Sean Scully is editor of the Napa Valley Register. You can reach him at 256-2246 or

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On Wednesday, those of you who read the Register online will notice a significant change. Our website will have a new look and feel, along with some useful new features.

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When people hear that I worked on Capitol Hill for a number of years, they sometimes say something like “That must have been awful – aren’t the politicians just terrible people?”

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It has become fashionable lately to talk about how artificial intelligence (or “AI” for the technologically hip among us) is threatening to overtake humans in many key categories. There has been a glut of studies, reports, news stories, and commentaries (including one in on our website just …

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When I first saw my oldest son, he was tiny, bright purple and extremely angry.

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Commercial motives tends to obscure the real meaning of holidays, making these events seem like merely more days on which the objective is spending money and goofing off.

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It is deeply unsettling to discover that others see your own treasured symbols in a much darker light.

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Legendary winemaker Warren Winiarski says it had been a long while since he had driven Upvalley to Calistoga until he hit the road one day recently.

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Very little of what I experienced in college in the late 1980s would have been strange to my father and grandfathers, or anybody born in the previous 80 or 100 years.

National Public Radio has been doing an interesting series lately called “Been There,” where they bring together someone who is just starting off on a new life experience – someone headed for college, someone facing a divorce, even someone facing a gender transition – and someone who has alr…

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Cities are loud places, but each city has its own particular sound.

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A guy from Sonoma County who I know mostly through Facebook posted an item last year about a modestly famous relative from the Revolutionary War era. I was surprised, because this also happens to be a relative of mine.

This week will mark my third anniversary as editor here at the Register. If you’d showed me then the job I’m doing today, I’d have hardly believed it. It’s like we’ve compressed a decade or more of change into just a couple of years.

This has been a wild week in Napa. A wild month, really. It seems that spring is just a season of strange stories around here.

My older son found out this week that he got into the college he wanted to attend, a college he has been eyeing and considering and talking about since at least ninth grade. Fair to say, the level of anticipation and tension in our house had been rising for several days before we got the good news on Friday. 

This week, our editorial board opines about the possibility of professional baseball coming to Napa (Spoiler alert: We like the idea). If you happen to detect a little extra excitement in our editorial this week, there is a good reason: I wrote the editorial and I happen to love baseball. Es…

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Anyone who has worked at a news organization knows that things tend to go off the rails in the final weeks of an election season. Candidates get flustered and emotional; readers – even ones who aren’t actively involved in a campaign – get testy and thin-skinned.

It comes on suddenly, but at some point we all become cultural relics.

My mother used to say “if you don’t toot your own horn, nobody else will toot it for you.”

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I’ve been considering writing a column about immigration lately, but as I began to construct the piece in my head over last weekend, I kept thinking what I had to say sounded strangely familiar.

When we think of the power of the press, we tend to think big, like The Washington Post doggedly uncovering the Watergate scandal. The reality is that most journalists never even get an opportunity to tackle a story that big

As the fog and rain lifted on Thursday morning, they revealed a magical sight: a healthy coating of snow along the eastern mountains over Calistoga, the first I remember seeing since 2011.

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Today, if you’re reading this anywhere near Napa County, is it is probably raining very hard on you. So that means the drought is over, right?

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Mostly I take anonymous correspondence for what it’s worth (Not a lot, in my estimation). But one unsigned letter arrived a few weeks ago and it has been sitting on my desk. It’s begun to fascinate me.

All workmen have a bag of favorite tools. For a carpenter, it may be a hammer or a well-worn saw. For a cook, it might be a treasured sauté pan or a knife with just the right heft and balance. For writers, it’s words.

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My grandmother was a history teacher and she had a theory of how most students viewed past events: Those things that have happened since I was born and everything else. The Roman Empire and the American Civil War, therefore, happened around the same time as far as anyone in her classes was c…

The world needs another helping of grumpiness, twee irony, and anger like it needs a big sack of broken hammers.

If you are a resident of California, you count as about eight-tenths of a person, at least as far as Article II of the U.S. Constitution counts it.

As long as there have been opinion polls, politicians have been saying something along the lines of “the only poll that matters is on Election Day.”

One of the most rewarding parts of working at a small newspaper is getting to know the cast of interesting characters who make up our faithful correspondents and readers. All newspapers have regulars who write and call frequently, but in a small community, it is possible to get to know them …

Many years ago, the best newsman I ever knew wrote the best election story I ever read.

Written words have an amazing power to covey emotion or describe a scene, but there seems to be something different about recorded words and images.

Perhaps it is naïve of me, but I certainly hope that whatever issue or campaign you’re invested in, and whether you win or lose in the end, you’ll pause a moment and remember the potential power of graciousness.

Back when I started writing this column, I reflected on the 40-minute commute I took each day from my home in Calistoga.

A reader emailed me this week to share his appreciation of what we’re doing at the Register, but he followed up with a worried (and important) question. “I'm continually impressed with your efforts in Napa,” he wrote. “By the way, is the paper going to become strictly digital?"

Early-morning phone calls have never been the same. When the phone rings before normal hours, I feel a little twinge of panic.

I got an interesting call over the summer from a guy who was mad about the way we were covering the Democratic convention.

had intended to let the anniversary of the 2014 earthquake pass quietly in this space – after all, it’s been a central theme of my writing and our reporting generally for two years now, and maybe, what with our recent move to a new office, it’s time to give it a little bit of a rest. Until Tuesday night, that is, when news broke that an earthquake had leveled parts of some historic towns in central Italy.

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A long-ago girlfriend once told me an amusing story of her high school.

My mother saved all sorts of artifacts of my childhood – drawings, notes, clothes, toys, seemingly everything that had survived (even mostly) in one piece.

Those of you who have dropped by my office to chat can testify that I love to analyze elections, ponder them, debate them, dissect the strategy, to talk all day long about who seems to be up and who seems to be down. But the one thing I won’t do is say conclusively who I think will win, or what ballot measures will pass.

It’s no secret that the entire media universe is in flux, and that includes those of us here at the Register.

If the earthquake of 2014 taught us at the Register anything, it is that a newspaper these days can be produced from just about anywhere.

Napa County has had two lucky breaks this month, perhaps luckier than most people realize.

Hard as it is to believe, it has taken nearly two years for the Napa Valley Register to put the South Napa Earthquake behind us.

When it comes to injuries, illness, and other medical problems, I am firmly in the “shake it off” camp.

In the wake of my analysis piece earlier this week looking at the big money that flooded the local Assembly and state Senate races, I got a note from a reader raising a perfectly reasonable question.

The British newspaper The Guardian has emerged as one of the world’s most successful and influential news organizations – scrappy, aggressive, iconoclastic, well-funded and well-respected.

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Sean is away this weekend, Here is his column from last Memorial Day, the text of a speech he delivered at a ceremony by the American Legion Post 231 in Calistoga.

As much as I love covering local government, analyzing the minutia of politics, or chasing a good breaking cops story, my real guilty pleasure in journalism is writing about, well, beer.