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Geoff Ellsworth

On and off for the past 25 years, Geoff Ellsworth has been performing publicly as part of the “Towne Dandies.” On July 4, he dressed up and told everyone in Calistoga to “Stay Cowboy.”

The highlight of Calistoga’s Fourth of July parade, hands-down, was seeing a cowboyed-up Geoff Ellsworth, a member of the St. Helena City Council and a massively entertaining and good-natured individual, rocking away on an electric guitar and imploring us all to “Stay Cowboy.” To learn more about Ellsworth’s sideline as an entertainer with The Towne Dandies, visit his Youtube page, which is a hoot — a catchy diddy called “Rock Hard Abs” defies characterization most delightfully.

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This week’s Good Deed award goes to Shannon Staglin, president of Staglin Family Vineyard, and auto racer Rico Abreu for their donations of $100,000 and $150,000, respectively, to the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Helena and Calistoga for its new clubhouse in Calistoga. The donations will supply pool tables, computers, lab equipment, foosball tables, basketball equipment, iPads and other fun stuff to keep kids entertained, active and engaged.

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Nature Camp at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park deserves to be an Upvalley institution, and for many families it already is. This year’s Nature Camp is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, July 17, through Friday, July 21. A Teen Camp is set for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 19, through Friday, July 21, with an overnight teen campout on Thursday. The cost is $250 per child. Register at NimbusArts.org, or call 963-1683 or 963-5278 for information.

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Congratulations to Leslie Severe of the Napa County District Attorney’s office for being named “Investigator of the Year” by the California District Attorney Investigators’ Association. Severe has investigated the murders of Kayleigh Slusher and Anita Andrews, which both resulted in convictions – 37 years later, in Andrews’ case. She lectures on criminal justice at local colleges, helps organize the Law Enforcement Torch Run that goes through St. Helena, and (perhaps most impressive of all) has earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees during her off-hours. Great work, Leslie.

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Calendars out, art lovers. Artist Layla Fanucci’s latest book “Striking a Creative Note: Passion to Process” is being published in August, and she’ll be signing copies at 5 p.m. Oct. 7 at the opening of her solo art exhibit at Robert Mondavi Winery, 7801 St. Helena Highway in Oakville.

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Wine Spectator is out with its 2017 Restaurant Awards, honoring the best wine lists. As you’d imagine, St. Helena made a strong showing. The Restaurant at Meadowood was a “Grand Award Winner,” the new Acacia House at Las Alcobas received a “Best of Award of Excellence,” and Farmstead, Cook and Goose & Gander each won an “Award of Excellence.” You can find the full list at winespectator.com.

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Ferenc Brunner, frequent contributor to the Star’s opinion page, has completed a new literary project. “The Adventures of Cougar” is a multi-volume illustrated collaboration between Ferenc and his wife Cheryl Olsen. The two volumes I’ve seen, “Cougar and the Company He Keeps” and “Cougar’s Dreams,” tell fantastical, psychedelic stories that Ferenc says are intended to inspire creativity and bring people together. “Cougar, a mythical cat descended from the feline deities of ancient Abyssinia, inherited the capacity to go anywhere in the universe,” one of them starts, and just gets wilder from there. Ferenc invites everyone to get a free copy at the St. Helena Public Library. Find out more at sthelenacommunitymindtasting.net or email ferenc@sthelenalive.com.

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My condolences to the family and loved ones of Kirby Tubb, former director of food services at St. Helena Unified School District. She died June 10, and I’ve heard from several former colleagues who were shaken when they heard the news. Kirby had a passion for keeping local kids healthy, happy and ready to learn. I’m told that services will be private.

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