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You know that fusty, burning-dust odor you smell when you fire up your heater after months of inaction? It smelled like fresh roses to me on Saturday because it signaled the coming of the cool autumn months. So long, triple digits! (Or so I hope ... )

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Craig Bond’s third annual A Cappella Festival returns to the St. Helena Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2. The acclaimed House Jacks will perform at the family-friendly show, along with four local ensembles: the St. Helena High School Chamber Choir, St. Helena Teen Choir, Vocal Color and Jazz@7. Tickets ($25 for adults, $10 for students) are available at the door or through brownpapertickets.com. You can also check the St. Helena Choral Society’s Facebook page.

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You can get a little preview of the aforementioned concert when Vocal Color performs the Rianda House Fall Concert at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Carnegie Building. Join Carolyn Bond, Linda Benton, Claire Daw, Gretchen de Limur, Randy Guerrieri, Bill Lyman, Frank Mueller and Michael Vivrette as they perform their eclectic repertoire. Donations are appreciated, and RSVPs are a must. Call 963-8555 ext. 101.

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This mild weather bodes well for the next sidewalk sale Friday through Sunday, Oct. 4-6, in downtown St. Helena. Expect special deals and ideal weather for strolling, with temperatures in the 80s.

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The Upper Napa Valley Republican Women will hold their next meeting on Monday, Oct. 14, at the American Legion Hall at 1291 Madrona Ave. David Wolfe from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association will discuss Prop 13. The event begins with a meet-and-greet at 11:30, followed by lunch at noon. RSVP by Oct. 9 to 963-3148.

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The St. Helena Police Department is holding its next “Cup with a Cop” from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company. Get to know the officers who protect our community, ask a question, or swap stories.

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St. Helena High School is inviting local parents to “The Well-Balanced Student,” a presentation by the nonprofit Challenge Success, at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7, at the St. Helena Performing Arts Center next to Vintage Hall. The free event explores how families “can establish healthier home environments for (their) school-aged children by reducing academic stress without sacrificing achievement.” Challenge Success encourages us to “embrace a broader definition of success and implement research-based strategies that promote student well-being and engagement with learning.” No charge, no need to RSVP.

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Farewell to Jessica Deakyne, who’d served as St. Helena’s assistant to the city manager since May. Jessica was lured back by her former employer, the city of Novato, which named her assistant city manager. The missing “to the” marks a significant step up in rank. At last week’s council meeting, City Manager Mark Prestwich thanked the capable Jess for her service and said she will be missed.

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Did you read last week’s story about “The Happy Ones,” the latest production by Upstage Napa Valley? It runs Oct. 4-20 at Grace Episcopal Church. Directed by Sharie Renault, the play examines a grief-stricken husband/father and the unlikely friendship that brings him solace. It sounds sad, but I’m told there are plenty of laughs along the way. The cast consists of Gabriel Frey, Tony Banthutham, Fred Ireland and Shannon Emery. Find tickets at upstagenapavalley.org.

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Speaking of Upstage Napa Valley, those of you who saw “Clever Little Lies” in May 2018 are sure to remember the mother played by Elaine Jennings of Calistoga. Now I hear that Elaine is appearing in the 6th Street Playhouse production of “Gypsy” playing through Oct. 20 in Santa Rosa. The musical would make a nice companion piece to “The Happy Ones.”

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The St. Helena Public Library will celebrate its new art exhibit with a reception for artist Aldo Solano at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10. Aldo’s sketches are on display through the end of October.

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Let’s salute St. Helena’s Campbell Berry, who just began his first year at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. Being admitted is quite an honor — he was selected from a pool of 8,339 applicants and joins a class of 474. That’s a rate of about 1 in 18. Well done, Campbell, and good luck.

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I’ll close with an update on Callie, the German Shorthaired Pointer that was hit by a car on North Crane Avenue on Aug. 25, leading to an outpouring of support and $8,740 donated toward her vet bills. Her owner, Autumn Anderson, says Callie is healing nicely for the most part, although she’s still fighting an internal infection in her abdomen that might require another surgery. Let’s hope some new antibiotics do the trick though — Callie’s been through enough already. Other than that, Callie’s broken leg is healing, she looks great and Autumn says, “We have been having a heck of a time keeping her mellow!” Get well soon, Callie. St. Helena’s rooting for you.

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