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Another full mailbag this week. Keep those notices coming, Dear Readers!

Last week’s heat wave had me wondering if I’d suddenly Rip Van Winkled into the spring months. But no, said the frost that greeted me Monday morning. It’s still winter, albeit a troublingly rainless one.

Confession time: I’ve somehow never seen “Fiddler on the Roof” on either screen or stage. Thanks to Patti Coyle and the talented cast and crew at St. Helena Drama, that’s about to change. The beloved musical is coming to the St. Helena Performing Arts Center March 9, 10, 11, 16 and 17. Ticke…

It’s another full mailbag this week, Dear Readers, so let’s get right to it.

No time for preamble today. My mailbag is bursting …

What sad news about the possible closure of the St. Helena Catholic School – for students, parents, faculty, and all the Menegons, Trincheros, Mondavis, Morisolis and other proud alumni who once walked its halls. Let’s hope the community can save it.

The music has disappeared from the airwaves and the Boy Scouts have discreetly taken away the trees, but Christmas didn’t feel over until Friday morning, when I noticed that Vintage Home had cleared out their awe-inspiring seasonal window display. It’s sad to see the holidays end, but someth…

Aunt Helena is on vacation for the New Year’s holiday. Her column will return next week.

The mailbag was a little thin for my last column of 2017 — understandably so, since the folks who usually send me notes are enjoying holiday family time at home. But no worries — I still have a few choice morsels to share.

Christmas songs used to bring out my cynical side, but not anymore. After a year of political strife and fiery catastrophe, I cherish the buoyant strains of “Deck the Halls” and especially the minor-keyed grandeur of “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen.” I’m hoping those are on the setlist for Ma…

Happy mid-December, Dear Readers. The wreaths are hung, the stars and angels are atop the tree, and neighbors are swapping their grandmothers’ recipes for mulled apple cider, all equally legendary. What a lovely time of year!

No dilly-dallying preamble this week, Dear Readers. Straight to the mailbag!

Like the proverbial old gray mare, our elm tunnel ain’t what it used to be, but we still love it as much as ever. It’s good to see Caltrans giving it some much-needed TLC, even if it means removing 10 dead and dying trees. Expect three weeks of one-way traffic between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.…

As I write this, the carts at Sunshine are full of tasty Thanksgiving fixings and you can sense the holiday cheer that always alleviates the chilly winter weather. By the time you read this in print, Thanksgiving will have arrived. May it be a happy and peaceful one, Dear Readers.

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Now this is my kind of weather, Dear Readers! Grab your umbrella if you must, but get out and enjoy these glorious drizzles. Much preferable to a 100-degree heat wave, wouldn’t you say?

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Thank a firefighter dog, check. Eat cotton candy while listening to the Saint Helena Community Band, check. Attend fire department open house and thank REAL firefighters, check. If only every weekend could be as packed with fun as this last one was. Now on to the mailbag …

When the history of St. Helena is written, the most recent chapter might be titled “The love in the air is thicker than the smoke,” to quote what quickly became a popular saying around town. To show just how thick that love is, let’s start with some fire-related benefits.

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St. Helena escaped the fires and normalcy is returning to town, but I expect the catastrophic fires of October 2017 will cast a pall over our lives for many months at least.

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As I write this, the threat to St. Helena is subsiding but not quite past. A few changes of clothes and my most precious documents are still stashed in a “go bag” in case of an evacuation. I’m taking big gulps of fresh air, having taken it for granted for so long. And yet my trifling inconve…

Words fail me, Dear Readers, when people’s homes start going up in flames. Our prayers, our volunteer time, our comforting words – I suppose all we can do at a time like this is be good neighbors.

Dear me! Haidi Arias, Tracey Perkosky, Megan Jones – a few all-star employees who worked on community programs have left city employment recently, and now there’s one more. The energetic Mari Martinez Serrano left the St. Helena Public Library on Saturday after five years. In an email she sa…

Q: What’s special about the number 6,033? A: It’s St. Helena’s official population as of 2017, according to a California Department of Finance statistic cited by the city. So we’ve officially crossed the 6,000 mark.

We St. Helenans tend to be wary of our neighbors in “Yount Vegas,” but I have to admit – they know how to throw a party …

On Wednesday, Sept. 20, the public is invited to “The Bracero Program in Napa Valley: A Two-Part Series.” Part one at 3 p.m. at Rianda House Senior Activity Center is titled “Hidden Stories: Braceros and the Homefront in Napa Valley during World War II.” The second presentation at 5 p.m. at …

Want to be a wine movie producer? Director/producer Rudolf McClain, known for his documentary about merlot, Merlove, has announced his new project about another wine varietal, Que Syrah, Shiraz, and a crowd-funding campaign. The fundraising campaign’s goal is $350,000. Donors are invited to …

The Napa Valley Wine Train will host a multi-course gourmet feast prepared by Chef Donald Young along with wine parings by Inglenook winemaker Chris Phelps at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 9. Tickets start at $269 per person. For reservations and more information, call (800) 427-4124 or visit w…

Readers of a literary bent can join local author and columnist Christina Julian as she dives deep into the world of publishing with her presentation “Author Talk: Book and Magazine Publishing Uncorked” at St. Helena Public Library, at 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 24. Whether you are a budding nove…

Have you been a part of the First Friday Social at the Thorn Hill Vineyards tasting room? If not, you’re missing out! On Friday, Aug. 4, Kristen Van Dyke was playing live music, Scott Turnridge was pouring Thorn Hill wines … I especially liked the 2012 cab, made from Napa Valley grapes … and…

It is official, Dear Reader: We have entered the colorful season. According to Napa Valley Grapegrowers, veraison has begun. Veraison marks the colorful transition from growth to ripening, growers tell me. The grapes not only change color, but also begin to increase in weight – a good thing …

Congratulations to St. Helena student Luke Myers, a senior in the College of Liberal Arts at the University Of Minnesota Twin Cities. Luke was named to the 2017 spring semester Dean’s List last week. To qualify, a student must complete 12 or more letter-graded credits while attaining a 3.66 …

Regarding the poor toddler who burned his little feet at Crane Park on Father’s Day, I headed over there during the Farmers’ Market and that bridge was already sizzling hot to the touch – and it wasn’t even noon yet. My best wishes to young Jorge Nicolas Cortes, who seems to be heading towar…

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The highlight of Calistoga’s Fourth of July parade, hands-down, was seeing a cowboyed-up Geoff Ellsworth, a member of the St. Helena City Council and a massively entertaining and good-natured individual, rocking away on an electric guitar and imploring us all to “Stay Cowboy.” To learn more …

Hello, Dear Readers, and welcome to July. I hope the fireworks show was a blast (it’s still 34 hours away as I write this). Happy birthday, U.S.A.

A package forwarded by the Star staff — how exciting! What could it be? A copy of prolific poet Eileen R. Tabios‘ new book “Manhattan: An Archaeology.” And what’s that tucked right behind it? A copy of “Blue,” written by Wesley St. Jo and Remé Grefalda, blurbed by Eileen herself. The first l…

Complaining about the heat will just remind me of what a nuisance it is. So you won’t be hearing a trace of whining from me, Dear Readers.

Wasn’t last week’s paper a hoot? Two pages of fresh-faced high school grads, a surprise party for the delightful Lisa Montelli, the heroics of rookie firefighter Elliot Bell, a splendid wedding proposal (congrats, Brian and Tasha), reports from the wine auction, a cute feature on Phoebe and …

If you’re not hungry right now, just wait. You will be. This column will be rich in gastronomic content.

Memorial Day carries meanings so deep and resonant that it needs no flash or trendy embroidery. I thank American Legion Post 199 for recognizing that fact, and for holding another dignified, classy ceremony at the cemetery Monday. The sound of “Taps” makes the hairs on the back of my neck st…

A St. Helena High School student, overheard on Monday: “The summer weather is here, so where’s summer vacation?” Patience, my good young man. It will be here before you know it.

Yearly rituals like graduation, Auction Napa Valley and that moment when one realizes that Main Street traffic is truly horrendous are fast-approaching, Dear Readers. The year is zipping by. The word “summer” even makes a cameo appearance in my first item …

My haul from the first St. Helena Farmers’ Market of 2017 consisted of strawberries, apricots, cheese enchiladas, spicy chicken tamales and (of course) popcorn. If you missed it, you’ll have another shot from 7:30 to noon on Friday at Crane Park.

Don’t you hate it when you rummage through your medicine cabinet for an aspirin for your headache, only to find expiration dates corresponding with previous presidential administrations? Hats off to Officer Fil Bianco of the St. Helena Police Department for getting a 24/7 pharmaceutical kios…

Last week’s police log was a sad litany of alcohol-related arrests, public disturbances, shady interlopers, and miscellaneous items stolen from parked cars. There was even a caviar caper, which seems like a more appropriately St. Helena-ish crime. So let’s all mind our wine intake, lock our …

No, Dear Readers. I refuse to accept that Haidi Arias, St. Helena’s recreation manager, is moving to Vermont at the end of April. The Pacific Union College alum kept the peace on the oft-contentious bocce courts, organized sports and camps for youngsters, ran the Teen Center, and even took o…

Let’s all hope these April showers bring some May flowers. I’m all for rain, but it should have the decency to show itself the door by the time the Giants start playing home games at AT&T Park.

Granted, it’s not ladylike to mention it, but the pinprick of perspiration under my arm last weekend reminded me that spring is finally here. May it reign in all its blooming glory.

You’ve got to put this on your weekend calendar … and beyond that, please attend. Word is that the Saint Helena Community Band and the Sebastopol Community Band will be playing a joint performance at the new St. Helena Performing Arts Center at 2 p.m., Sunday, April 2. This noteworthy event …

A tip, Dear Readers: The phrase “Ukrainian Egg Dying” is guaranteed to get your note to the top of my mailbag. Try saying it quickly and repeatedly. It’s delightful!

The only thing that could keep me cooped up inside the house with such exquisite weather outside is the writing of this, my weekly missive to you, Dear Readers. I hope you’re spending as much time out there as possible.

The latest issue of Editor & Publisher magazine has a feature called “10 Newspapers That Do It Right,” and my favorite local paper earned an honorable mention for its St. Helena Star/Napa Valley Vintners Tasting Panel, in which 20 to 25 grapegrowers, winemakers and other wine professiona…

I’m no sports fanatic, but I do get excited when the Giants start spring training. Maybe this will be the year they recapture the Spirit of ’14 … and ’12 … and ’10 …

My mailbag is bursting this week. Let’s start with an esteemed economist making an appearance in St. Helena …

Rad women, movies about women, a young woman making St. Helena proud — all coming your way ...

Cupid pulls back on his bow as Valentine’s Day approaches. May his aim be true, Dear Readers. So often we yearn for a blissful arrow through the heart yet get shafted right in the eye instead.

Infinite oodles of news and a very finite word limit in which to report it. Let’s start with some not-quite-ancient history …

What a week in politics, Dear Readers! Ready for some more? Then here you go …

No time for much preamble this week. My hopelessly spoiled cat is taking a few minutes between naps, leaving my lap temporarily unencumbered and freeing me up to write my weekly missive to you, Dear Readers. Writing my column and having a cat on my lap are two of my favorite past-times, but …

I hope you all weathered the storm safely. I managed to stay dry and, most important, warm and toasty – as I’m sure my utility bills will reflect.

January tends to be a slow time for community events, but not where the St. Helena Public Library is concerned. Gingerbread, literature, history, trees, art, one of the valley’s most genuinely exciting fundraisers – prepare for an all-library column.

What a cracking good storm that was last week! How ironic that just as water is seeming so plentiful, the price of the stuff is about to go up ...

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