Over 20 incarcerated students in San Diego earn degrees from ‘first-of-its-kind’ partnership

SAN DIEGO (FOX 5/KUSI) — A total of 23 incarcerated students from the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility recently graduated with bachelor’s degrees. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), their accomplishments are due to a “first-of-its-kind” partnership with the University of California. The San Diego-area students received in-person instruction led by UC Irvine professors. Through a program known as Leveraging Inspiring Futures Through Educational Degrees (LIFTED), those serving time can apply to transfer to UC Irvine as juniors and earn a bachelor’s degree in sociology while finishing out their sentences. Can your coffee addiction be blamed on genetics? UC San Diego researchers explain The department said the initiative is meant to strengthen public safety through prioritizing rehabilitation and education programs. This comes as studies have shown that incarcerated individuals who participate in correctional education are 48% less likely to return to prison within three years than those who did not have access to these opportunities. “California is transforming its criminal justice system to focus on true rehabilitation, justice, and safer communities statewide — known as the California Model,” said CDCR Secretary Jeff

Justin Timberlake breaks silence following arrest: ‘Sometimes I’m hard to love’

CHICAGO (WJW) – Justin Timberlake has made his first public comments since his arrest for allegedly driving while intoxicated. Timberlake, 43, told a crowd on a tour stop that he had had a “tough week.” “We’ve been through ups and downs and lefts and rights,” he told the crowd at his concert in Chicago on June 21, according to Today.com. Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce take selfie with Prince William and kids “I know sometimes I’m hard to love, but you keep on loving me, and I’m going to love you right back,” he said. Timberlake didn’t specifically mention the arrest. Justin Timberlake in a mugshot after a DWI arrest Monday, June 17. (Sag Harbor Police Department) An officer in the Hamptons says he saw Timberlake run a stop sign and fail to stay in his lane on two occasions, according to a complaint from the Sag Harbor Police Department. Police said Timberlake’s “eyes were bloodshot and glassy, a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage was emanating form his breath, he was unable to divide attention, he had slowed speech, he was unsteady afoot, and he

Child dies after ‘non-water’ incident at California water park

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with the boy’s correct age. IRVINE, Cali. (KTLA) — A child died at a water park in Orange County on Saturday, authorities confirmed. In a post to X, Irvine Police said officers and the Orange County Fire Authority responded to an incident at Wild Rivers Water Park in Irvine earlier Saturday. Park officials said in a statement that a boy “experienced a non-water, but medical related incident” outside of a pool. Myrtle Beach rollercoaster left man paralyzed, lawsuit claims The boy was taken to an area hospital, where he later died. The park statement initially said the boy was 12 years old, but the boy’s mother tells Nexstar’s KSWB he was 11. “Our hearts go out to the boy’s family and loved ones during this difficult time,” Wild Rivers’ statement read. “We ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers.” No additional details were made available by Irvine Police or officials at Wild Rivers. Wild Rivers Water Park was originally open from 1986 to 2011. The current iteration and location, at 10000 Great Park Boulevard, opened in

Can your coffee addiction be blamed on genetics? UC San Diego researchers explain

SAN DIEGO (FOX 5/KUSI) — According to researchers at UC San Diego, coffee habits, whether in excess or scarcity, could be partially linked to genetics. To test this theory, the researchers examined and compared data from U.S.-based 23andMe — an American personal genomics and biotechnology company that provides genetic testing services to help people gain a better understanding of their ancestry and genetic predispositions. The study’s senior corresponding author, Dr. Sandra Sanchez-Roige — a professor in the UCSD School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Department of Medicine, Division of Genetic Medicine — told FOX 5/KUSI that the DNA of over 100,000 individuals were scanned during the study. “We are interested in coffee consumption because drinking excessively can be problematic; by identifying genetic variants associated with excessive coffee consumption we hope to learn something fundamental about why people may overconsume other substances,” said Dr. Sanchez-Roige. Specifically, the researchers examined genetic correlations and performed a phenome-wide association study across hundreds of biomarkers, health and lifestyle traits. From there, they compared the results to the largest available data of coffee intake from the UK Biobank. New Ziggi’s Coffee shop

This downtown preschool has ordinary activities and extra-ordinary students

Liberty Lucky, age 3, struggled to talk when she started preschool several months ago. She could ask for her dad, who had died of cancer, but otherwise had a hard time enunciating simple words. Then, one day in February, she came home from school with a plastic flute and announced, “Oh, mommy, I got an instrument from the toy chest.” Liberty Lucky was one of about a dozen preschoolers to graduate this week from the Therapeutic Childcare Center in downtown San Diego run by Father Joe’s Villages. Her family didn’t have a home until recently, making her and a sister two of the 950-plus homeless kids tallied countywide in January during the annual point-in-time count. That number almost certainly understates the problem. Youth homelessness has become such an issue that many local schools have boosted services for both kids and families, including public institutions like Perkins K-8 in Barrio Logan and the nearby Monarch School, which exclusively serves unhoused students. Part of Father Joe’s program is textbook preschool. There are Goldfish snacks and field trips to the Del Mar Fair. One parent, Somaye Jafari, who’s

Democrats wrestle with whether to attend Netanyahu’s address to Congress as many plan to boycott

WASHINGTON (AP) — The last time Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the U.S. Congress, nearly 60 Democrats skipped his speech nine years ago, calling it a slap in the face to then-President Barack Obama as he negotiated a nuclear deal with Iran. With Netanyahu scheduled to address U.S. lawmakers on July 24 and his government now at war with Hamas in Gaza, the number of absences is likely to be far greater. Congressional Democrats are wrestling with whether to attend. Many are torn between their long-standing support for Israel and their anguish about the way Israel has conducted military operations in Gaza. More than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the Hamas attack on Oct. 7 that triggered the war, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-run territory. The ministry does not differentiate between civilians and combatants in its figures. While some Democrats are saying they will come out of respect for Israel, a larger and growing faction wants no part of it, creating an extraordinarily charged atmosphere at a gathering that normally amounts to a ceremonial, bipartisan show of support

New copper line trolley would bring major changes to East County transit

East County residents are bracing for some major changes to trolley service this fall when three stations between Santee and El Cajon might be removed from the normal trolley network and become part of a new “copper” line. Critics say the changes are another example of East County getting the short end of the stick when it comes to transit and public resources, but community leaders say the positives outweigh the negatives. The changes, which the Metropolitan Transit System board must approve this summer, would force Santee residents traveling to Mission Valley, San Diego State or other popular destinations to take two trains instead of one. They would take the four-station copper line from Santee to the El Cajon Transit Center and transfer there to either the green or orange line. The same transfer would be required for riders using the Gillespie Field and Arnele Avenue stations. MTS officials say the changes would significantly benefit the overall transit system by sharply improving the green line’s on-time performance, which would make transfers to buses and other trolley lines more reliable. The green line, which travels from

Animals with special needs get a little help from engineering design students

A braille-inscribed video game controller for a blind student. A splint for a cat or dog with an injured leg. An acorn that can be filled with seeds for a bird to reach with a broken beak. These are just some of the items that 18 students at Marston Middle School in Clairemont designed over the course of three weeks this spring. It was part of an inaugural program through the county Office of Education’s department of Educational Technology, which aims to bring innovative learning experiences to schools across San Diego. The students were tasked with designing accessibility items for animals with special needs at the Living Coast Discovery Center and San Diego Humane Society, as well as for a local student named Diego, who is blind. Once they finalized their designs, the items were brought to life using a 3-D printer. “We had real students and real animals that needed solutions,” said Carrie Lane, the project specialist in the Educational Technology department who organized the program. By the end of the course, the students and their classmates created a total of 20 items. For

How California agencies are keeping misconduct investigations secret despite transparency laws

Two months ago, the Poway Unified School Board fired its superintendent of seven years, Marian Kim Phelps, amid a months-long controversy surrounding her daughter’s softball team at Del Norte High School. But the district wouldn’t say exactly why she was being fired or what she allegedly did. An investigation commissioned by the district found that she had committed misconduct, but the district has refused to release the investigation report. The controversy has now ballooned into legal turmoil, with Phelps alleging in court filings that she was unfairly fired. The San Diego Union-Tribune recently reported that the district had fired her because its probe found she interfered in a school investigation of a student accused of bullying her daughter; Phelps has denied the allegations. But Poway Unified is far from the only California public agency that has disciplined an employee based on a high-profile investigation without disclosing the results of that probe to the public — or even to the subjects of the investigation themselves. For example, Grossmont Union High School District cited attorney-client privilege in keeping secret a personnel investigation that led to a controversial demotion of

Fire destroys Escondido magic store and sandwich shop

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (FOX 5/KUSI) — Two North County small businesses were destroyed in a fire Saturday evening. Firefighters responded to calls for a fire at a business on 310 North Andreasen Drive in Escondido at 6:07 p.m. Saturday. Firefighters battling large vegetation fire in Otay Open Space Preserve When fire crews arrived on the scene, they found heavy smoke and flames coming from a building that houses several businesses, and called for additional units, a public information officer from the Escondido Fire Department said. Two businesses were destroyed in the fire — Magic Shop San Diego and Eric’s Sandwich Shop — and the roof of the structure collapsed. However, the fire was able to be stopped from spreading to other nearby businesses by a fire wall, the Escondido Fire Department confirmed. Wildfire season off to an early start in California There are no reports of any injuries. A fire inspector is at the scene looking into the cause of the fire. North Andreasen Drive in Escondido was closed to traffic for a few hours. The San Marcos, Vista, Carlsbad and Rancho Santa Fe fire departments

‘Fentanyl Steals Families,’ Lakeside billboard raising awareness about fentanyl overdoses

LAKESIDE, Calif. (FOX 5/KUSI) — A new billboard in Lakeside that depicts the message “Fentanyl Steals Families” is designed to raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl and the ongoing epidemic of fentanyl-related overdoses. On Saturday, moms Laura Brinker and Caroline Walker joined dozens who have lost loved ones to drug overdoses in an effort to spread awareness about the dangers of fentanyl. White House targets fentanyl with summit on South Texas border “I think one of our biggest messages is — don’t ever say not my child, because it can happen to anybody,” said Walker. Both parents say their kids were dealing with underlying issues, like depression and anxiety, and that they got the pills or drugs that were laced with fentanyl from a friend or dealer. Coast Guard offloads 33K pounds of cocaine in San Diego The billboard is sponsored by Rachel’s Angels. San Diego County District Attorney, Summer Stephan, spoke at the rally on her efforts to pass stronger laws. NFL Hall of Famer Junior Seau’s nephew charged in fentanyl overdose death “To simply give a warning for somebody who gets convicted

More than 100 acres on fire by Otay Mesa amid sweltering heat

Flames spread across more than 100 mountainous acres north of the U.S.-Mexico border Saturday afternoon, although the Otay Mesa land is isolated enough that no neighborhoods appeared to be in immediate danger. Cal Fire Capt. Mike Cornette said the fire may take several days to extinguish. Vegetation began burning around 3:10 p.m. near the Otay Mountain Truck Trail. Officials initially estimated the fire to be about 4 acres. Within a few hours, the size had grown significantly, and Cal Fire posted videos online showing helicopters dumping water over smoking terrain. The closest group of people to what’s being called the Border 58 Fire appeared to be those in the Richard J. Donovan state prison, several miles west of the truck trail, but Cornette said Saturday evening the fire was moving east. No injuries or property damage had been reported and there were not yet any evacuation warnings. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. San Diego County is currently under a heat advisory and some desert communities are expected to top 110 degrees. Much of the region has also seen vegetation bloom from heavy

Jason Aldean, Dustin Lynch & Friends taking over San Diego for “Boots in the Park” this fall

SAN DIEGO (FOX 5/KUSI) — “Boots in the Park” is returning to San Diego’s Waterfront Park this fall and tickets are on sale. Summer concerts in San Diego: A guide to outdoor shows This year’s “Boots In The Park” festival features Jason Aldean, Dustin Lynch, Ian Munsick, Hailey Whitters, Chase Matthew, Joe Peters and DJ Luwiss Lux at the Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego on Saturday, September 14, 2024. From 1 to 11 p.m., San Diego’s Waterfront Park is turning country for the 8th year in a row. Spend the day listening to live music, enjoying craft food and cocktails, line dancing, waterfront views and more. Craig Robinson performing sold out shows in San Diego this weekend Tickets are on sale, but going fast for the country music festival. The event is 21 and older. The one-night only event has General Admission, GA Pit Pass+ and VIP tickets to choose from. Bonnie Marquez, of Activated, Boots In The Park, was live on KUSI with more on what to expect at the event. Watch the full interview in the video above. Sublime, Atmosphere, Goldfinger and more

‘Fentanyl steals families:’ A new billboard shows just some of the hundreds of San Diegans lost to opioids

Caroline Walker felt numb for much of the first year after her daughter died from fentanyl. Pain marked the second. But around April, the anniversary of Cassandra Walker’s death at 38, her mom felt this third year might be the time to “do more.” On Saturday, Caroline Walker was part of a rally in Lakeside to raise awareness about the drug and highlight a new billboard featuring the faces of dozens of people, many of them local, who’ve been lost to the opioid. The sign reads: “Hidden in so-called ‘recreational’ drugs, fentanyl steals families.” “I wanted to get parents together where they didn’t feel alone or ashamed,” Walker said in an interview. The billboard was sponsored by Rachel’s Angels, an Ohio-based nonprofit created by the parents of Rachel DeMaio, a teenager who died several years ago. Walker said families who’ve lost loved ones also pitched in to pay for the sign, which should stay up for one year. A number of local and federal officials attended Saturday’s event, including San Diego County Supervisor Joel Anderson and Summer Stephan, the county’s district attorney. “We can’t just

Craig Robinson performing sold out shows in San Diego this weekend

SAN DIEGO (FOX 5/KUSI) — Actor, musician, and comedian, Craig Robinson, is performing sold out shows in San Diego this weekend. You might recognize him from “The Office,” “Knocked Up,” “This Is The End,” “Hot Tub Time Machine,” or “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” just to name a few, Robinson has been in San Diego all weekend performing standup comedy shows at American Comedy Co. in the Gaslamp Quarter on 6th Ave. This San Diego spot named best indie ice cream shop in country by USA Today Robinson is performing five total shows in San Diego this weekend. Both his Saturday night shows are now sold out. Robinson was in the KUSI studio on Friday to talk more about what to expect at his show, his comedy style, his current projects like “The Bad Guys,” and what it was like working on “The Office” and with comedy greats. Watch the full interview in the video above. La Jolla Playhouse gets shout out at Tony Awards in acceptance speech for Best Musical ‘The Outsiders’ More information on Craig Robinson LIVE! can be found at americancomedyco.com.

Firefighters battling large vegetation fire in Otay Open Space Preserve

SAN DIEGO (FOX 5/KUSI) — Firefighters are battling a vegetation fire that has reached over 100 acres in the Otay Open Space Preserve Saturday afternoon. Firefighters from Cal Fire and San Diego Fire-Rescue have been working to douse the vegetation fire that sparked around 3:15 p.m. Saturday in the Otay Open Space Preserve, north of the Otay Truck Trail, near the U.S.-Mexico border. Wildfire season off to an early start in California Cal Fire initially reported the fire — dubbed the Border 58 fire — was burning at 4-acres. That fire spread to 20 acres within just 10 minutes, with the potential to be up to 100 acres, Cal Fire said. As of 4:15 p.m., the fire spread to well over 100 acres and is burning in steep, rugged terrain in the Otay Open Space wilderness, Cal Fire said in a video update on X, and noted the fire is burning at critical rates of spread. As of 6 p.m., the Border 58 fire had spread to 137 acres. Firefighters battling growing vegetation fire in Otay Open Space Preserve (Photo: SDG&E ALERTCalifornia) Several air tankers

Swimming in waters at these San Diego County beaches could mean illness

SAN DIEGO (FOX 5/KUSI) — Summertime calls for beach days and swimming, but San Diego County health officials have warned this could mean illness for those who submerge in certain areas along the coast. On Saturday, the Department of Environmental Health and Quality released an updated water contact closure and advisory list for the county. There are nine beach areas that have been deemed questionable when it comes to medical safety. San Diego FC opens team store in Mission Valley Mall Beaches under water contact closures To be listed in this category, the beaches bacteria level goes over what’s considered health standards. The following beaches are under a water contact closure as of Saturday, June 22: — Tijuana Slough Shoreline: The ocean shoreline from the U.S. /Mexico border, including Border Field State Park and the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, due to cross boundary flows. — Silver Strand Shoreline: The ocean shoreline from north Carnation to south of Avenida Lunar. — Imperial Beach Shoreline:  The ocean shoreline from the south end of Seacost Drive to north of Carnation Avenue. Beaches under water contact advisories To be listed in

License plate reader alerts police to stolen vehicle in El Cajon; two arrested

EL CAJON, Calif. (FOX 5/KUSI) — Two people were taken into custody Wednesday after a license plate reader alerted police to a stolen vehicle in El Cajon, authorities said. Around 6:30 p.m., officers with the El Cajon Police Department received an automated notification informing them that a Mazda 3 that had been reported stolen out of San Diego about a week ago was traveling in the area. A short time later, officers located the vehicle parked near Emerald Avenue and Laguna Avenue. After a short foot pursuit, the department said two people who were in the stolen car were arrested. New Ziggi’s Coffee shop to open in San Diego County The driver, 31-year-old Oswald Deleon, had an active DUI warrant for his arrest. Police said he has a lengthy arrest history spanning more than a decade that includes domestic violence and theft related offenses. Meanwhile, the passenger of the vehicle, 41-year-old Brandy Kittle, also had an active warrant for reasons unprovided. Police said she too has a criminal history of mostly traffic related offenses. Both suspects were booked into local jails.    “The El Cajon

Stranger danger: how to talk to your child about abduction prevention

SAN DIEGO (FOX 5/KUSI) — After two suspected kidnapping attempts in San Diego this past week, some parents may be weighing the importance of having the “stranger danger” talk with their children. Just how common is kidnapping in the U.S.? According to the Child Crime Prevention & Safety Center, a child goes missing or is abducted in the country every 40 seconds. The center also stated that around 840,000 children are reported missing each year, though most of those situations are resolved within hours and aren’t always abduction cases. Nonetheless, using the right language while bringing awareness to the issue of kidnapping could make all the difference in how a child reacts in a situation. Are flamingos pink when they hatch? SeaWorld welcomes eight chicks When it comes to the phrase “stranger danger,” the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) explained that the concept should be further explained, so kids have a better understanding. “The concept of ‘stranger’ may be difficult for kids. Many believe that strangers are mean, ugly people — so the nice man asking for help to find his lost puppy?

New Ziggi’s Coffee shop to open in San Diego County

SAN DIEGO (FOX 5/KUSI) — A specialty coffee concept is expanding its presence in California with a new shop slated to open in San Diego County this coming week. Ziggi’s Coffee, a Colorado-born brand, will debut in Valley Center on Tuesday, June 25, marking the second location in the Golden State. The other shop is operating in the Los Angeles metropolitan area of Hawthorne. San Diegans will soon be able to sip on “uniquely handcrafted drinks and wide variety of eats and treats,” a spokesperson for the shop announced. Are flamingos pink when they hatch? Originally launched by husband and wife Brandon and Camrin Knudsen about 20 years ago, the pair’s goal for Ziggi’s Coffee was “to create space where people could gather and feel right at home.” As for the new Valley Center location, it’s owned by the San Pasqual Economic Development Corporation, an organization authorized to pursue the economic development and sustainability activities on behalf of the San Pasqual tribal government and its members. “We are excited to open our first Ziggi’s Coffee location within the San Pasqual Tribe,” said Brandon, who’s also the

San Diego FC opens team store in Mission Valley Mall

SAN DIEGO (FOX 5/KUSI) — San Diego FC opened its official team store in the Mission Valley Mall Friday with a ribbon cutting. A select group of fans, friends and family were invited to the grand opening with the store opening to the public Saturday at 3 p.m. “I’m very proud, this took a lot of effort from everyone on team,” said Bruno Meli, senior vice president of club operations and retail.  RELATED: San Diego FC signs international soccer star Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano Meli says the goal behind the store was to create a homebase for fans. Inside the space, there’s merchandise, accessories, a gaming area and even a soccer simulator. “It has a simulator that’s never been seen in North America. It will have a customization station that allows people to express their fandom, and it will have a gaming station for all our gamers,” Meli said. “It’s really an innovative concept.” RELATED: Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano introduced as newest member of San Diego FC The excitement among soccer fans is evident as many bought t-shirts and sweatshirts, while sharing their enthusiasm over the newest play