NEXT MEETING: April 21, 2017

Looking Back and Ahead on California Droughts and Floods

This is a must-attend program for those concerned about the effect of public policy on our environment. (Cast your mind back to the recent Oroville dam incident.) Tim Stroshane is an experienced environmental planner involved in California water policy and water rights issues with Restore the Delta, based in Stockton. He is the author of  “Drought, Water Law, and the Origins of California’s Central Valley Project.” The book relates how drought and legal conflict shaped statewide economic development. More water wars are in our future.

MEETING OF April 14, 2017


Charming and insightful as ever, Josh Surowitz presided over today’s meeting.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Cecilia Orozco, a prospective member, returned as a guest. And John Lawlis brought the “other” Darlene as a guest. [Today’s scribe was Darlene Drapkin. – Ed.]

Also among our guests was Eleanor Vogelsang of the Close Up Foundation. Eleanor came to thank Rotary for its support, having sponsored Richmond High School students for a visit to Washington D.C. to learn about government.

Another guest, Valerie, works at Richmond High School, where she focuses on crime prevention and helping students tackle issues that may prevent them from staying “on track.” Valerie introduced two of four Richmond High School students who recently participated in the Washington D.C. field trips.

The students gained much from the experience. Lisa Vera, a senior at Richmond High School, was very excited to see DC and visit the Holocaust museum. For Patrick, a junior, the trip was a major opportunity since it was his first trip outside of California. The trip was also a challenge because English is his second language. Both students felt inspired to make a change in Richmond.


BARSHEEP members will be bowling-for-dollars on May 20 at Albany Bowl 5 -7 PM—that is, dollars to support Rotocare. A team of four, led by Josh Genser, has already formed. The club is looking for sponsors to support another team.


Happy and Sad Dollars

Norm’s Nonsense


Making Waves Academy

Today’s presentation was given by Alton Nelson, the Executive Director of Making Waves Academy since 2011. Making Waves is a middle school and high school with an annual budget of $16 million. The Academy’s mission is to rigorously and holistically prepare students to gain acceptance to and graduate from college. Of its 800 students, 50% are learning English as a second language. The school does not “cherry pick” its student, instead using a lottery to choose among its applicants. Not surprisingly, the Academy prides itself in its academic success, despite its policy of not discriminating on the basis of prior academic achievement. Many of its graduates go to prestigious colleges around the country—but not including Central Michigan University, a fact Josh Surowitz lamented. (Hmm…where college did Josh attend?)

Mr. Nelson made three requests of the Richmond Rotary:

  1. He would welcome a Richmond Rotary member who also belongs to the local business community, as a potential board member.
  2. Rotary members might be able to offer students visits to local businesses, or even internships.
  3. Nelson invited members to participate in the Academy’s annual career day program. Josh Genser encouraged Rotarians to do this.

Finally, Mr. Nelson informed us that Making Waves has purchased land adjoining their location on Lakeside Blvd., including the West County Times building. To learn more about Making Waves Academy, please visit its website.

-Darlene Rios Drapkin, Scribe