Connect the dots, practically, and it’s incomprehensible to deny that Hollister City Manager Bill Avera campaigned—with use of taxpayer resources—in support of the proposed Measure W sales tax extension on the Nov. 8 ballot.
It was a long afternoon at the REI Co-op, but now you have all the gear. The backpack is comfortable, and the boots feel like bedroom slippers. After a little research, you are feeling pretty comfortable with your backpacking know-how. The big question now is where do you go on your very first backpack trip?
Last weekend, I went to Los Angeles to see relatives. I was meeting my sister there. Since I flew in first, my job was to grab the rental car, return to the airport, pick up my sister and drive an hour to Calabasas. Now that sounds easy, right? Yeah, not so much.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Between the establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872 and the birth of the National Park Service 44 years later, who managed our parks? Who protected archeological sites from vandals? Who kept out the miners, the loggers and the hunters?One of the most interesting and unlikely stories of early park management happened right here in our backyard.African American regiments fought with distinction as a part of the Union Army during the Civil War, but it wasn't until 1866 that Congress created the first all-black regiment in the U.S. Army. While serving in the Great Plains during the Indian Wars, Native Americans called them Buffalo Soldiers because their hair reminded the Indians of the curly clump of hair between the Bison's horns. The name stuck.After the Spanish-American War, the Ninth Cavalry Regiment of the Buffalo Soldiers wintered at the Presidio in San Francisco. Their summer orders: ride across the Central Valley to Yosemite National Park. For the next several years, these men acted as forerunners of today's park rangers, patrolling and protecting Yosemite from those who would harm it.“National Parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” Few would argue with Wallace Stegner’s famous quote. These lands are not the fenced-off private property of some monarch or oligarch. They are open to all of us for the cost of a day-use fee. But many don’t come.Shelton Johnson is an African American man who has traveled a remarkable path from the streets of Detroit to his job as a park ranger in Yosemite National Park. According to a 2009 survey conducted by the Park Service, only one percent of the visitors to Yosemite that year were black, a fact that saddens Shelton, but doesn’t surprise him. He is quick to point out that the legends of the Old West and our wilderness have not included people who look like him.When Shelton learned the story of the Buffalo Soldiers, he was thrilled. That bit of hidden history turned America’s wilderness heritage into his heritage as well. And it gives all African Americans ownership of our frontier story. Shelton tells the Buffalo Soldier story hoping to awaken disenfranchised kids and lure them to national parks where nature can do her work. He knows that national parks are more than a lovely view. Time spent in wilderness and nature builds physical and psychological health in so many ways.Wallace Stegner was right. Our national parks are a great gift to us all. The centennial of the National Park Service is an opportunity to remember and be thankful that those who came before us had the wisdom to set aside portions of our grand landscape. National Parks preserve a legacy that belongs to all of us.
Rosés are the perfect hot-weather sippers and a nice alternative to chardonnay. They range from sweet-tart to bone dry, with the acidity of a white wine and the fruit flavors of a red—it’s a happy medium between the two.Looking like summer in a glass, rosé wines come in gorgeous hues such as salmon, coral and hot pink. Grapes are lightly crushed and left to soak in their red skins for a limited number of hours—depending on how dark the winemaker wants the color of the finished wine to be. Rosé wine can be made from any grape varietal.Guglielmo Winery chooses grignolino, a red Italian grape, to make their dry rosé. The 2015 Grignolino Rosé ($18) has cranberry flavors and a crisp, green apple finish.This rosé will stand up to the big flavors of a pasta marinara dinner.Pietra Santa makes their 2012 Rosato ($15) from cabernet grapes. It’s a crisp, dry rosé fermented in stainless steel with fresh flavors of pomegranate and wild strawberries. I would pair this wine with a blackened salmon salad or roast chicken.Made from sangiovese grapes, Vino Roseo di Sangiovese 2015 ($25) from Solis Winery is a lightly sweet rosé with well-balanced acidity. It’s a brilliant pink with flavors of strawberry and mango—ideal with spicy cuisine such as Thai or Mexican food.These wines pair well with most summer fare such as chicken salad or a charcuterie board filled with salami, cheeses and olives.
It’s become clear that the homeless population in Hollister is only growing, and local officials are making a big mistake if they believe a new homeless shelter will completely solve the problem.
I was disgusted after reading the Aug. 17 article in the Free Lance about the city council meeting in which the future of rally was discussed. The fact that the council is once again hem-hawing about whether to move forward with the 70th anniversary rally in 2017 made me angry.
With Hollister officials once again haggling with a promoter over the motorcycle rally contractual arrangement, and again putting the signature event in doubt, it’s time for city leaders to look in the mirror.
Why should I care about Zika if I’m not planning on getting pregnant or I’m not pregnant? Although summer has come to an end and travel has slowed down, 40 million people or more travel to Zika-affected countries every year. It is only a matter of time before local transmission of the virus occurs, say infectious experts. It’s most likely to happen when an infected traveler returns to the U.S. and is bitten by a local mosquito that’s capable of spreading the disease. It’s essentially every person’s responsibility, then, to make it harder for mosquitoes to spread the virus. We want people to get rid of the mosquito-breeding sites on their property to protect pregnant women as well as themselves.
We’re all tired of hearing about the drought; tired of trying to squeeze a little more savings out of our gardens and indoor water use; tired of processing bad news about dying fisheries, drying wells, suffering farmers and dead trees.

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