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The Story Of A Cinderella Costume With A Twist Goes Viral And More Local News

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The costume, created by an Oceanside woman who was born without an arm, has inspired children and people with limb differences. Plus, Congress will conduct a hearing to investigate a powerful healthcare office in the Department of Veterans Affairs following inewsource stories that exposed the office’s shoddy review of a dangerous San Diego liver study. Also on today’s podcast, a marijuana cultivation facility is sprouting up in Calexico and making a very big bet on the Imperial Valley and the market for legal pot.

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Tuesday, October 1st I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. A dangerous liver study conducted by the VA department grabs the attention of Congress and an ocean side woman has used her love for costume making to inspire others. This has been a complete dream come true for me, a Cinderella story and more coming up right after the break.

Speaker 2: 00:30 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:33 Thank you for joining us for San Diego news matters. I'm Deb Welsh, our partner I new sources, bet months reporting on dangerous research done on San Diego veterans. Now Congress plans to hold a hearing into why a powerful veteran's affairs healthcare office did such a poor job investigating what went wrong with the study. I knew source reporter Jill Castellano has more,

Speaker 3: 00:57 I can't imagine what they were thinking.

Speaker 4: 00:59 Martina buck has spent seven years trying to stop a dangerous research study at the San Diego VA and hold the wrongdoers accountable

Speaker 3: 01:07 and what some of these people went through. No one should have to go through that.

Speaker 4: 01:12 When this all started in 2013 buck was a liver researcher at the medical center. She became concerned that a colleague wanted to perform medically unnecessary liver biopsies on veterans, putting the patients at risk of internal bleeding and even death duck contacted or supervisors warning them not to approve the study. It was approved anyway.

Speaker 3: 01:32 I was hopeful for like I guess 15 minutes, but when I started talking to the people that could have stopped this, they just kept patting me on the head pretty much and telling me, it's okay. You convinced us. We're not gonna do it that way. Now.

Speaker 4: 01:50 In 2017 the department of veterans affairs finally investigated Buck's concerns. They sent a team to San Diego from the VA office of the medical inspector. The office is supposed to protect the 9 million patients in the VA healthcare system. The medical inspectors investigation concluded that the research did not pose a substantial danger to public health, but the report failed to address many of Buck's concerns.

Speaker 3: 02:14 It wasn't professional. It wasn't what the veterans deserve. It wasn't what the whistleblowers deserve. It wasn't what the country deserves.

Speaker 4: 02:23 This wasn't the only federal agency to get involved. The office of special counsel, which reports directly to the president about wrongdoing in the government, reviewed the medical inspectors investigation and declared it unreasonable

Speaker 3: 02:36 if their mission statement is to protect the veterans and to make sure that first do no harm is actually served. They failed.

Speaker 4: 02:46 I knew source has collected hundreds of reports that show the medical inspector's office has a pattern of conducting poor investigations of the VA healthcare system. In fact, the medical inspector's investigations have been labeled unreasonable in about 16% of the reports sent to the special counsel's office. That's a higher percentage of unreasonable investigations than in other federal agencies. The VA would not comment on these findings. Hi Jill. Nick. Well, and Bach used to be the communications director for the special counsel's office. He said, our findings show that the office of the medical inspector or O M eye isn't doing enough to protect veterans.

Speaker 5: 03:26 Oh, am I is doing a far worse job in terms of connecting the dots and coming up with reasonable conclusions. That to me suggests a bit of a disregard for the whistle blowers concern, uh, even when it confirms the underlying facts.

Speaker 4: 03:43 Shh. Well inbox isn't the only one who feels this way since I knew Sora started reporting late last year on the dangerous liver research representative Scott Peters has been pushing Congress to hold a hearing on the issue. We know this is not the first time that LMI has investigated wrongdoing and has come up short on the answers. That was the San Diego Democrats speaking last month to the house committee on veterans affairs. I asked you to work with me to get answers regarding this instance and also that is a committee that we examined the office of medical inspector veterans have served our nation deserve the best care opportunities and support. I'm proud to advocate for San Diego's veterans. I knew source confirmed that the veterans affairs committee will hold a hearing on the medical inspector though no date has been set. Buck says the hearing is an interesting idea in theory, but she doubts it would lead to change.

Speaker 3: 04:30 How are they going to go about investigating the OMI and can they not really already see what's everybody's been talking about? I mean a lot of people have come out in public. He said, the OMI doesn't find things because it doesn't want to. You can't hear anything if you don't want to listen

Speaker 1: 04:48 for KPBS. I'm I knew source investigative reporter Jill Castillano. So look through data on hundreds of federal whistleblower reports. Go to, I knew I knew sources, an independent nonprofit partner of KPBS, a notion side woman with a passion for costume making has become an inspiration to kids across the country. KPBS reporter Prius for either explains now set her godmother. Are you ready to go? Once upon a time, and Oceanside lived a woman Mandy rape, her husband Ryan and their eight year old daughter Caylee the lightest tap, the gentlest touch, and she was dressed in a gown. Their tail is one of happiness and love and family, but it wasn't always an easy one. Right crystal that Mandy was born without an arm. They think that an amniotic band wrapped around it and just kept it from developing properly. So I've had my whole life to figure out how to adapt and do the things that I want to do after spending her childhood bouncing from place to place with her father who was a pastor. Mandy eventually settled down in Florida. It was there that Mandy met Ryan. I'm fortunate that I found my own Prince charming. He is so sweet and accepting and supportive in real life too. The two fell in love. Ryan a Marine was living in San Diego. He flew his new love to California where the couple went to their own ball, the Marine Corps ball. Eventually they got married and had a baby girl

Speaker 6: 06:18 are basically our second, um, Valentine's day. We, uh, I went and bought her a sew machine cause in the Marine Corps, my job is a Perisher rigger or flood equipment condition. We basically sold in repair, uh, fabric things that uh, the aircrew use. I bought her solutioning cause she is a theater arts major and she had her own little book of costumes. She wanted design for theater.

Speaker 7: 06:41 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 06:41 it was that hobby that ended up transforming Mandy into a fairy godmother herself.

Speaker 7: 06:50 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 06:50 She created some costumes for her daughter and friends, but then she got inspired. My daughter had been studying Cinderella stories at school and I realized that there were all these beautiful tales from around the world, but there was still no princesses who looked like me, and so I just had the thought, if this character doesn't exist, I'm going to create [inaudible]

Speaker 7: 07:13 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 07:13 She spent 60 hours creating a Cinderella ballgown and another 40 creating one for her Prince charming.

Speaker 1: 07:22 She wasn't sure exactly what she wanted to do with it all, but she knew she wanted to highlight and celebrate her difference. When I was growing up, I rarely saw anybody who looked like me on television. I still didn't see amputee women being portrayed as beautiful or strong, and so it took me a really long time to recognize that the things that make us different and unique can actually be really positive traits, and that was the twist. Mandy decided instead of a glass slipper, her Cinderella would have a glass arm. After telling friends about her plan, she was linked up to a sculptor in Arizona who took one of her prosthetic arms and created a glass looking one out of clear resin. She posted the pictures on her Facebook and overnight the post went viral with thousands of likes. I've actually been amazed that everybody has been so positive and encouraging. You know, it's kinda scary to put yourself out there on the internet like this, but it's been incredible how everyone has, uh, had just had positive messages to convey. She now has received messages and pictures from families across the United States who say she's an inspiration. Her Prince charming says all of this couldn't be happening to a better person.

Speaker 6: 08:39 I'm very proud of her. Definitely. She's, um, and she definitely deserves it. She's a very sweet person, a very, uh, a compassionate person for people.

Speaker 1: 08:48 Mandy has created a new Facebook page where she's invited her followers to share their own stories about celebrating their. I began to realize, you know, this is something really special and I at least wanted kids who were like me who had some kind of physical difference or limb difference to be able to see it, to maybe inspire them that they can be the hero of their own story too. She says, this is just the beginning. This has been a complete dream come true for me. She says her Cinderella story continues to evolve and she wants to help put the happy in the ever afters of many more children who might feel a little different. PREA sure. Either K PBS news, the Facebook page she created is be the spark cause play. If you plan on getting a flu shot, the time is here. KPB has health reporter Taren Minto says, officials recommend receiving the vaccine by the end of this month. Health officials, st most people, at least six months old should get a flu shot. It can take two weeks to be effective. This year's vaccine protects against at least three strains that the world health organization expects. We'll be circulating. The global group's recommendation is partially based on flu activity from the previous year. County microbiologist and Elisa man, Lou tack says that includes information collected by the San Diego public health.

Speaker 8: 10:09 We do subtyping. We don't only do a screening, so the subtyping will help to see what is in the community just so they can go ahead and use that for the vaccine next year.

Speaker 1: 10:23 Flu vaccines are free at County health clinics, but people with insurance are encouraged to get one from their provider. Taryn mento KPBS news. If you've been looking for a reason to take public transit to work this week might be the time KPBS Metro reporter Andrew board says on Wednesday, all bus trolley and train rides will be free.

Speaker 9: 10:43 This is the second time the metropolitan transit system and North County transit district have held free ride day. County supervisor and MTS board member Nathan Fletcher says it's an effort to promote the benefits of transit, including cleaner air and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Last year on free ride day, over 50,000 folks took transit trips that had not been taken the day before, which tells us that there is a Pence up demand and if we just raise awareness of the opportunities and the options folks get out and have this experience. Free ride day on October 2nd includes all buses and the trolley system plus the coaster and sprinter rail lines in North County. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news,

Speaker 1: 11:24 orchid ventures has placed a very big bet on the Imperial Valley and the market for legal marijuana. KPBS editor Tom fudge as more on a cultivation facility as sprouting in Calexico

Speaker 9: 11:37 orchid ventures is an orange County company that has retail stores and cultivation centers in California and Oregon, but nothing is as big is what they've got planned for Calexico. When complete they say it will be 220,000 square feet of indoor space employing 400 people and producing more than 12,000 pounds of marijuana every month or it could ventures chose to build in Calexico for its political support, tax breaks, and it's low cost of rent and electricity company CEO Corey Mangold says he's betting the legal marijuana industry has a very bright future.

Speaker 10: 12:13 The legal market has a lot of room to grow. Again, that's why we're, you know, doing this in California at this time because the demand is, is absolutely insane,

Speaker 9: 12:24 but he says there is a problem with the legal market in California. It's being undercut by the illegal marijuana business, which doesn't pay taxes or meet the same requirements. He hopes the state will increase funding for law enforcement to help put the black market out of business. Tom fudge, gay PBS news

Speaker 1: 12:43 for nearly three decades, a local organization has been using the power of food to heal those who are too ill to cook for themselves. KPBS as Maya troubles, he tells us about a milestone for mama's kitchen. The staff at momma's kitchen know the routine because they've done this millions of times and now they're making their 9000000th meal. Executive director, Alberto Cortez says, this is a marker that celebrates decades of service to thousands of San Diego sons.

Speaker 11: 13:11 Our aim is to provide medical tailored meals, nutrition interventions that actually improve the health and wellbeing of the people that we serve.

Speaker 1: 13:23 Momma's hand delivered that 9000000th meal to longtime clients and Lamesa residents. Austin heard

Speaker 11: 13:29 the ref providing me service with food, but they were my friends and you get that bond with them.

Speaker 1: 13:35 For mama's kitchen. It's been 9 million chances to make a difference as a nutritional lifeline and human connection. Maya trouble, C K PBS news, California governor Gavin Newsom signed to bill into law Monday that for the first time allows collegiate athletes to earn money from endorsements. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman explains,

Speaker 12: 13:56 the governor says collegiate athletes put their health on the line for no compensation. While universities make billions, the NCAA, which regulates collegiate sports as this would give California schools and unfair recruiting advantage, which means they could be kept from competing altogether. The bill does not go into effect until 2023 while San Diego state director of athletics, John David Wicker doesn't agree with how the state has handled this. He's not necessarily against student athletes making money. You know, I think it's finding the right balance. I'm not going to say it's right or it's wrong. We're going to work on finding a way for student athletes to take advantage of those new opportunities. The NCAA agrees changes are needed to support student athletes, but that it needs to happen on a national level, not a state level. Matt Hoffman, K PBS news

Speaker 1: 14:37 this morning, lawyers for the American civil liberties union among other groups will be in court in San Francisco opposing the Trump administration's remain in Mexico. Policy. KPBS has max [inaudible]. Adler has more on policy and its history.

Speaker 12: 14:53 A judge in San Francisco first put the remain in Mexico policy on hold in early April, but just a week later the ninth circuit court of appeals let the program continue. At the time, the program had only sent back a few thousand people to Mexico to wait as their asylum claims were processed today. With oral arguments in a lawsuit against the program set to begin around 5,000 asylum seekers have already been returned to Mexico. Aaron Rachlin Melnick is a policy analyst at the American immigration council, a nonprofit that assists immigration lawyers.

Speaker 13: 15:25 We know that those sent back under this program are vulnerable, are placed in situations where themselves and their children are in extreme danger and many have chosen to give up their asylum claims because they simply cannot face the danger any longer.

Speaker 12: 15:40 A recent report found there were over 200 cases of rape, kidnapping, or assault of asylum seekers returned to Mexico under the program overruling is not expected for a few weeks. Max Rivlin, Adler, K PBS news.

Speaker 1: 15:53 Thanks for listening to San Diego news matters. If you're not already a subscriber, take a minute to become one. You can find San Diego news matters on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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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.