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PedWest border crossing reopens

 January 4, 2024 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Thursday, January 4th.


The PedWest border crossing is back open, and businesses are happy about it! More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


After a rainy day yesterday, the sky is expected to be sunny and clear today.

But, a High Surf Advisory is still in effect until 10 tonight.

The National Weather Service says waves could reach up to 10 feet.

Temperatures by the water and in the inland areas will be in the low 60s.

In the deserts, temps will be in the high 60s, and in the mountains, it’ll be in the low 40s.


Firefighters near Petco Park, now have a new tool they say will help them work faster.

Fire Station 4, located at 8th and J, now has an extra fire engine.

It will be in service 12 hours a day, from 8 in the morning to 8 at night.

The city of San Diego added the vehicle as part of a pilot project to speed up response times.

Fire Chief Colin Stowell says Fire Station 4 isn't just one of the busiest in the city, but the entire nation.

"Something we've wanted to do for quite some time. We just haven't been in a position staffing wise to put an additional engine out there everyday deployed even for 12 hours. We're in a much better staffing position now as a department and so we felt it was the right time."

Chief Stowell also says this will ease the burden on other fire stations close to downtown, that are often called on to help respond to calls in East Village.


Just a heads up that some of the lanes on the westbound side of the 8 freeway near El Cajon and La Mesa will be closed starting tomorrow night (Friday) through Tuesday morning.

Crew members will be making repairs.

The closure will be from West Main Street to Loren Drive on the I- 8 West.

It’ll start at 9 tomorrow night, and reopen by 5 a-m Tuesday.

The roadwork is part of a nearly 28-million-dollar project that includes replacing old pavement and installing concrete railings and signs.


Coming up, Kaiser is being investigated for its alleged treatment of women with postpartum depression.

"So this is a really serious condition. And doctors say it needs to be treated as soon as possible."

More on the investigation, plus a lot more on the podcast, just after the break.


San Ysidro’s Ped-West border crossing is back open.

C-B-P closed the busy pedestrian crossing last month.

Border reporter Gustavo Solis says San Diego’s business community was happy border traffic could resume.

“This is excellent news to start obviously to start on the right track this year.” Kenia Zamarripa is the Vice President of International Business Affairs at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. Part of her job is to help businesses navigate the U.S.-Mexico border. So she is extremely aware of the impact of long border wait times and temporary closures. They cost businesses billions of dollars every year. “As much as we want to say that our strategic location is key to our global competitiveness, that whole speech relies on efficient border infrastructure.” Zamarripa says this impacts everything from trucks delivering goods to employees getting to work on time. San Ysidro’s PedWest border crossing was one of four that Customs and Border Protection closed in December. The agency says the closures were necessary to deal with an influx of illegal immigration. PedWest will reopen at 6 a.m. tomorrow. But only for limited hours. People will be allowed to cross north between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. then they will be allowed to cross south from 3 p.m. to 11pm. Gustavo Solis, KPBS News.


Federal regulators are investigating Kaiser Permanente for how it treats women with postpartum depression.

The health provider has twice revised its guidelines to make it easier for women to get a new drug that targets the condition.

These developments are the result of a K-Q-E-D investigation that first revealed Kaiser's restrictions on postpartum care.

The California Report's Saul Gonzalez spoke with health correspondent April Dembosky about her reporting on this issue.

Saul: So you've been looking at this since 2021. Could you tell us more about this drug and why it was just so hard for Kaiser patients to get it? April: The drug is called Brexanolone, and it's unique because it was made specifically for postpartum depression. So it targets hormone function rather than the brain's serotonin system. The thing is, it's expensive, $34,000. And women have to stay in the hospital for three days to get it, which tax on further expense. So many health insurers put restrictions on it. They wanted women to try one or two cheaper drugs before they would pay for this one. But we did an analysis and we found that Kaiser's criteria were the most strict of any insurer in the state. They wanted women to try for alternative treatments before they could be considered for this. And because the FDA had only approved the drug for up to six months postpartum, this basically amounted to a blanket denial of the drug. Saul: Hmm. So what was the impact of all of this on patients? April: Well, I talked to a number of Kaiser patients who were all given the runaround and denied the drug, And one in particular, Miriam McDonald. Her doctors just kept trying other medications, one after another. That didn't work for her. It took over a year to find something that worked. I mean, it was just completely unfair. No woman after having a child should suffer like I did. Saul: So what happened after KQED released your investigation? April: Well, about a month after the story came out, Kaiser revised its guidelines for Brexanolone. Instead of trying four medications first, women needed to try just one. But it didn't end there. By late 2022, federal regulators from the Department of Labor had launched an investigation. Technically, they wouldn't confirm or deny the investigation, but we know there is one because they started calling the patients we had interviewed for our story. And it was a few months after that that Kaiser revised its guidelines, again, saying women could get Brexanolone right away without having to try any other drugs. So Kaiser basically went from having the most restrictive policy to the most robust. One of my sources called it the gold standard for the industry. Saul: So for those of us who aren't steeped in this issue like you are, why is this so important? April: Well, there's so much at stake. If a new mom is not doing well, untreated postpartum depression can affect the baby. It can lead to cognitive or social problems. Husbands or partners are more likely to become depressed. And for moms themselves, it can be life or death. Suicide accounts for about 20% of maternal deaths. So this is a really serious condition. And doctors say it needs to be treated as soon as possible. So now that we have medications that target postpartum depression and they work quickly, there's more pressure on insurance companies to not give patients the runaround. And we see that with the Department of Labor stepping up enforcement of mental health laws. And in California, we have an even stronger mental health law that insurers need to comply with. Saul: And as I understand it, there's now another postpartum medication that's coming on the market, right? April: That's right. The same company that makes Brexanolone has come out with a new pill form of the drug. It's called Zuranolone. So instead of a three day I.V. infusion in the hospital, women can now take this pill for two weeks. B ut it's still expensive. Nearly 16 grand. So there are a lot of eyes on Kaiser and other insurers to see what kind of coverage criteria they're going to create for this new drug. Are they going to ask women to try one or two other drugs before this one? Or will women have the option to go directly to this? Saul: So much to watch going forward. April, thanks so much for joining us. April: Thank you.

TAG: That was Saul Gonzalez, speaking with K-Q-E-D's April Dembosky.


In other health-related news… this month is National Blood Donor Month.

Reporter Jacob Aere says there tends to be more need for blood this time of the year, and blood drives across the county are looking to fill that gap.

The San Diego Blood Bank teamed up with San Diego County Credit Union on Wednesday for their annual multi-location blood drive. Francisco Martinez was on his lunch break … donating blood at the site in Encinitas. For him it's part of a higher calling … and greater purpose. “Well I've been a donor for close to four years now. A friend of mine's son got sick and so he needed a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately he died, his son died. So we just keep donating blood in remembrance of him.” Anyone who is of general good health, at least 17 years old and 110 pounds or higher can donate blood. People can donate year round by finding a location near them at Jacob Aere, KPBS News.


San Diego's planned facility to recycle waste water is the most expensive capital project in the city’s history.

Sci tech reporter Thomas Fudge says this week, the project goes underwater at the Miramar Reservoir.

There’s a pipeline floating atop the Miramar Reservoir that’s one end of an 8 mile conduit that will be connected to the city’s wastewater recycling plant, now under construction. San Diego civil engineer Elif Cetin says later this week this part of the pipeline will be under 100 feet of water. “We are getting ready to install an approximately one mile branch pipeline that will be built above water and will be sunk in place to allow us to distribute purified water evenly within the Miramar Reservoir.” Phase one of the Pure Water treatment project will cost 1.5 billion dollars. But it will provide San Diego with 30 million more gallons of potable water a day. Cetin says once this end of the pipeline is submerged, divers will swim down to it to finish coupling and installation. San Diego’s water recycling plant will be operational and providing water in about two years. By 2035 the city says it will provide nearly half of the city’s water supply. SOQ.


20-23 films are still trickling into movie theaters.

Cinema junkie Beth Accomando says, one of the best is “All of us Strangers,” and it opens today in San Diego.

Adam is a writer and a solitary soul. One night there’s a knock on his door… Hello, I saw you looking at me from the street. Harry seems to be the only other person living in this tower of deserted London apartments. The two men mirror each other in loneliness and pain. Is this your mum and dad?... yes they died when I was 12. I am trying to write about them… how is it going?... strangely. Very strangely, as Adam returns to his family home and sees his parents as they were before they died. All of Us Strangers is a film about memory, and about trying to go back to re-examine the past and redefine key relationships. The film maintains a mysterious tone so we question what might be real or imagined or perhaps even supernatural. Since Adam is a writer we feel a sense of deliberate exploration, of trying to figure out how the past lays the groundwork for the future, and wondering if you can go back and fix problems you now see. All of Us Strangers is a melancholy, bittersweet and beautiful film about grief, loss and trying to connect with others. Beth Accomando, KPBS News.


That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. Join us again tomorrow for the day’s top stories, plus, our KPBS arts reporter rounds up what’s to come in San Diego’s art and culture scene this year. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great Thursday.

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San Ysidro’s PedWest border crossing is back open and San Diego’s business community is happy that border traffic can resume. In other news, there tends to be more need for blood this time of the year and blood drives across San Diego County are looking to fill that gap. Plus, San Diego's planned facility to recycle wastewater is the most expensive capital project in the city’s history, and this week, the project goes underwater at the Miramar Reservoir.