As we reel once again with the all too common news reports of tragedies like Manchester and London, we need to remember how relatively safe and secure we are here at home. As residents, we all know how great living in St. Helena can be and while issues with traffic, parking and financial stresses are very real and solutions should be found, there is still much for which to be grateful.

Just this last week, the Las Alcobas officially opened. Having watched the Grandview fall into disrepair over the years, I found it very satisfying to see the property beautifully upgraded and filled with people. At the ribbon cutting event there were tributes and thank-yous to the people who put not only their time into the project, but their passion, creativity and themselves into making their dream a reality. To show appreciation to St. Helena, the owners donated $10,000 to the Rianda House, much to the surprise of Executive Director Julie Spencer. It was a heartwarming moment and further indication that the Las Alcobas, while working on their parking and neighborhood issues, wants to be a good neighbor and participating member of this community for a long time.

I had the privilege to attend one of the Charter Oak’s pre-opening workshops and was impressed by the attention to detail. Not only to the food, which, of course, is exquisite, but from the remodeling of the building to the way they present the food, table, and the menus, it is obvious that a lot of heart, soul and themselves went into this project. Good luck and congratulations to Chef Christopher Kostow and Nathaniel Dorn. This week’s opening is much anticipated and I would venture to guess because of its great food and its genuine and authentic scene and proprietors, it will soon be a staple for locals in St. Helena as much as our other beloved establishments.

This week, we kick off our 29th season of Musical Picnics on Thursday. How great that this fun event continues in St. Helena! The bands this year are scouted from Porchfest, Bottlerock, Silo’s and Napa City Lights and we have a few St. Helena locals in the bands this year. We have your picnic covered by food trucks and wineries in case you don’t have time to pick something up before. Come out to Lyman Park on the second and fourth Thursday in June, July and August to relax with your neighbors in a great setting.

We are extremely thankful for the amazing work of the Napa Valley Vintners and the Coppola family for this year’s Auction Napa Valley, which is poised to bring in more than $15 million for community needs. This Auction is not only an incredible annual gesture to our community, but is a boon for our economy since the event is still, as it always has been, held at Meadowood in St. Helena.

The Auction, along with the over $320,000 scholarships handed out to St. Helena High School students last Thursday, also shows how businesses, philanthropists, and nonprofits continue to invest in and give back to this community. Donations of food, wine, as well as money by our local businesses continue to assist our nonprofits and organizations, which contribute to our thriving community.

The St. Helena business community and the Chamber are grateful to the greater St. Helena community for appreciating the hard work, investment and creativity it takes to fulfill our dreams of opening our businesses, making our livings and raising our families here.

We are dedicated to the welfare of our town. It’s in our best interest to have a healthy, happy, well rounded community and we happily promote, by way of our website, the great assets St. Helena has to offer in order to attract families, long term residents and neighbors who will keep our traditions alive.

We are thankful for our local customers and continue to serve them as well as visitors. This is why business continues to generously give back to the community; to show our gratitude, to be a part of the community and to preserve our unique, safe and secure quality of life here in St. Helena.

Editor’s Note: Pam Simpson is president and CEO of the St. Helena Chamber of Commerce.

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