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Spending the night in migrant encampments

 January 16, 2024 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m John Carroll, in for Debbie Cruz….it’s Tuesday, January 16th.


As migrants continue to cross the border we check in with crossers in Jacumba. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


A mouse collected at Mission Trails Park has tested positive for the potentially deadly hantavirus.

It’s the first local detection of the virus in wild rodents this year.

Although exposure is rare, people should be careful around rodents since there is no cure or vaccine for the virus.

Some of the best ways to avoid exposure include checking for holes outside your homes.

Also avoid stirring up dust or materials that might’ve been contaminated with rodent droppings.


There’s another public forum this evening, where officials hope to learn what San Diegans want in their next chief of police.

The current chief, David Nisleit, is stepping down in June.

Today’s meeting starts at 5 P-M, at the Park De La Cruz community room in City Heights.

There’s another forum tomorrow and Thursday, and two more next week.

There’s also an online survey where you can share your input.

We have a list of the meeting times and locations, and the online survey on our website, KPBS-dot-org.


A new pilot program will soon be launched in the county to help lower-income older adults find a spare bedroom in a private home.

The program will run two years and is hoping to address growing homelessness among older adults.

It will match at least 50 people, who are 55 or older, with households who sign up and offer to rent out a spare bedroom.

There are income restrictions for the program and individuals would pay no more than 30-percent of total monthly income towards rent.

In some cases, a service exchange could be allowed, where the older adult provides services like gardening or cleaning to pay a reduced rent.

Participants also will be offered other services to help them stay housed.

It’s expected to launch early this summer.


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


During a historic moment in U-S immigration, our partners at inewsource spent 48 hours in migrant encampments along a two-mile stretch of high desert in East County.

Reporter Cody Dulaney has this story about an unofficial gateway into the U-S.

In the small town of Jacumba, the border wall stops where the mountains begin. It’s just before dawn, and dozens of migrants are piling out of trucks and SUVs south of the border. The drivers are rushing them along. Men, women and children climb over rocks and boulders, around the steel barricades that form the border wall. Most are carrying bags. Some are carrying babies. All have high hopes for the future. This scene is so common, something of a system has developed. As soon as migrants cross through gaps in the wall, they look for Border Patrol. Agents funnel them into makeshift outdoor holding areas, where they can wait hours, sometimes days to be processed. They often have no food or water, with barely more than the clothes on their backs. And in this rugged, high desert region, where dramatic swings in temperature are common, it can get dangerous. An 18-year-old from Egypt learns this firsthand. His group had arrived after walking several hours in 40-degree weather, with high winds and horizontal rain. Minutes later, the young man collapses. Border Patrol agents on scene call for help. Within 16 minutes, CalFire paramedics arrive. The young man is unresponsive but breathing. PARAMEDIC: “Sir! Sir! Sir, wake up! Open your eyes. Open your eyes.” His body is shivering. One paramedic touches his hand and says it’s ice cold. They check his blood pressure. One-fifity over ninety. That’s high for his age. Next, his body temperature: 95 degrees. Dangerously close to hypothermia. Paramedics quickly load him onto a truck and drive off. Volunteers say they’ve seen a big improvement in response times. After repeated medical emergencies out here, they say things have changed. Migration is often driven by people fleeing danger or searching for something better, sometimes both. While conditions can be harsh, the camps mark the beginning of a new life. A teacher from Colombia named Monica Alejandra Suaza Gomez is here with her 15-year-old daughter. She hopes to keep her daughter’s dreams for the future alive. CODY: She says she sees the possibility of living safely. Back home, she’s afraid they’re going to die. Those with young children do what they can to make the best of long wait times. One family from China, none of whom speak English, are making breakfast around a campfire. A man in the group grabs plastic poles from a nearby, broken-down tent. He lays them on the fire, side by side, longways, creating something that resembles a grill. He carefully places a dumpling down on top. He moves it around. Turns it over. He doesn’t have much time before the plastic melts. And then, with a slip of his hand, it falls into the flames. For KPBS, I’m inewsource reporter Cody Dulaney.

TAG: This story was co-reported with Sofía Mejías-Pascoe, Zoë Meyers and Philip Salata.

inewsource is an independently funded, nonprofit partner of KPBS.


The childcare workforce is led by mostly women of color.

New data from the state details the industry's current reality.

Reporter Tania Thorne says despite the state's recent investments, many providers are getting by without a salary or benefits.

Data showing the experience of California’s child care workers paints a grim picture. Courtney Baltiyskyy is the director of advocacy for the San Diego YMCA. This is a workforce that has really been developed, unfortunately, on the backs of women and women of color. And when we think about succession planning for this workforce, it's just not happening and it's not there. She says  73% of providers statewide reported not paying themselves a salary. For those who did pay themselves, the average salary is less than $30,000 a year. The state budget deficit fueled concerns that child care funding could be cut. Baltiyskyy says that didn't happen this year. But that doesn't change the overall crisis. TT KPBS New.

TAG: To tell us about your experience with childcare, go to KPBS-dot-org-slash-childcare.


If you are low-income in San Diego County, you could get a new toilet for free.

Reporter Katie Hyson looked into the program saving water and money from going down the drain.

Many traditional toilets use more than one and a half gallons of water every flush. And if it’s running between flushes * nat running sound * it could waste enough over four days to fill a swimming pool. It'll be quiet. And then all of a sudden you'll hear that tank fill again. And when you hear that, it's not a ghost. It's your toilet flapper. That’s Debby Dunn. She’s really passionate about toilets. She’s wearing toilet earrings when I speak to her outside the San Diego County Water Authority, where she oversees the direct install toilet program. They’ve installed 6,000 low-flow toilets in low-income homes so far, and they have funds for 4,000 more. We're upgrading toilets in places where it may have been 10, 20, 30 years. She says the new toilets cut some households' water use – and bill – in half. To apply for the program, visit S-D-C-W-A dot org. Katie Hyson, KPBS News.


Coming up.... the San Diego Community College District will soon have a new permanent chancellor. What he plans for the district, plus more, after the break.


Sailors at Navy Medical Center San Diego took time Friday to observe the Martin Luther King holiday.

Military reporter Andrew Dyer has more on what the observance means to sailors.

senior chief jamiko price addresses medical center staff ahead of a wreath laying ceremony and moment of silence to honor martin luther king before what would have been his 95th birthday. she says it’s important to pause and reflect on king and the ongoing movement he championed.“it's important for us, to continue to remind us this every year and make sure we reaffirm our commitment to justice and fighting for equality.” this year’s holiday comes as diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace arebeing criticized from high-profile figures on the right. medical center director captain elizabeth adriano says the navy is quite diverse and her staff includes sailors from all over the world. “so they bring that diversity, as well as the diversity of gender, the diversity of age, the diversity of skin color and all of those things work together to make us stronger.” more than 6,000 sailors and civilians work at the navy medical center in balboa park. andrew dyer, kpbs news.


The San Diego Community College District will start the new year with a new permanent chancellor.

Education reporter M.G. Perez spoke with Greg Smith about his leadership plans for the future.

   Almost a hundred thousand students will be served by the San Diego Community College District this year at City, Mesa, Miramar …and the seven other campuses of the college of continuing education. They will be led by Greg Smith, the incoming permanent chancellor. “I have a responsibility to correct things that people who look like me have created.”  Smith is white…leading a district with a majority of students who come from marginalized communities of color. He is committed to providing programs and resources for a growing student population looking for equity and access and an affordable education. “I exist in a context where I may not have been the enslaver but I have benefited tremendously from that racial heirarchy…so it’s on me to be a part in solving that and take a proactive role in solving it. Smith will go from acting chancellor to the permanent position next week, when the Board of Trustees is set to approve his contract.  MGP KPBS News.


A research team led by UC-SD is seeking to explain enormous clouds of gas surrounding galaxies.

Sci-tech reporter Thomas Fudge has more on what are called “Orcs.”

The comic-sounding acronym orc stands for odd radio circle, with radio referring to the wavelength of light. ucsd astrophysics professor alison coil led a research team that published their findings in the journal nature.  “they are enormous. they are a scale much larger than a galaxy and basically a physical scale that we don’t see anything else like this in the universe.” orcs are clouds of gas that were first discovered in 2019. coil and her team took on the challenge of explaining what they are and how they are formed. they believe shockwaves from exploding stars created a wind that pushed the gas we see into intergalactic space, making a cloud with an ever expanding radius. “so we think that this galaxy had a starburst event that led to these multiple supernovi kinda building on each other and then it drove gas out of this galaxy at a really high speed and a really high rate.” she says the star explosions can occur when galaxies collide. the orcs we can see are created by starbursts that happened hundreds of millions of years ago. soq.  


A library opening today at the San Diego Automotive Museum will provide new research and learning opportunities.

Education Reporter M.G. Perez has more on the benefit for students and professionals.

The 32-hundred square foot library houses a collection of thousands of automobile books, magazines and hard cover repair manuals dating back to 19-01. It’s a renovated space that is part of the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park. High school and college students already use the museum’s educational programs ..many of them preparing for internships or apprentice work with professional mechanics. Lenny Leszczynski is C-E-O of the museum. “You never know when you're gonna spark that interest not love for cars and it could come through Reading. You know, that's one of the learning styles, you know, reading auditory kinesthetic. So it really adds to another approach of learning.” Anyone can access the free material with a paid admission to the automotive museum Tuesday through Sunday. MGP 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. I’m John Carroll. Thanks for listening and have a great Tuesday.

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During a historic moment in U.S. immigration, our partners at inewsource spent 48 hours in migrant encampments along a two-mile stretch of high desert in East County. In other news, if you are low-income in San Diego County, you could get a new toilet for free. Plus, a library opening today at the San Diego Automotive Museum will provide new research and learning opportunities.