Mayor Ignacio Velazquez said people do have a right to say whatever they want, even though he has stopped some from doing so during public comment. Photo by John Chadwell.

BL Special Report

BL Special Report: Legal group says Hollister Mayor violated Brown Act and resident’s First Amendment Rights

The First Amendment Coalition says the city attorney should have advised Velazquez to stop telling the public they cannot criticize him or other council members.

Dedication of Vasquez marker. Courtesy of E Clampus Vitus.

BL Special Report

BL Longform: Snyder’s General Store and the downfall of Tiburcio Vasquez 

The raid that led to the capture and execution of an outlaw.

Antonia Martin at the Vineyard School. Photo by Robert Eliason.

San Benito History

BL Longform: The 19th-century Gilmore Colony collapses at the farm

On their own, former slaves and workers move to Hollister to restart their lives.

John Robrock and Mary Margaret Lanning. Photo by Robert Eliason.

BL Special Report

For seniors, activity is key to preventing falls

Regular exercise can improve reaction time and coordination, build muscles, strengthen bones and increase brain function.

Rebecca and Jose Salinas. Photo by Robert Eliason.

BL Special Report

BL Special Report: Loneliness among seniors during COVID

Isolating to stay safe makes a difficult problem worse.

Emergency drills involving multiple city and county agencies are held at least once a year. Photo by John Chadwell.

BL Special Report

BL Special Report: County prepares for disasters, from earthquakes to power grid failure

The San Benito County’s Office of Emergency Services has plans for most emergencies, but says residents also need to have plans to survive the initial days or weeks following a disaster.

Nash Road bisecting the San Benito County Campus. Photo by Jake Medina.


BL Special Report: Permanent closure of Nash Road stalls

City of Hollister, San Benito County and SBHS at odds over plan.

Several teachers and their union president claimed the high school district would not allow two-way conversations to take a place about their concerns. Photo by John Chadwell.

BL Special Report

BL Special Report: SBHS teachers claim district is refusing teacher input

Despite claims, district states there have been several meetings and that all changes were approved by the teacher union.

Sylvia DeLuna and Melanie Burns have become friends since sharing their experiences working as bus drivers for San Benito High School. Photo courtesy of Melanie Burns.

Education / Schools

BL Special Report: Former SBHS employees allege abuse, wrongful terminations

Three bus drivers have sued the San Benito High School District because of one supervisor. Two were awarded large settlements and the third is still in court.*

Bill Lee. Photo by Noe Magaña.

BL Special Report

BL Special Report: Business owner spends years recovering from embezzlement

After a slow, limited response from San Benito County, Bill Lee received $200,000 in restitution from a former employee. Now he’s suing a past customer to recoup another $743,000.

Fabiola Ramirez with her four children. Photo courtesy of Fabiola Ramirez.

BL Special Report

BL Special Report: Families on the edge

Lower income families can’t juggle COVID-19 state demands with day to day needs.

Tiffany Wyrick in the hospital. Photo courtesy of Tiffany Wyrick.


BL Longform: COVID-19 recovery from a personal point of view

Tiffany Wyrick and son Colton share their story of becoming infected and the lingering effects months later.

Fields near San Juan Bautista. Photo by Robert Eliason.


BL Special Report: What are agricultural easements, and do they preserve San Benito County’s rural character?

Mitigation measures ensure certain lands are cultivated in perpetuity.

The view from the podium at the 2019 San Benito High School graduation. Photo by Becky Bonner.

Education / Schools

BL Special Report: Students falling through the cracks

Over a three-year period, disabled students in San Benito County dropped out at more than twice the rate of the general student population.

Students walking to school. File photo.

Education / Schools

BL Special Report: Hollister School District mirrors method to provide social-emotional support to students

Multi-tier support helping to lower suspension numbers, but Hispanics still disproportionately represented in suspensions and dropout rates.