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East County School District Cuts Ties With Online Learning Provider

 August 28, 2020 at 4:39 AM PDT

Progress has been made with containing two of California’s largest wildfires. The S-C-U in Santa Clara and Alameda counties, and the L-N-U in Napa and Sonoma counties are both at 35% containment. In southern California the Apple Fire near Riverside and the Lake Fire in Los Angeles are at 95 and 70 per cent containment respectively. The Heat Wave that’s been bearing down on California is expected to last through today but cooler temperatures are expected for the weekend. To see the latest on the fires go to KPBS dot org, and fire dot ca dot gov. Also, Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to announce plans for re-opening businesses that were shuttered in July amid soaring coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. the steps he announces today could move the state slowly back toward normalcy heading into fall. You can hear the Governor during his teleconference on KPBS beginning at 12 noon. A federal judge has denied a motion from the Kumeyaay nation to stop construction on the border wall. District court judge Anthony Battaglia said the tribe did not provide enough evidence to put an immediate stop to the construction. The Kumeyaay say the federal government hasn't properly consulted with them about burial sites and other parts of their cultural heritage impacted by the new border fence. Michelle LaPena a lawyer for the Kumeyaay, says they would continue their lawsuit, demanding that the government consult and advise with native tribes about the sensitive sites. We're asking for the court to order the government to initiate the consultation. The construction of the new 14-mile section of the border wall is already more than 50% complete. As California battles record wildfires, Democratic state lawmakers are proposing a 3-billion-dollar measure to help mitigate future blazes. The bill was unveiled with only a few days remaining in the legislative session. Senator Bill Dodd says the state's costs to fight fires seems to grow each year. But if we're going to get serious about this with climate change and all that's really impacting our state, we're going to have to put in some money for mitigation and prevention. The bond would extend a utility bill surcharge implemented last year until 2045. The fee charges most of the state's electrical customers about a dollar a month, which is paid into a wildfire fund. I’m Anica Colbert. It’s Friday, August 28th. This is San Diego News Matters from KPBS News. A Daily morning news podcast powered by all of the reporters, editors and producers of KPBS. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. Just days before the start of the new school year, the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District terminated its contract with the company providing one of its online learning platforms, citing reports of racist and inappropriate content. KPBS Education Reporter Joe Hong spoke to administrators about this last-minute change. One video on the virtual learning platform Acellus shows an animated bear and duck asking their classmate how she got the name "Sweetie Lips." The classmate, a female pig, replies "Don't ask, we're not even going there." In another lesson, students are asked, "Osama Bin Laden was the leader of what terrorist group?" One of the multiple-choice responses is "Towelban." Another question portrays abolitionist Harriet Tubman as a criminal. Deann Ragsdale, an assistant superintendent at La Mesa-Spring Valley said she read a news article from Hawaii that reported on these materials from Acellus, a Kansas City-based company. Ragsdale said the program was recommended to the district by the San Diego County Office of Education. Music Watson is the chief spokeswoman for the county office of education. She clarified that her office did not officially endorse Acellus. "We had one employee who recommended this based on personal experience. She won't be doing that anymore. We're working internally to clarify and make sure that all of our employees are familiar with our process for vetting different technology systems."The La Mesa-Spring Valley School District has not yet set a date for reopening campuses. Joe Hong KPBS News. Having a baby during COVID-19 comes with a lot of questions … like, is it safe to breastfeed if mom has been exposed? Health officials say the answer is YES … but lactation advocates worry confusion during the pandemic is making Black and brown women less likely to try it. CapRadio’s health care reporter Sammy Caiola has more. Early in the pandemic, new moms were getting a LOT of mixed messaging about this ...from doctors and public health officials, and on the web. Tanefer Camara is a lactation consultant in Oakland “Some people were told not to breastfeed … some people were told if you’re gonna breastfeed you’ve gotta wear a mask, wash your breasts, sterilize your milk…. it was like all this stuff making it sound really impossible.” Now major health groups say breastfeeding during COVID-19 is encouraged, even if mom is positive or may have been exposed. Professor Tyra Gross has been looking at this issue at Xavier [zavier] University of Louisiana “Even if there is disease transmission for a baby, previous studies before COVID have shown that breastfeeding helps babies’ health and development in general.” But only 61% of Black moms in California start breastfeeding at the hospital, compared to 81% of white moms, according to state data. And Camara says breastfeeding consultants haven’t been available during the pandemic. “People were being pushed out of the hospital a lot sooner, or they just didn’t have access to lactation support.” Black Breastfeeding Week continues through the end of this month. Black women say it’s a crucial opportunity to have positive conversations on the topic. A San Diego charter school superintendent was quietly fired in June amid reports of misconduct. As inewsource investigative reporter Jennifer Bowman explains, he may collect a hefty payout, anyway. Records obtained by inewsource show The O'Farrell Charter School fired its superintendent, Jonathan Dean, after he was accused of misconduct involving a female staffer. Dean collected nearly one-hundred-thousand dollars in salary as the southeastern San Diego school investigated the claim against him, and he's eligible for a quarter million dollars in severance. Details about the alleged misconduct have not been disclosed and Dean denies any wrongdoing. He's now in a legal fight with the school and says he hasn't received severance. That was inewsource investigative reporter Jennifer Bowman. inewsource is an independently funded, nonprofit partner of KPBS. Professional athletes have been boycotting basketball, baseball and soccer games following the police shooting of a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It started when the Milwaukee Bucks, whose home arena is an hour away from Kenosha, refused to leave their dressing room for an NBA playoff game in Florida on Wednesday night against the Orlando Magic. The Seattle Mariners voted to cancel their game Wednesday in San Diego against the Padres. Pastor Greg Hendricks of the Rock Church, East County, is a former pro basketball player and assistant coach in the NBA. He spoke to KPBS Midday Edition host Mark Sauer about being a black athlete when racial discrimination leads to protest. "It doesn't surprise me because a lot of the players were really struggling with coming to play in that bubble… ...not only for the african american community but other communities as well as police officers." That was Pastor Greg Hendricks of the Rock Church, East County, who was also a former pro basketball player and assistant coach in the NBA. Coming up on the podcast….What happens when your commanding officer, at a military air station, drops a script on your desk and tells you to be a technical advisor for a movie that would be called Top Gun. "None of us wanted to do it. We were pilots. We didn't want to start working on a movie, right." But he did. The movie was made, and it became what some called the greatest military recruitment movie of all time. That story, from American Homefront, is up next after this break. It's been 34 years, but Hollywood's most recognizable fighter pilot, Pete "Maverick," Mitchell, will be back in the cockpit for a new "Top Gun" movie. Navy leaders say the original Tom Cruise film led to a recruiting surge. But it's not clear whether next year's sequel will have the same effect. From Los Angeles, Libby Denkmann reports for the American Homefront Project. That was KPCC’s Libby Denkmann. This story was produced by the American Homefront Project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans. Funding comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. ###### Werner Herzog's new documentary is called "Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin." In it the German filmmaker chronicles the life and explorations of his close friend, a writer, nomad and adventurer, KPBS film critic Beth Accomando says it's another fine entry in Herzog’s growing collection of non-fiction work. That was KPBS’ Beth Accomando. That’s it for our podcast today. I hope you have a very good weekend, and thanks so much for listening.

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Administrators in the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District terminated a contract with Acellus, an online learning provider, just days before the new school year. The termination came after reports about racist and sexually suggestive content from districts in other states. Also, on Thursday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia ruled that border wall construction can continue. He denied a motion from the Kumeyaay nation to stop construction. The Kumeyaay argued that the federal government hadn’t consulted them adequately on wall construction. But the judge said that the Kumeyaay nation did not provide enough evidence to put an immediate stop to the work. Plus, a review of Werner Herzog’s new documentary film.