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South San Francisco responds to recent violence

March 11, 2011 Leave a comment
By RJ Refuerzo
Increasing violence and homicides have been a problem for South San Francisco citizens in recent years, but the grotesque 2010 statistics have the city taking a more active role in the struggle to curb violence. Public meetings have been called to consider the rise in homicides and other crimes in the past few months and to improve public relations between police officers and civilians.

San Mateo County recorded 20 homicides in 2010, not including vehicular manslaughter or other means deemed justified by peace officers. This number has steadily risen since 2009, in which 14 homicides occurred. From 2000 to 2006, the number escalated from 10 in 2000 to 33 in both 2004 and 2005 before dropping to 23 in 2006. It stayed below 20 until the triple homicide in December.

Campus Security Officer Laura Janero said that the gang problem had been anticipated to travel down the peninsula, according to law enforcement. “From being in the business for 22 years, I honestly believe that there’s really no one to blame; it’s just the way things are going,” Janero said. “The sudden surge of violence is a concern and we all want to pitch in as a community and give all the information we know to law enforcement and to anybody else who needs our help.”

Three Linden Avenue homicides on December 22 have brought about new concern, and in response the City Council proposed and later passed a $400,000 program to hire four additional officers to promote synchronization between the force and the neighborhood and add a second police officer as a school liaison. The Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center has been working in conjunction with the San Mateo County community to figure out the best way to meet the needs, according to the PCRC Associate Director Michelle Vilchez. The committee came into play by coordinating with South San Francisco High School after 15-year-old Jose Lopez Manuel was killed in a drive-by shooting earlier in May of 2010.

Janero hopes that the $400,000 grant will work, and aims to follow up in any way she can at El Camino. “Get all the right people to say they’re going to do what they need to do, and it should work,” Janero said. “Everybody in the community has to get in there and make it work. And we’ve got good students that I’ve seen in the years that help us in security turn those kids around too. We can do it; we just need as many people as possible to do it.”

 

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Senior Ball: Con

March 11, 2011 Leave a comment

By RJ Refuerzo

The key word: expectations. All year, we idealize this night to impossible proportions, tragically becoming victims of our own imagination. As a result, this year’s event is struggling to even begin to satisfy the expectations with its limited budget. All year, fundraisers have been planned and events scheduled, yet the lack of interest has defeated all efforts. I know I speak for them when I say how frustrating it is for so many people to expect so much while doing so little.

El Camino is a campus of tradition, which in this case is a fancy way of saying “we have to buy in, or else people will think we don’t care about El Camino’s history.” This creates tension between classmates, promoting competition to impress onlookers. And the costs! This year senior not only have to pay only for excessively pricy Ball Bids, but for attire, transportation, and everything tied to finding a date as well?

Thoughts of Senior Project, AP Exams, and finals inhibiting your ability to find your dream date? The easy fix is to not go! Ball’s notorious for breaking hearts, but no one ever talks about the shattered friendships over the night’s expectations, because what’s fun for one simply isn’t for others. Don’t bother with the ludicrous financial, emotional and psychological risks. People are best off having a blast with their companions elsewhere. The rest of the world is waiting to be owned.

The impossible expectations, outrageous costs, and physical and psychological stress make for a recipe of disappointment. All things considered, a ridiculous sum of money is dropped on FIVE HOURS, and even if someone can somehow shovel that guilt to the back of their mind the entire night, one still needs to contend with all of the drama. Besides its attendees, the only thing feeling more empty inside during Ball will be your wallet.

Varsity Bell slips through EC’s fingers

December 9, 2010 Leave a comment

By RJ Refuerzo

(Photo Katrina Nolasco)

On November 13, El Camino High School and South San Francisco High School football teams met once again to face off  for the Bell. But ultimately the Warriors defeated the Colts with a final junior varsity score of 58-28 and a varsity score of 29-22.

After a crushing 58-28 JV defeat, EC switched to running plays with wide receiver Tyler Rios scoring the first touchdown. The subsequent field goal brought hope to the Colts, but on the return kick of the next play the Warriors scored a field goal and tied the score 7-7.
The second quarter brought further tension as the Warriors were called on for holding and facemask penalties. Further success with the Colts’ running plays was diminished when an attempted pass ended in an interception and the Warriors took the lead when opposing player JJ Vaioli ran the remaining eight yards into the end zone.
When things looked grim after the Colts endured two consecutive sacks with a minute and a half left, the team landed a successful throw to wide receiver Tajah Childs and scored a touchdown and field goal, putting the Colts up 14-13.

Falling down: Colt Omar Reyes Medina and Warrior Brad Los struggle for possession in the annual Bell Game. Ahead for most of the game, the Colts’ fell short in the last 36 seconds of the game with a final score of 29-22. (Photo Katrina Nolasco)

“What you should be thinking right now is ‘These are my last two quarters.’ If we don’t miss tackles, we will stop them. If we don’t, they will score,” said Coach Mark Turner in his halftime speech.

The third quarter resulted in a scoreless 12 minutes due to both teams’ defense.
In the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, EC wide reciver, Ronnie Francesconi suffered an injury, followed by a Warrior touchdown and two point conversion, leading to 21-14. With eight minutes left, EC was pressed for time as they pounded aggressive running plays all the way to the end zone with tight end Justin Eclavea. A successful two-point conversion brought the possibility of EC taking home the Bell with their 22-21 lead.
“We made crucial plays on defense which set up our offense to drive down the field and gain the lead in the fourth quarter,” Huey said.
Unfortunately, after a failed onside kick and a strong Warrior offense, SSFHS sophomore Robert Johnson received a 16-yard pass, leading to the game’s final touchdown and two-point conversion in the last 36 seconds of the game.
“I felt the most spirited for the football team than I have ever felt in my four years of being here,” El Camino senior Chris Reyes said. “Nevertheless, I’m proud of our football team  for trying as hard as they did that day. It doesn’t take a victory to express greatness.”
The 2010 Bell Game ended with a loss for the Varsity Colts, with a final score of 29-22.