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A university in the South Bay?

 January 11, 2023 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Wednesday, January 11th.

Efforts to bring a four-year university to the South Bay. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

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Governor Newsom wants to patch a projected shortfall in the state budget through a mix of cuts, spending delays and shifts in how projects are paid for.

One thing he doesn’t plan to do yet, is dip into the state’s rainy day fund, which could cover the expected 22-billion-dollar budget deficit.

He says he’s committed to funding major priorities in social services, such as universal pre-k by 20-25 and expanded health care for undocumented immigrants.

"We are protecting the most vulnerable Californians despite the situational challenge."

Most of Newsom’s budget cuts would come from climate programs.

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The first round of new green bins and kitchen pails will be delivered today, as part of the City of San Diego’s new Organic Waste Recycling program.

Residents living in Mt. Hope and Logan Heights will be the first to get their bins.

The City will collect organic waste from the new green bins weekly.

It will be taken to the Miramar Greenery, where it will be composted.

The rollout will continue over the next few months.

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S-D-G-AND-E is making one-million-dollars available for those struggling with higher bills.

The announcement comes as customers are seeing a huge spike in their bills this month, because of rising natural gas prices.

To qualify, you must be experiencing serious illness, temporary unemployment, disability or unusual hardship.

Those who qualify can get up to 300-dollars to help with past-due bills.

To apply, call 2-1-1.

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From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need.

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Weather forecasts for yesterday had the city of San Diego getting up to an inch of rain.

But the forecast was off.

KPBS reporter John Carroll looked into how the weather service forecasts where atmospheric rivers will hit and how much rain they’ll drop.

High winds forecast for San Diego showed up on Tuesday… but the amount of rain forecast appears to be off.  National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Tardy says corridors that atmospheric rivers are found in can be very narrow… 50 to 60 miles, can make all the difference in how much rain falls where.  But Tardy says California scientists are now taking a page out of their east coast counterparts’ playbook, the ones that fly planes into hurricanes.  That’s now happening here with atmospheric rivers. “And the end result will be what you’re talking about - better data and more precise forecasting with higher confidence and longer lead time.” More lead time to help Californians prepare for anything from torrential flood-inducing rain to just a few scattered showers. JC, KPBS News.

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History was made at the county Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday when Supervisor Nora Vargas became chair of the governing body.

KPBS reporter Alexander Nguyen says she is now the first Latina and immigrant to lead the Board.

Nora Vargas replaces Supervisor Nathan Fletcher who was chair for two terms. Last month … he announced he would not seek a third term and would nominate Vargas as his successor. Some of her legislative priorities for this year include community infrastructure, homelessness and housing. “We are going to be faced with some tough times. We're transitioning from the pandemic. Many of our folks are really suffering. We still have folks who are going to sleep, kids who go to sleep hungry right now, people who don't have shelter. We need to make sure we have more housing. So for me, it's about making sure our families come first. They have access to food and the services that we can provide in the county.”  And there’s another first for the supervisors…For the first time in the county’s history, two women will be leading the board. Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer was named as vice chair. A/N.

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Also at the board of supes meeting yesterday, more than half a dozen people urged the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to settle a wrongful termination lawsuit against its Public Defender Office.

Here’s KPBS’s Amita Sharma with more.

Ex-deputy public defender Michelle Reynoso is alleging the county fired her because of her off-hours work with Black Lives Matter and for complaining about what she viewed as racist comments made by a supervisor. Last week, a San Diego County jury awarded $2.6 million to Zach Davina, another former public defender who also complained about that supervisor’s alleged racist comments. The jury also found that Davina, who is gay, was discriminated against because of his gender expression. Speakers at the supervisors meeting said given the verdict in Davina’s case, the county should settle Reynoso’s case. Here is a speaker who introduced himself as Bobby “Why? Why continue to litigate this matter? Pride? To save face? Please don’t waste our money. Do the right thing. Just settle this case.” Reynoso’s case is scheduled for trial next month. Amita Sharma, KPBS News.

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Two San Diego-based companies are getting the backing of the Department of Energy as they work to build better electric vehicle batteries.

KPBS Environment reporter Erik Anderson says the local funding is part of a broader initiative to beef up the nation’s battery supply chain.

South 8 Technologies is pioneering battery technology that could make EVs safer and more powerful.  The firm fills the batteries with liquefied gas instead of liquid electrolytes used in current EV batteries.  South 8 Technology’s Cyrus Rustomji says their process reduces the battery’s fire risk, allows the battery to hold a charge in colder temperatures and lets the device store more energy. Cyrus Rustomji, South 8 Technologies “There are a lot of groups out there pushing for so-called solid-state batteries which as the name implies, it’s a solid material which conducts lithium ions.  But that has many more years to go in terms of development.” San Diego based Tyfast energy also landed a two-point-eight million dollar grant to pioneer high density and fast charging batteries that last a long time.  A dozen companies got a share of 42 million dollars in federal funding. Erik Anderson KPBS News

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San Diego’s South Bay is home to about 450-thousand people.

But it’s not home to a public four-year university… At least, not yet.

KPBS reporter Jacob Aere updates us on efforts to bring a university presence to South County.

Right now, Southwestern College is the South Bay’s only public option for higher education. That’s where Faisal Alnajjar  is now studying dental hygiene. He already has a bachelor’s degree in human biology from UC San Diego… roughly 20 miles north… Faisal Alnajjar  Southwestern College Student “There was a lot of people that commuted from South Bay to UCSD. Now imagine telling them they can go to some classes 10 minutes from home instead of having to drive all the way up here.” And that idea is becoming reality … starting with San Diego State University's new TV and film studio coming to Chula Vista. And more university expansions could be on the way. Maria Anguiano is a UC regent… and a National City native. Maria Anguiano  University of California Regent “The South Bay is a vibrant, dynamic community with a lot of talent. And we want to make sure UC is at the table.” So the UC is starting to look at sites for a satellite campus in South Bay. The city of Chula Vista has already set aside nearly 400 acres near Otay Ranch Town Center – with plans for a combined university and technology park. John McCann Mayor of Chula Vista “It's been a project that's been ongoing for over 30 years.” John McCann is the new mayor of Chula Vista. John McCann Mayor of Chula Vista “And we’re building around it to be able to make sure the campus has the infrastructure, has the housing, to be able to support the university.” While the city has set aside land for a university, Anguiano says the exact location for a South Bay UC expansion isn’t set in stone. Maria Anguiano  University of California Regent “Some campuses have huge room to grow … others are going to grow in ways of creating satellite campuses, using opportunistic spaces, partnerships with community college campuses.” Wherever a new school goes, Alnajjar says he hopes the needs of local students are considered. Faisal Alnajjar Southwestern College Student “Some might not have a car, some may not be able to afford the gas, some might not be able to afford the parking permit.” McCann says having a university will lead to economic and binational growth for Chula Vista. John McCann Mayor of Chula Vista “You talk to almost anybody in the community, they're encouraging a university. And we want to make sure that our kids, our grandchildren have the opportunity to be able to go to college in Chula Vista.” Assemblyman David Alvarez represents most of the South Bay.  He says many South County students end up studying and working outside of the region they grew up in. A university would keep them closer to home. David Alvarez California Assemblymember, District 80“ So we have land, however what we need now is the investment to actually build.” A South Bay satellite campus can also help the U-C system meet its goal of adding up to 33-thousand more students … by 2030. Richard Leib Chair of UC Board of Regents “We have way too many students that are qualified that can't get in.” Richard Leib  is the chair of the UC Board of Regents. He also lives in San Diego county. Richard Leib Chair of UC Board of Regents “And we want to be able to provide education to those and access to those because we know when someone goes to a University of California, they come out in a much better position.” The first step is a tour of the proposed sites with UC San Diego chancellor Pradeep Khosla (Co-sluh)… who will have to make the proposal for a satellite campus. Rich Leib Chair of UC Board of Regents “I don't know how long it will take to actually have an open area, an open campus. But I do know that the chancellor has made a commitment to us, that it's something that he definitely wants.” Groundbreaking for SDSU’s new studio is expected to happen this year. Alvarez helped to secure funding for the project … and has big goals for the long-term future. David Alvarez California Assemblymember, District 80  “Five, seven, ten years after we've got several programs running, perhaps this becomes its own institution. Because there's been growth, there's enough attraction there and we decide this should be a new state university of some sort.” UC Alum Alnajjar has one request for universities that come to South County: Faisal AlnajjarSouthwestern College Student “It should really be modeled after what Southwestern has offered me – which is smaller classes, and a more intimate connection with the professor – like they actually know you.” UC officials plan to do their site tour in the first quarter of this year. JA KPBS News.

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Coming up.... We talk about the KPBS One Book, One San Diego selection for teens. We’ll have that and more, just after the break.

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Over the last 30 years, obesity has more than doubled in young children -- and the American Academy of Pediatrics is presenting comprehensive strategies that stress early interventions.

Such as nutrition based treatments, counseling, medication or surgery for teens.

The idea is to not take a wait-and-see approach anymore.

Rady Children’s Hospital’s Dr. Jeffrey Schwimmer says parents should expect their kids to be screened for health conditions caused or made worse by obesity.

“Parents can anticipate that their children are more likely to have screenings for these health conditions -- diabetes, liver disease, high cholesterol at age 9 or 10.”

It’s still unclear how insurance companies will react to these recommendations in their coverage plans.

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The latest KPBS One Book, One San Diego selection for teens is "The Magic Fish."

It’s a graphic novel by writer and illustrator Trung Le Nguyen, also known as ‘Trungles.’

It’s about a second generation Vietnamese American teenager who uses fairy tales to help his mother learn English.

Nguyen spoke with KPBS Arts producer and editor Julia Dixon Evans about the book.

That was Trung Le Nguyen, author of "The Magic Fish," speaking with KPBS’s Julia Dixon Evans.

For more about KPBS's One Book, One San Diego, go to KPBS-dot-org.

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And before you go… there’s still time to call us up and tell us your new year’s resolutions!

You can share your 20-23 goals by calling us at 6-1-9- 4-5-2-0-2-2-8 and leaving a voicemail.

You can also visit w-w-w-dot-kpbs-dot-org-slash-goals and tell us there.

We look forward to hearing what you have in store for the new year.

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That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

Efforts are underway to bring a university presence to South County. In other news, history was made at the county Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, when Supervisor Nora Vargas became chair of the governing body. Plus, tell us your new year’s resolutions by leaving us a voicemail, with your name and what part of San Diego County you live in, at 619-452-0228.