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"2012 Chinese New Year Festivities Begin!" - BONUS Year of the Dragon Horoscopes

By Serina Fang

     With firecrackers snapping in a haze of smoke, scarlet banners and couplets adorning front doors, and golden dragon dancers strutting down the street, Chinese New Year has arrived once again. This glittering, exuberant celebration pulses on for fifteen days, with different festivities on each day. Chinese New Year is celebrated all around the world with the center of celebration in Chinatowns and, of course, China.
     Chinese New Year has lots of various icons and ornaments that provide auspicious symbolism. Fish symbolize surplus and success and are usually eaten during celebratory dinners and expressed in paintings. Decorations include banners, couplets, paper-cuttings, and New Year paintings with Chinese idioms written on them. Popular floral decorations include plum blossoms, which symbolize luck; kumquats and narcissuses, which symbolize prosperity; bamboos and sunflowers, which will bring in a good year; and eggplants, which will bring in a healthy year free of illnesses.
     Our very own Chinatown here in San Francisco holds an amazing Chinese New Year festival every year. On January 14 I went to Grant Avenue, where the festival was taking place. The Chinatown New Year festival is called the Chinese New Year Flower Fair and is located at Grant Avenue from Clay to Broadway, Pacific Avenue from Kearny to Stockton.
     The streets are flanked by noisy excited stalls selling food; colorful, jewel-bright pinwheels and lanterns; lucky jade zodiac animals to wear as necklaces and bracelets; and some more stalls hosting trivia games and riddle games, stalls with lion dancers leaping up and down, blinking at the audience with red scrolls written with Chinese New Year idioms falling from their mouths. True to its name as the Flower Fair, there are numerous stalls overflowing with all sorts of flowers and plants for sale: pots of elegant orchids and narcissuses, bunches of green bamboo, great yellow chrysanthemums and sunflowers. The street fair was awash with cheerful reds, yellows, pinks, and greens.

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     The festive air isn’t limited to just the stalls. People are everywhere: clustering around stalls, strolling on the streets, playing games, taking pictures and videos. As I stood on my tiptoes in an effort to catch a glimpse of the entire fair, I saw the streets packed with people from one end to the other.
     A low energetic drumbeat and the crash of cymbals signaled the beginning of a parade, and the crowd shifted over to watch. Chinese New Year parades are a staple during the Chinatown street fair. First to pass were children on stilts, strutting past in their traditional clothing. Following them was a marching band and drummers beating on enormous drums pulled along in a scarlet wagon. Orange-gold and green-silver lion dancers followed the drummers, bobbing their heads to the beat. Holding up the rear end of the parade was a serpentine dragon, sapphire blue and glittering, held up by six dragon dancers. The dragon wound its way through the street, chasing after a pearl ball held in front of it on a pole.
     February 11, 2012 is when the annual Chinese New Year parade will take place here in San Francisco. One of the world’s top ten parades, it’s the largest Chinese New Year parade outside of Asia. There’ll be over 100 units participating, including the newly crowned Miss Chinatown USA and the magnificent Golden Dragon that is over 201 feet long and takes a team of 100 people to carry. Whether you’ll be there in person or watching it on television, make time to see the San Francisco Chinese New Year parade!
     Join in on all the exciting festivities and have a very auspicious year of the Dragon!

Chinese New Year Horoscopes: Year of the Dragon
Years: 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012

Lucky Number: 9

Lucky Elements: Water, Metal, Wood

Lucky Objects: Musical instruments, computers, toothpaste

Unlucky Objects: Erasers, wires
Dragons are known for their charisma and sense of humor. They have good judgment, a kind heart, and also an air of authority that makes people naturally listen to them. Dragons love to try new things and have an insatiable desire to acquire more knowledge.

2012 is an auspicious year for Dragons. There will be an abundance of news: new discoveries, new friends, new destinations. Beware of too many violent video games and food poisoning. Also beware the friend who gossips too much about you all the time. Keep an eye out for strange phenomena, such as the appearance of UFOs.

 

"Boat Dance makes a return to Lincoln"

 By Jessica Wong 

   For the first time in the four years that I’ve been at Lincoln, the school is having a boat dance on February 4. Despite the confusion in timing since it’s after the winter break holidays and before Valentine’s Day, it is our winter dance. The date was chosen a year ago because of other events going on at school and the inconvenience if it was held too close to winter break.
     When asked how the idea of boat dance came to be, director of spirit Vincent Correa explains, “Last year we were at an ASB retreat, and the junior and the senior class [officers] were talking about how we should bring winter ball back to Lincoln... They were also talking about how we should have a boat dance like Galileo had their boat dance. So we just thought about combining winter ball and a boat dance together.”
     Students have been very interested in this dance and bought their tickets early in the game. “I guess it’s going to be different just because it’s on a boat. I feel like more people are willing to go there because the idea of a boat dance is more exciting and people are just excited about the whole idea of going on a boat,” says Correa.
     The boat’s capacity was 400, but including the amount of chaperones, only 350 students were able to attend. Since many students were excited to go, some went through great lengths to be able to. Inelligible GPA’s and U’s are being handled on a case by case basis. It was up to Mr.Payne to decide who would be able to go if they didn’t meet requirements. “I know a lot of people are going to do progress reports with Mr.Payne to try to go [to the dance],” says Correa.

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     At the beginning of ticket sales, Correa predicted, “People should buy their tickets ASAP because we’re selling tickets for two and a half weeks, and I feel like we’re not going to make it to two weeks, because I think it’s gonna be sold out by the end of next week,” and he was absolutely right.
Tickets were sold starting on January 17, and were sold out a week and a day later, much before the planned two and a half weeks of selling. Caitlin Morris, the class of 2013 sponsor and boat dance coordinator says, “We didn’t really know what to expect, but people were very excited, I guess because they had never been to a boat dance or the idea of just being on a boat is fun. It’s different and we never anticipated that we would sell all of our tickets in the short amount of time that we did.”
     After the news of tickets being sold out circulated throughout the school, students were angered. Many were upset about the limited amount of tickets, or that most of the
tickets were bought by underclassmen. Some seniors have expressed their opinions about it, saying seniors should have had priority in buying tickets.
     In response, Morris says, “This was a dance that was open for all grade levels, and we did a lot of advertising about when tickets were going to go on sale, and my response to that is they should’ve bought it earlier... No one could have anticipated we would have to turn people away, and of course we don’t want to turn people away. We wish that everyone who wantedto go to the dance would be able to go, but we never could have anticipated it would be this popular, and the students didn’t either.”
 

"Who's to Blame?"

No one takes responsibility for school’s faulty paint job

By Jessica Wong and Dennis Chang

    When Abraham Lincoln High School’s campus was remodeled to make it wheelchair accessible, it was also repainted in the summer of 2010. The school looked great until the paint started to chip and bubble almost immediately.
The school district obtained the money to renovate schools when Prop A 2003 Bond Funds was passed by voters. This bond measure allowed the district to spend taxpayer money to improve schools. Much of the district renovation mainly concerned accessibility for disabled persons.
At Lincoln, the bungalows in the school’s courtyards were replaced by the New Building, and the Main Building received a new red paint job that revealed its deficiency soon after.
    Dean Joel Balzer has a background in the construction business and explains the subcontracting. “The way contracting works is, I have a license to be a general contractor, but I don’t have my workers do everything. I do certain big ticket items, and then I subcontract other ones, which is what this [general contractor] did.. [They] subcontracted out the painting. So [the subcontractor] came in and they sprayed [the school],” says Balzer.
    The general contractor for our school district gets bids from other contractors to be subcontracted to do the job. According to Dr. Lance Tagomori, the school’s Assistant Principal, the school district is required by law to accept the lowest bid, regardless of the company’s reputation or relationship with the district.

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    In this case, the general contracting company was JDS Builders, and they subcontracted a company called Bell Painting. Bell Painting painted the Main Building, whereas another company painted the New Building.
When the school district brought the faultiness of the paint job to attention, Bell Painting refused to repair the paint, claiming it wasn’t their fault. According to Tagomori, the company put the blame on Lincoln for not preparing the walls correctly.
    Balzer believes the company did not take proper steps in painting the school. “Anybody who paints in San Francisco knows that if you don’t prep it right, and if you paint on the wrong time of the day, or on a really foggy day, what’s gonna happen is exactly what happened.”
    When painting a wall with latex paint, it literally dries as a layer of latex. This coating protects the paint from weathering. The layer is also applied with adhesives to help the paint bond to the wall.
    “You have to break the finish on the previous paint so that the new paint will bond. Otherwise, you’re just coating something. And as soon as something like my wimpy fingernail...” After explaining this process, Balzer proceeded to walk over to his door and scratch off a bit of paint. “You saw me, it’s not like it was hard. But the whole stickin’ building! Inside and out. No preparation.”
Erin Hirst, Senior Project Manager for the San Francisco Unified School District says, “The approximate cost of the painting is $400,000... The district has withheld that amount from the payment to JDS Builders until the issue is resolved.”
According to Hirst, the district hired material testing experts take samples and perform testing of the paint from the deficient paint job in response to Bell Painting’s refusal to take responsibility for the bad paint job. This process took several months. Additionally, JDS recently began its own testing of samples to test the paint, but have not yet reported any results.
 “The District wanted to be confident that the failing paint was due to inappropriate procedures performed by the contractor before directing them to make the repairs,” said Hirst. “Conversely, JDS Builders wants to confirm or refute these findings before performing any repairs or indicating that other factors contributed to the paint failure.”
When we spoke to a representative from JDS Builders, they refused to give us contact information for Bell Painting. They have not given us real reasons for why they can’t supply the information, and hung up on our phone calls twice. After attempting to contact Bell Painting and leaving messages, we were unable to speak with a representative.
Expressing frustration, Tagomori added, “It’s been over a year and nothing as been done. And what the district is saying now is that the paint company was the one at fault. The paint company is saying it’s the district that’s at fault. So right now they’re blaming each other, and we’re stuck in the middle with a building that’s half painted.”
something like my wimpy fingernail...” After explaining this process, Balzer proceeded to walk over to his door and scratch off a bit of paint. “You saw me, it’s not like it was hard. But the whole stickin’ building! Inside and out. No preparation.”
    Erin Hirst, Senior Project Manager for the San Francisco Unified School District says, “The approximate cost of the painting is $400,000... The district has withheld that amount from the payment to JDS Builders until the issue is resolved.”
According to Hirst, the district hired material testing experts take samples and perform testing of the paint from the deficient paint job in response to Bell Painting’s refusal to take responsibility for the bad paint job. This process took several months. Additionally, JDS recently began its own testing of samples to test the paint, but have not yet reported any results.
     “The District wanted to be confident that the failing paint was due to inappropriate procedures performed by the contractor before directing them to make the repairs,” said Hirst. “Conversely, JDS Builders wants to confirm or refute these findings before performing any repairs or indicating that other factors contributed to the paint failure.”
    When we spoke to a representative from JDS Builders, they refused to give us contact information for Bell Painting. They have not given us real reasons for why they can’t supply the information, and hung up on our phone calls twice.
    After attempting to contact Bell Painting and leaving multiple messages, we were unable to speak with a representative.
    Expressing frustration, Tagomori added, “It’s been over a year and nothing as been done. And what the district is saying now is that the paint company was the one at fault. The paint company is saying it’s the district that’s at fault. So right now they’re blaming each other, and we’re stuck in the middle with a building that’s half painted.”

 

"Lincoln welcomes back Mr. Jordan"

By Kimberly Alvarado

    On October 25, 2011 Mr. Andre Jordan set off to Abraham Lincoln High School where he works as an economics and government teacher to 12th graders. He sat in his car and attempted to turn the engine on. The stubborn engine refused and as much as Jordan tried the car could not turn on. He slowly left the car and sat in front of his house, not expecting anything, not knowing what else to do… The last thing he remembers is seeing an officer sent by Dr. Tagamori, checking into to see how he was doing. Jordan was confused, and the officer sent him to Sutter Pacific where he was hospitalized for one month, leaving the hospital on November 30, 2011.
    Jordan suffers from esofilitis which is an issue in the brain which causes disturbances or bothers the brain. On that October morning, Jordan had his first stroke ever, and although it was not a stroke with cause, the esofilithis did have an effect on his stroke. During the time he was in the hospital Ms. Elaine Walenta, Mr. Topham, and Ms. Allan all came to visit him in the hospital, and also pitched in money to buy him groceries for when he returned home.IMG_0899.JPG
    While he was out, the teacher that came in for him was Mr. Mercini, a very popular substitute teacher at Lincoln High. After he was let out of the hospital on November 30th, Jordan did not immediately come back to start teaching. He was recovering and staying at home catching up on things that were on his ‘to-do’ list, like sleeping a lot to recover quicker. His little brother David also helped him with his affairs, and chores around the house, by cleaning up or simply helping Jordan with tasks that needed to be done. His sister Yvonne also helped him with bills that needed to be paid.
“Luckily”, he said,”The first semester I taught American democracy. I really tried teaching voting, and the kids got it all, even though I wasn’t here.” He continues to explain that the students were able to get a good grip on what he was teaching and were all able to get the ideas and lessons down from the semester. What he did though, was come every once in a while to check in on his classes and students and also the substitute teacher.
    Mr. Mercini did a good job too for filling in. He helped the students in American Democracy and he also help put up things in Mr. Jordan’s room.
    “I don’t know what I would’ve done if I couldn’t come back to teacher.” He felt ‘iffy’ about coming back though. He was not too apprehensive, but the kids handled it well. “They were very kind and patient with me, thank God.” We can all welcome back Mr. Jordan!
 

"Gun found on school grounds"

By Serina Fang

    During second period on September 27, 2011, a real loaded gun was found in the second floor boys’ bathroom. A student reported the weapon to security who responded quickly with the Deans’ office. The school resource police officers on campus conducted an investigation, but the person who brought the gun there was not found. Barnaby Payne says, “Not in my six years of being an admin here at Lincoln has something like this happened before.”
    Bringing weapons of any kind to school, including real or fake firearms, knives, and explosives will bring about a mandatory suspension and expulsion referral as stated in the State Education Code 48915. Page 60 of the SFUSD Student and Parent/Guardian Handbook (2011-2012) states:
     “California State Education Code mandates that any students who commit the following offenses be immediately suspended from school and referred for expulsion:
    Possessing, selling, or furnishing a firearm—
    48915 (c)(1)
    Brandishing a knife at another person—
    48915 (c)(2)
    (…) Possession of an explosive—
    48915 (c)(5)

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Upon finding that a pupil committed one of the offenses above, the Board shall order the pupil expelled for one year from the date of the expulsion.”
         Other immediate consequences include a police report and possible arrest, which will remain on one’s record. When at school, the Bill of Rights is suspended and the school can search a student’s possessions, including those in coats, backpacks, and lockers, based on a reasonable suspicion.
       Despite the fact that the person who brought the gun to school was never found, Abraham Lincoln High School and the SFUSD school district in general is a relatively safe place in regards to the amount of times a firearm or any other weapon has been brought to school. The California Safe Schools’ most recent survey in all of California from the past twelve months states that 94% of ninth graders and 97% of eleventh graders have never carried a gun to school, while only 6% from ninth grade and 4% from eleventh grade have ever carried a gun once or more times.
    According to Payne, most of the incidences of gun violence at school happen in rural and suburban schools rather than urban schools.
    “In my opinion…I think that the kids that live in the city have had first-hand experience with violence in their neighborhoods or in their communities, and school represents a place for them to get away and be safe, a place where you come to get your education,” says Payne.
    Payne also says that “Lincoln in particular we’re very lucky, as Lincoln is a school of choice…what it means is that there’s no one who goes to this school who didn’t apply to Lincoln, meaning that they wanted to come here. Their families wanted them to come here, so in other words nobody was forced to be here. But generally speaking, people wanted to come here because they wanted to go to a good school, they wanted to go to a school that could provide them with a high quality education, they wanted to go to a school that could prepare them for college, so generally speaking I think Lincoln is a very safe school.”
    Lincoln is an open enrollment school, which means that neighborhood does not play a factor in how students are assigned to high schools, and students from all over the city can apply to Lincoln. There are students who come here with any number of problems at home, including poverty or difficult home life situations, et cetera and these problems might be brought to school.
    Even with all that in mind, Payne states “It’s really amazing how few fights we have at Lincoln, how few incidents we do have of drug use and drug abuse, and violence on campus and weapons on campus.”
    If a student witnesses someone bringing a weapon to school or knows that someone will bring a weapon to school, they can contact the Safe School Line by calling them at (415) 241-2142 or e-mail them at safeschool@sfusd.edu. Reporting any incident to them can be done anonymously and this will help greatly improve school safety.