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Does Your Stuff Really Get A Second Life When You Give It To Goodwill? And More Local News

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The holidays are the busiest time of the year for Goodwill and other second hand stores. But do those items get a second life or just a delayed trip to the dump? Plus, USO, the United Service Organizations, has entertained and boosted the morale of American troops for nearly 80 years, in every major conflict since World War II. But for an organization that's still strongly associated with entertainers of the past, such as Bob Hope, it's a constant challenge to stay relevant to today's service members. And, have you ever wanted to see flesh-eating beetles at work? You will now have your chance as the San Diego Natural History Museum serves up the Living Lab where the public can meet the creepy and crawly, slimy and slithery up close.

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Monday, December 30th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. Have you ever wanted to see flesh eating beetles at work? Now's your chance and the holidays are the busiest time of the year for Goodwill and other secondhand stores, but do those items get a second life or just a delayed trip to the dub? If it doesn't sell at our outlet by auction, then it's recycled. That more coming up right after the break. Have you ever wanted to see flesh eating beetles at work? KPBS arts reporter Beth haka, Mondo says, you'll now have your chance as the San Diego natural history museum serves up the living lab where the public can meet the creepy and the Crawley, the slimy and slithery up close. San Diego natural history museum is not just a place where you take kids to look at dinosaur skeletons. It's also a research facility that houses millions of specimens as well as live animals. The museum's new exhibit living lab places the largest number of its living specimens on display for visitors says exhibit developer Bradley. Say it.

Speaker 2: 01:10 The museum has a substantial research and conservation division and that's part of the goal that this exhibition is working towards, right? We want to educate people about the unique biodiversity of our region and we want them to fall in love with that biodiversity. So ultimately they care about it enough to save it. And so that really aligns with our research and conservation goals, our educational goals. And then the goals within this exhibition.

Speaker 1: 01:35 The museum's hope is that seen these living creatures up close creates empathy for the nature in our own backyard and maybe that will lead to greater awareness of the need to take care of our environment and its inhabitants. Beth, like Amando KPBS news, you'll have plenty of time to see the not so cuddly residents of our region at the Nads living lab. Since the exhibit is scheduled to run at least through the fall of next year, Val ball park is packed with locals, tourists and food KPBS reporter Shalina Celani, which is the park to survey food truck festival in the park that runs through today.

Speaker 3: 02:11 Walk through the courtyard outside the San Diego museum of art this weekend. And you could see a mariachi band, children playing with games and lots of people eating food like pizza, ice cream and tacos. Can I get one of those? But this is the holiday food truck festival at Balboa park. Sue Vargo with the park is the coordinator. We saw an opportunity that the week between Christmas and new year's is the busiest week of the year and I think people were looking for other food choices. Vargas has the park sees around 60 to 70,000 people during the December holidays. The food truck festival will go through Monday. Shalena Celani key PBS news.

Speaker 1: 02:56 The economy's ending on a high note in 20 but what's in store for San Diego in 2020 KPBS has Donald Bloodworth has more.

Speaker 3: 03:05 Last year, consumer confidence was down 20% during the holidays, a midst of government shutdown this year. That confidence bounced back with a record holiday spending numbers, but will that spending continue into next year? Mural COPEC is an SDSU marketing lecturer and the cofounder of bottom line marketing. He says, three big factors will affect San Diego's economy next year. The convention center expansion vote, the new U S MCA trade agreement and housing affordability. COPEC says a larger convention center will attract more business. If the measure to expand the center passes,

Speaker 4: 03:38 it's going to guarantee that we're going to keep comic con for a long time to come. We're going to be able to attract much larger conventions and really make San Diego a true world-class city and also showcase for a lot of companies out there that San Diego will be a great place to locate as a business.

Speaker 3: 03:56 Donald Bloodworth K PBS news

Speaker 1: 03:56 before a dog rescue group or shelter can adopt out a dog. They must let people know if the animal has ever bitten anyone or been in a dog fight. Bob Moffitt with capital public radio in Sacramento reports as part of our series a new California law is taking effect in 2020

Speaker 5: 04:14 in may, a dog at an Akita rescue center in Riverside County, but a seven year old girl in the face. It was the fifth time and adoptive or perspective family had been bit by a dog from the centers since 2013 some of those dogs had histories of biting people. Dr. Allen drew sees is director of the County shelter. He says the new law is common sense, but there are also different types of bites.

Speaker 6: 04:35 There's a world of difference between a bite of the severity that took place with this girl as opposed to an innocent nip where the dog was not intending to harm anybody.

Speaker 5: 04:50 If a dog older than four months bites a person or another dog, a shelter would be required to report it to a prospective owner who would be required to sign a document describing the incident on Bob Moffitt in Sacramento.

Speaker 1: 05:02 San Diego businesses are preparing for the California consumer privacy act, which goes into effect January 1st KPBS science and technology reporter Shalina Celani says, consumers will be able to ask any business to delete their personal data.

Speaker 3: 05:17 This data privacy law expands the definition of what counts as personal data and consumers can ask companies to delete any of that information or face legal and financial consequences. Alexandra, all bro is an executive at ESET, a company that produces computer antivirus products. She says, even though he said only collects a limited amount of data from its consumers, it still had to spend thousands of dollars and hire consultant to get prepared.

Speaker 2: 05:41 Well, all of a sudden you realize that, wow, maybe I'm collecting a lot more than I was aware of. And so you have to map what do you collect? And based on that understanding, you've got to take measures.

Speaker 3: 05:53 Alberto says it's important to protect consumers privacy, so the company's happy to comply and she

Speaker 1: 05:58 says East side is a medium sized business. So other large tech companies may have needed to spend more time and money to meet the law's requirements. Shelina Celani KPBS news. For many people, TIS the season, forgiving Goodwill industries and other secondhand stores report a spike in tax deductible donations at the end of the year. People may have good intentions, but some critics say donating to secondhand stores only delays the inevitable. Final stop for the item, which is the landfill. KPBS speaks. City Heights reporter Ebony Monet spent a morning at Goodwill to find out

Speaker 3: 06:33 the Friday before Christmas, Miguel Cortez waits with a bright yellow bin to retrieve incoming donations. Good money, nice Christmas trees for you to put out all great, great. These artificial Pines are in high demand at Goodwill. San Diego's Chulavista location, but communications director Darlene Cossio says some things are unsellable. You know, I recently saw a barbecue that was missing a leg that was heavily used that absolutely could not be sold at our outlet. A new book by author Adam Menter spotlights, American consumerism. He rides it within the last 50 years, the amount of things Americans bought Rose almost 20 fold. And when people tire up these things most end up in the trash, only about 3% of these discarded items make their way to resale. Markets such as Goodwill mentor goes on to say that Goodwill and other secondhand stores only sell about a third of their items adding to the growing textile waste problem.

Speaker 3: 07:35 Cossio disagrees. That is not true. We really do. We really are good stewards of every donation. And the great thing about giving all of your donated items a second life is that other people can put them to good use. According to MIT's observatory for economic complexity that second life could take place overseas, Pakistan and Malaysia are the biggest importers of used clothing here in the U S EPA. Numbers show nearly 13 million tons of our clothing ends up in landfills and they're toxic chemicals and dyes contaminate the earth. Cossio says Goodwill exhaust multiple options before dumping donations. So if it doesn't sell in our retail store, it goes to our clearance center. And then to our outlet. If it doesn't sell at our outlet by auction, then it's recycled. So absolutely, it's a closed loop. And we really do our best to sell everyone's donation before donations make it to a retail floor.

Speaker 3: 08:37 Workers or ambassadors, as they're called within the organization, inspect each item. Broken and soil. Things are tossed out. Cossio says properly disposing of some of these unsellable cuts into Goodwill's bottom lines. Hazardous waste, uh, is, becomes a big for us disposing of it properly. And there are big fees associated with that, that as a nonprofit really do take away from our mission. Uh, we do not accept mattresses, so those types of things. Uh, fluorescent light bulbs, batteries, things of that nature, any kind of weaponry or firearms. This is the case at the county's newest store in Chulavista and 10 miles away on home Avenue at one of the organization's first sites in San Diego County. We see about 300 paid purchases a day. [inaudible] Rodriguez is the city Heights store manager. While we offer great products at affordable prices so our community members can treasure hunt and stay within their budget. Goodwill's self reports that 89% of the $6 billion a generates worldwide goes to community programs such as its community employment centers, which are central to its mission. It creates job training programs open to anyone in San Diego last year serving 4,500 people also last year worldwide, the organization says it sells, kept 87 million pounds of goods from landfills such as this wooden table, Cortez loads into an SUV.

Speaker 7: 10:04 Okay, here's your receipt. Okay, thank you. Have a nice day.

Speaker 1: 10:08 Ebony Monet K PBS news, the USO, the United service organizations has entertained and boosted the morale of American troops for nearly 80 years and every major conflict since world war II, but for an organization that still strongly associated with entertainers in the past like Bob hope, it's a constant challenge to stay relevant to today's service members. Austin Cross reports for the American home front project

Speaker 8: 10:41 at the end,

Speaker 7: 10:42 some auditorium in Washington, D C 1100 members from all branches of the military settle in for an evening with the trappings of home hot dogs, comedy and country music

Speaker 8: 10:56 [inaudible].

Speaker 7: 10:56 It's a modern version of the shows the USO started putting on nearly eight decades ago at a very different time in American history. I do fell it. This is Bob command performance hope telling H Nazi that's in Russia today that Crimea doesn't pay the USO. Got it. Start before the U S formally entered world war two when war came, Bob hope was one of the most famous comedians at the time. He entertained the troops from the Southwest Pacific to the European theater. He continued through Korea, Vietnam, and the first Gulf war. When he went with Bob, there were 85 of us after San Margaret performed alongside Bob hope in 1968 there were hairdressers and makeup people and thousands of men and women just sitting in the sun waiting for us to perform,

Speaker 8: 11:45 and

Speaker 7: 11:46 Margaret was honored at the Washington event for her service to the USO. But the event wasn't just about the past. It's about what the USO is doing now. Yes, there are still shows, but USO, president and CEO, JD crouch says it's about more than that. He says the USO improves the wellbeing of service members by reminding them that somebody back home hasn't forgotten about them. The big challenge of military life for these people, men and women's and I sort of fear of battle or those sorts of things which us ordinary civilians might think. It's separation in America. A lot's changed since the days of Bob hope around 12% of the country served during world war II. Today, less than 1% of the countries on active duty. Mary Beth Olrick at the U S army war college says that's affected the truth.

Speaker 1: 12:33 That leads to a perception that they are carrying the burden for the country and increasingly the perception that this is something that other people do. The people in the service being, those other people

Speaker 7: 12:44 battling those perceptions is now part of the U S O's latest mission. To that end, 400 civilians were welcome to the show for some like DC resident Daniel Klein balm. It was their first exposure to the USO.

Speaker 9: 12:56 I mean I've heard the name, but I was walking by earlier and saw that there was an event going on. So I looked it up and then decided to come back a few hours later

Speaker 7: 13:03 once inside civilians were given a rare glimpse of military life. USO, senior operations manager, Emily Flint.

Speaker 9: 13:10 So this is a USO center mimicking what it would look like if you were in a center in Iraq. So we have the comforts of home, you know, the couches, the pillows, the blankets. We have a TV system over here with the PS four and actually two service members are playing right now

Speaker 7: 13:25 in the back. There's a refrigerator full of sodas and a corner where service members can record books for their kids. Marine corporal Justin Countryman. You may not have talked to your family for three weeks, four weeks, you maybe haven't had a good meal and you know, two months and you walk into a USO and the bare minimum you have at least a phone call. They're just as welcoming. You know what I mean? It's warm. The civilians here at the ad them were also treated to a staple in the U S so experience the show for one of the headliners, comedian Paula Poundstone. It was a different experience to perform for a largely military crowd. It is a little bit daunting, to be honest with you. You know, this is a person who've been through something that I couldn't possibly understand and how now do I relate to them? And I think the answer is just to be a human being.

Speaker 8: 14:11 Keep it going, keep it going. Can we go [inaudible]

Speaker 7: 14:15 a lot has changed in the last 80 years, but two service members, a soda, a laugh, and a hot meal still go a long way. And they're far from home,

Speaker 8: 14:24 so thank you. Thank you. Thank you for your service,

Speaker 1: 14:28 Washington. I'm Austin Cross. This story was produced by the American Homefront project, a public media collaboration. The reports on American military life and veterans funding comes from the corporation for public broadcasting. Thanks for listening to San Diego news matters. Do us a favor, and if you appreciate the podcast rate or review us on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Thank you.

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San Diego News Matters

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.