Craig Smith

Craig Smith is the executive director of the Downtown Napa Association.

J.L. Sousa/Register

During the recent storms, many held their collective breath as the creeks and river rose, wondering if flood control was going to do what it was designed to do.

The good – no – make that great news, is that it did.

“It functioned like a champ,” said Eric Whan, deputy public works director for the city of Napa. The Flood Control board met after the latest storms, and by its reckoning, five potential floods have been avoided in the past several years.

Hundreds of Napans went downtown Sunday, just to watch the river rise. At one point, a torrent of water estimated at three to four feet deep flowed through the dry bypass channel, now known as the Oxbow Commons.

The water never reached the closed flood gates, but the overflow channel was demonstrably successful. The latest storms could have harmed the neighbors and businesses along Behrens Street, but that didn’t happen either.

At its highest point, the creek barreled down its channel to the bridge on Pearl Street, where much of the flow was diverted to an underground conduit.

“The creek is doing very well,” said Whan, “exactly what it was designed to do.”

The flood control project has taken almost 20 years. It’s been a lot of work and has cost a lot of money. But as Whan said after the storms Sunday and Tuesday, “In my humble opinion, it’s paid for itself.”

Serious sale…

Lisa Jones, owner of Napa Valley Casuals on First Street off of Dwight Murray Plaza, is hosting a winter sale. She is serious about it, too. Everything is 20 to 70 percent off, and by “everything” she means “everything,” including cashmere, pants, wraps, jewelry and hats. Now through the end of the month. Call at 258-1347.

Can you keep a secret?

One of the best kept may be the Jarvis Conservatory on Main Street. Oh, folks know it’s there and probably drive past it all the time, unaware of what a gem it is inside, or that it’s home to a diverse and eclectic entertainment offering.

With only 220 seats on the floor and balcony, it’s almost like the Jarvis exists for you and a close group of personal friends. Tonight, the Belgian movie “Brand New Testament,” subtitled “God Exists, and He’s Living in Brussels” is showing.

It’s a 2016 Golden Globe nominee for Best Foreign Film, and based on the trailer, looks like fun. This one may not be your cup of tea, but keep your eyes on the Jarvis. There are a lot of cool things going on there. 1711 Main Street. 255-5445 or

Coming up…

The 2017 events calendar is now posted on A favorite from last year, Napa Live: Inside and Out, will be back three times – Sundays from noon to 6 p.m., June 4, Sept. 3 and Oct. 1. Mark your calendars now.

See you downtown!

Craig Smith is the executive director of the Downtown Napa Association. Reach him at 257-0322 or