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.

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If you’re anything like me, you gaze fondly at the adoptable animals featured in the weekly Pet Patrol feature from We Care Animal Rescue. But do you ever wonder what happens to them? If so, I have good news about Chester, the Maltese mix featured last week. Robyn and Joe Orsini saw his adorable little face and were reminded of the two Malteses they’d owned, who died two years ago after living to ripe old ages. They knew they had to have Chester and sure enough, they brought him home on Saturday. “He’s 9 years old and stone deaf,” Robyn writes. “But he’s very alert and affectionate. He’s incredibly happy to be adopted into our home, as are we.” She says Chester is already a beloved part of the family. Congratulations to Chester, huzzahs to Robyn and Joe, and thanks to We Care for taking care of Chester until he found his forever home.

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The UpValley Family Centers are celebrating Dia de los Muertos with a big community event at noon Sunday, Oct. 29, at the St. Helena Catholic School gym. But before that you have a chance to learn how to make paper flowers for Dia de los Muertos. There will be a workshop at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, at the St. Helena Presbyterian Church. If you can’t make it to that one, there’s another in Calistoga at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, at Calistoga Elementary School. Questions? Ask Rocio Escobedo at 965-5010 or rescobedo@upvalleyfamilycenters.org.

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In literary news, memoirist Diane Covington-Carter, author of “Eight Months in Provence: A Junior Year Abroad, 30 Years Late,” will talk about “Writing as a Path to Self-Discovery” at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the St. Helena Public Library. Covington-Carter’s writing has appeared in Hemispheres, Reader’s Digest, “Best Women’s Travel Writing 2011” and the Napa Valley Register, where she contributes travel stories. The Friends & Foundation, St. Helena Public Library, will provide refreshments.

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The White Barn’s 2017 season continues with Joe Galambos, a guitarist known for his crowd-pleasing local performances, at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22. Inspired by Andres Segovia, Galambos ranges from Spanish guitar to Latin jazz to contemporary classical to Asian selections – all without breaking a sweat. Tickets are $30 and worth every penny. Find more details at TheWhiteBarn.org or call 987-8225.

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The St. Helena Unified School District is cancelling classes through the rest of this week, with school resuming on Monday. I’m told that school staff, however, will be returning on Friday to prepare. Keep those kids at home or skip out of town for the next few days, but either way keep them out of the smoke.

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