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Nothing says spring like garden work, and I mean that in a positive way. The St. Helena Community Garden came alive for its ninth year Saturday, with 30 members preparing their spring gardens. Scott Snowden helped out by collecting and hauling away a pickup truck load of weeds. Thanks, Judge!

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Remember the open house at the old Goodman’s space where hundreds of people weighed in on St. Helena’s upcoming streetscape improvements. Well, it’s time for Part 2. The next community stakeholder meeting will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at the firehouse. You can also weigh in at a booth at Friday’s St. Helena Farmers’ Market. If you aren’t familiar with the project, get up to speed at cultivatesthelena.com.

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I have an update on Barbara Alexander, formerly of the Napa Valley Cooking School. She’s leading a trip a cheese festival in the Piemonte region of Italy, Sept. 18-25. The town of Bra is home to an international event devoted to cheese, wine, charcuterie, bread and pasta. The trip will also feature visits to iconic cheesemakers, wineries, farms, Michelin-starred restaurants – there’s even a truffle hunt. Hungry yet? If you’re interested, contact Karen@manymoretravels.com or (877) 612-2110.

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Napa City Councilmember Doris Gentry will speak at the May meeting of the Upper Napa Valley Republican Women Federated on Monday, May 13, at Harvest Table, 1 Main St. at the Harvest Inn. There’s a meet-and-greet at 11:30, followed by lunch at noon. This meeting features the fashion show that’s becoming an annual event for the club. It sounds like a hoot! RSVP to 963-3148 by Wednesday, May 8.

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The UpValley Partnership for Youth is hosting a presentation for parents regarding drug trends at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, at the St. Helena Performing Arts Center at St. Helena High School. It’s an opportunity to get the facts about drugs and how to protect your family. Admission is free.

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Where do you stand on The Charter Oak? I love it, especially the burger, but I’m the sort of half-hearted foodie who can merely tell you what I like and don’t like without being very articulate about it. Anyway, The Charter Oak is opening for daily lunch starting Monday, May 6 – so far lunch had been limited to Friday and Saturday, with brunch on Sunday. Also starting May 6, the restaurant is launching a take-out program. One burger to go please!

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I wonder if they could throw in a mint julep? After all, the Kentucky Derby is Saturday. Long Meadow Ranch is hosting its annual Kentucky Derby party at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4. A portion of the proceeds benefits the St. Helena Cooperative Nursery School. There are prices for “Best Dressed” and “Best Hat,” so don’t be shy. Tickets are $15 and, of course, include a mint julep — but only one. Kids are free and don’t get any mint juleps, for obvious reasons. Get tickets at LongMeadowRanch.com.

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Steve and Judy Padis, proprietors of Romance St. Helena and three other jewelry stores in San Francisco, were granted a spot in National Jeweler’s Retailer Hall of Fame. National Jeweler Magazine, published by Jewelers of America, honored the couple as a Multi-Store Independent Hall of Fame Recipient. “We are truly honored to be inducted into the National Jeweler Hall of Fame,” Steve Padis said. “Our family has been committed to offering exclusive jewelry from the time I was at UC Berkeley selling jewelry on Telegraph Avenue. Over the years we have built a reputation for selection, value and integrity and being added to the National Jeweler Retailer Hall of Fame is a welcome recognition for our years of hard work.”

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It was great to see postman Kevin Gambill out and about delivering mail on Main Street last Thursday, filling in for a carrier who had called in sick. “It’s nice to see you,” a passerby told Kevin, who’s usually inside the post office these days. “It’s nice to be seen,” he responded cheerfully.

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