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Death at Veterans Village

 July 8, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Friday, July 8th.

Tragedy at veteran’s village

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

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U-C San Diego Health has opened a Headache Center in Sorrento Valley.

It will provide specialized care for headache disorders, migraines and long-term side effects of traumatic brain injuries.

Patients will have access to both inpatient and outpatient treatments, including trigger point injections, botox, acupuncture and more.

Each room has green lighting, which has shown to lessen symptoms of headaches, sensitivity to light and anxiety.

The Headache Center will also be used for research and education on headache disorders and traumatic brain injuries.

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The San Diego International Airport is getting a grant from a one-billion-dollar national program that is funding 85 airports across the U-S.

The funds are part of President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to improve

terminals.

The San Diego Airport will receive 24-million-dollars for their Terminal 1 project.

It’s scheduled to be completed at the end of 20-28.

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Earlier this week, we told you about the beach cleanups the day after the 4th.

And now the results are in.

A total of one-thousand-six-hundred-and-45 pounds of trash was picked up at seven popular beaches in the area.

Volunteers said that the beach with the most trash collected was the O-B Dog Beach.

The organization that plans the cleanups, the Surfrider Foundation said that the collected trash was mostly single-use plastics.

Surfrider says it hopes its cleanups inspire San Diegans to decrease their use of single-use plastics and hold businesses and governments accountable for the plastic pollution.

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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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A 29-year-old Army veteran was allegedly killed by her neighbor last week at a property run by Veterans Village of San Diego, a nonprofit that helps veterans and their families.

inewsource investigative reporter Cody Dulaney has this story from someone who says she witnessed the killing.

A warning, some details may be disturbing.

VVSD MURDER 04:17 TOT SOQ

Debra Berg says it happened fast. Maybe 30 seconds. She was sitting in her truck outside of an apartment complex in Southeast San Diego run by Veterans Village. She was there to see her friend, army veteran “... and then all of a sudden, I didn’t really hear anything else, but I heard Jennelle yell, ‘Call 9-1-1, call 9-1-1!’ “ San Diego police say it started as an argument between neighbors. It ended with a 44-year-old woman under arrest for the killing. Berg says she saw the entire thing. BERG: “I couldn’t believe it. It was just a plain and simple murder, it really was.” The woman who died reached out to inewsource last year to share her concerns about Veterans Village. At the time, the single mother said she and her toddler were living in a mold-infested apartment owned by the nonprofit. She had moved there to join a housing program, which offers services like therapy and case management. But she worried about violent and aggressive neighbors. The vast majority of these residents have a significant history of trauma. Susanne Haman is a former therapist with Veterans Village. She warned management about unstable, violent people at the apartment complex when she resigned last year. She says it was a disaster waiting to happen. HAMAN: “I mean, you know the biggest safety concern that I saw was just that there were all these volatile personalities.” Last month, inewsource published an investigation into Veterans Village that revealed widespread drug use, staff misconduct and violence at its celebrated rehab center near Mission Hills. The complex where the killing occurred is in a different part of the city, but police activity has been on the rise there, too — calls to San Diego police have more than doubled in the past four years. The killing happened last Monday afternoon. Police officials say it started with a dispute. Berg isn’t sure exactly what happened. She only saw it spill out into the parking lot, when her friend started yelling at her to call 9-1-1. BERG: “I thought she was kidding. I really? I thought she was kidding. I was sitting here and then she comes walking out and the lady’s right behind her.” The woman accused of the crime, Samantha Muniz, then climbed into a car and started the ignition. BERG: “And Jennelle just stood right in front of her car with her camera, she’s like taking her picture.” Muniz started slowly inching forward, while Self stood in front, slowly backing away, keeping the camera pointed on the driver in front of her. BERG: “And the lady’s right here right now, and the lady yells, ‘Get outta the way!’ And Jennelle’s like, ‘You’re not going anywhere!’“ Then, she saw the driver accelerate and plow into Self. She didn’t think it was real until Self flew through the air and landed on her back in the middle of the road. Berg says she gasped. She remembers the swing of her friend’s hair. BERG: “And I walked up, and I mean, I'm dialing 9-1-1 and there's cars stopped on both sides and I could see that she's breathing.” Within minutes, she says police were on the scene and a crowd started to gather further up the road, apparently where the driver had come to a stop. San Diego police later said the suspect stayed at the scene. All the while, the 2-year-old son of the woman who died was in his carseat waiting for her to return. She was later pronounced dead at the hospital. Her child is now with family out of state. Muniz was arrested for murder, but later charged with lesser offenses. Berg is still trying to cope with what she witnessed. BERG: “Well, it kind of makes me really angry that it was so senseless, and that is the end of a beautiful person's life. It really, really, really makes me angry.” The death is the latest in a string of serious safety issues that have critics raising alarms about the nonprofit’s operations. In a statement, Veterans Village CEO Akilah Templeton said she was devastated to hear what happened. According to Templeton, the nonprofit has done everything it can to protect its tenants and is providing counseling. Security guards are now at the property. For KPBS, I’m inewsource investigative reporter Cody Dulaney.

This story is co-reported by Jill Castellano at inewsource, an independently funded, nonprofit partner of KPBS.

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The U-S Embassy in Mexico issued a travel advisory for Tijuana and Rosarito.

KPBS border reporter Gustavo Solis explains what the risk is and how travel groups are reacting to the news.

There were 1,972 homicides in Tijuana last year and that violence continues The violence has gotten so out of hand that the government deployed the Mexican military to Baja California. Army general Saul Luna says rival cartels are behind the bloodshed. General Saul Luna Mexican Army “El cartel de Jalisco, el cartel de Sinaloa, la parte del cartel de los Arrellano que entre lost res estan peleando para vender la droga.” Luna says three cartels – Jalisco New Generation, the Sinaloa Cartel, and remnants of the Arellano-Felix Cartel – are fighting for control of the drug trade in the city. The travel advisory says Americans should reconsider going to Tijuana or Rosarito because of potential confrontations between these three groups. Carol Kramer runs the Discover Baja Travel Club. She says the violence is mostly limited to people connected to organized crime - not tourists. She adds that Violence in Baja California is not as random as violence in the United States. Carol Kramer Discover Baja Travel Club “Unlike here in this country where you are afraid to go to a parade or even send your children to school because of mass shootings, that isn’t happening in Baja. It’s the cartels going after each other and those are the deaths.” Gustavo Solis, KPBS News

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San Diego’s tourism engine started revving up in 2021, but local officials say the region is still sputtering because it has a pandemic hangover.

KPBS Environment Reporter Erik Anderson has details.

The region’s tourism economy bounced back last year, one year after the pandemic roiled the service economy in 2020. The San Diego Tourism Authority’s Julie Coker says the region is doing better than other tourist destinations both in California and the rest of the country. She credits San Diego’s high vaccination rate as one reason visitors are returning. TOURISM 1A “There were a total of 24 million visitors that came to San Diego and we were very excited about that because it was 61 percent over 2020. However, it was still down 32 percent compared to 2019.” Two signature events that attract crowds return to San Diego this month. Both Comic Con and Pride week were canceled the last two years because of the pandemic. Erik Anderson KPBS News

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The return of those signature events brings up concerns over safety at large gatherings.

KPBS reporter John Carroll has more on how San Diego Police are preparing.

The mass shooting at this week’s Fourth of July parade in Highland Park is just the latest reason to be concerned over attending big public events. On Thursday, San Diego Police did their best to reassure people that they’re ready to keep people at Pride and Comic Con safe. San Diego Police Lieutenant Jonathan Lowe talked to the media under the big Pride flag in Hillcrest. “We’re going to have uniformed officers and non-uniformed officers in the crowd always watching over the parade route, the festival and the associated parties around Hillcrest. Same goes for Comic Con as well.” Lowe’s advice… always be aware of your surroundings… and if you see something that doesn’t look right… say something. JC, KPBS News.

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Stay with us for the latest on the local arts scene. That’s next just after the break.

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Russian composer Tchaikovsky's iconic "1812 Overture" has been removed from an upcoming concert by the San Diego Symphony.

The change was made in response to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The August 26th performance will still include other works by Tchaikovsky.

San Diego Symphony CEO Martha Gilmer said that the "1812 Overture" was cut because it was written to celebrate Russian victory at war.

“When you understand that this was commissioned to really showcase Russian imperialism and aggression and that it is the canons of war, it feels to us highly inappropriate to perform it this year.”

In place of the "1812 Overture," the Symphony will perform Tchaikovsky's "The Tempest," which was inspired by Shakespeare's play and not often performed in San Diego.

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A renovation is happening at the New Village Arts Center in Carlsbad.

And along with it comes a new name.

KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne gives us the details.

Sledgehammers broke into the walls of the New Village Arts Center in Carlsbad on Thursday. NVA held a groundbreaking event celebrating the renovation of the center. Kristianne Kurner, the founder and executive artistic director for NVA says the center will turn into a cultural gathering space for everyone in North County. And along with the renovation of the building comes a new name.“When the Dea Hurston New Village Arts Center reopens in December of this year this will be a place where all members of the community will be welcome to experience that adventurous art.” Dea Hurston has been a leader in the theater community and created opportunities for people of color. NVA says they will be the first arts center in the country to be named after a Black woman in the past 50 years. TT KPBS News

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In 2018, Matt Rotman created a blog focused on the genre films he loved.

Now the San Diego-based author has a book inspired by the blog called Bonkers Ass Cinema: A Guide to the Wildest of Horror and Exploitation Cinema.

KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando speaks with the author.

Matt Rotman will be signing copies of his book and presenting the film Nightbeast at Digital Gym Cinema tomorrow at one in the afternoon.

He and Beth Accomando are volunteer programmers at Film Geeks S-D, which is hosting the event.

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One last thing before you go — San Diego Opera is back on K-P-B-S radio.

And tomorrow (Saturday) at 8 at night, you can listen to the sounds of Romeo and Juliette.

To listen to the opera adaptation of the Shakespeare play, tune in at kpbs.org or by turning your radio dial to 89.5 FM or 89.1 in La Jolla.

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That’s it for the podcast today. This podcast is produced by KPBS Senior Radio Producer Brooke Ruth and Producer Emilyn Mohebbi. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS.org. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

A 29-year-old Army veteran was allegedly killed by her neighbor last week at a property run by nonprofit Veterans Village of San Diego.. Meanwhile, how San Diego police are preparing for safety at large events. Plus, details on the makeover of a new arts center in Carlsbad.