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Teacher of the Year honorees announced in San Benito County
The area’s Teachers of the Year have been announced and will be
honored March 26 at the 2009 San Benito County Joint Board of
Trustees Dinner Meeting.
Teacher of the Year honorees announced in San Benito County

The area’s Teachers of the Year have been announced and will be honored March 26 at the 2009 San Benito County Joint Board of Trustees Dinner Meeting.

“These are the people leading the way,” said Mike Sanchez, superintendent for the county office of education.

The list includes the following:

– Jane Emerich from the Aromas-San Juan Joint Unified School District

– Theresa Lane from the Hollister Dual Language Academy

– Stephanie Mires from Calaveras School

– Mary Allemand from Cerra Vista Elementary School

– Christine Martinez from Gabilan Hills Elementary School

– Stacie Bonura from Ladd Lane Elementary School

– Mary Guerrero from R.O. Hardin Elementary School

– Kim Casillas from Sunnyslope Elementary School

– Mimi Carson from Maze Middle School

– Elvira Ramos from Rancho San Justo Middle School

– Elaine Klauer from the North County Joint Union School District

– Sara Stasi from San Benito High School

– Patricia Gutierrez from Santa Ana Opportunity School

– Jonathon Pike from San Andreas Continuation High School

Hollister teen killed in Watsinville over weekend

A 19-year-old Hollister man was shot and killed Saturday in Watsonville while playing basketball outside with family and friends, according to a statement from the Watsonville Police Department.

Angel G. Escobedo died Saturday from multiple gunshot wounds at the basketball court in the Apple Hill community, according to police. Sgt. Saul Gonzalez told the Free Lance today the department has made no arrests related to the homicide.

“We’re still investigating it,” he said. “We have some leads to go on.”

It happened about 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Two subjects approached Escobedo and his companions and asked if they had gang affiliations, according to police. One of the men returned a few minutes later with a handgun and shot Escobedo several times while he tried to flee for safety.

Police note there is no reason at this time to believe Escobedo or his companions had any gang affiliations and that suspect descriptions will be released later.

The Watsonville Police Department asks anyone with information to call (831) 768-3350.

Company fined by ARB for diesel-emission violations

The California Air Resources Board this month fined Britz-Simplot Grower Solutions $16,500 for diesel-truck emission violations – including at a facility in Hollister – throughout its regional operations, according to a statement from the agency.

ARB investigators found that Britz-Simplot failed to inspect its diesel truck fleet between 2007-2008 at its Hollister, Hanford, Terra Bella, Traver, Five Points and Stockton facilities.

Britz Fertilizers is a full-service California agricultural retailer and wholesaler of fertilizers, chemicals, seed, application and a wide variety of on-farm services including aerial & satellite imagery, according to its Web site.

“Penalties for air pollution violations are a warning to business owners,” said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols in the statement. “The price can be more than a monetary inconvenience when a company’s reputation is at stake.”

The law requires annual smoke tests for diesel truck fleets and, in conjunction with ARB’s roadside smoke inspection program, ensures that all vehicles are properly maintained, tamper-free and free from excessive smoke.

As part of the settlement, the agency noted, Britz-Simplot is required to:

– Guarantee employees responsible for conducting the inspections attend a California community college training class on diesel emissions compliance testing and provide certificates of completion within one year;

– Provide documentation to ARB that the inspections are being carried out for the next four years;

– Ensure all of the company’s heavy-duty diesel trucks have their software updated with the latest low-NOx (oxides of nitrogen emissions) programming;

– Instruct vehicle operators to comply with the state’s idling regulations

– Comply with requirements of the fleet rule for transit agencies

– Ensure that all diesel trucks are up to federal emissions standards for the vehicle model year and are properly labeled with an emission control label

Britz-Simplot will pay $16,500 in penalties: $12,375 will go to the California Air Pollution Control Fund, providing funding for projects and research to improve California’s air quality. The Peralta Community College District will receive the $2,062.50 to fund emissions education classes conducted by participating California community colleges, and the remaining $2,062.50 will go to the California Pollution Control Financing Authority to fund low-interest loans for owners of off-road diesel-powered construction vehicles, according to the statement.

Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and over 40 other known cancer-causing compounds. In 1998, California identified diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death, and other health problems.

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