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Another holiday surge expected

 November 29, 2022 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Tuesday, November 29th.>>>>

For those that want to “clown around,” Diversionary Theater has a class for that.

More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

More than twelve-hundred sailors on the U-S-S Tripoli are expected to return to San Diego today after a seven-month deployment. The amphibious assault carrier left Naval Base San Diego on May second for the western Pacific ocean.

This was its first deployment.

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The U-S Men’s soccer team faces Iran in the World Cup today. The game will start at 11 this morning.

The match will be the U-S’s final match in the group stage. If they win they will go on to the next round. If they tie or lose they’ll be eliminated from the tournament.Fans can watch the game at Guava Beach Bar and Grill in Mission Beach and Fairplay in Downtown San Diego. It will also be streamed at some library locations.

Go to KPBS dot org for details on the watch parties.

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Around two-hundred-fifty million gallons of water are being released from Hodges Reservoir into the San Dieguito River this week.

The release started yesterday and continues today.

More water could be released depending on this week’s weather.

The release is needed because the water level is higher than the state-mandated level. The reservoir water levels rose after the last rainfall.

The city-owned reservoir is mostly used to store drinking water.

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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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Climate change is threatening the beloved Joshua trees in the Mojave [mo-HA-vee] Desert. But for years, California officials have struggled to decide whether to list it as an endangered species.

That’s because climate change hasn’t been used as a reason a species might go extinct.

Caleigh Wells from member station KCRW reports.

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San Diego hospitals are preparing for more patients after the thanksgiving holiday.

KPBS Health Reporter Matt Hoffman says it’s not too late to help prevent another winter surge.

Around this time last year is when COVID-related hospitalizations started increasing.. Scripps Health's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ghazala Sharieff says about a week ago they had 52 COVID positive patients and now it has risen to just over 80– Dr. Ghazala Sharieff, Scripps Health Chief Medical Officer: So we’re tracking unfortunately at the same rate as last year so we do expect that surge to come right after the holidays -- rinse and repeat we’ve done this before. Flu cases were low last year, but this November is seeing the most cases in at least a decade.. Health officials are encouraging residents to stay up to date with influenza and the bivalent COVID vaccines. We still have christmas and new years, we still have a chance to not get back to where we were last january. But that’s only if everyone pitches in and does their part. MH KPBS News.

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San Diego County election results are supposed to be certified on December EIGHTH, but the Registrar of Voters is still counting ballots.

KPBS reporter Alexander Nguyen explains why the counting process takes so long.

As of Monday evening … there were nearly 9 thousand ballots left to tally in San Diego County. Most are ballots needed to be cured … or have the signature verified. Those ballots need to go through a lengthy process to confirm that they are valid …  says Kim Alexander with California Voter Foundation … a nonprofit working to improve the voting process. “To make sure that nobody's voting more than once, only valid ballots are being counted, and if there is a problem with the ballot like the envelope wasn't signed by the voter. The county is required to contact voters and give them a chance to submit a valid signature, so their ballot can be counted.” Another reason for the delay… more than 90-PERCENT of voters voted by mail in San Diego this election with some of those ballots arriving on or after election day. AN/KPBS

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Coming up.... A place where being a class clown is a good thing.

We’ll have that story and more, next, just after the break.

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This is the last week of instruction for the fall quarter at U-C San Diego… and the third week of a strike by thousands of academic workers across the U-C system.

Here’s KPBS reporter Kitty Alvarado with an update on the contract talks.

What do we want better contracts when do we want them now. Hundreds of striking UC San Diego academic workers shut down several streets around campus Monday, marching to demand better pay and benefits. Negotiations are continuing, and both sides say they’ve made some tentative agreements. But they can’t agree on pay, housing and tuition costs. The whole reason we’re striking is because of the fact that they couldn't bargain with us in good faith. Aidee Mariscal is a teaching assistant and the UCSD 2865 Unit Chair. She says they are the workhorses of the university system, for the lowest pay … we’re only paid to work like 10 to 20 hours a week and people are working way more than that and getting paid like less than minimum wage to do it the UC find like loopholes.  Mariscal says she  has often had two other jobs to survive.. While also going to school.. And she says that's not uncommon, and others  have to live out of their cars. It’s hard to focus on all of this when you’re wondering how am I going to get my groceries how am I going to pay my rent and that is a constant thing that you’re thinking about all the time. A spokesperson for the UC system says they will continue to negotiate in good faith and are committed  to achieving a fair and reasonable contract. Kitty Alvarado KPBS News.

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The art of clowning isn’t what it used to be.

Students of all ages are now pursuing a form of comedy that left the circus behind.

KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez gives us a look inside Clown School.

“I’m Ella the Clown…whomp!” On a Saturday afternoon in Mission Bay…class is in session…and Ella the Clown is the teacher…proudly wearing her colorful makeup and big red nose. “this is the world’s smallest mask…it’s very true…but it’s not a mask because it’s hiding anything, it’s a mask because it’s helping you reveal inner truths.” “this is the most excited you’ve ever been…yeah!” Behind the big red nose… Ella.. is really Danielle Levsky…a certified clown, writer, producer, and educator. She teaches children how to use their imaginations through games… triggering exaggerated emotions…truthful emotions that are also entertaining…taking the audience on quite a ride. “It is quite like a volcano…it starts building up, starts rumbling…and then it erupts…it’s very exciting…it’s the big moment for everyone…and it slowly goes back down, and there’s some joy to be found there, too.” Ella is just one of Danielle’s clown characters. “So this is Baba Yana, the Soviet Jewish grandma clown.” “she’s also based on the women in my family…all of their neurosis and anxieties and love and care…all wrapped up into one chaotic clown.” “Hello, hello…welcome to the Sassy Salon!” Once a month, the Jewish grandmother clown is emcee of the Thursday night open mic show at Diversionary Theatre. Levsky also leads a weekly class at the theatre, teaching adults how to clown. “feel free to play with the volume …the intonation…the movement.” Brittany Wood is one of her students. “I’m an epidemiologist…so I work for the county and I do data research for opioid overdoses, substance abuse, mental health disorders…so this is quite different from my day job.” …not exactly a resume you would expect from someone learning to be genuinely funny…along with embracing the joy in failure, and re-discovering their inner child…all of that part of the curriculum in this clown class…and Wood … is here for it…“this is the first time I’ve gone on stage and really been silly in front of other people and let go…it’s kind of cool I can show other people that side of me.” “if you have a boo boo or a lousy week…” Dr. Fancy is a professional clown with a mission in medicine. He’s a character created by Skyler Sullivan, who is the Education Director at the Diversionary Theatre. He also works as a therapeutic children’s hospital clown. “even a child who is fighting for their life in a chronic or terminal situation…there are still pieces of that human that can have joy and release by laughing.” “Yee-haw! Yee-haw!” so…the hey day of clowns in a three-ring circus has evolved to a higher purpose…and it’s happening in the controlled chaos of a classroom…where Brittany Wood, the county epidemiologist is getting closer to owning her big red nose…“I feel like I’ve been making more jokes…and I’ve been a little more open, using my facial expressions and trying to be more engaged and open with myself.” Danielle Levsky will continue to use Ella and Baba Yana...as inspiration for the next generation of class clowns…“come down here ….2-3-4…and big finish.” MGP…KPBS News 

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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. Web producer Lara McCaffrey produced today’s podcast. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

San Diego hospitals are preparing for more patients after the Thanksgiving holiday. Experts have warned of a “tripledemic” as COVID-19, RSV and flu cases increase. Plus, California officials have long hesitated to list the beloved Joshua trees as endangered. Why? Climate change has never been used as a reason for a species’ possible extinction. And, a place where being a “class clown” is a good thing — Diversionary Theater in San Diego is teaching the art of clowning to students of all ages.