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Local Action On Vaccines

 January 6, 2021 at 4:55 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Wednesday, January 6th San Diego County getting ready to vaccinate the public That story next, but first... let’s do the headlines…. San Diego county public health officials reported more than 1800 new infections on wednesday and 56 new deaths. That is the third highest number of single day reported deaths. Health officials are attributing the rise in deaths to family gatherings over the holidays. Officials also reported a record number of 62 hospitalizations, with 10 more people in intensive care units. The ICU capacity in San Diego still remains at 0% capacity. County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher was unanimously voted in as the chairman of the county board of supervisors on Wednesday. He says the county must tackle the covid-19 pandemic, climate change, improve racial justice, and build more affordable housing. He’ll serve as chairman along with Nora Vargas as vice chairwoman, and Joel Anderson as Chair Pro Tem. Home prices in San Diego county are expected to increase by more than 8% over the next year. It’s the largest such increase in the nation. That’s according to a new report out from Core Logic. The report says single-family homes will increase the most due to a low inventory driving up prices. From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. Only About one third of available vaccine doses have so far been given out in the state … and now California has begun to allow dentists to administer vaccines. KPBS health reporter Tarryn Mento says San Diego county is also taking local measures to expand vaccine access to prioritized groups. Nearly 200,000 vaccine doses made their way to San Diego County facilities. But vaccinators have only administered about 47,000. Dr. Rodney Hood is a San Diego community clinic physician who sits on state and county vaccine advisory groups. He says the county is launching regional vaccination sites or pods to make it easier for prioritized groups to access a vaccination. 00:07:44:11 it's easier to have strategic pod rather than trying to get it to the small practices because of the storage issues The local advisory group that Hood helps chair is meeting to discuss vaccinations for critical workers, older adults and those with medical conditions. But there are still many more vaccinations to be done before we reach those populations. Tarryn Mento. KPBS News. A SAN DIEGO COUNTY SPOKESWOMAN DID NOT IMMEDIATELY RESPOND TO QUESTIONS ABOUT WHEN THEY’LL BE LAUNCHED OR WHERE. Restaurants in Carlsbad won’t be facing tougher enforcement of public health regulations. Some Carlsbad City Council members had wanted to put teeth in enforcement of the regulations by Carlsbad police, but KPBS reporter John Carroll says a majority of the City Council decided to leave things as they are. Ever since the state issued stay-at-home orders in early December, sit-down dining whether inside or out has been forbidden. But some restaurants in Carlsbad have chosen to defy the orders. Michael Curran is a lawyer representing restaurants, gyms and salons across the county, including in Carlsbad. He says the way Carlsbad Police have been handling violations is the right way. “Carlsbad Police have come in and pretty much said, well you’re aware of these orders. You’re supposed to be following them, but we see that you’re not. We see that you’re in the midst of a peaceful protest. Here’s a box of masks. Have a nice day.” Carlsbad City Council member Cori Schumacher asked for Tuesday’s meeting, specifically to address the issue. She says the County has already issued 28 cease and desist orders in her district alone. JC, KPBS News. San Diego county school districts will get about 390 million dollars from the stimulus package congress passed last month. KPBS education reporter Joe Hong has more about how the money will and won’t help. About 128 million dollars in new stimulus money will flow to San Diego Unified School District. And while this money will help the district avoid layoffs this year, school board vice president Richard Barrera says the county’s largest district will need even more money if it wants to heal the academic wounds caused by distance learning. BARRERA.mp400:02:11:24RICHARD BARRERA //// SD UNIFIED SCHOOL BOARD VICE PRESIDENTBut there’s a lot of work that needs to be done at the federal and state level to get schools the resources that we’ll need over the course of the next couple years. Barrera said to really address the long-term effects of the pandemic on schools, the district will need to fund an extended summer school in 2021, hire more mental health professionals and shrink class sizes for the next several school years. Joe Hong KPBS News. The massive Government spending bill that passed last month included money for building the border wall… and it has opponents of the wall worried what this says about priorities for the incoming Biden Administration. KPBS’ Max Rivlin-nadler reports. Last month, congress approved over a billion dollars for border wall funding….with bipartisan support... including all of San Diego’s Democratic congressional delegation. Pedro Rios is with the American Friends Service Committee. He says while president-elect Biden has pledged to not build any more border wall…. That doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t follow through on existing contracts or replace existing border wall… I think it’s important for people to understand that when they’re talking about border wall replacement. It’s actually an extremely devastating type of replacement that’s been done. The Biden transition team says it will rescind the national emergency along the southern border…. Which allowed the Trump administration to bypass lengthy reviews to expedite border wall construction. Max Rivlin-Nadler, KPBS News. A new report released by the state Attorney General shows very little has changed with regards to racial profiling by California police officers in 2019. CapRadio’s Sarah Mizes-Tan [MY-zehz TAN] reports. The data was collected from the state’s largest law enforcement agencies including sheriff and police departments in LA, San Francisco and Sacramento. Of the roughly 4 million traffic and pedestrian stops analyzed, the report found police were more likely to pull over those officers identified as Hispanic men.About 16 percent of stops police made were identified as African American… Only about 6 percent of the state’s population is Black, according to census numbers.The report also shows that officers were also more likely to search or use force against African Americans compared to white people.The Attorney General’s office says it hopes the data can help shape police reform policy this year. Coming up.... Coffee is typically grown in tropical regions, and yet coffee farms are thriving in San Diego’s North county. We’ll have that story next, just after the break. San Diego is known in the farming world for avocados, citrus groves and its emerging wine industry. Now COFFEE is starting to find a home in the region. KPBS North County reporter Jacob Aere tells us how San Diego County has developed more coffee farms than any other place in California. Coffee is typically grown in tropical regions, and was previously considered an unviable crop in the continental United States. But along the 76 freeway corridor in San Diego’s North County farmers are growing California coffee. Singer-songwriter Jason Mraz owns one of those farms in East Oceanside. Five years ago he became one of the first farmers in the region to plant coffee trees. “It’s not easy to harvest. I mean it could take you all day just to harvest one. Because you go blind in the sunlight or the shade, or you’re sticky with insects or the fruit” Mraz’s coffee trees tower overhead at nearly 10 feet tall and are planted between avocado, banana and other full-sized fruit trees in a dense tropical terrain. He has 11 species of coffee on his 18-acre property, and recently started selling his coffee beans commercially. The varieties of coffee fruit, or cherries as farmers call them, that grow on his 3500 coffee trees are considered rare and often carry hefty price tags once roasted - especially a variety called Geisha. “Whether it's through folklore, or legendry that it's a brilliant bean - or just continued testing, drinking and scoring high - it continues to just outperform all other coffees. Mraz and all coffee growers across California get plant material, farming knowledge, and post-harvest processing from a company called FRINJ Coffee. FRINJ co-founder and CEO Jay Ruskey first started his journey into California coffee about 20 years ago. Over the past few years, the coffee industry has started to take notice of his plan. “I submitted some coffees to Coffee Review, we got like 27th in the world, and got a lot of press on that. And then all of a sudden, I realized there was a chance that we could do something bigger.” FRINJ Coffee now works with 67 farms across the state and 42 farms in San Diego County. California coffee cherries are known for their slow-growing process, which Ruskey says enhances their flavor profiles. He equates the growing process, blending methods and market for California coffee to another product: California wine, which is produced in some of the same regions where coffee is now growing. “The farmers out there in Southern California, mainly in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Diego were looking for something new and so FRINJ coffee and our coffee program was something they thought they could adapt.” While getting a coffee farm started in California is a challenge, the FRINJ team shares planting and care methods with farmers like Mraz. “In these aging avocado groves, which are all throughout San Diego, you can put rows of coffee between them. I don't want to make it sound like it's easy, but there is a symbiosis or a relativity between the coffee and the avo that does really well.” Bluetail Coffee Grove owner Kyle Rosa learned early that coffee growing isn’t easy. He lost 37% of his crop during his first year due to unforeseen overnight temperatures that got too cold. “I have something new to worry about at every stage. So can I get them in the ground? Yes. Will they grow, yes. Will they produce cherries? Yes. Now my next stage is will the cherries be of high quality?” Rosa’s farm lies between Vista and San Marcos. He has yet to sell his product commercially but he is set to open a “drinkery” called Breakers Coffee + Wine in Del Mar this spring. “Whether you want the caffeine buzz or the alcohol buzz is up to you. But being able to explore new lands in terms of coffee and wine is what we are really pushing.” While California’s coffee industry is still in its infancy, Mraz sees it continuing to grow, perhaps joining other prized industries in the state. He says there could even be a future in agrotourism for the North County. “Even if people just wanted to drive around and look at fruit trees, this is a unique place to do that - to see things that you may have never seen with your eyes before.” Perhaps one day soon San Diegans will see something else new -- California coffee on the menu of their local cafe. Jacob Aere, KPBS News That story from KPBS North County Reporter Jacob Aere. ….That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

While California scrambles to expand vaccine distribution, San Diego County is taking steps to prepare for vaccinating everyone.. Meanwhile, the Carlsbad city council deliberates over fines for restaurants violating public health orders. Plus, Coffee is somehow thriving as a crop in San Diego’s north county.