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San Marcos Parents Alarmed Over COVID-Positive Students Knowingly Attending School

 September 27, 2021 at 4:30 PM PDT

Speaker 1: (00:00)

A fragmented system makes tracking COVID cases at school difficult.

Speaker 2: (00:04)

This is a challenging time to try to notify everybody who needs to be notified as quickly as possible.

Speaker 1: (00:12)

Jade Huntsman with Maureen kavanah. This is KPBS mid-day edition. Tell San Diego is working to bring equity to the cannabis industry.

Speaker 3: (00:28)

Communities of color throughout the United States have been disproportionately targeted by the war on drugs. That includes arrest rates for possession and use for sales. Really any all aspect of it. You can pretty much bet that nonwhite people have gotten nailed for it harder than anybody else.

Speaker 1: (00:44)

Efforts to create more safe bike lanes in the city. Plus Rebecca Mando takes us to the diversionary theater as it opens for live performances. That's ahead on midday edition,

Speaker 1: (01:02)

Parents of children enrolled in the San Marcos unified school district were given cause for alarm after being informed that some students had been attending school with known COVID-19 positive test results. While the update issued by superintendent Andy Johnson, caution that these instances or rare the possibility of positive cases flying under the radar suggest flaws in how these cases were being tracked in the first place. Despite the low case numbers, the districts uneven case reporting system first reported by the San Diego union Tribune is indicative of how San Diego schools are constantly working to evolve their safety guidelines and protocols in the face of a pandemic. Joining us now with more is KPBS education reporter mg Perez mg. Welcome to the program. Glad to be here.

Speaker 2: (01:51)

Can you

Speaker 1: (01:51)

Start off by telling us the situation at San Marcos unified?

Speaker 2: (01:55)

Yes. Um, so it was a statement made by the San Marco superintendent, as you mentioned, and it is startling to hear that there were reports of students attending school with symptoms present, or in a few limited cases, students attending school with known COVID-19 positive tests. Now, relatively speaking, it was less than 1%. They have a population of about 19,000 students, but still a handful and something to be concerned about. I think the way to frame this news is that the superintendent was dealing in reality and was making the point that this is a challenging time to try to notify everybody who needs to be notified as quickly as possible.

Speaker 1: (02:39)

I mean, how did parents react to this? Well,

Speaker 2: (02:41)

As you can imagine, you don't want to hear that your child is attending classes with somebody who was positive, but again, the numbers are very low. I think the bigger headline for this story is about, uh, the system or the lack of a system that notifies as quickly, as of course, all of these figures have to be reported to the San Diego county health department and the county health department is doing the best that it can to inform school districts when they are notified of positive cases that can take anywhere from one day up to four days, obviously the quicker, the faster something can be done, but that's not always the case, depending on the information that the county's receiving

Speaker 1: (03:25)

Was this recent update reflect about the district's effort to keep track of cases.

Speaker 2: (03:30)

Well, I think the district is doing the best that the district can do until this pandemic happened. School districts were not prepared to be tracers of viruses. That was just not part of the skill set or the expectation. So I think what has happened is, uh, districts have done the best that they can in order to try to get as current, uh, accurate information as they can, uh, to distribute to their staff and to their parents. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. Do I believe the district is doing the best that it can? Yes, I do.

Speaker 1: (04:02)

I actually have some experience on this front. Can you talk about some of the challenges in reporting positive cases to school districts?

Speaker 2: (04:09)

So I was a county COVID case investigator for 10 months up until last may. And I joined the county at the time when COVID was really out of control and was there for the surge that happened in December and January. And here's, here's the reality of it trying to get the most accurate information as possible was a challenge as it was my job when I got a positive case report to reach out and try to find that person and find out who they had been in contact with and if they had traveled and what symptoms had they experienced. And the problem is when the cases just don't stop, you know, it slows down the process in notifying folks. And part of my job as the investigator was to get as much detail as possible to then pass along to a tracer who would then be assigned to following that person or their family, or find out if it was an outbreak in a school or a business,

Speaker 1: (05:07)

Looking ahead, San Diego unified votes tomorrow on a vaccine mandate for students. What is the district's administration saying about this mandate?

Speaker 2: (05:17)

It's very clear that San Diego unified, uh, being the largest, uh, second largest school district in the state and the largest here in San Diego county is doing everything that it can to try to, uh, stop. Uh COVID-19. And so this mandate would say, um, you know, all eligible students 12 and up would be required to be vaccinated. Um, otherwise they would be required to attend classes from home and do distance learning. We actually spoke with Richard Barrera, who is the board president, and he was very clear on what he thinks. I absolutely

Speaker 4: (05:55)

Support vaccine mandates for eligible students the best way to keep everybody safe. And it's also the way to keep our students in school. The more that we allow the, uh, Delta variants to spread on our campuses, the more likely that we'll have positive cases and contact tracing, uh, we'll force students to be out, you know, for periods of time, as well as staff to be out for periods of time.

Speaker 1: (06:22)

And now this mandate is expected to be met with legal action from community groups. Do we have any sense of how that's expected to pan out?

Speaker 2: (06:31)

Uh, it's already in motion of the group called let them choose filed a legal complaint last week, uh, in anticipation of the vaccination mandate passing and, uh, they are ready to go to court, uh, in order to stop it now, to be clear, this is an offshoot of the let them breathe organization, which, uh, actually later this week goes to court on issues regarding mandates for masks. So they will be protesting, um, app outside of the school board meeting, which is being held virtually. Uh, so it is more symbolic than anything else, but they, uh, are determined to be heard. And what they also want to make clear is this is not about being an anti-vaxxer so to speak. It is about offering parents the choice, whether to have their own children vaccinated or not.

Speaker 1: (07:22)

I've been speaking with KPBS education reporter mg Perez mg. Thanks for joining us today. Thank you. Despite some districts reporting, low case rates, that doesn't mean the impact isn't widespread as valley public radio is Mari Bolanos reports, even small COVID outbreaks at schools have big impacts on families, especially in rural communities.

Speaker 5: (07:46)

Louder Garcia stands outside her home with two of her kids and their ducks, chickens and goats in raised in city, a small unincorporated communities, south west of Fresno. It's a morning in early September, and she's wearing a mask because her oldest daughter, Jennifer who attends raisin city elementary school tested positive for COVID in late August. She says she reached out to other parents in her daughter's class to let them know when the, when I told the parents that my daughter tested positive, some of them said the children were feeling the symptoms. So they tested them as well. And they were positive, at least three students in Garcia's daughter's class tested positive for the virus. Following Fresno county health department guidelines. School officials sent all the kids in the class home to quarantine for nearly a week after labor day. The virus of course spread beyond the school children in total, four of Garcia's kids contracted the virus Garcia and her husband also got it.

Speaker 5: (08:45)

He works in the fields and is the family's sole provider. It affects us because he's the only one that wants to pay the rent to buy the stuff for the kids and to pay for the bills. The Garcia family. Isn't the only one facing loss of income and education due to the pandemic. An estimated 44% of Latino parents nationwide reported an interruption in employment due to childcare. According to a Kaiser family foundation survey published in late August. It also shows that half of Latino parents with incomes below $40,000 reported their children fell behind academically 40 year old Carmen quad, thankfully owns 13 year old daughter is another one of the eighth graders at raisin city elementary school who tested positive for COVID while thankful Leone is a single mother of three. She says she also had to take time off from her work in the fields to care for her children.

Speaker 5: (09:45)

But her biggest concern is the learning loss that her children face through the pandemic. And again, while quarantined, the kids are behind, they're barely behind and of course they need to go to school, but we also need to take, you know, the health of our kids, Tonya Pacheco Warner is co-director of the central valley health policy Institute at Fresno state. She says many people in rural communities have lower education levels and fewer job opportunities. She says that creates a perfect storm, making it difficult for residents to take time off of work, to care for their children. We,

Speaker 6: (10:21)

That burden falls especially hard on rural families who don't have a lot of other options other than not getting an income during the time that their children have to stay home

Speaker 5: (10:34)

To prevent parents from losing income while taking care of quarantine kids. But Checko Werner says it's important that local officials collaborate on how to protect students that's especially needed in smaller rural districts.

Speaker 6: (10:48)

It's going to take a state coordinated school-wide school-based effort to really think through how to begin testing and surveillance in those places that simply don't have the infrastructure to do it themselves. Nearly

Speaker 5: (11:05)

Three weeks after the raisin city class was sent home to quarantine, Lauder Garcia and Carmen quad Bengals families have recovered from their symptoms, but their kids are still recovering from the learning loss and Garcia's husband's employer still hasn't paid him for the two weeks. He was in quarantine. I muddy Bolanos in Fresno.

Speaker 7: (11:32)

This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh. When Californians voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana back in 2016, there was also an effort to undo some of the damage done by the war on drugs. Communities of color were disproportionately affected by arrests and jail sentences for illegal sales and the new law held the promise that the legal California marijuana industry would be created with a social equity component, helping members of previously targeted communities to establish legal cannabis businesses. But while both San Diego city and county officials say they are committed to establishing a cannabis social equity program, those plans are still not in place. Johnny Mia's voice of San Diego reporter, Jackie Bryant, and Jackie, welcome to the show.

Speaker 3: (12:23)

Thank you. I'm excited to be here.

Speaker 7: (12:25)

What's the aim of social equity in the cannabis business. Is it simply to get more people of color, to own cannabis businesses?

Speaker 3: (12:34)

That's definitely part of it. Um, communities of color throughout, you know, the United States have been disproportionately targeted by the war on drugs that includes arrest rates for possession and use for sales. Um, really any all aspect of it. You can pretty much bet that nonwhite people have gotten nailed for it harder than anybody else. It's also an effort to address the unlicensed or black market, because a lot of the people growing and selling weed in the days before legalization were also, you know, disproportionately jailed. And those include, you know, farmers here in San Diego county up in Humboldt who have been operating on the margins illegally for many years. So it's an address to basically bring into parody those with capital and access to making money in this market. And those who were really honestly doing business, even though it wasn't legal and to kind of bring those two forces together.

Speaker 7: (13:25)

Now since 2017 marijuana sales and distribution have been banned in San Diego's unincorporated areas, but that's expected to change soon. Isn't it?

Speaker 3: (13:35)

It isn't, it isn't earlier this January when the, um, county board of supervisors voted to, you know, to start the process to lift that ban. And the idea was that by October, they were going to and using very vague language the whole time. The idea was that they were really going to start this to get this emotion during the board meeting in October, that's still happening, but they've kind of rolled it back a little bit and softened the timeline. Um, you know, bringing an industry from the shadows into the light is an extremely complicated process in California, which is where we've grown the weed historically forever. It's even more complicated than anywhere else because we had such a robust and significant illegal market. So yes, we, the board has told me and clarified after, you know, we talked last week for, for the story that they will be voting to expand the operations of the five dispensary's and Ramona and alcohol and areas, uh, that are now currently operational kind of in a gray area, legally speaking in the unincorporated areas. And then once they square away those existing five entities, then they're going to continue to move to, um, lift that ban and bring cultivation, manufacturing, and sales to the unincorporated areas. Will the

Speaker 7: (14:51)

New countywide ordinance have a social equity component? Yes,

Speaker 3: (14:55)

It will. The details of that are still being hammered out and they've hired a consultant. The county has to bring that in and get that up to speed. They have many different, um, industry watchdog advisors weighing in on that process. So it will, and it's intended to, you know, give special opportunities and legs up and mentoring programs to, you know, people in community of color, as well as people who have, you know, citations have run into the law with previous cannabis citations.

Speaker 7: (15:22)

What about the city of San Diego? Where is the city in establishing a cannabis social equity program?

Speaker 3: (15:29)

So currently in the very early stages of city, you know, just formulated it's cannabis business division. And so as part of that, they will be, I can't say for sure, but it seems to be in tandem with the county. I know that they're talking and working together and also consulting with other cities,

Speaker 7: (15:44)

You know, consulting with other cities. That's a point because even though both the city and county have not been prompt in putting together a social equity plan, you write that may actually be helpful because San Diego can learn from the mistakes of other cities. What kind of mistakes are those?

Speaker 3: (16:01)

Yeah. You know, obviously in theory, social equity is a, is a great and necessary idea, but in practice, like many things it's much harder to implement and it, the truth is, is it just hasn't gone well in other places? I mean, that's, you know, what happens when you, again, infuse something very bureaucratic into something that was once free wheeling and mostly illegal. So some of the mistakes that have happened have binged again, bureaucratic errors, you know, and COVID obviously did not help things. So a lot of, you know, understaffed equity divisions with different municipalities, cannabis divisions, um, lots of paperwork, a lot of qualifications, just a lot of red tape. That's been really hard and has been halting the process and, and holding people. We're trying to benefit from this to get their businesses online. Um, some of the other things are that in certain areas, it's not super difficult to qualify for equity status, to get some of these benefits in these programs.

Speaker 3: (16:56)

And so what a lot of business people will do is you'll have, let's give an example, a white, wealthy, well capitalized businessman who owns a cannabis company. And he'll find someone who qualifies for equity, bring them on as a business partner. And now suddenly you have an equity business. That's not really how this is supposed to work, right? So that's one of the main problems. Um, and, and there are different ways in different cities and counties and states of taking advantage of the situation. And we found that unfortunately, that has happened in many places. So knowing that from off the top, the county and the city can hopefully put safeguards in place to, to mitigate some of those opportunities to take advantage.

Speaker 7: (17:35)

Now, you spoke with the head of San Diego's cannabis stakeholder group who told you that cannabis discussions have to stop focusing on land, use regulations and start focusing on community. What do they say is needed in a cannabis social equity program?

Speaker 3: (17:51)

So, yeah, you know, I think everyone obviously recognizes that land use is extremely important. Cannabis is an agricultural product, but she is right. The conversation frequently starts there and it ignores the humans involved in this process. I mean, it's, it's no different from any other discussion of labor. It's always about the business and the framework and the workers for some reason, even though they're the most important thing come last. So I think, you know what, I'm missing Julian, along with other people in her group want, they want mentorship programs. They want opportunities for, you know, to get, uh, equity operators in front of people with capital, but really what these people need is money. And, and that's a big criticism of these programs, you know, that I forgot to mention earlier is that they're really nice in theory. And it's nice to give people help in training, but they need money. Everyone needs money to run a business. And so I think that improving that pipeline and getting equity operators in front of the right people is going to be a focus of these programs, you know, hopefully from the top. Yeah.

Speaker 7: (18:51)

You have an event coming up to spotlight the work on social equity and cannabis. Tell us about that.

Speaker 3: (18:57)

I do. So, um, voice of San Diego has me moderating a panels for them tomorrow at 5:30 PM. Nathan Fletcher will be there. And Andrea St. Julian, um, who, you know, is the head of the San Diego's cannabis stakeholder groups. She will also be there. The reason why I wanted to have this panel honestly, was to keep everybody accountable and to let people know that we're watching. And this is a really important thing to have in this industry. And we haven't done a good job on it, frankly. It's kind of incredible that the eighth biggest city in the country, the second biggest cannabis market, you know, I mean the largest legal cannabis market in the world doesn't really have an equity program.

Speaker 7: (19:30)

I've been speaking with the voice of San Diego reporter, Jackie Bryant, Jackie.

Speaker 3: (19:34)

Thank you. Thank you so much.

Speaker 1: (19:41)

San Diego mayor Todd Gloria has a goal of adding nine miles of protected bike lanes to city streets. Each year. The point is to make biking safer and more comfortable, especially for less experienced writers, but KPBS Metro reporter, Andrew Bowen says for some families, the change hasn't come soon enough.

Speaker 8: (20:05)

Laura Keenan picks up her one-year-old son. Evan sits him down in her living room and read some a book.

Speaker 9: (20:12)

I can touch your hand at the back hand, I can't hit. And the small hand

Speaker 8: (20:18)

Evan's big blue eyes keep darting from the book to our camera is big smile belies, a horrific tragedy. This family experienced two weeks ago. Evan's father. Matt was biking through mission valley. When a driver going the opposite direction crossed the road's double yellow lines and struck Matt head-on neither Matt's helmet nor his lights could save him. He died almost immediately.

Speaker 9: (20:42)

He was just so excited to see Evan grow up and do all this stuff with Evan. Uh, like I mentioned, he was going to take his first step soon and Matt wanted to teach him music and play sports with him. And he's never going to be able to do.

Speaker 8: (20:58)

Laura knows her son will grow up not knowing his father, but she's trying to keep Matt's memory alive. Her husband was funny, kind charismatic, a caretaker, and he loved biking

Speaker 9: (21:10)

Ride to work. Um, he works in LA Jolla. So he drives from north park to LA Hoya. He would ride his bike to go to the grocery store or just run different errands. It was just if he, if a day went by without biking, it was not a complete day for him.

Speaker 8: (21:25)

Laura's husband was riding in a narrow painted bike lane when he was hit. She's convinced if the bike lane had some kind of physical barrier, a curb, even plastic posts mat would still be alive today. Paint isn't protection. Elizabeth Mayer is program manager for the nonprofit bike SD. She says, Matt Keenan's death shows many of the city's planned and existing bike lanes are inadequate, especially considering the city's adoption of vision. Zero a campaign to end all traffic deaths by 2025

Speaker 6: (21:56)

Certain areas that do not have protected bike lanes that we believe should. And I think that in order to meet the goals that they set both for climate and for vision zero, there needs to be swift

Speaker 8: (22:11)

Change. Mayor Todd Gloria says he's speeding up the process of adding new bike lanes and improving existing ones with more protection. Last week, he announced Pershing drive in Balboa park would have new protected bike lanes. Next month, that came after two people, a cyclist and a scooter rider were killed by drivers on Pershing this summer,

Speaker 10: (22:31)

The mayor can, to a certain extent will be direct staff to different priority.

Speaker 8: (22:36)

Jordan Mora is a fiscal and policy analyst with the city's independent budget analysts office. He says Gloria can order city workers to create new bike lanes pretty much anywhere. If he decides they're urgent. Gloria, his current budget also includes a new team of 12 staffers to design and implement nine miles of protected bike lanes per year. That's less than the 25 miles bike activists have called for more says 25 miles are theoretically possible, but that would require a big shift in priorities and money.

Speaker 10: (23:07)

The question would be where would you find it? And what would those trade-offs have to be? Cause it really is a question of trade-offs surface level impacts. If you don't have new reps.

Speaker 8: (23:17)

In other words, bike lanes have to compete with all the city's. Other infrastructure needs like filling potholes and fixing broken sidewalks beyond the financial challenges. New bike lanes in San Diego can be controversial. They sometimes require removing parking or lane of travel for cars. But Laura Keenan now a single mother hopes those who oppose protected bike lanes keep things in perspective. If you

Speaker 9: (23:44)

Were able to put this bike lane in

Speaker 7: (23:45)

There, like maybe another wife and another son would have their husband and dad one day, because it can save a life. And I would do anything to take this pain away from anybody else, because it's just the worst experience like that worse than I could ever imagine. Andrew Bowen KPBS news, The city of Encinitas is going natural gas, free a vote by the city council last week, bans the use of natural gas hookups in most new construction from commercial buildings to granny flats leaders say the building electrification ordinance is part of the city's commitment to reduce greenhouse gases. But critics say the move is a political ploy, which won't do much to impact climate change. Joining me is San Diego union Tribune energy reporter, Rob Nicholas ski and Rob welcome.

Speaker 11: (24:51)

Hi, Maureen's good to be talking to you again. Yes,

Speaker 7: (24:53)

Indeed. Now is Encinitas the first city in California to ban natural gas in new construction.

Speaker 11: (25:02)

No, the very first city was Berkeley, California back in 2019. And since then, a lot of other California cities have followed suit, but most of them have been in the Northern California area. There's only been a handful in Southern California, including OHI and I believe Santa Monica, uh, those respective communities passed these natural gas bands, but Encinitas is the first in San Diego county. So we might be able to see this, um, sort of, uh, snowball to other communities in Southern California as well.

Speaker 7: (25:39)

Now this was a unanimous decision by the Encinitas city council. What did those leaders say about this vote?

Speaker 11: (25:47)

They basically said that this was a move to combat climate change to become more environmentally committed, uh, and it will be able to reduce local greenhouse gases and air pollutants within building structures in Encinitas. That's what they said.

Speaker 7: (26:04)

So in new construction in Encinitas, no gas heaters, no gas fireplaces, and no gas stoves.

Speaker 11: (26:13)

That's correct for all new construction. Now there are a few exceptions, uh, but for the most part though is there's no new gas infrastructure. Now that leads to a question what's going to happen with some restaurants. And because there are some restaurants like barbecue restaurants, restaurants that use walks, for example, that they say that they need a gas flame. So there are some exceptions there, but if there is an exception that has made for a restaurant that you know, wants to use an open flame, they have to a get an exception. And one set exception is given. They have to, uh, show that they're making some sort of moves to mitigate any greenhouse gas emissions that might come from the kitchen inside of that restaurant. So it's a fairly strict, uh, presentation or fairly strict measure.

Speaker 7: (27:06)

And will this increase the cost of construction in Encinitas?

Speaker 11: (27:10)

Well, the mayor of Encinitas, uh, Catherine Blake spear, who incidentally is running for state Senate in 2022, I've talked to her the other day when they, uh, on the city council right before they had their vote. And she said that she did not believe that this would lead to quote substantially, uh, substantially lead to higher costs. In fact, she was thinking that, um, if someone's has a granny flat that wants to add a granny flat to their house, by not putting it in natural gas infrastructure that could lead to a reduction in costs, but there were no real specific numbers tied to this measure that was passed by the city council.

Speaker 7: (27:51)

And how is our local utility San Diego gas and electric responding to the Encinitas vote?

Speaker 11: (27:58)

That's very interesting because naturally it was, you're talking about gas, uh, fan Diego gas electric has the word gas in there in their title. So I was curious to see what they would say about it. Uh, they fought that they gave a, uh, uh, pretty carefully worded comments to me here at the union Tribune. Uh, and they said that SDG supports policies that are cost-effective and inclusive of all technologies with the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions now, SDG, SDG, and E, and also their parent company Sempra, and also a fellow subsidiary of Sempra. So Cal gas and electric. So so-called gas that is in the Los Angeles area. They've made a few steps towards trying to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions at a natural gas. The natural gas can cause that you've trying to capture methane from those dairy farms and try to use that in a quote natural sort of way. And they have have every more renewable natural gas. But again, that is an open question too, about whether or not that in the long run, it will be economic.

Speaker 7: (29:09)

So in the end though, the ants Anitas ordinance banning new natural gas hookups may not have much impact because it seems not much new construction is happening in the city.

Speaker 11: (29:20)

Yeah. I talked to Gary London, who's a San Diego area, real estate analyst. And I asked him what he thought, if this would make a major difference, whether construction and construction builders would, would object to it. And he pointed out that Encinitas, like a lot of coastal cities has a lot of restrictions on buildings on and on actually doing new construction and also Encinitas. Like a lot of coastal cities are pretty, it's pretty much built out it's. So he doubts whether or not there'll be able to have a whole lot of new construction to begin with and whether or not this will have a really major impact one way or the other.

Speaker 7: (30:01)

I've been speaking with San Diego union Tribune energy reporter, Rob Nikolsky, Rob as always. Thank you so much.

Speaker 11: (30:08)

Thank you, Maureen.

Speaker 1: (30:19)

You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Cavenaugh, the California report magazine visit some of the best secret spots across the state for their yearly hidden gem show. One of them is in nearby Joshua tree. When people talk about the area, they often use words like striking or spectacular, but local beauty isn't confined to the national park. There's no ASIS of style in this small desert community. And as reporter Peter Gilstrap found out it's part salon part museum and all roadside attraction

Speaker 12: (30:54)

Outside on highway 62, the temperature is well into three digits, but inside the beauty bubble salon and museum, it's a cool and constant 69 degrees with a strong chance of time, or

Speaker 13: (31:06)

You're welcome to walk through. Let me using them. That's my life's work. It's 30 years of collecting everything back there. They call me America's hair story. And I was like, oh my God, somebody had to do it

Speaker 12: (31:19)

Since 2004. Jeff Hayflick has been the owner operator of the beauty bubble currently housed in a 1940s. One bedroom bungalow turned storefront, Florida ceiling wall to wall. The place is crammed with some 3000 beauty care artifacts. Going back over a hundred years, you'll see vintage advertisements, framed magazine covers, and a rack of unopened hair nets from the twenties and thirties with names like bond, Tom Jacko, net, and pretty miss you'll see Elvis and Dolly Parton looking down at you from black velvet and you'll see aging mechanical beauty devices that look like instruments of torture in the back room on a deco dresser. There's a matching set of pink mirrors, brushes and jars. With a note that says Marion's dresser set from the forties found in mom's attic donated by her daughter.

Speaker 13: (32:11)

And almost the entire time I've been collecting. People have been donating these random beauty things to the collection like rollers and clips and breaths. Someone threw a bag of rollers in the front door and said, here's grandma's rollers. We didn't want to throw them away. You'd ever

Speaker 12: (32:24)

Turn anything down. That's donated.

Speaker 13: (32:26)

No, but that's part of the prompt,

Speaker 12: (32:30)

But that is what makes the place so unique included with your modern day cuts, colors and curls comes the sensory and golfing overkill of it all taking you on a journey to a bygone era of luxurious beauty care.

Speaker 13: (32:43)

One of the most common comments is that it reminds people of their mother or their grandmother. And I love that because I was close with my grandmother. I like old ladies trinkets.

Speaker 12: (32:56)

So what brings you to

Speaker 14: (32:59)

Everything brings me to the beauty of bubble.

Speaker 12: (33:02)

Heather Morgan is sitting in a salon chair wearing a big smile and a platinum blonde pixie cut crafted by Hayflick. She's been a regular at the bubble since she relocated from LA back in 2017. But our big city hair fits right in with the high desert aesthetic.

Speaker 14: (33:19)

There's a lot of people in the desert who go out and rock their LA style. I thought I would have to like stop going platinum or become some old desert rag. But Jeff is out here paving the way for style.

Speaker 12: (33:36)

Hey, flu grew up in Pickerington, Ohio, just outside of Columbus, where he went to beauty school back then he fell in love with a 1940s hairdryer. It sparked an interest in the vintage tools of his new found trade.

Speaker 13: (33:49)

For that first year, I was just collecting and decorating my bathroom with it. And I thought, well, this is fascinating history, and this is beautiful and interesting stuff. So I was 20 years old and I said, I'm going to make a roadside attraction, beauty parlor museum. And so here I am 29 years later and I'm living that dream

Speaker 12: (34:11)

17 years ago. Hey, flew in his husband jewelry designer. Michael Wynn bought a home in wonder valley, a dot on the desert map, 30 miles east of Joshua tree. It's an unincorporated land of rough dirt roads and endless horizons. And it's such a rural part of San Bernardino county home salons were and are still legal and who was coming out. I mean,

Speaker 13: (34:33)

I had like the high society of the high Tesser. This is what I call.

Speaker 12: (34:37)

Um, those early clients have stayed loyal, but here in Joshua tree where hateful or moved his salon in 2015, a steady stream of tourists and locals. And first-timers wander into gawk at the display Pasha Simpson and Cordelia Reynolds are making their way through Hayflick's beloved trove of old lady trinkets. This is the first time you guys have been here.

Speaker 15: (34:59)

Yeah. And it's really awesome. You just walk into this little Wonderland. I love places that have so much history and like to have taken such care, to collect amazing stuff

Speaker 12: (35:09)

Like Heather Morgan mental does another former Angeleno. She and her boyfriend live a sustainable lifestyle off the grid in the nearby community of Landers. So if you're off grid, how do you maintain your beauty standards?

Speaker 15: (35:23)

I mean, it's a struggle. I should come here and get my hair washed. Cause I haven't had hot water in two years,

Speaker 12: (35:31)

You don't have to travel to the desert to see Hayflick's collection. He had a recent show at the SFO museum, San Francisco's airport featuring vintage beauty items and the sculptures he creates from discarded haircare, ephemera, but that's not all,

Speaker 13: (35:45)

You know, I dream about building a geodesic dome and making it look like a giant hairdryer. The beauty museum would be housed in the world's largest hairdryer. It just has to happen

Speaker 12: (35:56)

Like the miles of hair that got him here. Hey, flew dream in the desert, never stops growing.

Speaker 1: (36:02)

That was Peter Gill strap reporting on one of the state's hidden gems. The beauty bubble inside Joshua tree

Speaker 16: (36:09)


Speaker 7: (36:18)

Diversionary theater just reopened to live performances over the weekend. In addition, it opened its stores to a newly renovated building, KPBS arts reported Beth OCHA. Mondo got a tour of the facility last week and spoke with executive artistic director, Matt Morrow,

Speaker 17: (36:37)

Matt, we are sitting in what is now the Clark cabaret. So explain what this space.

Speaker 18: (36:42)

Yeah, so it's really wonderful. We blew out the entire front wall of diversion Aries ground floor. So when you walk up to the building, it's very clear and that it's open for everyone to come and enjoy. It's also a safety and security measure in terms of COVID-19 and air flow. So it's, it's very open and breezy. We have an indoor outdoor experience for patrons to come and enjoy. And this space is a diversionary way of honoring the gay bar experience, which is an important, safe space to the LGBTQ community. Historically speaking the gay bar of decades, past four spaces that the LGBTQ community would gather and commune, and then ultimately launch the LGBTQ movement for equal rights. And as of late, you know, as the LGBTQ plus community has been entering the mainstream, our gay spaces have been going away. And so this space has meant to honor the history and importance of having a space like this, specifically for the LGBTQ community to come together and celebrate and honor our community.

Speaker 17: (37:52)

And one of the ways that you're honoring that is on the counter space of your bar and on your wallpaper.

Speaker 18: (37:57)

Yes. A cool feature of the space is that our bar and our wallpaper in the space features images and newspaper articles and newspaper headlines about the LGBTQ community, both locally and nationally. We did a wonderful outreach project with Lambda archives of San Diego, where we asked the community to send in their photos of them protesting during pride parades and engaging in spaces locally. And then we mixed those in with other historical photos that we gathered from Lambda archives to create a collage that is permanently embedded inside the actual bar and walls of the space.

Speaker 17: (38:41)

Matt, I had a chance to talk to you during the pandemic, which diversionary theater put to good use by doing this remodel. What has that process been like? And what is it like being on the verge of reopening for in-person performances?

Speaker 18: (38:56)

Oh my God, it's so exciting. You know, the pandemic was, is it's continuing to persist, right? It's been such a tough time for everyone, but this project has been a beacon for us to focus on and to work towards. So we, we couldn't produce as a theater, uh, producing live entertainment for our community. So we turned to focus on how we can make this space really unique and really special and also safe as a space. We are very proud that for 36 years we've been offering a safe space to our community. The pandemic has challenged us to reevaluate what a safe space means. And so we looked at the science and started integrating a bunch of safety measures to really maximize the safety and security of our actual space. We optimized our air circulation systems and integrated a Merv 13 filtration and our HVAC for our main stage, you can see on our cabaret tables and part of our bar up there is all made out of copper and copper, actually neutralizes viral contagion. And then we also designed easy to clean surfaces. The seats upstairs in our main stage are leatherette. So they're super easy to wipe clean and, uh, make sure that everyone who engages in our space feels safe and welcome

Speaker 17: (40:18)

What is going to be the play that you're kicking off back to in-person performance.

Speaker 18: (40:22)

Yeah. So I'm so excited that we're bursting back into action with a west coast premiere of Danye loves one in two. This is only the second production of the show since its debut right before the pandemic in New York city. And with title one and two is a reference to a CDC statistic that is unfortunately still relevant today that says one into African-American men will contract HIV aids in their lifetime. That means that the epidemic has not ended since the eighties, especially for our African-American community. And nobody, no one's talking about it. So diversionary was founded in 1986 at the height of the HIV aids epidemic. And so reopening the space. It's really great to re-engage with our founding momentum and also bring light to this very important issue effecting our African-American community.

Speaker 17: (41:18)

And when people return to an in-person performance here, they're also going to be finding a brand new state.

Speaker 18: (41:24)

Yes, our newly coined Alford maser and Robert granite Mainstage has been completely renovated. We have new theater seats, we took down a wall. So we've expanded the stage itself to make it a little bit larger. It's still an incredibly intimate stage with 102 seats. So our patrons who are used to coming and engaging with our theater productions in an intimate way, it'll still be an intimate experience. So it'll just be a little bit larger.

Speaker 17: (41:52)

And part of the renovation for this lower level is you have a very nice new little,

Speaker 18: (41:58)

Yeah. The stage down here in the cabaret is really special. It's of course like everything diversionary intimate, and we have a parlor grand down here, which is going to permanently live on our little intimate stage here two nights a week. We'll have somebody on the keys. So to honor sort of the cabaret, the piano bar cabaret feel of our space and yeah, we'll have musical entertainment down here on the stage, stand up, all sorts of fun things.

Speaker 17: (42:26)

And part of the remodel did that also involve creating an educational space here?

Speaker 18: (42:31)

Yeah. So diversionary is not just a theater. We also have an arts education wing that has been flourishing over the past seven years. We have seven arts education programs that serve all of San Diego county, thousands of young people and older LGBTQ people and our allied citizens that is really more and more everyday becoming a big part of what we do here at diversionary. And to that end, we have a space dedicated for all of our work in arts education. It's the Tom Maddix and Randy Clark arts education center. And it's a space where our director of arts education and teaching artists can convene to plan curriculum development and lesson plans. And it's also a space that's outfitted with teleconferencing capabilities. So we can speak with our partners locally without having to be in person as well as our national partners that we have. Now, one thing that the pandemic did for us was show us that we could broaden our reach via an online platform. We inaugurated a new program in the teen playwriting lab, that's specifically for young playwrights. And it was so popular that we had to run to over the pandemic. And that's something that we're going to continue online for the future. And that program is in partnership with an off-Broadway theater company in New York city called Rattlestick playwrights' theater. Uh, and so that space is going to help, uh, maintain all of our relationships with partner organizations across the country.

Speaker 17: (44:04)

All right. Well, I want to thank you very much for talking about the new and improved version

Speaker 18: (44:08)

Theater space. It's my pleasure, Beth. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me.

Speaker 7: (44:13)

That was Beth Armando speaking with diversionary is Matt Morrow. The play one into runs through October 24th at the newly renovated diversionary theater stage.

Parents of children enrolled in the San Marcos Unified School District were given cause for alarm after being informed that some students had been “attending school with known COVID-19 positive test results.” Meanwhile, COVID-19 outbreaks at schools are having big impacts on families, especially those in rural communities. Plus, both the city and county of San Diego want to right the wrongs from the “War of Drugs,” but plans for a cannabis social equity program are still not in place. Also, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria is pushing for more protected bike lanes in San Diego, but for some families, these changes haven’t come soon enough. And, Encinitas is saying no to gas, natural gas that is. City leaders say the building electrification ordinance is part of the city’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gases. Finally, from the California Report, a hidden gem in Joshua Tree and it’s not the striking scenery from the National Park. It’s a salon that’s an oasis of style in this small desert community.

Parents of children enrolled in the San Marcos Unified School District were given cause for alarm after being informed that some students had been “attending school with known COVID-19 positive test results.” Meanwhile, COVID-19 outbreaks at schools are having big impacts on families, especially those in rural communities. Plus, both the city and county of San Diego want to right the wrongs from the “War of Drugs,” but plans for a cannabis social equity program are still not in place. Also, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria is pushing for more protected bike lanes in San Diego, but for some families, these changes haven’t come soon enough. And, Encinitas is saying no to gas, natural gas that is. City leaders say the building electrification ordinance is part of the city’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gases. Finally, from the California Report, a hidden gem in Joshua Tree and it’s not the striking scenery from the National Park. It’s a salon that’s an oasis of style in this small desert community.