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Title 42 to end this week

 December 19, 2022 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Monday, December 19th.

Title 42 is scheduled to end this week. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

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The bivalent COVID-19 booster is now available for children as young as six months.

The F-D-A approved the use of the updated Pfizer and Moderna boosters for children as young as six months earlier this month.

The CDC and state department of public health recommended the vaccinations after the FDA approval.

Public Health officials are urging people to get vaccinated for both COVID and the flu as cases are rising.

A list of locations offering the booster is at kpbs-dot-org-slash-coronavirus.

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You still can’t ride the train between North San Diego County and points north of San Clemente.

Service has been shut down since September because of movement in the bluffs above the San Clemente tracks.

Freight trains have been running at reduced speeds in order to continue the movement of goods.

Emergency work to stabilize the bluffs is currently underway and expected to be completed in February.

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The city of San Diego was one of six cities in California to earn the state's Prohousing Designation.

It’s a recognition for committing to policies and practices that it says will help remove barriers to housing production.

One of San Diego’s actions was updating community plans to accommodate room for more than 98-thousand additional housing units.

The state also announced the Prohousing Incentive Pilot Program to reward cities with the designation.

It offers nearly 26-million-dollars in additional funding to Prohousing cities to help speed up housing production and preservation.

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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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The Trump-era immigration policy known as Title 42 is scheduled to end this week .

KPBS border reporter Gustavo Solis spoke with a local activist about the impact of this controversial program.

Title 42 allows border patrol agents to turn away migrants at the border. They don't get a chance to pursue an asylum case in immigration court. Advocates say that it essentially barred access to asylum for tens of thousands of people. That includes Pedro Rios. He’s glad to see the policy gone, but says… “It’s hard to qualify something as a victory when we as advocates have been saying Title 42 has been harmful, has led to untold human rights violations of migrants.” In some ways, the long-lasting damage is done. Human rights activists documented more than 1,300 cases of migrants being killed, beaten, raped, or kidnapped after being turned away from the border via Title 42. That’s since 2020. Rios says that Title 42, along with other Trump policies, shifted the way we view asylum. “How the collective mind considers asylum has been damaged. It’s no longer seen as an obligation of nation states to welcome people who are fleeing violence fleeing situations that would end their lives. Now it’s more of a burden and something to reject.” Gustavo Solis, KPBS News

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Amid word of a deal between the university of California and striking academic workers... there are allegations of retaliation at UC-SD.

KPBS Education reporter M.G. Perez has more.

At least one UC San Diego graduate researcher and several teaching assistants have been given Unsatisfactory grades for the semester… allegedly for being on strike. None of them reportedly had any performance issues before. Daniel PRE-mosh is the graduate student researcher claiming retaliation from his boss. “If this doesn’t get resolved. As of spring, I won’t be able to take classes, engage in research work and this could be the end of my PHD track with UCSD” Union leaders have filed unfair labor practice charges with the State. A UCSD spokeswoman told KPBS they’re not able to discuss specific incidents… but all allegations of retaliation are taken very seriously.” MGP KPBS News

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California greenhouse gas emissions fell between 20-19 and 20-20, but that might end up being a short-lived benefit from the COVID-19 shutdowns.

KPBS Environment reporter Erik Anderson has more on the latest California Green Innovation Index.

Produced by Next 10, a nonpartisan think tank, the index  found Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fell eight-point-seven percent.  That’s primarily because COVID shutdowns greatly reduced emissions from vehicles, pushing the numbers down for the third straight year.  Electric vehicle sales are up and utility scale battery storage grew at an unprecedented rate.  But the news is not all good. Patrick Adler, Beacon Economics “For all of the successes and for all of the cuts we’ve made in the transportation sector, we are generating more carbon emissions in 2020 from in-state power generation than when we were a year before.  That’s a bit disheartening. Adler says summer heat waves and a regional drought reduced some hydro power production forcing the state to fire up more fossil fuel power plants. Erik Anderson KPBS News

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Coming up.... We revisit one of our favorite stories from 20-22... about a youth boxing program in Vista... We’ll have that story and more, next, just after the break.

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A state audit found San Diego Unified’s African American students in special education were more likely to be suspended long-term.

inewsource education reporter Andrea Figueroa Briseño has the details.

"Black students at San Diego Unified were at least three times more likely than their peers to face long-term out-of-school suspension … and district officials and some parents partly blame a lack of cultural awareness. Parent Vanessa Bell-Pinckney says her son, who is Black, has been treated differently by teachers who don’t look like him. “If you can’t culturally relate to the child then you do not, you don’t feel connected to the child. And it’s just like, okay, I just want this kid out of my class.” For KPBS I'm inewsource reporter Andrea Figueroa Briseño"

inewsource is an independently funded, nonprofit partner of KPBS.

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The 20-22 Midterm Elections delivered some surprises, but there were no serious hitches and most losers gracefully conceded.

Even so, partisan views meant that not everyone came out of it trusting elections.

KPBS reporter Thomas Fudge has more.

A survey by the Yankolovitch Center at UC San Diego found that the Midterms spurred an improvement in Americans' view of elections. Political science professor Thad Kouser, co-director of the Yankalovitch Center, said prior to the election, 54 percent of those polled said they trusted elections. After the midterms that number rose to 61 percent. “But that increase, that restoration in trust, all came from Democrats and Independents. Republicans were unchanged.” He said  85 percent of Democrats believed the vote count was accurate, but only 39 percent of Republicans did. Kouser said that is no doubt influenced by Donald Trump’s insistence that the election he lost in 2020 was rigged. But Kouser adds that everyone is less likely to trust the election when their side does poorly. Though the GOP won control of the House of Representatives, the overwhelming Midterm Republican victory, the anticipated Red Wave, did not take place. SOQ. 

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A Vista youth boxing program recently competed on the national stage.

But that opportunity was almost lost when the club got displaced from their gym.

KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne gives us a look back at how their coach took matters into his own hands and built the gym in his own backyard.

As you walk into Rudy Moreno’s backyard in Vista…. You hear the sound of gloves striking punching bags. Most of his yard is taken up by a large tent filled with young and aspiring boxers. It's part of a non profit he started called HERO Inc. - Helping Everyone Reach Opportunity Rudy Moreno HERO Inc. Helping Everyone Reach Opportunity “I have a motto which is learn, grow, and lead. Each one of these kids they learn something, then they become leaders and teach others, and then they just grow from there.” Moreno used to teach in a bigger space, but last year, the program was displaced to make way for a new residential development. “We lost our big facility we had off N Santa fe. So we put our minds together… we put our money together because it was pricey and we decided, ‘you know what, we have the space in our backyard, why not construct something here.’ Moreno built the gym in his very own backyard because of the benefits boxing brought to the community. “Physical activity helps you mentally and physically, not only do I want to create champions in the ring but I want to create champions outside of the ring as well that way they become productive citizens.” Boxing helped Moreno stay out of trouble while growing up in Vista. He went on to join the Air Force, serving for 20 years. After retirement, the sport helped him recover from the effects of PTSD. “Because of the 20 years of service and the multiple deployments I did and wartime situations and that experience I did suffer from PTSD, anxiety, depression, There was a time that my body just started falling apart basically after retirement, I guess because I wasn't physically active anymore.” Now, Moreno gives back to his home town with boxing through his organization… working with kids like Uleena Torres. Uleena Torres Young Boxer “I think it helped me not to get picked on and just because I'm small  it doesn't mean i can't do anything.” She’s the only girl in the group. She’s won national titles and state championships - that she hopes will keep stacking up. “I want to take it to at least the olympics where I get top and maybe even professional” 17 year old Franklin Garcia says boxing has kept him from hanging out with the wrong crowds. Franklin Garcia Teen boxer “There's other sports kids can do, not just boxing, there's other sports and I encourage kids to do sports instead of being out there in the streets. Do sports and it's good for your health.” Boxing also inspired him to join his school's cross country team. He hopes to go to a 4 year university and continue boxing. “I wanna go professional. Thats my dream right now. Im working hard everyday, running, working hard, hitting the gym. Cross country then boxing and school. I just hope to be someone big, be one of the big top fighters.” Victor Villagomez, or Tony Boy, is Moreno’s youngest competitor at 10 years old. Victor “Tony Boy” Villagomez Young boxer “It helped me by getting confident and building my strength to my mind and my body.” Like the rest of the boxers, Tony Boy has big goals in mind. “What I wanna do is be a pro so I could make a career of myself and be sussessful.. I mean successful.” “What brings me joy is seeing their expressions. When we go to a national tournament and we win a national tournament, even a local tournament. Just seeing them win, they know that the hard work they’ve been putting in in the gym is paying off.” Moreno’s backyard boxing program is temporary. He hopes to get a bigger place… with more sports and services for the community. “Other sports, fitness, basketball, football. I would like my facility to have a learning resource center,a computer lab where kids can come and do their homework and then participate in an activity.” Until then, Moreno’s backyard is open until the sun goes down… to help kids reach new opportunities. “You always wanna help that person up so that way they can help the next person.” TT KPBS News 

In their recent national competition, Uleena Torres brought home a Gold Medal and Victor "Tony Boy" Villagomez received a silver medal.

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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. KPBS’s Erik Anderson will be your host next week because I’ll be enjoying some time off. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and happy holidays.

The Trump-era immigration policy known as Title 42 is scheduled to end Wednesday. In other news, California greenhouse gas emissions fell between 2019 and 2020, but that might end up being a short-lived benefit from the COVID-19 shutdowns. Plus, there weren’t any serious problems in the midterm elections, but not everyone came out of it trusting elections.