NEXT MEETING: June 19, 2020

Addressing the Invisible Crisis of Beach Microplastics

Most volunteer cleanups of our local beaches can painstakingly remove small objects such as bottle caps and straws but leave behind enormous quantities of truly tiny fragments of hard plastics, polystyrene foam, and plastic wrap. Those hard-to-see items continue to break down, off-gas toxic chemicals on hot days, leach into our waters, and become a permanent part of the environment. In this presentation, Mary Barnsdale will illustrate how ubiquitous these nearly invisible microplastics are; share surprising findings about where some plastics pollution may be coming from; and show how one local group led the East Bay’s first big beach microplastics cleanup, using a simple but effective sand-sifting technique pioneered by a sea turtle rescue organization in Oregon.

To learn about the myriad ways that plastics affect all of Earth’s inhabitants, visit this collection of Rotary articles on the plastics trap we’ve unwittingly set for future generations.

MEETING OF June 12, 2020



For security reasons, our video conference meetings are by invitation only. The Zoom invitation will be sent to our members with the subject “Richmond Rotary Invitation.” If you didn’t get it last week, please check your spam. Rotary guests are welcome. To receive the Zoom link, request it by sending an email to prior to our meeting on Friday.

Congratulations Class of 2020!
Richmond Rotary is proud of the class of 2020. Having endured a jolting disruption of their senior year, we send them off with our hopes that the world will be a kinder and healthier place because they will be among our future leaders and thinkers. Congratulations to our Rotary Family of graduates as they are about to pursue new dreams and discoveries.

Vanshika Bhushan:  Graduate of Salesian College Preparatory, President of Salesian Interact Club, recipient of 2020 Richmond Rotary Interact Scholarship; Vanshika will be attending UCLA in the fall.
Mariana Cruz: Graduate of Kennedy High School; recipient of the 2020 Judge David Calfee Scholarship (awarded by WCCRE); This fall, Mariana will be attending San Francisco State University.
Kahlieghya Dandie-Evans: Oakland Military Institute College Preparatory School; will be attending Kaiser Allied School of Medicine: Phlebotomy (in Richmond CA) and CAL State East Bay
Early Childhood Education Development for children with Autism; daughter of La’Tanya Dandie.
Nicholas Fay: Graduate of Salesian College Preparatory; plans to attend Concordia University Irvine in the fall; son of Brian Fay and grandson of Gerald Fay.
Aneken Hernandez-Black: Graduate from US Army MP School, 787th MP BC, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; grand nephew of David Brown.
Sydney Madayag: Graduate of Salesian College Preparatory, member of Salesian Interact Club; plans to attend San Jose State in the fall.
Patrick Moe: Graduate of Vacaville High School; will be attending Solano Community College; son of Henry and Carolyn Moe.

David Brown announced two 2020 scholarship awards

The Judge David Calfee Scholarship: Judge Calfee was raised in Richmond where he practiced law until he was elected Municipal Court judge in 1958. A 60 year member of the Richmond Rotary, his dedication to students is evidenced by his donation to the club with the request that it be used for scholarships (allocated through the West Contra Costa Retired Educators Scholarship Fund). The recipient for this year is Mariana Cruz of Kennedy High School. Congratulations Mariana!

Richmond Rotary Interact Scholarship: Each year Richmond Rotary honors a graduating senior from our sponsored Interact club. This year’s winner is Vanshika Bhushan, President of the Interact Club of Salesian College Preparatory School. Congratulations Vanshika!

Website Changes

Attentive readers may have noticed that we’ve made a change to our upper menu bar. We’ve promoted the “Projects” category, formerly a sub-link under the “About” category. That change reflects a renewed emphasis on action and engagement within our community.

But wait, there’s more. If you click the Projects link, you’ll find a new section, “Peacemakers & Pandemics,” which presents links to four posters designed by Pierre Thompson. Each poster highlights a message aimed at enhancing individual and community resilience. On each of those pages you can give an example of something you or someone you know has done to promote the value identified by the poster.

Happy Dollars

Don had a whole bunch of Happy Dollars because his daughter Haley is pregnant with her second son, due on his birthday in November. This will be Don’s third grandson.

Stacey also had Happy Dollars. First, her daughter got her driver’s permit. (How do you spell “liberation”?) Stacey was also happy because she and Marshall just celebrated two years since they got together, marked by a nice dinner at home and with their children graciously performing as waiters. “Very romantic.”

More mindful than any of us of the budget challenges our school district faces, Matthew Duffy donated generously to the Ed Fund. That is something that made every one of us happy.


Happy and Sad Dollars

Norm’s Nonsense


WCCUSD Superintendent Matthew Duffy

As in districts around the country, distance learning has become the basic mode of instruction in WCCUSD. Superintendent Matthew Duffy observed that some students do fine with that approach, which relies on up-to-date technology and a home environment that supports extended attention to online lesson content. But for a variety of reasons, distance learning does not work well for many other students.

Planning for the reopening of schools in mid-August, Matthew told us that administrators are weighing three options: a continuation of distance learning, a return to in-person classes but with fewer students to permit physical distancing, or a hybrid model. Which of these is adopted will depend on the conditions of the pandemic, directives of state and county authorities, and budgets.

On that last factor, Matthew encouraged us to consider a donation to the West Contra Costa Unified School District. Perhaps more than any time in recent memory, your support will go a long way toward enhancing opportunities for the children of our community.

No one can say how the Covid will affect the education of students long-term. But one thing is certain: those impacts will be significant and long-lasting.