The storm could complicate holiday travel

Good morning, I’m Debbie Cruz… It’s Thursday, December twenty-first.

The upcoming stormy weather could have an impact on holiday travel. More on that later. But first… let’s do the headlines….
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The US Border Patrol has begun construction on a new station in Dulzura, an East County community.

Dulzura is 10 miles from the border and is often the first town migrants reach after crossing a gap in the wall.

The station will serve as a command center for a wide surveillance network covering the border region of the county.

It will employ up to 400 employees and accommodate up to 130 inmates. In a town of less than a thousand people.

It will replace an aging station in Otay Mesa.

It is expected to be completed in June.

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Former defense contractor ‘Fat Leonard’ Francis is expected to appear in court today after being extradited back to the US

Francis escaped from house arrest in San Diego in South America last year, shortly before he was convicted in one of the biggest bribery investigations in US military history.

Prosecutors say he defrauded the Navy of at least $35 million.

Before he escaped, he faced 25 years in prison.

In exchange for Francis and 10 Americans imprisoned in Venezuela, the US released a close ally of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

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The approaching storm is still moving slower than expected.

The National Weather Service now says the heaviest rain won’t hit the county until Thursday evening. And there will be less rain than predicted.

Still, they issued a flood warning until Friday.

The heaviest rain is expected in the area from Oceanside to Palomar Mountain.

The city urged residents to keep trash and recycling bins tightly closed and away from the curb. Clean up debris and leaves around drains. And turn off the sprinklers.

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From KPBS you are listening to news from San Diego now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need.

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Millions will travel throughout Southern California this holiday season.

But a looming storm could complicate travelers’ plans in the coming days.

Reporter Matt Hoffman says forecasters are expecting rain and maybe even flooding.

The launch of holiday travel is almost here. AAA predicts from Saturday into the new year just under 10 million people in Southern California will make a trip of 50 miles or more. Most will reach their holiday destinations by car… But expect the airport to be busy too. Airport officials expect more than 700,000 people to arrive and depart now during the first. Also complicating travel plans in the coming days is the expected arrival of a winter storm.. It has already hit the Ventura and Santa Barbara areas.. And National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Tardy says it’s headed for San Diego. The rain doesn’t really come until Thursday night and early Friday morning when most of us are sleeping and not traveling. So if you have to travel on Thursday or Friday, fly out on Thursday morning. Forecasters have issued a flood warning for coastal and inland valley areas. Matt Hoffman KPBS News.

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With the possibility of heavy rain and flooding this week, workers at some San Diego homeless shelters are preparing to take in people.

Reporter Corey Suzuki has more on how to find out if the city is opening additional shelters.

As temperatures have dropped in recent weeks, several San Diego shelters have opened their doors overnight. Rachel Hayes volunteers at Living Water Church of the Nazarene downtown. “They come at eight, we drink hot cocoa, serve dinner, let them settle in, let them come in and out and smoke until ten.” Rachel’s Church is one of four nightspots the city opens when the weather turns particularly cold, rainy or stormy. All four locations are located in the city center and will accept anyone who turns up at the door – no appointment necessary. Rachel says it’s important to know that the city decides every morning whether to open shelters that night. With that in mind, she recommends calling the county’s 2-11 hotline to see where the shelters are and if they’re actually open before they show up. Corey Suzuki, KPBS News.

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The San Marcos Creek Project is about to reach a major milestone.

Reporter Jacob Aere says the Via Vera Cruz bridge opened yesterday, helping traffic and business just in time for the holidays.

It had been several months since people could cross the creek between San Marcos Boulevard and Discovery Street. The new Via Vera Cruz bridge is now open to vehicles. San Marcos City Engineer Isaac Etchamendi says the new bridge is much higher than the previous road and … has four vehicle lanes, plus sidewalks and bike lanes. “Before we did any of these improvements, there was a small two-lane wooden bridge over the creek that often flooded.” The new bridge is one of the final components of the more than $100 million San Marcos River project. The project began in 2020 and added infrastructure to reduce flooding, improve traffic and restore river habitat. The final steps of the creek project are expected to be completed in early 2024. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.

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Coming soon… Artists are already hard at work painting murals on the new border wall. We’ll have that story and more right after the break.

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In Tijuana, the Mexican side of the border wall was covered in hundreds of murals.

But those murals were lost this year when the Biden administration built a taller fence.

Border reporter Gustavo Solis spoke this week with local artists who have plans for the new wall.

Gone are the colorful murals that once decorated the Mexican side of a border wall. The Biden administration is currently replacing large sections of the wall along Friendship Park. They were replaced by a tall, gray, bare fence. At least for now. “Creo que la parte triste fue en el momento que me entere…” Enrique Chiu is an artist who has spent thousands of hours painting murals along the border. He says the entire art community was sad to see the old murals torn down. But now that the new wall is up, Chiu and other border artists are excited to get to work on their new canvas. “Pero ahorita me emociona mas saber que temenos un pedaso mas grande que Podemos pintar.” A small group of artists have already completed the first mural – Corazon Migrante is a tribute to Tijuana’s migrant culture. It has a blood red heart with blue wings. This is meant to be a tribute to the resilient migrant spirit. Gustavo Solis, KPBS News

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This year, our public art series took us to places that might surprise you…

Including a building in Chollas View that offers everything from vaccines to probation services to community meeting rooms.

Producer Lara McCaffrey says it also offers a major exhibition of public art.

The Light of Passage art installation hovers under a skylight at the Southeastern Live Well Center of San Diego County. Hand-cut pieces of four different types of glass are attached to stainless steel wires representing nearby Chollas Creek. It’s a sunny day, so the glass creates a play of shadows on the wall and floor below — splashes of blue, purple, and yellow. “I… went out to the public, to the community, for feedback. During this period, they expressed their desire to see a lot of color and something that gives hope and optimism.” “I wanted to use materials that really shine and reflect our beautiful sunlight.” The Light of Passage is one of the many works of public art at the new Southeastern Live Well Center. Organizers of the Center’s public art program say the works selected are based on feedback from community members — an attempt to create a building for the community. The Tubman Chavez Center used to be where the Live Well Center is now. In October twenty-first, construction began on a sixty-five thousand square foot facility. The goal was to combine several resource buildings into one. Live Well Centers are dedicated to providing social and health services to San Diegans. They are designed to be ‘one-stop shops’, aiming to prevent multiple visits to different buildings to access different services. As for installing art in the building, the county gathered community input and then used a Public Art Committee to make selections. Barbara Jimenez, the county’s community operations officer, said it’s not hard to get feedback. “What we heard directly from the community — that this is a diverse community and that being able to really reflect diversity through art is really important.” One hundred artists submitted proposals for a call for artists requested by the commission in the spring of 2022. The art was purchased by thirty-three artists, fourteen of whom were commissioned to create works specifically for the building. There are installations, statues, paintings, a meditation garden and more. One of the community’s demands – diversity – is seen in Francisco Emme’s piece “Crisol”, which means “melting pot” in Spanish. It consists of a panel with ceramics and textiles. Located in the stairwell below Fukuyama’s installation. Visitors see a new panel every few steps taken. Emme says the textiles are from different cultures in San Diego. “This work is very impersonal, which means that I have treated the textiles very little. I have a lot of respect for the original design.” Art consultant Leah Goodwin wanted the building to feel like a healing place. “There are evidence-based design principles that I use from my decades of placing art in hospitals and creating healing environments that are at work here. Even though it’s a community health center, people still might not be having their best day. As a public art consultant, we looked at ways to find common ground to create beauty.” Fukuyama hopes visitors will find that beauty in the light and colors of her work. “I hope that if some people visit here more than once, they see the changes throughout the day, throughout the season, and notice little things that change around us.” Lara McCaffrey, KPBS News

That’s it for today’s podcast. As always, you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. Join us again tomorrow for the top news of the day. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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