12/17/09 Opinion 7
Orinda Business Climate No Longer Declining Theatre Square businesses leave behind their dwindling pasts by catering to their clientele by Caroline Cook
Next, Orinda’s General Plan only allows certain types of businesses to open Although business establishments up. The plan state that in downtown Orinda in Orinda have a history of going new commercial development shall be under, recent events suggest that the limited to providing goods and services business climate is on the rise. In order for local use and other small specialty to understand the past decline of Orinda retail stores. In addition, new office establishments, we must take into development must be limited to offices account the problems of doing business generally supporting local residents and in Orinda: a lack of visibility and parking businesses. in Theatre Square, Orinda’s General Additionally, any business considering Plan, and the community demographics. locating in Orinda must understand If the people of Orinda want local the demographics of the community. businesses to survive, then they must According to the Bay Area Census of support them. One such opportunity of 2000, 55% of Orinda’s consumers are support presented itself as The Republic between the ages of 18-64. The next of Cake, a cupcake bakery, opened up in largest group of consumers is made up of Theatre Square. 5-17 year-olds who comprise 20% of the Just as Peter Parker shot a blast of town’s population. web and swung through the air to catch Because the primary consumers of a falling Mary Jane Watson, Republic of the town are parents and their children, Cake owners, Peter McNiff and Chihbusinesses must be equipped with a Chung Fang, have caught Theatre Square Photo: D. Louie strategy of how to cater to this audience. and are trying to prevent her from hitting Republic Of Cake is located across from Entourage Spa in Theater Square. “Our strategy is that we have to the pavement. understand that this town revolves around What sets this bakery apart from downtown area, most Orindians are deprived of this luxury the schools and the youth,” said McNiff. “You can’t expect other businesses in Orinda is the plan of the owners to and shudder at the idea of this slight inconvenience. a franchise to plop down and be instantly welcomed by the cater to the community’s demographic. Often times, teens In addition, the architectural design of Theatre Square community. For example, High Tech Burrito in Theatre are frustrated with the ever-vacant Theatre Square and makes it hostile to commercial enterprise. Businesses in Square didn’t have any tie to this community.” overall lack of local entertainment, causing them to give the Square face inward and away from the street. As a Finally, people who want interesting, creative, and highup and hop on the freeway to Walnut Creek to quench their result, passing drivers and pedestrians are unable to see quality products and services must take it upon themselves entertainment fix. what venues exist inside. to support them. “If you want local businesses to support Although McNiff and Fang feel confident in their Frequent disregard of the one-hour limit for scarce you, then you have to be able to support them,” McNiff business’ ability to survive, we must ask ourselves; Why parking spaces is another factor contributing to both local concluded. wouldn’t a terrific product succeed in Orinda? and visiting drivers giving up on Theatre Square, and McNiff’s business strategies will be put to the test at the First of all, many suburban drivers prefer to park directly hopping on the freeway to Walnut Creek. Rather than grand opening of The Republic of Cake on Dec. 12. The out in front of their destinations rather than endure the rabid police enforcement of the one-hour limit, a more Republic of Cake is located on the main level of Theatre numerous perils of walking less than a block, or crossing plausible solution would be for the police to monitor prime Square. the street. Due to the lack of available parking in the parking areas for violations of the time limit.
Overworked Teens Underestimate Sleep’s Value by Brooke Woodward Teenagers nowadays are burdened with much more than just heavy backpacks. Jam-packed schedules, hours of homework, and heightened academic, social, and extracurricular expectations leave high school students nationwide increasingly overstressed and overtired. Needless to say, not many teenagers get the bare minimum eight hours of sleep every night that their bodies need to stay healthy and handle biological adolescent changes. The widespread lack of sleep among today’s teens is fueled by the skyrocketing pressures of high school coupled with the natural inclination to go to bed later. Students cheat themselves of sleep in order to finish everything they need and want to do. One Miramonte junior said that she is staying up progressively later to finish homework or maybe just to read something for fun, but she “still has to wake up just as early the next morning and start the whole cycle over again.” The pressure that society places on teenagers to succeed is not completely responsible for teenage sleep deprivation, so we do have to take some of the blame ourselves. Procrastination sucks away time that could be spent sleeping, and the temptations of technology lure in all of us. If no one had Facebook or texting we would all probably get to bed a lot earlier. We must learn to prioritize if, for example, our favorite television show is airing the night before a research paper is due. With colleges becoming more selective due to both economic constraints and a growing pool of qualified applicants, teenagers must sculpt the perfect resume to distinguish themselves from other students locally and nationally. Much of today’s youth has taken the “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality to a new level where sleep is getting pushed aside. If the girl next to you in your AP Chemistry class is interning at a prestigious law firm four days a week after school, you must find a way to surpass her accomplishments and claim the acceptance letter to Princeton, no matter how many all-nighters you have to pull. This is not to say that only the Ivy-bound students are overworked and overtired. These days, high school students of ranging academic levels struggle to balance their homework loads and extracurricular activities with the time they need to just be a teenager. Realistically, we
cannot go non-stop from dawn to dusk; we need some time to unwind. It is unlikely that anyone can make it to bed by 9:45 p.m. and also complete their hours of homework, participate in their after school activities, and still manage to have time for a little relaxation. Many people are convinced that staying up late is worth it “just to get everything done.” However, most of the things we feel we must accomplish in our waking hours are not worth the sleep we lose. Less sleep leads to diminished brainpower and productivity, increased irritability, higher susceptibility to stress and illness, and more cravings for stimulants such as caffeine and chocolate. Graphic: S. Zulch Absences from school cause Sleep deprivation becomes increasingly common among high school students. additional stress because teens who miss key lectures and exams must work even memory, increases concentration, boosts mood, moderates harder to catch up. hunger and obesity, fortifies the disease-fighting immune Sleep deprivation can also be fatal. According to a study system, and lessens the risk of fatal accidents.” Getting from the National Institute of Health’s National Center on more sleep may mean you don’t set the curve on your math Sleep Disorders Research, about 55% of all car crashes test or do well on your English presentation, but these are in which drivers fell asleep at the wheel involve people not the successes that will ultimately matter. under age 26. Many stressed-out students need to step back from Yet, even if we try to go to bed sooner, we are often their anxiety and prioritize their lives. Teenagers need so stressed out that we are “too tired” to even fall asleep. to acknowledge their limitations both academically and With their minds racing a mile per minute about everything in terms of their extracurricular activities. Instead of they should have done or need to do, many teenagers are signing up for an impossible course load or packing in an sleep deprived because they are unable to calm their minds unmanageable amount of after school activities, students down from a frenzied day. must be realistic and create schedules that keep them sane. The well being we obtain from each additional minute Teachers must also accommodate their students by not of sleep is far more important than the short-term successes assigning hours of busy work each week. In doing so, we we gain from each moment we try to keep our eyes open. might take some of the weight out of today’s teens’ minds Psychologist David G. Myers asserts that sleep “strengthens and backpacks.