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Better Health Services For San Diego’s Incarcerated

 September 9, 2021 at 5:15 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Thursday, September 9th >>>> Improving health services for incarcerated people More on that next, but first... let’s do the headlines…. ###### The county’s suicide prevention council released its annual report on the status of suicides in san diego. The county behavioral health director Dr. Luke Bergmann says the pandemic exposed the inequities correlated with mental health. He says rates of psychological distress among people in lower income brackets are especially high both during the pandemic and in previous years. Bergmann says the most important thing we can do is check in with others. ######## One of san diego county’s former top-doctors is suing, alleging he was retaliated against and fired due to disability discrimination. Dr. Nick Yphantides (yif-ann-tee-deez) was the county’s chief medical officer for more than a decade.. And was one of the most visible officials leading the region's response to the pandemic early on. He says after working around the clock relating to the covid response he broke down.. suffering depression and anxiety which resulted in him taking a medical leave. when i returned it was clear to me that i was viewed by the county as damaged goods and within a few months the county fired me because i had sought some emotional and mental refuge His attorneys allege after the medical leave, county officials demanded he take a fitness test, which wasn’t completed before he was let go. A county spokesperson says they don’t comment on pending litigation. ######### Heat advisories are in effect today through until Friday night for the mountains and valley areas of San Bernardino, San Diego and Riverside Counties. The state’s power grid operator, or Cal Iso, also issued a flex alert for 4 to 9pm today. A flex alert is a request that residents voluntarily conserve energy by avoiding using major appliances. ######### From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. County leaders announced a new framework to address drug use and mental health in jails.. KPBS health reporter Matt Hoffman says the goal of the program is to stop the cycle of drug use, which officials say will save lives and make our communities safer. County officials are shifting what they do in jails, spending 25 million dollars to address the underlying causes of addiction and mental health during and continuing after incarceration. Martinez we have very limited medically assisted treatment programs in the jail it’s primarily for our pregnant females Undersheriff Kelly Martinez says around 160 county health workers will be brought into jails, offering treatment to inmates who have substance abuse issues. Kelly Martinez, San Diego County Undersheriff Right now they dont have any kind of program that will bring them down off of those drugs they just have to come off of the drugs on their own so this will provide them some other medications that will make that easier and make that transition easier Part of the program involves offering treatment after people are released from jail. The changes haven’t started yet and officials say it will take time to implement them county-wide. MH KPBS News. ########## A new study finds the push to secure more water in California may hurt the state’s ability to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals. KPBS Environment Reporter Erik Anderson has details. A new study from the non partisan group Next 10 and the Pacific Institute finds the state’s drive for drinkable water may actually increase greenhouse gas emissions in the future. The study examined the connection between water use and power. Peter Gleick, Pacific Institute ““It takes a tremendous amount of energy, it turns out, to collect, to produce, to treat, to distribute and to use the water that we use.” Droughts fed by climate change will likely increase local pressure to tap into new water sources. But two San Diego strategies, desalination and treatment of used water, both carry high energy price tags. Reducing the demand for water is key. Heather Cooley Pacific Institute “Water conservation and efficiency can help us meet, not only our water goals, but or energy and climate goals. And there are many things that we can be doing in our homes and businesses and agriculture to help advance efficiencies.” Cooley says conservation has helped keep water demand from growing, even as the state’s population has grown. She says cutting outdoor water use “We spend a tremendous amount of water irrigating our landscape. In many cases irrigating very water intensive lawns for example. We have tremendous opportunities now to be moving away from lawns and putting in low water use plants.” The report also recommends using renewable power to ease the climate impact of using energy to generate or move water. Erik Anderson KPBS News ######### A second record fire season in a row is upon us, with no end in sight. As CapRadio’s Mike Hagerty tells us, Cal Fire is urging Californians to stay vigilant. Cal Fire Chief Thom Porter says we should resist the urge to think Labor Day marks the end of summer and the end of fire season. “Some have turned to, uh, looking forward as if this is now fall, uh, summer season is over. We’re right smack in the middle of wildfire peak season.” History backs Porter up. Autumn has traditionally been a time of the most extreme wildfires in California, as vegetation is at its driest. The 2018 Camp Fire, which killed 85 people and destroyed much of the town of Paradise, began in November. Cal Fire’s long range weather models for September through December don’t offer much cause for optimism. “The entire state shows drier, more wind events and large fire activity to continue.” Porter says if you see smoke, don’t assume someone else has reported it, call it in. And---if you’re ordered to evacuate, leave, so his firefighters can do their jobs of protecting lives and property. In Sacramento, I’m Mike Hagerty. ####### FilmOut San Diego’s LGBTQ Film Festival returns to an in person event tonight (THURSDAY) with a film from Estonia called Firebird. KPBS film critic Beth Accomando has this review. Firebird will be the in person opening night feature for FilmOut, San Diego’s LGBTQ Film Festival. The film begins in 1977 at a Soviet Air Force Base where a young soldier falls in love with a dashing fighter pilot. CLIP Someone filed a report about us… they didn’t mention names but the KGB knows something… Although the film is set in the past, director Peeter Rabane says it’s very much about current issues. PEETER RABANE: I think it's really heartbreaking and in a way scary to see what's going on around the world, really in the last ten years. I mean, look at Iran or Afghanistan, you can get killed for who you love and execute it officially by the state. And Russia has been worryingly, actually going also back towards much more discrimination and really hate speech and hate crime over the last eight years since the introduction of this new laws against, quote, unquote homosexual propaganda. Firebird star Tom Prior is coming to FilmOut’s opening night this evening at the San Diego Natural History Museum. The festival then continues through Sunday at the Museum of Photographic Arts Beth Accomando, KPBS News. ########## Coming up.... this Saturday, it will be 20-years since the 9/11 attack on America. “everybody wanted to do something and i just, i always consider myself lucky because i had a mission to do, or at least i should say, looking back, i consider myself lucky because it’s something that i could just focus on.” Stories of San diegans who answered the call in the nation’s time of need. That’s next, just after the break. Saturday marks 20 years since 9/11. In the hours following the attacks, while most of us were still trying to get our minds around what had happened… a select few - firefighters trained in rescue operations - were already heading to New York. KPBS’ John Carroll brings us the story of two San Diego firefighters who answered the call to help. the images from that day are seared into our consciousness… the attacks at the twin towers… the world trade center… a plane slamming directly into the pentagon, another meant for the u-s capitol… forced off course by a group of passengers… crashing into a field in shanksville, pennsylvania. but for some san diegans, the memories from that day are more than images...they saw the devastation first hand once they arrived in manhattan to help. “i was a member of the urban search and rescue team, california task force 8.” “i was on the urban search and rescue team.” track: john wood and matt nilsen… today an assistant chief and battalion chief… back then --- san diego firefighters. we interviewed chief wood in front of fire station 21 in pacific beach, where a beautiful memorial stands to those who gave everything on that day. two shiny replicas of the twin towers… and sitting between them, a piece of steel from the real towers. like most of us of a certain age - wood and nilsen both recall clearly where they were and what they were doing when they learned of the attacks. “i was at my home in rancho penasquitos and having two little babies at home and then my wife, an educator was at work. i had laid down because i learned to sleep when the babies sleep and she called me and said, hey, put the news on real quick. so i know everybody does remember. i remember it like it was yesterday.” track: nilsen was out for a morning jog. back then, there was no cell phone coverage where he was running. “as soon as i got back into cell coverage, cause i was down on the beaches west of sunset cliffs, and i got back and my wife had called and explained to me what was going on. and i finished my jog and got back home and was watching the news.” track: but there was very little time to watch the news. wood says within a half hour of seeing the devastation unfold on tv, he was packing his bags. “we were packing up and getting ready to go, getting down to our rescue warehouse and getting ready to take 80 members to there, to be ready within 4 hours.” track: matt nilsen’s specialty back then, as it is today, was communications. he arrived before his fellow san diegans… there just hours after the attacks... the job of setting up equipment so people could communicate - was urgent. “i was on a forward mission and was on top of the western union building the very first night that was looking directly into the pile. and i was climbing up on scaffolding and installing antennas and establishing communications for a task force.” track: nilsen says he was as prepared as he could be for the sight that would greet him in new york. and though ground zero was a nightmarish place at that time… he’s thankful his career called him to be in that place at that moment. “everybody wanted to do something and i just, i always consider myself lucky because i had a mission to do, or at least i should say, looking back, i consider myself lucky because it’s something that i could just focus on.” track: once his job setting up radio communications was complete, nilsen joined his fellow firefighters down on the pile... there were some truly awful moments. “we recovered a lot of body parts while we were there and you know the biggest thing is the smell. so a lot of times we’re in horrific low light conditions, but you could smell something and so we bring our dogs in. people lose sight on how important closure is. if you’ve ever lost somebody, you want to know what happened.” track: now, 20-years later - a good place to get a visceral feel for what happened is found downtown at the san diego firefighters museum. there are displays that bring back the unspeakable loss suffered that day… including a picture showing the faces of all 343 new york city firefighters who lost their lives in the towers. in total, more than 3,000 people died on 9/11… and the message from back then is the one hometown heroes like john wood and matt nilsen still remind us of today… never forget. jc, kpbs news. 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.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department and the Health And Human Services Agency's Behavioral Health Services division, under an agreement announced Wednesday, will seek to develop a better way to provide behavioral and physical health services in the county's seven detention facilities. Meanwhile, a new report on the state's drive for more drinking water finds the search may be helping create conditions for more droughts. Plus, this Saturday marks 20 years since the 9/11 attacks on America. We have the stories of two San Diego fire fighters who went to New York to help in the rescue and recovery efforts.