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San Diego researchers break ground

 March 22, 2023 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Wednesday, March 22nd.


San Diego researchers are looking for answers under 35-hundred feet of ice in Antarctica. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


The first storm of spring isn’t over yet.

Today scattered showers are expected on and off throughout the day.

This is the 13th atmospheric river of the rainy season.

In downtown, we’ve gotten 12 inches of rain so far.

That’s four inches more than normal.

And National Weather Service Meteorologist Alex Tardy says we’re on track to have the wettest season in nearly two decades.

“By Wednesday afternoon, we could be at 13.6, and that would put us at the wettest year in San Diego going all the way back to 2005.”

Tardy says another huge winter storm is set to hit next Tuesday into Wednesday.


The San Diego City Council yesterday made Juneteenth a paid holiday for city employees.

Juneteenth marks the end of slavery in the United States.

President Joe Biden established Juneteenth as a federal holiday in 20-21, and Governor Gavin Newsom followed up by establishing it as a state holiday last year.


Twelve campers donated to the city of San Diego three years ago, will become temporary homes for people experiencing homelessness.

It’s part of a plan approved this week by the City Council.

That’s according to reporting by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The safe parking site off Morena Boulevard will be ran by Jewish Family Service.

The campers are expected to be used by families experiencing homelessness.

The site will also have 15 spaces for people living in their cars.

The lot is expected to open within a week.


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


San Diego researchers have achieved something that’s never been done before.

They’ve taken a core sample from the bottom of a lake, buried under thousands of feet of ice, in the middle of Antarctica.

Environment reporter Erik Anderson has details.

It took researchers two seasons to travel across the cold barren landscape to reach Mercer Lake in Antarctica. Mathew Siegfied works for the Colorado School of Mines. Matthew Siegfried Colorado School of Mines “It’s a little harder in Antarctica because first of all there’s a big ice sheet above the lake that we’re interested in and then it’s far from pretty much everything.  And so all of our logistics went through McMurdo station which is about 500 miles from the lake we were interested in sampling.” Tractors pulled enough gear over the ice to build a small village and set up a drill.  Siegfried says instead of using a steel bit to bore through the ice, researchers melted snow, sterilized it and heated the water to 200 degrees. “And we take a firehose of hot water.  Literally like a multi-inch diameter fire hose made of Kevlar and we just point it into the ice and we go down.” The scientists needed to be efficient because the hole that they pierced in the 35-hundred feet thick ice sheet over the lake began to refreeze as soon as they cut it. Ryan Venturelli Colorado School of Mines “So when we accessed Mercer subglacial lake, the water column was about 15 meters thick so that’s pretty, that’s a pretty deep lake.” Researcher Ryan Venturelli of the Colorado School of Mines was there during the collection. says long metal cylinders were dropped through the hole and into the lake.   Researchers sent containers to the bottom where they captured a sample of the sediment on the lake floor.  What those devices came back with had never been found before.  The samples had layers of sediment.  Much like tree rings, those layers revealed what’s been happening in this hidden body of water. “in this subglacial environment we have never seen something like this before.  But we have thought since we initially observed these lakes underneath the ice sheet that they should reflect something of the overlying ice.” Previous attempts to recover sediment cores from underwater lakes failed because the region they were sampling was churned up by the ice above the water.  Venturelli says This lake was different. “It's a pancake.  And we think about sediments being deposited.  It’ll deposit one type of sediment.  Then another layer goes on top of that that’ll be a different kind of sediment.  And on an on we go.  And that’s how we draw paleo climate conclusions everyday in ocean cores for example.” Those layers tell the story of the lake and the surrounding ice.  And it tells a story which fills a gap in the scientific record.  Core samples from the ocean floor around Antarctica tell the geological history of the region.  But only until about a thousand years ago.  Satellite imagery has a pretty good record of the past two decades.  These lake cores – extracted in this years-long effort -- could help fill the historical gap. “It's not only what is there, it’s how long has it been there and it tells us a lot more about the process.” Helen Fricker is a glaciologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography who helped put the expedition together. “So it’s kind of a time scales problem.  We’ve only sampled for a very small window.  And we need to extend that backwards in time and also to help us predict forward in time to see how things might change in the future. Fricker says the sediment cores will allow researchers to record the history of a lake locked up under thousands of feet of ice.  It will also help them understand the ice sheet above the water.  The continent holds more than 60 percent of the world’s fresh water and it could become a major factor as sea levels rise on a warming planet. “It's basically subglacial hydrology, so we need to get that right in our models. So, it can help us constrain that process and help understand it better so we can put it into a model which predicts the future of the ice sheet which is what the data will eventually be able to inform.” It is common for scientists to build a climate record from sediment samples recovered in lakes in temperate climates.  These sediments are the first of their kind recovered from under the ice.  Findings from the expedition are published in the March 9th edition of the journal Geology. Erik Anderson KPBS News.


Tens of thousands of Mexicans are protesting their president’s unpopular election reforms.

Border reporter Gustavo Solis explains what those reforms are, and what they mean to the U-S.

Mexico has a totally independent National Electoral Institute. There is nothing quite like it here in the U.S. Kathleen Bruhn, professor UC Santa Barbara “They are professional electoral managers. And they run all of the elections and they set up all the polling stations and print out all the ballots and manage the registry. We do not have that equivalent. We are very decentralized.” Kathleen Bruhn (Broon) is an expert on Mexican democracy. She says the dispute between President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and the National Electoral Institute dates to 2006. That's when Lopez Obrador lost the presidential election by less than one percentage point. He didn’t take the loss well “He declared that he was the legitimate president of Mexico, he asked his party not to take their seats in congress, he occupied the central square the Zocalo in Mexico City, he blocked streets and has still refused to accept that election was legitimate.” Now that he is president, Lopez Obrador wants reforms. They would reduce the electoral institute’s budget – gutting thousands of jobs and jeopardizing funding for polling stations in rural areas. Bruhn is concerned this could lead to drug cartels or foreign actors financing Mexican elections. Gustavo Solis, KPBS News.


San Diego’s two largest educational institutions came together last night for their annual joint meeting.

Education reporter M.G. Perez says decisions made at the meeting will impact high school students across the county.

The governing boards of San Diego Unified and the San Diego Community College District meet each year to discuss partnerships and collaborative programs. In their meeting this year …they are working on projects through the 2027 school year. A new partnership starting June 13th will allow high school students to earn a nursing assistant credential through the Community College’s Continuing Education campus. It’s a huge head start for high schoolers according to the campus’s president Tina King “while they’re in high school they can get their state license to be a certified nursing assistant …after completing the program they will be able to take the test.”  The joint meeting agenda also included discussion about pending state education legislation and future fundraising efforts. MGP KPBS News.


Coming up.... Our KPBS film critic reviews John Wick 4. We’ll have that story and more, just after the break.


The S-D-S-U men’s basketball team is heading to Kentucky today for the Sweet 16 of the N-C double A tournament.

It’s the third time the Aztecs have made it that far in the program's history.

Reporter Melissa Mae spoke with the team’s head coach ahead of the trip.

MM: The fifth-seeded Aztecs have won 11 of their past 13 games and will play number one seed Alabama this Friday in Louisville (LOO-a-vul), Kentucky. MM: SDSU is coming off a dominating 75-52 win against Furman and are the first Mountain West Conference team to reach the Sweet 16 since Nevada (nuh-vah-duh) in 2018. MM: Head coach Brian Dutcher is preparing his team for their toughest opponent this season. BD “We’ll have toughness and grit. We’ll contest every shot they take and like I said from the start of the year, ‘As long as we’re playing at our best, then I like our chances.’” MM: Dutcher says his team is looking forward to playing a number one seed. Melissa Mae KPBS news. 


John Wick is back, and that makes film critic Beth Accomando very happy.

Here’s her review of John Wick 4.

Saying that John Wick 4 ranks fourth in the franchise, is like complaining that rubies are worth less than diamonds. I mean, yeah, but they’re both priceless gems. The first John Wick was a flawless diamond, pure and stunning in its clarity of purpose. John Wick 4 takes us a long way from the man who simply wanted revenge for the death of his puppy. It brings us to a more complex and elegant world where Wick wants to once and for all regain his freedom from the criminal underworld known as the High Table. I am going to need a gun. In this fourth outing stuntman turned director Chad Stahelski focuses a lot on gunplay but finds ways to feature it in a series of set pieces that will make your jaw drop in awe. Last words Winston… just have fun out there. And Stahelski does. He understands the breathtaking beauty of fight choreography and stunt work. Then he makes sure we appreciate it too by allowing it to play out in long, wide, gorgeous shots. Stahelski and star Keanu Reeves have raised the bar on the action genre and set a new gold standard. Beth Accomando, KPBS News.

TAG: John Wick 4 opens in theaters tomorrow.


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 Wednesday.

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San Diego researchers have achieved something that’s never been done before. They’ve taken a core sample from the bottom of a lake, buried under thousands of feet of ice, in the middle of Antarctica. In other news, thousands of Mexicans are protesting their president’s unpopular election reforms. Plus, our KPBS film critic reviews “John Wick 4.”