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Heat and wind increase fire danger in San Diego

 April 7, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Thursday, April 7th.>>>>

Fire conditions in San Diego County More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….######

Antonio Hurtado, a 40 year old San Diego resident, pled guilty Wednesday to federal charges related to a point loma boat crash in May 2021. The charges are the result of a human smuggling attempt that led to the deaths of three people and injured more than two dozen others. The US attorney's office said too many people were packed into the boat, and that while driving the boat, Hurtado used illicit drugs to the point of unconsciousness.


UC San Diego joined a clinical trial to evaluate additional covid-19 booster shots to see if different vaccine regimens can broaden immune responses in adults.

UCSD announced Wednesday that it joined the covid-19 variant immuno-logic landscape trial. The university is one of 24 academic medical centers participating. The study is sponsored by the national institutes of health.


Two months before it’s set to open, the San Diego county fair’s contract for its carnival rides operator was ruled invalid on tuesday. A San Diego judge ruled that the contract for Ray Cammack Shows, or RCS, is no good after its competitor sued, claiming the bidding process was rigged. The judge says there was enough evidence to prove it.

John Moot is the lawyer for Talley Amusements, the competitor who sued. He says the upcoming fair should include Talley.

"We believe that in good conscience, those arrangements should include Talley amusements, since we actually won the contract."

In a statement fair officials say they are considering all options and will have a decision in the coming days.


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

The Santa Ana winds are back, and they’re bringing the heat to San Diego. Triple digit heat. KPBS reporter Kitty Alvarado visited CAL FIRE headquarters. They’re saying they take these conditions seriously, and you should too.

At CAL FIRE San Diego headquarters they're keeping an eye on the weather … Cpt Frank Lococo says they’re expecting Santa Ana winds and unusually high temperatures … a combination that creates dangerous fire conditions.

it is like a blow torch so it’s going to continue to dry out those fuels, to increase the temperature of those fuels and the reality is after that happens the chance of a large scale, catastrophic fire increase.

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory through Friday. Temperatures and Santa Ana winds will peak by Thursday … and temperatures will be 25 to 30 above average Cal fire is urging people to be mindful of the conditions and refrain from outdoor activities that can spark a fire.

Alex Tardy with the National Weather service says enjoy the heat while you can …

This is a short lived event, early next week it gets abruptly colder, maybe even some showers

Kitty Alvarado KPBS News


San Diego rideshare drivers are calling for safer working conditions and more support from companies like Uber and Lyft. On Wednesday, drivers joined a caravan that ended at Uber’s Mira-Mesa hub. The drivers say ridesharing companies offer little support to workers who are attacked or injured on the job.

Taj Gill is a San Diego Uber and Lyft Driver.

“They don’t give us any tools or anything we can do if someone decides they are going to attack the driver. They don't even take their full name or do the registration with their proper ID and if there is an incident they wont give us a name so that we can do a police report.”

In a statement Uber says these incidents are a horrific tragedy, but that there have been spikes in crime and violence across the country, and that they’re not immune. The company says they have insurance programs to support families. And that they’re working on tech to improve driver safety. A lyft spokesperson echoed that, saying the company is committed to protecting drivers from crime.


San Diego transportation officials are dealing with backlash against new bike lanes in Mira Mesa.

KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen says drivers find these new designs confusing.

GS: If you go on Nextdoor, there's two words you keep seeing: stupid and ridiculous.

AB: Mira Mesa resident Gary Sharp is not a fan of the new bike lanes on a quarter-mile stretch of Gold Coast Drive.

GS: If it's on this street, is it going to be on the next street? And the next street? And my street? Won't be happy. Totally unsafe, stupid and ridiculous.

AB: They're called advisory bike lanes, and they offer cyclists a dedicated space with no parking loss. But there's no center dividing line. Motorists in both directions have to share a single lane and veer into the bike lane when another car approaches. Cycling advocate Nicole Burgess says advisory bike lanes are safe, and if drivers are confused, they'll slow down and be more alert.

NB: As soon as this street is slurry sealed and you have a double yellow line, those cars are flying as fast as they can on autopilot, right? So they're not paying attention to their surroundings, and this makes people pay attention to their surroundings.

AB: The backlash in Mira Mesa prompted Mayor Todd Gloria to put plans for more advisory bike lanes on hold pending a public outreach campaign. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news.


Coming up.... Upwards of a million feral cats exist all over San Diego county, yet you’ll rarely see them. Most of them lead lives of misery, unsure of their next meal. That is, until a unique sanctuary opened up for them. We’ll have that story and more, next, just after the break.

They do their best to stay out of sight of people…so, it might surprise you to learn that there are up to a million feral cats living in San Diego County. In one part of the city, there is a unique place that provides care for dozens of these felines.

KPBS reporter John Carroll takes us to this sanctuary for cats with nowhere to go.

At the back of an assisted living facility for seniors, there is something unexpected.

“This is our main cottage, welcome to Shanti’s House.”

That’s Kristina Hancock. She founded Shanti’s House five years ago… and it’s not like she didn’t have enough to do. She’s both a lawyer and a critical care nurse. But then one day, while driving to an appointment, she took a wrong turn and found herself face to face with a feral kitten that would change her life. She named her Shanti… she began driving to the neighborhood every day to feed her.

Kristina Hancock/Shanti’s House Founder

“I thought I’ll trap her and then bring her home and then I discovered she was the tip of the iceberg.”

Hancock soon learned there were more than 60 feral cats in the area. She and a handful of volunteers started feeding them, getting them spayed and neutered… caring for their medical needs… but Hancock says she knew that wasn’t enough… they needed a place… and she had an idea. She contacted the owners of a nearby assisted living facility and proposed building a cat sanctuary behind the building… and so Shanti’s House was born.

“We have a ground lease for 12 and a half years for this, they gave us this space.”

The facility’s management knew a good thing when they saw it.

“The residents love the cats. We’ll come in in the afternoon and one of the residents will go, ‘Sabina hissed at Michael or they’ll say Sebastian and Michael were doing somersaults…’”

So you might be wondering at this point… where is this special place? Well, we can’t say. You see, Kristina Hancock says if people know where it is, she’s afraid they’ll be inundated with feral cats… and they’ve already got all they can handle. And Hancock made sure to tell us that the abandonment of cats or any other kind of animal is a crime.

But for the cats who are lucky enough to live here, life is good.

“This all happened very organically. First, we built the first cottage to get them out of the rain and we’re like let’s have a treehouse and we’re like let’s have a waterfall.”

The sanctuary is divided into a series of pavilions… each one an oasis of calm… of healing. And when it comes to healing, Shanti’s House took a giant step forward a couple of months ago. Hancock took us to a recently constructed building…

Unlocking the gates to give us a look inside.

“So this is the new infirmary that we just built, so cats can go in and out.”

But for the cats that don’t need medical care, the vibe is still one of healing. Soft soothing music and windchimes are in the air… every need of the cats is taken care of… but that means donations and volunteers are always needed.

“We can always use food, kitty litter… and volunteers. And we can use volunteers just to cuddle the kitties that are now tame and who want to be cuddled. We are stretched pretty thin.”

Things are always changing at Shanti’s House. That’s because the goal is to adopt the cats out once they’ve become tame. But if they remain feral, they can stay here for the rest of their lives. Kristina Hancock hopes other people follow her model for a feral cat sanctuary. If you want more information… or to make a donation, just go to their website Shanti’s House dot org… that’s s-h-a-n-t-i-s house dot org. There you’ll also see a lot of pictures of the feline residents and the volunteers who transformed this previously unused area into the place of beauty and love that it is today. JC, KPBS News.

Luminary Arts is holding its first production since the pandemic began.

KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne has this sneak peek.

Luminary Arts theater company got the keys to their first studio in San Marcos right before the pandemic.

“Everything came to a complete stand still when the pandemic hit and we weren’t sure what we were going to do at first.”

That was Amy Throckmorton with Luminary Arts.

She says federal Paycheck Protection Program loans and teaching contracts with some North County schools kept them afloat.

And now that COVID restrictions have eased, the artists have finally gotten use of the new space to prepare for their performance of “13 the musical.”

Wednesday is opening night for the show and it runs until Saturday at the Avo theater in Vista.

While the pandemic threw a curve ball at their productions, Throckmorton says it did help them adopt virtual classes, which they continue to offer.


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

Hot and windy conditions are heating up San Diego County, bringing triple digit heat and gusts up to 50 miles per hour. Cal Fire says it’s taking the conditions seriously, and so should you. Meanwhile, new bike lane markings in Mira Mesa meant to keep cyclists safe are confusing many. Plus, a sanctuary for feral cats in San Diego.