inewsource

Tough row to hoe for COVID-19 farm relief

Farmers who grow San Diego County’s most valuable crops may miss out on federal cash for coronavirus-related losses because some of their agriculture products — primarily flowers, nursery plants and exotic fruits — are not included in the relief program. The growers are pushing to get their specialty crops added to the government’s eligible list, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture appears willing to hear…


Imperial County is coronavirus ‘testing desert’

Hundreds more Imperial County residents will soon be able to get checked for COVID-19 after state officials designated the area a “testing desert.” County officials said Monday the state is expected to open a local testing site by May 4. The site will be able to test 130 residents a day, said Dr. Stephen Munday, the county’s health officer. Only about 1,600 of Imperial County’s…


SD County officials waffle over COVID-19

San Diego County officials have held daily news conferences since the beginning of March to update the public on the coronavirus pandemic. Almost every day, they provide the latest numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths, recite the newest guidelines and rules for residents to follow, and explain the ever-changing steps they’re taking to curtail the spread of the highly contagious virus and the deadly disease…


Homeless services stretched thin by virus

Almost two-thirds of the county’s homeless population is in the city of San Diego. But homelessness is a problem throughout the region – from the South Bay to North County. The homeless shelters in these communities, one of which was struggling financially even before the novel coronavirus pandemic, are now being stretched thin as they scramble to meet the needs of the vulnerable people they…


Palomar College president quits but will get $600,000 in salary and severance pay

Palomar College President Joi Lin Blake, who’s been on paid leave since December for unknown reasons, has agreed to quit and will walk away with more than $600,000 in pay and severance. The resignation agreement, finalized Wednesday when Blake’s attorney signed it, allows her to continue on paid leave until she officially steps down on June 30. The college district’s governing board voted 3-1 to…


Gas tax millions meant for roads not spent

A key part of the state’s 2017 gas tax increase aimed at fixing local roads has generated more than $125 million for the San Diego region, but most of the money remains unspent. Records obtained by inewsource show only about $50 million of the gas tax money from the Local Streets and Roads program had been spent through the middle of last year. Those are…


Homeless folks tied to nearly 13% of fire calls

Fire incident calls tied to homelessness are on the rise in San Diego. Last year, they made up nearly 13% of all fire-related calls. “We’re addressing it as best we can,” said Assistant Fire Chief Chris Webber, who added that the growing homeless problem is “no secret.” While the number of all fire calls has fluctuated over the past five years, fire calls that mentioned…


‘Tap and go’ on tap for transit fare collections

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System plans to spend $34 million for a new “tap-and-go” fare collection system that will replace one that some riders find inconvenient and that the agency says is outdated. MTS will pay for the new fare system with federal money and funds from a quarter-cent state sales tax that’s dedicated to transit projects. A spokeswoman for the North County Transit…


It’s on for new Palomar $1M presidential suite

Construction of Palomar College President Joi Lin Blake’s $1 million office suite is moving forward after she defended the project on Friday to the school’s committee that oversees bond spending. Committee member Michael Hunsaker asked the group to consider cheaper options for Blake’s office after inewsource reported that the college is spending bond money to remodel its new $67 million library to build a top-floor…


Meet the new San Diego border barrier, just behind the old San Diego border barrier

It’s kind of like a bait-and-switch along 14 miles of San Diego border barrier, or maybe similar to the new and improved status sometimes awarded to reconstituted cereal brands. Or call it peaches, as President Trump said for all he cared in early January. You know how some people double wrap leftover food. Using previously allocated border funds, the Trump Administration was double-wrapping the border…