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A Third Port Of Entry

 June 29, 2021 at 5:12 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s tuesday, June 29th. >>>> A new port of entry at Otay Mesa More on that next, but first... let’s do the headlines…. ###### A new study suggests that the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer covid-19 vaccines could protect people for years–meaning you don’t need a booster shot. Here’s Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Christian Ramers with Family Health Centers of San Diego. "i think it’s encouraging that as a general rule we may not need boosters going forward in fact we may have select administration of boosters to older people or immuno compromised people who may be more likely to lose that response over time (:16) The single shot johnson and johnson vaccine was not a part of the study. ######## The California Independent System Operator, or Cal-ISO, says it has enough energy, for now, to withstand the intense heat waves in San Diego’s desert and mountains. Anne Gonzales is with Cal ISO, the agency that manages the state electric grid. She says they’re more concerned about thunderstorms expected later this week. “the grid is stable and we’re not expecting any resource shortfalls and the thunderstorms of course always impact electricity systems because they can be damaging to equipment, both transmission and generators.” ######## Five states have been added to California's ban on taxpayer-funded travel. That brings the total to 17 states. The states added were Arkansas, Florida, Montana and West Virginia, which have all passed bills preventing transgender women and girls from competing in girls' sports. North Dakota also joined the list. It allows exclusion of trans students from some student organizations. ######### From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. A new port of entry is being built at Otay Mesa. Caltrans and Sandag officials say it should reduce peak border wait times. They partnered with Mexico and the US federal government to get the project going. KPBS’ Alexandra Rangel took a visit to the construction site and brings us this report. “We’re right in front of the Otay Mesa border fence, and right behind me are trucks laying down dirt and prepping the foundation for what will become the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry, which is expected to be up and running by 2024. Roberto Velasco Alvarez, General Director For North America “It is also a symbol of prosperity that we want to build for Mexico and the United states.” A memorandum of understanding was signed between local and federal agencies to ensure the completion of a new port of entry in Otay Mesa . It’s the first of its kind in the region to be connected to a toll road. Commercial and passenger vehicles will pay a fee to access state route 11 upon crossing from Mexico. California’s Transportation Secretary, David Kim says, the new entry will have an average wait time of 20 minutes. David Kim, California State Transportation Agency Secretary “When Otay Mesa East is complete, peak wait times at the existing ports of entry will be reduced roughly by 50% on opening day.” On average, Kim says border crossers wait 1 to two hours in line, while commercial truck drivers wait up to six hours to cross the border. Lieutenant Governor of California, Eleni Kounalakis, says border wait times is the biggest barrier comercial trade faces. Eleni Kounalakis, Lt. Governor “Mexico truly is Califonias most important and closest foreign partner.” The nearly 600-million dollar project is also expected to reduce pollution along the border. Jim Linthicum, SANDAG Chief Capital Programs & Regional Services “The wait time for the trucks and for the private vehicles as they cross, their engines and motors are going, they’re spewing out greenhouse gas, so the more efficient we can make crossing the less pollution there is.” SANDAG says they’re still working to figure out how much it will cost for drivers to access the toll road. Alexandra Rangel, KPBS News. ########## Two years ago, San Diego County set aside 1.5 million dollars to help backcountry residents make their homes more fire resistant. But last year, county officials decided to spend the money on different fire prevention tactics. inewsource reporter Camille von Kaenel has more. CAMILLE: Flying embers already burned down David Ross’s Lakeside home once. So in June, he had ember-resistant vents installed to avoid them getting inside again. ROSS: Oh, we're paranoid about fire around here, you know. After you’re burned out one time, it’s like, you're pretty alert. You're pretty aware. CAMILLE: County supervisors wanted to help homeowners protect their dwellings against wildfires by giving grants to replace old vents. But the project got scrapped after the county failed to find a contractor to run it. Officials decided the money would be better spent on other fire safety projects like clearing brush. For KPBS, I’m inewsource reporter Camille von Kaenel. That was inewsource reporter Camille von Kaenel. inewsource is an independently funded, nonprofit partner of KPBS. ########## Fireworks could be returning to La Jolla on July Fourth--that’s IF organizers can overcome a legal challenge from people concerned about the sea lions there. KPBS Environment Reporter Erik Anderson has more. La Jolla Point is one of those rare places where nature offers people a glimpse of life usually tucked out of view. Sea lions love to haul out on the rocky shoreline and that delights the thousands of people who walk along the point each day. 10:25:17 “Daddy look at those….” The sea lions are comfortable enough here to give birth to and raise their young. (10:28:25) Pups can’t swim right after birth and they don’t do it well for several months after birth. But they can be seen snuggling and playing with their moms on the rocks. Most of the adoring crowds keep their distance. But some like to sneak closer for a better look or picture. (10:23:22) “People are mostly surprised that there’s so little guidance and so little oversight of this area.” San Diego has promised better signage and a more visible ranger presence - changes welcomed by the Sierra Club, but the organization worries about another threat. 10:51:19 – 10:51:21 “We are greatly alarmed about the fireworks.” The Club’s Richard Miller says local boosters want to bring back a Fourth of July fireworks display, something that was a staple here for decades. Those fireworks would be launched from the park right beside the sea lion rookery. 10:51:46 – 10:52:00 “If they do have fireworks here, that will flush every single one off the point, and their pups, and once again, there’s an opportunity that we lose an entire generation of sea lions just from having fireworks here.” But La Jolla boosters say the concerns are unfounded. Deborah Marengo is the director of the La Jolla Community Fireworks Foundation. She says the fireworks display is an important community building event. 00:02:16 00:02:31 “Everyone here in La Jolla loves where we live, our community or environment. If we ever thought that we were doing any type of harm by celebrating our independence day by shooting off fireworks, that show would not go on.” But the show hasn’t actually happened in La Jolla since 2017. Her group fought off legal challenges in 2010 and 2014 that raised concerns about the environmental impact of the show. 00:02:04 – 00:02:16 “There was really no merit. There was no proof the fireworks which happen one day a year on July Fourth and it’s a 25 minute show, well it had never caused any harm. The lawsuits never cancelled the fireworks display but Marengo says the legal fight impacted fundraising. There wasn’t enough money for shows in 2018 and 2019. 00:00:53 – 00:01:09 “In 2019 and the beginning of 20 some members of the community wanted to bring it back in 20-20. And we had been working on fundraising and we were ready to go with a 2020 show and then the pandemic hit.” Marengo says fireworks are under fire from another lawsuit that she says is the same as earlier challenges. But the Animal Protection and Rescue League sees it differently. Attorney Bryan Pease, who sits on the group’s board, filed suit in superior court. 00:02:02 – 00:02:26 “There’s a marine mammal rookery right there. Which has only been since 2019 declared under federal law to exist. So prior to 2019 it wasn’t the same legal landscape. So now we have the official designation of being a sea lion rookery. Whether the National Marine Fisheries Service is going to enforce that or not, I don’t know. The marine mammal protection act does not have a private right of action.” Pease says violating a federal law is seen as an unfair business practice in California and that’s the legal avenue they are pursuing. The National Marine Fisheries Service has no opinion on the legal action or the Fireworks show. It could be many months before the lawsuit is resolved. Erik Anderson KPBS News. ########## Coming up.... A new podcast exploring the origins of Comic-Con launched recently. Our Arts reporter speaks with the creators. That story’s next, just after the break. Matthew Klickstein (click-steen) and Christopher Tyler are self-described geeks who have loved Comic-Con from afar. Klickestein attended one Comic-Con with a documentary crew and Tyler, who hails from Australia, was never able to go. But their passion for geek culture led them to create a new podcast taking a deep dive into the origin story of the massive pop culture convention. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando speaks with creator and writer Klickstein, and writer and producer Tyler about their six-part "Comic-Con Begins" podcast. That was Beth Accomando speaking with Matthew Klickstein and Christopher Tyler. Their new podcast "Comic-Con Begins" launched last week with episode two debuting today. That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and 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.

Officials say the new Otay Mesa East Port of Entry Project will help facilitate and bolster trade between Mexico and the US by adding a third port of entry in the San Diego region. It will also help cut down motorist wait times at the border. Meanwhile, a fourth of July fireworks show could be returning to La Jolla, if organizers can overcome legal challenges from people concerned about sea lions. Plus, a new podcast on the origins of San Diego’s Comic-Con.