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We know San Diego Unified loves to build new stadiums and all things that come with them — stadium lights, and athletic fields. Many of those new fields are made with artificial turf that’s filled with chopped-up tires known as crumb rubber. In fact, San Diego Unified has plans for 55 new artificial turf fields by 2019, an effort that will cost at least $19 million.

That’s making parents worried at some of the schools slated for new fields, Ashly McGlone reports. They aren’t sure prolonged exposure to crumb rubber is safe, and are urging the district to hit the brakes while numerous studies at the state and federal level probing crumb rubber’s impact on health are under way.

“If you are for it and you haven’t played on it, go play on it. Take a couple spills,” said one parent at Silver Gate Elementary, one of the schools with plans for a new field. “Go rub your nose in it, and then I want you to go eat a sandwich without washing your hands and see how you feel.”

There aren’t any studies that definitively prove bad health effects from the fields, but some agencies in New York and Los Angeles have stopped using the fields as anxiety over the material mounts.

County Plans New Shelter for the Mentally Ill

The Union-Tribune has details on the county’s plan to build long-term housing for mentally ill residents through a program called Project One for All.

Money for the project “comes from the county, state and federal governments and does not use resources from the county’s general fund,” the U-T reports.

Lisa Halverstadt detailed a handful of new initiatives aimed at combating homelessness at the county and city levels here. Other programs in the works include a few efforts to house homeless veterans.

911 Dispatchers Slated for Big Raises

As the city scrambles to address a crisis that’s left people in dire situations waiting several minutes on hold with 911, it plans to give dispatchers 26.6 percent raises over three years, reports the Union-Tribune.

“The pay hikes are part of a multi-pronged effort by the city in recent weeks that’s included shaking up management of the dispatch center and significant operational changes, including training police officers to take emergency calls when needed,” according to the U-T.

The city is also letting police officers work extra shifts as dispatchers, and has taken some steps to speed up the hiring process, Andrew Keatts has reported. Dispatchers also recently got $1,000 merit bonuses.

A recent audit suggested the city should set up a 311 line to divert non-emergency calls, so that the system doesn’t get overburdened for real emergencies. But the city “isn’t committed to setting up a 311 phone line at all,” even though it said earlier it was committed to delivering on the audit’s suggestions.

Quick News Hits

Concert powerhouse AEG wants to build a new arena at Seaport Village. (Union-Tribune)

A San Diego native and former No. 1 draft pick for the Padres is getting another chance with the Texas Rangers after he served three years in prison for a drunk-driving crash that almost killed a motorcyclist. (New York Times)

Firefighters made big progress on the Border Fire over the weekend, but CalFire has warned the blaze could pick back up. (L.A. Times)

Point Loma residents are revolting over two large duplex buildings being constructed. (NBC San Diego)

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to the New York Rangers instead of the Texas Rangers.

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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