Richmond gets the television reality show treatment in an episode of ABC-TV's "Secret Millionaire," scheduled for broadcast locally at 8 p.m. Aug. 18 on KGO Channel 7.

The show sent Deb Johnston, a businesswoman from Richmond, Va., to Richmond, Calif. for the episode, and charged her with finding deserving community organizations to assist.

Her visit included examinations of NIAD Art Center, a studio and program for adult artists with developmental and other disabilities; the nonprofit group Self-Sustaining Communities, which has urban farms to help people feed and provide for themselves; and Reach Fellowship, which conducts outreach to assist women out of incarceration get their lives on track.

Johnston lived for a week on $32 to experience firsthand how the destitute have to subsist and doesn't reveal her true identity until the end of her stay, when she decides on awarding funding to the organizations.

NEW MASQUERS SHOW: Irish playwright Martin McDonagh goes mining for comedy in an unlikely source with "The Lieutenant of Inishmore," the next production at the Masquers Playhouse in Point Richmond, opening Aug. 23.

The black comedy, billed as "a commentary on the violence of our world," centers on an Irish revolutionary who is set off by the death of his beloved pet. The Masquers warns that the play, which it describes as "brutal and bloody, shocking and horrifying, and ultimately hysterical," is not suitable for family audiences.


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John Maio directs a cast that includes Alan Coyne, Cherie Girard-Brodigan, Avi Jacobson, Dan Kurtz, Jesse MacKinnon, Damien Seperi and David Stein.

Shows are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Sept, 28, with 2 p.m. Sunday matinees on Sept. 8, 15 and 22 at the intimate Masquers theater at 105 Park Place, across from the Hotel Mac in Point Richmond. For tickets or more details, visit www.masquers.org or call 510-232-4031.

WINNING ESSAYS: Two students from Olinda Elementary School in Richmond submitted winning essays on immigration in the annual Celebrate America Creative Writing Contest and were set to be featured Aug. 13 at a naturalization ceremony being held by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for some 1,200 new citizens.

The top local winner on the theme "Why I am Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants" was entered by Olinda fifth-grader Justin Thai, an El Sobrante resident who interviewed his mother about his family's immigration history.

According to the contest publicity, "He is an avid swimmer, a competitor on the East Bay Silver Dolphins team for the last three years, and would like to coach swimmers as a career."

An Olinda fifth-grade classmate, Zakaria Fares, also of El Sobrante, was named second runner-up in the competition. Fares is a Boy Scout and avid soccer player who would like to become an inventor or lawyer.

The first runner-up award went to Zachary Adler, a fifth-grader at Ocean View Elementary School in Albany, who authored a poem about the hardships faced by some immigrants. Adler is active in Little League Baseball, plays trombone in the school band and is on the student council.

The local version of the national contest is sponsored by the Northern California Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the American Immigration Council.

The naturalization ceremony was set to be held at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland.

WEST COUNTY NOTES: Richmond resident Zolina Zizi was a member of the Ketchikan Indian Community relay team that finished in third place in the Pennock Island Challenge, an annual 8.4-mile race held Aug. 4 in Alaska. The swim event in the cold Alaskan water is a fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association. The Native American and Alaska native ethnicity has the highest rate of diabetes in the United States.

Zizi, an American Indian, represented PATHSTAR (www.pathstar.org), an organization that promotes healthy nutrition and lifestyles in native populations.

Her activism includes competing in the annual PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim Week and campaigning for the 2012 soda tax measure in Richmond.

  • Chris Colfer, of the television show "Glee," will sign his new book "The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns" at 5 p.m. Aug. 17 at the Barnes & Noble store at El Cerrito Plaza.

    The store says this is a ticketed event, meaning the purchase of a copy of the book is required to receive a ticket for the autograph line.

    Details: 510-524-0087.

  • The East Bay Bicycle Coalition is hosting a Family Cycling Workshop from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Aug. 17 on the basketball courts at University Village Park at Monroe and 10th streets in Albany.

    Certified instructors will lead games, safety drills, skills building and a neighborhood ride, and children will receive a blinking red light for their bike.

    "Parents and kids must attend together and bring their own functional bikes and helmets," says the EBBC, which asks families to register at www.ebbc.org/node/10806.

  • A moonrise hike through the El Cerrito Natural Area is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 20. Tom Gehling will lead the El Cerrito Trail Trekkers outing, which will start at the King Court entry to the natural area.

  • A community meeting to discuss the future of the southern portion of the Richmond shoreline, an area that includes Point Isabel, the UC Berkeley Richmond Field Station and Meeker Slough, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 28. The meeting will be held in the conference center at the Richmond Field Station, 1301 So. 46th St.

  • Community group SPAWNERS invites the community to a nature walk at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, 5651 Giant Highway in Richmond, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 4.

    The outing will be led by El Cerrito resident and retired East Bay Regional Park District naturalist Alan Kaplan, who will discuss the many shoreline birds that gather at the park. If you ever went on the many walks Kaplan led during his days at Tilden Regional Park, you know he is an entertaining and informative guide.

    Participants are advised to bring a flashlight and binoculars. To RSVP send an email to spawners@thewatershedproject.org or call 510-665-3538.

    Contact Chris Treadway at 510-262-2784 or ctreadway@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/christreadway. Stay up-to-date on West Contra Costa news at IBABuzz.com/westcounty.