Looking back at San Benito County’s top stories of 2021

Year two of the pandemic brought vaccinations, the reopening of schools and a partial return to life before the coronavirus.

Jim Ostdick. Photo by Robert Eliason.


Ostdick’s 11-year litter cleanup effort reaches end of the road

As Highway 156 traffic increases, a new generation is being called upon to walk the walk and take on the responsibility Ostdick and others like him have carried.

Leo Vasquez and Shawn Novack. Photo by Juliana Luna.

Environment / Nature

Free landscaping plans available to San Benito residents

Water-efficient gardens, such as the one at Dunne Park, are encouraged during drought.

Annette Cain and Peter Anderson. Photo by Robert Eliason.

Environment / Nature

Volunteers work on new landscaping at Aromas Sports Park

Rotary Clubs provide money and labor to add beauty to the grounds.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.


COMMUNITY OPINION: Our landfill is a vital community asset

Former County Supervisor and Business Council President Jim Gillo writes that the John Smith Road Landfill positive impacts substantially outweigh any negative impacts.

San Justo Reservoir August 2021. Photo by Robert Eliason.

Sports & Recreation

Fishermen losing hope of fishing at San Justo Reservoir again

Panetta is still working to secure federal funds to eradicate the invasive zebra mussel.

Heliena Walton receives three certificates presented by San Benito County Supervisor Bea Gonzales and Hollister City Council member Rick Perez. Seen here with Gonzales and Brooke Wright of Monterey Green Business Program. Photo Carmel de Bertaut.


13 San Benito County businesses receive green business certification

31 businesses have now been certified.


Barn owl boxes installed near San Benito River

Graniterock and two nonprofits partner to aid wildlife restoration in Hollister.

Photo of gray wolf OR-93 taken in Oregon after waking up from sedation. Photo courtesy of Austin Smith, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

Environment / Nature

Radio-collared gray wolf spotted in Kern County

California Department of Fish and Wildlife suspect the wolf is OR-93, the wolf who came through San Benito County in March.

Light morph Swainson’s Hawk. Photo courtesy of Steve Rottenborn.

Environment / Nature

Large communal roost of Swainson’s hawks discovered in Panoche Valley

At least 143 individuals are documented.

Jupiter and Saturn. File photo


Searching the Sky: Time for the planets to shine

Once again, David Baumgartner time travels as he reminds us of how much fun you can have stargazing.

Adult mountain lion. Photo courtesy of Mountain Lion Foundation.

Environment / Nature

Mountain lions among us

There are several signs a mountain lion is close by.

Benitoite. Photo by Robert Eliason.


How San Benito County became ground zero for a rare gemstone

A chance discovery in 1907 yielded a unique precious mineral; now the public can go look for samples on Saturdays.

Photo courtesy of David Baumgartner.


Searching the sky: It’s the same sky anywhere in the world

David Baumgartner writes about how his younger thoughts about astronomy still remain today.

ashurst-ranch. Photo courtesy of Cushman & Wakefield marketing brochure.


53,000-acre ranch in south San Benito County sold

Central Valley farmer Scott Raven purchased the Ashurst Ranch which extends into Fresno County.