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Sailor acquitted of setting warship on fire

 October 3, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Andrew Bowen in for Debbie Cruz…. it’s Monday, October 3rd.

The sailor accused in the U-S-S- Bonhomme Richard fire has been acquitted.

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

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The application period to apply for a license to operate a short term rental in the city of san diego starts today.

THE ORDINANCE MANDATING THE LICENSE WAS PASSED IN 20-21 AND later APPROVED BY THE CALIFORNIA COASTAL COMMISSION. The ordinance requires RENTAL HOSTS TO OBTAIN A LICENSE AND establishes A CAP ON THE NUMBER OF LICENSES GRANTED FOR WHOLE-HOME RENTALS OPERATING MORE THAN 20 DAYS PER YEAR. Licenses are required starting May 1st of next year.

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Today for the first time in more than 20 years, the San Diego City Council and the County Board of Supervisors will hold a joint meeting.

The topic…. affordable housing.

The purpose of the meeting is to ensure the two government agencies are working together towards the same goal.

They'll also be voting on a new goal of building 10-thousand affordable homes on government owned land by 20-30.

City and county staffers will present a list of publicly-owned properties where housing could be built.

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Four people from The San Diego Humane Society’s Emergency Response Team are helping with animal rescues in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

The Team members will conduct water operations and search and rescue on land.

The deployment is expected to last 10 days.

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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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Not guilty.. That’s the verdict from a Navy judge in the trial of a sailor charged with setting the fire that destroyed the U-S-S Bonhomme Richard in San Diego in July 20-20...

KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman was in the military courtroom when the judge handed down his decision.

When 21-year-old Seaman Recruit Ryan Mays entered the courtroom Friday he was smiling and talking with his attorneys.. His mom gave him a kiss before the verdict was read.. Judge Captain Derek Butler  acquitted  Mays  of willful hazarding  a vessel and aggravated arson.. Mays broke down into tears.. Then he embraced his family .. He read a prepared statement outside the courtroom– Mays I’ve lost time with friends, I’ve lost friends, I lost time with family and my entire navy career was ruined. I’m looking forward to starting over Mays’ trial lasted ten days.. Prosecutors alleged he started the fire after failing to become a Navy seal..  A witness testified that Mays was near where the fire started, but Mays’ attorneys denied he was involved and said the prosecution lacked physical evidence. . MH KPBS News

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The minimum wage is going up to 16-dollars-and-30-cents an hour in the city of San Diego in January… but rent, gas, food and utilities are all still going up too.

KPBS reporter Jacob Aere says cost of living is front of mind these days for many … and especially for those fleeing other countries and looking for work.

With rent and the price of a gallon of gas nearing all-time highs in San Diego, basic necessities are becoming harder to afford, says Abdullah Ravish. He’s a refugee and former diplomat from Afghanistan. Friday, he and his wife were at a job fair in El Cajon. “It's super hard and yea, right now I'm struggling. But at least I'm happy and lucky to be here… I do believe that I will find the job that I want. And I should be surviving.” The event is hosted by the nonprofit organization Welcome. Us … and it’s specifically catered towards immigrants from his homeland and Ukraine. The two-day event is the fourth of its kind in the nation and will also run Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. JA KPBS News.

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Shifting coastal ground in South Orange County has halted passenger train service between Oceanside and Mission Viejo.

KPBS reporter Thomas Fudge says the closure could stop passenger train traffic along the coast for two months.

Both Amtrak and Metrolink commuter train service have been shut down in the area, essentially cutting off passenger train service between San Diego and the rest of California. The track closure is in San Clemente. A press statement from Metrolink said that until the agency can confirmthat the slope movement has stopped,   service will not resume.. Hasan Ikhrata, CEO of San Diego’s planning agency, SANDAG, said he spoke Friday morning with Metrolink CEO Darren Kettle about how long the gap in train service is expected to last. “Service for passengers will stop for at least 60 days. Period. The freight service will continue to operate and the freight trains will move at a slower speed.” San Diego County has suffered the same problems with train tracks on unstable seaside bluffs, and it has taken steps to stabilize the slope. But he says the only lasting fix will be moving the tracks inland. Soq.  

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LOCAL ACTIVISTS ARE NOT GIVING UP THEIR FIGHT TO STOP JAIL DEATHS… EVEN THOUGH GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM VETOED A BILL MEANT TO ADDRESS THE ISSUES CONNECTED TO A MOUNTING DEATH TOLL.

KPBS REPORTER KITTY ALVARADO TELLS US WHAT THEY’RE PLANNING NEXT.

Yusef Miller has been advocating for change inside San Diego County jails for years. He says it’s shocking Governor Newsom vetoed the Saving Lives In Custody Act… a bill intended to prevent more deaths. we supported you and when it came down to the zero hour…we get stabbed in the heart. Assembly member Dr. Akilah Weber introduced the Saving Lives in Custody Act, in response to a state audit of the San Diego County Jail system. they got this veto wrong. Newsom said he was rejecting the bill because it called for adding healthcare and mental health providers to the Board of State and Community Corrections. He said those additions could impede the board’s ability to timely carry out its mission. Weber says that’s a poor excuse… if you have those people on the board it doesn't’ slow down the process. it can actually speed it up because you have that voice of expertise there  Weber is preparing to reintroduce the bill. Kitty Alvarado KPBS News.

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Lithium Valley. That's what many are calling Imperial County

While no lithium is being produced commercially there yet, it is home to one of the world's largest known lithium reserves.

Lithium is a key ingredient for electrical batteries.

KQED’s Madi Bolaños spoke with The Desert Sun's environmental reporter Janet Wilson about this needed resource.

That was The Desert Sun's environmental reporter Janet Wilson, speaking with KQED’s Madi Bolaños.

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Coming up.... U-S-D has a new Center for Business Education. We’ll have that story and more, next, just after the break.

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U-S-D officially opened its new Center for Business Education over the weekend.

KPBS Education reporter M.G. Perez says the school will use an innovative teaching model. 

The brand new ka-NOUSE School of Business at U-S-D is housed in a 120-thousand square foot complex designed to blend with the university’s older classic architecture…but inside,you’ll find the most advanced technology and workspaces. Undergraduate marketing students can collaborate with finance majors on branding new programs. There is a production studio for students to create video content, podcasts, and other electronic media. Timothy Keane became Dean of the school just as the COVID crisis began. “no one even knew what a supply chain was before they couldn’t get toilet paper. Now everybody understands there’s this sort of domino effect. So, we’re trying to get students to look at business as an integrated system of cause and effect.” Almost 24-hundred students are now using the ka-NOUSE complex…named after the U-S-D chairman and his wife who donated 50-million dollars to build it. MGP KPBS News

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A youth boxing program in Vista got displaced from their gym last year… but that didn't stop the organizer who decided to build the gym in his backyard.

KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne tells us how the organization is helping a group of kids become champions inside and outside the boxing ring.

As you walk into Rudy Moreno’s backyard in Vista…. You hear the sound of gloves striking punching bags. Most of his yard is taken up by a large tent filled with young and aspiring boxers. It's part of a non profit he started called HERO Inc. - Helping Everyone Reach Opportunity Rudy Moreno HERO Inc. Helping Everyone Reach Opportunity “I have a motto which is learn, grow, and lead. Each one of these kids they learn something, then they become leaders and teach others, and then they just grow from there.” Moreno used to teach in a bigger space, but last year, the program was displaced to make way for a new residential development. “We lost our big facility we had off N Santa fe. So we put our minds together… we put our money together because it was pricey and we decided, ‘you know what, we have the space in our backyard, why not construct something here.’ Moreno built the gym in his very own backyard because of the benefits boxing brought to the community. “Physical activity helps you mentally and physically, not only do I want to create champions in the ring but I want to create champions outside of the ring as well that way they become productive citizens.” Boxing helped Moreno stay out of trouble while growing up in Vista. He went on to join the Air Force, serving for 20 years. After retirement, the sport helped him recover from the effects of PTSD. “Because of the 20 years of service and the multiple deployments I did and wartime situations and that experience I did suffer from PTSD, anxiety, depression, There was a time that my body just started falling apart basically after retirement, I guess because I wasn't physically active anymore.” Now, Moreno gives back to his home town with boxing through his organization… working with kids like Uleena Torres. Uleena Torres Young Boxer “I think it helped me not to get picked on and just because I'm small  it doesn't mean i can't do anything.” She’s the only girl in the group. She’s won national titles and state championships - that she hopes will keep stacking up. “I want to take it to at least the olympics where I get top and maybe even professional”  17 year old Franklin Garcia says boxing has kept him from hanging out with the wrong crowds. Franklin Garcia Teen boxer “There's other sports kids can do, not just boxing, there's other sports and I encourage kids to do sports instead of being out there in the streets. Do sports and it's good for your health.” Boxing also inspired him to join his school's cross country team. He hopes to go to a 4 year university and continue boxing. “I wanna go professional. Thats my dream right now. Im working hard everyday, running, working hard, hitting the gym. Cross country then boxing and school. I just hope to be someone big, be one of the big top fighters.” Victor Villagomez, or Tony Boy, is Moreno’s youngest competitor at 10 years old. Victor “Tony Boy” Villagomez Young boxer “It helped me by getting confident and building my strength to my mind and my body.” Like the rest of the boxers, Tony Boy has big goals in mind. “What I wanna do is be a pro so I could make a career of myself and be sussessful.. I mean successful.” “What brings me joy is seeing their expressions. When we go to a national tournament and we win a national tournament, even a local tournament. Just seeing them win, they know that the hard work they’ve been putting in in the gym is paying off.” Moreno’s backyard boxing program is temporary. He hopes to get a bigger place… with more sports and services for the community. “Other sports, fitness, basketball, football. I would like my facility to have a learning resource center,a computer lab where kids can come and do their homework and then participate in an activity.” Until then, Moreno’s backyard is open until the sun goes down… to help kids reach new opportunities. “You always wanna help that person up so that way they can help the next person.” TT KPBS News 

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Taking the whole family to one of San Diego’s many museums can be expensive.

But not during the month of October.

KPBS reporter John Carroll tells us about “Kids Free San Diego.”

“Kids Free San Diego is about kids and families having fun at museums and saving money.” That’s San Diego Museum Council Executive Director Bob Lehman.  This year’s event is twice as big as last year… more than 50 museums and cultural institutions up and down the county are participating. “Our museums start all the way up north in Oceanside.  They go all the way down to the Tijuana Estuary.  We’ve got Chula Vista.  We’ve got the Living Coast Discovery Center. And then all the way out in Campo, we’ve got the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum where you can go out and take train rides.” Each museum handles admission a little differently… so to learn more and download coupons, go to San Diego Museum Council dot org.  JC, KPBS News.

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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 Andrew Bowen. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

The sailor who was accused of setting fire to the USS Bonhomme Richard in 2020 was acquitted Friday by a military judge. In other news, local activists are not giving up their fight to stop jail deaths despite setbacks. Plus, a youth boxing program in Vista got displaced from their gym last year, but that didn't stop the organizer who decided to build the gym in his backyard.