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Am I the only one dreading my next PG&E bill, Dear Readers? My heater has gotten quite a workout during the last few weeks. I wouldn’t be complaining if we’d only gotten some decent rain with all this cold.

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Let me start with an uplifting addendum to a story that might have made your blood boil when it ran in the Napa Valley Register and St. Helena Star in 2016. You might remember how Yesenia Guitron of St. Helena sued Wells Fargo Bank for firing her from its St. Helena branch in 2010. Her lawsuit claimed it was in retaliation for blowing the whistle on the sorts of unethical banking practices that have since become well-publicized. Now Yesenia is receiving a James Madison Freedom of Information Award in the Whistleblower category from the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists. “Since Wells Fargo’s misconduct was revealed in 2013, Guitron has finally been credited for giving early warnings about it,” the organization states. “She has testified in Congress and in a criminal case against Wells Fargo.” Well done, Yesenia. Thanks for speaking up.

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Upstage Napa Valley, the theater group currently presenting “Goldfish,” is holding an audition (7 p.m., Monday, March 5 at the St. Helena Presbyterian Church) for a particular role in an upcoming show. According to director Sharie Renault, they need someone to play a male lawyer in his late 50s or early 60s in the comedy “Clever Little Lies” by Joe DiPietro. The role will require rehearsals on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays beginning March 19, and performances on the first three weekends of May.

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I have two academic achievements to tell you about. First, Luke Myers of St. Helena has earned his way onto the Dean’s List at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, with a GPA of 3.66 or better. Luke is a senior attending the university’s College of Liberal Arts. Hats off to Luke!

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Don’t put those hats back on just yet. Leidy Tovar Almanza has made the Dean’s Honor List at Gettysburg College, with a GPA of 3.60 or higher. Congratulations, Leidy!

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Did you catch last week’s story about artist Layla Fanucci, in which she sang the praises of the St. Helena Catholic School? Now it’s my turn to sing her praises. Her work is being exhibited at the Walter Wickiser Gallery in New York City (in Chelsea, to be precise) May 24 through June 19. Layla will attend an opening reception and book signing on May 24, featuring wines from Charter Oak Winery & Vineyards right here in St. Helena. Be sure to send us some photos, Layla.

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Napa County Registrar of Voters John Tuteur sends word of a series of workshops on the Voter’s Choice Act and the various procedural changes for the June 5 primary election. The St. Helena meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 29, at the St. Helena Public Library, 1492 Library Lane. Learn about how all voters will receive a vote-by-mail ballot, with drop boxes located in population centers and in vote centers in each Napa County city (plus Angwin). If you can’t make it, get the skinny at countyofnapa.org/2121/The-Voters-Choice-Act.

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We all know that the best wine in the world comes from St. Helena – right? Well, there’s at least one local wine with legitimate bragging rights to that title. The Harlan Estate 2013 was recently named “Best Red Wine of the World” at the Best Wine of the World competition in Helsinki. It was the only American wine to take the top prize in any of the six categories: red, white, Champagne, sparkling, fortified and sweet.

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In closing, this is my last column before the Oscars ceremony, which of course is being broadcast live at the Cameo Cinema at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 4. Tickets are $25, you’re encouraged to bring an appetizer and dress as your favorite movie star. Ever since the nominations were announced, I’ve been on a mission to watch all nine Best Picture nominees. In the sort of classy move you’d expect of proprietor Cathy Buck, the Cameo will have managed to squeeze a whopping seven out of the nine nominees into its schedule since mid-January. The two exceptions, “Dunkirk” and “Get Out,” have already been out on video for months. I missed odds-on favorite “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” when it came to the Cameo in December, but I’ll have another chance on Friday and Saturday, thanks to some thoughtful scheduling by Cathy. May the best film (which is of course “Dunkirk” … no, “The Shape of Water” … no, “Lady Bird” … no, “Phantom Thread,” final answer) win.

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