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Food insecurity in Vista

 July 5, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Erik Anderson, in for Debbie Cruz….it’s Tuesday, July 5th. I hope you all had a great holiday weekend!

Food insecurity in Vista

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

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If you are traveling through the San Diego International Airport this week, prepare for congestion and delays. The delays are caused by the demolition of a pedestrian bridge at Terminal 1. Taxis, ride share services and rental car buses are being relocated to an area in the old Terminal 1 parking lot. Parking at the airport will also be very limited.

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The state is making a big investment to relocate the railroad tracks off of the Del Mar Bluffs. SANDAG has received 300-million-dollars from the governor's budget for the project. While a new route hasn’t been selected for a project expected to cost much more than 300-million dollars … SANDAG’s Coleen Clementson says the agency has been working on the plan for decades and the state money will move the project forward.

“Really what this funding allows us to do is the detailed study of exactly how to do that, where the tunneling would occur. Making sure that we're taking into account all of the environmental considerations, so essentially what allows us to do is all the studies, all the engineering to get the project shovel ready.”

Clementson anticipates the studies will take about two-and-a-half years.

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The San Diego County Fair has officially wrapped up for the year. It was the first year back, after a cancellation and a scaled-down version because of the pandemic. But the number of people who attended this year’s fair was lower than previous years. The San Diego Union-Tribune says while crowds were smaller this year, people stayed longer and spent more money.

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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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Think of the grocery store closest to your home. If it were to close down, how would it impact you and your family? KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne takes a look at how a Vons closing its doors in Vista could make it hard for some to access fresh, healthy food.

Mark Day and his wife Fredi Avalos used to get their groceries from Vons in Vista. The store was less than 5 minutes away from their house. But that Vons is now closed and boarded up. “Being able to have a grocery store that is very close and accessible has always been important to us and that is why we are feeling the strong effects of now being forced to drive a considerable way to get fresh food.” Avalos says Vons’ closure doesn’t come as a surprise because in the last couple of years the shopping center started to feel unsafe. “There were many times where I would get out of my car and be accosted. I stopped going there completely at night. I have not been to the Vons center at night for at least 5 years. It simply does not feel safe and I know people who frequent that shopping center or used to, feel the same way.” KPBS requested an interview with Vons to ask about the reason for the closure. The company did not respond. We did talk to some Vons employees, who didn’t want to be recorded out of fear of losing their jobs. Some think the store was closed because of the increase of homeless in the area and the thefts the store was dealing with on a regular basis. Others told us it was due to the high cost to repair the refrigeration system and the store not making a profit. No matter the reason, the Vons closure adds to the growing number of empty stores in the shopping center. Avalos thinks Vista’s city council has neglected this part of the city, while making improvements downtown. “They have moved mountains to bring in new stores and great restaurants and breweries and it hasn’t necessarily been bad but we can’t focus on one part of our community and turn our back on another part of our community.” Avalos says her and her husband are lucky to have a car and be able to drive further but she knows not everyone has that privilege. “People don't have the money for an uber, people do not have friends or family that can take them regularly to the grocery store and even when the Vons was here one of the saddest things I would experience, and this I saw everyday are poor people and their families carrying groceries. Sometimes in the hot sun, sometimes in the rain. Without Vons I don't even know where they're going to get the groceries that they would carry home.” 76 year old Alexis White doesn't own a car…. But she has a motorized scooter. “I get in it, ride over and bring the stuff back” White lives in a senior community across the street from the Vons. She says many of her neighbors relied on it. “It's making a hardship for a lot of people, I never knew that I would miss it.” Since the closure of Vons, White has made the journey to Winco in Oceanside, where she thinks groceries are affordably priced. “I think Winco being the cheapest store and I guess it's not too far, I could take the bus over or the train.” City council member Corinna Contreras says food insecurity is an issue for many Vista residents and the loss of a grocery store makes that problem worse. “It's really heartbreaking, I just fear that the quality of nutrition is going to be going down because what’s most accessible there is CVS.. 7-11. You're not going to get nutritional, dietary needs, for your children to grow up w/o health concerns.” Contreras says the city council needs to discuss the safety concerns surrounding the shopping center and how to get the nearby residents access to fresh food. “We can’t survive off of fast food, convenience food, we’re human beings and we need real food to grow. and we need a safe place to be able to shop so. You know, with Vons leaving it really gives me a lot of concern about what's going to happen with that shopping Center. She says the city has no information on what is taking Vons’ place because it is a private sale. TT KPBS News.

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Fourth of July is one of the busiest days of the year at San Diego beaches, with crowds swelling to hundreds of thousands of people… But the water wasn’t clean everywhere this year. KPBS Health reporter Matt Hoffman has more on the warnings for South Bay shores.

We’re just going for a walk Chula Vista residents Melaine and Kylie Regadio were spending the 4th of July Holiday soaking up the sun, but they weren’t happy to again see signs showing the ocean has unsafe levels of bacteria.. Melania & Kylie Ragadio, Chula Vista Residents And are you guys getting in the water? No not getting in. Why not? Just cause we don’t have our bathing suits and we came down to walk. Plus I saw the signs and I don’t trust it, it’s dirty This year San Diego county officials began using more accurate bacteria tests and the result has been more beach warnings in the South Bay. Over the weekend official warnings for Coronado, Silver Strand and Imperial beach were lifted.. Officials say there haven’t been any recent sewage spills from Mexico, but are still issuing general advisories in Coronado and IB after finding bacteria above state health standards. MH KPBS News.

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While many celebrated the 4th of July by hitting the beach, the Surfrider Foundation has been prepping for today the dirtiest day at the beach. KPBS reporter Tania Thorne tells us about the ‘Morning After Mess’ beach cleanups.

Alex Ferran says the ‘morning after mess’ beach cleanup is an annual tradition. She is San Diego’s chapter manager for the Surfrider Foundation. “Every single year, the fourth of July is the highest attended day. At the beach, and as a result, the fifth of July is the dirtiest day so year after year, we have been showing up at the beach on the fifth of July, no matter what day of the week, it is and finding. Quite a mess, This year, there are 7 clean up sites from Oceanside to Ocean Beach where volunteers can come help clean up from 8 to 11. And Ferran says they always need more volunteers. “many hands make really good work, so if you think that just one person can't make a huge difference and it's just simply not the case and we could certainly use your help on the ground.” To find a site near you visit san diego dot surfrider dot org. TT KPBS News.

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Coming up.... microscopic creatures in our homes. We’ll have that story and more, next, just after the break.

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Not everyone celebrated the 4th of July this year. Hundreds of abortion rights supporters protested in Balboa Park yesterday, instead. KPBS News reporter M.G. Perez has the story.

The abortion rights supporters wanted a place to be angry and heard on the day traditionally celebrated for American Independence. … more than a week after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, The Party for Socialism and Liberation coordinated a rally for community members of different beliefs and backgrounds. They were united in demanding truth and justice for women’s healthcare. Vicki Pinkus remembers a time before the legalization of abortion. “obviously the anti abortion thing has been going on for decades and the culmination has been with these liars on the Supreme Court. We must band together and take action for the sake of our children.” After the holiday march, there was an education session in the park for supporters to learn strategies for organizing protests in the future. MGP KPBS NEWS.

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Researchers at UC San Diego have released a study on the microbiome of a house, essentially identifying all the microscopic materials they found. The goal was to learn what microscopic creatures live in your home and what environment they create for human occupants.

KPBS science and technology reporter Thomas Fudge has the story.

The study, published in Science Advances, came from analysis of test samples from a house where volunteers lived for 26 days, participating in predetermined activities. Bioengineering grad student Rodolpho Salida was a study co-author. He says the samples were collected on cotton swabs used to wipe counters, floors and sinks in the house to capture the resident microbes. “The data collection was as simple as that. I believe the hardship came from tracking the identity of each sample and then generating the data that is used in the analysis.” The researchers identified microbes through DNA sequencing. Some bacteria they found in the home… two “hotspots,” the kitchen and bathroom, were expected. One surprise was the detection of paenibacillus, a common probiotic, which grew rapidly in places with coffee residue. Pharmacy professor Pieter Dorrestein, another co-author, said some residents used medications, and they found drug molecules all over. “If you consume medications internally, you would not be expecting those to be all over the house. The other thing we noticed was that bacteria were digesting molecules that were present in specific locations and to me that was another surprising finding.” Researchers say further studies could lead to new home designs that promote a microbiome that creates a healthy environment for humans. Thomas Fudge, 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.org. I’m Erik Anderson. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

A local grocery store closes its doors, creating food insecurity for nearby residents. Meanwhile, volunteers help clean up San Diego County beaches after Fourth of July celebrations. Plus, a new study on microscopic creatures in our homes.