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Missing children in Baja California

 June 23, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Erik Anderson in for Debbie Cruz….it’s Thursday, June 23rd.>>>>

Families search for missing loved ones.More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….######

The San Diego economy could get a big boost if Congress goes along with President Biden’s call to suspend the federal gas tax. U-S-D economist Alan Gin says for every penny that the price of gallon gasoline drops, a million dollars a month is added to the local economy. But he says there is a risk that the savings from suspending the tax won’t be passed on to consumers.

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“So that’s where the rebate comes into play. It would give back all the money to consumers in that case.”

Governor Gavin Newsom had proposed a 400-dollar per-car rebate, but instead, California lawmakers included a 200-dollars per-person rebate in the budget they passed last week. But still, that plan is not final.

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Flu cases continue to decline locally. San Diego County health officials say despite the decline, the number of cases this flu season was much higher than last. There were nearly four thousand cases this season. The previous flu season there were fewer than 850 cases.

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A San Diego conservation group has been awarded money to plant more than 15-hundred trees around the county.

‘Urban Corps of San Diego County’ will receive one-point-five-million dollars to fund its Tree Corps program.

It’s a workforce development program that trains and places people in urban forestry careers. The trees will be planted in Vista, Imperial Beach, Escondido, San Marcos, Lemon Grove, Lakeside and Cesar Chavez Park.

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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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A group of parents of missing children uncovered a mass grave hidden on the eastern edge of Tijuana last week. And this isn’t the first time. Parents have formed search parties because they don’t trust the government to look for their missing children. KPBS border reporter Gustavo Solis has more.

Missing Persons (3:31) SOQ

The stench of rotting corpses is so strong that it makes volunteers sick after a few minutes. So parents took turns digging out the eight bodies they found buried in a ditch. https://www.facebook.com/TodosSomosErickCarrillo/videos/722349952416243 16:53 Companeros, Dejen de trabajar un poquito. Alejence y se quietn el cubre boca y regresen al aire por favor. No pueden trabajar mas de 8 minutos en la fosa. That was Eddy Carrillo warning volunteers not to spend too much time near the bodies. Carrillo is the founder of Todos Somos Erick Carrillo – a collective of people who help each other find missing relatives. Carrillo named the collective after his own son who vanished in 2018 while visiting his mother in Tijuana. Roughly 50 people joined the search party. Carrillo says none of them should be out there. That's the government's job. MATT 4880_01 16:10:45:03 “Nosotros no temenos porque estar aqui buscando las familias desaparecidas. Aqui debe de estar la commission local de busqueda con la fiscalia hacienda este tipo de busquedas.” He says officials are doing nothing. So parents must scour the landscape for their lost children themselves.There are currently 12,000 missing people in Baja California. Governor Marina del Pilar Avila says her administration is prioritizing these cases. The agency tasked with finding missing persons says it found 90 people last year,compared to just 10 the year before. Critics say that’s not enough progress. Most of the 90 missing people found were dead and account for less than one percent of all missing person cases in Baja California. Francisco Ocegeda founded the original collective – made up of parents of missing children - back in 2008. He says the agency tasked with finding the missing is underfunded and only has six investigators. That is not nearly enough to find the thousands of people who are missing, he says. MATT 4900_01 13:11:26:00 “Aqui dentro de la fiscalia ahi nada mas sies agentes investigadores que trabajan en el area de la fiscalia en el tema de los desaparecidos.” The government isn’t conducting thorough investigations, he says. It is emblematic of a larger problem in Mexico where murders and robberies often go uninvestigated. So why would the government investigate missing people? MATT 4900_02 13:24:18:01 “Es que no ahi investigacion en nada pues hombre. Por que nos hacemos bolas con eso? No ahi investigaciones en los desaparecidos, no hay investigacion en los homicidios.” Despite being less than three years old, Carrillo’s collective has more than 400 members. Josefina Martinez joined after her son went missing on Dec. 26, 2021. She says state officials assigned an investigator to the case, but no one has ever called her. MATT 4878_01 15:55:20:13 “Yo no e tendido ni una llamada de parte de ellos. Me pusieron los agentes. Jamas me lalmaron. Nunca me han llamado. Yo tengo que handar llamondo y no me contestan. She also says they won’t answer her calls. That’s a common refrain among members of the search party. Carrillo says police view victims with suspicion. They assume that people, who disappear, are tied to organized crime or were up to no good. MATT 4880_01 16:14:30:00 “Los sentencia rapidamente. Cuando vas a ponder la denuncia te dicen no pues to hijo andaba mal, su esposo era narco, su tio era asaltante.” Carrillo says investigators often tell loved ones that their son runs with the wrong crowd, their husband is a narco, or their uncle is a thug. Raul Cornejo is another member of the collective. He joined in February after his own brother went missing. Cornejo says the collective is a family. Parents of missing children come together, bonded by pain. He says they find hope in their shared mission of finding loved ones. MATT 4865_01 15:34:29:12 “Encontramos un trato como de familia porque encontramos personas con el mismo dolor, con el mismo sentimiento buscando la misma causa.” It’s been nearly six months since he has heard anything about his brother. But he refuses to give up because that would be admitting that his brother is gone forever. MATT 4865_01 15:38:27:07 “Porque el tomar una decision de no voy a ir a buscar el dia de hoy es como sentir que le estoy quedando mal a mi hermano” The collective is still waiting to discover the identities of the eight bodies they found last week. Parents submitted DNA samples, hoping to find a match. Gustavo Solis, KPBS News

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The global monkeypox outbreak is at 3,000 cases worldwide and growing with At least 156 cases have been identified in the U-S. KPBS Health Reporter Matt Hoffman says officials are tracking a few cases in San Diego County, but the overall risk remains very low.

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2:23.502 Shah There’s no indication at this time that there is community spread. County medical director Dr. Seema Shah says all three cases are tied to international travel and are not related.. The cases are the first known instances of monkeypox in San Diego and part of a larger global outbreak. The virus is from the same family that causes smallpox and can lead to rashes and flu-like symptoms. 12:03.595 Dr. Seema Shah, San Diego County Medical Director what we are finding is most people often just present with just a rash, oral lesions but not your typical rash that people see, it can be very subtle almost like acne CDC officials say it’s a much more difficult disease to transmit compared to COVID-19. Monkeypox requires close physical contact– 3:02.971 Shah Touching someone who has active lesions or bodily fluids, intimate contact whether it’s physical contact or sexual contact None of the people with monkeypox in San Diego needed to be hospitalized. MH KPBS News.

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Coming up..... A new museum dedicated to Chicano art. We’ll have that story and more, next, just after the break.

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Sidewalk vending is now officially regulated in the city of San Diego– mostly. KPBS Speak City Heights reporter Jacob Aere looks at the impact of the new rules..

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Balboa Park looks like a very different place… now that San Diego’s street vending ordinance is in effect. There used to be dozens of street vendors sprawled across the park. But on Wednesday… it was difficult to find a single one. Nargess (NAR- gis) Cotton frequents the park with her family. “I love their street vendors, their elote is always the best. Everytime were here we make sure to grab one. And the churros, the churros lady is always here. It sucks that they're not here any more, it's a lot cheaper honestly than buying the $10 Dippin Dots or something.” Park rangers were there to educate vendors… but they’re not yet handing out fines. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.

TAG: In the beach areas, the city’s street vending ordinance can’t be enforced… because the California Coastal Commission still has to approve it.

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A handful of San Diego community college students are hard at work saving the environment this summer. KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez has more on the interns chosen to help fight climate change.

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Just 5 students from Mesa and Miramar Colleges were accepted as interns at the San Diego State Coastal Marine Institute Laboratory. This summer they are assisting SDSU PhD candidates in researching marine ecology to prevent climate change effects from getting worse along the California coast. Jessica Griffin is one of the PhD candidates leading experiments and encouraging younger students to enter the field. SOT :11 “as climate change becomes more severe, habitat destruction continues, and coastal pollution, especially in urban areas is still a big concern...so I think there’s going to continue to be a demand.” Interns are collecting wild life samples from local bays and the Pacific. By next summer, the SDSU program hopes to accept many more underserved community college students with money from a pending state grant. MGP KPBS News.

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On Saturday, the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture opened in Riverside. Famous for the comedy duo Cheech and Chong, Cheech Marin is an avid collector of Chicano art. "The Cheech," is the first major museum dedicated to Chicano art. One of the first exhibitions on view is a retrospective of works from local border artists “The De La Torre Brothers.” As visitors enter the new space, they are also greeted by a two-story sculpture by the brothers I-narr and Ha-mex de la Torre spoke with KPBS Arts producer and editor Julia Dixon Evans about “The Cheech.” Here's their conversation.

CHEECH for SDNN (4:49) “....with a different perspective.”

TAG: That was local artists I-narr and Ha-mex de la Torre, speaking with KPBS Arts producer and editor Julia Dixon Evans.

The De La Torre brothers' work is on view at the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture.

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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. Debbie Cruz will be back tomorrow. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

Families in Baja California form their own search groups to find missing children. Meanwhile, monkeypox cases are growing nationwide, but remain low in San Diego County. Plus, the city of San Diego has a new street vendor ordinance in place.