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Complaint: More families separated at border

 December 18, 2023 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Monday, December 18th.


Complaint alleges that more than one-thousand families have been separated by C-B-P, since September. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


It’s the season for respiratory viruses.

More cases mean a lot more activity in the emergency room at Rady Children’s Hospital.

Medical director for infectious diseases, Dr. John Bradley, says they’re busy, but managing.

With expected increases during the winter, he says the hospital is seeing more kids coming in with R-S-V.

Cases have been rising since October.

“Anytime a parent sees their child particularly a very young child under two having difficulty breathing you get really worried and send them into the emergency room.” 

R-S-V can also have serious implications for older, high-risk adults.

Since July, three people 65 and over have died from R-S-V,


Starting next year, more San Diegans will be eligible for full Medi-Cal coverage.

A new state law gives full Medi-Cal coverage to adults 26 to 49, regardless of immigration status.

The new initiative is different from the current restricted Medi-Cal.

Restricted Medi-Cal only covers emergency services.

The full-scope Medi-Cal will cover doctor visits, prescriptions, vaccines, mental health care, dental and vision coverage, and more.

All other Medi-Cal eligibility rules, including income limits, will still apply.

You can find more information and apply at San-Diego-County-dot-gov-slash-Medi-Cal.


Christmas is a week away.

If you’re thinking about bringing a pet home for the holidays, the county wants you to consider adopting from animal services.

They’ve extended the time they’ll be waiving adoption fees through the end of the month.

All dogs and cats adopted from county shelters will be spayed or neutered, micro-chipped and have vaccinations, and dogs will have a one-year license.

You can visit the county animal services’ adoptions page, and browse the animals available now.


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


Customs and Border Protection has separated more than one-thousand families along the San Diego border since September.

That’s according to a complaint filed last week with the federal government.

Border reporter Gustavo Solis spoke to the advocates tracking these separations.

“This is not what we imagine how the United States should be receiving folks seeking asylum.” Meghan Zavala has been tracking family separations since mid-September. That’s when U.S. Customs and Border Protection began releasing thousands of migrants into San Diego County. Zavala is the Data and Policy Analyst with Al Otro Lado, one of four organizations that filed the complaint to the Department of Homeland Security.“One of the asks that we have is for the Department of Homeland Security to expand its definition of what it considers a family group.” That’s because most family separations involve non-traditional families. They include families with children young adult children traveling with unmarried parents, or young adults with minor siblings. She says family separations happen in all sorts of ways. Sometimes when migrants are asked to stay in open-air camps out in Jacumba or San Ysidro, or while they are being processed in CBP facilities. “We have times where it’s maybe like a family group of 4 and one person is released one day and then two days later the next person, two days later the next person. We haven’t really seen a rhyme or reason as to why.” CBP did not respond to a media inquiry. Gustavo Solis, KPBS News.


At its most recent meeting, the federal reserve decided to leave interest rates unchanged.

That led to a record close for the Dow Jones last week, and a local financial expert says things are looking good, economically speaking, in 2024.

USD economics professor Alan Gin says all the predictions about sliding into a recession have not come true. In fact, he says the opposite appears to be the case.

“The rate of inflation has come down significantly.  so at one point, i think it was almost 9%.  but now the laser report showed that the rate of inflation is around 3%.”

Gin says mortgage rates are falling, and should fall even more in 2024. He says that should have the effect of making expensive homes in the region - a bit more affordable.

Here’s reporter John Carroll with more on the real estate outlook.

“i would say november was probably the quietest month i’ve had in my entire career.”that’s mike hoyt… he works for amerihome mortgage company.  he’s been in the business for more than 20 years.  but now that the fed has left the interest rate unchanged… and with predictions that they might actually lower it in 2024, he says those november doldrums have done a u-turn! “over the last 3 weeks or so, 4 weeks, the pre-approvals have just shot through the roof.  i mean, we’re getting probably like five to ten requests a week.”now, hoyt says the only problem is inventory… because lots of people with mortgage rates in the two to three percent range still don’t have much incentive to sell.  jc, kpbs news.


COP-28, the U-N Climate Conference, concluded last week.

Sci-tech reporter Thomas Fudge tells us about a local group that attended.

UC San Diego sent a 30-person delegation to COP28. Many were from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which co-hosted the Ocean Pavilion at the conference. At COP28, countries agreed on a “quote” orderly and equitable shift away from fossil fuels and to stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere by mid century. UCSD innovation and public policy professor David Victor, who attended the conference, said the agreement was not very dramatic, but…“Dealing with climate change seriously is a marathon, not a sprint.” He said the best thing about the conference in Dubai was nothing went terribly wrong and nobody walked out. “For the most part the Emirates were very good hosts and they were very skilled at running a big meeting like this. And so, one more mile in the marathon and we continue to make progress on the climate change problem.” He says while the 20-15 goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees celsius is not in the cards, we have reduced the rate of warming in a significant way. SOQ.


Coming up.... A San Diego drag queen shot to the top of the iTunes Christian music charts this year… after a Twitter tiff with a conservative worship leader.

“If there's one thing that drag performers everywhere have in common is that we know how to capitalize on a moment, you know? We know how to take something that is intended for our harm and turn it into our good.”

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


It’s that time of the year when we revisit some of our favorite stories of the year.

First up is a piece about a San Diego drag queen who topped the iTunes Christian music charts this year.

Reporter Katie Hyson sat down with Flamy Grant in August to learn the story behind the historic moment.

Matthew Lovegood grew up in what they describe as a religious bubble in North Carolina. My church was super fundamentalist, very literal interpretation of the Bible, very patriarchal, very strict. So I did not become a drag queen until I was nearly 40. I spent a long time avoiding this fate right here. Lovegood, now out as non-binary and gay, learned early not to explore gender. I definitely got the message from a really early age that this is not how a boy behaves, this is not how a boy dresses. You need to fit in better with the other boys. Lovegood became a worship pastor, and in their late 20s moved to San Diego to start a new church. During that time, they began to question what they’d been taught and embrace that they were gay. And so when I did, I got kicked out of that church. It was very hard. Lovegood says it was through doing drag that they ultimately decided to stay in the Christian church. When I started doing drag, it was inner child work for me . . sitting in my bedroom, painting my face . . . and talking to that younger version of myself and saying, okay, for years, for your whole life, for 30 years, you've carried this belief that something about you is broken and wrong and sinful and unworthy and unlovable. And what we're going to do now is . . . let that kid know you're okay, baby. Giving yourself the permission to believe in your own goodness A pastor friend invited them to give a sermon as their drag queen persona, Flamy Grant. Their practice video went viral on TikTok. I spent the entire day just scrolling through comments of people saying, this makes me feel seen and makes me feel safe, which was what drag was doing for me. It was the first time I had an inclination that my drag was not just for me, it was for other people, too. Lovegood saw there was a role for them to play in Christianity. I feel like it's important for some people to take up space in the church when there's no representation. Then, in July, Flamy Grant posed for a photo with several well-known Christian musicians from the 90s. Somehow that photo got to Sean Feucht, who is a conservative worship leader. Feucht took to Twitter. This is the end goal of deconstruction derek Webb, a former Christian musician collaborating with a drag queen. It's truly the last days. And I just replied back, “End goal, baby. No no no, we're just getting started.” He came back and said, “Well, good thing that hardly anyone listens to you or cares what you do.” Which is not a thing you say to a drag queen . . . Because if there's one thing that drag performers everywhere have in common is that we know how to capitalize on a moment. We know how to take something that is intended for our harm and turn it into our good. Lovegood asked their TikTok followers to propel their nearly year-old album, Bible Belt Baby, onto the iTunes Christian music charts. I rolled the dice knowing what I know about the queer community . . . that was a good bet. The album hit #1 shortly after. Flamy Grant was soon in the headlines of Rolling Stone, Billboard and Paste magazine. There are a lot of people looking at this moment and how I'm behaving, and I want them to see that there is such a good life for you after you leave high demand, toxic religion . . . You don't have to leave your entire faith structure. You can stick around and just do it better. In a couple weeks, Lovegood and their husband plan to move back to North Carolina. You know, I'm still a southern kid at heart, and I feel like my drag will fit well in the south . . .  I want to make an impact where laws are literally being passed against queer people, trans people. In one of their last local performances, Lovegood performed a song written from Flamy to young Matthew. Even though there were years we spent apart, I have always been the desire of your heart . . .  Katie Hyson, KPBS News.

TAG: Flamy Grant was recently hired to be the resident artist for the University Christian Church in Hillcrest.

She will visit from North Carolina to perform about four weekends a year, including this Sunday, Christmas Eve.


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

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A complaint filed with the federal government last week, alleges that Customs and Border Protection has separated more than 1,000 families along the San Diego border since September. Then, a delegation from UC San Diego attended the UN Climate Conference last week. Plus, we revisit a story about a San Diego drag queen who topped the iTunes Christian music charts this year.