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Koalas Suffer In The Wild, But Get Help From San Diego

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San Diego Zoo researchers are doing what they can to help protect koalas, which are threatened by fast-moving wildfires in Australia. Plus, say goodbye to Lime scooters in San Diego. The company announced Thursday it was ending operations in America’s finest city as the company aims toward profitability in 2020. You’ll hear about a series of local ordinances that were announced Thursday to combat a spate of San Diego County vaping-related illnesses and injuries. And Imperial County gets $220 million in Governor Newsom’s proposed budget to improve the environment of the Salton Sea.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Friday, January 10th. I'm Deb Welsh and you are listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. Koala suffering in Australia's wildfires get help from San Diego and the nervous theater company is committed to questioning theatrical forms.

Speaker 2: 00:16 I love walking out and not fully understanding what I've just seen because then that means that they weren't pandering to me, they weren't holding my hand. They just kind of let it speak for itself.

Speaker 1: 00:25 That more coming up right after the break.

Speaker 3: 00:38 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 00:39 thank you for joining us for San Diego news matters. I'm Deb Welsh, San Diego zoo. Researchers are doing what they can to help protect koalas, which are threatened by fast moving wildfires in Australia. KPV as reporter Eric Anderson has details

Speaker 4: 00:55 out of control. Brush fires are ravaging the Australian back country. The flames are consuming homes, habitat and wild animals. Sydney resident Cheryl Martin is visiting San Diego

Speaker 5: 01:07 and we have a lot of out of control fives around the whole East coast and down to South Australia and kangaroo Island at the moment. Um, the, the fire sizes vary, but some of the biggest ones are like hundreds of thousand tech days.

Speaker 4: 01:23 The fires are particularly tough on koalas. The eucalyptus eating Marsupial's are not quick enough to escape from fast moving flames. That's why some genetically valuable koalas in the blue mountain region have been tracked and rescued by researchers linked to the San Diego zoo. They could be crucial for repopulation efforts. Eric Anderson, KPBS news

Speaker 1: 01:44 Imperial County will get an extra $220 million this year for projects that aim to reduce dust from the receding shoreline at the Salton sea. The news came in a letter to the County board from the California natural resources department. KPBS. As Sarah [inaudible] says, the 10 year plan to restore habitat and tamp down dust at the Z is behind schedule. The Salton sea. California's largest Lake, continues to shrink as conservation projects reduce the runoff that is sustain the sea. For years, the conserved water is transferred to San Diego County and the Coachella Valley governor Newsome's 2020 budget will include additional money for projects at the sea. This comes after Imperial County declared a local state of emergency due to conditions at the Salton sea in October. The C's dry Lake beds contain dust particles with pesticide residues and other toxins that can easily become airborne. The communities surrounding the sea already suffer from poor air quality and have some of California's highest asthma rates. The $220 million budget increase would help accelerate dust suppression and habitat restoration projects and bring the plans funding total to $891 million. Sarah cuts [inaudible] KPBS news scooter company lime is feeling the squeeze lime announced Thursday it would be leaving the San Diego market. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman spoke to San Diego about the decision.

Speaker 6: 03:12 Lime is the third scooter company to call it quits. In recent months here joining Uber and skip, it was among the largest in town with as many as 4,500 scooters on the roads and a statement the company says that made the difficult decision to leave San Diego as it works to become profitable in 2020 Lyme claimed city regulations last year caused a drastic drop in ridership. Some were sad to see the scooters go, but most people we talk to like Yvette Griffin, we're very happy.

Speaker 5: 03:35 It's a good thing. It's an ATV band.

Speaker 6: 03:37 Others like Richard Darby had mixed feelings.

Speaker 5: 03:39 You know, I think it's unfortunate, uh, for the ones who, you know, really utilize them. Um, but I also think that, um, in terms of like, I've had some friends get injured on some of them, um, which was unfortunate. I, I'm, if I have to go with one side, I'm sad to see him go.

Speaker 6: 03:54 The city of San Diego says in a statement that public safety is a top priority and it will continue to work with scooter companies to modify regulations. Matt Hoffman, K PBS news,

Speaker 1: 04:03 I have billion dollar bond measure on the March ballot would help Hauwei unified school district renovate classrooms. But the district first has to repair its reputation in the community for poor financial planning. KPBS education reporter Joe Hong explains what the bond would mean for the Poway district and the area's residents.

Speaker 7: 04:23 A decade after passing a $100 million bond that ended up costing $1 billion with interest. The Poway school district is asking its community to support a bond measure this March to repair its buildings. Marianne Kim felts is the superintendent of power unified. She said the district's new leadership has been able to convince doubtful community members with a detailed plan for repayment.

Speaker 5: 04:45 It's a whole new leadership team. This is a whole new team, and in the time that San Palo unified hasn't gone for a bond in the last decade, other school districts have passed three multimillion multibillion dollar bonds.

Speaker 7: 04:57 The San Diego taxpayers association said the district has a strong plan and endorse the bond, but it did so with serious reservations. Joe Hong K PBS news.

Speaker 1: 05:06 You can see all our election stories at kpbs.org/election the County confirms yet another person has been hospitalized by injuries related to vaping. It's one of dozens of cases locally in recent months. Today, the County and San Diego schools are taking new steps to deal with the issue. KPBS reporter Ebony Monet has more

Speaker 8: 05:29 no Apple cherry or chocolate flavor tobacco will be sold in unincorporated parts of San Diego County. If supervisors, Diane Jacob and Nathan Fletcher have their way for facing a public health crisis in the use of flavored tobacco and these e-cigarette devices, the supervisors announced details of new ordinances. The board is set to consider next Tuesday to crack down on the sale and distribution of flavor, tobacco and e-cigarettes. It would be irresponsible not operate

Speaker 9: 05:58 out of an abundance of caution. It would be irresponsible to not do something we know can have a positive step towards protecting the public. The ordinances also include a one year moratorium on the salad. Vaping devices, County health officials say locally, 43 people have been hospitalized due to vaping related injuries. Ebony Monet, K PBS news.

Speaker 1: 06:19 Roughly half of the 3 million children on medical are not getting screened for lead poisoning Capitol public radio, Sammy Kay Ola has more on a state audit out this week.

Speaker 10: 06:31 Children in the States low income health program are supposed to get screened when they're one and two years old. Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities and other problems. Auditors say doctors aren't doing this testing as often as they should be because the reimbursement rates are too low. The department of healthcare services has been slow to increase those payments according to the report and the health plans that the department oversees aren't tracking whether kids are getting testing or reminding doctors to do the screenings. The California department of public health was also called out in this report. Both departments agreed with the recommendations, but auditors say the plans the departments have laid out to fix these problems don't go far enough in Sacramento, I'm Sammy K Yola.

Speaker 1: 07:13 Nervous theater describes itself as a nomadic company. That means no venue to call home, but the company is in town this weekend to perform at John's Johnny's the maids at 10th Avenue arts center. KPBS arts reporter Beth like Amando speaks with two of those in the three person company.

Speaker 9: 07:32 It's not easy flying into a town on Tuesday and having to Mount a production in a theater you've never performed in before by Friday. But Connor broke compass and his nervous theater company wouldn't have it any other way. We're not really interested in having a theater that we call our own. Instead we're, we're interested in creating works and making productions and then taking those productions kind of wherever the wind takes us. I think it just seems a little run of the mill to put something up in one space and then call it a day. The challenge of trying to fill seats for performance that only runs three days in an unfamiliar town is intensified when the play is [inaudible]. The maids. Sinead designed his plate to provoke with its bold sexual politics and ruthless exploration of social inequities. Shanae looked to the scandalous real life French case of the Pippin sisters who brutally murdered their employer and her daughter in 1933 the play reimagines the sisters, his two maids named Claire and Solange. Each night while Madam is out, they perform a secret ceremony in which one sister plays Madam and the other. The maid in this production, Dylan Waylon plays Claire and bird compass is so launch Madame will wear red. I said the why with the sequence, I'm terribly sorry, Madame will wear the Scarlet velvet dress this evening. Y madames curves under the velvet folds are unforgettable, particularly when she sighs.

Speaker 9: 08:56 Janae expressed interest in seeing men play the female roles and Waylon likes how that can challenge expectations. I like to think that our production is tackling not only the class struggle between these characters, but also what it means to be oppressed and what you're allowed to express yourself as and the ways we present ourselves and the places we're told to be in society. These classic plays that we love and Revere have to change and grow to continue to be played to different audiences for compass who also directs the production says the play presents gender as performance. So why not lean into that theatricality?

Speaker 2: 09:32 And we kind of wanted to capitalize on that. So our, our production kind of jumps through these different genres as as the sisters put on these different roles and as they're forced to kind of present themselves in difference to whoever else is in the room. In the case of this production, that includes the audience. We do have audience members on both sides of the action. We're going to kind of set up a temporary audience on the stage to keep that intimacy and maintain this feeling that these two maids are always being watched.

Speaker 9: 10:02 Waylon likes that intimacy. We talk about how theater is a community and we're all in this together and it's a very communal experience, but you just sit in the dark for two and a half hours while you're ignored by the people on the stage. And so to have people sitting on stage with you and to be so close and a part of the action and sometimes able to address these people, it actually feels like a community. And like we're going through this together, step-by-step, going through it together, but not holding the audience's hand and making sure they are following along. It says per compass,

Speaker 2: 10:31 I love walking out and not fully understanding what I've just seen because then that means that they weren't pandering to me, they weren't holding my hand there. They just kind of let it speak for itself. And, and I'm left assembling the pieces in my own mind. And I, I love that feeling and I, I think a lot of audience members do too. I just think there's not a lot of trust in audiences nowadays, especially when there's so much money riding on productions and there's so much pressure to be commercially viable and so I totally understand why things like the maids aren't produced more often

Speaker 9: 11:04 as a nomadic company per compass, as nervous theater can take more risks and pursue less traditional approaches to engaging an audience.

Speaker 2: 11:13 We've talked so much about universality and how that's not something we're always interested in in making theater just because we think that can kind of take away from understanding someone else's circumstances. Sometimes we absolutely hope that people will find things to relate to, but I think what's more important than relating to it on an individual level is watching these two people struggling and having an evening where we just exercise our empathy. Maybe that empathy is precisely what we need in divisive times.

Speaker 1: 11:45 KPBS news, nervous theater company performs genre Jennay's the maids tonight through Sunday at 10th Avenue arts center. That's all for San Diego. News matters. If local news matters to you, consider supporting KPBS by going to kpbs.org and clicking on the give now button.

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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.