In 2016, voters approved a $60 million bond for the San Benito High School. Now trustees want another $30 million. Photo courtesy of Google Earth.

Housing / Land Use

Sticker Shock: One school bond too far?

San Benito County homeowners continue to see their taxes rise because of local school bonds and fees. Some longtime residents are considering moving to other states.

Jose Antonio Barajas' demeanor changed from glum to smiling after his defense attorney Gregory LaForge was replaced due to a conflict of interest. Photos by John Chadwell.

Public defender’s conflict of interest delays Barajas trial

Gregory LaForge replaced by Harry Damkar, as LaForge represents a ‘material witness for the defense.’

Sheriff Darren Thompson and deputies take a selfie with retiring Hollister Police Chief David Westrick. Photos by John Chadwell.

Police / Fire

Leaders say farewell to Hollister’s top cop

City and county officials roast retiring police chief David Westrick over coffee.

Restoration work continues at the Mabie Northside Skilled Nursing Facility in Hollister after December rain flooded the building and displaced 46 residents. Photo by John Chadwell.

Health

Flooded nursing facility to reopen in February

Restoration includes flooring, repairing drywall and removing asbestos.

Photographer Rene Rodriguez can often be found on the backroads of San Benito County in search of just the right light for his images. All photos courtesy of Rene Rodriguez.

Art & Culture

The man behind the picture

Rene Rodriguez created the photo at the top of BenitoLink's homepage. Bold and dramatic, it captures a San Benito winter view of multiple ridge lines.

BL Special Report

BL SPECIAL REPORT: CSAs win war of words as county capitulates and repairs roads

With over $600,000 in selective reserve accounts and after years of heated debate, county service areas get long-awaited maintenance work.

South Valley Community Church held its fourth annual Jingle Jam as a music and comedy filled the night to celebrate Christmas. Photos by John Chadwell.

San Benito Lifestyle

South Valley Community Church hosts fourth annual Jingle Jam

Christmas celebration brings families together for comedy skits and singalongs.

Councilman Rolan Resendiz said when he called Elia Salinas a "cuca" that he was actually calling her a "cucaracha," Spanish for cockroach. Photos by John Chadwell.

Government / Politics

Public speaks out against comments from Hollister Councilman Resendiz

Elia Salinas claims council member called her a ‘cuca,’ Spanish slang for female genitalia; Resendiz said he meant it as short for ‘cucaracha,’ or cockroach.

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John and Diane Chadwell have been riding for decades and experienced their first serious accident Dec. 10. Their helmets are credited with saving their lives. Photo by John Chadwell.

Health / Fitness

BenitoLink reporter and wife involved in bicycle accident

John Chadwell shares what he recalls of the experience.

Award Homes has owned the 125-acre site west of Fairview Road for over 20 years. Photo via Google Earth.

Housing / Land Use

Hollister council sidesteps approval of Fairview Road housing development

No member makes a motion on improvement agreement for a project that has been the subject of a lawsuit since 2015.

Jeff Cattaneo, operations manager with the San Benito County Water District, said water quality increases the closer wells are dug near Pacheco Creek. File photo by John Chadwell.

Housing / Land Use

Hollister signs agreement with water districts on future supply

City Council looks to increase water in industrial zone and create redundancy for North County.

The clean-up after the skilled nursing facility on Sunset Drive flooded on Dec. 4. Cleaning could be extensive if asbestos is discovered. Photos by John Chadwell.

Health

Flooding forces nursing facility evacuation

Forty-six patients moved to Hazel Hawkins and another facility.

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CEO Ken Underwood thinks it's unlikely the healthcare district won't be designated a Critical Access Hospital, but says plans are in place to keep it operational if the certification is denied. Photo by John Chadwell.

Health

Hazel Hawkins banks on winning ‘critical access’ status

CFO explains Plans B and C to keep the hospital’s doors open.

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San Benito High School main administration building. File photo.

Education / Schools

SBHS trustees to place $30 million bond on March ballot

Fifty-five percent voter approval will be required to pass.

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Councilman Marty Richman apologized for his vote to hire Paul Eckert as city manager, saying he made a mistake in only considering his technical qualifications. Photos by John Chadwell.

Government / Politics

Hollister City Council grants severance pay to resigned city manager

In resignation letter, Paul Eckert says he will ‘likely’ take legal action against those he accuses of slandering him.