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Grants for small businesses with storm damage

 February 9, 2024 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Erik Anderson, in for Debbie Cruz….it’s Friday, February 9th.

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Small business owners can soon apply for grants to help with storm-related damage.

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

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The marines yesterday announced that all five marines on board the helicopter that crashed in the mountains east of San Diego were killed.

It's the third incident for San Diego-based marine c-h-fifty-three helicopters in seven years, and the second fatal crash.

Local attorney David Casey represented two marine families who lost someone from a fatal 20-18 crash after it was found a bad part was the cause.

He says he’s confident the marine corps will find out what went wrong.

“There should be no rush to judgment, but I will tell you based on the 800 page report I reviewed from the Marines on this last helicopter crash. They're very detailed. Uh, they leave no stone unturned and they were very thorough.”

The names of the marines killed will be announced 24 hours after their families are told.

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Transportation officials are considering 200 miles of new freeway lanes as part of the county's next regional transportation plan.

And those freeway expansions are colliding with the state's climate goals.

The San Diego Association of Governments, or SANDAG, is tasked with reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

SANDAG planning director Antoinette Meier told the agency's board members, failing to achieve those climate goals has serious consequences.

“There is a lot of state and federal funding that's at risk if we don't have an approved plan.”

The SANDAG board of directors will discuss the next transportation plan today (Friday).

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More scattered rain is on the way today.

The National Weather Service says the weather will still be cool, with most areas having temperatures up to 10 degrees below normal for this time of year.

Temps in the inland valleys and by the coast will be in the high 50s, in the deserts, it’ll be in the low 60s, and in the mountains, it’ll be in the high 30s.

But some good news, if you’re missing that sunny San Diego weather… forecasters say today is the last day of rain for the next few days.

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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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Some financial help is coming for small business owners trying to recover from damage done in the recent floods across the county.

Reporter M.G. Perez has more on the grants.

The San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce, partnered with the Hispanic Chamber and the Asian Business Association, are now in a coalition with the City and County of San Diego…to offer up to 25-hundred dollars in small business grants. That program funded by the City will start taking applications this Monday. …and there is also a County Business Emergency Fund, and matching donations are being offered by the San Diego Foundation. All targeting small business owners like Shaunte Brown…whose home child care facility was damages. we work paycheck to paycheck…we’re everyday regular people …we do this for the love of the kids..not to make a profit…so we don’t know what we’re going to be able to do.” Applications will be considered in the order they are submitted. For more information on the financial resources available…make a call to 2-1-1. MGP KPBS News.

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California’s presidential primary is on March 5th. Deciding on who and what to vote for can be a challenge. To help, KPBS launched the KPBS Voter Hub. Here to share more about what it is and how it works, is the KPBS South Bay Engagement Producer, Marielena Castellanos. Marielena welcome to the San Diego News Now podcast.

So for those who are not familiar with the KPBS Voter Hub, can you share a little bit about what it is?

Is there anything else in the KPBS Voter Hub you think voters should know about? 

You mentioned that reporters have put together stories explaining key races, can you share more on which key races we are talking about?

And for someone who is not registered to vote, is it too late?

And finally, how do you access the KPBS Voter Hub?

TAG: Thank you for breaking this down for us, Marielena and for joining me on the San Diego News Now podcast. I’ve been speaking with KPBS South Bay Engagement Producer, Marielena Castellanos. You can find the KPBS Voter Hub on our website. The last day to vote in the presidential primary is on election day, Tuesday, March 5.

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Speaking of the upcoming election, we’re continuing to bring you information on some of the local races on the primary ballot.

One of those is the State Assembly District 77 seat.

It covers the coasts of Carlsbad down to the southern tip of Coronado, with roughly 500-thousand constituents.

North County reporter Jacob Aere gives us a look at who’s running to represent them.

California State Assembly District 77 includes Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar, coastal portions of the city of San Diego and Coronado. Democrat Tasha Boerner (BER-ner) has been its representative since 2022. “My top priorities in my district are really around the environment and ensuring people have opportunities. And when I say opportunities I mean do they have good jobs, do they have healthcare, do they have a place to live.” Her challengers include Republican entrepreneur and financial advisor James Browne. His priorities are homelessness, housing, education and the environment. Browne says he understands the struggles of poverty from his own experience. “I think that the issue with a lot of the politicians now is they were never homeless, they couldn't even relate to being at the bottom. And you're just going to throw money at something and hope that it changes rather than provide the opportunities to help people that are in the situation to get out.” Autism researcher Henny Kupferstein is the other challenger. Like Boerner, she is a Democrat, and says she’s campaigning to provide a voice for the neurodivergent — she has autism herself. Kupferstein says she wants more financial accountability and transparency when it comes to government program spending. “If they're not publishing successful outcomes and if they have a surplus, then it needs to be legislated where it goes to. If they don't have a surplus, if they close out in a deficit, we have to see what's going on.” JA KPBS News.

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Coming up.... we highlight one of the traditions of Lunar New Year.

“The purpose behind lion dance is to ward off evil spirits and bad luck and bringing the good luck and prosperity to any individual or group. When people see the lion dance, it's not just a dance. It's basically a Chinese martial arts form.”

Find out more about the tradition, plus more, after the break.

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Chula Vista High School will keep its flexible bell schedule for now.

South Bay reporter Kori Suzuki says many students and teachers are celebrating the decision.

Last week, more than a hundred students rallied outside the Sweetwater District offices. They were worried the district was going to get rid of their current eight-period block schedule. Students and teachers say the eight periods support the school’s acclaimed visual and performing arts program. And give all students more flexibility to focus on their interests. Now, they’ll get to keep that schedule for another year. Chula Vista High School Principal Jennifer Barker-Heinz announced the news in an email last week. Senior Kevin Gonzalez says it was bittersweet news. From what we know, we're keeping the eight periods next year, but after that, we don't know the news on that. Principal Barker-Heinz said the district and the teachers union are putting together a working group. That’s going to analyze the value of an eight-period schedule. And how it affects things like enrollment, graduation rates, and attendance. Still, students are also hopeful. Quinton Rivera is a junior in the theater program and organized last week’s rally. We are hoping that, I don't know, people get inspired to continue fighting for a CPA and hopefully one day that it's actually set in stone that seventh and eighth grades aren't going to be taken away. The principal’s email also did not mention students’ other request – for more funding to support Chula Vista High’s arts teachers. A district spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. Kori Suzuki, KPBS News.

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This weekend marks the start of the Lunar New Year, with this being the Year of the Dragon.

Many Asian cultures celebrate Lunar New Year with varying traditions.

Arts reporter Beth Accomando explores one tradition, the lion dance.

Growing up with a Chinese grandfather meant that my family got to celebrate lunar new year. My grandfather would tell us about being a boy in China and celebrating for 15 days with food, family and of course, firecrackers… Firecrackers The ones he loved as a child were the "string" firecrackers made up of hundreds of little firecrackers, braided together by their fuses and when you lit one end of the braid, hundreds of these firecrackers would explode one after the other. The firecrackers are supposed to ward off bad spirits and bad luck. But for a lion dancer the smoke and the noise can be a challenge. PETER KHEM So that's why we tell our performers to wear a mask and wear earplugs as well. Peter Khem is a team leader and coordinator with San Diego Legendary Lion Dance Association. PETER KHEM …The purpose behind lion dance is to ward off evil spirits and bad luck and bringing the good luck and prosperity to any individual or group. When people see the lion dance, it's not just a dance. It's basically a Chinese martial arts form. Lion Dances are a popular tradition during lunar new year but you might wonder why a lion since lions are not native to China. Lion dancing dates back thousands of years to the Tang dynasty, and a legend about the emperor having a dream in which an animal deemed to be a lion saved his life. PETER KHEM People didn't know what a lion was, so they basically just went off on what the emperor saw in his dream. That’s why the costume for the lion dance is so stylized and spectacular. It is often a bold red or bright gold with large eyes, fluffy rounded ears, a big mouth, and a flowing body.  It is amazing to see a pair of dancers breath life into what is essentially a large puppet. PETER KHEM …There's two positions. There's the head and tail. As a head player, your job is to portray the lion’s expression, which can be anything from happy, anger, sadness, et cetera. And as a tail, your job is to follow the head player's footwork. Because whatever footwork the head does, the tail does with it. - PETER KHEM  And if you're doing stunts, the other jobs as a tail is be able to lift your partner up. The result is a fluid, graceful and energetic performance in which a lion might jump on tables, rise up on its hind legs, or prance around a crowd, all to very distinctive and vibrant music created by a trio of instruments. PETER KHEM There's the drums, which is the heartbeat of the performance, the cymbals and the gong. The head of the lion can be extremely expressive as the dancer operates strings and levers to wiggle the ears, blink the eyes, and open and close the mouth. PETER KHEM  As a head player, your main role is to portray a strong, good expression and storytelling. So basically, the way how I see it is like any form of dance, it's not just like synchronization with the music and coordination. You have to give the lion life, basically, because in lion dancing, you have to play the character of a lion. It's all storytelling. And it has to be something that's captivating for the audience to understand. The lion’s head is made of bamboo, paper mache, and fabric, and can cost a thousand dollars. It can also be a challenge to operate. PETER KHEM …when you wear the costume, you have very limited vision. If you're a head, you mainly look through the mouth, while at the same time you have to listen to the music. Because in lion dancing it's a lot of multitasking It also takes a lot of cardio and strength, which is why a lot of the dancers are also into martial arts. Being inside a beautiful flowing costume can make spectators forget how much work and stamina it takes to perform multiple five or six minute routines in a row. Khem says people may also see lion dancing as something just for Asians. PETER KHEM We want people to see that lion dance is for anyone, regardless of race, gender or religion. Legendary Lion Dance Association has been around since 2000 with male and female team members as young as 13. PETER KHEM …Our goal is to preserve and promote the Chinese culture and art... and we are very proud and honored to still continue this art. And we hope that we can inspire more people in the young generations to be part of the Lions community. Lunar new year is the perfect time to share and celebrate that culture and heritage. Beth Accomando, KPBS News.

TAG: This Lunar New Year begins tomorrow (Saturday), and is celebrated for 15 days.

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That’s it for the podcast today. This podcast is produced by Emilyn Mohebbi and edited by Brooke Ruth. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. Join us again on Monday to start the week together with the day’s top stories. I’m Erik Anderson. Thanks for listening and have a great weekend.

Some financial help is coming for small business owners trying to recover from damage done in the recent floods across San Diego County. In other news, our KPBS South Bay Engagement Producer joins the podcast to fill us in on what resources are available on KPBS’s Voter Hub. Plus, we highlight one of the traditions of Lunar New Year.