Have To Return To Iraq

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In a rare decision, Pope Francis had sided with a local bishop in his appeal against a church patriarch.

San Diego Board Overseeing Police Misconduct Cases Gets New Boss

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The new executive director of the police citizen review board comes from Albany, New York. We take a look at her work there and ask the chairwoman of San Diego's panel what she wants to see from the new hire.

New YMCA To Open On Former Pearson Ford Lot At 'Fairmount And El Cajon'

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The Copley-Price Family YMCA is bringing life back to an iconic corner in City Heights.

Second Opinion: Tales From Year One Of Obamacare

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We revisit participants in our 2013 series on the Affordable Care Act to ask what worked and what didn't during their first year under the full rollout of Obamacare.

Covered California Announces Grace Period For Applicants Who Missed Deadline

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Last-minute shoppers are in luck, if health insurance is on their holiday list. Consumers on the state's insurance exchange now have until Sunday to apply for January coverage. But finding enrollment help this weekend could be tough.

San Diego Students Want Cap-And-Trade Dollars For Free Youth Bus Passes

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Select students on four San Diego campuses currently have free transit passes as part of a pilot program set to end this spring.

Medi-Cal Enrollment Effort In San Diego County Jails Picks Up

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Under the Affordable Care Act, many inmates now have access to health insurance for the first time.

San Diego Fast-Food Workers Rally For $15 An Hour

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McDonald's released a statement saying it supports fair pay and that franchise owners set the wages for most of its workers.

City College Students Walk Out To Protest Ferguson Decision

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About 200 City College students walked out of classes Tuesday. They gathered beneath gray skies to honor slain Ferguson, Missouri, teen Michael Brown.

Comparing San Diego Law Enforcement to Ferguson

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Locals demonstrating in response to the Ferguson decision said San Diego law enforcement also treat minority communities unfairly. We look at available data on arrests and traffic stops to put that claim to the test.

Wandering The City Heights Data Desert

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Together, two foundations have spent more than $265 million in City Heights since 2000. But data that quantify their impact is hard to come by. It's not nonexistent, though. Here's some of what we were able to track down.

San Diegans React To Obama's Immigration Orders

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Some long-term immigrant residents living in San Diego County illegally were comforted by the announcement that people with no criminal records won’t be targeted for deportation.

San Diego’s Richest Poor Neighborhood, Two Decades Later

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In 1993, Sol Price flipped the switch on what has become decades of philanthropic investment in City Heights. Two foundations have spent more than a quarter of a billion dollars there since 2000. So what's become of all that money? Are residents better off because of it?

Almost All San Diego Water Districts Report Decreases In Water Use

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A new report shows the average gallons of water used per capita each day in California water districts. Overall, San Diegans are using less water, but some communities are conserving more than others.

Don't Eat All That Halloween Candy; Give It To Overseas Troops

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San Diego County doctors and dentists fund the annual candy buyback program that pays trick-or-treaters to part with some of their sweets. The candy then goes to U.S. troops overseas.

Groups Working To Get San Diegans To Vote Tuesday

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The San Diego Organizing Project and the San Diego Alliance have been working to mobilize voters to cast ballots Tuesday. They want a better turnout than the 27 percent who voted in San Diego County in June.

Civic San Diego Will Remain Its Own Boss — For Now

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A City Council committee considered this week whether to increase government oversight of San Diego's former redevelopment agency. The committee is concerned the voice of residents could be lost as Civic San Diego sets its sights on revitalizing low-income neighborhoods.

Suspended Chaldean Priest Continues To Work, Awaits Word From Pope

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The Rev. Noel Gorgis will continue serving the Chaldean Catholic Church in El Cajon despite his suspension. The head of the Chaldean church told him and other priests in the U.S. to return to Iraq or leave the church.

Chaldean Catholic Leader Suspends Priests Across Western U.S.

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The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church is calling for Iraqi-American priests who fled violence in Iraq to return home or leave the church. San Diego County Chaldeans say they will appeal to the Vatican to stop the action.

San Diego Hip-Hop Artists Teaming Up To Get Out The Vote Among Ex-Offenders

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The San Diego ACLU and local hip-hop artists are hosting a show Friday in Barrio Logan to get out the vote among the formerly incarcerated.

City Breaks Ground On One Of Two City Heights Skate Parks

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The City Heights neighborhood is seeing more investment in parks, thanks in large part to its vocal youth.

A Win For City Heights Refugees Wanting Culturally Competent Health Care

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City Heights refugees have spoken out in recent years about the need for better language interpretation at doctors' offices. They haven't succeeded yet, but a new law could push lawmakers over to their side.

San Diego Cab Owners Line Up At City Hall To Oppose Open Taxi Market

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With City Council chambers at capacity, hundreds line up on the street to make public comment on a proposal to lift the cap on taxis in San Diego.

Young Refugees In City Heights Learn Weaving From Their Elders

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About 1,800 refugees from Burma live in San Diego County. For older refugees, who have a harder time learning English, they can become isolated. A class called Homespun, where elders teach the traditional art of weaving, helps the young and old bond.

Death Of Al-Shabab Leader Is 'Great News' For San Diego Somalis

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Local Somalis concerned about the radicalization of American youth are relieved to hear the leader of al-Shabab is dead.

San Diego Airport Cabbies Must Pass The Smell Test – Literally

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Cab driver advocates say an airport regulation to protect customers from cabbie body odor stirs up racial stereotypes.

San Diego Councilwoman Proposing A Taxi Permit Free-For-All

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There could soon be a lot more cabs serving San Diego. Councilwoman Marti Emerald proposed lifting a cap on taxi permits, but current permit holders say the move could dry up their investments.

Inside The Asylum Process That Could Bring More Iraqis To San Diego County

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El Cajon's Mark Arabo went from calling his congressman to working with the United Nations and its member countries to pull people out of Iraq. He wants the United States to bring more Iraqis to its shores, too.

San Diego's Taxi-Turned-Uber Drivers Get A New Lease On Life

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Official efforts to reform the taxi industry and respond to drivers' concerns have been slow-going. But Uber is ushering in change quickly, and taxi drivers are fleeing their costly leases to drive for the app instead.

San Diego Veterans Advocates Demand Answers From University Of Phoenix

The University of Phoenix could bar veterans from enrolling in at least one program at its San Diego campus. One veterans group wants answers or it will drop the school from its council.

Helping Hungry Kids Eat At Home When School Is Out

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Hungry kids aren't showing up to programs that exist to feed them when school — and free lunches — are done for the year. A new bill would give their parents extra food stamps to help them eat at home.

San Diego Committee Wants Worn-Out Cabs Off The Road

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The city's public safety committee is gaining some traction on taxi reform. It moved a proposal to cap the age of vehicles operating as taxis at 10 years, but is idling on others.

City Heights Residents Want A Grocery Store But Maybe Not El Super

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Albertsons caused an uproar when it left the so-called food desert in February. Now, a new supermarket is coming to City Heights, but residents aren't welcoming it with open arms.

San Diego Announces More Help For Homeless Veterans

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Volunteers at the annual Stand Down event expect to serve 1,000 homeless veterans over the weekend. This year, there's more funding to go around for those applying for rental assistance there.

More San Diego Refugee Girls Are College Bound, Flipping The Cultural Script

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Young men and women all over are beginning to pack up their childhood bedrooms to head off to college. But for many Somali refugee girls, they're breaking ties with more than just the comforts of home. They're breaking cultural norms.

City Heights Youth Will Have Their Skate Park

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City Heights youth have sustained a sophisticated campaign for a skate park for some time. Councilwoman Marti Emerald says they'll finally get their wish, thanks to a state grant.

Long Summer Days Challenging For San Diego Muslims Fasting For Ramadan

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San Diego Muslims will fast for 14 hours a day while worshippers in northern European countries, where the days are longer, will fast for around 20 hours.

Free Bus Pass Program To Get Kids To School Funded For One More Year

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The bus passes were billed as a school attendance booster, but the majority of program participants had stellar attendance to begin with. School officials say they see gains elsewhere and want to ride the experiment out for another year.

San Diego City Council Honors Retiring Southeastern Police Captain

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Tuesday was "Captain Tony McElroy Day," in honor of the 32-year San Diego police veteran who spent his last assignment watching over the same streets he walked as a child.

San Diego Refugee Lobbies Congress For More Resettlement Dollars

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Saturday is World Refugee Day. One San Diego refugee is taking the opportunity to lobby Congress for more funds to help refugees rent homes and find jobs.

San Diego, MTS Approve Taxi Contract But Still Idling On Reform

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A new contract leaves the Metropolitan Transit System as the regulator of the taxi industry. Drivers hoping for reform will have to turn to the city.

$96.5M Cut To San Diego County Health Not As Scary As It Sounds

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The agency responsible for everything from food stamps to elderly care is proposing to cut $96.5 million from its budget next year, thanks to a shift in responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act.

San Diego City Council Approves 500 Percent Increase In Fees For Mid-City Parks And Facilities

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City Council has approved a 500 percent development fee increase to help build parks in the mid-city area. But the increase could scare off the very developers needed to pay those fees.

Muslim San Diego Residents Call For Halal School Lunches

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School lunches are back in the spotlight this summer as districts try to comply with new nutrition rules. Meanwhile, Muslim residents in City Heights are calling for school cafeterias to offer foods that fit their religious guidelines.