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San Diego Unified school choice begins

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Friday, October 8th.

School choice begins More on that next, but first... let’s do the headlines…

Covid-19 vaccinations for younger children could be on their way soon-- drugmaker Pfizer is officially requesting FDA emergency use authorization for it’s vaccine in kids ages 5 to 11.

pfizer says in clinical trials of 20-thousand children there were robust antibody responses, and the vaccine proved to be safe.

Dr. Mark Sawyer with rady children’s hospital says getting younger kids vaccinated should help stop outbreaks in schools.

this is a huge step we’ve been waiting for this for months now and the american academy of pediatrics has been encouraging the fda to quickly act once the data was submitted, now we’re there

An fda advisory panel is set to review pfizer's application at the end of the month. If approved, it then goes to the CDC. Vaccines could be available for kids 5 to 11 as early as next month.

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Governor Gavin Newsom took his bill signing tour on the road to Cal State Northridge this week.

The governor signed more than 20 bills targeting higher education, including legislation to improve college affordability and increase access to c-s-u’s and u-c’s.

we're investing in our conveyor belt for talent

Meanwhile, in San Diego, Southwestern college says it will forgive 1 and a half million dollars of outstanding student tuition debt for more than 42 hundred students. Students who enrolled in classes in spring and summer of this year will have all of their outstanding tuition, along with enrollment fees, forgiven. The school is using federal covid-19 relief funds to pay for it.

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

The six-week school choice window is now open for parents who want their children enrolled in a specific San Diego Unified school. KPBS education reporter MG Perez tells us applications are up significantly as the covid pandemic proceeds.

By the November 15th deadline, more than 10-thousand applications are expected from parents who want to make the choice where their children will attend school starting next fall in the San Diego Unified School District. That’s an increase of 20-percent over last year. These are parents interested in transferring their children from their neighborhood school to a magnet school or a school with specialized curriculum. Ivonne Torres has two elementary age kids in choice schools.

“Both of them did well online but when it was time to go back to school, I sent one and didn’t send the other. It was recognizing who they were and their needs academically and to socialize.”

School choice enrollment is decided by an electronic lottery system...that will happen in February. MGP KPBS News

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Most of the oil spill off the coast of Orange county will likely stay there, impacting sensitive habitats in that region. KPBS environment reporter Erik Anderson has details.

The major ecological impact area from the offshore oil spill near the Orange County coast is widely expected to remain between Santa Monica Bay and Dana Point. An estimated 144-thousand gallons of oil spilled from a ruptured undersea pipeline this past weekend.

Oceana scientist Ben Enticnap says the spill threatens kelp forests, protected marine habitat areas and even Grey whales.

“They’ll be passing through the waters of Southern California and if the oil’s still there, which it’s likely to be, that could impact the Grey Whales.”

Enticap says blue whales are also threatened because they forage off the coast of Southern California at this time of year. He says sea birds are at risk too in the affected area.

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Friendship park which has long served as a bi-national meeting place for families along the us-mexico border has been closed by border patrol. Kpbs’ alexandra rangel has more from local leaders who are advocating for the park's reopening.

VM: “We need to open Friendship Park.”

AR: Congressman Juan Vargas joined Friends of Friendship Park outside of San Diego Sector’s Border Patrol Headquarters in Chula Vista on Thursday.

Vargas dropped off a letter to border patrol officials, demanding the reopening of FriendShip Park, which has been closed for 600 days.

Pedro Rios with Friends of Friendship Park says the border patrol has previously stated that a lack of personnel to secure the area was a reason for the continued closure.

VM: “And they have purposefully chosen to not provide resources that would open up friendship.”

AR: We reached out to the border patrol for a timeframe for when the park would reopen, but have not heard back.

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An Encinitas resident who says he’s tired of finding used balloons on the beach... is petitioning the city to ban them.

As KPBS reporter Alexander Nguyen tells us, the city is considering the idea.

Most days, you can find Mark O’Connor picking up trash during his daily walks on the beach. And almost always, the retired sheriff’s Sergeant would find a discarded balloon among the marine litter.

“The last three days in a row, I found one, and I might go for a few days where I don't. Sometimes they're in a cluster. You find three or four of them together.

He says latex balloons not only contribute to the litter but they also pose a danger to marine life.

a balloon will look like a jellyfish to an animal so creatures will eat it. This is one I picked up yesterday. It was entangled in a bunch of kelp. The ribbons are able to get around talons or beaks or wings, preventing an animal of any type from being able to feed itself or maneuver.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, balloons are the third greatest threat to sea life, after fishing gear and plastic bags and utensils.

That’s why O’Connor, a local surfer and the Surfrider Foundation are pushing for a balloon ban in Encinitas.

The city’s Environmental Commission has drafted an ordinance and is asking for the public’s input.

If passed, Encinitas could become one of the first cities in the state to ban both latex and Mylar balloons.

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After three delays and 18 months, the latest Bond, No Time to Die, finally arrives in cinemas today. KPBS Cinema Junkie Beth Accomando has this spoiler free review.

I have to confess. When the opening music for No Time To Die began under black in a cinema, I got goose bumps.
I’ve been in a heightened state of anticipation waiting for Bond 25, the final entry in the Daniel Craig cycle of 007 films. I was excited but also sad that Craig’s tenure as Bond was coming to an end. The wait, however, was totally worth it. To summarize Bond’s final mission: it delivers all the action and excitement you expect from a 007 movie but with an unexpected emotional weight.

Barbara Broccoli, whose father Albert helped launch the franchise in the 1960s, has done for Bond what Kevin Feige did for Marvel -- create a cinematic universe. She helped reboot the franchise by fighting to cast Craig and pushing the films into a grittier and more contemporary arena.

The only shortcoming in the film is Rami Malek’s villain who’s a disappointing choice as Bond’s final nemesis. Lashana Lynch and Ana De Armas, however, are both welcome additions that I hope we see again. And while Craig’s done with the role, the film ends with the assurance that James Bond will return. I’m game to see how.

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Coming up.... Last month a federal commission started taking suggestions for replacing confederate names for military bases. We’ll have an update on how that’s going, from our partners with the American Homefront project next, just after the break.

The federal commission charged with replacing Confederate names on military bases is getting thousands of suggestions.

But as Jay Price reports for the American Homefront Project, that's just one step in a process that will likely take years.

The commission BEGAN TAKING suggestions from the public last month on its website, and has been visiting base communities as part of its charge to take into account local preferences. The commission’s chairwoman is retired Admiral Michelle Howard.

HOWARD: We have heard directly from local chambers of commerce, historical genealogy societies, Rotary Clubs, school board officials, local national special interest groups, church leaders, business and many other organizations.

PRICE: She was speaking during an online news conference Thursday after the commission submitted a progress report to Congress. Its final recommendations are due in a year. Howard said the commission will stop accepting suggestions December 1st and begin narrowing the list. Names starting to emerge fall into several categories. Those of people like heroes or key leaders associated with a base….. Inspiring words like Victory…. some aspect of local geography... or something that describes the base’s military role.

Fort Bragg, for example, is gathering suggestions and running a Facebook poll on some, including: Fort Liberty, Fort Sandhills, Airborne and Special Operations Base...

And some locals have suggested the military could save money by simply saying Fort Bragg is now named for Union General Edward Bragg of Wisconsin instead of his cousin, Confederate General Braxton Bragg.

Howard said the commission will consider all suggestions, but a similar idea came up during a community meeting at Fort Gordon in Georgia, and wasn’t universally popular.

HOWARD: I will tell you there were other members of the community then who then stood up and said, you know, if you do that, there's some of us who, who are who would like to see new names and if you use the same name, even with a different human, in a different context of time, then you almost undo what what they thought the intention of the law is. So I took that to heart hearing a member of the community say that.

PRICE: The idea also doesn’t impress Dan McNeill, a retired four-star general who held a host of roles at Fort Bragg.

McNEILL: Is that all ya got? What’s the connection with Fort Bragg?

PRICE: McNeill helps lead a citizens committee assembled by base leaders to act as liaison to the community on the renaming.

McNEILL: He was a Union guy? I mean, I think we can do better than that. I think we need to work a little harder. We need to think.

PRICE: During a virtual town hall last month for Fort Bragg, local residents offered several ideas.

Vicki Andrews was one of two people to lobby for Dr. Mary Walker, the only woman to win the Medal of Honor.

ANDREWS: <<13 secs>>She worked for the Union Army, but she also cared for Confederate soldiers. And so in all the things that you have to consider.. It’s 2021! We need to make sure we at least consider this powerful woman.

PRICE: <<14 secs>> That town hall drew several angry text comments against renaming the base at all. Things have been tamer in some base towns, though. William Cooper is mayor of the City of Enterprise, Alabama, one of several municipalities that encircle Fort Rucker.

COOPER: <<9 secs>> Well, from what I have observed, really, and truly has not been much talk about it.

PRICE: <<9 secs>> He said locals want input, and have offered several ideas. But the important things are that the base’s military role and its overwhelming local economic impact aren’t changing.

COOPER: <<15 secs>> We will just continue to support the base, whatever the name is. Of course its mission is to train aviators, so, really and truly that won’t have no effect on that, you know. So whatever name is all right with us.

PRICE: And whatever that new name turns out to be, it and the others have to be in place by 2024.

And that was Jay Price, reporting. 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.

That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a wonderful weekend.

The school choice window is open now for six weeks for parents who want their children enrolled in a specific San Diego Unified school. Meanwhile, advocates are calling for the reopening of friendship park at the border. And, some military base names may be changing. Last month a federal commission began taking suggestions for replacing confederate names for military bases.