Aunt Helena
Aunt Helena returns next week

Aunt Helena

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Despite the lack of a Memorial Day ceremony this year, I doubt I was the only person who felt compelled to walk the St. Helena Cemetery on Monday in quiet contemplation of those who have served and died in war. As I stood next to the war memorial at the entrance to the cemetery, there was no bugle playing Taps, no somber melodies, no moving speeches or prayers – only the birds singing overhead and the sense that, even if just in the privacy of our homes, an entire community was taking part in a silent but profound expression of gratitude.

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I was itching to spread the word, but I didn’t want to spoil the surprise. Friends of children’s librarian Leslie Stanton have been quietly amassing dozens of photos of kids and adults holding their favorite books. The photos were compiled into a video posted Saturday to celebrate Leslie’s birthday. Search Youtube for “Happy Birthday, Leslie the Librarian,” and treat yourself to seven and a half minutes of adorable bookworms. (And I must say: Austen, Stegner, Dahl, Melville, Saunders, Rowling, Carle, Joyce – you all have impeccable taste.)

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In related news, the St. Helena Public Library finally has its own Facebook page. Elsie the Library Cat’s page, with its 17,000+ followers, isn’t going anywhere, but keep an eye on the library’s new page for the latest library news.

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I hear that 77 people took part in the amazingly free Cameo Cinema’s Zoomfari on Saturday morning, a live virtual visit to Safari West. The giraffees cooperated, for the most part, and Cameo Cinema owner Cathy Buck was resplendent in her pith helmet. And, think of this ... none of us had to leave home to go on an African safari. Please support the Cameo’s virtual screenings – they’re sustaining the theater until the day (soon, let’s hope) when COVID-19 has subsided enough to allow for large gatherings. Find the latest movies and programs at cameocinema.com.

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Let’s hear it for Lindsay Martin (St. Helena High School Class of 2018), who earned a spot on the spring honor roll at the University of Mississippi, aka Ole Miss. You might remember her as an outstanding Saints volleyball player who was a two-time finalist for All-Napa County Player of the Year. Smart and athletic – all the best to you, Lindsay.

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Let’s also celebrate St. Helena’s Arden Heminway, who made the spring dean’s list at Northeastern University. Well done, young lady!

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And don’t forget Adriana Gomes, who was inducted into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, described as “the nation’s oldest and most selective all-discipline collegiate honor society.” Adriana attends Chico State. Congratulations, Adriana!

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Old-timers might remember Duane Murray, a reserve officer who retired from the St. Helena Police Department in 2001. I’m sad to learn that Duane, in his late 70s, died of cancer May 13 in Arizona. Let’s remember Duane for his decades of service to our town. My condolences to his family.

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In happier SHPD news, congratulations to newly promoted Lt. Justin Tharp and Sgt. Fil Bianco, and welcome to Dispatcher Iris Solana. Iris was born and raised in St. Helena until her sophomore year, when her family moved to Napa. She’s spent eight years as a project manager for Ogletree’s here in St. Helena, and she’s seeking an associate degree in Administration of Justice at Napa Valley College. Welcome to the force, Iris.

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