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Basketball: Gavilan drops two at Skyline Tourney External link to Basketball: Gavilan drops two at Skyline Tourney

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Just a few days removed from its first victory of the season, the Gavilan College men's basketball team had a bit of momentum as it headed north for an appearance at the Skyline Tournament in San bruno on Friday and Saturday.
Though the Rams had their moments, defeats to Marin 65-49 and host Skyline 73-66 were the end results.
"We played both teams really well," coach Tito Addison said. "It seems like this season if it's not one thing it's the other. Not have a center or a true point guard makes it tough. Teams know we struggle bringing the ball up the floor.
"But the kids played very well and we got a lot better this weekend bringin' the ball and getting into the flow of things."
Friday's high scorer was Jordan Ramirez, who made 7 of 17 from the floor, including 2 of 3 from beyond the arc, and finished with 16 points.
Ramirez followed Friday's performance with 12 points on Saturday. But it was Derek Jensen who posted a season-high 23 points on 7-of-9 shooting to pace all Rams' scorers. Also on Saturday, Andrew Belonia had nine points and both Stanley Morgan and Matt Johnson contributed seven points.
Gavilan hosts Columbia at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. ...more

2011/12/13 11:36

Water Cooler: Did Alec Baldwin deserve the boot? External link to Water Cooler: Did Alec Baldwin deserve the boot?

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2011/12/13 11:10

Marty: An evening with the veterans External link to Marty: An evening with the veterans

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Last Wednesday was the 70th anniversary of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan and the local American Legion and VFW sponsored memorial ceremonies and an informal dinner in honor of the World War II veterans. Appropriately, it was at Hollister's Veterans Memorial Building and a surprising 26 World War II vets attended the event, and I made it too. I came to honor all the vets and in memory of my Dad who served during WWII although not overseas; my father-in-law who spent 3-1/2 years in Japanese POW and labor camps only to die shortly after war's end; and my father's cousin, age 24, who was killed in 1942 during the sea battles off Guadalcanal.
Those are three typical war stories from one family, my family - the vets had many more. One thing that strikes you about the WWII vets is how ordinary-extraordinary they are. That is probably because they represented such a broad swath of the nation's population, which was only 135 million in 1942. They served and most survived, came back and got busy living and did a very good job of it for the most part. The majority were able to put it all into perspective, somehow.  
The hosts included some Korean War and many Vietnam-era vets and one cannot fail to notice the differences between the groups in the public's eye. The nation seems to hold a special reverence for the WWII survivors. We have amnesia for the Koran War vets, forgotten men and women of a forgotten war, and a mere tolerance for the Vietnam-era vets as if we do not want to be reminded of that war. When surveyed, 87 percent of the public now holds Vietnam veterans in high esteem, nothing to crow about.
Those figures are a vast improvement over previous views, but it has taken more than 35 years to get to this point. In his 1979 Veterans Day remarks, Max Cleland, then administrator of veterans affairs, reported a survey "found that an overwhelming percentage of people are now willing to separate the warriors from the war." He also reported that: "Public sympathy for the plight of Vietnam era veterans seems to have increased since 1971." However, by 1979, five years after the war was essentially over, the sentiment that the Vietnam vets had been treated badly had risen to only 64 percent, but why so little so late?
The truth is those are depressing numbers and it only takes only a minute of seeing the groups together to remind me of how poorly the nation treated the both the Korean War and Vietnam vets. The vast majority of Americans served with honor and courage during the both wars, doing their duty in the best traditions of the United States and its military services - and while the fictions of WWII have been overwhelmingly positive, the fictions of the Korean and Vietnam wars have been overwhelmingly negative.
There is no reason for this attitude; we did not win either war in the traditional sense, but very little of that, if any, is directly attributable to the troops. Now that the surviving WWII vets are entering the deep twilight of their years, it is about time we put the veterans of the Korean War and Vietnam War in the sunshine where they always belonged.
Welcome home - you have the thanks of a grateful nation.
Marty Richman is a Hollister resident. ...more

2011/12/13 11:00

Editorial: Supes make logical call by skipping hearing External link to Editorial: Supes make logical call by skipping hearing

San Benito County supervisors last week made a logical decision when they decided to forgo an amended Williamson Act program because it would have been a waste of time to move forward when the vast majority of involved property owners have no interest.
Supervisors voted 4-1 in denying establishment of a public hearing on the topic. The state legislation, Assembly Bill 1265, would decrease Williamson Act contracts from 10 years to nine years while generating about $230,000 in local revenue. It also would have curtailed the savings by 10 percent for the rural property owners in the program.
Calling attention to the lack of interest in the program from the agriculture community, there was nobody in attendance from the San Benito County Farm Bureau - normally an outspoken organization on all things rural - at last week's meeting.
As a whole, the debate reflects the declining state of the Williamson Act program, set up to encourage property owners to preserve agricultural lands by offering annual tax breaks. For several years now, state cuts have led to continual diminishment of funding support for counties such as San Benito, of which about 65 percent of the land is contracted under the Williamson Act.
The reality is that such subsidies to the agriculture industry are destined to gradually disappear in this new budgetary and economic landscape throughout California and the nation. In the meantime, though, county supervisors made the right call in moving to support the local agriculture industry in the short term, during these immensely difficult economic times, by nixing any possibility of county involvement.
From a prophetic perspective of sorts, the lone dissenting supervisor, Margie Barrios, was on the right track. Barrios wanted to at least bring the topic to a public hearing and get residents' feedback before making a decision. In particular, she pointed to a possible $4 million budget deficit next fiscal year and mentioned the potential for layoffs among government employees.
Her stance merely highlights the breadth of damage caused by the poor economy and resulting budget cuts for government agencies - which incidentally is at the root of the Williamson Act program's demise. In other words, everyone is hurting these days.
But establishing a public hearing just for the sake of holding a meeting makes little sense. After all, the staff time would amount to an added, unnecessary expense at a time when every penny clearly matters. ...more

2011/12/13 11:00

Cartoon: Holiday cards for next Christmas External link to Cartoon: Holiday cards for next Christmas

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2011/12/13 11:00

Updates: 'Nutcracker,' Measure T and the west-side shooting External link to Updates: 'Nutcracker,' Measure T and the west-side shooting

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2011/12/13 10:59

Roundup: Wrestling team goes 1-3 at home meet External link to Roundup: Wrestling team goes 1-3 at home meet

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Wrestling
At San Benito's Fehlman/Baxter Varsity Duals on Saturday, the Balers went 1-3 and finished in eighth place.
The Balers struggled in losses to College Park and Clovis, the top team from the area, at the meet.
Against Clovis, the Balers were outscored 50-28. Clovis eventually took second place at the meet.
San Benito's only win of the day came against Evergreen. San Benito squeaked by with a 40-35 victory.
In the final match of the day, San Benito lost to Bakersfield's Stockdale High 42-34, less than 24 hours after beating Stockdale 42-33 in a match Friday night.
Despite San Benito's struggles, the Balers had bright spots from Robb Rodriguez, who went 3-1, Elijah Riddle and Dominic Cortes.
Head coach Brian DiCarli hopes the young squad can learn from the losses and improve as the season continues, he said.
"You can learn from losing," he said. "You can't always learn something from winning."
San Benito has a meet against Palma on Wednesday.
SBHS boys soccer
In the second game of the Oak Grove Gold Cup, the Balers earned a 2-2 tie against Cupertino's Monta Vista on Thursday.
San Benito went into halftime with a 2-1 lead, but couldn't hold on as Monta Vista scored in the second half to tie the game.
San Benito hosts Scotts Valley on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.
AHS girls basketball
With a 15-4 halftime lead over Stevenson on Friday, the Hawks looked like they would win their first game of the 2011 season. But in the second half, Anzar scored only two points to lose 20-17.
The Hawks have now opened the season with five straight losses.
The Hawks will search for their first win of the season Tuesday as they host Greenfield at 5 p.m.
AHS boys basketball
The boys basketball team won its first game the season Friday beating San Jose's KIPP Collegiate 55-47. The win moves the Hawks' record to 1-4.
The win was the first time the Hawks scored more than 50 points in a game. It was the second time Anzar scored more than 22 points in a game.
The Hawks traveled to North Valley Baptist on Monday. Look online for an update.
AHS boys soccer
The Hawks won their first game of the year Friday, with a 1-0 victory over Pinewood.
The win came a few days after losing 6-2 to Salinas.
The Hawks hosted Carmel on Monday. Look online for an update.
AHS girls soccer
The soccer team's duel with Gonzales was canceled Friday after Gonzales failed to show up at Anzar High, the Hawks' athletic director Sam Stewart said.
It is unknown if the game will be rescheduled.
The Hawks have opened the season with a 3-3 record. Anzar hosts Pajaro Valley on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. ...more

2011/12/12 18:53

Soccer: Balers hope to take advantage of youth, speed in new season External link to Soccer: Balers hope to take advantage of youth, speed in new season

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San Benito's Victoria Perez competes with Sobrato's Rebekah Inouye for possession of the ball Friday at San Benito High. The game ended in a 2-2 tie.

Photo by: Nick Lovejoy, Staff Photographer
Coming off an impressive second-place finish at the Watsonville Tournament to open the new season, girls soccer coach Ben Alvarez expected to see the same play in the team's home opener Friday.
But Ann Sobrato had other plans.
Sobrato and San Benito played to a 2-2 tie Friday, as the Balers couldn't stop the Bulldogs long half-field shots. Twice in the game, the visitors scored from midfield. Despite the tie, San Benito dominated the course of play as the ball remained in the Balers' offensive end or at midfield.
With the aggressive play, the Balers struck first in the game's eighth minute.
On a long stretch pass from Kelly Gottron, Victoria Perez scooted the ball past the goalie. The play happened after forward Chace Miguel stretched out the defense to give the passing lane to Gottron.
The Balers held the lead for nearly the entire half, until Sobrato finally got an offensive push in the 36th minute. Just in front of the midfield marker, Sobrato scored on a long kick to even the score.
The Balers had opportunities to slow down the Bulldogs but couldn't control the ball, Alvarez said.
"Overall, the performance was not very well," Alvarez said. "At the tournament in Watsonville we actually played very, very well. We were touching the ball, and the passes were connecting. (Friday) is not what I was expecting."
The Balers' struggles with the first touch continued into the second half.
Less than 10 minutes into the second half, Sobrato scored again after a Baler foul at midfield. On the set piece, the Sobrato keeper scored from past mid-field.
"That was a fluke goal," Alvarez said of the second goal. "And that's unusual because she is usually a very good goalie. She misjudged the kick. It happens."
But the Balers responded well to the score.
Adding to the offensive push, Alvarez switched the Balers formations by adding a third forward. The additional forward allowed the Balers to gather a larger offensive threat.
"I told the kids we will see where we go once I saw what they were doing," he said. "We needed to become more offensive so that's when I went with three forwards - and that actually kind of worked."
He continued, "It created more opportunities."
The Balers eventually cashed in those opportunities with a goal in the 57th minute. After a Sobrato foul, the Balers were rewarded with a set piece just outside the goalie's box. Brianna Bengivengo took advantage by sneaking the ball past a diving Sobrato goalie.
"We work on those a lot," Alvarez said. "We practice on those set plays. We've been successful in the past years because we practice and practice it. Everyone knows exactly what to do on those. We have a very good chance of scoring."
He continued, "I have some kids that are very good at placing the ball where it needs to be placed."
In the final 23 minutes of the game, the Balers continued to put pressure on the Sobrato keeper, but could never score.
Alvarez said. the tie, although disappointing, showed the character of the team.
"(Sobrato) played well and we always have tough matches," he said. "Today, I felt we were the better team. I felt we had better speed and our discipline was better."
And that team speed is what Alvarez hopes the team continues to utilize, he said.
"One of my big things this year, is that I have a lot of speed," Alvarez said. "Last year, I had a lot of strength in my center. A lot of experience. This year, I have a lot of freshmen kids and they are very, very fast. I'm going to utilize that ability in a different way."
To do that, Alvarez will place his speedy players in positions that could take advance of other teams' weaknesses, he said. He'll use the team's depth and flexibility to maximize its speed.
"I'll put the fastest player on the side of a team's weakness and attack, attack and attack," he said.
And of course, at the end of the season, Alvarez hopes to see a Tri-County Athletic League championship and berth in the Central Coast Section playoffs.
"That would be nice," he said. "We are going to work on that. I expect them to do well through the year."
The Balers travel to Santa Teresa on Wednesday for a 3:15 p.m. game. ...more

2011/12/12 18:51

Basketball: Girls go 2-1 at Watsonville tourney External link to Basketball: Girls go 2-1 at Watsonville tourney

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San Benito's Tawne Haynish has the ball poked away while driving into the lane during Thursday's loss to St. Francis
Photo by: Nick Lovejoy, Staff Photographer
It became a struggle for Taylor Fabing to find her shooting stroke over the first couple games of the new season for the Balers.
But Saturday in the fifth-place game of the Watsonville Wildcatz Invitational, Fabing found her rhythm.
The junior drained two 3-pointers and scored a team-high 16 points as San Benito won its second game in a row to even its record at 2-2 by beating league-rival Salinas 56-51.
"Thursday's game (against St. Francis C.C. Catholic) she had a really tough day and she was pretty upset," head coach Mitch Burley said of Fabing. "And they were running zone and we need her to be the zone buster, I guess. And today she was able to do that. She kept us around in that first half when we weren't scoring and they were in that zone - and that's kind of her job. I'm glad she came through and I'm sure she is really excited."
After starting the season with back-to-back losses - including the opening game of the Watsonville Invite to St. Francis C.C. Catholic - San Benito used strong defense and timely shooting to finally get back on the winning track.
"Well, I think the defense led to the offense," Burley said. "The defense created some energy. We learned how to score (Saturday)."
In the weekend tournament - where the Balers went 2-1 - senior Kelsey Robledo led the way for San Benito. Robledo was a low-post force in San Benito's four-overtime win against Christopher on Friday.
Robledo scored a game-high 19 points to help San Benito come from behind twice in the final seconds of regulation and the third overtime, Burley said.
Coming off of a blowout 49-32 loss to St. Francis C.C. Catholic, San Benito wanted to protect the perimeter better and force more turnovers, Burley said. And they did just that.
San Benito limited the high-scoring Cougars to 51 regulation points and 13 points in overtime to come away with the victory.
"They played really great," Burley said after the win Friday.
Overall, the Balers got better as the tournament continued, Burley said.
"The most important thing is that (Saturday) we learned - (Friday) we learned how to break the press - and (Saturday) we learned we could make some shots," Burley said. "We are moving forward."
And that growth started with the Christopher game.
Down by two points with seconds left in regulation, a strong play to the bucket from Robledo sent the Balers to the free-throw line with a chance to tie. The senior sank both shots to send San Benito to overtime with Christopher.
In the third overtime, San Benito once again found themselves down by two points. With less than a second left, Ellie Burley went to the free-throw line and tied up the game to send the contest to its fourth overtime.
In the final session, the Balers pulled away thanks to a stifling defense and its free-throw making.
"You talk about the inexperience of our team, and now they are showing that they've learned how to do this," Burley said. "To win a four-overtime game is pretty rare, and to hold off Salinas at the end there will build our confidence."
And four games into the season, the confidence is at a season high.
Fabing, who scored 29 combined points in the tournaments final two games, believed the back-to-back wins gave the team's offense some momentum and confidence, she said.
"Offensively, we were making stronger passes - quicker passes - and defensively, we were just holding them to the shot clock," Fabing said. "For me, it has given me a lot of confidence and I'm pretty sure it gives the team a lot of confidence. We played great."
More importantly, the wins give San Benito a chance to see "where they stand," Robledo said.
"Obviously, it's not that many games, but from who've they played and who we played (Friday) - it's a good measuring stick for us," she said. "It's really important."
And Burley expects the team to get better with each game.
"I think we are going in the right direction," Burley said. "You look at any of these tournaments and if you could go 2-1 in all of them you'll have a good record. That's our goal."
San Benito will travel to Alisal on Thursday for the Alisal Winter Jam Tournament. The Balers open the tournament against Aptos at 5 p.m. ...more

2011/12/12 18:49

Report urges against merger of police, sheriff's office External link to Report urges against merger of police, sheriff's office

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The report underscored one complication in particular in that compensation for the police department's positions was higher across the board, including the amount paid by Hollister for pension plans.
Photo by: Free Lance file photo
A hired consultant's report on potential law enforcement consolidation recommends that the city and county do not enter into a law enforcement contract despite an estimated $322,000 annual savings, according to the document released before a scheduled Tuesday meeting.
Hollister and San Benito County both released public copies of a report from Municipal Resources Group - hired for $20,000 and a cost split by the two governments - to make recommendations on potential law enforcement consolidation or areas where the city police department and sheriff's office could work more efficiently. The result of that report, preceding a joint meeting Tuesday involving the county board and city council, is a recommendation against a full contract between the two municipalities.
To view the entire report, go here.
That same report, which includes comparative data such as population and compensation figures, does include a list of areas where the consultants contend the police department and sheriff's office could better collaborate. The long-awaited release of the report from Municipal Resources Group is the culmination of talks that heated up during the 2010 sheriff's race about potential consolidation and whether it might save money or allow for more seamless cooperation.
While the 30-page report largely includes information about the process - including data on each agency's compensation, work structure and service populations - it concludes that a city-county contract and its estimated $316,000 annual savings are not significant enough to offset the complications involved with consolidation. The report summarizes two "main reasons" for the recommendation as:
- "The relatively small size of the two jurisdictions and the lack of internal organizational infrastructure in the County Sheriff's Department to provide management, personnel, training and administrative support for the expanded services that the county would be undertaking."
- "The low staffing ratios of the two departments would not be improved by contracting, due to the disparity in service demographics and the geographic differences between two agencies."
The report underscored one complication in particular in that compensation for the police department's positions was higher across the board, including the amount paid by Hollister for pension plans.
It also pointed out that although the two agencies had a similar number of sworn officers despite the county's much smaller population served - 25 for the city and 27 for the sheriff's office - the sheriff's office had about 1,400 square miles of coverage compared with the police department's 7.26 square miles.
The data and conclusions weren't a surprise to Hollister Mayor Ray Friend. He said he "completely" agrees with the consultant's recommendation urging against a full merger. He believes there are some "mutual redundancies" where the two agencies could cooperate, as pointed out in the report.
"I completely agree," Friend said, "whatever savings was in there would not be enough savings compared to all of the hassles there would be in changing it over."
City Manager Clint Quilter noted that city and county officials will be briefed on the report at the meeting, and the two boards will have to make independent decisions on where they want to go from here. Any kind of proposal for a contract would have to go before the council first, he said, adding how the county could decide it doesn't have interest in any partnership beyond the current, informal arrangement.
On the county end, Supervisor Jerry Muenzer reiterated points made in the report about the two law enforcement agencies having staffs that are similar in size.
"They were saying that usually doesn't work as well," Muenzer said. "So I guess, I don't think I want to make any decisions until I hear what the consultant says at the meeting."

MEETING PREVIEW
WHO: Hollister council and county board
WHAT: Meeting on police consolidation report
WHEN: 6 p.m. Tuesday
WHERE: County Administration Building, 481 Fourth St. ...more

2011/12/12 14:48

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