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Student loan forgiveness

 August 25, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Thursday, August 25th.

President Biden announces more student loan forgiveness. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

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A new state program is giving millions of dollars to California’s youth for post high school education.

It’s called CAL-KIDS and it launched earlier this month.

There are two groups of people who are eligible for it…

Kids born in the state – from July first of this year onwards – and eligible students at low-income public schools.

There’s no citizenship requirement to access the money, which could be as much as 15-hundred dollars.

More information about the program is available at CAL-KIDS-dot-org.

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Chula Vista’s Harborside Park is now temporarily closed while the city looks for ways to help unsheltered people who’ve been using the park as a tent city.

Parents have complained it’s unsafe for their children to walk to the elementary school next to the park because of crime and drug use in the park.

Between 20-19 and this year, the park had an increase of crime reports, arrests and citations compared to three other parks with high police calls.

About 100 people are living at the park.

It will be temporarily closed for 90 days, but the city manager can extend the closure.

The city has set aside 350-thousand dollars for fencing, security and public outreach services.

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A flood watch is in effect in San Diego County’s mountain and desert areas through this evening.

That includes Julian, Borrego Springs and Pine Valley.

Scattered thunderstorms are expected to cause heavy rainfall, with possible flash flooding.

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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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President Biden announced a plan to forgive up to 10-thousand dollars for those with student loan debt.

Some borrowers will receive an even bigger break.

KPBS reporter Jacob Aere says the president also extended the federal student loan payment pause through December 31st.

Under the plan, borrowers earning less than $125,000 a year, or couples earning less than $250,000 a year, would be eligible for up to $10,000 in loan forgiveness. Meanwhile, loan payments will also be capped at 5% of monthly income. Trey Barkley is a local resident who’s still paying off his tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. He was hoping for more. “The 10,000 is kind of a joke given just the sheer interest on most accounts anyway for this. 10,000 doesn't even cover one year of interest.” Recipients of Pell Grants, which are given to students with the greatest financial need, would be eligible for $20,000 in student loan relief. The Education Department will announce further details on how borrowers can claim this relief in the weeks ahead. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.

In other education news, students in San Diego Unified go back to school Monday.

This will be the first full school year for the district’s superintendent, Dr. Lamont Jackson.

KPBS Education reporter M.G. Perez spoke with him about his plans for California’s second largest school district.

Dr. Lamont Jackson considers himself a spiritual man. “The spirit of UBUNTU…an African proverb which means…I am because we are.” That proverb continues to inspire the Superintendent of San Diego Unified School District…a message he’s lived by even before being appointed permanently to the position last March. In our interview, he set the tone for what’s to come in the new school year. Dr. Lamont Jackson/San Diego Unified Superintendent “this year will be about belonging… it will be about equity and it will be about our children and staff thriving so that we can become what we set out to do and that’s to become the best school system across the nation. San Diego Unified is second in size to the Los Angeles School District…with many of the same big city issues. Starting with the continuing COVID crisis. “we have recently moved away from a district-wide mask mandate to focus on what’s happening at our schools. We realized a lot of data is able to be captured at our school sites.” So individual schools could re-instate masks or take other COVID precautions based on a localized outbreak of cases…rather than a mandate for the entire district.  Then there is the threat of the monkey pox virus…there will be special precautions for students in athletics… “for example keeping our mats clean for wrestlers because we know this is something transmitted through close contact…the sharing of towels and materials like that.” On the matter of the new California “late-start” law …requiring middle schools to begin at 8-am or later…and high schools no earlier than 8:30 a.m. …Dr. Jackson says the district has a school year worth of data …from a pilot program started in 2021. “we’ve learned a great deal from transportation to our parents who have multiple drop off points when they have multiple children in the family, I think we’re poised.” …poised to provide support for students before and after school as families adjust their routines. The district also has more student representation on the the school board, this year. Zachary Patterson, who helped create the student position graduated in June and has been replaced by two new students who are continuing the legacy. “....really pushing at this idea that Trustee Patterson pushed …and that’s a student voice…and really have students at the table and really hearing from them.” Jackson has been with the district for more than 30-years…as a teacher and coach, a principal, human resources director…and a product of San Diego Unified…completing 12 years of his education in district schools. He is also a dedicated father…and shared a very personal story of growth when his son decided to pursue a college scholarship in opera…and not athletics. “it was all him who said he was interested in pursuing choir and he was moving away from athletics which is probably what I was pushing him into doing. If there’s a message for parents…we need to get out of the way of our students and let them find their voice…because magic will happen…sorry…I get a little choked up. The Superintendent who is still teaching. MGP KPBS News

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San Diego County’s plan to meet California’s greenhouse gas emission standards is in a state of limbo.

The sticking point is a four-cent per mile tax on drivers.

More from KPBS reporter John Carroll.

Last December, SANDAG’s board of directors approved a massive 165-billion dollar plan to move the county forward on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  But they took out a controversial four-cent per mile road usage charge, telling staff to come up with a different way to pay for it.  Some SANDAG board members alerted the California Air Resources Board - CARB - last month that the tax was no longer part of the plan.   CARB balked… saying the tax needed to stay.  Corinna Contreras with the San Diego based Climate Action Plan says whether it’s a road use charge or something else, the clock is ticking. “It’s just not feasible to have private transportation be the only way that people can move about our region.” SANDAG board member Jim Desmond says a better alternative is to invest in new technologies to help reduce pollution.  JC, KPBS News. 

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San Diego is on the verge of redeveloping its Sports Arena property in the Midway District.

The area will have more than four-thousand new apartments.

KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen looked at the project's connection to public transit.

DA: We're fortunate in some ways that we're on the side of the street that has a sidewalk. AB: Dike Anyiwo lives in the Midway District and chairs the neighborhood planning group. We're walking from the Old Town Transit Center to the Sports Arena property — 48 acres of public land where the city wants to build a new community. But the way things are now, those future residents won't have a pleasant, or even safe walk to the trolley. There are gaps in the sidewalk. Missing curb ramps that block wheelchair access. There's little shade or trees. And when crossing the massive, 8-lane roads that cut through the Midway District…AB: … it's clear that cars, not pedestrians, have the priority. Anyiwo says the Sports Arena property needs a quicker, safer route to the trolley. DIKE ANYIWO MIDWAY PLANNING GROUP CHAIR DA: The route is not direct. It's very circuitous. In a straight line, the Old Town Transit Center is maybe half a mile from here. But it took us almost a half an hour to get here because we're not going in a straight line. AB: Five redevelopment proposals have been competing for the right to build on the Sports Arena property. On Monday, Mayor Todd Gloria announced he's recommending Midway Rising, the plan with the most affordable housing. The City Council is set to vote on that selection on September 13. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news.

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Coming up.... How a Ukrainian refugee family is adjusting to their new life in San Diego. We’ll have that story and more, next, just after the break.

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YESTERDAY WAS INDEPENDENCE DAY IN UKRAINE AND ALSO SIX MONTHS SINCE RUSSIA INVADED THE COUNTRY.

KPBS REPORTER KITTY ALVARADO SPOKE WITH A UKRAINIAN REFUGEE FAMILY LIVING IN SAN DIEGO.

Eugenia Brodsky has left her life in Ukraine behind. I so miss home so much She dreams of a day she can go back to a life she used to live … thinking of it brings her to tears … But on this Independence Day for a country she longs to see …her heart is with the people who have survived the unimaginable I can see people, very kind people, but I understand that I miss our people  The war broke out when she, her husband and two little boys were on vacation, they managed to make their way to San Diego through Tijuana. That was seven months ago. She says after 31 years of Independence, r she finally feels like she knows what the day truly means This day is not just a day of concert  and fireworks , this day is our pain, it’s our love it’s our hope Slava Ukraini Heroem slava Kitty Alvarado KPBS News 

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A San Diego researcher who helped shape present day climate models, has died.

KPBS Environment reporter Erik Anderson spoke with people close to Tim Barnett.

Tim Barnett took a scientific stand in 1997.  Months before torrential rains, floods and winds pummeled the entire state, he predicted El Nino conditions would bring damaging storms to California. It turned out to be the strongest El Nino weather event on record. Climate researcher David Pierce says It was rare, at the time, to make sweeping predictions based on the existing science. “Tim was a very intuitive person.  I mean, I felt like I was fairly good at these things.  Tim could look at a sheet of plots from across the room and know that something was wrong with them.” Barnett had confidence in his numbers and no nonsense approach with people. Son Willie says his dad had no patience for B-S or bureaucrats. Erik Anderson KPBS News

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The Art of Science contest was created to highlight the beauty that can emerge during scientific research.

This year the U-C San Diego Library partnered with the San Diego Natural History Museum on an exhibit showcasing the winners.

KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando spoke with U-C San Diego metadata librarian Abigail Pennington about creating the contest and what its goals are.

That was U-C San Diego metadata librarian Abigail Pennington, speaking with KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando.

The winning works of The Art of Science contest are on display now through October 24th, at the U-C San Diego Library Wong Avery Breezeway, and on the first floor of the NAT in Balboa Park.

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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 Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

President Biden announced a plan to forgive up to $10,000 for those with student loan debt. In other news, San Diego County’s plan to meet state mandated emission reductions is in flux. Plus, a Ukrainian refugee in San Diego reflects on the country’s Independence Day.