Amendment 73 fails to pass

The people have decided. On November 6th, the Colorado electorate had decided to not pass Amendment 73, which would have established a new, more intricate tax system for education. With the fall of this initiative come ramifications for our school system.

In LPS alone, per student cost would be dropped by over $700 dollars. To put that in perspective, that’s the cost of 4 and a half chromebooks. To meet these new budget restrictions, our district will have to make several hard decisions in the coming years. For those who had supported this initiative, this is quite disappointing news.

However, for those that were hesitant towards this initiative, this is a victory. These new tax increases are arguably job killers. In Arapahoe county alone, median income in a two worker household is nearly $100,000 dollars, and a tax increase that affects households with incomes of $150,000 or more would disproportionately affect a larger amount of households.

For a tax increase from 4% to 6-8% for these households would possibly pronounce the death knell of our economy. Taxes on businesses would also increase, and these combined effects could have led to a flight of rich taxpayers and businesses both small and large away from Colorado, decreasing our state GDP and our investments into the local economy.

For good or ill, Amendment 73 has not passed, and has ushered in a new era for our community and our school system.

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Executive Orders impact the nation

A protest happens Downtown to show the people's will while Trump enacts executive orders.

A protest happens Downtown Denver to show the people’s opinions regarding Trump’s executive orders.

Throughout the past five years, there has been a controversial topic surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL Pipeline, due to the fact it is set to go across Native American lands. The Keystone XL Pipeline is a trade route for oil from Canada.

“I believe that going ahead with the Keystone Pipeline was the right move.  It was done painstakingly slowly, with every possible court battle and permit, and then Obama said no.  We have thousands of miles of pipelines crisscrossing this country, and the ‘safety’ of this one was a feeble excuse.  Canada is our number one trading partner, and this was a slap in their face as well as to the thousands of workers we are supposed to be helping maintain ‘middle class’ status,” says Mr. Jay Grenawalt, Social Studies teacher.

President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order to clear the way for these two pipelines.

During former President Barack Obama’s term, he signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP) which was a trade deal that included 12 different nations along the Pacific Ocean. Throughout Trump’s campaign, he kept promising to pull away from the TPP.

“I believe that it was important for the US to be a part, strategically as well as economically.  China is a huge presence in the Pacific, and most of the members of the proposed partnership needed US assurances that we would stand against China as China flexes its muscles so frequently in that part of the world.  Perhaps Trump can work out bilateral agreements with the nations involved,” says Grenawalt.

On Monday, January 23, 2017, Trump made good on his promise and pulled out of the TPP. This action follows one of his major promises he echoed along the campaign trail.

“Trump has very little concern for the environment or any nation besides the U.S., but he is making rational decisions for America’s economic welfare,” Says Darian Lane ’18.

The effect of these actions on the American people is that it shows that President Trump is going to keep the promises he made along the campaign trail. If this pattern continues this country will face an eventful four years that will have many changes.

 

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Women’s health benefits all

Every day, approximately 800 women die from childbirth. Approximately 440 of them will live in sub-Saharan Africa, and 230 will live in Southern Asia according to who.int. It is estimated by WHO (World Health Organization) that if women could choose how many children they could have, the birth rate would drop by approximately 70%. Obtaining birth control continues to be a struggle for women in many foreign countries, and the fight for reproductive health care rights continues.

Starting in 1983, Peru was able to provide its people with family planning services, which was followed by the National Population Policy in 1985 during the presidency of Alberto Fujimori. To control the indigenous population, more than 300,000 women 20,000 men were sterilized without consent according to telesurtv.net. These procedures were carried out using food as incentive, or lack of as punishment, without warning the victims of the procedure. Fujimori was imprisoned in 2007 for his corruption and humans rights abuses, but the effects of those who were sterilized can never be reversed.

In parts of the world where child marriage still occurs, it is exceedingly difficult for young mothers to give birth. Many girls have pelvises that are too small to naturally accommodate the heads of the babies, which results in an obstructed labor. Fistulas develop commonly when an obstructed labor is left for long enough that the pelvic tissue rots away, leaving the woman unable to control her bodily fluids, and in extreme cases, unable to walk. Fistulas used to be common in the United States, there even used to be a hospital in Manhattan, according to Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, authors of Half the Sky. Obstetrician L. Lewis Wall, estimates that 30,000 to 130,000 women will develop a fistula every year in Africa alone. It is estimated that 90% of fistulas are treatable, however it is difficult to prevent them in young girls due to their smaller pelvis.

For over 16 years, El Salvador has criminalized abortion in all circumstances, including in cases of rape, incest, or is dangerous to the mother’s health according to reproductiverights.org.

“No woman should ever be thrown behind bars after suffering from pregnancy complications and this Salvadoran Court decision ensures facts and medical evidence prevail over discriminatory stereotypes about women and pregnancy,” says Catalina Martínez Coral,  regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Center.

Women who are accused of inducing an abortion are often charged with homicide and can receive up to 40 years in prison, such as in the case of Maria Theresa, the pseudonym of a young person who miscarried in a public restroom. She was wrongfully convicted of aggravated homicide and was sentenced to 40 years in prison, had it not been overturned, she would have remained in prison until 2052.

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Shawna Stephens PA-C works at an OB GYN clinic as a physician’s assistant. She has helped many people over the years, including students who have gone to Heritage.

Due to the past election, many individuals, especially those working in the field of women’s health are skeptical about possible upcoming changes. Shauna Stephen PA-C works in an OB GYN office and specializes in the prevention of teen pregnancy.

“I believe that we are finally putting females first,” says Stephen. “In the state of Colorado you don’t need a referral to have an OB GYN, which is huge because you used to have to get a referral from your physician.”

Stephen cites a decrease in difficulties in childbirth as one of the successes that our nation has had in the past few years, even though we are not the highest. Stephen believes that access to different long term birth control should be increased. She believes that everyone should be able to have access to birth control, no matter where they go for medical assistance because she believes that planned pregnancies lead to more successful ones.

“Some schools don’t provide good sex ed, which is really scary,” said Stephen “what you find is that many students taking higher level classes don’t have time to take health, and because it isn’t required, they don’t get the information that they need.”

Due to the previous presidential election, many changes are being anticipated in the healthcare field, especially in the region of women’s health. Stephen believes that there are going to have changes, including possible restrictions to certain forms with birth control.

“I find that unless you are being aggressive with your own healthcare, you are not being heard,” says Stephens.

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The Syrian Refugee Crisis through the eyes of Heritage Students

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This is a picture was captured by Alyssa Maier, who saw multiple protests in Germany illustrating political tensions.

Eleven million Syrian Refugees have sought asylum from their war-torn country that has been marred by a six-year civil war that broke out in March 2011 according to syrianrefugees.eu. The sheer number of Syrian refugees flooding into Europe has been the biggest human migration of modern times.

  Julia Niedzwiecka was born in Poland, a country that has recently decided to close their borders and no longer accept the European Union’s set quota for Poland’s immigration, which was 6,500 refugees. Alyssa Maier’s family is from Germany and she spends her summers there studying. Germany in contrast has received the highest number of refugees with more than 476,000 in 2015 according to www.bbc.com.

  While Poland’s decision to close the borders is seen as nativist to other countries in the European Union who are trying to share the burden of this humanitarian crisis, Niedzwiecka offers a unique perspective on Poland’s political motives.  

  “To understand (Poland’s) motive, it’s important to take a look at other countries’ experiences with Syria’s mass immigration and the social problems it has caused. What most countries don’t realize is the massive undertaking of taking such an influx of foreign population that require tremendous social restructuring. The problem with accepting refugees isn’t due to religious differences, or even for economic reasons, it’s assimilation,” explains Niedzwiecka.

  Maier expresses the same concerns about the obstacles of social assimilation, as she saw first hand how Germany is dealing with their open immigration policies.

  “It seemed like the refugees were kept out of normal society for the most part, they are converting a lot of buildings to house them but it’s really hard for them to work within the first year so they mostly keep within their own little communities,” recalls Maier.

  This issue of assimilation begs the question as to whether the European Union’s attempt to open the borders is responsible, and if these policies really take into account the common good and safety of the citizens.

  “My mother, a massage therapist working 12 hours a day for 6 days a week and makes less weekly than a Syrian refugee gets weekly as an unemployed patron.The welfare program is extremely unbalanced, and the working class suffers,” says Niedzwiecka.

  According to the independent.co.uk $15 billion has been spent on the Syrian Refugee Crisis and about 10 percent of that has been contributed by the UK. One of the major issues that influenced Britain’s vote to leave the EU were concerns about immigration and about how that might impact their nation. Niedzwiecka holds a similar line of thinking.

  “The EU is trying their best to assimilate the influx of Syrian refugees, but as more and more countries accept to the point of instability, people are looking to countries with low refugee counts to take in the influx of people. Infrastructure can’t keep up to suit both the citizens of the country and the refugees,” says Niedzwiecka.

To make the nature of this political climate more tangible Niedzwiecka draws a parallel to American society.

“This issue is highly controversial in a similar way it is in America. Liberals are seeking to intake Syrian refugees to save them from their worn torn country in hopes of them to establish a better life, and Conservative measures seek to preserve the safety and security of their nation,” she concludes.

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Reuter Pursues Possible Priesthood

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Reuter traveled to the Vatican City over spring break for Easter. This trip help solidify his decision to travel to Spain for a year.

This coming school year, Erik Reuter ’16 will be taking a gap year and living in Spain. But unlike other students taking time off, Reuter is taking this time to make a huge decision, whether or not to join the priesthood.

   Reuter was raised as a Catholic from the his birth, so faith is fundamental to him.

   This has permeated to very recently when he traveled to Rome over spring break to attend Easter Sunday in The Vatican City.

   “Over the trip to Rome, I really solidified the choice to go to Spain. We stayed with one disciple over there, much like I would be doing in Spain. It was very peaceful and it was the peace that made me want to go,” says Reuter.

   Reuter is scheduled to leave around August 20 for Madrid. He will be staying with a group called the Disciples of the Heart of Jesus and Mary.

   “The main purpose of the year is to live with a community of priests and through living with them discern whether or not I would want to become a priest myself,” says Reuter. “I’ve always felt awe struck towards religious life. I really want to take a year and make sure I’m making the right decision.”

   He is going to Spain for this adventure to further immerse himself in Spanish culture. His family has hosted students from Spain in the past and he has taken Spanish language classes from a very young age. He will take classes at a university over there to improve his Spanish and engage in some philosophy classes later on.

   With the support of friends and family, Reuter is excited to take on this 10 month journey.

   “I think it’s really cool that he’s following his dreams, and I really do hope he finds what he’s looking for,” says Jake Kisabeth ’16, a good friend to Reuter.

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Mars One is a go for takeoff

In 1969, humankind made possibly its largest achievement to date. The United States put 12 people on the moon from 1969 to 1972. For the first time in human history, man was capable of leaving this earth and returning safely.

Now, the next step is being taken. In 2024, there are plans to send a group of people to develop a permanent colony on the red planet. According to studies, human life is sustainable with existing technology.

The project is independently funded with the main source of funding being donations to the program. A donation can be made by visiting the Mars One website at http://www.mars-one.com/ and clicking on the donate now tab.

The project has grown in publicity and has spread into the Heritage High School Culture.

Danny Segura ’16 has taken particular interest in this topic.

Danny Segura j'16 contemplates the possibility of himself being chosen to be one of the first beings to visit the Red Planet.

Danny Segura j’16 contemplates the possibility of himself being chosen to be one of the first beings to visit the Red Planet.

“My love for space began when I was a young boy. Me and my grandmother used to go out late at night and look at the night sky. She would get down on one knee, look me in the eye and say, ‘Boy, this world isn’t big enough for you.’ That is when I knew that I wanted to be an astronaut,” says Segura.

The crew will set up this interplanetary colony with the help of multiple unmanned missions to mars. The privately funded company plans on sending multiple ships carrying supplies ahead of the voyagers.

To decide the select individuals that will partake on the epic journey, the Mars One staff had to narrow down the vast pool of 200,000 applicants from all corners of the world down to 100. The application process began in April of 2014 and included video interviews and personality diagnosis to find people that would operate and get along with other voyagers for the eight months that they will be traveling to the other world. Segura has sent in two video applications and four letters to the Mars One mission.

He has received no replies.

Once the astronauts land on the martian surface, they are racing against the clock to set up sustainable food sources. The voyagers will be completely isolated for almost two full years before the second mission arrives with reinforcements and another two years after that before the mission after that.

Needless to say, Mars one promises to be a captivating mission and work in progress for the next ten years and could possibly lead to the development of humankind’s new home.

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Gas prices plummet

As the gas prices drop to nearly $2 per gallon, the sighs of relief from teenagers can be heard around the Denver metro area. However, as the wallets of consumers swell, the potential effects of lower gas prices on the economy is dismissed.

With more money in the pockets of people who drive, more money is spent on food, clothing and consumer products that may have not been spent before the drop of gas prices. According to journalistsresource.org, the average American family will save around $700 in 2015 from the drop of gas prices.

However, Heritage students will see the positive outcomes of lower gas prices as well.

“I can finally drive longer distances because I’m not ‘wasting’ as much money,” says Eva Chaffin ‘16.

The common tradition of Heritage students of driving to lunch will be embraced more, as well.

“I have more money to go out to lunch with friends now, instead of just bringing lunch from home,” says Emersen Dodge ‘16.

Although the drop of gas prices may wholeheartedly benefit American consumerism, it may cause economic turmoil in countries that produce oil, such as Iran, Russia and Mexico. These countries will have less cash flow, and could possibly enter into a crisis, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Larry Zimpleman, the chief executive officer of Principal Financial Group, believes that the gas prices will stay low for as long as decades. Currently, there is a lower demand for oil and a large supply due to the slow economic growth of the past decades, causing many to tighten their budgets and spend less on unnecessary products, including oil.

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With lower gas prices, high school students will now have more money in their pockets.

As the gas prices continue to lower, America may see an economic turmoil in oil producers, however the consumers are safe to spend as of now.

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Turkey builds iconic castle

Ak Saray is under construction and is four times the size of Palace of Versailles.

Ak Saray is under construction and is four times the size of Palace of Versailles.

As 16.9% of Turkey’s population is below the poverty line, President Recep Tayyip Erdoǧan and the Turkish government are constructing a $615 million palace with one thousand rooms.

However, this has infuriated Turkey’s taxpayers. As President Erdoǧan hopes this ornamental castle will demonstrate the country’s prominence, the residents of Turkey are being forced to pay for it.
Even the simple electricity bill of the palace comes out to an astounding $313,000 per month. As approximately 2.9 million people are unemployed in Turkey, the taxpayers will suffer the debts of this colossal castle.

Ak Saray, or the White Palace, is larger than the Buckingham Palace, and more than three times the size of the Palace of Versailles.

Originally, the palace was going to house the prime minister of Turkey.   However, when President Erdoǧan was elected into office as President of Turkey from the former office of Prime Minister of Turkey, he quickly changed the purpose of Ak Saray.

However, some of Turkey’s poorer residents remark that President Erdoǧan is acting more as a sultan than a president.

Heritage voices chime in, currently agreeing on the issue of President Erdoǧan attempting to impress other countries with Turkey’s lavish setting for the President, rather than focusing on the economic issues in the country.

“Most of the country is in turmoil right now and the fact the president is worried more about the luxury he is in than how much food the citizens are getting is disturbing,” says Alana Shoob ‘16.

However, Ak Saray is even being compared to the Palce of Versailles that was built during the absolutist era in France.

“I think that by building the Palace of Versailles in France, it eventually led France to ruin due to the costs of the palace. With the economic stress in Turkey right now, it can’t end well,” says Katy Cohen ’16.

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Heritage students build a home

Three and a half days. That’s how long four Heritage students, along with their youth group, had to build a house this summer.

During the last week of July, Heritage Freshmen Trevor Young and Tess Selden and Seniors Sarah Krohn and Sarah Selden traveled down to Anapra, Mexico with their youth group from St. Philip Lutheran Church in order to build a home for a family in need.

“I wanted to go to make a difference—it sounded like a great opportunity to help someone in need,” says T. Selden.

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The students put one of the walls into place. They were able to put up the entire frame of the house on the second day of the build.

Other than the four Heritage students, five other youth went on the trip, along with two chaperones from St. Philip, two counselors from Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp and two interns from Casas Por Cristo, the organization that they worked through. However, that wasn’t the only help the youth received on their trip.

“My favorite part of the trip was having interactions with the neighborhood kids while building the house. All the kids that came over while we were building wanted to help in any way they could,” remembers Krohn.

“We were able to form bonds with the kids even though we didn’t speak their language. It was awesome,” says T. Selden.

But the trip wasn’t all fun and games with the kids. Anapra is a suburb of Juarez, a city known for being in the middle of a desert and therefore home to some very high temperatures.

“The heat was definitely a challenge, especially since we had to wear workpants at the worksite all week. Also, the workdays were pretty long,” says T. Selden.

Despite the heat, the volunteers were able to take away some major lessons from the trip.

“The biggest lesson I took was that you always have enough to help those around you. The family that we were building the house for gave us lunch our last day on the worksite. They gave us a lot of food and when were done with our plate, they would bring us another plate just as full. A family who didn’t have much gave us more than any of us could have believed they would give,” says Krohn.

T. Selden also learned some valuable lessons in Mexico.

“I learned that materials and objects don’t matter. It’s the relationships you build that matter. The kids down there have practically nothing, yet they are so happy. It was amazing to see,” says T. Selden.

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WorldPride takes on Toronto

The annual WorldPride Week took place in Toronto this past June, bringing in crowds from all over the world. With ten main events and a large marriage ceremony, Toronto hosted one of the most powerful WorldPride Weeks in history.

One of the murals dedicated to WorldPride was painted on The 519 Church Street Community Center as a joint effort to help clean up graffiti in Toronto.

One of the murals dedicated to WorldPride was painted on The 519 Church Street Community Center as a joint effort to help clean up graffiti in Toronto.

From June 20-29, the city of Toronto was decorated in WorldPride flags, colors and promotions. The 519 Church Street Community Center was the center point of the WorldPride festivities. I was lucky enough to get to attend the unique experience and all it had to offer people. While I didn’t attend every day of the festival, I was able to make it to a few major events, such as DJ Central and The Village Streetfair, during my stay in Toronto.

The Village Streetfair is unlike anything I have seen before; people from all over the world had come together to express who they really were and it was a judgment-free area. Everyone was friendly on the street, and when I was lost, multiple people stopped to help my directionally-challenged self.

One of the highlights for me was the DJ Central. There, dancers were pumping the massive crowds up with their incredible talents. DJ Central was located just off The Village Streetfair, and along the streetfair were booths from different international and local vendors, multiple competitions for fun, concerts and local bars and restaurants open to host the thousands of people in the crowds.

My experience at WorldPride was unlike anything else, at DJ Central you had image (1)transgenders who showed off their confidence and pride in themselves by dancing and singing and competing in dance offs with volunteers from the crowd. I honestly have never seen people being so proud of who they are and how they live their lives before.

WorldPride in Toronto was a success thanks to the thousands of people who came out from all over the world. It was one of the most eye opening and amazing experiences I’ve ever been able to take part in.

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