Opinion pieces submitted by our readers and our community of citizen-journalists. Views and opinions expressed on BenitoLink.com are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of BenitoLink, its sponsors, partners, staff, donors, affiliates or other contributors to this site.

The new year is a popular time to re-examine our current habits and make healthy lifestyle changes. An estimated 44% of Americans set personal goals this month, nearly half are health related. I am a registered dietitian and health coach in Hollister and help people make healthy lifestyle changes. While goal setting can be exciting, there are a few SMART steps you can take to improve your chances of success. I have used this proven method with my clients, and recommend it to anyone who wants to create change in their lives.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for the key points to remember when setting goals. This system provides structure and guidance throughout the process.
Specific: “I will eat a healthy diet” is too vague. Make it more specific like “I will eat more fruits and vegetables” or “I will eat less sugar”. Focus on no more than 3 goals at a time. Print your goals and post them in places you will see them and be reminded of your intentions.
Measurable: Your goals should include details that you can measure, like “I will eat 3 servings of fruits and vegetables each day” or “I will exercise 5 times this week”.
Attainable: Don’t pressure yourself into making extreme goals that are hard to reach. Start small and enjoy your success.
Realistic: You want to make sure your goal is something you can actually achieve, or you will only be disappointed and quit. For example, if you have 50 pounds to lose, start with a 10-pound goal. Also have a plan for what you’ll do when obstacles arise (and they likely will).
Time-Bound: Your goal should have a deadline, so that you can track your progress. I recommend you set monthly goals and track weekly. That way you have enough time to break the old habit and create new one. It helps to share your goals with a supportive friend or relative who will agree to follow up with you weekly on your progress.
Lastly, be sure to celebrate your success with a healthy reward. You’ve earned it!
Our county is brimming with fresh fruits and vegetables year-round. Some that are in season now include: winter squash, apples, arugula, beans, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, kale, lettuce, zucchini, and much more. Visit http://www.localfarmmarkets.org/CAmontereyfarmmarkets.php and https://www.localharvest.org/hollister-ca/farms for fresh local options. You can also have fresh, local organic foods delivered to you through CSA’s (community supported agriculture programs). Visit http://eatwiththeseasons.com/ for more information.
Signing up for an active event is a great motivator to stick with an exercise plan. Plus, it connects you with other health minded people. You can find local active events year-round with a variety of activities and levels. The Rotary Mission 10 in San Juan Bautista is coming up on January 27th and the proceeds go to charity. You can find information about what’s coming up by checking the calendar on BenitoLink, as well as other local sources, such as SBC Chamber of Commerce, Mission Village Voice, Hollister Downtown Assoc., and San Juan Committee. If you prefer exercise to be a solitary experience, there are plenty of places to enjoy a nice hike, walk, or jog right here in San Bento County. Check out the "Walking San Benito" series by Jim Ostdick on BenitoLink, which features many walking opportunities. Here’s to the new year and to creating healthy habits!

A ‘bittersweet’ departure

It is with mixed feelings and a heavy heart that I say farewell. I first joined the Clerk, Auditor, Recorder, and Elections Departments in January 2012, fresh out of college. I have enjoyed my tenure here and I appreciate having had the opportunity to work with great people. Thank you for the support, guidance, and encouragement you have provided me during my time at San Benito County.

Of course, I also want to recognize the amazing work and commitment of volunteers that give their time to help the Elections Department by volunteering each election – especially for sticking with me for the last 6 years. I hope that you will continue to support the Elections Department.

I will miss you.


Francisco Diaz
Staff Analyst, 2017
Bilingual Sr. Deputy Clerk, 2012-2016

Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Congratulations Council Member Roy Sims II. I wish you well and look forward to seeing your good works.
I would like to thank those who endorsed my candidacy: the incumbent Mr. Victor Gomez, the Hollister Police Officers” Association and the Hollister Firefighters’ Union. I would like to thank my wife Denise and my two sons Jeremy and Tayler for their support. Thanks to the residents in my neighborhood for signing the petition which allowed for me to run for office and for tolerating my campaign signage.
A special thanks to the 1,396 individuals (a respectable 44.21%) of those who voted for me. I truly appreciate your support! In the future I intend to review Council agendas and comment during the “Public Comment” sessions of Council meetings on items of interest. If you would like to contact me in the future I can be reached through my e mail address or new Face book and Twitter accounts.
Until Mr. Gomes announced that he did not intend to seek re election I had no intention of running for public office. Now that I have experienced the process I would strongly encourage others to consider running for public office in the future. It was eye opening and an incredible experience! The experience reinforced for me what I already knew; Hollister has its’ challenges but is still a great place to live. I met some incredible people in the 8 weeks leading up to the election. Interests and concerns shared with me ranged from concern about the lack of adequate public safety and school resources to traffic congestion and environmental concerns.
This election results clearly demonstrated the commitment of Hollister residents by their overwhelming approval of Measures U, V and W.
In the near future the City Council will be dealing with several high profile, difficult and complicated matters such as; the regulation of medicinal and recreational cannabis, to have or not have the motorcycle rally, to have or not have the air show and future residential development.
The Council’s decisions will have a lasting impact. Whether you run for public office or not it is important that we as the residents of Hollister remain aware and informed of what is happening in our neighborhoods, our community and our city. Not only is it our right, but it is our responsibility and duty to stay engaged.
Step up, be engaged, volunteer, and get involved. It’s our city! Thanks again.
Best Regards,
Tim Burns
Resident District 4, tobrienburns@gmail.com

Anyone who has experience with code enforcement in San Benito County will not be surprised by the tragic warehouse fire in Oakland on December 2, 2016.

Most people would like to see improvements to our area roadways, especially the "mangled" streets in Hollister, and solutions to our intra-county transit issues. However, the way Measure P is written can be viewed upon as a rush to solutions that are based on emotion rather than proper considerations given.  The expenditure plan for this measure, as it is written, does not make sense!  Consider the following:

  • 50 percent would be used for Hwy 25 improvements? The proposed Hwy. 152/Shore Road/Hwy 25/Hwy. 101 connection has yet to begin.  Besides, we don't even own Hwy. 25 so why make a 30 year commitment to do something the State should do on its own? 
  • Hwy. 156 West to San Juan Bautista is already planned for a four-lane improvement by the state. This will be their responsibility to maintain.

Measure P needs to be postponed and better thought out. 100 percent of any 30-year "special tax" revenue must be earmarked to benefit locally-owned county and city roads and streets, not state-owned highways, and to improve county transit issues. At this time, vote NO on Measure P.

John Ucovich, Hollister

An Opportunity to say “Thank You”


On Thursday, Nov. 12, on the occasion of our Community Foundation for San Benito County sponsored National Philanthropy Day, and whose venue was San Juan Oaks, I sat at the head of a beautifully appointed table.

It was positioned in a panoramic way as to allow me to view my lovely Women’s Club of Hollister attendees, who are so much a part of my extended family. I use the word panoramic, reflecting upon the word “panorama" and learning that it is a photograph - especially one that is unrolled gradually in front of the spectator.

And, gradually the unrolling occurred . . .

To my direct right, was my husband, Murray, without whom I wouldn’t have been able to contribute to the Women’s Club, at any significant level.  He was the extra shoulder when mine was dislocated and had to be replaced at Stanford.  He was my right leg when the surgery and subsequent healing process, left me with the inability to walk steadily. Murray, co-creator of so many projects – “load the car…unload the car …set-up…take down.”  “No, Joan, the Flamingo egg needs another coat of paint!” Murray, who knows so many of our members by their first names and their cell numbers . . .

The chair at the head of the table would have been empty if it had not been for Dr. Daniel Wang who two-and-a-half weeks before was watching the pulse rate: “47-45-40-35-30 . . .” Enter, the front door of Hazel Hawkins Hospital, ICU, the temporary pace maker without a significant amount of anesthetic – too dangerous! 10:30 p.m. – looking over the sheets, watching Dr. Wang’s face, listening to Roger Hewes, from Respiratory Therapy describing what he was doing…looking for Murray, seeing Heather Shepherd my ICU Nurse (who provided that Oh! so important continuity of care, by extending her 12-hour shift) . . . Hearing that I was to be air flighted to Stanford. “No! Dr. Wang won’t be there.” “Father Heibar won’t be there.”   “My friends won’t be there.”  Then, hearing Dr. Wang say to Dr. Moheyuddin “Joan’s staying here.”…Hearing the Nurses discuss putting a special sling on my right arm so there can’t be the slightest movement. …Hearing my husband say, after the sling moved and showed a number that was cause for considerable concern:  “I’ll sit next to Joan and hold her arm”. And, so he did…Throughout the night, and until all was in readiness for surgery the following day.

The panorama – the ultimate setting – the ultimate sense of being embraced by those I love so much: Cindy Biesemeyer, Martha Blaser, Glenda Goldstone, Kathy Kessler, Irene Hurtado, Laura Lee, Suzanne Stalder, Bonnie Wilkinson–watching their smiles-watching their eyes…

…Looking into the room and seeing this exquisite love affair being replicated in the world of dozens of non-profits.

The iconic photo appeared on the screen (thanks to Cindy Biesemeyer and Kathy Kessler) - I, as the mother Flamingo with Cindy’s granddaughter, Tyler, as my Baby. There was laughter throughout the room and at our table.  I laughed too.  Perhaps, no one saw my tears as I thanked God, my Physician, Dr. Wang, my surgeon, Dr. Moheyuddin, my pastor, Father Heibar, my husband, Murray, and each of the members of the Women’s Club of Hollister for allowing me to sit at the table that night . . .

What kind of person digs up three lovely, tall thriving Hibiscus plants from a church's landscaping area, out front? That really happened just a week ago. Well, all I can say is God bless you! You needed them more than God! Where will it end? Will we let a neighbor who has toiled for seasons producing prize winning specimens of gorgeous varieties labor all for nothing? Someone may say, "Well, I'll let you smell them, but after that they are mine to claim!

As a community I hope we will watch out for these signs that are trivial but alarming! I mean, come on, who steals flowers from church property? Is this the New Low? How low can you go? Lower than that? Really?

The citizens of San Benito County should have access to public swimming pools.We are well into the twenty- first century with a growing population
that would benefit by having an aquatic center,a place for all of our youth to have the opportunity to learn how to swim and provide exercise programs
for all age groups in our community. This could be lap and recreational swimming, along with water aerobics and water polo. The physical benefits of
aquatic activities will be an enhancement to all participants. I would strongly encourage the City of Hollister, the County of San Benito and the
Hollister High School District to explore a plan for the development of an Aquatic Center in Hollister.

High School parents:  Are you looking for a more intimate high school experience for your student? Do you want a school that has college prep expectations and rigor for all of its students, with the support necessary for success? Do the ideas of a four-year Advisory system (=the same counselor for 4 years with daily interactions) and 6 semesters of required service appeal to you? Do you want a school where active participation in competitive athletics and leadership opportunities are accessible to all students? If so, maybe Anzar High School is the place for you. We are a 20-year-old public high school located right by the freeway in San Juan Bautista, intentionally small, and we warmly welcome interested families to find out more about us. Please contact Principal Charlene McKowen, at cmckowen@sbcoe.org.

The last chance to comment on the San Benito County General Plan Update is coming soon! The Final Environmental Impact Report goes to the Board of Supervisors this Wednesday (July 1). The 2035 General Plan could herald huge changes in the County. Major features of the Plan are four “New Community Study Areas” scattered out in the north part of the County, a large “Winery/Hospitality Priority” region, and lots of new and expanded roads. One of the New Community areas includes the site of the huge Rancho San Benito development that was proposed a few years ago between Hollister and Gilroy. Road plans would include extending Shore Road to Highway 101 near Y Road, and realigning Highway 25 in that area, which would also accommodate the Rancho San Benito development (could this also be the reason for a proposed expensive bridge across the San Benito River near Y Road?). The other New Community areas are west of San Juan Bautista, northeast of Hollister to the Santa Clara County line, and south of Hollister.
The EIR includes several alternatives that would reduce the impacts of new development projects in the County. The “Environmentally Superior” (so designated in the EIR) “City-Centered Growth” alternative would direct new development to Hollister and its immediate surroundings, instead of creating whole new communities. According to the EIR, the City-Centered Growth alternative would accommodate anticipated growth needs in the County, but reduce impacts to agricultural lands, wildlife habitat and other natural resources, potential of flood damage and injury, air quality, transportation, cultural resources, and aesthetics when compared to the “chosen” Plan.
The Final EIR can be found on the County's website. Whatever your opinions about growth, open space, development, urban sprawl, and traffic, if you care about the future and quality of life in San Benito County, contact your County Supervisors, and let them know what you think. Better yet, speak up at the Board of Supervisors meeting, starting at 6:00 on Wednesday evening.

Memorial Day Weekend is the beginning of the busy season for Thousand Trails San Benito RV Resort. Saturday and Sunday will both start with breakfast available from 7:30-10 a.m. You may start your shopping around 9 a.m.. Our 30+ Vendors should be ready to show their wares no later than 9 AM. Our Vendors will have everything from Baked Goods To Wind Chimes and Windmills. Terry Brown, Country Western Singer/Songwriter from Tennessee and Hilda Machado, Trick Roper, will entertain on both days. They were a hit last year, so make sure you come see them this year. Terry has performed with Chris LeDoux, Aaron Tippin, Toby Keith, Brooks and Dunn and many other major stars. He's written songs for Charley Pride, The Marshall Tucker Band, Aaron Tipipin and many more. Hilda has performed her rope tricks in many shows, rodeos and on Johnny Cash's video "Shoeshine Boy". See Grins RV from Gilroy will have several RV's for you to see. Also included in the weekend events will be a Chili Cook-Off, Salsa Cook-Off, Children's Activities, a "Chair-In" Movie on Saturday night and much more. This will be a weekend you won't want to miss so please come spend part of it or all of it with Thousand Trails San Benito RV Resort.

Dear Editor,

On behalf of the Hollister Downtown Association Board of Directors, I would like to thank the volunteers and sponsors for our Annual Spring Downtown Clean-up effort that took place on Saturday, April 18.

Our tireless volunteers included community members and people from the following groups:  Boy Scout Troop 400, Cub Scouts Packs 408 and 455, Girl Scout Troops #20020, #20022, #20023, #20024, #20028, #20029, #20030, #20533, #20402, #23403,  #23407, #23414, HOPE Services Inc., and the LDS Church.

Many thanks to Recology for their support of this community effort.

The volunteers were:

Yajaira    Acosta
Mia    Alnas
Liz    Bongatti
Hailie    Bongatti
Debbie    Boothe
Allan    Borch
Renee    Borch
Kyle    Borch
Elder    Brinjhurst
Mika    Briscoe
Bianca    Campos
Joanna    Castaneda
Aidan    Castro
Isaiah    Castro
Emily    Cezar
Camila    Chavez
Staphane    Claus
Eric    Conley
Makayla    Conley
George    Conley
Maddie    Corrigan
Coley    Corrigan
Julie    Corrigan
Kylie    Corrigan
Mitch    Dabo
Giada    Dela Cruz
Maria    Dela Rosa
Shane    Denoyer
Mackenzie    Denoyer
Amy    Donati
Juliann    Donati
Francesca    Donati
Tammy    Duran
Kasen    Duran
Kevin    Eyster
Isaac    Eyster
Emmanuel    Forrest
Mateo    Forrest
Benjamin    Forrest
Joshua    Forrest
Sabrina    Fortino
Emma    Franks
Siena    Garcia
Margarita    Gomez
Jeanine    Gonzalez
Evie    Gonzalez
Daija    Gonzalez
Salina    Gonzalez
Margarita    Guadarralla
Eddie    Guaracha
Eleanor    Guaracha
Caitlin    Hanson
Katie    Harvey
Andrea    Harvey
Emily    Harvey
Parker    Hernandez
Kaliya    Hernandez
Destiny    Hosler
Dustin    Hughes
Andrea    Hughes
Lisa    Humpfle
Steve    Humpfle
Kevin    Jakey
Walter    Jakey
Steven    Jimenez
Marvin    Jones
Susan    Jones
Sister    Jones
Ayvah    Kahn
Soujeong    Kang
Ken    Kovanda
Elaine    Kovanda
Lourdes    Madera
Breanna    Maya McKay
Marissa    Mendoza
Brysa    Mendoza
Bill    Mifsud
Monica    Mifsud
Anai    Murillo
Liliana    Murillo
Josue    Murillo
Carmen    Murillo
Bridget    Murphy 
Shirley    Murphy 
Aspen    Park
Sangwung    Park
Sister    Pattison
Barbara    Penney
Jack    Penney
Sami    Penney
Areli    Polanco
Allison    Presta
Juliana    Presta
Marcia    Presta
Jayme    Pulliam
Jeff    Reiland
Sarah    Reiland
Julia    Reiland
Dave    Richards
Jose    Rodriguez
Emily    Romero
Isaac    Rovella
Brian    Rubio
Mary    Ruth
Sarah    Ruth
Sue    Sandholdt
Jacob    Starkweather
Abby    Stephens
Cecily    Stevenson
Sarah    Stopper
Gary    Sunseri
Tonia    Sunseri
Zoe    Talavera
Alisha    Tkack
Ken    Varnes
Daisy    Villareal
Dennis    Wightman
Linda    Wightman
Faith    Will
Ryan    Zamora
Alyssa    Zavala Maxfield    
With tremendous appreciation,

Brenda Weatherly
Executive Director

          I would like to thank Nora Conte, head librarian, and all of the staff of the San Benito County Free Library, for a wonderfully organized Volunteer Appreciation Celebration, held last Monday evening [April 13, 2015].  As a library volunteer, my duties do not always bring me in contact with others who volunteer there.  This once-a-year celebration of the many services which San Benito County residents are provided through the library is not only a thoughtful way to thank us, but it brings together a diverse group for an evening of camaraderie and feasting.  It is a chance to make new acquaintances and renew old ones, to share ideas and successes, and to relax in the very positive atmosphere found at our library.

          I have always found the staff to be friendly, helpful, and welcoming, as they are with all customers.  The library provides services to people with a wide range of backgrounds and ages, and it is a link to the larger world outside San Benito County.  Also, the services are constantly upgraded, with more technology and "links" available both at the physical library and through the website.  So as a volunteer, I find myself both in positions of teacher and student.  An advocate of lifelong learning and literacy, I heartily applaud the staff, volunteers, and the library "family".  If you haven't been there lately, drop by and see what is happening…it's great!

Sabra Everett

At approximately 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 28th on Nash Road in Front of Safeway a Hispanic male riding in a newer SUV threw bolts at a new black Corvette causing significant damage.  This individual not only threw them from the passenger seat of the SUV but exited the vehicle in the roadway and continued to throw bolts at the Corvette. A reward of $1,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the individual that caused the damage. If you witnessed the incident and can provide any information please contact Rick Rhodes, Farmers Insurance Agent at 637-3832.

Dreams & Visions Community Development is hosting Financial Literacy Workshops during the month of April.

States and cities across the U.S. have proclaimed it! Dreams & Visions and our partners have joined in the celebration and set up special workshops for those seeking information on home-buying and re-building their credit.

To celebrate the month; Dreams & Visions Community Development will be offering four free workshops during the month at the following times:

Affordable Housing Information Meeting, Information will be covered on upcoming projects and programs, Tuesday, April 11, 2015 at 1111 San Felipe Road, Suite 101, Hollister, CA 95023

Financial Reboot Orientation, we will talk about how to build and rebuild “good” credit, spending plans, and how to create a “healthy” financial future, Saturday, April 14, 2015 at 1111 San Felipe Road, Suite 101, Hollister, CA 95023

Homeownership - Credit, loan programs, down payment assistance and homeownership, Saturday, April 18, 2014, 9:00 AM -5:30pm, Dreams & Visions Community Development, 1111 San Felipe Road, Suite 101, Hollister, CA 95023. RSVP required.

Mortgage Help - Are you struggling to make your mortgage payments? Certified Counselors will be available to assist on Saturday, April 25, 2014, 9:00 AM -12:00 noon at 1111 San Felipe Road, Suite 101, Hollister, CA 95023.

Executive Director, Holly McWhinnie says “there’s a ‘right’ way and a ‘wrong’ way to buy a home and what we’ve seen mostly in the past several years through the housing crisis is the “wrong” way. A sustainable community is a financially healthy community and we must move in that direction. For over six years we have provided low to no cost services to over 600 families with foreclosure intervention, financial literacy and homebuyer education.”

Financial Literacy Month is designated to raise the awareness of the services provided by Financial Educators all over the country. Did you know that during the height of the housing crisis; home value losses to foreclosed homes and neighboring homes totaled a minimum of $632 billion and up to $1 trillion in our county and surrounding communities?

Studies show that Pre-purchase counseling can help reduce the likelihood of default and foreclosure by helping individuals determine if they are ready for homeownership, and by connecting them with safer and more affordable mortgage products. Pre-purchase housing counseling from a certified housing counselor can improve homeowners’ access to appropriate mortgage products.
Our primary goal and mission is to create foreclosure “resistance” clients and educated homebuyers.

We would like to say thank you to our partners and sponsors:
Wells Fargo, CHISPA, Union Bank, AAA and CSUMB Internship Program