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How last month’s flooding is impacting voting

 February 23, 2024 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Friday, February 23rd.


How last month’s flooding is impacting voting. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


Former SD-SU punter Matt Araiza is back in the N-F-L, nearly two years after a rape accusation sidelined his career.

According to a post yesterday on X by Araiza’s agency, the punter has signed with the Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.

In 20-22, when Araiza was a punter for the Buffalo Bills, he and three others were accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in 20-21.

The alleged incident happened at a house party near SD-SU, when he was a punter on the Aztecs football team.

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office did not file charges against any of the accused, citing a lack of evidence.


Baseball is back!

The Padres kicked off their Spring Training yesterday (Thursday).

But the start of the training season wasn’t what the team hoped for.

They lost their first game 14-to-1 against the L-A Dodgers.

Both teams will play again today (Friday), at the Dodgers spring training stadium in Glendale.

That game starts at 12-oh-8 in the afternoon.

Looking ahead to the regular M-L-B season… the Padres home opener will be on March 28th, against the San Francisco Giants.


It’s going to feel a bit warmer today, across the county.

The National Weather Service says temperatures are expected to be above normal for this time of year.

It’ll be the warmest in the inland areas and deserts… with temperatures jumping to the high 70s.

By the coast, temps will be in the mid 60s, and in the mountains, it’ll be in the low 60s.

Over the weekend, the weather will be pretty similar to what we’re feeling today (Friday).

But forecasters say that may change overnight on Sunday, with a chance of more rain and cooler temps going into the new week.


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


A local community organization that helps mobilize voters is facing added challenges after last month’s flooding.

Reporter Melissa Mae says Alliance San Diego is working through flood damage to get people to the polls.

MM: Normally, leading up to election day, Alliance San Diego is busy contacting residents about voting resources…And they’re still doing that but the January flooding has submerged some of their operations. MM: Alliance San Diego’s Executive Director Andrea Guerrero talks about their biggest challenge of getting people to vote right now. AG “We’re very concerned about the communities that we serve having the information they need in order to go vote. Right now, they’re worried about a roof over their head and so I can understand that, but they’re also not at their place of residence to receive the information about the election.”  MM: On top of this, Itzel Maganda Chavez, Alliance’s Civic Engagement Director says even if you don’t have access to your mail-in ballot, you can still make your vote count! IMC “Vote at a voting center starting this Saturday folks can vote at certain voting centers until election day and then starting March 2nd they can actually vote at more than two hundred voting centers across the county.”  MM: To learn more about your voting options and to find a voting center near you, go to S-D-VOTE dot com. Melissa Mae KPBS News.


Dozens of students from San Diego Unified high schools have just accepted a challenge to find solutions to critical problems in their communities.

Education reporter M.G. Perez says it’s part of a national academic competition.

“Aspen…Challenge!” The Aspen Challenge gets its name from the Aspen Institute originally founded in Colorado 75 years ago…as non profit organization committed to social justice and equity programs. Now it’s international and this week, the challenge came to San Diego…where high school students from 19 San Diego Unified campuses are teamed up to solve big problems impacting their lives. ….immigration, climate change, and mental health support for children… Nicholas Lopez is a senior at Lincoln High School excited to get started with his team. “...that we are able to just come together as a huge community…not just a little area like San Diego…but a world-wide community being able to help each other when we’re in need.” The high school teams have 10 weeks to design and execute their solutions…and will be judged by a panel of experts in May. MGP KPBS News.


Giant pandas could be back at the San Diego Zoo this summer.

Environment reporter Erik Anderson says the popular bears will likely get a warm welcome.

Michael Kim was visiting the Zoo and he’s excited about the return of the black and white bears. “They are beautiful to see. And they are very curious animals and they like to play. They’re very playful” The first hint this was happening came in November when China president Xi Jinping spoke publicly about the return of panda diplomacy.   The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s Ron Swaisgood says pandas left San Diego in 2019, but the research continued. Ron Swaisgood, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance “We do have a very long history working with giant pandas in China, three decades and counting.  And when we returned our pandas back to China, we did not sever our relationships or start, or stop working on giant pandas. We’ve continued to collaborate with our partners in China.” The Zoo is in line to get a pair of pandas.  One male and one female.  Officials are still working on paperwork to complete the transfer. including a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Erik Anderson KPBS News.


Writer Susan Orlean has been writing for The New Yorker for more than three decades, and rose to fame when her book, “The Orchid Thief” inspired the Spike Jonez [Jones] movie, “Adaptation.”

She’s the author of more than a dozen nonfiction books, including “The Library Book,” about the 19-86 fire in the L-A Central Library and “On Animals,” a collection of her essays about creatures of all kinds — and our relationships with them.

She’s part of the Writer’s Symposium by the Sea this week, and will be interviewed with Nick Hornby today (Friday).

We heard from Hornby on the podcast earlier this week.

Orlean spoke with my colleague Julia Dixon Evans.

Here’s their conversation.

In On Animals, we have a collection of longform essays about animals, but I wanted to start at the very beginning with your introduction. You give us a little taste of your own fascination with animals — and not just pets, but definitely pets. Can you tell us about your lifelong love of animals and why beasts of all kinds are topics you keep returning to? 

I want to shift gears and talk about The Library Book, which is an astonishing book about not just the massive 1986 fire in the Los Angeles Central Library, but also about the history of the library system in LA and the very strange characters who passed through the ranks… and also about other lost archives. But mostly it struck me as a massive undertaking of research. What did you want that book to mean?

I'm wondering if, over the last 25, 30 years in your career, if you've felt the media landscape change for these kinds of long, narrative essays and the kind of books you write. You've seen magazine culture change dramatically over the last 15 years, but what about nonfiction writing in general? 

TAG: That was writer Susan Orlean, author of “The Orchid Thief” and “On Animals,” speaking with KPBS arts producer and editor Julia Dixon Evans.

Orlean will appear at Point Loma Nazarene University, today (Friday) at 7 p-m.


Two years ago Joel Coen made “The Tragedy of Macbeth” without his brother Ethan.

Now, Ethan has gone solo with “Drive-away Dolls.”

Cinema junkie Beth Accomando says together or apart, a Coen film is always worth your attention.

 Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth had the craftsmanship and precision of a Coen brothers’ film but served up a completely different vibe. With Drive-Away Dolls, Ethan Coen leaves his sibling on the side of the road but delivers a film that has the pace, absurdity, and wacky characters that you’ve grown to expect in their collaborative works like Fargo and Raising Arizona. Drive Away Dolls is set in motion by a mysterious case… The case! No! And a pair of young women who accidentally get a drive-away car containing the case from Curlie. Don’t call me Curlie…it’s too familiar. Drive-Away Dolls is darkly comic, trippy, raunchy and fun. It takes a few unexpected turns, and delivers a spot on cast of celebrity cameos and great character actors. It doesn’t have a lot on its mind but it offers a most diverting ride.  Beth Accomando KPBS News.


That’s it for the podcast today. This podcast is produced by Emilyn Mohebbi and edited by Brooke Ruth. We’d like to thank editor Joe Guerin for helping the podcast team this week. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. Join us again Monday to start the week together with the day’s top stories. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great weekend.

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A local community organization that helps mobilize voters is facing added challenges after last month’s flooding. In other news, dozens of students from San Diego Unified high schools have just accepted a challenge to find solutions to critical problems in their communities. Plus, giant pandas could be back at the San Diego Zoo this summer.