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Soldiers dying by suicide

 June 20, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Monday, June 20th.>>>>

Soldiers dying by suicide More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

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A third probable case of monkeypox has been found in San Diego.

The county’s health and human services agency made the announcement Friday.

The newest case has no connection to the first two probable cases, but the individual also recently traveled internationally.

The person is in isolation and doing well.

All three cases haven’t yet been verified by the CDC.

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San Diego County's unemployment rate dropped to 2-point-7 percent last month.

That’s lower than the county’s unemployment rate in April, which was three-percent.

That's according to figures released on Friday by the state Employment Development Department.

The E-D-D says the leisure and hospitality industry added the most positions, adding more than three-thousand jobs.

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Juneteenth was celebrated across San Diego County on Friday and through the weekend.

Juneteeth is the commemoration of the end of slavery.

On Friday, there was a flag raising at San Diego Unified ’s headquarters on to mark the holiday.

Here’s student Abigail Ford…

“Until this day we’re still fighting for our freedom, fighting to get justice in this world and fighting to have the same equal rights as another white man walking the street. Juneteenth is for all the African American who put their lives on the line to get us to where we are today.”

The holiday is being observed by the federal government today. All public San Diego County offices, family resource centers, libraries and animal shelters will be closed in observance.

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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.

The number of suicides in the Army hit a post 9/11 peak last year.

And the rate of soldiers dying by suicide is at its highest level since the Great Depression.

The Army base with the highest rate of suicides among new recruits is Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, and leaders there are trying new strategies to address the issue.

Jonathan Ahl reports for the American Homefront Project.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Or you can reach out to the Crisis Text Line to speak with a trained listener.

Text the word HELLO to 741741.

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San Diego County jail inmates are now getting easy access to medication that can reduce overdoses.

KPBS reporter Kitty Alvarado says the sheriff hopes this will reduce the number of deaths in custody.

Naloxone is now easily accessible to inmates, found in all common areas of the jails along with instructions on how to use it. The prescription nasal spray is commonly known by its brand name NARCAN. It reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Previously, only deputies had access to it in the jails. Sheriff Tony Ray says this common sense approach will save more lives and hopefully reduce the number of jail deaths caused by drug overdoses. We’re trying to make our jails as safe as possible, we don’t want to be known as the place you come and pass away. Paul Parker is the executive officer with the County’s Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board, the civilian oversight board that has been calling for this action for years. It’s a great day for the folks who are in the care and custody of the sheriff’s department Ray says making this possible took a lot of research, including visiting jails where inmates have access. While he didn’t have the information about what that cost … he says it’s worth it You can’t put a price on a person’s life Kitty Alvarado KPBS News

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The E-P-A wants the public to weigh in on a 630-million-dollar plan to fix cross border pollution in the region.

KPBS Environment Reporter Erik Anderson has more.

Federal officials have completed a draft environmental impact review and they are looking for public comment. The agency is recommending a plan to bolster capture and treatment of sewage tainted flows on both sides of the U-S Mexico border. The projects are meant to keep sewage tainted flows out of the ocean. The E-P-A’s Doug Eberhardt this is an important step. EPASEWAGE 1A :14 00:04:09 – 00:04:23 “For now we’ve identified a set of alternatives, different ways of addressing the problem and we’re now looking at what are the environmental ramifications of those various alternatives.” The environmental review looked at the impact of three alternatives and is expected to be finalized in the fall. Once complete, federal officials could begin designing the project. Erik Anderson KPBS News

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Coming up.... How seniors are transporting all over the world— virtually. We’ll have that story and more, next, just after the break.

State lawmakers are considering stipends for students willing to get into social work.

It’s aimed at addressing the shortage of social workers in the state.

At the same time, a local university is launching a new online program.

KPBS education reporter M.G. Perez explains.

Right now the state legislature is working on a bill to offer a 37-thousand dollar stipend over two years to graduate students willing to pursue a masters degree in social work…and then go on to work for a public agency. The bonus would apply to state schools…to help relieve a shortage of 25-thousand social workers in California, according to the governor’s latest budget proposal. David Stewart is Dean of Professional Psychology at Alliant University…which is launching a new online masters of social work program…using lessons from the pandemic to train students in leadership, too. SOT: “social workers have this unique training where they can do the on ground face to face work but they’re also policy and advocacy folks. If you look at who’s running social service agencies …who’s running departments…those are social workers.” The Alliant program starts in January. Senate Bill-964 was sent to the Assembly last week for consideration. MGP KPBS News

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A survey of California bumble bees could not detect a single member of eight different species historically found in the state.

KPBS science and technology reporter Thomas Fudge spoke to researchers who say it’s more evidence that the bee population is declining.

Until recently, 25 species of bumble bees were thought to exist in California. But a team of entomologists from UC Riverside conducted a survey in 2019, gathering 100 bees from each of 17 state locations. Eight species could not be found anywhere, and those included Bombus occidentalis, the once common western bumblebee. Hollis Woodard led the UCR research team, and she calls the failure to find the Western bumble bee alarming. The absence of some other species was entirely expected. “It was further confirmation that these are species that used to be found in California but they’re now exceedingly rare or potentially extinct,.” Conservationists have petitioned the court to protect four of the bumblebee species the survey could not find. In a surprising state appellate court ruling last month, they won protection under California’s Endangered Species Act. Woodard says the ruling gives her reason to hope for a recovery of some bumble bees. “Our state endangered species protections are actually fantastic. They mobilize people to do additional work to look for where we find these bees to protect their habitat.” SOQ.

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A local senior community is using virtual reality to take its residents anywhere in the world.

KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne has the story.

Residents at White Sands senior community in La Jolla are diving into virtual reality. Rendever is the VR technology that allows them to virtually go anywhere. Lily Mauricio lives in the facility and uses the VR. “It was very beautiful… the dolphins, I even saw my farm, the backside of my farm. Which is unreal. I mean technology now…” Staff at White Sands says the technology has helped their senior residents with memory care and psychosocial needs. And that’s exactly why the founders of Rendever developed the company. Rendever’s CEO says the technology helps reduce social isolation and prevents the older generations' world from shrinking. TT KPBS News

That’s it for the podcast today. This podcast is produced by KPBS Senior Radio Producer Brooke Ruth and Producer Emilyn Mohebbi. 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.

The rate of soldiers dying by suicide is at the highest level since the Great Depression. Meanwhile, San Diego County jail inmates now have easy access to medication to reduce overdoses. Plus, how seniors are transporting across the world, virtually.