Theres something about a high school reunion that takes the mind back to a time that seemed much more simple, optimistic and adventuresome. With stars in our eyes and the utmost confidence we stepped out into the real world (or so we thought), knowing that it would be our oyster. Little did we realize what life had in store for us.
I think its my impending 50th reunion that has me reliving the events of those high school days and wondering "what if." What if I had pursued a journalism career right out of school rather than spending four years in a college as a music major, when I was thoroughly tired of music? Or maybe not had any career aspirations, but took the job in the McKean County Historical Society that was offered to me? Or perhaps I should have investigated the offer to work for a friend who was a certified public accountant and who promised to help me also attain that degree. Who knows how my life would have played out in those scenarios. And how many of my classmates have similar thoughts? Preparing for this reunion, I got out a photo of my graduating class and looked it over diligently, wondering about each of those dear friends Id known for many years. Where are they now? Did they have happy, productive lives?
A friend from my older sisters class showed me his class photo a week ago, and so many of that class are no longer living. It was mostly the girls who had died. At seventy, they are too young to have lost so many. It makes me ponder how many of my class are still alive and well. I have not heard of any deaths, but then Im not around any of them to have heard the news.
I do hope they all turn out for this reunion. What fun we will have trying to recognize one another. I couldnt believe how much some of them had changed when a few of us met at the all-classes reunion at the sesquicentennial of the town last summer. Those smart-alecky boys now had gray hair or no hair. Some were carrying a little extra weight around the middle, and a few obviously drank too much. We women were perfect of course!
Ive been reading the 150th anniversary book put out by my hometown for that event last summer. The old photos cause me to take a trip down memory lane. There are the adults who were conspicuous in the town as bankers, merchants, teachers, people my parents worked with, judges who were so intimidating, dentists, doctors just a host of interesting small-town people that I remember with fondness.
Adding to my reminiscence are the old photos that Im gathering together for my family reunion. They go way back to my maternal grandfather who has been gone for at least forty years. Every memory I have of him is a good one. The same with my paternal grandmother. Ive written about her wit, craftiness and indomitable spirit. How I loved my flamboyant aunts and uncles.
All this remembering is enough to make me contemplate moving back where my roots are. But then there is much to be said for the friends and associates Ive made through the years in this area. When these reunions are over, Ill probably be myself again. Anyway, Thomas Wolfe told us, "you cant go home again" and maybe hes right.
NEW MILFORD: The barrel makers at Whitney's storehouse have stopped work for a time. They have made up 5,000 barrels and later on 15,000 more will be turned out. Mr. Whitney has bought up a large number of orchards through this section of the county and expects to do business until cold weather closes up the work; the apple crop will be large.
HICKORY GROVE: An exciting bull fight occurred here which excited the people to some extent. It was a purely American affair, nothing Spanish entering into the proceedings. The free show was brought about by the blooded bulls belonging to L.B. Parks, Patrick Shea and R.B. Colwell breaking down enclosures and getting together. They did not agree on political and other measures and went about settling matters in the usual way. The owners, with the use of pitch forks and other weapons, finally separated the combatants before they had inflicted serious damage upon each other.
GLENWOOD: A. W. McAloon has a three-horse corn cutter, which cuts and binds several acres per day. It puts us in mind of the first steam shovel that was used in this country. Two sons of the Emerald were standing by while the machine was doing the work; one said to the other "Mike, look at him, he does the work of a hundred men, but he can't vote."
THOMPSON: The borough is experiencing a building boom, several fine buildings being in the course of construction. C.C. Wilmarth is building a commodious storehouse for use in the flour, grain and feed business, a new department that he will add to his already extensive mercantile and shipping trade. The building will be fitted with hoisting machinery and all other modern appliances used to facilitate the rapid handling of all goods in this line.
AUBURN: Mr. Hardic will soon move his mill near Springville, known as the John Lake timber tract, but now owned by Tunkhannock parties. AND: We wish to correct an item in our last writing. It should have read: R.S. Hardic has purchased the entire outfit of horse, wagon, harness &c., of our blacksmith, John McGavin. Not the shop.
FOREST LAKE: Thomas Booth drew the water from his mill pond and hundreds of suckers, pickerel and sunfish were caught and the people were well supplied with fish.
FLYNN, Middletown Twp.: Our school will open Monday with Miss Sarah Riley as teacher. Also, the Bergin school, with Miss Lizzie McCormick as teacher.
ARARAT: The temperance lecture at the M.E. church, Sunday, was largely attended. Hector is a great man and his immense frame is full of gospel truth that chokes the old hardened sinners who think more of the G.O.P. than they do of their own souls. The singing by Mrs. Hector and daughter was fine, and altogether it was a great treat.
EAST DIMOCK: Campmeeting is over and people are attending to their work again. There was a large crowd at their meeting on Sunday. AND: Threshing is nearly done in this place. H. A. Stone has done the most of it with his new machine; he does good work and anyone having threshing to do will be in luck if they employ him, as he is a hustler.
HERRICK CENTRE: Phillip Todd, the fourteen-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Will Todd, who lives on the road between here and East Ararat, was drowned while bathing in the Hollenback pond at East Ararat, Aug. 31. The distressing accident was witnessed by the lad's sister, Nellie, and two cousins, Mamie and Pearl Dunn, who were on the shore watching the boy's sport in the water. Phillip was a good swimmer and had gone to the middle of the pond, which is not very large, when he suddenly called for help, and before assistance could be given him went down. It is supposed that he must have been seized with cramps. The water was drawn off the dam and the body secured in about an hour.
MONTROSE: Mrs. Rhoda M. Brooks gave the first of her series of Talks at the home of Mrs. Albert Miller, last evening. Mrs. Brooks teaches helpful physical culture exercises and gives many instructive hints to women, regarding health and saving energy in home duties. Having a wide business experience and being highly educated Mrs. Brooks is capable of handling her subjects with ease. The second will be at Miss E.J. Brewster's and the third and last of the series will be given at the home of Mrs. E. P. Stamp, 50 S. Main Street, on Friday afternoon at 3:30 o'clock. All women are cordially invited to attend without charge. AND: Billings & Co., undertakers, have secured the services of Maurice J. O'Brien to superintend the catholic funerals. Billings & Co. Furniture Store advertises that "your home is not complete without a porch swing."
SUSQUEHANNA: Floyd D. Axtell, Esq., of Susquehanna, has been nominated for District Attorney by the Prohibition and Democratic parties of the county. He is well equipped for the position and he is a gentleman of excellent reputation.
TUNKHANNOCK: In making excavations Tuesday at the railroad bridge at the mouth of Tunkhannock Creek, the steamboat that was run from Tunkhannock to Wilkes-Barre, 50 years ago, was unearthed.
FRANKLIN FORKS: Frank H. Shafer is teaching the Franklin Forks school. In spare time he is whisking the ball across the plate for the nine at that place and reports indicate that he is doing good work along both lines. As "Frank" is known as a "sure hitter," we advise the youngsters to be good.
JACKSON: Alvin W. Barrett and Adin B. Larrabee each celebrated his 87th birthday this month, the former on the 18th and the latter on the 9th. They were born in Vermont in 1817 and removed to Jackson in 1838, having resided in that township for 66 years. Both cast their first presidential vote for Wm. H. Harrison in 1840. They voted for Fremont in 1856 and have supported the Republican ticket in every campaign and expect to aid in the election of President Roosevelt this fall. Mr. Barrett is the father of Hon. A.C. Barrett, of New Milford, the present representative in the legislature and Mr. Larrabee is an uncle of M.J. Larrabee, a former representative, and has been a member of the I.O.O.F. since 1856.
FAIR HILL, Jessup Twp.: Work commenced on Monday on the much-needed new road from Fairdale to Fair Hill.
UPSONVILLE, Franklin Twp.: At the Cole reunion held at L.B. Cole's, Aug. 29th, all the children and grandchildren were home; J.H. Cole, wife and two daughters, of Detroit, Mich., Alma Cole, of Binghamton, F. T. Cole, of Indiana, and Lottie M. Cole. Forty-seven were present, among them the Rev. Mrs. Dawson, of Birmingham, Mich. Rev. L. W. Church made a fine address. After the sumptuous repast the company went up to Mt. Huron to view the landscape.
RUSHBORO: F. M. Gray and Mr. Stone are busy laying out our telephone line. They began digging the holes on the 4th inst., and expect to have the line complete by Dec. 1st.
SILVER LAKE: Mrs. Whitaker caught a 6 lb. salmon trout in the lake, recently. AND: City boarders are returning to their homes.
This week's "100 Years Ago" is dedicated to the memory of George Campbell.
Ah the sweet smell of politics
Are you immune to politics after the entire hullabaloo that the Republican National Convention stirred up in New York City last week? Sure hope not because I got a political tale to unfold for you with some local flavor,
It happened in July and involved the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau (EMVB) that is charged with the responsibility of luring tourists into its four participating counties, Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Wyoming. More specifically, it involved questionable judgment by some Susquehanna County members of the bureau.
Peter Glaubitz of Sullivan County found himself reelected president of the organization but that wasnt quite what was expected to happen. Sources tell me that when Mr. Glaubitz accepted the gavel last year, it was on a condition that Sue Fitch of Susquehanna County be his vice president. One would assume that Mr. Glaubitz had intended to serve for a year and then turn the gavel over to Ms. Fitch. Ah, so much for the best laid plans of mice and men.
Each participating county in the EMVB is allowed a certain number of members on the Board of Directors. Then there is the executive committee that consists of the bureaus elected officers, president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. To assure equality, only one representative of each county is allowed to hold elective office which is automatically a seat on the executive committee. Keep this in mind because you will see where it fits into the scheme of things as we move along.
For some unexplainable reason, my sources tell me the Susquehanna County voting delegates did not go to the meeting united behind Ms. Fitch. It was the first ever opportunity for the county to have one of its own as president of the vacation bureau and it failed to materialize because some of the county delegates had other thoughts, most of them politically inspired. However, Ms. Fitch did have strong support from Sullivan and Wyoming Counties.
Those who expected Sue Fitch to become the new president were shocked when nominations for treasurer were open. Roberta Kelly, chair of the Susquehanna County Board of Commissioners, nominated Alice Deutsch, who operates a business in Mrs. Kellys hometown of Susquehanna Depot. Mrs. Deutsch was elected in a move that knocked Ms. Fitch out of the presidency because only one officer can be elected from each county.
When word began to spread that there was a move being made to put someone other than Ms. Fitch in the presidents chair, it was countered by a suggestion to reelect Mr. Glaubitz and thats exactly what happened. Anyone who thinks the presidents chair is not all that important better think again. Besides the prestige, the president appoints the chairs of all committees and most of them are pretty influential positions.
My sources allege that Liz Janoski, director of the countys Economic Development Department, lent a helping hand to Mrs. Kellys decision to pull the rug out from under Ms. Fitch and that Michele Suchnick of Hallstead, another county delegate to the visitors bureau, may have also helped.
And so my friends, Susquehanna County blows another opportunity by chosing politics over common sense. The county could have had its first ever president of the EMVB. Ms. Fitch could have secured some key appointments for the county and gave it some of the attention it deserves.
There has been some talk that someday Susquehanna County may divorce itself from the EMVB and try its own hand at enticing more visitors to the county. From here, the idea looks mighty expensive but word has it that Mrs. Kelly is giving the idea some serious thought. And,in a more recent development, Liz Janoski left the EMVB and that could just be the beginning of Susquehanna Countys plan to go out on its own. I am told Mrs. Janoski would love to add "director of Susquehanna Countys Visitors Bureau" to her repertoire.
And political posters...
A number of county employees remarked to me about people getting Republican political posters from one department inside the county courthouse. I guess there is no law against it but it sure smacks of being totally unethical.
Sesquicentennial Books Are Here; Positively Last Chance To Buy
The long awaited Susquehanna Centennial reprint books 1853 to 2003 are now available at the following places: Susquehanna Library, Peoples Bank, Reddons Store or at the Centennial office on Main Street. You can also call Joyce Mallery Finch at 8534729 or 8535011. Cost is still only $10.00. Although - if reserved - you can purchase as many as you like. They will make great gifts for any occasion. If you havent seen the book, you will be really surprised at the history of the area in the book with photos, etc. (Please note: the people that reserved books through me can pick them up at the above named places.)
Dedication Ceremony at Post 357
You are cordially invited to attend the "Freedom Memorial Park" dedication ceremony, September 11, at the grounds of the HallsteadGreat Bend American Legion Post. The newly constructed Veterans Memorial is located on the grounds of the Post. A parade will start at 9:30 at New York Avenue and Park Avenue and conclude at the post. The dedication will immediately follow. Several dignitaries are slated to attend including Gov. Ed Rendell. Following the ceremony the Legion will be open to everyone for refreshments and entertainment. Remember the date: Saturday, September 11.
Is Greenspan Dreaming? Or What!
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said recently the country will face "abrupt and painful" choices unless Congress acts quickly to trim Social Security and Medicare benefits. He said the government has promised more than it can deliver. Is there something wrong here? We have spent billions of dollars to free Iraq. Iraq has all kinds of (wells of) oil. But we must spend billions of dollars to put "their house back in order." Where does Greenspan come from? He suggests that SS and Medicare be "cut." He suggests more taxes be paid into SS and Medicare. If Congress can give close to 100 billion dollars to fight the war in Iraq, pray tell, why cant they come up with $$$s that will keep our benefits solvent. People - especially those on pensions - have been hit hard during the past years. Pension money stays the same, so they have to pay just as much - lets say for gas - that the millionaires do. Again, I ask, who is benefiting from the oil in Iraq? Can Mr. Greenspan be a "little more clear" why SS ad Medicare must be cut. How much SS does Greenspan think (we) are getting? Out of that we are paying Medicare which is a big, big help to the low income people. Why doesnt Mr. Greenspan check on the millionaires/billionaires that are not paying as much income taxes as the common laborer? Sure, take it from the poor, give it to the rich - a motto that has been around for ages.
Geo. Campbell, "Ole Time Printer" Dead
Not too many of us left - ole time printers, that is. Now, their is one less as George Campbell of New Milford, age 86, died August 28, 2004. George, not only a printer of the first class, having his own small print shop while working at big print shops like Vail Ballou and Vestal Press, he also (in his spare time) wrote over 30 booklets about his family and the area in which he lived. I knew George quite well while owner of the Transcript, and (I) would on several occasions ask George to "come give me a hand." I had the good fortune, on July 21, while dining in a New Milford restaurant to run into George. Without a doubt, we went back "a few years" talking about printing today and years back. No doubt, todays method is a lot easier. But George and I both agreed that the old method was "Really Printing."
Bryant, Petersen and Jackson
It looks like the courts are giving the news media the run-around. One day its this, the next day its that. They have a little hearing for the three accusers, then they postpone it for weeks, months, and by the time the real trial begins a lot of the useful information will be lost or sabotaged. No doubt, Kobe Bryant is getting special treatment. So is Michael Jackson. But, poor (!) Petersen. Everything seems to be against him. As I said before, Kobe can still play basketball. Jackson, white gloves and all, can run around with an umbrella and bodyguards. What a mess!
Veteran John Kerry Has 2 Medals
A Navy report has disputed the claim that Kerry does not have two war medals. The Navy has said that the boat Kerry was on was shot at. That won Kerry a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. Its a disgrace when a group of radicals - some who have never served in the Armed Forces - try to blacken the record of John Kerry, a true war veteran, who served in the Vietnam War.
Phelps Graceful Gesture
United States swimming star Michael Phelps, winner of eight medals in all, gave up his chance for another, when he pulled out of a race in order for a fellow-American, Ian Crocker, to race with his team, winning a Gold Medal at the World Olympics.
You Think You Had It Rough?
A Harrisburg man who served 16 years in prison for the 1987 rape and murder of an 85-year old neighbor has been released. Barry J. Laughman, 41, has been released after DNA analysis indicated that samples of body fluids taken from the scene of the murder did not come from him.
A Laugh Or Two
GOOD NEWS, Bad News - Two young athletes grew up together, playing baseball most of their lives. Joe and Jim made a promise to each other - whoever died first, he would try to get in touch with the other. Well, Joe died first, and after several days contacted Jim. How is everything, Jim asked. Great, said Joe, the weather up here is fine and we play baseball every day, but I have some bad news for you, Jim. What is it, Jim asked. You are scheduled to pitch up here next Sunday.
SMART MAN - A tourist stopped at a country gas station. While his car was being serviced, he noticed an old-timer basking in the sun with a piece of rope in his hand. The tourist walked up to the man and asked, "What do you have there?"
"Thats a weather gauge, sonny," the old-timer replied.
"How can you possibly tell the weather with a piece of rope?"
"Its simple," the old-timer said. "When it swings back and forth, its windy. And when it gets wet, its raining."
LOOK GOOD - The popular preacher, Charles Spurgeon, admonished a class of divinity students on the importance of making facial expressions harmonize with speech when delivering sermons. "When you speak of heaven," he said, "let your face light up and be irradiated with a heavenly gleam. Let your eyes shine with reflected glory. And when you speak of hell, well, then, your everyday face will do."
Recently, a parent questioned me concerning her potential liability for the acts of her child in the event that the child committed criminal acts that resulted in loss or injuries to a third party. The Pennsylvania Legislature has created a statutory provision imposing liability against parents whose child has committed some act that causes injuries to a third party 23 Pa. C.S. ß 5502. Injuries include personal harm to a person, as well as the theft, destruction or loss of property. This particular statute provides a form of strict liability; i.e., if you are the parent and your child did the deed, you are liable for the injury. Although this general statement may terrify parents of wayward children, the actual statutory provisions are fairly limited in scope.
In order to impose such liability, the child must be adjudged guilty through a proceeding in juvenile court (or be determined to be liable in some other forum). In the event that there is a single victim of the childs wrongful conduct, the parents shall be liable for up to $1,000 of the loss sustained by the victim. In the event that there are multiple victims of the childs wrongful conduct, then the parents shall be liable for up to $2,500 of the loss sustained by the victims. In the case of multiple victims, the parents would pay the $2,500 to the court, and the court would distribute the funds to the victims in shares determined appropriate by the court. If multiple children act together in committing a criminal act, the limits set forth above remain the same. In other words, the potential liability of a parent does not double because two children are involved in the criminal act; rather, the same limitations ($1,000 or $2,500) remain constant.
The limits, however, are offense specific. If a child commits various criminal acts over an extended period of time, then the parents could be liable for each act up to the specific statutory limitations. Thus, the potential liability of the parents could become significant if a child engaged in a substantial course of criminal conduct. If the parents fail to make the required payments, the victim(s) can institute collection proceedings on the civil side of the court.
In terms of a broken home, the non-custodial parent is not liable for the criminal conduct of the child. In other words, if a separated parent did not have custody of the minor child at the time of the criminal act, no liability will be imposed. If the parent had custody, then liability attaches. Finally, an aggrieved victim may pursue additional remedies under the common law against negligent parents through a civil suit for damages. These particular statutory provisions relate to the strict liability that arises from an adjudication of guilt in a juvenile proceeding. The potential parental liability could be much greater, provided the victim could demonstrate that the parents were negligent or responsible for the childs action through some other legal theory. At a minimum, however, the statutory framework provides parents with a minimum level of liability for a childs act, but parents should also understand that greater civil liability could potentially be imposed through a collateral civil proceeding outside the juvenile court.
Please submit any questions, concerns, or comments to Susquehanna County District Attorneys Office, P.O. Box 218, Montrose, Pennsylvania 18801.
Dear EarthTalk: Do airplanes contribute significantly to air pollution?
Neil Gladstone, New York, NY
Airplanes do indeed create a great amount of air pollution. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a non-profit environmental group, "airport air pollution is similar in scope to that generated by local power plants, incinerators, and refineries, yet is exempt from rules other industrial polluters must follow." Major airports, says NRDC, rank among the top 10 industrial air polluters in cities such as Los Angeles, Washington and Chicago. The hundreds of thousands of airplanes taking off, landing, taxiing and idling each day across the country emit contaminants into the air and ground which have been linked to a wide range of human health problems, including asthma and cancer.
Beyond local environmental effects, air travel is contributing significantly to global warming. A 1999 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that aircraft are responsible for 3.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide; this could increase to 10 percent by 2050 as the popularity of air travel rises. Meanwhile, contrails--those vapor condensation trails you see overhead that are formed when airplanes fly at high altitudes through extremely cold air--could be contributing to global warming as they turn into high thin cirrus clouds and trap heat from incoming sunlight within the atmosphere.
A recent agreement to cut 37 daily peak-hour arrivals at Americas busiest airport, Chicagos OHare, should help to not only ease congestion and reduce delays but also to improve local air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, because of the increasing popularity of air travel, 60 of the 100 largest U.S. airports are proposing building more runways, thus expanding rather than reducing activity.
Because airplanes are considered part of interstate commerce, they are not subject to local and state pollution laws. Furthermore, the Federal Aviation Administration has the potentially conflicting responsibilities of monitoring pollution while promoting air travel.
In lieu of government regulation to curb airplane emissions, though, economics sometimes prevail. In the wake of 9/11, consumers have been skittish about air travel, while fuel prices have risen to unprecedented levels. Ailing airlines are left with no choice but to scale back on flights as well as on engine idling, in turn benefiting the environment. Analysts estimate that Delta Air Lines voluntary reduction of engine idling, for instance, has cut ground-level emissions from its planes by as much as 40 percent.
Meanwhile, NRDC promotes taxes on jet fuel as a way to encourage airlines to increase their efficiency, and encourages consumers to opt for alternative modes of transportation, such as high-speed rail when available, especially for shorter distances. "Consumers can also help," says the group, "by demanding that airports be subject to the same rigorous standards and reporting requirements as their industrial neighbors."
CONTACTS: Natural Resources Defense Council, (212) 727-2700, www.nrdc.org; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, www.ipcc.ch.
Dear EarthTalk: What is biomass energy," and where in the world is it used?
Kourosh Khazaii, Vancouver, BC
Biomass energy is power generated by burning any organic plant matter, including wood. As such it was perhaps humankinds earliest source of fuel. Wood is by far the most widely used biomass energy source, but other plants are also used, as are residues from agriculture or forestry and the organic components of municipal and industrial wastes.
Environmentalists are enthusiastic about expanding the use of biomass energy because it is fundamentally a renewable energy source and has the potential, if widely used, for greatly reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. While the burning of biomass fuels generates carbon dioxide (CO2), the leading greenhouse gas, new plants grown for biomass remove CO2 from the atmosphere. So as long as biomass energy sources continue to be replenished, their net CO2 emissions will be zero.
Biomass, because it is available on a recurring basis, is the worlds most plentiful fuel source, and it is second only to hydropower in efficiency. Thus it is a very viable alternative to burning fossil fuels. Farmers around the world are now cultivating fast-growing trees and grasses specifically for biomass energy use.
Developing countries, especially those in Asia, Latin America and Africa, are currently the primary users of biomass as fuel, mainly because in many locales they lack access to other forms of energy. In the developing world, biomass makes up almost a third of total energy use. By contrast, the U.S. uses biomass for only four percent of its total energy supply.
Many countries are making concerted efforts to increase their use of biomass. Australia is generally recognized as the leader in developing biomass projects, due to the close cooperation there between government agencies, research facilities and industry. Britain is also working on some significant biomass projects, including the establishment of power stations fueled by fast-growing crops.
The International Energy Association reports that biomass has the potential to supply 40 percent of the worlds energy needs. Studies by the Shell International Petroleum Company and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are equally if not more optimistic and project that biomass could satisfy between one-quarter and one-half of the worlds demand for energy by the middle of this century. This projection implies a world full of "bio-refineries," where plants provide many of the materials we now obtain from coal, oil and natural gas.
Looking ahead, some analysts have begun to talk about a "carbohydrate economy" in which plants would be a major source of not only electricity and fuels, but also construction materials, clothes, inks, paintseven industrial chemicals.
CONTACTS: Biomass Energy Research Association, (800) 247-1755, www.bera1.org; International Energy Association, (011) 33-1-40-57-65-00, www.iea.org; Shell International Petroleum Company, (888) GO-SHELL, www.shell.com; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, www.ipcc.ch.
GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, 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: email@example.com.
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