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Happy birthday, U.S.A. That flag is still looking as gorgeous as ever.

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St. Helena’s Independence Day festivities start with the second annual bike parade at 4:45 p.m. on Hunt Avenue. The parade ends at Lyman Park, where the Saint Helena Community Band performs its annual Independence Day concert at 5:30 p.m., accompanied by free floats from A&W. Then head over to the Crane Park West Baseball Field for games beginning at 6:30. At 8:15 a concert by the Dixieland Band, an ensemble of the community band, will begin. Stay at Crane Park for the city’s fireworks show beginning at approximately 9:15 p.m.

And if you’re one of those purists who maintain that the Fourth of July isn’t truly the Fourth of July without a patriotic parade, head over to downtown Calistoga at 11 a.m. for the Napa County Fair Association’s Independence Day celebration. Just be sure to get back to St. Helena in time for the concert and the fireworks. I have it on good authority that our fireworks are more spectacular than Calistoga’s — and that’s not just St. Helena chauvinism talking.

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If you’re a world traveler, you’re probably aware that the Angwin Post Office provides passport services, which for whatever reason are not available in St. Helena. The next time you make a trek up there, say hello to Angwin Postmaster Marisol Diaz. She was honored at an installation ceremony last Friday. Congratulations, Marisol.

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Drivers should always be kind to pedestrians, but they should be extra-kind on Wednesday, July 24, when the St. Helena Police Department conducts what it’s calling a pedestrian safety enforcement operation and what I’d describe as a sting operation. Newly promoted Sgt. Steve Peterson warns that plainclothes officers and Volunteers in Police Services (VIPS) will be crossing the street while uniformed officers monitor the sidewalk for folks who fail to yield the right-of-way. Violators could get a warning (if they’re lucky) or a citation (if they’re not), and everyone should come away with a greater understanding of pedestrian right-of-way laws. Expect more details as the event approaches. And whether there’s a sting underway or not, please be considerate of that little old lady shuffling along the crosswalk at Main and Hunt – she might be me!

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With the turning of the calendar page comes a new event listing courtesy of the St. Helena Public Library’s Mariah McGuire. The library’s July events kick off with a Master Gardeners presentation on “Growing for the Birds” at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 9. If, like me, your heart leaps at the sight of a wren or a hummingbird investigating your backyard flora, I’m sure you’d love to learn more about how to create and maintain a bird-friendly garden where your winged friends can feel happy and safe. Although if you’re a big, blustering, bullying blue jay, I’d politely recommend that you investigate my next-door neighbor’s garden instead. I prefer the little birds.

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Describing the library’s next event entails a brief foray into the astral realm, so please bear with me. Widad is an energy healer who has applied decades of spirit/chi training to her own healing via the system of Chi Nei Tsang. Widad will share her experience with fluid painting, in which “paint is poured onto the canvas and the painter moves with the project in flow patterns,” as the library’s event calendar puts it. Intrigued? Attend Widad’s reception at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 11, at the library.

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While we’re still in a spiritual state of mind, let me remind you that Joan Comendant’s Tai Chi in the Park series starts at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, July 11, at Crane Park. The free weekly summer class is geared toward beginners, so just wear comfortable clothes and bring some water. RSVP to 963-8555 ext. 101.

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