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October 31, 2014


E. coli wreaks havoc on MI residents by

Jane Gormley staff writer

The discovery of E. coli in Mercer Island’s water supply on Sept. 27, 2014 led to almost two weeks of hand sanitizer and take-out dinners for its residents. After the whirlwind twelve days that included two separate boil-water alerts, one day off school, and countless refreshes of the Mercergov webpage, the question remains— what exactly happened to our water? The City of Mercer Island tests the water supply about 18 times per month. During one of these routine tests on Sept. 24, one sample tested positive for E. coli. The City tests for this bacteria on a basis of presence versus absence, therefore there is no indication of the actual amount of E. coli present. Testing continued for two days after the positive sample to determine if the first reading was legitimate. This two-day testing procedure is standard when E. coli is detected. At first, it seemed the positive result was a fluke, but on Sept. 27 it was discovered that samples collected the previous day also tested positive for the bacteria. This discovery prompted the City to issue the first boil-water alert on Sept. 27 around 3:00 p.m. In this type of situation, the City of Mercer Island normally

contacts residents by a reverse testing procedure, the City im- ter alert broadcast on the big 911 phone service run by the mediately put the boil-water reader boards over Interstate North East King County Region- alert back into place. 90. The City continued testing al Public Safety Communication Freeman explained that, “we at an elevated frequency until Agency. However, the system could have waited for a few more they were sure the E. coli had proved inefficient. days to absolutely confirm [the been completely eradicated by “We had used [the reverse positive test], but because we the increased chlorine levels and 911 system] before for smaller had just been in a previous one the flushing of the system. This notifications, [but] never Island it seemed the most prudent and second alert was lifted on Oct. 8. wide,� SustainabilThe E. coli ity & Communicaoutbreak imtions Managers for pacted business the City of Mercer and residents in Island, Ross Freevarious ways. man, said. “There The City rehad never been a leased on Oct. 5 test of using that that a child had system to notify evcontracted what ery single resident was most likely on the Island at E. coli, but that once.� The City also prognosis is still learned that there under review. is a default setting There is a good that causes the calls chance that his to stop going out case is unrelated around 9:00 p.m. Photo courtesy of KOMO News to the outbreak, “That was a default Divers inspected Mercer Island’s resevoir tanks to find a possible source of contamination. Nothing was found, and the as King County setting that none of search for a source continued. sees an average the cities that subscribe to the cautious to, immediately upon of 20-30 E. coli cases every year. service knew,� explained Free- detecting one positive result, reOn the community level, resman. institute the advisory.� taurants and businesses lost When the boil-water alert was When the second alert was money because of the outbreak. lifted for the first time on Sept. put into place on Oct. 2, the City Grocery stores had to throw out 29, water samples had been turned to different methods of possibly contaminated food and coming back clear for three days. spreading the news. In addition restaurants could operate, but This period of negative tests led to the actions taken during the only with limited menus. Many City officials to believe that the first phase (radio and news cov- establishments were closed for problem had been solved. How- erage, press conferences, flyers at least a day, usually more, and ever, a sample taken on Oct. 1 and posters, door to door notifi- had to operate under certain tested positive for E. coli once cations), the City set up reader safety precautions when they more. At this point, instead of boards at intersections around were allowed to reopen. These following the normal two-day the island and had the boil-wa(continued on page 2)

November 4, Election day: Everything you need to know by

Richard Chess editor-in-chief

This Nov. 4, local voters will decide the outcome of a few major initiatives, as well as elect Washington state’s ninth district representative for U.S. Congress. Initiative 594 asks voters to approve universal background checks on all gun transactions, regardless of whether the seller is a nationally-registered gun dealer or not. Current federal law requires checks only on guns sold by gun dealerships. However, 16 states have already enacted laws similar to I-594 because of the escalating gun violence in the United States. In these states, 38 percent fewer women have been killed by their spouses, and 39 percent fewer police officers have been killed with handguns in states with the “gun-show loophole.� Since 1993, background checks have prevented 2 million Americans from purchasing a firearm because of a rejected background check. Opponents of the measure claim that I-594 will not stop criminals from possessing guns and shooting others. “You can’t change criminal behavior by criminalizing lawful behavior,� says the National Rifle Association of America Washingtonians Opposed to I-594. “Criminals will violate I-594 like they break other laws and will continue to acquire firearms where they do now.� However,

69 percent of gun criminals in the United States have received their guns in a manner that did not require a background check. Opponents also disapprove of the tighter restrictions: “Do you want sex offenders released from crowded prisons to make room for people convicted of family-firearm transfer violations?� However, this question is quite misleading. I-594 includes special provisions for gifts and transfers. While the measure does not allow the free flow of firearms through families without background checks, it is hard to believe that such violations would result in lengthy prison sentences and the release of convicted felons. Initiative 591, another gun initiative, prohibits instating a background check requirement on gun sales unless a national mandate for background checks overrides the state measure. Although these are conflicting initiatives, in June 2014, nearly one third of Washington state voters declared that they would vote for both I-594 and I-591. Voters are clearly confused, and this discrepancy has prompted increased donations for advertising from supporters of I-594, such as Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg. Since then, the number of “supporters� for both initiatives has decreased. No one is sure what will happen if both measures pass. There is no explanation of the outcome in the Washington state Constitution. If both pass, expect to

see a Washington state Supreme Court case to sort out the matter. The third, and final, initiative requires public schools in the State of Washington to decrease class sizes and increase staff over the next four years. Kindergarten through third grade class sizes are to be no larger than 15 to 17 students, and fourth through twelfth grade class sizes no larger than 22 to 25 students. These restrictions will lead to the hiring of an estimated 7,400 new teachers in the state. However, about 17,600 others would also be hired for support staff, such as principals, janitors, or nurses. If passed, this initiative will increase state expenditures by about $4.7 billion during the first four years. This money is then passed on to local school districts, like Mercer Island. However, even after the state pays its share, districts across Washington state will expierience a $1 billion deficit. The measure provides no stipulation to cover either of these added costs. Considering that the current state budget for public education is approximately $15 billion, significant cuts in other areas may be necessary. I-1351 also does not provide much leeway for construction costs that will be required for some districts to build more classroom space, such as Lake Washington and Seattle. Still, some believe that this measure is critical for the edu-

cation of students. “To give our kids the quality education they deserve, we must invest in smaller class sizes,� said Kim Mead, President of Washington Education Association. Mead said that the most effective way to improve learning and student performance is to reducing class sizes and caseloads. Of the major newspapers with editorial boards in Washington state, including the Seattle Times, The News Tribune of Tacoma, and others, all oppose I-1351. Finally, Adam Smith, Democrat incumbent, is running against Doug Basler for Washington state’s ninth district of the U.S. House. Smith has been a member of Congress since 1997. Basler, owner of a television commercial production company, seeks to improve the economy, protect the environment, and ensure justice equality. Current Polls: I-594: 60% support, 32% oppose (Source: Elway) I-591: 39% support, 44% oppose (Source: Elway) I-1351: 66% support, 24% oppose (Source: Elway) Adam Smith: 63.1%, Doug Basler, 28.2% (Source: Associated Press)


ic t




Volume IV, Edition 1

Inside New sandwich shop comes to Mercer Island Features > Page 2

MIHS students participate in unique sports Sports > Page 3

Happy Halloween! Spread > Page 4/5

The issue of the MIHS mascot Opinions > Page 6

Romeo and Juliet comes to Mercer Island A&E > Page 7

After you’ve finished enjoying this paper, please recycle it!




New eco-friendly sandwhich shop E. coli on Mercer Island “The way most food is made in America is bad,” explains Friedstaff writer man. The founders of HomeBen Friedman and Brad Gil- grown believe the problem lies lis have been keeping busy since in accessibility. “So many people their days at Mercer Island are choosing to buy organic at High School. Their restaurant, home, but throw out this idea Homegrown Sustainable Sand- when they go out to eat,” Says wich Shop, will find a new home Friedman. next to Is“We hope to land Books provide acaround Decess to this cember or type of food January. awareness. H o m e One of grown is althe farms ready known that provide throughout the restauthe Seatrant with tle area for its fresh, its localo r g a n i c ly sourced menu items menu, a is called Photo courtesy of Homegrown Sustainible Sandwich Shop product of Homegrown offers a variety of fresh and healthy lunch options. Sproutwhat co-owning Farms, a small organic ers Friedman and Gillis call farm located about 30 minutes “sandwich environmentalism”. away in Woodinville, WA. A “Food is what really connects 30-minute commute from farm you to the environment the most. to table exemplifies HomeIt’s unadulterated, it’s a really grown’s philosophy perfectly. pure, awesome thing,” explains What sets Homegrown apart Friedman. “These two words are from other healthy eating esour stab in the dark at summing tablishments is its continued that idea up.” All of the food at dedication to the community this restaurant is locally sourced and the environment in the way and organic whenever possible. the store is run. The stores are by

Jane Gormley

designed to have minimal impact on the environment. Everything they sell is compostable or recyclable, therefore greatly decreasing the amount of waste produced. The restaurant itself is made of recycled and/ or eco-friendly products, only enforcing the two sandwich environmentalist’s mission. Homegrown’s focus is attractive for a restaurant in environmentally conscious communities such as Seattle and the Eastside. This may be why Friedman and Gillis have found so much success since the first Homegrown Sandwich Shop opened in 2009. The Mercer Island location will be their eight shop opened in the area since the restaurant’s creation five years ago. The co-founders are exited to come home. “It’s a really special thing for us,” says Friedman. They hope to bring their message of environmentalism to the Island just as they have with so many other communities in the Seattle area. Homegrown Sandwich Shop’s opening this coming winter is a little late for a traditional homecoming, but Friedman and Gillis are just as excited to be coming back to their old home.

MIHS welcomes new principals Corinne Wheeler

student body as possible, if you see him at sporting events This year, Mercer Island High or in the hall make sure to inSchool welcomes Mark Zmuda, troduce yourself and say hello. In addition to Zmuda, MIHS along with Henterson Carlisle also welcomes Henterson Carto our staff as the new associlisle as the second associate ate principals, and Zmuda also principal. Carlisle’s responsiserves as Athletic Director. Last winter, at Eastside Cath- bilities include managing stuolic School hundreds of students dent leadership/ASB, managstaged a rally and sit in when ing Crest Learning Center, as their popular vice principal well as being Chief Facilitator for the guidance Mark Zmuteam (counselda resigned ors, nurse) and after being working with stugiven the dents A-Le. Prechoice to quit viously, Carlisle his position worked in Seattle or divorce his public schools, spouse. Unand spent the fortunately, Photo by Corinne Wheeler last 4 years at Zmuda could New Associate Principal Mark Zmuda Madison Middle not comment on School as the principal. Carllast winter’s events because of a pending lawsuit against ECS. isle attended school at Portland Zmuda attended school at State University and received Virginia Polytechnic Institute a Bachelors Degree in Science and State University where he and Economics, Antioch Unireceived a Bachelor’s Degree in versity Seattle where he got Mathematics in addition to a his Teaching Certificate, UniMaster’s Degree in Educational versity of Washington to get Leadership and Policy Studies his Masters in Education and with Principal Certification from his Administrative Credentials the University of Texas. Prior to through the Danforth Program. Carlisle’s favorite part of working at ECS, Zmuda worked working at at Cardinal Gibbons MIHS has been High School (Fort interacting with Lauderdale, Fla.). the students Zmuda, as the new “All my previathletic director ous experience and associate prinhas been with cipal at MIHS, is in middle-schoolcharge of managing aged children, parking, reinforcing and now that the athletic code, I’m interacting determining punishwith you guys ment for violation and you’re a of the athletic code, little more maas well as working Photo by Corinne Wheeler ture, but you’re with students Lf-Z. New Associate Principal Henterson Carlisle definitely young One of Zmuda’s favorite parts about working in people who have a vision of the Mercer Island School Dis- your future and it’s been retrict is the spirit. “The spirit ally nice to talk with all the and culture of Mercer Island young adults,” said Carlisle. Although their offices are ofis unlike anything at the other ten seen as the place students school districts I have taught are sent when they’re in trouin,” said Zmuda. Zmuda hopes to get to know as much of the ble, both Zmuda and Carlisle by

staff writer

are caring men who always have their doors open for anyone with a need, concern, or who wish for extra support.

process of elimination, to help uncover potential sources of contamination. (continued from page 1) As of now, information on the precautions, which inissue is still emerging as the cluded water bottles to combat City continues its investigation. the infected tap water and hand The search for a cause is a long washing alternatives, came out process that may continue for of pocket for some businesssome time. For now, the City es. Executive Director of Little urges Mercer Island residents Acorn Day School, a business to support the businesses that impacted by the have been impacted boil-water alert, by the contamination. comments, “I’m just For future emergenextremely thankful cies, the City also asks it didn’t go on too residents to sign up long and that no one for its newsletters and became ill.” Photo by Helena Shield follow its social media, The Mercer Island E. coli was found on Sept. 27 as these proved the School District was most effective methimpacted as well. After the ods of communication when the closure of the entire district on reverse 911 system failed. On Sept. 29, schools remained opa positive note, thanks to this erational, but with certain preevent, the City became aware cautions put into place. The food of the issues with the NORCOM provided was limited to what system and will correct them becould be prepared without water fore the system is used again in and around 10,000 water bottles the next emergency. were provided for students each With such high levels of chloday. rine in the water, it’s very unThe source of the E. coli relikely that the E. coli will come mains unknown. However, cases back anytime soon. This expeof E. coli in large water systems, rience, while having a negative while not common, are not unimpact on the community, has heard of. In these situations, the actually proved to have a silver source is usually never found belining. The City ironed out issues cause it often gets washed away in communication and residents during the cleaning procedure. saw their government working Nonetheless, the search for a diligently to solve the problem. source is ongoing. The City has With this ordeal under its belt, consulted a group who specialthe City of Mercer Island is now izes in municipal water systems better prepared for dealing with called the Confluence Engineerpotentially dangerous situations ing Group. This third party is that affect the Island as a whole. currently working, through a


Jane Gormley staff writer

Old theater finds new home allowed the theatre to be more creative with the presentation of their plays. For example, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever will be held in Emmanuel’s sanctuary this coming December. With audience members sitting in the pews and the guest appearance of a real church choir, the play will have the feel of a real Christmas pageant. This authentic feeling is one that would be impossible in their former location.

and actor who currently plays Jeff Winger on NBC’s comedy staff writer series Community. His return to YTN last year just goes to After packing up the props show how hard it is to leave beand sets of over 181 shows and hind a place so full of memories. looking back at the memories In 2000, the theatre went of the more than 150,000 peothrough a $950,000 remodel to ple who had graced the thetransform the old classrooms atre’s stage, the Youth Theand small theatre from the atre Northwest (YTN) officially original middle school into a moved out of its home of over home that matched the profes30 years on the North Mersionalism of their productions. cer campus this past June. This remodel, while a big The move is a result of the change in the company, school bond passed last doesn’t quite compare to February by Mercer Isthe massive transition land voters. This bond that comes with leavallows the District to ing the building altofund three separate gether. But, loss of the projects to address overpast comes with many crowding in the schools. new opportunities. Before the theatre was “I think people are established in 1984, the still sad and they miss building was actually a [the old theatre] but middle school. One of we’re so busy now, althese projects will reready making the new turn the building to its shows and getting original purpose; the things ready that it’s district will be replacing Photo by Helena Shield hard to dwell on that. the theatre with a fourth The old Youth Theater Northwest building being torn down You’ve got to keep movelementary school with However, these locations ing forward and making theconstruction starting this year. YTN is currently holding a are only temporary. The for- atre,” explained Education and majority of its classes out of their mer Recycling Center, next to Outreach Director Kate Sweninterim home at the Emman- Mercerdale Park, is slotted as son. “Big picture wise I think it’s uel Episcopal Church (EEC). the permanent location for the been kind of fun to come up with “It’s been a great experience new Mercer Island Center for creative alternatives to what [having Youth Theatre here],” the Arts (MICA). YTN will be we’re always used to doing.” The YTN has been important explained Senior Warden Sue its main tenant. “It’s really goStiles, “I think we’re going to ing to be a big fancy upgrade to the Island’s youth for many miss them when they’re gone.” from what we were used to,” ex- years and only time will tell Rehearsals for their first plained Education and Outreach how this move will impact the show this season, Night of the Director Kate Swenson. The theatre. But with the promise Living Dead, began Sept. 23. grand opening of the building is of a permanent home in the fuThey will be held in a variety tentatively scheduled for mid- ture, the theatre embraces the of locations including EEC, 2017 but construction could take challenges it is facing with an the Jewish Community Cen- as long as three to six years. open mind just as the locations The theatre has a long and they are working out of have ter, and Luther Burbank Park. This range of performance illustrious history with a list greeted them with open arms. venues may seem like a dis- of alumni that include Joel advantage, but it has actually McHale, a comedian, writer, by

Jane Gormley



October 31, 2014

Unique sports on Mercer Island Athletic code interview by Mithril Hugunin

staff writer

We all know the standard High School sports, like football and tennis. They have cheerleaders, fans, and are well publicized. This does not mean they are the only option, though; many students at Mercer Island High School participate in more obscure sports. Micaela Pirzio-Biroli, a MIHS sophomore, dances at the preparatory program for the arts in Bellevue. She does not attend

Photo courtesy of

Emotions can be expressed through dance.

any competitions, but Pirzio-Biroli says that she really enjoys it. Dance is a balance between strength and flexibility, and would take hours of practice to reach Pirzio-Biroli’s level of mastery. However, with school sports taking about two hours a day, five days a week, the time commitment is still relatively short.

Junior Iris Beatondoyle skates at a warehouse called the Rat’s Nest, in Fremont. Beatondoyle said roller derby is “a great way to kind of understand yourself,”

Photo courtesy of Earl McGehee

Roller skaters locked in combat.

and she recommends it to both genders. There are many competitions, with varying levels. From home teams that just play in the area, to travel teams that go out of the area for contests, you can always find challenging opponents. While roller derby is physically taxing and dangerous to your limbs, the community is welcoming, creating a friendly and caring environment. Avery Smith, a freshman, is a deputy black belt at Tae Kwon

Students of Mercer Island Martial Arts practice their form.

Doe. Tae Kwon Doe is a Korean martial art that primarily focuses on using your legs and feet for combat. A deputy black rank is the rank that directly precedes black belt. Smith attends Mercer Island Martial Arts, a practice dojo in MI’s downtown area. Smith calls martial arts a “fun way to release energy,” especially after homework. Aside from self-defense and fitness, Tae Kwon Doe also teaches discipline and leadership. Dance, roller derby, and Tae Kwon Doe are only a handful of non-WIAA sports. If you feel like the school sponsored sports are not working for you, there are a plethora of options to choose from. When you take a sport outside of school, you can choose how much time to put it, and gain more that just muscle. The benefits of these sports more than make up for the inconvenience of having to try something new, these are out of the box ways to blow off steam!

Photo courtesy of Mercer Island Martial Arts

Gretchen Peterson: Crew star on the rise by

Gabriela Venditti staff writer

With the commotion of college applications, fall sports, and school, most students at Mercer Island High School are busy trying to stay afloat. As senior Gretchen Peterson starts her last year at MIHS, she has already reached the home stretch—with her last season at Mount Baker Crew and a commitment to row at Brown University. Gretchen’s rowing career began her freshman year. Both of her parents rowed at Dartmouth University for four years. Originally, Gretchen refused to row

Mount Baker Crew rows in a competition.


Lily Clugston staff writer


The boys’ and girls’ team have won academic state champions, passed KingCo, and raced at the District meet. The goal this year is to send both teams to the state championships, bond, and improve individually.

Girls Swim and Dive:

The girls swim and dive uses the three words inspiration, sacrifice, and friendship to inspire each other to swim their best. The team has not only won all

because she did not want to follow in her parent’s footsteps. However, everything changed when her two friends Anika Christofferson and Nola Peshkin brought her to the Mount Baker boathouse where she met Mount Baker coach, Jason Coffman. Gretchen immediately fell in love with the sport and decided to quit basketball to focus her energy into mastering crew. During the fall season, also known as the headrace season, Gretchen spends two-and-a-half hours after school at Mount Baker practicing. Her normal practice entails working on the water, running, or lifting weights.

During the headrace season, races are typically 5,000-6,000 meters, 20 minutes long, and test the athlete’s endurance and technique. Races are more based on time trials rather than head-to-head competition. In the spring, Gretchen practices twice a day, an hour and a half in the morning and two and a half hours after school. Unlike fall, spring racing is more head to head where rowers sprint for 2000 meters, testing their speed and strength. While crew is a very challenging and time-consuming sport, Gretchen has definitely demonstrated her expertise on the water.


Gabriela Venditti staff writer

Students at Mercer Island High School have struggled to understand the Athletic Code, specifically about how one should properly report being at a party where alcohol and illegal substances are being consumed. With the arrival of the new Athletic Director, Mark Zmuda, Mercer Island High School starts the 2014 school year with specific guidelines to help students make the right choices under difficult circumstances. Gabriela: You are at a party and someone is incapacitated, and you are concerned for their safety. On an ethical level, you feel the necessity to step in; however, as a student-athlete you are concerned about implicating yourself and therefore breaking the athletic code. Mark Zmuda: First and foremost, we have what we call the Good Samaritan Law in the state of Washington. So if you see somebody who is under the influence or is in need of help, being a good samaritan you should help out whether you are an athlete or not. The second thing is, that is a situation where you are trying to take care of a friend and do the right thing. It is not a question about your eligibility. We are not going to punish a kid for doing what is right. The rule is there for kids who are, for example, in a situation or at a party and they are not removing themselves. There is a party going on and even though they are not drinking and partaking, they cannot just hang out there for long periods of time. We are just asking them to remove themselves from the situation because it can turn into the “He said, She said,” whether or not they were actually there at the party, and whether or not they were actually partaking. That is the whole reason why the “association” piece is in the code. Gabriela: Just to clarify, if you have a friend who is inebriated and you are helping her, you cannot get punished for helping? Mark Zmuda: Well, that is a sticky situation there. It depends. If you are being a Good Samaritan when you see somebody who is actually under the influence and you are just trying to get them a ride home, or get them out of the situation and take care of them, because you are trying to get them back to their house or their parent’s house, you are being a Good Samaritan. And that is the discrepancy. You don’t get in trouble merely by seeing someone

Fall Sports Review Photo courtesy of Gabriela Venditti

of their meets thus far. They hope to defend their title of state champions once again this year.


Last year, the volleyball team was crowned 3A state champions. This year, the team is starting from scratch, with talGirls Soccer: Last season, the team reached ented freshman joining the to help with the loss districts playof strong senior offs. The focus players. So far this season, and the team is unin the seasons to defeated in Kingcome is unity and Co and looks to coming together defend their title as one unit. Curas state champirently, they are Photo courtesy of ons. Their first third in KingCo with 8 wins, 3 ties, and 3 losses. post-season game takes place on The last game is Oct. 30 against Nov. 1. Bellevue at Bellevue.

Boys Water Polo:

The boys water polo team lost to Bellevue last year in the state title game. The goal this year is to show that Mercer Island’s boys team is back and better than ever. In a recent state title rematch, the team thoroughly defeated Bellevue. They play in the state tournament Nov. 1215.

Boys Tennis:

Last year, the boys tennis team won their fourth consecutive state title. Many players are returning, and although they lost

who is drunk, especially if you are trying to do the right thing by getting him or her the help that they need. Gabriela: How would you define association? What does removing yourself from the situation entail? Mark Zmuda: What I try to tell the kids and especially the athletes too, is to have an escape plan. You are at a party that you thought was just going to be watching a movie or hanging out with friends and suddenly someone pulls out alcohol or an illegal substance. This is one of those situations where you need to get out of there, so to me it is within a five to ten minute window. If you do not feel comfortable contacting your parents because you’re going to get in trouble, contact your coach, for example, “Hey, I was at a party, and all of a sudden stuff came out that I do not feel comfortable with and I was not associated with.” But you have an escape plan. To me, it could be [calling] your parents. I would hope that if in a sticky situation, the first person you would call is your parents, but a lot of kids do not feel comfortable that way. So, if not, contact your coach and let [him or her] know, so that they are also aware of what is going on. Gabriela: Ok, so contact your coach, contact your parents if possible and then leave the situation. Leave the premises where the drinking or drugs is happening? Mark Zmuda: Right. I mean, obviously if no one else is there to take care of everyone else, I don’t want there to be no one who is going to take care of those people. I do not want anyone to be left stranded. That is why I am hoping people will use Saferides, or if not, they will contact a friend to come get them. If a parent is not an option, usually an older sibling or someone who is of legal age can come get them. So for example, even if you are not partaking, your parents or somebody can come pick you up. “Mom, no judging here, can you come pick up these kids and bring them home?” In this case we have an adult who is of legal age that can actually get them and take care of them if you do not feel comfortable being around those types of things. The high school and the Mercer Island School District believe this code helps student-athletes stay safe and healthy. To that end, both are committed to carefully explaining these Athletic Code guidelines to student-athletes and teams at the beginning of every sports season.

state qualifiers Henry Smith and Matt Seifert they are going to stay focused and motivated. They are currently at 7 wins, 0 ties, and 0 losses.


Last year’s season finished with the football team making playoffs. Many players are retuning this season and the goal is to work hard, play tough, stay committed. The team is fourth in KingCo with 3 wins and 4 losses. The Islanders have their last home game Oct. 31st against Sammamish.

happy Ha No one had ever entered the _________ beBUILDING

fore but one _________ and _________ ADJECTIVE


night, Herbert decided it was time. The _________ itself was covered in _________ NOUN


and smelt faintly of _________. This, howADJ+NOUN

ever, did not deter Herbert from his mission.

This luscious and creamy treat with a nice crunchy middle wafer will forever be my favorite chocolate piece. Every Halloween in my trick or treat bag, the spotlight will always be on my special pile of these chocolate briskets that I will guard for life. 10/10 for you Kit Kat.

Unrivaled this heave malted mi my existen smooth te swirls with der is the 9.5/10

He _________ towards the entrance and as PAST TENSE VERB

he got closer, he began to hear _________ SOUND

coming from within. Carefully, Herbert opened the _________ and entered the _________. FIRST BUILDING


Once inside, he immediately _________ and PAST TENSE VERB

took in his surroundings. Directly in front of him was a _________ from which a shadowy NOUN

_________ began to emerge. It appeared to NOUN

be covered in _________ and _________ NOUN


When one daydreams of Halloween the staple candy thought of will forever be the bland Hershey’s bar. The first bite is inviting and pleasant. The chocolate flavor is not displeasing but the after taste is sour and reminds me of a rotten lemon. I’ll give it a solid 4/10.

I enjoy the treat but t peanut bu from lump the maker the idea of packaging that orange

and it _________ at Herbert, all while makPAST TENSE VERB

ing the most horrible _________. Overcome SOUND

with fear, Herbert tried _________ out of -ING VERB

the _________ but _________, allowing the FIRST BUILDING


horrible monster to eat him. No one has seen Herbert since that _________ night and some ADJECTIVE

say that if you _________ closely, you can VERB

still hear his _________ echoing through the night.


Written by Jane Gormley

Tweet us a picture of your responses to @mihsislander

If you ever want to torture someone, force them to eat banana Laffy Taffys. The flavor and consistency reminds me of an old piece of plastic covered in revolting chemicals that vaguely remind me of artificial bananas. Since I’m generous I’ll give it a -1/10

Well know rainbow” candy has the years. each color cal paradis on a rolle and exhil this candy though it i is not up to



by any other candy, enly chocolate coated ilk ball is the reason for nce. With every bit, the exture of the chocolate h the crunch malt powultimate happiness. A

e flavor of this chocolate the consistency of the utter on the inside goes py to smooth. I wish rs would fix this. I like f the candy though. The g needs to be redone, e is horrendous. 6/10

wn for their “taste the slogan, this classic gained popularity over . The unique taste of r remind me of a tropise. Each bite takes you ercoaster of adventure laration. Unforunately, y is overrated and even is a classic, the fruitness o par. 6.5/10

iews written by Samantha Philipp and Helena Shield

The modern Halloween the world celebrates today, including its traditions of trick-ortreating and costume wearing can be traced all the way back to 10th century Gaelic Ireland. Halloween, or Samhain (Sah-ween) is a Pagan Wiccan holiday that began as a Celtic festival of the Dead. The Celtics divided their year by four holidays celebrated by the festivals, Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain, the latter of which celebrated the end of harvest and the beginning of winter. During this time, the Celtics would put their animals away for winter and store their harvested crops. The Celtics believed that from sundown on Oct. 31 - Nov. 1, the souls of the dead could walk among the living along with demons, faeries, and other supernatural folk. The Celts gathered various foods to offer as sacrifices to the dead and built bonfires to honor the

dead, to aid them, and to keep them away from the living. Samhain began its transformation into Halloween because of the Christian’s attempts to convert the Celts to Christianity and repress the Pagan Wiccan religion. The Christians began to associate the Pagan Celtic’s supernatural world with the devil and with the Christian Hell and tried to replace Celtic traditions with their own. However, Celtic traditions lived on in All Saints Day or All Hallows Eve, in which people believed the supernatural still wandered the Earth, but now the supernatural were thought to be evil. Despite that, people continued to set out food and drinks for the spirits. All Hallows Eve became Hallow Evening which evolved into Hallowe’en. Written by Lily Clugston Photos courtesy of Hershey,, Wikipedia Commons,,




Dear John Doe: a letter to the college applicant by

Isabella Murillo editor-in-chief

With over a thousand years of experience and two thousand establishments across the United States, the US higher education system seems to have quite a resume – too bad that you no longer do. Since 1960, the average private university has increased its average accepted grade point average from 2.5 to 3.3, meaning what your grandparents got into college with won’t get you in. So every time a parent claims you could get into a good college if you worked just as hard as they did, a college admissions officer dies. Because they know the ugly truth that no one wants to admit – it is not about how good you are anymore. Let me introduce the 1983 ideal college applicant, John Doe. Thirty years ago, John Doe would have a 3.9 GPA, a couple honors classes, and a few advanced placement courses. John Doe would have graduated top of his class, and gotten easily admitted into Harvard. Today, however, John Doe would have received a pleasantly-phrased letter with his morning coffee telling him the harsh reality of higher education – it is not enough anymore. His years of slaving over projects, constantly studying, and always turning in homework on time are not enough anymore. Grades are only a small stroke in the masterpiece that is your college application. John Doe now has to have a life outside of school. William Fitzsimmons, the dean of admissions at Harvard, expanded on this idea, “I want to know, what is it this person does beside chew gum and produce good grades or scores?” That seems simple enough. John should live his life outside of school. Go to football games and movies, get ice cream with his friends, and play video games until he falls asleep. Ex-

cept, colleges do not want the real stress and borderline anxiety attacks. you. Fitzsimmons describes the ideal AP tests are 89 dollars, which does applicants as “good all-arounders – not seem that bad at first glance – academically, extracurricularly and but John is trying to take as many as personally.” Which means they want possible. This can add up to over 600 John to be the captain of a varsity dollars in just taking the tests, even if sports team, the president of a club, he fails them. This is a clear disadvanand have lots of ambitions and skills tage to students without the funds to that will pay for these costly, difficult, yet abn o t benefit h i m , but the school. Now, J o h n ’s mother will ask him w h y y o u want to join Art Club. W h y not join a club l i k e Debate? Or Year- Applications are a grueling, unfair process of the college admissions process. book? Something that will fulfill the wish- solutely crucial exams. Thousands of es of the student your college wants students face another unfair reality of John to be – not who he actually is. this system- if two students have the Being himself and caring for what he exact same profile but one of those does is no longer going to help John students’ parents can afford to pay for Doe. AP exams, that student will be much At this point, the average student more considered for 97 percent of US should be able to get into the aver- colleges. Curtis Johnston, an MIHS age college with a few extracurricular teacher, commented on this injustice, activities under their belt. But John “It is a system, it’s a game. If you play Doe is an MIHS graduate, he is not the game right, you can get in over average and he does not plan to go to people who might be better qualified. the average college. The next thing on [Colleges] are not always getting the colleges’ application checklist is AP best kids. They’re getting kids who classes. 97 percent of US colleges said can pay, or kids who took the SAT that they consider college courses classes and did better on the SAT. But taken in high school in an applica- it definitely doesn’t seem like 100 pertion. So why not take as many as you cent of the freshmen class should accan? This is only a few more hours of tually be there.” Johnston has worked

The great mascot

issue, I have asked Mr. Hilen to select students for a task force sports editor and expect that work will start Recently there has been an soon.” Puckett then proceeded to uproar concerning the hot top- explain the process that the ASB ic of what Mercer Island High kids would go through, “First School’s mascot should be. Orig- they would survey the student inally the mascot had been an body, as well as the surroundHawaiian Man, with a bone ing community, and alumni, our through his nose, and a fierce goal is for a consensus of the look in his eyes. It was soon new mascot.” Puckett later went changed due to the racially in- on to explain that because the process will sensitive nabe quite ture of the extensive, mascot into a the new bland image mascot will of what supmost likely posedly was be chosen an Island. within the However the net three Island symyears. As bol seemed a student to take the the school’s form of a mascot is Snail, and in Photo courtesy of the MI your identirecent years Herbert the snail cheering at a basketball game. ty and there the school has adopted the symbol as our is something every student can mascot. When asked why we do. Every MIHS student is enshould change the mascot from couraged by both Superintenthe unofficial Snail, Principal dent Dr. Plano, and Principal Puckett simply stated that, “We Puckett to submit their masas Islanders should have a mas- cot ideas to ASB, which will cot that not only defines what an be looked over and carefully Islander should be, but defines considered. “I am heavily inour school model: Integrity, In- fluenced by what our students novation, and Inspiration.” A think,” said Puckett, “I will fulperfect answer, but now there ly back any choice made as long is the question of how. How as it is a good representation of should a typical MIHS student our school and what it stands approach such a large looming for.” Every student does have a issue? Principal Puckett re- voice and should use that voice sponded by saying, “It is up to to determine the MIHS mascot the ASB kids to spearhead this because that is what will define our school in the years to come. by

extensively with seniors applying to college and writes recommendation letters for students he does not even teach every year. He brings up more points that all end up directly affecting a student’s real ability to get in to college. Taking SAT prep courses will increase John’s

Photo courtesy of

score of an average of 100 points –if he can afford the 1000 dollar full course, which many low and middle class families cannot. In addition, around 72 percent of students applying to college said that if it were not for application fees, they would apply to more schools. The average application costs around 40 dollars, and can become a financial burden after the usual seven colleges a student applies to. If an applicant cannot afford to apply to more than three colleges, they have significantly less opportunities. However, if you do have the money, opportunities just keep coming. Some consider college interviews to be the most important part of the college application system. The in-

terview allows John to do everything your application does not, it gives John the chance to explain a bad grade and let the college know the real John Doe – distinguish himself from the other hundreds of thousands of applicants. And if he is charismatic enough, he might even be able to charm his way to a better chance at getting in. However, many universities do not even offer interviews and if they do, John has to pay for the travel and the more interviews he can make, the better off he is. These small investments really add up, and if John is not making them, he is at a great disadvantage. There is one other aspect of college applications where everyone loses- ethnicity. Over half of universities reported that a student’s ethnicity is considered in their application. There are many reasons for this and why colleges might choose one student over another because of race. Schools want to seem more diverse, accepting, and completely avoid the accusation of being racist. This seems to backfire when the system receives two students with the same profile except one of them happens to be a minority. The minority student would be picked despite essentially being the same student because it will make the college seem more accepting. Welcome seniors, to the higher education system. John Doe is no longer a perfect applicant for Harvard; so here’s John Doe 2.0. John Doe 2.0 has a 4.0 GPA, plays two school sports, is president of three academic clubs, has enough money to pay for all the advantages in the college application process, is a minority, and does not exist.

Pot use expected to increase

Sean Bender


Lily Clugston and Jessica Waller staff writers

Mercer Island High School should expect to see an increase in marijuana use over the next few years because of Washington’s legalization of the drug for recreational and medical purposes. Even though marijuana was first legalized in 2012 and according to Chris Harnish there has not been a spike yet. We think that it took a few years for the citizens of Washington to get comfortable about the idea of more people experimenting with marijuana, and this will affect teenagers all over Washington, including MIHS. Despite counselors valiant attempts to educate the youth of Mercer Island on the issue of drug use, one of the biggest misconceptions of marijuana use is that most of the student body uses marijuana. In reality, most of the student body choose not to smoke marijuana. In fact, statistics show that Mercer Island High School students’ usage of illegal drugs has made no dramatic increase, or decrease, throughout the previous years. Although according to a Mercer Island Youth and Family Services’ survey, only 75 percent of teenagers do not want to be driven by someone who has recently been high. However, with the recent laws passed in Washington concerning medical marijuana

and the legalization of the drug, we should expect to see teen use increase along with the drug’s availability. Right now, most MIHS students choose not to smoke, something that Chris Harnish, the drugs and alcohol counselor, thinks of as the “silent majority.”“There is a perception that people are using and that there’s actually fewer people using than, maybe, people realize. What you hear about on Monday morning is who’s done something outrageous, ...illegal…so the perception is that everybody is doing it and what you don’t hear about is the silent majority…it doesn’t make good gossip, so you don’t hear about it,” Harnish said. One would think that with the increased availability of marijuana coupled with the lax system of how the dispensaries and green cards work, that marijuana use would dramatically increase. However, people in Washington are still acting cautiously towards marijuana. Up until recently, people only viewed marijuana as a harmful substance; never as a potential alternative to harsh medicines. Not to mention Washington is still baffled in concerns to the parameters around the new laws and how exactly they work compared to how federal laws work. In Washington, pot may be legalized, but under federal law, it is still labeled as an illegal substance.

We think that soon, in a couple of years or so, MIHS will see a spike in marijuana use compared to the past because of the easy access to it and Washington and its residents starting to get a bit more comfortable with the new laws. It is actually fairly easy to get a green card. All one does is apply for a card and follow regulations such as only carrying the legal limit of one ounce of pure marijuana. Although, driving while intoxicated and smoking in public is still illegal. Harnish also discusses the potential issue of new black markets popping up: “If you look at the breakdown of who has green cards in the state of Washington, the majority of them are twenty-something males so, do your own math. Subsequently, it also creates a secondary market…” Those same most likely than not irresponsible and still not yet mature twenty-something year olds can easily sell to any underaged kids who actually take the time to look for the drug. That is just an unfortunate side effect of the legalization. There is really nothing the school can do to prepare for this impending spike besides educate their students and parents. Taking care of underage use and curbing it is also more of a community effort than anything. The entire school’s population was probably not at that raging party that got busted by the police, but the party’s population in general might have increased.


October 31, 2014

Heroes of Olympus review


Mithril Hugunin staff writer

Heroes of Olympus, Rick Riordan’s new fantasy and mythology series, flawlessly extends Percy Jackson & the Olympians to a new level of literature. With the fifth and final book released Oct. 7, now is the time to look back over the series! In Percy Jackson & the Olympians, we came to love Camp Half-Blood, the Greek safe haven for demigods. The premise of these five new books is the Roman equivalent of Camp Half-Blood had no contact with the Greeks, until they are forced together by war and the gods. There is strong symmetry between the character Jason Grace and Percy Jackson; Jason is the Roman equivalent of Percy. New monsters, like the Titans, are rising, and seven demigods from a prophecy must defeat them before they wake the earth itself. Also, the classic time limit is present, similar to every other one of Riordan’s novels. Although in this case, the time limit is the same throughout the entire series, which gives it strong contiguity. The set up of the book is a very natural extension of Percy Jackson & the Olympians. While Riordan is bringing in new mythology, the Roman and Greeks have such a similar religion that the story remains consistent; the way the deal with the gods having two distinct personalities draws interest. The main characters of Heroes of Olympus are very unique, each with powers that are refreshingly distinct from their personalities. They make their own choices, and sometimes fight each other. There are also romances, Percy and Annabeth being the most obvious one, but an encounter with the god of love adds to the theme as well. Also, while some fantasy’s romances

seems out of place or random, these books show how people can fall in love only after going through huge and epic adventures, or at least spending several years together. It is wonderful to have characters that are not defined by appearance or power. For instance, Piper McLean is the daughter of the god of love and beauty, yet she doesn’t care about her appearance. Samantha Stealph, freshman, said “either Percy or Nico”, when asked who her favorite character is. “Why are we being chased by evil espresso drinks?!” asked Leo Valdez while running away from Venti, evil storm spirits. The number of jokes this character makes in a book… These one-offs are not all, though, Riordan also has deeper irony in the plot. For instance, a spider gets trapped in her own web. I find this wonderful and entertaining. When the plot runs thin for a chapter or two, the humor keeps you reading and engaged. “I think it’s really funny”, said freshman Catherine Spencer. While saying too much will create a spoiler, I should mention that there is a satyr… with a baseball bat. With Heroes of Olympus’s deference to the prequel series, this story has a detailed and varied mythology. The characters are easy to relate to, and you get attached to them. The humor is tasteful and constant. Also, there are epic fights, with full on fantasy powers and enchanted weapons! I would highly recommend reading Heroes Of Olympus, although you should read Percy Jackson & the Olympians first for context. You should get this amazing series at a local bookstore, on kindle, or at the library today!

MIHS staff autumn mixtape By

Chris Twombley adviser

Autumn Mix Tape: “Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness” With the halcyon days of summer ebbing quicker than a high tide in a lava flow, and the reality of the shorter, darker, rainier, windier days of winter imminent as male pattern balding in the 200 Hall, what better way to mark the onset autumn--a time of colorful changing leaves and warm, spicy drinks, of pumpkin patches and harvest festivals, of sweaters and scarves, of trick or treaters and things that go bump in the night--than a mix tape dedicated to capturing this season’s musty, spicy excellence. The Islander recently asked faculty and staff to choose one song for a mix tape titled “Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness.” Here is their homage to autumn. Annika Nicholas, Therese Cannon, Andrea Confalone, and Tom Cox: “California Dreamin’,” by the Mama’s and the Papas. Nicholas: “Even though the lyrics mention winter, I’m from Southern California, so this is the time of year when I start to think “’I’d be safe and warm if I was in LA…’”; Canon and Cox and Confalone: “The opening line of the song is ‘All the leaves


are brown and the sky is gray.’” Amanda Mattocks: “Second Heartbeat,” by Shy Girls. “The steady beat reminds me of a constant drizzle, but has some autumn colors to round it out.” Sam Gadbury: “Purple Haze,” by Jimmy Hendrix. “For a number of years it was the unofficial anthem of my high school’s football team. Our colors were purple and gold but our uniforms were almost entirely dark purple.” Chris Harnish: “Riders on the Storm,” by the Doors. “Cool intro of a rainstorm reminds me of fall in the NW.” Sheryl Erhlichman: “You’ve Got a Friend,” by James Taylor. “The song references ‘the dark sky’ and ‘the north wind beginning to blow.’” Julia Seidman: “Halloween Head,” by Ryan Adams. “The song is dark, brooding, and angry.” Chris Twombley: “Ramble On,” by Led Zeppelin. “Fall makes me want to get in a car and drive and maybe never stop.” Sara Abreu: “This is Halloween,” by Danny Elfman on the “Nightmare Before Christmas” Soundtrack. It helps set the mood for the BEST holiday of the year.


Romeo and Juliet: MIHS fall play

liet presented many challenges for the actors, as performing editor-in-chief Shakespeare is different than Two households, both alike in performing other plays. “Bedignity, In fair Verona, where we cause it is such a classic piece, it lay our scene… The story that is important to find the balance has been told and retold a thoubetween portraying your intersand times is coming to Mercer pretation of the text as an actor Island High School. This year, and student, and making sure Romeo and Juliet, the timeless you stay true to the text and love story, has been chosen as Shakespeare’s the drama original intendeparttions for the ment’s fall work,” Pirie play. The said. Students infamous were asked to play that conduct extra has been research on undoubtedtheir lines, so ly gripped they could truin the ly understand hands of what they every freshwere saying. man will be The actors also adapted worked a great to its true deal on sword S h a k e fighting and speare form table reading on Nov. 13, (where they 2014, starmet with Melring senior Photo courtesy of Isabella Murillo gar to discuss Anais Gral- Hannah Conradt and Jay Rosentein pratice their sword fighting skills for the upcoming play. their lines), to pois and jumake the pernior Samuel Pirie as the about. formance honest and enjoyable. “We are working really hard archetypal lovers in fair Verona. “Everyone has read it, but the Drama teacher Daniela Mel- to make sure it is understandbest way to experience Shakeable and relevant,” says junior gar stays true to the text so auspeare is live.” Pirie says, urging dience members can see Shake- Claire Moore, who plays Sampstudents, parents, and staff to speare’s literal words come to son, a humorous servant of the come see the show. Capulet family. Romeo and Julife. “The actors are breathing By

new modern life into this old story,” Melgar says. The play will feature the 24 hardworking students that make up the Drama 2 class. Every sexual innuendo, sword fight, and timely reference will be played out as Shakespeare intended, so the audience can finally understand what Nurse was really ranting

Isabella Murillo

Top free music websites By

Sean Bender

Top Music Web-

sports editor

4. Truly an oldie but goldie type-site, is one of the most reliable music downloading website on the Internet. When entering the site you can look at ‘Chill’ music, ‘Bangin’ music, as well as a myriad of other options. All of which have tons of songs worthy of listening. Though Thissongissick. Photo courtesy of Samantha Philipp com does not have Student views a music website. a quick download option, as the following siteIn the modern day and age shave, does sites most people go online, rather offer a wide variety of music, than to the record shop. With updated daily for the viewer’s the explosion of music in the satisfaclast decade, and the progression tion. of the Internet there is nowhere online you cannot find the exact 3. song you are looking for. At the DatPiff. same time, with so many webcom: This sites to choose from it can be website is the go to for all Rap annoying and overwhelming to and Hip Hop mix tapes. DatPiff navigate through all the Interis an obscure site that collabonet muck. Listed below are the rates with all Rap and Hip Hop Top 3 music websites that are artists, loading their unreleased necessary for whenever you are songs and mix tapes for free. searching for that one song that Although this website is a great will make you dance all night. sight for all Eminem listeners, it would not be the site for a classical music type or laid back music listener.


2. Soundowl. com: The minute one enters the website it is clear that this is a site carrying all types of music. Not only can you search for any specific songs you need, here are also rows of song genres to choose from that will take you to a plethora of different songs of each genre. This site is the go to site for anyone looking for a quick tune, or an easy download. 1. This site has long been in controversy from its inception. After a year long battle with the multi million dollar company YouTube for copy rights, this website won the right to keep the website up. Much like YouTube to you copy the URL and can download any song on YouTube, but with the added addition of being able to do the same for videos. This added advantage makes it so that you can not only download any song in HD quality, but any video as well. For all music lovers this is the one site that should be at the top of your bookmarks, and the top of your most searched.

Last Minute Halloween Costumes Your Own Twin

A Ghost

Dress up like you would. Do your hair like you would. Act like you would. Optional: wear a nametag with literally any other name on it.

Classic. Clever. Fashionable. Everyone will instantly recognize who you are. Poke two holes on a plain white sheet. There is literally no way to go wrong.

Identity Thief

Nudist on Strike

Take some nametags and write random names on them. Stick them all over your body. Optional: wear some glasses and a fake moustache.

Wear clothes. Even if you don’t usually. As many as you want. Wear a sign that says “Nudist on Strike.”

Compiled by Isabella Murillo

Photos courtesy of,, and

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Editors-in-Chief: Richard Chess Isabella Murillo Features Editor: Helena Shield Sports Editor: Sean Bender Spread Editor: Richard Chess Samantha Philipp Opinions Editor: Isabella Murillo A&E Editor: Samantha Philipp Back Page Editor: Isabella Murillo Photo Editor: Samantha Philipp

To provide news to the Mercer Island High School student body in a manner that accurately reflects its interests. Staff Writers: Lily Clugston Mithril Hugunin Jane Gormley Gabriela Venditti Jessica Waller Corinne Wheeler Adviser: Chris Twombley


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