A team of Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists has returned from wandering the Pacific Ocean, where they shared the sea with hard hats, bath toys and cigarette lighters, plus countless tiny pieces of plastic.

During their trip, the researchers studied how millions of tons of plastic trash are affecting sealife in an area 1.5 times the size of the United States.

Will it matter to you? Consider this: Plastic shards have been found in a Mahi Mahi fish, meaning they could make their way to your dinner plate. But don’t freak out, advises one researcher: “You have to look beyond initial response of ‘yuck.’”

That might take a minute.

Back on land, some companies have found themselves on shaky ground when dealing with the Sweetwater Union High School District, which serves the South Bay. Repeatedly, companies — including attorneys and architects — were highly rated by the district’s staff, but then rejected when it came time to sign a contract.

More than chump change is at stake. The district is spending money from a $644 million bond. So is the district doing the right thing? Hard to tell: The system “makes it difficult to gauge why a company was chosen and whether the process was fair.”

When it comes to being a school district superintendent, one day you are in, and the next day you are out. (Apologies to “Project Runway.”)

At the moment, San Diego schools chief Terry Grier is somewhere between the two. After Houston’s district voted to hire him, a group of parents, politicians and business leaders is trying to get him back. In an extensive letter, they lauded Grier for the “dramatic accomplishments in the mere 18 months of his leadership.”

But the school board took no action after a meeting Monday that was interrupted several times by laughter.

Not so funny: the possibility that school board micromanagement drove Grier away, despite many dollars spent on consultants trying to prevent this sort of thing from happening.

The Grier saga has had twists and turns, and so has the effort by San Diego’s housing officials to use federal funds to buy and resell foreclosed homes. Now we’ve checked in with the county, which wants to work with developers to buy homes and rent them to poor households.

Also in government news, we’ve discovered that a city redevelopment agency was aware that its finance director had problems with bankruptcy.

This is important because the man in question appeared to be instrumental in last year’s $1 million bonus scandal.

Elsewhere, the NCT says the troubled Tri-City Medical Center might borrow money from a very untraditional lender: Orange County.

The U-T says smoking has been snuffed out at Chargers games and reports that a luxury resort project in Imperial Beach is on hold.

The U-T also covers an unusual joint kidney transplant operation at UCSD Medical Center.

The husband in one couple donated a kidney to the ailing husband in another couple. The same went for their wives, but in the opposite direction. The couples didn’t know each other beforehand.

This sort of transplant pairing is becoming more common, as are transplant “chains.” As the New Yorker reported last month, there’s yet another trend in transplants: healthy people are donating their kidneys to sick people they find online.

It sounds incredibly generous. Critics aren’t so sure.

If I ever need a kidney, I know which side I’ll be on.

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RANDY DOTINGA

Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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