Page 1



VOLUME 15 • ISSUE 4 JANUARY 27, 2014


Colorado legalizes retail marijuana Student opinion by the numbers

No for sure



Yes for sure

Probably not


9% Probably

No opinion

If California were to legalize recreational marijuana use, would you purchase any (assuming you could legally purchase)? strongly agree

19% 27% 24% 17%

somewhat agree no opinion somewhat disagree strongly disagree


How strongly do you agree with the legalization of recreational marijuana? based on 128 respondents in an online survey of Harker students


Debate teacher named Coach of the Year

WIN Public forum debate coach Carol Green stands in front of her classroom board which displays the names of debaters along with the details of their accomplishments at public forum tournaments this school year. The board is a small way debaters are recognized for their most important achievements.

vivian isenberg reporter

Upper School public forum debate coach Carol Green was presented the national Coach of the Year award at the Blake Debate Tournament in Minneapolis, Minnesota in late December. Green was also given the Brother Polowy Excellence in Coaching Award by the Holy Cross School in New Orleans at a tournament in early October. Each year in December, The Blake School hosts the last tournament of

the year where the school recognizes a coach of the year. Members of the high school community nominate possible honorees, and then previous winners of the award vote upon a recipient. One of the specific reasons Green was recognized in addition to being a successful coach was her contribution to the high school debate community. “I’ve done curricular work, I’ve done videos, and I’ve reached out to community members,” she said of her achievements. “Also, students at tournaments without coaches can feel comfortable coming up to me and asking for advice,” she said. Public forum co-captain Kevin Duraiswamy (12) commented on Green’s dedication and accomplishment. “Ms. Green spends countless hours working with the debaters, planning debate trips, and traveling to the debate tournaments with us almost every weekend, in addition to all the work she does every school day,” he said. “It’s very pleasing to see that she has been recognized and honored for all this hard work,” he added. Green gives credit to the nationally recognized debate program at Harker. “It’s a successful program; it sets a lot of national standards,” Green said. “When I started coaching public forum, it did not look the same way it does now.” Senior and public forum co-captain Neil Khemani expressed high hopes for the debate team, which has excelled at tournaments locally and across the country this school year. “We are extremely proud of debate and are sure the team is only going to excel from here on out. We have already had a bunch of teams qualify for the Tournament of Champions,” he said. Since coming to Harker nine years ago, Carol Green has taught public speaking and argumentation at both the sixth grade and high school level. She was originally exposed to speech and debate in high school.

Decision sparks controversy among student body stephanie chen & stanley zhao

business manager & reporter Legal purchases of recreational marijuana began in Colorado on Jan. 1, marking the first time in U.S. history that the drug has been sanctioned for non-medical sale. About 35 dispensaries around the state opened that morning to throngs of customers, including both Colorado residents and curious travelers from around the world. Those stores reported a total of over $1 million in retail sales in just the first day of legalization. “[It’s] been crazy,” said Hank Borunda, owner of The Greener Side dispensary in Pueblo, Colorado in a phone interview. “Lines everywhere, potheads coming out of the woodworks.” Recreational pot is now available to adults aged 21 and over, with each purchase limited to one ounce for Colorado residents and a quarter of an ounce for nonresidents. Smoking in public areas, driving under the influence, and transporting marijuana out of Colorado remain illegal. Under U.S. federal law, marijuana is illegal for both recreational and medical use. The Justice Department has stated, however, that it will not prosecute a strictly regulated marijuana industry. Even President Obama said in an interview published last week in The New Yorker that marijuana was less dangerous than alcohol “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.” Borunda, who has been in the medical marijuana business since 2010, maintained that decriminalization in Colorado would be beneficial in the

long run, especially given retail marijuana’s effective tax rate of nearly 30 percent. “There’s so much tax money for the state and the counties, and it helps the kids and the schools,” he said. “It’s going to do great things for Colorado—Colorado might even be built on weed.” Students held varied opinions on the events in Colorado. Albert Chu (12) supported the legalization as an opportunity for government regulation and licensing, “which, regardless of your personal views on marijuana, increases public safety and health.” Rishabh Chandra (10) also favored legalization, though from a democratic standpoint. “I think that pot should be legalized because it should be a public choice,” he said. “If people want to get high on pot, and they’re over 21, great! I don’t know if smoking pot is necessarily a good thing, but making it legal is totally fine.” Others predicted that legalizing marijuana would lead to negative impacts on society as a whole. “I think it’s sort of uncalled for, seeing as the rest of the states ban pot,” Kaushik Sankar (10) said. “Just legalizing it would increase the crime rate and have other detrimental effects. There literally is no way that legalizing a banned drug would end well.” Public health effects have also dominated the debate on marijuana decriminalization. “[Marijuana] has been proven to have adverse health effects,” Serena Wang (11) said. She opposes legalizing the drug “unless it’s an effective

medicine for sick people and there’s no alternative.” Anti-drug organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana’s (Project SAM) website lists health risks ranging from lung cancer to mental illness as results of pot use. Some of Project SAM’s other concerns include the creation of a “Big Marijuana” commercial industry and an increase in illegal drug use among youth. To Borunda, however, Colorado’s legalization of retail marijuana will have little to no effect on teenage drug culture, though he expects that illegal dealers will be hurt. “Kids are kids, and they’re going to do what they want,” he said. “When there’s a will, there’s a way, and if kids want to get their hands on [marijuana], they’re going to, legal pot or not.” In California, where medical marijuana has been legal for 17 years, negative social effects have been minimal, according to an October 2013 article in The New York Times. California’s requirements for obtaining a medical marijuana card are infamously lenient, but teenage drug use has not risen drastically. Precedents like California have shifted public opinion toward legalizing recreational marijuana. A Gallup poll in October found that 58 percent of Americans favored legalization. Retail marijuana in Colorado is still an experiment. The long-term economic and social effects of legalization and regulation are still unknown. Those consequences will ultimately determine if other states follow Colorado’s lead—or if the future of legal marijuana will go up in smoke.

H1N1 virus hits Bay Area sharanya balaji reporter

The seasonal flu is back again with the number of deaths from the flu in the Bay Area rising to 29 as of last Wednesday. This year’s flu has been identified as Type A, subtype H1N1, which is also known as the “swine flu”. This strain has been different from others since it seems to be targeting younger and healthier people. Although the Upper School has stayed relatively clear from the flu,

people should still stay cautious of their surroundings. “Winter season is not over yet, and neither is flu season,” Upper School nurse Clare Elchert said. Despite the number of deaths, health officials have stated that the flu season has not seen its peak yet. Common symptoms for the flu are a 100 degree or higher fever or a sore throat, runny noses, headaches, body aches, chills, fatigue, and nausea. “If you have a fever at night, you probably have the flu,” Elchert said. Some tips to stay clear from the

flu are to constantly wash hands, cover mouths when coughing, and avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Even though the flu generally targets babies and elderly individuals, this particular strain has hit young and adolescent individuals particularly hard. The last two deaths were a man in his 30’s and a man in his 50’s, both of whom were unvaccinated. Local clinics and pharmacies including Palo Alto Medical Foundation Urgent Care, CVS, and Walgreens administer flu shots.

Cont’d from page 1 Impact of drought “It hasn’t really impacted me yet, but as soon as there becomes a real limitation on things such as tap water, people will start to care more,” Raymond Xu (12) said. “I don’t think people care that much right now.” California grows 50 percent of U.S. grown fruits, nuts, and vegetables, but the lack of water is causing problems. Farmers have already begun to feel the strain and are voicing their

needs. The lack of fresh produce will mean that prices for food in supermarkets will increase as well. In addition to California, ten other states have been designated as natural disaster areas that are at increased risk of fire, including Nevada, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, and Texas. The state will also be hiring more firefighters to combat the spread of fires.

TIPS TO SAVE WATER 1. Fix leaks in faucets, toilets, pipes, and sprinklers. 2. Save the running water when you’re waiting for hot water and use it to water plants. 3. Instead of washing fruit and vegetables in running water, wash them in a bowl of water. 4. Water lawns less and in the early mornings. 5. Take shorter showers and replace showerheads with water saving ones. 6. Turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth. 7. Cover pools with a tarp to prevent water loss.

02 news