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Mass violence impact on mental health

 January 24, 2023 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Tuesday, January 24th.

A local psychologist talks about the impacts mass violence has on mental health. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


Some San Diego city officials are working towards ending the city’s covid-19 emergency declaration.

Several city officials yesterday released a joint statement proposing to join the state, ending the city's COVID emergency declaration at the end of February.

The city's emergency declaration has been in effect since March 17th,



Are you still waiting on your California Middle Class Tax refund?

Assemblymember David Alvarez, who is Chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, is planning to pursue an audit of the Franchise Tax Board’s handling of the refunds.

Alvarez represents the 80th Assembly District in San Diego County.

Alvarez and other legislators are concerned about reports of stolen funds and a lack of responsiveness by the F-T-B.

His goal of the audit is to make sure Californians who have not received their refunds yet, get them as soon as possible.

Alvarez will formally present his audit request at the next Joint Legislative Audit Committee meeting.


For the first time in months, passengers will soon be able to ride the train from San Diego to Orange County again.. at least on the weekends.

The Orange county Transportation Authority yesterday announced railroad tracks in San Clemente, impacted by coastal erosion, are safe for limited passenger service.

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner service will be restored the weekend of February 4th and 5th.

Railroad stabilization work is expected to be completed in mid-march.


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


The shooting in Monterey Park over the Lunar New Year weekend is serving yet another reminder of how random acts of mass violence can be.

In the wake of these kinds of attacks, feelings of fear and hopelessness are common.

Koko Nishi is a clinical psychologist with Counseling and Psychological Services at S-D-S-U.

She joined KPBS Midday Edition host Jade Hindmon, to talk about the impact mass violence has on mental health.

Koko you were actually very close to where all of this unfolded. Can you tell us about that?

How did you have this conversation with your children?

As a psychologist, how do you help people cope with the anxieties after a mass shooting like this has happened?

After a mass shooting a lot of people are glued to the news and social media trying to learn what happened, what impact does that amount of focus have on mental health?

That was Koko Nishi, a clinical psychologist with Counseling and Psychological Services at S-D-S-U, speaking with KPBS's Jade Hindmon.

The tragedy in Monterey Park hits home for a pair of dance studio owners here in San Diego.

They used to teach at the Star Ballroom … where the shooting happened.

KPBS’ Alexander Nguyen has that part of the story.

I think it's a tragedy for on many levels, Vitaly Tarasov co-owns the Step 2 Dance studio off Miramar Road. He recalls how warm and welcoming the owners of the star ballroom were when he first moved to California. He says the dance community is still shaken by the senseless shooting. They come to do what they love, they come to dance. It should not be associated with any harm.” Tarasov’s partner Olga Ginzburg was judging the California Chic Classic dance competition in Orange County Saturday night. The competition was attended by some teachers and students from Star Ballroom. She says they are fearful and devastated by what happened in their own home. “Because our dance studio is a home, second home for our students. And obviously for them to come home and feel fear that something can happen, this is super sad.” AN/KPBS


The San Diego County Sheriff's Department announced a new effort to get a life-saving drug out to places where opioid overdoses are likely to happen.

KPBS reporter Jacob Aere tells us about a new initiative.

Naloxone … commonly known as Narcan … is a medication that quickly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. San Diego County Sheriff Kelly Martinez says a new program aims to get the treatment distributed to more people and places. “We’ve seen too many parents who are not even aware that their child is using drugs wake up to find their teenager has died. We see instances where people who use drugs in a group and one or more of them overdose. These are all cases where Naloxone could have made a difference.” The sheriff's department is partnering with other agencies to make it more accessible where overdoses might occur, including schools, restaurants and bars… with the goal of distributing over 30,000 naloxone kits per year. JA KPBS News.


Coming up.... Four plants and a bird species are being removed from the U-S Fish and Wildlife endangered list. We’ll have that story and more, just after the break.


Two weeks ago we told you about a church in Del Mar hosting people without a place to live.

KPBS reporter Claire Strong, went to see how things have gone.

Four individuals have been able to enjoy warm beds, home cooked food and hot showers at St Peter’s Eposcipal church the past couple weeks. The parish hall was transformed into makeshift accommodation, as part of the Interfaith Shelter Network Rotational Program, which involves different religious groups taking turns in hosting homeless people. Valere Donaghue is one of the volunteers and says it’s about showing compassion. “They’re not different from you and I, and circumstances have been such that they are here, and I just love listening to their experiences”.  Despite lower than predicted numbers - which organizers put down to Covid vaccine requirements - there’s been some early success, with one guest landing a job, and another being reunited with her children. They’ll now move onto the program’s next location - St James’s Church in Solana Beach. Claire Strong, KPBS News.


On the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service has removed four plants and a bird unique to San Clemente Island from protected status.

KPBS Military reporter Andrew Dyer has this report.

Recently the Navy invited members of the media for a tour of San Clemente Island, 70 miles west of San Diego. It’s the southernmost of California’s channel islands but unlike its well-known neighbor to the north, Santa Catalina, San Clemente is not accessible by the public. That’s because it’s home to a Navy SEAL training facility and serves as a key training area for Marine Expeditionary Units. It’s also the site of the Navy’s only ship-to-shore live-fire range. The island’s isolation also led to the evolution of unique plants and animals not found anywhere else on Earth. Bryan Munson Navy Botanist “On this island alone there are 17 plant species that are found nowhere else in the world.” That’s Bryan Munson, the botany program manager at Naval Base Coronado. Bryan Munson “They're unique because these the islands are far away from the mainland and so it's very rare that you get a species (or) speciation event where some species from the mainland, you know drifts out here in the wind or gets carried on a piece of debris or gets carried on an animal. And so when they come out here, they find a little bit different climate than it is on the mainland. Bryan Munson “So these conditions are different. So when A seed or something. From the mainland comes out here, it encounters new conditions. And it'll evolve into something new and that's what's happened numbers of times on this island.” Sheep were raised here until the Navy took over in the 1930s. Then wild invasive goats devastated plants that birds like to nest in. The Navy began a program to remove the goats in the 1970s and by the early 90s, they were gone. The damage was done, however, and several native plant and animal species found themselves threatened or endangered. The island has been recovering ever since. Wildlife biologists from the Navy together with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began a decades-long program to recover those species. The Island Night Lizard was removed from protected status in 2006 and now four plants and one bird are being removed. Bryan Munson Navy Botanist “The delisting of these species is huge. In the entire history, the Endangered Species Act only 10 plants have been delisted due to recovery.” The San Clemente Island Bell’s Sparrow, a small brown bird with a fluffy white breast, is being removed from protected status. As well as the San Clemente Island Lotus, Larkspur, Brushmallow and Paintbrush plants… Bryan Munson Navy Botanist “The only way that that plant survived was existing on extreme cliff faces, like you can see behind me, these extreme cliff faces were not accessible by the goats because the goats virtually ate everything that wasn't on one of those cliff faces.” Experts say the successful recovery of these species shows that with proper management the habitat can withstand the military’s activities — even those being shelled by ships. Melissa Booker, Navy Wildlife Biologist “There are protected species within the shore bombardment area” Melissa Booker is the island’s wildlife biologist. She works for the Navy and says that while it might be counter-intuitive to shoot at an endangered habitat, those species are doing well. Melissa Booker, Navy Wildlife Biologist “The species actually thrive in these areas. The area of actual bombardment — things that actually target and hit the island — is relatively small, so about nine percent of the island. And then the remainder of the area behind me is a large buffer.” That buffer zone on the south end of the island, known as “SHOBA” for “shore bombardment area” is home to the now de-listed island Bell’s Sparrow, Booker says. Booker says even the areas in the direct line of fire from Navy ships show signs of wildlife. Melissa Booker, Navy Wildlife Biologist “We have everything from foxes to strike to bill sparrows moving in and out of those areas and utilizing those areas successfully.” With Wednesday’s delisting, these species lose protection under the endangered species act but Navy scientists say their efforts will now pivot to preventing them from being re-listed. On San Clemente Island near San Diego I’m Andrew Dyer, KPBS News.


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

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After the recent shooting in Monterey Park, a local psychologist talks about the impacts mass violence has on mental health. In other news, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department announced a new effort to get a life-saving drug out to places where opioid overdoses are likely to happen. Plus, four plants and a bird species are being removed from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife’s endangered list.