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A tale of two Calistogas: Two different stories across the Napa River during power shutoffs

A tale of two Calistogas: Two different stories across the Napa River during power shutoffs

CALISTOGA — The threat of another PG&E power shutoff, and the proximity of the Kincade Fire just over the border in Sonoma County, is cumulatively taking a toll on Calistoga.

Despite the smell of smoke, pink haze on the horizon, and rumors of chaos in Sonoma County, according to the Calistoga Fire Department, there were no plans for evacuation due to the Kincade Fire as of Saturday afternoon. Forces in Sonoma County are working on everything west of Knights Valley and north of the Napa County line. The Calistoga Fire Department is at full staff and planned to remain so throughout the night.

Calistoga Mayor Chris Canning said Napa County has a fire chief stationed in Sonoma County during the Kincade Fire, so communication will be facilitated more easily during this emergency event.

Activities on Saturday appeared to flow pretty normally in Calistoga. The Farmer’s Market was busy, people were dropping off hazardous waste at the county event at the fairgrounds, and tourists patronized downtown.

However, residents and businesses in town have been affected by the PSPS events on multiple fronts, some calculable, some not. Residents report stress and loss of sleep. Businesses report loss of revenue and worry about keeping employees. Further tension is building for those without power on the west side of town.

Because the PG&E generators at the Calistoga substation only power the town east of the Napa River, everything west is without power during these events.

That includes businesses in Riverlea Square Shopping Center at the corner of Petrified Forest Road and Foothill Boulevard.

Nick Gutierrez opened Soul Rebel Coffee in the center in January. His wife, Kyla Terry, owns 360 Salon & Day Spa, located in the space in front of the coffee shop. They have been trying to keep their businesses going by sharing a small generator, but have already lost thousands of dollars during this month’s PSPS.

“With Nick being closed, we’ve lost a huge portion of our month’s income, and that’s money you can’t make back,” Terry said.

Nearby Rancho de Calistoga Mobile Home Park, which is home to 184 seniors, is also without power during the PSPS events. Resident manager Lauren Haugen said she has been impressed with the way residents at the park have been coping with the outages, and many have purchased generators as backup.

Calistoga Inn, Restaurant & Brewery sits just on the west side of the river. It runs on two generators during the power outages, still business is down, said general manager Sal Cortez. Half of the 98 reservations on the books for lunch on Saturday were cancelled. Reservations for dinner were also down by half.

But the Inn is still doing better than Lovina and Pacifico restaurants, not 30 feet away. Neither of those establishments, also on Lincoln Avenue, and on the west side of the river, have generators.

Lovina owner Jennifer Piallat said she tried to rent a large generator and was told “nothing north of Los Angeles is available.” The restaurant was open for lunch on Saturday but closed for dinner. She is worried about loss of revenue, loss of product and keeping her 21 employees, when they could go work for Solage or one of the other restaurants on the east side of the river, she said. “It’s very frustrating.”

Likewise, Pacifico was closed Saturday evening and will stay closed until Monday, or when the power comes back on, the management said.

Piallat said one of her local customers at Lovina left a $100 tip on Saturday, to divide among the staff, and another tip for the kitchen.

You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at 942-4035 or

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The Weekly Calistogan Editor

Cynthia Sweeney has been editor of The Weekly Calistogan since July, 2018. Previously, she was a reporter for the St. Helena Star, and North Bay Business Journal. She also spent a significant amount of time freelancing in Hawaii.

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