After several years of reading, "Slices of Life", you can probably guess whats coming this week. Yes, I made an automobile trip to western Pennsylvania last weekend, and I was once again enthralled by the scenery.
"Spring green" is the only way to describe what was happening in the woods, lawns and along the highways. I tried to analyze this color that we see for such a few days of the year. The best I can do is to describe it as an olive green mixed with a soft yellow. What a mood lifter. Then there were whole hillsides still bare of leaves but painting a wide swath of red as the tree buds emerged.
The creeks were swift and bank-full. Filled with melted snow, they rushed in reckless abandon over rocks, around bends, under bridges. When I see this I am always reminded of the creek that ran by my childhood home and the wonders we would find in and around it. The year that stands out in my mind is when we found the nests filled with duck eggs.
With the swiftness of the water, Im not sure if the fishermen were having much success, but they were out in large numbers. What appeared to be a father/son duo were trying their luck under the highway bridge just outside of Troy. The little boy didnt seem too thrilled with the outing by the way he was hanging back and shifting from one foot to the other. But by the time Id finished my hot dog and secured my coffee for takeoff, the child reluctantly had his hook in the water. I do hope he caught something.
When I arrived at my destination, there under another bridge that crossed Potato Creek was a gaggle of boys maybe ten to twelve years old, fishing lines tangled, cans of worms waiting for their demise, and rain dampening the whole operation. I remembered, with nostalgia, the stories my husband told about the hours he had spent in that same spot as a young boy. And how he and his Dad had faithfully fished that whole stretch of the creek that ran behind their house. It became a hobby that he pursued with enjoyment and enthusiasm for the rest of his life.
Saturday was being observed as Earth Day by several solitary people cleaning up roadways and creeks. This was an uplifting sight. We usually think of an Earth Day cleanup as a group venture, but one by one, people of many ages were pulling debris from streams using long poles. Others were dragging garbage bags behind them as they cleaned up the roadways. I felt guilty and realized I would need to do my share on another day.
Farmers were plowing, laying the red soil layer upon layer as their big tractors maneuvered around the fields. Promise of things to come.
The trip back started in a downpour so heavy the wipers could not clear the windshield, but by the time I hit Towanda, the rain was done and the now-and-then sun was warm for a moment on the bushes sporting pinks, greens, yellows, lilacs and whites. Nature had shown me all her bounty that day. It was a perfectly wonderful weekend for a trip out scenic Route 6.
LENOX: Three of our young men, Claude Harvey, Lloyd Coil, and Arthur Hoppe, will be graduated from the Nicholson high school this spring.
SPRINGVILLE: The newly installed officers of Maple Lodge, I.O.O.F., at Springville, are noble grand, A.O. Dunlap; vice-grand, D.D. Layton; secretary, E.R. Lake. The lodge has membership of over eighty, and $2,000 in cash, while the lodge property is valued at $750. AND: At Lynn, Miss Allie Dawson is teaching a term of select school here. She is one of the graduates at Springville this year.
HERRICK CENTRE: A horse and buggy that was left standing in front of P.H. Flynn's hotel, Sunday, was frightened by the [railroad] cars and ran away. The animal was not caught until it reached E.H. Ledyard's five miles away. No damage to the rig.
ARARAT: Willie Meade, a bond boy of W. L. Leach, has left for parts unknown, taking the opportunity while Mr. Leach was away from here.
SOUTH GIBSON: While in town yesterday, Secretary Hay subpoenaed the three Mormon Elders of this place for the Smoot trial. He went from here to Harford, as he had the names of several of the Mormons of that town on his subpoena. [In 1902 Reed Smoot was elected to the United States Senate from the State of Utah. Before seating the senator-elect the U.S. Senate conducted lengthy hearings (1903-1907) into his alleged involvement in plural marriage and into the policy and government of the Mormon Church. Charges against Senator Smoot and the Church proved groundless.]
NORTH BRANCH (Middletown Twp.): Mr. Baldwin expects to open his skimming station about May 10th, under management of James Conboy, of Jackson [Valley].
MONTROSE: J.C. Beck's horseless carriage has been put out of commission, by accident. AND: The base ball season will open here Saturday, May 7th. The Montrose Athletics will play the Superbas of Binghamton and an exciting time may be looked for. The Athletics are in better shape than ever, with new uniforms, new players, etc. The line up for the Athletics is: Conklin, catcher; Hover, pitcher; Gardiner, 1 base; Rice, 2 base; Shafer, short stop; Lott, 3 base; Bush, left field; Strouse, center field; Brush, right field.
SUSQUEHANNA: James Paye, whose horse, wagon, implement and harness emporium, on Grand street, is well and favorably known to the public, has the finest display of vehicles of the best grades ever seen in Susquehanna. The assortment comprises a carload of hand-made wagons of different styles at prices to suit the needs and means of all.
FRIENDSVILLE: His descendants in Susquehanna county will be interested to learn that a monument to the gifted author, the late Gerald Griffin (Brother Joseph), is to be erected in Limerick, Ireland. The monument will take the form of schools, and will be built on the site of the court house in which Gerald reported for a newspaper the trial of the case whose incidents furnished him with the idea of his greatest novel, "The Collegians."
SILVER LAKE: The ice entirely disappeared from the lake on April 25th, but snow drifts between here and Binghamton were still visible April 30th.
TUNKHANNOCK: The new Packer House pet bear, "Rob," draws many people to the lawn in front of the hotel to watch his laughable antics. He appears to appreciate the fine weather even more than "humans." AND: The Tunkhannock quoit club pitches for the championship of Wyoming and Susquehanna counties at Conrad's place Saturday afternoon.
NEW MILFORD: Street Commissioner Valles, on Wednesday, had the Shields quarry traction engine running over the Croker stones in the road above the Main Street Bridge, leaving them in very good shape.
BIRCHARDVILLE: A pretty wedding occurred at the home of Milton E. Warner. The bride being Mrs. Warner's sister, Irania L. Dayton and the groom, D. Frederick Birchard. The bride was dressed in gray crepe de chine, carrying white carnations; the groom wearing the conventional black. Miss Anna Dayton, the bride's sister, acted as bridesmaid, wearing white and carrying pink carnations, and Mr. Barton Baldwin, as groomsman.
CHOCONUT: Jeremiah Regan, of Choconut, was married last Saturday, to a widow lady, Mrs. Laura Lown, from Binghamton. Last night a party of 12 or 15 neighbors went to his home to tender the newly wedded couple a serenade--sometimes poetically in polite society referred to as "a horning" using a bell for a chorus. Not being invited in, they were starting away, when some one came out of the Regan house, while the party was on Mr. Donnelly's premises, and fired a shot gun at the party. The charge taking effect in the body of Joseph Maroney, aged about 16 years, seriously injuring him, how badly is not known now. [Another account reads as follows: In the country where young people gather to serenade in an untimely manner a newly married couple the usual procedure is to make merry for a while until the bridegroom appears and asks the party to his home and then the spirit of good will and genial hospitality mingle; the result being a happy evening for all. It is alleged that the party that made the night hideous with a large bell, horns and good lungs were not invited to the Regan home. Perhaps one reason why the noisy serenaders were not thusly favored is that a son of the bridegroom, Frank Regan, was on the first night one of the offenders. It is stated that such was the case. The next night they came again with the bell and horn, and on Wednesday night the third and last visit which terminated in a tragedy and put an end to a silly and foolish custom that antedates history. On Wednesday night Frank Regan, who had before then assisted in the "horning," began to think he ought to stay at home and show some filial affection. When the band of noise makers came and stationed themselves in a field across the road from the Regan house, Frank thought that three nights in succession was more than enough. He took a shotgun and, as alleged, went out in a field across the road... the gun failed to shoot and Regan took the gun in the house to fix it. In the meantime the boys thought that Regan was joking and considered his action a huge bluff. They continued to ring the bell and blow the horns and hurrah for Regan. Young Regan, however, was in no joking humor, for without warning he pulled the gun, which he had fixed and deliberately shot into the crowd wounding Joseph Maroney. Dist. Atty. R.R. Little visited the scene of the tragedy and on Thursday afternoon Frank and William [a brother] Regan were arrested.
Researching your family? Visit the Society's web site, www.susqcohistsoc.org.
Election Turnout Declining
All things considered, the turnout at last weeks Primary Elections in Susquehanna County was not bad but it did continue a countywide decline in primary voting that began eight years ago. Actually 30 percent of the registered voters went to the polls, good enough to push the 2004 turnout into sixth place in primary voting over the past 10 years.
Of course, there wasnt much on the local scene and both parties had already selected the Presidential candidates, so there really was no need to leave the dishes in the sink and run to the polls. Nevertheless, it is frightening to see the way election turnouts are declining. And while the optimist would suggest that a 30 percent vote is acceptable, the pessimist would point out that it is the fourth lowest primary vote in the county during the past 18 years.
Equally as concerning is that the 30 percent turnout reflects the best showing in a presidential primary election year since 1992. Want more information that will boggle your mind? Consider this. In 1992, when Bill Clinton upset President George Bush, the turnout in the countys Primary Elections was 47.5 percent. Four years later, when President Clinton defeated Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, the turnout was 27 percent. And in the 2000 Primary Election the voter turnout in Susquehanna County was 23 percent. In the presidential primary of 1988, the county vote was 50 percent but the year before it was 66 percent.
Moreover, my friends, the problem is not limited to just voter turnout at the polls. It is beginning to impact on the effectiveness of municipal government. Are you aware of the fact that many of our municipalities lack candidates for key positions, such as mayor, councilman, supervisor, and school directors? In many boroughs and townships, candidates for reelection are unopposed because nobody wants the job. On school boards, directors run uncontested term-after-term-after-term because no body wants the responsibility.
One of the main reasons why municipal government may be in line for a listing among the endangered species is apathy. The sad part of all this is the so-called political leaders in the county dont seem to give a hoot about municipal elections. The heads of both parties ignore what is happening in municipalities throughout the county. On the Democrat side of the spectrum, the leadership is totally lacking, and on the Republican side the leadership is too busy catering to county, state and national office holders to pay attention to the municipalities. County Republicans hold an annual rally for Don Sherwood. When was the last time you heard of a political party in this county sponsoring a rally for municipal candidates or school board candidates?
The two-party system is the backbone of American democracy. It should be the responsibility of the county chair of both political parties to make certain there are candidates for all elective positions at every election. It is extremely difficult to win an election without a candidate.
And forget about John Q. Public. He just doesnt have time for local government. He has his fishing and hunting trips, bowling, golfing, a hand of poker now and then, the annual trip with the kids to a baseball game or amusement park, dinner at the club a couple of nights a week, Lions or Rotary club meetings... nah, John Q. hasnt got the time to find out where his tax dollars are being spent. And he may not care. I can remember covering a school board meeting a few years ago and there was a difference of opinion among a rather large audience, over the cost of a proposed school expansion. One parent said, "I dont care how much it raises my taxes as long as my kids attend a school that looks as good as the other schools around here."
I truly believe that if the apathy in this county continues, ultimately it will destroy municipal government as we now know it. One-by-one our cozy and comfortable little towns will be merged into large municipalities with rising costs for services, schools, police and fire protection. Taxes will escalate, and our beautiful countryside will become an asphalt jungle.
I am all for the age of computers, scientific research, new inventions and discoveries, and all that our intelligent minds can conjure up to make life a bit easier during our stay here on earth. We have organizations dedicated to saving everything from antelopes to whales. We have historical groups who are doing great things to preserve our heritage, our customs and our architecture. We have environmental organizations to fight for land and water preservation. When do we get around to preserving our municipalities?
ANOTHER "Great" Cartoon Was seen in a city paper. It shows a US General briefing President Bush on the war status "Mr. President we have succeeded in uniting the Iraqis against us!"
In addition to cartoons over the past several weeks the "war" has escalated so much that terrorists are killing hundreds. April saw the deaths of hundreds of Americans, hostages taken, a 20-year old American was seen being held captive. Hundreds of terrorists and Iraqis are also being killed. Why is this happening? Mr. Bush declared the war over months ago. Its worse now than during the war. Ate least you knew "you were in the line of fire" during the war. But now, you must be on guard every second, worrying about the enemy, including Iraqis. So much is going on, that I sincerely believe Washington hasnt told us the truth about many, many things. Granted, some things military must be kept secret, but as I repeat, "we are in the dark on many secret meetings, and many of the countrys top officials are also in the dark in regard to the status of the war in Iraq." (We should know the truth, unless to reveal it would hurt our effort to end the war.)
COST OF WAR "Sky High" Increased violence in Iraq is pushing the cost of the war over budget by as much as $4 billion. Billions more will be needed for the rest of the year. The war is costing an estimated $4.7 billion a month.
MILK ON THE "Rise" The Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board has raised milk across the state to record levels. The changes take effect May 1. Milk, in large cities will go up about 55¢ a gallon. A gallon will cost around $3.50, in most cities.
THOUSANDS Homeless in NYC Hundreds of volunteers counting the homeless in New York City, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, the subways and naturally, the streets, found over 2,694 homeless. Mind you, now, this is in only the NYC area. How many are homeless in the United States is not known (as of now), but you can bet many of the homeless are war veterans shunned by the US government and the Veterans Administration.
DO YOU REMEMBER "any of the following?" The following Tid-Bits were taken from the "Susquehanna Cheers 100 Years" book published in August, 1953 it contains history from 1853 to 1953.
Pictured are three officers of the Chemical Fire Co., Bob McCarthy, Tom McMahon and George Fordyce.
Pictured are 12 young ladies vying for "Centennial Queen" title. Does anyone remember their names? (I know a few.)
pictured as B-I-G as life, is Bob Langford standing near his Perrine Furniture truck.
Another photo, "Can You Name Them?" had no names listed. To me they are/were Joe Kent, George Reddon, Harold Perry and Tom Reddon.
Another photo shows the scrap drive for WW 2. A huge pile was located on Main Street. I believe a car was first prize for the most scrap delivered. The drive was held in May, 1942. (Who remembers who won the car?)
Many interesting photos appear in the book such as the "Five members of the executive committee." (No names available.)
Also another photo of the "Sisters of the Swish" appears. Again no names available.
A photo of a "Lanesboro Baseball Team," under the managership of Clyde Crosier and Mr. Taylor. Some of the players: John Storer, Dom Battisti, Luke Balmer, Al Mauro, John Battisti, Steve (Pip) Grausgruber, Rex Keyes, Pat Parrillo, Art Whittington, Slick Beautz (two unidentified).
A FEW QUICK ONES Your town is so small. Ill bet the only activity is at the Post Office. Whats a Post Office? This is an awfully small town, isnt it? No, the towns pretty big. There just aint nearly enough people in it. Our town used to have a curfew, but we repealed it. How come? Every time the bell rang at nine oclock, itd wake everybody up. Man, this town is really back in the sticks. Naw, were only 15 minutes from Knoxville by telephone. Do they have drivers education classes in town? They did for a while, but then the mule died.
A GOOD SWAP I heard you got a real nice car for your wife. I know your wife, it sounds like you made a good deal.
A BIRTHDAY PRESENT I got my uncle a seven-piece camping outfit for his birthday. A sleeping bag and a six-pack.
FIRST WOMAN Did you see the sweater I knitted for Mary? (Very buxom woman) replied "I thought you were making the sweater for me." First woman: I was, but I didnt have enough yarn.
In October 2002, a 20-year old college student gave birth to a baby boy in a dormitory shower at Clarion University in Clarion, Pennsylvania. None of her friends or family was aware that she was pregnant, as she had somehow managed to conceal the pregnancy. The student then wrapped paper towels around the infant and placed the infant into a duffel bag, which she then left in a trash bin near her dormitory. The student claimed that she believed the baby had been stillborn, but an autopsy suggested that the infant had been suffocated. The body was found and criminal charges followed. In November 2003, the student pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter was sentenced to serve a two (2) year period of incarceration, followed by seven (7) years of probation. The charge of involuntary manslaughter requires a showing that a person acting recklessly or with gross negligence caused the death of another person.
The obvious reaction to such a crime is outrage and disbelief. How could a mother do such a thing to a helpless newborn infant? Unfortunately, such killings happen all too often. For instance, an identical scenario occurred in Massachusetts recently, another college student giving birth in a dormitory shower, wrapping the infant in towels, and then throwing the infant into a dumpster. In that case, the mother received a sentence of imprisonment of eleven (11) months, followed by a period of probation. These occurrences have been so common that the problem has been referred to callously as "dumpster babies."
Susquehanna County has not been immune to this type of case. I have worked on one similar case where a juvenile female gave birth to the child at home, took the infant into her bed to go back to sleep, and the infant died. In that case, the juvenile female did not demonstrate the callous disregard for the defenseless child as those mothers described above, but her conduct clearly led to the death of the infant. In many instances, the young mother is confused, depressed or suffering from a mental illness, which ultimately causes the mother to take the fatal steps that lead to the death of the infant.
In response to this horrific phenomenon, Pennsylvania enacted a law entitled the Newborn Protection Act. Under this particular legislation, a person may take a newborn child, defined as any child being 28 days old or younger, to any hospital and leave the child with no questions asked. In order to qualify, a parent must clearly communicate the intent to abandon the child, and there can be no evidence that the child has been abused in any manner. The hospital then takes custody of the child and contacts the local Children and Youth Services Agency and local law enforcement officials. Efforts are then made to notify any non-consenting parents of the abandonment, and take appropriate steps if no parent or relative can be located, including placing the child in an appropriate home.
This program is known as the "Safe Haven." Public awareness of this program is essential to its success in saving other children. In fact, many other states have adopted similar statutes, and the laws have been successful, as individuals have taken advantage of the law and left newborn infants at a local hospital, where the infant was given the opportunity to survive and live. For further information regarding the Safe Haven, contact the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare at www.dpw.state.pa or call the Office of Children, Youth and Families at (717) 787-3984.
The pressures, stress, mental infirmities and/or other forces that would lead a mother to consider such destructive conduct toward a newborn infant are difficult to comprehend. Aside from the support of family and friends, this potential destructive behavior cannot easily be prevented. If it is not prevented, there will be criminal charges, with potential criminal penalties as severe as the death penalty and/or life in prison. The Safe Haven provides confused mothers with an opportunity to save the life of their child. If the life of the child is not enough, the potential criminal liabilities provide the only other deterrent to stop infanticide.
Please submit any questions, concerns, or comments to Susquehanna County District Attorneys Office, P.O. Box 218, Montrose, Pennsylvania 18801.
I am ashamed to say only fifty-three voters exercised their civic duty to vote on Tuesday, the twenty-seventh.
Our Postmaster, Paul Zeffrich, has been appointed to the same position in Hop Bottom, which is his hometown. Mary Anne Saam is subbing for two weeks, then Joe White of Pleasant Mount will take over here as Postmaster.
On Pauls last day here, which was Friday, the twenty-third, on his noon break Barbara and Roger Glover invited him for lunch. I was invited also, and we had a pleasant social hour.
The spaghetti and meatball dinner put on by the Baptist Sunday School was a big success. Enough money was taken in to ensure seven children a seat on the bus and a trip to "Sight and Sound" in Lancaster, PA to see the drama of "Noah."
The eight local Girl Scouts are looking forward to trip on June 5 and 6 to the Lehigh Valley and rafting on the Lehigh River.
Lennie and Carol Terrell, Lakewood, visited her mother, Julia Smith last Tuesday.
Mike Smith and Terry Anderson were dinner guests of Barb and Roger Glover last Saturday night. Terry will be giving a talk on "journaling" May 3, at 10:30 at the Self-Discovery Center in Montrose.
Matthew and Nancy Figura are members of our church and there is great rejoicing in their home now because son, Brandon is graduating on May 8 from Bloomsburg University with a major in Geography and a minor in History. Grandparents, Don and Carol Brownell are arriving May 3 from Florida to attend the event and will then settle into their summer house at Coxton Lake.
Brandon has already accepted a job with the Environmental Agency in Valushia County, Florida. Congratulations, Brandon for sticking to it and earning your BS degree. The world awaits you.
The United Methodist Women will have their first Turkey buffet at 5 p.m., Thursday, May 6. Takeouts at 4:30. Hope you can come and enjoy the evening out and let us wash the dishes.
Dear EarthTalk: What is the environmental impact of Americas consumer buying habits?
Jenni Perez, Los Angeles, CA
Your next-door neighbor just bought a Hummer. That long-untouched parcel of land around the corner just became home to a new strip mall. And on your short bicycle trip to the office you count dozens of discarded soda cans and bottled water containers with pretty nature scenes on them. Back home, your kids floor and closet are littered with CDs, video game cartridges, $150 sneakers and bean-filled toys. Indeed, a recent Time/CNN poll found that 80 percent of people think children are more spoiled today than the kids of 10 or 15 years ago. Arguably, the adults may be, too.
The nonprofit Center for a New American Dream, whose stated mission is to "help Americans consume responsibly to protect the environment, enhance quality of life and promote social justice," says that Americas growing obsession with acquisition is taking a heavy toll on the environment. According to the groups president, Betsy Taylor, the U.S. consumes more energy, water, paper, steel and meat per capita than any other country, so much so that at least four additional planets would be needed to provide the American lifestyle if every person on Earth were to demand it. Meanwhile, forests are being lost at an alarming rate, farmlands and wetlands are being engulfed by development, plant and animal species are disappearing and our air and water continue to be threatened by pollution.
Participants of New Dreams web-based Turn the Tide program follow "nine little actions" to try to reduce their personal impact on the environment, including skipping car trips, eating one less beef meal a week, reducing water use and installing energy-efficient light bulbs. The program enables participants to track the positive impact of their actions and see the cumulative impact of all of the programs participants across North America. CNAD estimates that for every 1,000 people who pursue the program for one year, 48.5 million gallons of water and 170 trees are saved and 4 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere are prevented.
CONTACT: Center for a New American Dream, (301) 891-3683, www.newdream.org.
Dear EarthTalk: Ive heard that conventional lice treatments contain toxic chemicals. Are safer, more natural alternatives available?
Dwayne Newton, Charleston, SC
The National Pediculosis Association (NPA) advises consumers to be cautious with conventional lice treatments, including shampoos and lotions, since they contain toxic, and in some cases carcinogenic, pesticides. The NPA says that people with epilepsy, asthma, brain tumors, cancer or AIDS, and pregnant or nursing women, should completely avoid any chemical lice medications. Further, the NPA is calling on the medical community to address the current "resistance crisis" of lice becoming increasingly resistant to pesticide treatments.
Fortunately, several pesticide-free alternative products are now available that help get rid of lice and nits (lice eggs) safely and effectively. The NPA endorses a comb called the LiceMeister (around $10), which has closely spaced, stainless steel teeth that glide easily through hair, collecting lice and nits. The comb is safe but the process is quite time consuming as it works best when used daily during infestation and regularly thereafter. Well-In-Hand Herbals Non-Toxic Nit Kit ($18.99) includes an easy-to-use herbal formula that smothers and kills lice. This product, which wont dry hair out, is made from olive, canola and essential oils and has a fresh, natural scent. The Nit Kit also comes with a fine-toothed metal comb and 5x magnifier to help find the unwanted insects.
CONTACTS: National Pediculosis Association, (781) 449-NITS, www.headlice.org; Well-In-Hand, (434) 384-7774, www.wellinhand.com.
GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EARTH TALK,
c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881;
or submit your question at: www.emagazine.com, or e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
With our Junior/Senior prom so close at hand, there seems to be quite the bustle around little ole Elk Lake. Things had to be ordered, decorations have to be made, and ideas have to be perfect. The people on the prom steering committee, including me, are running around making sure things are going smoothly.
The theme this year is Hollywood Nights, and in my opinion it will be absolutely fabulous. At first there was some grumble about it because of the limitation of colors, but as it approaches, more and more people are getting excited to see just how wonderful the night will be.
Decorations include a rolling red carpet, a miniature city, movie posters, and of course the Hollywood letters. From what Ive seen and heard, the decorations at our prom this year are going to be amazing, all thanks to the ideas and hard work of prom steering.
On a more serious note, those who were going to the prom this year were asked to sign a Prom Promise, stating that they will not drink on prom night and ruin their future. Its amazing how many people actually did sign these promises, and personally I think its a great idea. Some people disregard things like that with the bat of an eye, but maybe this promise might keep a few people in line this year.
So, I say good job to all those helping out with prom steering. Also, thank you for putting so much effort into making this prom as special for us as ever. Even though Im only a junior, its still a big deal, and the excitement is steadily building up. I have uttermost faith in everyone involved that this prom will be stunning. I can hardly wait.
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