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Garden brings art and learning together

 June 5, 2023 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Erik Anderson, in for Debbie Cruz….it’s Monday, June 5th.

There's something new at the New Children’s Museum… and it’s not inside the museum. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


Teachers and other certificated employees of the San Diego Unified School District continue voting today...on a new contract.

A majority of 6-thousand union members must approve the deal that will bring them a 15-percent pay raise over two years.

The contract also offers lower class sizes for kindergarten through third-grade...and an increase in counselors and full-time nurses for many campuses.

Kyle Weinberg is the San Diego Education Association’s president.

“Our main focus for this contract campaign was to be able to recover, rebuild, and rise together from the impact of the pandemic..” 

Since they’ve been working without a contract for almost a year…the tentative agreement also includes a lump sum payment for teachers.

Voting ends Thursday.


The weather may still feel like June gloom… but the county is preparing for when it starts to heat up with its annual Cool Zones program.

The program gives people free, safe and air-conditioned locations to escape the hot weather.

The Cool Zones sites include the county's 33 library branches and some community centers.

You can find a list of all the locations and their hours on the county’s website.


Lake Hodges Dam in North County is open again… after a year long closure.

The Dam is over a century old … and it recently needed critical repair work to keep it up and running.

Drew Kleis with the San Diego Public Utilities Department says a long term solution for the aging dam is in the works.

“The city has initiated the design of a new roller compacted concrete dam. We anticipate being able to complete construction in 2034.”

For now, Lake Hodges will remain open for recreational activities on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, from sunrise to sunset, through October.


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


Black San Diegans are far more likely to be stopped for biking and walking infractions, according to police data.

Reporter Katie Hyson has more.

Black people in San Diego are four times more likely than white people to be stopped for things like not having a bike light and jaywalking. And Black and Latino residents are more likely to receive harsher treatment after being stopped, like being handcuffed or searched. Will Rhatigan, former advocacy director for the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, wrote a report on these disparities. He says they reflect not just racial bias in policing, but also unequal infrastructure. The stops are more heavily concentrated in the city’s historically neglected neighborhoods. They'll have incomplete sidewalks. They won't have bike lanes. The bike lanes will be full of debris. And when the infrastructure isn't set up so that you're able to follow the law, you're forced to break it. Though a new state law limits police from stopping pedestrians, it doesn’t extend to cyclists. Have you been stopped for a biking or walking infraction in San Diego? KPBS wants to hear from you. Visit our site for more on this story and to share your experience.


Years after two North County water districts floated the idea of leaving the County Water Authority … a little-known government body could decide today if they can.

North County reporter Alexander Nguyen has a preview of what this could mean.

Fallbrook and rainbow … two small farming communities in north county … want a divorce from the san diego county water authority to buy cheaper water from  riverside county. the water authority’s rates are some of the highest in the nation … and it’s proposing a rate increase of 14 percent for next year … that’s why rainbow and fallbrook want to leave … in a process called detachment. the decision on whether they can leave rests on the san diego local agency formation commission or lafco. that’s the government body that decides boundary disputes between public agencies. lafco has three options … approve the detachment with a 63 million dollar “exit fee.” … leave things as they are … or delay the decision until after lafco can do a years-long study. the water authority is against detachment … saying it would unfairly raise rates for the rest of san diego county and would set a bad precedent for other water agencies in the state.even if lafco were to approve the detachment … voters in fallbrook and rainbow would still need to approve it.  an/kpbs.


There's something 'new' at the New Children's Museum, but as reporter John Carroll tells us... it has its roots in the deep and distant past.

Inside the walls of the New Children’s Museum, there are plenty of interactive experiences… art - meant to spark creativity, exploration and a sense of belonging. But now the museum has burst through its walls, figuratively speaking, to this… “In Iipay-ya, that means the people, Iipay and Nyechewuuw is our garden.” Laurie Egan-Hedley is the Director and Curator of the Barona Cultural Center and Museum.  She’s telling me about Iipay Nyechewuuw… the people’s garden in the language of the Kumeyaay.  It’s just across Island Avenue from the New Children’s Museum. Utilizing a grant provided by SDG&E, the museum partnered with the Barona Indian Charter School, Barona Cultural Center and Museum and the San Diego Audubon Society to create - a garden.  The creators were 7th graders from the Charter School. “Part of this experience was to learn art, this is not something that’s in all the educational systems.” The experience for the children… learning about plants used by their ancestors is, as Egan-Hedley says, combined with the creation of art.  Rocks painted by the children are all around. “I like the contrast between the natural colors in the soil and the human-made colors.”  “Yep, it’s meant to be enjoyed.” The students created this garden in late May, so the plants are all young.  But their original purposes are not.  The stories behind many of them are ancient. “The Manzanita is really known for its… //please cut out the Ums here it’s a good wood source for tools, and you can also eat the berries.” In another planter, there are sunflowers… but not the big kind. “This is the native variety, and they don’t get as big, but still just as beautiful.” There are mallows, lilacs and milkweed… not a plant used by the original inhabitants of this region, but great for Monarch butterflies! With one particular plant in this garden, art meets function, meets art.  There’s a single prickly pear and in front of it, artwork of the plant painted on a stone.  Function-wise, as you may know, the plant is edible… back to the art… I learned that the Native Americans used the barbs to create tattoos. “Our access point for all that information is art.” Kurosh Yahyai is the Studios Manager at the New Children’s Museum.  He joined Egan-Hedley and me in the garden. “When we have art programming out here, we’re going to do, for example, a scavenger hunt of all the plants that are in the space and maybe some of the bugs that live with them.” Though this space was created by and is primarily for children, Yahyai says it’s also for the community… to foster environmental education and climate literacy. “We’re hoping that this just fosters the whole ecosystem that wants to live here, from the bees to the butterflies, to all the little critters, right?” Even in its early days, Yahyai says it’s already having an impact. “I’ve also honestly seen that from folks walking by.  They’re like, I want to do this in my place, which is great.  And then speaking to the California native plants and not just putting any plant in your place - just being aware of that I think is also tremendous.” The New Children’s Museum plans on doing more and more programming out here as time goes on… and the plants grow. A fence will soon go up to keep it safe, but it will be open during the day… a place for people of all ages to come and learn something, perhaps to be inspired… You could say a place where you reap what you sow.  The harvest being a sense of calm in the middle of the city and a deeper knowledge of - and gratitude for the Kumeyaay people - the first humans who lived here.  JC, KPBS News.


Coming up.... The San Diego County Fair opens this week… and we got you covered on what you need to know! We’ll have that story and more, just after the break.


The Padres are wrapping up their series with the Chicago Cubs tonight at Petco Park.

The team recently announced some upcoming changes to Petco Park’s Gallagher Square.

The makeover includes a new viewing deck with a better view into the park, a new playground, public art displays, a fenced dog park, and the grass will be replaced with astroturf.

SDSU marketing professor Miro Copic says it’s part of the Padres community building efforts.

“The Padres are investing over $20 million to upgrade that Gallagher Square park, partly to improve the space in the East Village and really in anticipation of the Padres 20th anniversary playing at Petco Park.”

The upgraded park will be ready on opening day next year.


The San Diego County Fair opens Wednesday.. and this year’s theme is “Get Out There.”

It encourages San Diegans to explore the great outdoors.

North County reporter Alexander Nguyen has a sneak peek.

It wouldn’t be summer in san diego without the san diego county fair … and this year’s theme is about celebrating the region’s … and the state’s … natural wonders. in addition to decorations with scenes from some of california state parks … the fair has also partnered with the county parks and recreation department for a series of exhibits on the state’s native flora and fauna. "those are taking place in the main exhibit hall" that’s jessia geiszler with parks and rec “so there'll be live presentations every single day throughout the day. those do include live reptile presentations. we also have live birds of prey workshops. we have nature crafts. we have info on biodiversity and the multiple species conservation programs” the fair will also have something officials say has not happened in a while … two new hair-raising and stomach-turning rides. an/kpbs.


That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Erik Anderson. Thanks for listening and have a great Monday.

The New Children's Museum opens a native garden across the street. In other news, according to police data, Black San Diegans are far more likely to be stopped for biking and walking infractions. Plus, the San Diego County Fair opens Wednesday, and this year’s theme is “Get Out There.”