Tension Between Russia and Ukraine Intensifies

News Editor

Protests in Ukraine began in November 2013 when Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, suspended talks with the European Union (EU). Had Yanukovych signed the Free Trade Agreement and Associate Agreement, Ukraine would have gained closer political ties to the EU as well as economic growth, according to CNN.

However, Russia threatened the neighboring country with trade sanctions and high gas bills if Ukraine signed the agreement. As another incentive, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to lend $15 billion to near-bankrupt Ukraine and offered lower prices for natural gas. However, the deal has frozen during the current ordeal.

“I don’t expect that the Russians will give up Crimea, [nor] that the EU or NATO will get involved militarily,” Social Science Department Chair Javier Gutierrez said.

In addition, Russia’s parliament voted unanimously to use military force in Ukraine. However, Russian military intervention would effectively start a civil war between Europe-oriented western Ukraine and Russia-oriented eastern Ukraine. Ukraine has accused Russia of sending thousands of additional troops, though Russia claimed that the forces were deployed to defend important Russian sites.

From the U.S., President Obama condemned Russia for violating Ukraine’s sovereignty, but Putin defended his decision as protecting Russia’s self-interest. Furthermore, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton compared Putin’s actions to those of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, according to Long Beach Press-Telegram.

According to Time magazine, neither the United States nor the EU is willing to gather money for an economic package to Ukraine, urging Ukraine to borrow from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) instead. Managing Director of IMF Christine Lagarde says that Ukraine must demonstrate reform of its economy with the offered funds.

South First Street Reverts to Two-Way

Staff Writer

In December 2013, the Alhambra City Council held a meeting in which members approved the decision to revert South First Street back into a two-way street. The change also affected North First Street, which became a one-way street between Main Street and Woodward Avenue. The street was briefly closed for sandblasting, pavement preservation and striping before it returned back to two-way.

“I think the two-way [street] is great because it’s easier for drivers to get to places faster and the multileveled parking lot is probably going to be used more,” sophomore Simon Voong said.

The changes are meant to help the construction of a multilevel parking structure on North First Street and Main Street, resulting in an increase in traffic, according to the Alhambra Source. Parking will increase in the downtown area during construction of the Mosaic Parking Structure, which is scheduled to be completed by late November, as said during the Alhambra City Council meeting.

“I don’t really like the change. Now it is more difficult to get to the other side of the street with all the busy cars,” sophomore Keona Chau said.

Angled parking has been removed from South First Street to allow cars more space to drive through. Despite the change to First Street, Second Street will remain a one-way street to divert more cars from Main and increase pedestrians’ safety while crossing the street, according to the Alhambra Source.

Lunar Neigh Year Celebration Begins

News Editor

The last day of January marked the beginning of the 2014 Lunar New Year, ushering in the Year of the Horse. The Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, typically falls between late January and mid-February because the lunar calendar is based on the phases of the moon’s cycle, unlike Western calendars. Though the Lunar New Year is sometimes called Chinese New Year, the holiday is celebrated in China, Japan, Korea,Vietnam and other countries.

During this 15-day-long holiday, families traditionally gather for elaborately prepared dinners. Children often receive red envelopes containing money from adult relatives.

In Alhambra, other festivities are ongoing. On Feb. 8, the 23rd Annual Alhambra Lunar New Year Celebration will be held on Valley Boulevard from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The street festival will feature over 200 vendors and booths, as well as a live kung fu performance, children’s workshops and a dragon boat rowing station.

“What I enjoy most about Lunar New Year is getting together with all my relatives to feast, talk and laugh,” senior Joyce Hii said.

AHS Student Participates in Rose Parade

Staff Writer

The 125th annual Rose Parade was held this year on Jan. 1. The Rose Parade, traditionally known as the Tournament of Roses Parade, is a festival celebrated with flower-covered floats, marching bands and equestrians, a rider or performer on horseback. The Rose Parade, which takes place in Pasadena, is viewed by an estimate of 700,000 people and broadcasted both nationally and internationally. This year, AHS’ Cecilia Vong was featured in the parade.

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts who have earned their Eagle or Gold Award are qualified to apply to be a Banner Carrier in the Rose Parade. Vong was featured because she earned her Gold Award, the highest award for Girl Scouts.

“Being able to be a part of the 125th Rose Parade as a Banner Carrier with the Boy and Girl Scouts was a memorable experience […] After earning my Gold Award last year in June, I decided to apply to be a part of the Rose Parade. Weeks after completing the application and interview, I was notified that I [would] be a part of the Rose Parade,” Vong said.

This had been Vong’s first time being in the actual parade rather than watching it live streamed on the television.

“Seeing and hearing so many people out on the streets to watch the Rose Parade was definitely amazing […] Overall, I really enjoyed being a part of the Rose Parade. [I] am really glad to have such an unforgettable experience,” Vong said.


Online Activities’ Influence on College Admissions

Staff Writer

In light of college apps season, the New York Times wrote an article about a high school senior who attended a Bowdoin College information session last year. Later, she was rejected after admissions officers found her social media account, in which she belittled fellow attendees at the presentation.

It is not uncommon for college admissions to use social media outlets to filter applicants based on their posts, GPA and other information. About 80 percent of college admissions officers consider students partly based on their activity on social media accounts, according to a 2012 Kaplan survey of college admissions officers.

However, others argue that this is an inaccurate way of judging students.

“Looking at someone’s Facebook profile won’t always give an accurate depiction of a person. As long as the student shows promising academic standings and expresses a desire to learn, they should be given a chance to attend the university,” sophomore Ivy Kwok said.

Students who know about admission officers checking their social media accounts have the option of keeping their accounts private, though some students can take advantage of admission officers viewing their profiles. For example, students can post pictures of their academic achievements.

“I see no real reason to be afraid of this. [H]aving an online presence is important because it reflects that we are ‘social,’” senior Jeffrey Lee said.

According to the website About, students are suggested to monitor their online activity more closely should admissions officers find their accounts.

California Voters Likely to Support Marijuana

Staff Writer

The possession of marijuana was once banned in the United States; however, the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana recently gained support from the state of California.

Currently, the recreational sale of marijuana is legalized in Colorado and Washington. New studies by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that smoking marijuana has no significant increase in mortality rates compared to tobacco.

“[Medical marijuana] can help with glaucoma, pain relief for arthritis patients, chemotherapy, relieves stress and anxiety, and also helps people with insomnia to sleep,” science teacher, Scott Stechel said.

A poll conducted by the Tulchin Research showed that about 65 percent of California voters would offer support for the legalization of marijuana. As a result, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom announced that a blue ribbon panel,lead by Newsom himself, would research proposals for safe marijuana use and legalization within the next two years.

“There is no doubt in my mind that we will see an initiative on the ballot either in 2014 or 2016,” executive director of Oakland’s Harborside Health Center Steve DeAngelo said.

Supporters filed the California Hemp Act of marijuana which garnered 750,000 signatures from California voters and will be issued in the 2014 ballot.

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Retail Stores’ Non-existent Holiday

News Editor

With the annual Black Friday sales approaching, it is no surprise that more stores intend to retain employees for longer hours in order to keep up with the busy holiday sales. Midnight openings have become increasingly common, but this year, the retail store Kmart plans to open its doors on Thanksgiving and to stay open for 41 consecutive hours, a controversial decision that comes at the expense of their workers.

Other stores, including Best Buy, Macy’s, Walmart, Kohl’s and Toys “R” Us, will also open on Thanksgiving, but Kmart’s opening time is among the earliest.

The reason for this year’s early sales is simple. In order to attract the most customers, stores strategically extend their sales dates. However, after Kmart announced that it would stay open from 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day to 11 p.m. on Black Friday, critics challenged the company’s aggressive schedule.

“There’s an extent to which stores can do this to get profit,” sophomore Kesia Eng said. “Employees do most of the labor work, so they deserve to stay home and be with their families.”

However, others point fingers at consumers for being hypocritical by shopping during the late hours that prevent employees from being home for the holidays. Still others argue that employees who are unsatisfied with their work hours are not obligated to take the job.

Kmart officials extended the hours for flexibility and the convenience of customers.

“Kmart has been a destination for early-bird shopping and last-minute entertaining needs on Thanksgiving Day for 22 years,” Kmart spokeswoman Shanelle Armstrong wrote in an email to The Huffington Post.

Hot Sauce Company Under Heat

Staff Writer

Processing the ingredients to make the Sriracha sauce releases strong fumes into the air that cause irritation in the nose, and at its strongest, the skin and eyes. While the Huy Fong Foods factory in Irwindale, CA does have a filtration system already in place, the locals do not believe it is strong enough.

The southern Californian factory for the famous rooster sauce almost crowed its last peppered breath when the residents of Irwindale petitioned a local judge to shut down the factory until a better air filtration system was put into place.

“The smell is [really] strong, and it kind of burns our eyes and burns our lungs,” Irwindale resident Lawrence Castro said, according to ABC News.

The bulk of their year’s supply is made during the time between September and December. In 2010 the company produced 20 million bottles. It is a crucial time for Huy Fong Foods, as the hot sauce is one of their most popular items, earning $60 million a year.

“Without Sriracha, it would be difficult for me to eat many foods. Sriracha makes the food I put it on taste better,” sophomore Jack Xie Chen said.

Durrng this time of rapid production, the city of Irwindale has come under the exhaust of the beginning of 45 million kilograms of peppers.

The petition was turned down by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert O’Brien, who stated that it was “a very radical order on 24-hour notice.”

Huy Fong Foods is denying that there is an odor problem, but there is a growing movement among the people of Irwindale to stand against the factory until the odor problem is resolved.

Alhambra Ranked Among Top U.S. Cities

Staff Writer

Alhambra was recently named one of the top 100 places to live in the U.S. by Livability.com, coming in at number 21 behind fellow San Gabriel Valley city Pasadena. The cities were given individual scores based on economics, health care, housing, social and civic capital, education amenities, demographics and infrastructure, which were then summed up for a grand total, or a “LivScore” as referred to on Livability.com. The scores were taken from resident surveys about the quality of life in their respective cities.

Alhambra came out with a total LivScore of 619 out of a possible 1000 points. The highest marks received were in health care with 81 points and demographics with 79 points. Alhambra also did well in the education portion of the survey, scoring 68 points. Alhambra “showcases the rich mix of cultures with an array of eateries, entertainment and shopping,” as reported by Livability.com.

“I cannot believe that Alhambra is ranked number 21 because we do not seem like a rich community,” sophomore Michael Chen said.

Among other top ranked cities were Palo Alto, California; Berkeley, California; Miami Beach, Florida and Santa Clara, California.

Self-Organized Success

Staff Writer

Research shows that students who work in groups, in addition to regular instructions, are more likely to learn more efficiently compared to those who are only taught by a teacher. This system, called self-organization, is ideal in places where teachers may not be available.

Sugata Mitra’s experiment in self-organized learning won him the 2013 Technology Entertainment Design (TED) Prize, and he spoke about the results of his experiment at the TED annual conference.

“[When the experiment reached] the end of about two years […], the teachers reported [that students had] dramatic improvements in […] all sort of things, […and] they became really deep thinkers,” Mitra said.

Through his research, Mitra discovered teachers’ enforced instructions only reduce students’ interests in learning. However, he believes that studying in groups can enable students to think more independently and facilitate the process of memorizing information.

“Collaboration can be a really powerful tool,” math teacher Aya Kamimura said. “[When students collaborate], they take [the lesson] way farther than I could anticipate.”

However, when students in teams are not responsible with their assigned parts, teamwork learning will not be useful.

“It wastes valuable learning time. Some students must slow down to help others,” freshman Samantha Jones said.

According to Mitra’s research, students with self-organization and the will to learn will be more creative and productive than individuals who are given a teacher’s direct instruction.

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