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Happy mid-December, Dear Readers. The wreaths are hung, the stars and angels are atop the tree, and neighbors are swapping their grandmothers’ recipes for mulled apple cider, all equally legendary. What a lovely time of year!

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Even outside the cineplexes, heroes abounded in 2017. The firefighters, pilots, police and bulldozer operators who stopped October’s horrific wildfires before they could engulf our town are true heroes, each and all. The response to the fires is sure to loom large at next April’s Red Cross 2018 California Northwest Heroes Breakfast. The Red Cross is accepting nominations through Jan. 26 in the following categories: Animal Hero, Blood Services Hero, Disaster Services Hero, Education Hero, Environment Hero, First Responder Hero, Healthcare Hero, Humanitarian Hero – Adult, Humanitarian Hero – Youth, International Services Hero, and Service to the Armed Forces Hero. Submit your nominations to redcross.org/CalNWHeroes2018.

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“Looking for that perfect holiday gift for the bibliophile on your list?” asks Maria Criscione Stel, executive director of the Friends & Foundation, St. Helena Public Library. She has the perfect idea: Tickets to the library’s third annual Bookmark Napa Valley are available for $150 at supportSHlibrary.org/events or by calling 307-3706. This year’s event, scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at Markham Vineyards, again features author and NPR correspondent Lisa Napoli, who will interview the other three writers: Lisa Dickey (“Bears in the Streets”), Ivy Pochoda (“Wonder Valley”) and Wiley Cash (“The Last Ballad”). That’s slightly different from previous years, in which each author gave a speech. You can buy books and meet the authors during the wine and book-signing reception, then enjoy dinner by Oak Avenue Catering and interviews with the authors in Markham’s Barrel Room. All proceeds benefit the library. Oh, and huzzahs to the library’s neighbor, the Napa Valley Vintners, for being a “First Edition Sponsor.”

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Huzzahs also to the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) for offering aid to agricultural and winery organizations in Ventura County. The NVG sent clothes and N95 masks (which we St. Helenans became all too familiar with in October), as well as a bilingual NVG Fire Resources Guide. In addition to those immediate needs, “we hope to provide support, perhaps in the form of lessons learned and also proactive erosion control, to landowners in Ventura,” the NVG said in a statement.

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On a lighter note, the Napa Valley Museum’s exhibit “France is a Feast: The Photographic Journey of Paul & Julia Child” received quite a bit of national press attention. Eric Risberg’s Associated Press story was picked up by the New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, ABC News, and even The Daily Mail over in the UK. Hats off to St. Helena’s Laura Rafaty and the rest of the crew that put together the exhibit, which runs through Feb. 18.

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Remember the days when folks like Bing Crosby and Judy Garland would hold those TV specials celebrating Christmas with jazzy, easygoing songs? That’s the inspiration for Blue Note Napa’s upcoming “Cool Yule” on Thursday, Dec. 14. St. Helena pianist extraordinaire Mike Greensill, Sandy Riccardi and Kellie Fuller will deliver the Christmas cheer during two performances at 7:30 and 9:30. Tickets start at $10 and are available at BlueNoteNapa.com. It’s a small space, so you’ll want to get a reservation in advance.

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The public is invited to the St. Helena Chamber of Commerce’s social from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, at the Wydown Hotel. There will be a hot cocoa bar, sweets and treats, four wineries pouring, and holiday photos by Pixelfete.

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