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Laurie Furlani

Colleagues gave Community Service Officer Laurie Furlani a cake to celebrate her 30 years of service to the St. Helena Police Department.

I can’t testify as to the exact percentage of Italian blood in my veins, but Saturday’s Italian Heritage Month celebration made me feel so Italian that I’m half-inclined to rename my column “Zia Helena.” The festivities continue with a spaghetti and meatball dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Native Sons Hall. And then there’s the screening of “It Started in Naples,” starring Sophia Loren and Clark Gable, at 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28, at the Cameo. Cheers (or rather saluti) to Anthony Micheli for organizing everything.

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The UpValley Family Centers needs community volunteers to serve as tutors at St. Helena Primary and Elementary schools. Teachers have asked for tutors to help K-5 students with writing, reading and math for one hour a week. Morning availability is preferred, although after lunch would also do. Lenore Davis at the Family Center can walk you through the process, which requires Live Scan fingerprinting and a TB test. Contact her at 965-5010 or ldavis@upvalleyfamilycenters.org.

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Thirty years – that’s how long Community Service Officer Laurie Furlani has been serving the St. Helena Police Department, as of Sept. 30. Her colleagues commemorated the anniversary by presenting her with a little cake. The next time you see her on the street, give her a crisp salute and your warmest thanks.

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Don’t forget about the Community Potluck next Thursday, Oct. 17, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Lyman Park. Bring a dish to share and a chair, enjoy music by the Mike Greensill Trio, and spend quality time with your neighbors. If you bring an apple dessert, be sure to enter it in the bake-off.

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Right after the potluck, head over to the library at 7 p.m. for the “History of Blues in America,” led by music historian and guitarist Joey Leone. Learn about the history and cultural impact of the blues and witness the guitar chops that have earned Joey a spot onstage with the likes of Etta James, The Coasters, Chaka Khan and other famous acts.

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You might not have heard of Claude Shannon, but it’s hard to imagine the modern world without him. His 1948 paper introduced the idea of the “bit,” which became integral to today’s Information Age. The Cameo Cinema is screening “The Bit Player,” a documentary about Shannon, at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15. A Q&A will follow featuring Mark Levinson, who directed the film, and Andrea Goldsmith, professor of electrical engineering at Stanford. The screening is part of the Cameo’s ongoing Science on Screen program.

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Rianda House is such a part of the St. Helena community that it’s easy to forget it serves the entire Upvalley. Case in point: Rianda’s ongoing “History of Napa Valley” series continues when Daniel and John Merchant discuss the history of Calistoga’s Indian Springs Resort at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the Calistoga Community Center, 1307 Washington St. RSVP to Rianda at 963-8555 ext. 101.

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Kerry Baldwin and the crew at Silverado Orchards are holding an open house brunch from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, at 601 Pope St. Enjoy live music, tour model rooms, and learn about a special offer at the retirement community.

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Adios to Roosevelt, the imposing, 66-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton that was on display at Erin Martin Design for more than a year. An unidentified person — presumably a deep-pocketed dinosaur buff — bought him, but Erin isn’t naming any names.

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Bill Ryan brought back an amusing memory from many years ago when he, as president of the St. Helena Farmers’ Market board, held an Aunt Helena Look-a-like Contest. Bill recalls some spirited judging. “I always hoped that the real Aunt Helena would enter as a kind of ‘double agent’ winning her own contest,” he said. Who says I didn’t, Bill?

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