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New Navy recruitment tactic

 January 18, 2023 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Wednesday, January 18th.

A new tactic to increase Navy recruitment. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


About 113-thousand S-D-G-AND-E customers with lingering debt on their utility bill are getting some relief from the state legislature.

More than 50 million in customer debt from 20-20 and 20-21 will be forgiven.

It is the second round of state debt relief linked to the COVID pandemic.

S-D-G-AND-E’s Anthony Wagner says, customers will see bill credits starting this week.

“If you had debt in the qualified period of time set by the legislature.  That debt will be lowered if not eradicated.”

The relief comes as the utility’s natural gas customers deal with unprecedented increases in their gas bill.


A San Diego federal judge dismissed a lawsuit over a state law that allows gun owners’ personal information to be shared with researchers studying gun violence.

The suit was filed last year by five gun owners, who alleged the law prevents potential gun and ammunition buyers from exercising their Second Amendment rights.

In last week’s ruling, the judge wrote that the state already collects information on gun buyers, and the limited disclosure of private information for research doesn't expose plaintiffs to any new risks.


San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria will be speaking at the U-S Conference of Mayors 91st winter meeting in Washington today.

The conference is a non-partisan meeting of cities with a population of more than 30-thousand people.

Gloria will be speaking about hate and extremism in cities and the federal strategic plan to reduce homelessness.


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


The U-S military is struggling to meet its recruiting goals.

The service branches are offering record-high enlistment bonuses and loosening rules for things like tattoos and past marijuana use.

Now, with fewer young adults signing up, the Navy has decided to give older people a chance.

Jay Price reports for the American Homefront Project.

PRICE: Swami’s Beach…. One of the best surfing spots in Southern California, and a kind of paradise.…a gentle crescent of sand and clear water below palm-topped cliffs.Maybe not what you’d expect a 41-year-old surfing school owner to give up….to join the Navy.Matthew Allen calls it his office, and on a recent spring-like morning he was there coaching 11-year-old Ray Goodson. What I want to focus on today is just…easing into the session, finding your rhythm… not rushing it, right? PRICE: Allen has lived a laid-back dream in Maui and Southern California. Surfing big waves, fronting a bar band… ALLEN: I’ve been fortunate enough to make this a life for 20 years. PRICE:Lately, though, he’s begun feeling like he owes a big debt to the nation that made it all possible. ALLEN: I’m always trying to balance how good this is with… can I give something back to deserve this? PRICE: And suddenly, he can, thanks to a Navy policy change.When Allen walked into a recruiter’s office last summer, he was already TWO YEARS years past the age limit of 39.But a few months later… after he lobbied every Navy official he could email or get on the phone ….his recruiter called and said the Navy had raised its age limit to 41.That’s the oldest of ANY service. The Marines for example have a ceiling of 28, unless you get a special waiver. And the Army?... 35.But the Navy’s national chief recruiter says its data shows older recruits can do well. ALLCHIN: We don't have a high attrition rate on somebody that's 38 or 39 years old. So I think it's safe to assume that somebody that's 40 or 41 years old, would probably be in the same performance categories. PRICE: That’s Master Chief Petty Officer Gerald Allchin.He says Allen’s late-blooming interest isn’t as unusual as it may seem… ALLCHIN: A lot of times it’s for that pride of belonging, the patriotism, the want or the need to serve something bigger than themselves… PRICE: The Navy expects the age change to attract just 50 to 100 recruits a year. But it’s one of several changes designed to attract enlistees who Allchin says are likely to make solid sailors, but were blocked by standards that, in some cases, didn’t reflect current society. The Navy has also eased its rules about enlisting single parents … people with prominent tattoos …. and those who initially test positive for marijuana even though it's now legal in many states. ALLCHIN: A lot of the things are just opening up the aperture to grow our market as much as possible but also provide the opportunities to the public. Especially if the data says that they're going to perform at the same rate …” PRICE: Allen is a case study in the Navy's new rules. Even after the age change, he needed several waivers - including one more than a hundred pages long for his FORTY-THREE tattoos; a coin-sized image of a spiderweb inside one ear held things up for several days. But finally that, too, was approved. Allen's recruiter, Petty Officer Edward Smith, said he’s never worked with a recruit who was so motivated… or who had to be. SMITH: It was quite a bit to overcome. And he’s been there every step of the way, never backed down, always welcomed the challenge. PRICE: The Navy needs a LOT more Matt Allens, though. Allchin, the national chief recruiter, says it's competing with civilian employers that also are struggling to find enough workers …and have had to UP their OWN games, with more pay and benefits.Before, the Navy had an edge by offering benefits like housing and medical care. NOW though, in SEVERAL ways it’s having to go a little further.And… a little older. Jay Price, NCPR, WUNC.

This story was produced by the American Homefront Project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans.

Funding comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Bob Woodruff Foundation.


The storm that came through this week left a big mess throughout the county.

In South Bay, the Tijuana River Valley remains flooded.

KPBS reporter Alexander Nguyen was there, and has this story.

The wind and rain Monday night battered and soaked the South Bay. According to the National Weather Service … the area received 2 to 3 inches of rain from this latest storm. But the mountain areas received between 4 to 5 inches. And all of that water travels down to the Tijuana River Valley … flooding the area. it happens every year …. Eileen Barnes owns Surfside Ranch in San Ysidro. She says every time it rains … the area gets flooded over. “This is like supposed to be the most rain that we've gotten in a couple of days consecutively.” Other than some huge puddles and mud … her ranch remains relatively unscathed. Her neighbors down the road weren’t as lucky. They had to call for help evacuating nearly 30 horses. AN/KPBS

People who are homeless were especially impacted by this week’s stormy weather.

Here’s KPBS reporter Jacob Aere with more.

C.C. Brewer told KPBS he’s been homeless for years in San Diego. On Tuesday, he was trying to stay dry under a makeshift tent and tarp, near Fashion Valley Mall. That’s one of the parts of San Diego that got hit hardest by flooding. “If they don't know, they're sitting in their tents and all of a sudden here comes this wall of water. It’s happened several times … luckily I know not to be down there when it's raining.” At least seven people had to be rescued due to the flooding of the San Diego River. Brewer said most people like him want and need permanent housing… and without it, he said, more people will be in dangerous situations. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.


Coming up.... A local author talks about their new novel set in a dystopian, future America. We’ll have that and more, just after the break.


Students in the San Diego Unified School District have a new way to connect to resources online.

KPBS Education reporter M.G. Perez tells us how.

San Diego Unified is using Instagram to promote its new student engagement website…a clearinghouse of information with everything from internships to scholarships…school clubs to  sporting events… social justice projects and sex education.. Matthew KEY-toriano is one of the student members of the San Diego Unified school board who helped in the development of the engagement website “students are and will be the leaders of tomorrow…but they can also be leaders of today …and I think this websites a huge first step in making that a reality.” Students can follow on Instagram at S-D-U-S-D students to get the full website address. MGP KPB News


Marissa Crane is a San Diego writer who has had their short stories published extensively.

And their first novel is now on bookstore shelves.

It’s set in a dystopian, future America that includes surveillance, public shaming and the marking of criminals.

It’s called "I Keep My Exo-skeletons to Myself.”

Book Riot named it one of their top indie queer book picks of the season.

Crane joined KPBS Midday Edition host Jade Hindmon, to talk about the novel.

Can you introduce us to the world you have created in “I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself”?

So a future Scarlet Letter?

Our narrator, Kris, is publicly marked with two shadows. What do the shadows mean, and what inspired this?

Can I ask you to read a short section from the very beginning?

That was Marisa Crane, author of the new novel "I Keep My Exo-skeletons To Myself," speaking with KPBS’s Jade Hindmon.


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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The U.S. military is struggling to meet is recruiting goals, so now the Navy has decided to give older people a chance to enlist. In other news, the Tijuana River Valley in South Bay remains flooded after this week's stormy weather. Plus, a local author t about their new novel set in a dystopian, future America.