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More people using MTS

 March 11, 2022 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Friday, March 11th.

>>>>

MTS ridership is up

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

Unionized grocery store workers in southern california will soon decide if they will strike. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union authorized the strike vote on Thursday. It follows a stall in negotiations with the owners of Ralphs, Vons, Pavilions and Albertsons. The union says the vote will take place between March 21st and 26th.

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The sailor accused of setting fire to the uss bonhomme richard in 2020 was in court thursday. Seamans Apprentice Ryan Sawyer Mays is charged with arson and hazarding a vessel. Mays faces up to a life sentence. He is expected to go on trial by late summer.

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Coronado city official Roger Miller resigned following the release of a video alleging that he and his wife made racist statements towards Asians. Miller was the city’s director of recreation and golf services. His resignation comes after a month-long investigation, according to a statement from the Coronado city manager Tina Friend.

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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.

record breaking gas prices are encouraging more people to use public transit… but kpbs reporter john carroll found the region’s largest transit system was already seeing more riders, even before gas went up.

IT’S BEEN A WILD RIDE FOR MTS, THE METROPOLITAN TRANSIT SYSTEM SINCE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN TWO YEARS AGO. RIDERSHIP OF ITS BUSES AND TROLLEYS FELL BY 73% DURING THE WORST DAYS OF THE PANDEMIC… WHEN SO MANY PEOPLE WERE STAYING HOME. THE MTS’ MARK OLSON SAYS THE SURGE IN GAS PRICES HAS HELPED BOOST RIDERSHIP, BUT HE ALSO SAYS IT WAS ALREADY HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

“FOR LAST YEAR’S BUDGET, WE WERE ANTICIPATING ABOUT 11% RIDERSHIP GROWTH. WE JUST UPDATED THOSE NUMBERS TO 45% INCREASED RIDERSHIP GROWTH OVER THE PREVIOUS YEAR.

OLSON SAYS MTS IS PLANNING ON ROLLING OUT A NEW PROGRAM IN MAY THAT WILL ALLOW RIDERS 18 AND UNDER WITH A PRONTO PASS TO RIDE FOR FREE. JC, KPBS NEWS.

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But people aren’t only reaching for busses or trains. People are also using electric bikes.

kpbs science and technology reporter thomas fudge has more.

Pedal Ahead is a San Diego non profit that has a goal of improving the health of low income people and reducing carbon emissions. They raised money to get 400 hundred electric bikes, which they loan to people who qualify for the program. One of them is Pamela Hill, who says she rides from 60 to 100 miles a week, running errands and just getting exercise. She says the electric assist makes it a lot easier to deal with San Diego’s challenging landscape.

“My world of places I would entertain going opened up vastly, just because of the amount of hills in San Diego. Now i don’t worry about the hills.

The e-bikes from Pedal Ahead are the “pedal-assist” version, meaning you still need to pedal the bike but it’s electric motor gives a nice push. If Hill logs enough miles, the bike will become hers.

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an update now on a san diego bakery owner whose family is still in ukraine. she wants to bring them here… but as kpbs reporter kitty alvarado tells us, they still say they want to stay.

Daria Nadar who owns and operates Oh My Cake Bakery in San Diego has raised more than $5000 to help the Ukrainian war efforts …There people are in the battle of their lives since the Russian invasion.

Her mother, father, sister, brother in law and nephew just fled the capitol of Kyiv to a somewhat safer part of Ukraine … a video chat means the word to this family that is a world away

I want to hug her

Soon, soon I hope soon,

her mom Svitlana Tarnavska says they did not want to leave but the bombing just got too close and they left for the sake of her eight year old grandson Andrew

I am fine

While Daria wants them to come to America, they just want to stay home …

I pray that war soon stops

Slava Ukrainie!

Kitty Alvarado, KPBS News

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Coming up.... A new study from UC San Diego shows online tutoring can help students recover from learning loss caused by the pandemic. We have that story and more, just after the break.

Rental rates and home prices continue to climb in San Diego county … pricing out many families, and seniors

KPBS speak city heights reporter jacob aere says a new affordable-housing complex in the heart of city heights looks to make a dent in the issue when it opens later this year.

A new affordable housing residence catering to seniors and low-income families in City Heights is in the final stages of construction.

The project is a 100% affordable housing development that has 78 family units and 117 units for seniors.

Serving Seniors CEO Paul Downey says he hopes the space brings together people from different age groups.

“Sometimes with affordable housing, we tend to kind of warehouse. ‘We put a bunch of seniors here, we put a bunch of veterans there… Really having that cross-generational interaction is healthy and normal, and it benefits everyone who’s living there. ”

Prospective residents who are 62 and older can now register their interest in the housing complex at servingseniors.org. Downey says to do so quickly as demand is very high. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.

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Community Colleges have not provided housing in the past… but some local schools are getting new state funding to build affordable housing for their struggling students. KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez has the story.

San Diego City College was awarded 3-hundred-44 thousand dollars to design and plan affordable housing for its students. The money will fund plans for a 16-story high-rise building with room for 6-hundred-10 City College residents. They will live in the shadows of multi-million dollar condos and apartments downtown and adjacent to the campus.

John Parker is Vice President of Administrative Services at City College.

SOT: “ We actually did have to complete a market analysis for rents to ensure that the rents would be below market and priority given to low-income students.”

Southwestern College in the South Bay was awarded almost a million dollars in grant money to plan affordable housing for students at its 4 campuses. More state funding will come when it's time to start construction in about a year. MGP KPBS News

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New research out of UC San Diego shows online tutoring could help K through 12 students recover from learning loss experienced during the pandemic. In a pilot program students received online tutoring twice a week for 30 minutes.

Sally Sadoff with UCSD’s Rady School of Management, says the results are promising. She spoke with KPBS’s Cristina Kim.

That was Sally Sadoff with UC San Diego speaking to KPBS’s Cristina Kim.

San Diego Latino Film Festival returned to being in person last night as it kicked off its 29th season at its new location in Mission Valley. The festival will host 200 movies from around the globe and from here in San Diego. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando has this preview.

San Diego Latino Film Festival has been existing in a virtual space for two years because of the pandemic. But last night, exhibitions manager Moises Esparza was excited to be back in cinemas sharing films as a community.

MOISES ESPARZA I may be a traditionalist in the sense that I like watching my movies in a dark room with a lot of people on a big screen. So to be able to get back to those basics is really amazing to me.
But those basics are getting a bit of an upgrade this year. Festival founder Ethan Van Thillo points to the new location at Westfield Mission Valley Mall.

ETHAN VAN THILLO They've been very supportive to us these past few years. During the Pandemic, they, in fact, give us a free storefront where we've been having our educational classes for youth media and tech camps and our teen producers project. But we've taken over this old restaurant in front of AMC Cinemas. We have a stage outside. So when people come to see the movies, they're going to see a lot of activities. We call it a festival village.

Now the old Ruby’s diner is bursting with art and provides a space for attendees to hang out and talk about films.

ETHAN VAN THILLO You can't get that from your TV or your Netflix account. So we're really excited to bring back that in person component… of getting together as a community and talking to each other and dialoguing about the films and just being together.

That community was broadened by increasing the diversity of voices on the festival staff says Van Thillo.

ETHAN VAN THILLO The curating team this year is expanding our network of films and we've invited many people like Adriana Trujillo to be guest curators. So we have different programs and different programmers for the first time that we never had before.

Which led to showcasing 200 films.

ETHAN VAN THILLO I told the team, let's show less films because it's the pandemic but yet they programed more films than ever.

That might be in part because there were so many films to choose from this year says Esparza.

MOISES ESPARZA So even though everyone's in the pandemic, I think creatives really went out of their way to find innovative ways to make movies.

One of the new showcases that emerged highlights the Indigenous experiences of Latin Americans.
MOISES ESPARZA We have a showcase called Our Roots, which explores these ideas of the importance of language preservation, culture preservation, and of course, not only preserving them, but sharing them with the whole world.

The strange world of the Un Mundo Extrano Showcase pushes the envelope with some audacious filmmaking says Esparza.
MOISES ESPARZA There's a very almost like old school slasher called Al Morir la Matinée, which is like Death by Matinee, which it's like giallo inspired slasher film set in a movie theater. But then there's a great Brazilian film called Medusa, which explores kind of religious zealotry amongst a group of women and how they band together to be the moral police in a way, and then go out of their way to hunt women who they consider to be immoral. So political commentary, kind of fantasy elements and just some really beautifully staged sequences.

Esparza doesn’t like to play favorites but each year he does fall in love with one film.
MOISES ESPARZA there's a film from Mexico called Dos Estaciones by Juan Pablo Gonzalez that just really floored me in its delicacy and intimacy, which kind of translates to this very interior film about small actions, small movements, small brief encounters. So it's all about the brief moments in life that kind of define us.
And with recent news that Mexico will now allow birth certificate changes for transgender people, Esparza says Threshold is apt. It is an autobiographical documentary by a mother who follows the gender transition of her adolescent son.
MOISES ESPARZA And it's told through a collection of family portraits and very intimate home footage. So it's almost like watching a family movie about someone else's life. But the way it's arranged composed, it is so vivid and wonderful.
Closing night will move attendees out of the festival village and over to Bread and Salt in Logan Heights say executive director Van Thillo.
ETHAN VAN THILLO we are taking over that space and it's going to be our awards ceremony. But then we have this wonderful ten piece band coming from La Jungle Fire. They're called expect 2 hours of all dancing music. It's going to be great. So encourage people to come out and have a good time. And what a way to celebrate getting back in person.
Watching films in person and on a big screen is what excites Esparza each year about putting on the festival.
MOISES ESPARZA Whenever I'm not on the floor, I'm usually in the hallway watching a film or re watching a movie and being like, okay, it looks so much better on the big screen.
And this year you will be able to enjoy San Diego Latino Film Festival online and on the big screen.
Beth Accomando, KPBS News.
San Diego Latino Film Festival runs through March 20 at the AMC Mission Valley Theatres.

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After two years of COVID cancellations and adjustments, San Diego’s beloved cherry blossom festival returns in its pre pandemic form this weekend at the japanese friendship garden in balboa park. Here with me to talk about the 2022 cherry blossom festival is Mariah Williams. She's the Events and Marketing Coordinator for the Japanese Friendship Garden. Mariah welcome to the podcast…

The 2022 Cherry Blossom festival runs this weekend march 11th, through March 13th at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa park. You can find ticket information on their website at niwa.org.

That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. This podcast is produced by kpbs senior radio producer Brooke Ruth and me, Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

The Metropolitan Transit System says ridership numbers have been on the upswing for months. Meanwhile, rental rates and home prices continue to climb in San Diego County, forcing many families and seniors out of traditional housing. A new affordable residential complex is set to open later this summer in City Heights to make a dent in the issue. Plus, the San Diego Latino Film Festival is back.