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Infinite oodles of news and a very finite word limit in which to report it. Let’s start with some not-quite-ancient history …

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Local historian Jay Greene is taking on the colorful duo of Andrew Jackson and Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, with “Old Hickory & the Iron Duke,” a two-part lecture series at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7 and 21, at the St. Helena Public Library. Each won a major military battle in 1815: the Battle of New Orleans for Jackson and the Battle of Waterloo for Wellington. They came from decidedly different backgrounds: the Tennessee frontier for Jackson and the ballrooms of Europe and colonial India for Wellington. They never met, but Jay will explain why they both made a profound impact on their respective countries. The talks are graciously sponsored by the Friends & Foundation, St. Helena Public Library.

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The First Presbyterian Church in Napa celebrated its 162nd anniversary on Jan. 22, and at least two of the participants will be familiar to St. Helenans: Beclee Wilson, Napa Valley Poet Laureate, and Nancy Levenberg, executive director of the Napa County Historical Society and former president/CEO of the St. Helena Chamber of Commerce. The church sent out a photo of them with the message, “We extend many heartfelt thanks to these two wonderful women who participated in our worship service and added tremendously to our joyous celebration.” Well done, Beclee and Nancy.

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Soroptimist of St. Helena Sunrise is hosting a bingo night to benefit Rianda House at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at the Native Sons Hall. Cash prizes, hot dogs, chili, snacks, wine, beer – sounds like a grand time. A $25 donation gets you nine games.

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I occasionally pass on news about which local students have made the honor roll at faraway colleges, but Shannon Nolan’s achievement is even more distinguished. The St. Helena High School grad (Class of 2010) and University of Washington alum was one of four Middlebury Institute MBA students on a team that won the Business for a Better World Case Competition, which took place Jan. 19 in Davos, Switzerland, in tandem with the World Economic Forum. Shannon’s team brought home $6,000 and a crystal trophy. Their proposal “A Purposeful Tilt” used the “tilting” strategy of a well-diversified portfolio to generate impact, according to a statement from Middlebury, which adds, “The team gave added weight to firms based on their proprietary financial and impact evaluation, and created a dynamic model that can be adapted to meet the specific needs of a target market.” To which I can add only my throatiest huzzahs for Shannon’s hard work and prestigious recognition.

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Whichever side of the political aisle you hail from, Dear Readers, there’s no denying that changes are afoot. The Internet, confirmation bias and those suddenly famous “alternative facts” will be among the ideas explored in Jeff Schechtman’s upcoming Napa Valley College class “Local Politics & Local Media in the Digital Age.” The class will explore “how digital media and new technologies are shaping our local elections and our local debates,” with guests including local journalists, local elected officials, political consultants and community activists. The class takes places over four Tuesdays, Feb. 7-28, at the main campus in Napa. Register at NapaValley.edu.

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