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Train service still impacted after landslide

 January 31, 2024 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Wednesday, January 31st.


A landslide on the train tracks in San Clemente is still impacting service.

More on that, next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


The county’s local assistance center at the Spring Valley Library is open today (Wednesday) from 10 a-m to 7 p-m, to help people impacted by last week’s storm.

County spokesperson Chuck Westerheide says organizations are on site to do everything from replace prescriptions and driver's licenses, to connect people to temporary housing and pet supplies.

“When they walk in they may not know what they need and when they walk out they either know what they still need to do or they’ve taken care of a lot of that stuff here.”  

In preparation for the upcoming rain tomorrow (Thursday), both the city and county are providing sandbags at numerous locations including community centers and fire stations.

You can do a quick google search of “where to get free sandbags in San Diego,” to find a list of places.


Today donations are being collected to help people impacted by last week’s storms.

The items needed include household things, like blankets and towels, clothing and work gear, such as rain boots, as well as toiletries, diapers, bottled water and pet food.

Donations will be accepted from 8 this morning, until 2 p-m. at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA in Mt. Hope, the Sherman Heights Community Center, the National City Family Resource Center and the County Local Assistance Center at the Spring Valley County Library.


Trains traveling through downtown San Diego won’t need to use their horns when crossing streets, again.

The Quiet Zone was reinstated after city crews worked to bring 12 intersections into compliance with federal standards for railway crossings.

They had to address things like insufficient signage and road markings.

A Quiet Zone is where train horns are sounded at crossings only in the case of emergencies.

The city says transit agencies have seven days to comply with the Quiet Zone reinstatement.


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


A landslide on the tracks in San Clemente is still impacting trains coming in and out of North San Diego County… a week later.

Reporter Jacob Aere says the incoming storms may further delay efforts to reopen them.

Last week’s landslide brought trains to a halt and damaged the Mariposa Trail Bridge in San Clemente … Despite ongoing efforts to clear the boulders and debris … Metrolink spokesperson Scott Johnson says passenger rail service is still closed between San Juan Capistrano and Oceanside. He also said the upcoming storms in the region could impact reopening plans. “The project team is certainly aware of the impending rains. As a part of the grading and excavating of dirt along the hillside, tarping is taking place as well to protect the work that’s already been accomplished.” Amtrak Pacific Surfliner service is also affected by the railroad track closure… they're offering bus bridges between Irvine and Oceanside to get passengers around the closure. Johnson says there’s still no clear timeline when passenger rail service will resume. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.

TAG: This is the fifth service interruption in the past three years.


As the spring semester begins in the San Diego Community College District… education reporter M.G. Perez tells us some campuses are getting significant repair work done after last week’s record rain.

The flood water flowed deep into the lowest level parking garage at the San Diego Continuing Education Cesar Chavez campus in Barrio Logan…requiring pumps to drain the only two elevators in the building that filled with rain water… The heavily used multi-purpose room on the first floor is still covered in plastic with hopes the bamboo flooring can be saved as  spring semester classes begin. Tina King is president of the community college’s continuing education campuses..she says the city’s infrastructure desperately needs improvement. “We’re talking about the drainage being cleared out consistently so that the backup we’ve seen would not have happened. ..and so there are lots of conversations with city officials and other individuals about how did this happen…how are we going learn from this does not happen again.” The district’s Educational Cultural Complex in Mountain view also had water damage which was especially heavy in the main lobby. It’s been repaired allowing student access to their campus. MGP KPBS News.


The Naval Information Warfare Systems Command … or Nav-War was responsible for more than 3-billion dollars of economic activity in the county, in fiscal year 20-22.

That's according to a new report sponsored by the San Diego Military Advisory Council.

Reporter Alexander Nguyen breaks it down for us.

Inside these buildings … by interstate 5 … next to san diego international airport in old town … the naval information warfare systems command … or nav-war … employs more than 53-hundred people. that workforce brings 9-hundred 10-million dollars to the local economy. john pope is nav-war’s executive director. john pope executive director, navwar “what's important in that report is just to show that our presence, partnering with industry, partnering with academia, partnering with the city, it really helps us do our mission.” and that mission is to keep critical naval communication systems operational under any condition. the report comes at a time when the navy is looking to redevelop the more than 70-acre, old town campus … where nav-war is located. the 2023 military economic impact report released last october shows defense spending is 25 percent of the county's economy. an/kpbs.


A San Diego biotech company is working with the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, hoping to decode koala genomes.

Environment reporter Erik Anderson says the species has a genetic issue linked to a retrovirus.

The fuzzy gray animals are native to Australia and they spend most of their day sleeping in the shade of engineered trees with cool metal roofs. Lisa Martin, Wildlife Care Supervisor “they give them heat in the winter. They give the misters in the summertime when the temperatures get really high.” Lisa Martin has cared for Koala’s at the San Diego Zoo for years. The facility houses the largest breeding colony of Koalas outside of Australia.  And it’s been an eye-opening experience. “They can move fast.  I didn’t recognize it, but they can jump horizontally six feet.  And I did not recognize that they’re not always cute and cuddly. They have their own personalities as well.” Koala’s also have an endemic health issue.  Senior Veterinarian Cora Singleton says a retrovirus has inserted itself into the animal’s DNA, making the marsupials susceptible to a number of pernicious cancers. Cora Singleton, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance “Almost all koalas are infected with one or more koala retroviruses and this viral infection is a problem for koalas because it predisposes them to develop some very specific secondary diseases.” Specifically, lymphoma and leukemia. Because the animals are good at hiding illnesses, a survival trait developed in the wild, caregivers typically don’t realize an animal is sick until the cancers are advanced.  Singleton says those diseases are untreatable in koalas. “I and everyone on the team have struggled with the devastating effects of leukemia and lymphoma in our population.  It can strike animals as young as two and a half years old and its heartbreaking.” Singleton hopes understanding more about the marsupial’s DNA will allow wildlife officials to better manage koala populations.  She says that requires knowing more about the retroviruses and where they might be located in each individual’s DNA strand. “Whole genome sequencing, while it was available just a couple of years ago, was very expensive and very time consuming. And so it wasn’t within our reach.” But San Diego-based Illumina Vice President Ashley Van Zeeland says what was unattainable a few years ago is now in reach. Ashley Van Zeeland, VP Illumina “Since that very first human genome sequence that took ten years of a global consortia that spent almost $3 billion dollars to put together, our latest sequencing platform, the nova seek x can do 48 genomes in two days, or even more, the price point is about $200 dollars for a whole human genome.” The speed of processing combined with the falling cost has already resulted in the sequencing of more than 90 koalas.  Illumina is working to broaden the species database by sequencing tissue from both living koalas and from koalas that are long dead.  Van Zeeland says researchers use tissue samples stored in the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s frozen zoo. “When it comes to understanding the consequence of a genomic sequence you really need both, large numbers of genomes to tease out when you have an A mutated to a G or you have a certain gene disrupted.  It’s a lot of information so you need many, many samples to make a conclusion about the consequence of that DNA change. You also then need to have that coupled with the clinical information.” And the Zoo’s Cora Singleton says her team has that clinical information. “Every koala in our care.  We know its parents. We know its grandparents. We know its great-grandparents.  And that’s a really important part of this project.  Looking at the ancestry of these koalas.” The retrovirus cannot be excised out of an animal’s DNA, but understanding which DNA variations exist in an individual,  increases the ability to manage the animal’s health.  That is invaluable. “We hope to be able to use the information that we learn from the genome, and the specific places where the koala retrovirus is in the genome.  To understand which koalas would pair together and produce the most healthy and resilient offspring.” Singleton says that can help minimize the risk of illness in a captive population, and even allow conservationists to be better stewards of wild populations in Australia.  The DNA information could inform the movement of koalas between that continent’s discreet populations. Erik Anderson KPBS News.


The San Diego International Jewish Film Festival kicks off tonight (Wednesday), at the Garfield Theater in La Jolla.

Film critic Beth Accomando has this preview.

Last September, when the San Diego International Jewish Film Festival was finalizing its programming for this year’s event, it could not have predicted the ongoing conflict in Gaza. Festival chair Christina Fink hopes audiences will keep that in mind when looking at the film programming. CHRISTINA FINK We are very careful with what we present. And if there are documentaries or dramas, we try to present honest points of view that will ignite discussion and let the patrons take it from there. We are well aware of the fact there's a great variety of points of view in the community. And the trump card is that we are there to get together, have dialog, learn and learn about the world. One film that aspires to create dialog is the documentary Prophets of Change. CHRISTINA FINK It's about musicians, both Palestinian and Israelis, who seek to use their music as a voice for peace. They are diverse, articulate, politically aware. Sameh Zakut is one of the musicians. SAMEH ZAKUT To live in Israel, it's complicated to be an Arab. It's more complicated. But to be an artist that's the most. An Arab artist, male or female, it's the highest complexity in the world. But I think we are the crazy ones who eventually trying to fulfill our lives and to achieve goals in our lives. So now I take it as a challenge how that life gave me this opportunity to have challenges in my life. Mira Awad also faces challenges as an artist who sees herself as Arab, Palestinian and Israeli. MIRA AWAD I always keep saying when I wake up in the morning, I don't feel Palestinian, I do not feel an Israeli. I feel like a human being with bad breath… I have developed an obsession about identity and narratives, not in the way that I hold on to it, but an obsession to understand why people have such a need to hold on to identities and narratives. And if you don't give them the category, they will fight you for that category. Mira singing Awad also feels challenged as an advocate for peace. MIRA AWAD I get these people telling me, haven't you sobered up from this fantasy of peace? And I'm like, seriously, to sober up from, what is the alternative? What is the alternative to peace? The alternative is exactly what we're seeing right now. This hell upon Earth. This is the alternative to peace. Haven't you finally understood that? We don't have another alternative other than to find a way to live in peace. But there are also films like the documentary Remembering Gene Wilder that steer clear of current politics and controversy to just celebrate someone who could always make us laugh. The film is narrated in part by the late actor. I did not want to be Jerry Silberman, I wanted to be Wilder. Director Glenn Kirschbaum says Wilder wrote an autobiography and Wilder’s widow Karen made the audio version of it available for the documentary to use. GLENN KIRSCHBAUM So what was so wonderful about having Gene's voice is that sense of intimacy that you get, as well as you come away from the film feeling that Gene was in the editing room with. The doctor told me never to contradict my mother or it could kill her, try to make her laugh. GLENN KIRSCHBAUM  Having his voice, having him tell his story, I think, brings a real sense of, makes it highly personal. You can sample the diverse offerings of the San Diego International Jewish Film Festival in person through Feb. 11 and then online Feb 11th through 18th. Beth Accomando, KPBS News. 

TAG: The San Diego International Jewish Film Festival runs tonight (Wednesday), through February 11th, at the Garfield Theater in La Jolla.


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, plus, we hear how the C-B-P One app for asylum seekers is working, after a year in service. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great Wednesday.

A landslide on the tracks in San Clemente is still impacting trains coming in and out of North San Diego County, a week later. In other news, a San Diego biotech company is working with the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, hoping to decode koala genomes. Plus, the San Diego International Jewish Film Festival kicks off Wednesday night, at the Garfield Theater in La Jolla.