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May 18, 2016 - 2:09pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Highway Department will conduct a Public Information Meeting to discuss the River Street over Tonawanda Creek Bridge Rehabilitation project in the City of Batavia. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. on June 15 in the Council Board Room, 2nd Floor City Hall, One Batavia City Centre in Batavia.

The project will involve the rehabilitation of the River Street Bridge over Tonawanda Creek. The preferred alternative is to replace the existing bridge superstructure while reusing the existing concrete abutments and pier. The rehabilitated structure will maintain the current 34-foot roadway width and the 5-foot wide sidewalk on the east side of the bridge. The project will include new bridge rail and minimal approach reconstruction.

The project is being progressed as Project Identification Number (PIN 4760.62), by the Genesee County Highway Department, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). At present, the project is in the preliminary design phase.  Representatives from the Genesee County Highway Department, NYSDOT, and Barton & Loguidice, D.P.C., will be available at the meeting to answer questions and obtain comments on the proposed project from individuals, groups, officials and local agencies.

Questions regarding this meeting may be addressed to Mr. Timothy Hens, P.E., Superintendent, Genesee County Highway Department at (585) 344-8508.

May 18, 2016 - 2:00pm

From information provided by Genesee Community College.

This year's Genesee Community College Photography Exhibition at the Genesee County Park & Forest Interpretive Center officially opened last Saturday and there's a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 20.

Light refreshments will be served while patrons take in the views and just breathe.

The show featuring the photographs of GCC student runs through Sept. 11.

The center is located at 11095 Bethany Center Road in East Bethany.

The art of photography relies on the individual to go to a location and use elements and principles to capture on analog, black and white film or a digital file, a composition of original art.

Compared to how a painter or sculptor works, this is a very different process. A painter can work in a studio for long periods of time to forge their idea from pure thought. The photographer has to create their art by being at the location and have the subject in front of the lens. Cellphone cameras have made it quite easy for folks to snap a picture and post it to one of many social media platforms, but are they really thinking about the longevity and meaning with that effort?

"Throughout the year and through hands-on assignments, students have learned how to create exciting images using manual aperture and shutter speed settings," Joe Ziolkowski, GCC assistant professor of Photography said. "Now they have the opportunity to show off their creations."

For more information, contact Joe Ziolkowski at [email protected] or Shannon Morley, Genesee County conservation education programs coordinator at [email protected] or by calling (585 )344-1122.

May 18, 2016 - 1:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, road closures.

Press release from the city's Bureau of Maintenance:

Wood Street and Highland Park will be closed on May 24th and 25th, between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. for paving operations. Wood Street will be paved first on May 24th, and Highland Park will be paved on May 25th.

Residents and businesses are not to park on the roadway during paving operations.

Highland Park and Wood Street will be closed to all through traffic. Residents and businesses of these streets, will have limited access to their properties and should expect delays when paving operations are ongoing. If work is postponed by weather, work will be rescheduled for the next calendar work day.

All other traffic is asked to avoid this area and seek alternative routes.

May 18, 2016 - 1:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, education, high school rankings, pembroke, elba, Le Roy.

Press release:

U.S. News & World Report released its current rankings for high schools across the nation recently and several area schools earned spots in the top 225 of New York State.

Pembroke High School ranked 123 out of 1,272 public schools in the state. Elba was also in the top 15 percent, coming in at 172, with Le Roy right behind at 180. Medina (207) in Orleans County and Warsaw (213) in Wyoming County also ranked within the top 225.

The report’s criteria are based on overall performance of students on state tests, participation and performance on advanced placement exams and graduation rates. The goal of these rankings is to provide an unbiased picture of the top performing schools and how well those schools serve all of their students.

U.S. News & World Report has been releasing annual high school rankings since 2007.

US News & World Report New York State High School Rankings

Rank    School                  Student/Teacher Ratio                   College Readiness                  Math Proficiency            English Proficiency

123      Pembroke                    11:1                                                     38.4                                        92%                                   94%

172      Elba                              8:1                                                      29.1                                        95%                                    76%

180      Le Roy                         12:1                                                     27.6                                        86%                                    90%

207      Medina                              14:1                                                     23.0                                         88%                                    90%

213     Warsaw                              11:1                                                     22.1                                         88%                                    92%

*from usnews.com

May 18, 2016 - 1:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, news, flag football.

Want to join a flag football league this summer? Join Batavia Varsity Football Head Coach Brennan Briggs in the "Rising Stars" Flag Football League on Sunday afternoons at 4:30 beginning June 5th.

The league is for current fifth-, sixth- and seventh-grade student-athletes from any district.

If you're interested contact Coach Briggs at 585-409-5557. Deadline for registration is Friday, May 27th so don't wait!

May 18, 2016 - 1:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, photos.

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A tree and gravel road behind County Building #2, off West Main Street Road, Batavia.

May 18, 2016 - 12:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Interagency Council, batavia, news.

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Master Gardener Jane Grehlinger talks about container gardening during the annual joint meeting of the Genesee County Interagency Council at the ARC Community Center in Batavia.

The meeting focused on a "green thumb" theme and included the planting and growing of herbs along with a local chef discussing cooking with herbs.

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May 18, 2016 - 12:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, United Way, Day of Caring, news.

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Hundreds of Genesee County residents spread out throughout the community today to provide volunteer labor for organizations during United Way's annual Day of Caring.

Above, staff from Graham's manufacturing plant flowers for an elderly resident in Batavia. The flowers and mulch were donated by Pudgie's and the Home Depot.

We also have pictures of employees of Tompkins Financial at the Batavia Peace Garden, members of Kiwanis and Leadership Genesee 2011 at the Youth Center and the Community Garden, and the Lions Club at Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle fixing bikes for Genesee ARC.

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Group photo by Kevin Carlson, owner of Carlson Studio.

May 18, 2016 - 7:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, elba, Oakfield, Alabama, schools, education, news.

Here are Tuesday's available election results:

Batavia City Schools:
The Budget - $44,366,439 (increase of $1,258,066 or 2.92%: $0.00 increase in tax levy)

  • Yes - 407  (85.86%)
  • No - 67  (14.14%)

Student Ex-Officio Board Member (non-voting) 

  • Yes -  436  (92.57%
  • No - 35  (7.43%)

Board of Education positions: three positions, with top two votes terms are full term from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2019 ,and the lowest vote is a partial term from May 17, 2016 to June 30, 2018 

  • Patrick Burk 385  (May 17, 2016 - June 30, 2018)
  • Peter Cecere - 427  (July 1, 2016  -June 30, 2019)
  • Karen Tomidy - 424   (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2019)

Elba Central Schools:

Proposition #1 - 2016/2017 Budget - $9,260,316  --   Passed  (129 Yes/38 No)

Proposition #2 - Purchase of one (1) 65 Passenger Bus   --  Passed  (130 Yes/39 No)

One Board of Education Seat, One Candidate: Michael Hare (142 Votes)

Oakfield-Alabama Central School District:

Proposition #1: Budget:  Yes:   293 / No:  44

Proposition #2: Buses:   Yes:  280 /  No:  52

Board Members:  

  • Jeff Hyde (Incumbent) 248
  • Matt Lamb, 170
May 17, 2016 - 7:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Troop A, State Police, news, batavia.

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Members of the New York State Police, Troop A, honored their colleagues who died in the line of duty, serving their communities, in an annual memorial service at the Batavia Barracks.

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May 17, 2016 - 6:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Barry Miller, bergen, fire services, news, Milestones.

Press release:

Barry G. Miller has been posthumously designated as a recipient of the New York State Senate Liberty Medal by State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer.  

The New York State Senate Liberty Medal is awarded to individuals who have merited special commendation for exceptional, heroic or humanitarian acts on behalf of their fellow New Yorkers. He was tragically killed last September in an ambulance accident on his way to a fire call in the performance of his duties as an emergency responder.

“As a first responder, Barry acted with bravery in many emergency situations. He was dedicated, loyal and compassionate to his family and our community,” Ranzenhofer said. “Barry made the ultimate sacrifice while faithfully executing his responsibilities as an emergency responder. It is so fitting for the State Senate to pause in its deliberations today to honor him and his family with a Liberty Medal.”

Senator Ranzenhofer joined members of the Miller Family earlier in the day for the New York State EMS Memorial Commemorative Ceremony. During the special ceremony, Miller’s name was placed on the memorial in remembrance of his ultimate sacrifice, along with the names of other EMS personnel from across the state.

“Our family is completely honored and in awe of the honor presented to my son,” said Miller’s father, Tracy Miller.

Miller held the title of Chief of Emergency Medical Services in Bergen. For more than three decades, he was a member of the Bergen Fire Department. Miller was also a member of Leadership Genesee Class of 2008. He was the owner of Miller’s Millworks in Bergen and the Beaver River Lodge in the Adirondacks. He also worked for several years at Rochester Eye and Tissue Bank.

May 17, 2016 - 6:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, baseball, muck dogs, news.

Press release:

“Since the Red Wings took over operation of the Batavia Muckdogs in 2008 after the Muckdogs had endured  several years of financial hardship, there have been several serious out-of-town suitors, none which met our, or the Genesee County Baseball Club’s, criteria for selling.

"While we have made no secret of the fact that the team is for sale, we are not in a position to comment on the current status except to say that baseball will go on as expected in 2016. The Red Wings are very proud of the way we have operated the Batavia franchise and continue to enjoy extending our reach to Genesee County. We are looking forward to opening day in Batavia on June 22nd.”

May 17, 2016 - 6:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in James Pontillo, Stafford Odd Fellows Hall, Stafford, news.

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The Town of Stafford contracted with an engineer to inspect the old Odd Fellows Building this morning and owner James Pontillo feared the goal of the inspection was to find a reason to condemn the building.

If that was the goal, that wasn't the result.

Engineer Dennis Halstead looked over nearly every inch of the building and told Pontillo at the end that he didn't see evidence of slipshod work.

Pontillo has been working on a restoration project with the building since he assumed ownership in 2010. It's been a lot of work, and there is a lot of work still to do, and Pontillo feels like the town has tried to impede his progress every step of the way.

Last year, Pontillo and the town fought over a fence he built along his western property line. The case eventually went to court and Pontillo prevailed.

Today's tour started in the first-floor business units, where once, most recently, there was a tattoo parlor, and the former location of the Stafford Trading Post (which, back in the day, was the town's post office, general store and armory.

Pontillo explained that he has installed a firewall around the kitchen, where one didn't exist before.

In the basement, Halstead looked at the electrical paneling, which has all been replaced, and the new heating units, which Halstead said looked like good, quality work.

The third-floor apartments all looked clean and well maintained, with a new heating system. Pontillo improved the ingress/egress to one of the apartments by removing a portion of the stage riser that partially blocked the entrance, a remnant of the Odd Fellows Temple days. 

That apartment has a raised floor (the old stage) for its living room.

The third apartment is a studio and Pontillo has nearly completed refurbishing it, with new walls, new door frames, new kitchenette and a completely renovated bathroom.  

In this room, one of the town inspector's, Gene Sinclair, told a reporter that it looked like Pontillo was doing a good job with the renovations.

"If only he would get permits for his work first," he said.

When told about the remark later, Pontillo chuckled and said, "If only it were that easy."

At the end of the tour, Halstead told Pontillo some of what would be in his report. Even though the building has had businesses, including a food business, on the first floor, and apartments on the second floor, for generations, it still needs some fire-code-related improvements. Either there needs to be a two-hour burn barrier between the second and third floors or Pontillo needs to install sprinklers, perhaps only over the kitchen part.

Pontillo said he intends to install sprinklers in the stairwell leading to the second-floor apartments, as well (if he does, he may no longer need the fire escape on the west side of the building).  

There are no other major issues that immediately stand out, Halstead said, but his report will be a series of recommendations with options for Pontillo to consider. He recommended Pontillo go over that with his engineer and that the engineer draw up a plan, put his seal on it, and supply it to the town. Halstead said he would also be happy to talk with Pontillo's engineer.

Previously:

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May 17, 2016 - 5:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Summer in the City, batavia, downtown, business, news.

There will be no Elvis impersonator, no hot rods, no dunk booths, no kettle corn on Main Street in Batavia this August. 

Summer in the City is cancelled for 2016, and quite likely, in any future summers, according to Laurie Oltramari, executive director of the Batavia Business Improvement District.

Oltramari is in her first year as BID director and since taking the position learned that city is clamping down on the BID's operational budget, restricting spending to just $55,000 a year.

In recent years, the BID has spent $120,000 on operations, but City Manager Jason Molino said the BID has been allocating more of its special tax levy to operations than state law allows.

The law allows only 20 percent of the city's levy on properties in the BID to go to an improvement district's operations, plus an additional levy to service any debt.

The BID took on nearly a million in bonds in 1999 to fund a series of upgrades to downtown, such as new street lamps, paving stones and landscape improvements. The BID's final $15,000 payment will be made this year.

While Molino's insistence this year that the BID follow the budgeting requirements of the General Municipal Law, a memo Molino prepared for next week's City Council meeting makes it clear that prior to Oltramari taking the director's job, he tried to bring the requirement to the attention of the BID.

"When reviewing prior records, budgets and the district plan, the BBID (Batavia Business Improvement District) has struggled to comply with the GML regarding oversight of assessment funds and consistency with the district plan," Molino tells council members in the four-page memo. "In addition, as recent as 2013 and 2015 the city has advised the BBID of both budget management concerns as well as compliance with the GML faults."

Dropping Summer in the City is the biggest change in the BID's budget, Oltramari said, but there will be other cuts, including cutting down the hours worked by her part-time assistant.  

There are other annual programs that the BID sponsors that will continue, Oltramari said, because they both make money and do a better job of promoting downtown businesses, including the Fall Wine Walk, Beertavia (in June) and Christmas in the City. All are self-funding, if not profitable, and help boost local business, but downtown merchants have long complained that Summer in the City took away parking while doing little to generate foot traffic into their stores. Oltramari said it generated very little revenue for the BID.

Even without Summer in the City, the BID can continue to work hard to promote downtown, Oltramari said, and seek out opportunities for "small victories" that in the long run can pay off big for the local business community.

May 17, 2016 - 1:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, Farming, agriculture, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) in conjunction with Empire State Development has created a new revolving loan program to assist the agricultural industry in the Finger Lakes Region.

“Growing the Agriculture Industry Now” (GAIN) Revolving Loan Program is an initiative to capitalize local agricultural businesses that are using new technologies and expanding operations.

Through funding provided  by Empire State Development, the program will provide loans to qualifying businesses in Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties all of which are in the top 10 agricultural counties in New York State.

“Growing our agriculture and food processing industry is one of the utmost priorities of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) as it represents a crucial part of the region’s economy,” stated FLREDC Co-Chairs, Monroe Community College President Anne Kress and Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman.

“GAIN’s revolving loan pool to support the capital needs of agriculture and food processing companies, including new technology, diversification and expansion, will further advance the needs of the industry.”

According to the most recent Census of Agriculture (2012), farm-gate sales throughout the region totaled $1.6 billion, comprising 30 percent of statewide farm sales, with food processing and other support businesses as additional multipliers.

"Genesee County is one of the top ten agricultural regions in New York State," said State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer. "This new loan program will help to support our hardworking farmers, giving them a better chance at growing their business and our local economy. By supporting our farmers, we all can continue to enjoy fresh, local and quality food."

“As the former owner and operator of our family farm, I am always eager to help New York’s farmers and agriculture industry,” said Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia). “In a profession where profits are not guaranteed year to year and weather can wreak havoc on products, our small farms need all the help they can get.

"I am excited to announce that the Growing our Agriculture Industry Now (GAIN) Loan Fund is available. The loan pool will help fund capital projects that foster job creation, renewable energy creation, farm diversification, and investment in technologies, among other things. I look forward to spreading the word about this tremendous opportunity and helping local farmers succeed at their craft.”

The GAIN revolving loan program will give priority to agricultural and related business projects, including food processing and operating farms, which support job creation and job retention, as well as farm diversification (i.e., participate in farm-based retail & wholesale markets).

The program will also support businesses that invest in new technology, including renewable energy projects and new processing equipment, as well as ones that demonstrate growth in net revenue for agriculture enterprises; leverage other sources of funding; and provide secondary economic multipliers (i.e., business expansions).

“This is another example of the ongoing collaboration between the public and private sectors,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “While we are excited about advanced manufacturing opportunities such as STAMP we also cannot forget that the foundation of our regional economy is the agricultural sector.”

Those interested in learning more about the application process and the program can contact Chris Suozzi, GCEDC V.P. of Business Development, at (585) 343-4866 or [email protected].

For more information about the program, visit http://www.gcedc.com/pdf/marketing/Gain%20Loan%20Fund%20Brochure.pdf

May 17, 2016 - 1:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Youth Bureau, sports, news, basketball.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Youth Bureau sponsored a citywide 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament on Friday, May 13. Ten teams competed in the double elimination tournament. Teams represented were Youth, Batavia Police, Batavia City Hall and Genesee County Dept. of Social Services.

The Batavia Youth Bureau is planning another tournament later this summer to continue this community event that creates interaction between youth and public servants.

Below are photos (submitted, IDs from left) of the first-, second- and third-place teams and the Youth Team playing the Batavia Police/City Hall Team.

First Place: Malachi Chenault, Trenton MaGraw, Dakota Irvin and Jordan Thomas.

Second Place: Luqman Baity, Ally Luckenbach and Alex Nesbeth.

Third Place: Anthony Garcia, Juan Claudio, Nashiem Harris (not pictured -- Jeff Redband).

(Names not provided.)

May 17, 2016 - 11:13am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, Stafford, news.

Vernon Ronald Hill, 18, of Chiefswood Road, Ohsweken, Ontario, Canada, is charged with second-degree criminal trespass. At 5:30 a.m. on Monday, May 16, Hill was allegedly found naked in a residence on Griswold Road in Stafford by the homeowner. He was arraigned in Town of Le Roy Court and jailed in lieu of $1,000 cash bail. He was due in Stafford Town Court this morning. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Young.

May 17, 2016 - 11:01am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, veterans, Operation Desert Storm.

(Submitted photo of George Mirrione when he arrived home after serving in the Gulf War.)

Press release:

Twenty-five years ago, more than 600,000 service members took part in Operation Desert Storm, at the time the largest deployment of U.S. Armed Forces since Vietnam. George Mirrione, then an Army Private First Class was attached to the 5th Engineer Battalion(Combat) of the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) was one of those who left friends and family behind to serve our nation and secure a victory for freedom.

On May 30, Mirrione, who grew up in Akron and now lives in Batavia, will march among more than 500 Gulf War veterans in the American Veterans Center’s National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C.

To mark the 25th anniversary of Operation Desert Storm and honor those who served and sacrificed, the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association and America Veterans Center have invited more than 500 Gulf War veterans to reunite at the National Memorial Day Parade. The veterans are participating thanks to the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association and its mission to honor the legacy of the Gulf War though building a monument in the nation’s capital to the 383 service members who fell during the war and honoring those who served in this pivotal moment in world history.

“While foremost our mission at the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association is to build a monument to our fallen brothers and sisters, we are also committed to honoring the many hundreds of thousands of men and women who left homes, jobs, and families to stand up for America’s values,” said Scott Stump, founder, president and CEO of the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association.

“We are so glad that veterans like George Mirrione are marching with us to teach Americans about the service and sacrifice made by all veterans of Operation Desert Storm.”

Mirrione and other veterans will follow part of the same route service members returning from the Middle East marched 25 years ago. Like their comrades of the past, Mirrione will be met with the cheers of hundreds of thousands of patriotic Americans. By honoring Gulf War veterans alongside veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and our most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the parade will cement Operation Desert Storm as one of our nation’s key battles for freedom.

In 2014, Congress passed legislation and President Barack Obama signed a law approving construction of the National Desert Storm War Memorial in Washington, D.C. Since that day, the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association has been working to build the monument and aims to raise the millions of dollars needed to support that mission.

To learn more about the Desert Storm War Memorial Association and its participation in the Memorial Day Parade, contact Fred Wellman, Public Relations chair, NDSWM Board of Directors at 202-957-2688 or [email protected]. To learn more about the American Veterans Center’s National Memorial Day Parade, visit http://www.americanveteranscenter.org/avc-events/parade/

ABOUT THE NATIONAL DESERT STORM WAR MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION:
The National Desert Storm War Memorial Association is a 501(c)3 organization with the sole mission of constructing a Desert Storm War Memorial in Washington, D.C. The association is led by a board of directors comprised of Desert Storm Veterans from all branches of the military and from across the country. You can learn more about the effort and donate to this important cause at www.ndswm.org.

May 17, 2016 - 10:34am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, animal rescue, lost pet, news.

Submitted photo of "Hops."

"Hops" is on the lam. She's a "chubby," double-chinned eight-pound bunny who hails from the yard at the southeast corner of Maple Street and Ganson Avenue in the City of Batavia.

Hops was last seen by her family, the Rapones, on Sunday. The 3-year-old is white with gray around her eyes and ears.

"I'm starting to freak out a little," said Polly Rapone this morning, who says she's scoured the neighborhood in search of the pet, one of six bunnies, two cats, two chocolate labs, a fish and a turtle who live at 23 Maple St..

Guy and Polly Rapone, who five children together, four school-aged, have allowed Hops -- in good weather -- to lounge and ambulate at will about their large yard, which is only fenced on two sides, while her rabbit relatives are mostly caged. She's usually content to sit at the edge of the yard with her nose twitching through the chain-link fence.

But this latest escapade, one of several over the course of her little lifetime, has Polly particularly stressed out.

For one, she's been gone longer than on her other forays and, two, well, enough is enough.

"She's going back in the cage," said Polly, with prescient hopefulness about the fate of their beloved bunny rabbit.

If you have information which might lead to the capture of Hops, please contact the Rapone family at 219-4657. No questions asked!

May 16, 2016 - 10:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mail Pouch Barn, Asbury Road, Le Roy, BARNS, news.

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A drive out to Le Roy today for some business took me down Asbury Road under crisp blue skies and past the landmark Mail Pouch Barn.

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