6/20: About Nancy Yancey; Congressional baseball; Health care

GwinnettForum  | Number 17.23  |  June 20, 2017   

HALF-TIMBERED CASTLE: This is a scene from Wartburg Castle in Germany. George Graf sends this in with comments concerning a recent perspective about Martin Luther. See with other pictures about Martin Luther in Feedback below.


TODAY’S FOCUS: Long-Term Rainbow Village CEO Nancy Yancey Announces Retirement
EEB PERSPECTIVE: Enjoying the Congressional Baseball Game in Washington, D.C.
ANOTHER VIEW: Let Everyone, Not Just Me, Have a Fair Shot at Living to the Age of 150  
SPOTLIGHT: Precision Planning, Inc.
FEEDBACK: Several Readers Add to the Perspective about Martin Luther
UPCOMING: Environmental Center Offers Southeastern Plant Show until Aug. 19
NOTABLE: Lawrenceville Has New Financial Director Previously in Roswell
RECOMMENDED: My Ages of Anxiety by Scott Stossel
GEORGIA TIDBIT: A Simple Marked Rock Marks Georgia Northern Line with SC and NC
TODAY’S QUOTE: Here’s How You Go About Having a Pretty Good Time
MYSTERY PHOTO: Often Photographed Subject, But Just Where Is It?
LAGNIAPPE: Accents Creative Group Celebrates with Move To New Office
CALENDAR: Duluth City Officials Offer Chat Time Tuesday Night


Long-term Rainbow Village CEO Nancy Yancey announces retirement

By Don Plummer, Duluth, Ga.  |  Rainbow Village Chief Operating Officer the Rev. Nancy Yancey has announced that she will retire from the 26-year-old nonprofit serving homeless families with children on December 31, 2017. Yancey, 65, who was involved in the creation of Rainbow Village in 1991, has led the organization since 1993.


Yancey said she leaves the organization without debt following a successful $8.8 million building program that leaves Rainbow Village staff and board members well positioned to build upon that success as they sustain and further refine the program that boasts a better than 85 percent success rate in reversing family homelessness.

She says: “I have been blessed to serve Rainbow Village for the past 24 years. I have always tried to follow God’s call for my life and I believe it is now time for me to enter the next phase of my journey. I will retire at the end of 2017 and look forward to spending time with my husband, children and friends.”

She continues: “I could never have imagined what a miraculous journey God had in store for me and Rainbow Village during my time here. Rainbow Village has grown from serving two families in 1991 to serving 30 in 2017. The capital campaign which began in 2008 is now complete and the “new” Village with a Family Service Center, 30 apartment homes and Community Center will be at full capacity, serving approximately 100 residents by year end.”

Additionally: “Rainbow Village is well positioned to continue its success over the next 25 years and beyond. I am honored to have developed so many wonderful relationships with investors, volunteers and staff who have loved and cared for our families as I have. I know the support will continue as we now move into sustaining what we have built together.  I am proud of all that has been accomplished and honored to have been a part of the success.

“Rainbow Village can look forward to new leadership to work with the amazing staff and board of directors to continue to fulfill the mission of Rainbow Village. I am sure God has already chosen the one who is to succeed me.  I offer prayers of thanksgiving for the hundreds of lives that have been transformed at Rainbow Village and the ones who are to come. I am certain God will continue to bless each one of us!”

Rainbow Village is an IRS registered 501 (c) (3) nonprofit which transforms the lives of homeless families with children who commit to accepting accountability and who actively participate in establishing and meeting their goals while living in a supportive community. Since 1991, Rainbow Village has improved the lives of more than 1,000 individuals.

Rainbow Village is located on an all-inclusive campus in Duluth, consisting of five apartment buildings with homes for 30 families, a family services center and community center with playground, childcare for ages 6 months through 4 years, afterschool program for elementary, middle and high school students, community dining with industrial kitchen, clothing boutique and chapel.

Rainbow Village is remarkably effective in ending homelessness for families with children. As of the end of 2015, 99 percent of families who had completed its 1-2-year residential phase had secured and maintained housing without subsidy, 100 percent of post-residential heads of household were employed and 92 percent had increased their earnings from entrance into program.


Enjoying the congressional baseball game in Washington, D.C.

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher |  The day after the Congressional shooting last week, my wife and I were in Washington, D.C. visiting  our youngest daughter, who will soon be moving to Charleston, S. C.

Catherine suggested: “Let’s go to the Congressional baseball game,” and we did. What a great night it was!

However, it wasn’t easy. The game was started in 1909 to bring the members of Congress from the two parties together in a non-partisan outing. It’s a charitable affair, with proceeds going to local charities. A record 24,959 people attended.

But for the 2017 game, throngs of people came. Arriving at the Washington National’s stadium, a long, long line of people waited to get into the stadium. The line twice made a 90 degree turn. While most of the people had purchased online tickets, it took 30 minutes to get to the gate. Safety was the concern, as guards searched diligently every attendees backpack or pocketbook before anyone got through the security gate.

At Congressional baseball game, with Catherine Brack and John Lewis But they were having fun. Rep. Barry Loudermilk was the only Georgian playing.

Both teams scored in the first inning, with us arriving at the start of the second inning. The elected officials who were playing were decked out in mostly home-state outfits, and all wearing different colors. There was not a team “uniform,” and both groups looked like disjoined teams.

The whole stadium got excited toward the fifth inning, when the Democrats sent up a woman, Rep. Linda Sánchez, to bat…. with at least half the stadium on their feet for every pitch cheering her on…..as she got a walk. Later Rep. Nanette Barrágan did even better, singling on a hard hit ball to third base.

Oversize racer Teddy usually wins race at Nationals Park. He often trips Washington, Jefferson or Lincoln in order to win.

Eventually the Democrats won 11-2, bringing the series record to 40-39-1 in the Democrats’ favor.  And with the large crowd in attendance, the two clubs raised $1 million for local charities. The weather was perfect—about 80 degrees with a slight breeze. What a great night for the elected officials, for non-partisanship, the fans and for charity

GEORGIA’S TWO SENATORS distinguished themselves last week.  Senator Johnny Isakson hosted his ninth annual non-partisan lunch, with 400 pounds of barbecue coming up from Marietta. Some 84 senators showed up.

Senator David Perdue was quoted in The Washington Post as saying about combined meetings of senators: “We only do(this) about two or three of these a year. I’d love to do that once a week. That’s a concrete thing we ought to do.”

We’ve said for years that our Congress ought to be less partisan. You can just about trace the growth of partisanship to the jet airplane.

After all, in years past, when the Congress had to take railroads home, they stayed more in Washington. They got to know one another at parties, at ball games, and in their homes, as colleagues, and often friends. There was not so much acrimony or  rancor between the parties.

These days with the speed of travel much faster, many officials feel that they must be back in the district, seeing people, pumping hands and raising money.

More sports among Congressmen, more barbecues with folks from both parties can help reduce the partisanship!


Let everyone, not just me, have a fair shot at living to the age of 150

By Debra Houston, contributing columnist  |  National Geographic Magazine recently wrote that the first human to live to 150 has already been born. Granted, that person will have great health care.

My new insurance coverage allows a free annual wellness test. So I scheduled one, complaining of a sharp pain on my right side. I was thinking appendicitis or gall bladder, or strained muscle (as it turned out). Doc ordered a CT-Scan, and afterwards, the tech said I’d likely hear from him in a few days.

I heard from Doc that same day.

“Nothing wrong on the right,” he said, “but the scan detected an inch-long tumor on your left kidney.” Typically surgeons remove part of the kidney or the entire thing. We have a spare for good measure, but I didn’t like the idea of losing one.

He sent me to an urologist. “We call this an unintended diagnosis.” He sent me to a surgical urologist. “Any idea how such a small tumor was detected?” I nodded.  With advanced technology, body scanners are uncovering lots of unintended diagnoses.

He sent me to an intervention radiologist, who said I needed a “Cryoablation,” an outpatient procedure in which freezing argon gas sent through a probe creates a ball of ice that freezes any cancer cells. One doctor simplified it: “We freeze the cells and when they warm up, they expand and explode.” The worse part was the anesthesia.

When I saw my primary again, I told him what had transpired. He teaches young doctors and they can’t believe the high number of specialists out there. In other words, there’s a specialist for every pain these days.  

I said I worry about those without health care who’ll never benefit from medical advances. He recalled a patient who stop coming because she’d lost her health care.  When she regained it, she returned. He found a knot in her breast, ordered tests, but you know the ending — cancer had consumed her body.

As far as Obamacare or Trumpcare, listen y’all, I’m tired of talking about it.  Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence, believed Americans are entitled to pursue happiness. How can you do that if you’re denied health care because of a pre-existing condition? How can you if you must pay rent on a doctor’s office? True! I was once told to expect a “building fee” on my bill from a doctor.

How can you pursue happiness if you’re sick? Look, you can argue about whether health care is an entitlement or not, but the bottom line is that in America, no one should die because they lack health care.

I want everyone, not just me, to benefit from medical advances. I want everyone, not just me, to have a fair shot at living to the age of 150.  


Precision Planning, Inc.

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Several readers add to the perspective about Martin Luther

Editor, the Forum:

I appreciated your piece on Martin Luther. He was a brave and insightful man who had the courage to speak truth to power at a time when it could have cost him his life.  But the ire of his intellect and his pen was not reserved for the failings of the Catholic church, as he wrote with equal passion, condemnation, and frustration about Talmudic Jews. He framed the case for anti-Semitism and the popularity of this view rivaled that of his stance against indulgences. 

— Joe Briggs, Buford

Editor, the Forum:

Statue of Luther

Your recent perspective on Martin Luther reminded me that I read a biography of Martin Luther by Roland H. Bainton several years ago. Here I Stand – A Life of Martin Luther.  I recommend it to others. 

I carried it with me into airport waiting areas on several business trips, and more than once, seeing the cover, people asked me about the book.  I would say “It’s a biography of Martin Luther.”  Some people asked me “Is his I Have a Dream speech in there?”  My standard reply was “I haven’t gotten to that part yet.”

So much for cultural literacy.

— Michael L. Wood, Peachtree Corners

Editor, the Forum:

Worms Cathedral

I’m always learning something new from GwinnettForum, even when I’ve studied the subject at hand on prior occasions. 

I traveled Germany following many of the footsteps of Martin Luther.  Though I am a Roman Catholic since birth, the church has experienced a plethora of corruption and unpleasantness throughout the ages.  Martin Luther boldly addressed the church’s corruption of his time and it got him booted out of the Catholic Church. He was luckier than others, who at times met their maker soon after challenging the church. 


I’ve attached a photo of Wartburg Castle where Martin Luther translated the New Testament from Ancient Greek to German in a miraculous 10 weeks.  He did this work after having been excommunicated by Pope Leo X for not recanting his 95 theses at the Diet of Worms (photo of Worms Cathedral attached). 

I also included my photo of Erfurt where Martin Luther graduated from the university there as you pointed out, and also a photo of his statue in Erfurt.

George Graf, Palmyra, Va.

Even adults attend church services in shorts and flip-flops

Editor, the Forum:

I could not agree more with the writers in regards to the travel dress that we see now.  I will add this, though. In my church here in Jesup, I see the same thing. Grown men, coming to church in shorts, flip flops and T-shirts!  Not some nappy headed adolescent, but grown people! 

I also see  women at stores, shopping in their pajama bottoms.  Well, at least they have tops on!  I guess they just dropped their rug-rats off at the school house and decided to pick up a few things on the way home.

We as a society, are going to hell in a handbasket!                

— David Earl Tyre, Jesup

Real issues behind London building fire will likely not be fixed

Editor, the Forum:

I have been following some of the news from England of a terrible fire in an apartment building.  Many concerns have been raised about the building’s safety and that those concerns were ignored by authorities. 

Now the newly elected government is under a lot of criticism.  Sadly I see this issue being another one where two political parties will use this tragedy to blame one another while gaining political advantage for themselves.  In the meantime the real issues behind this fire will be unreported and will likely not be fixed. 

As individuals, we cannot rely on Government to be the salvation to all our problems.  We must be more engaged in the processes around us and participate if we want the world to be as we wish.  However, even with the tenants participation in this building, the results appear to have failed everyone.

— Charles Blair, Lawrenceville

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Environmental Center offers Southeastern Plant Show until Aug. 19

Summer campers at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center explore nature by feeling, smelling, touching and listening at an interactive touch table in the Southeastern Native Plants: An Artistic Walk Through The Seasons exhibit.

The Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center (GEHC) invites visitors to discover the ever changing beauty of native plants, insects and other critters during the various seasons of the year with a new exhibit, entitled Southeastern Native Plants:  An Artistic Walk Through The Seasons. This features the watercolors and pencil drawings of local artist Linda Fraser. Her work has previously been featured at prestigious venues including the South Carolina Botanical Garden, Callaway Gardens, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and the 2009 Southeastern Flower Show.         

Upon moving to Georgia, Fraser realized that she could study plants and insects better by drawing them. Her illustrations display the beauty of nature, like the flowers of ironweed stretching toward the sun and the ingenuity of dragonflies swooping to catch a meal.   

Throughout the summer, the GEHC plans to host Artist Talks to give visitors a chance to meet Fraser and hear the stories behind some of her paintings. The first talk takes place on June 24 at 1 p.m. Other opportunities include July 8 at 1 p.m., July 30 at 2 p.m. and Aug. 12 at 1 p.m. Artists Talks are included with admission to the GEHC.

  • The plant show is on display until Aug. 19, 2017. The exhibit is included in GEHC admission. For more information, visit www.gwinnettEHC.org.

Eastside to open newly-renovated emergency room on South campus

Eastside Medical Center is expanding services to meet the growing needs for high quality and convenient emergency care close to home with the opening of a newly renovated, full-service, 11-bed Emergency Department (ED) at their South Campus location at 2160 Fountain Drive in Snellville.

Eastside Medical Center will be hosting a community open house in celebration of the opening of their new South Campus Emergency Department on June 22nd from 5 to 7 p.m. The South Campus Emergency Department will officially open to see patients the following week on June 26.

The new addition will include 7,800 square feet of existing space and will complement the hospital’s existing 46 bed full-service ED at their Main Campus location at 1700 Medical Way in Snellville. The South Campus ED is a $2.8 million investment to expand emergency services to the surrounding community.


Lawrenceville has new financial director, previously in Roswell

The City of Lawrenceville has hired Keith Lee to assume the role of financial director. Lee comes from the City of Roswell with extensive background and experience in government financial management. Lee will spearhead efforts to manage, plan and develop the city’s $179 million annual budget.

Lee was the director of finance for Roswell where he worked to maintain financial responsibility for the City’s strategic goals and objectives, established protocols related to new the Government Accounting Standards Board’s rules and regulations and achieved triple-A bond ratings for General Obligation Bond projects. He also received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from Georgia Financial Officer’s Association during his tenure with the City. Prior to working for Roswell, Lee also held key operational and administrative positions with the Barrow County Board of Commissioners. 

Lee says: “It is quite a privilege to be coming to work for a community that has such an incredible financial resource as what Lawrenceville offers, I look forward to working hand-in-hand with City Administration, Council and its people to ensure financial stability, growth potential and long term success for all.” 

Lee will begin his employment with the City on June 19, 2017. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and earned his MBA from the Florida Institute of Technology. He is from Winder, where he and his wife, Donna live on her family farm.

In 18 months, Peachtree Corners adds 31 new restaurants

Peachtree  Corners, Gwinnett County’s largest city, has become a dining mecca of sorts. Just barely five years old, the city continues to expand on its variety of culinary choices. Since January 2016, 31 new restaurants have opened in the city. The latest is HotRocks Grill, a fast-casual eatery serving dishes with a distinctive Mediterranean flair.  The restaurant seats about 75 diners and also offers a selection of wine and beer choices. Mayor Mike Mason congratulates owners Sam Kahwach, John Davidson and Julie Smith during the recent ribbon cutting event. Councilmembers Lorri Christopher, Phil Sadd and Weare Gratwick were also on hand along with members of the Peachtree Corners Business Association.

Snellville Rotarians work on two local clean-up projects

The Rotary Club of Gwinnett Sunrise has begun a concerted effort of community involvement with the completion of two successful projects.  

The first was a clean-up effort at the house of a local resident who because of poor health could not meet the city’s Code Enforcement guidelines. A team of Rotary members went to work cleaning and beautifying the property to bring it into compliance and put smiles on the faces of the homeowner and the neighbors. Snellville Public Works helped with power equipment and the use of a truck. Rotarians provided the time and effort to improve the property.

The club’s second project was a clean-up and landscaping effort at one of Snellville’s busiest intersections: Wisteria Drive at U.S. Highway 78. Accomplished the morning of June 10, a group of club members collected litter and debris, weeded and dressed up all sides of the intersection helping the town to look better and making travel safer and less unsightly.

The intrepid Sunrise Rotarians plan to continue their community efforts on a regular schedule with another property clean-up scheduled for July 8.


My Ages of Anxiety

By Scott Stossel  

Reviewed by Karen Harris, Stone Mountain |  The author presents a revelatory history of the scourge called “anxiety” from a historical, scientific, cultural and personal perspective.  Information spanning from the early medical reports of Galen and Hippocrates, through Robert Burton and Soren Kierkegaard, to Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud, takes the reader through the evolution of understanding what of anxiety is, and the profound effect it has on lives.  Stossel also explores the cultural implications about how anxiety has slowly evolved to be an overarching feature of life in modern times.  Stossel’s openness about his own history with anxiety which manifested when he was six years old continuing until now paints a compelling picture of how he has lived through many challenges yet maintains a successful professional life.  It will bring greater understanding about this little understood affliction. The full title is Exploring My Age of Anxiety, Fear, Hope, Dread and the Search for Peace of Mind.

An invitation: what books, restaurants, movies or web sites have you enjoyed recently? Send us your recent selection, along with a short paragraph (100 words) as to why you liked this, plus what you plan to visit or read next. –eeb


A simple marked rock marks Georgia’s northern line with S.C. and N.C.

(Continued from previous edition)

Georgia’s charter of 1732 describes the colony’s northern boundary as beginning at the headwaters of the Savannah River. However, it would be more than 50 years, at the Beaufort Convention of 1787, before Georgia and South Carolina further defined the boundary as “the most northern branch or stream of the River Savannah from the Sea or Mouth of such stream to the fork or confluence of the Rivers now called Tugoloo and Keowee, and from thence the most northern branch or stream of the said River Tugaloo, till it intersects the northern boundary line of South Carolina.” (The northern boundary line of South Carolina was the 35th latitude north.)

Another 25 years passed before a reliable survey determined that the most northern branch of the Tugaloo was the Chattooga River. In the meantime, Georgia’s boundary with South Carolina remained poorly defined, as did its boundary with North Carolina.

As settlers established communities in the western portions of North Carolina, many were unsure in which state they resided. The confusion arose because the 35th latitude north, which was the southern boundary of North Carolina, and thus the northern boundary of Georgia, had never been surveyed. From 1787 to 1811 the citizens of what is now Transylvania County in western North Carolina assumed that they lived in Georgia and elected representatives to the Georgia state legislature.

In 1811, to settle the issue, Georgia again hired Andrew Ellicott, this time to survey and mark the location of the 35th latitude north. Ellicott’s positive location of the latitude line established that those citizens who thought they lived in Georgia were really in North Carolina. Although Ellicott’s finding resulted in a significant loss of land for Georgia, his survey was accepted by the state and has never been challenged in the courts. For nearly two centuries, records of Ellicott’s survey were believed to be lost.

In 1813 North Carolina and South Carolina each sent a survey team to mark the 35th latitude north at the Chattooga River. The surveyors from both states agreed on its location and carved the inscription “Lat 35 AD 1813 NC+SC” on a huge boulder on the east bank of the river. This rock, known as “Commissioner’s Rock,” is located in the Ellicott Rock Wilderness and is easily reached by hikers. The rock is on the National Register of Historic Places (where it is listed as “Ellicott Rock”) and also marks the point at which the boundaries of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia converge.

For more than 50 years, hikers, historians, writers, and officials have taken the three-mile walk from the trailhead at Burrell’s Ford campground up the east side of the Chattooga River to visit what is known as Ellicott’s Rock. This small rock is located 15 feet north of Commissioner’s Rock and has the letters N and either G or C carved on it.

Twenty-first-century research conducted in the North Carolina and Georgia state archives tells a very different story. Letters and receipts reveal that Georgia paid Ellicott $4,450 for his survey. Also discovered were his diary, found in an unfinished manuscript, and a draft report of his surveying calculations locating the 35th latitude, intended for Georgia governor David B. Mitchell. Further, the resolution appointing Ellicott to find and mark the 35th latitude north does not mention the Chattooga River, and an 1812 letter from Ellicott to North Carolina governor William Hawkins states: “In the parallel of 35 degree N. latitude, on the west side of the Chattooga river, a stone is set up marked on the South side (G. lat 35 N.) and on the north side, (N.C.) for North Carolina” [emphasis added]. This evidence indicates that the rock on the east side of the river, near Commissioner’s Rock, was not inscribed by Ellicott. A rock matching Ellicott’s description has not been found.

(To be continued)


Often photographed subject, but just where is it?

Water often attracts photographers, and today’s Mystery Photo is an oft-taken photograph. Try to figure out where this is, and send your thoughts to elliott@brack.net and be sure to include your hometown.

It is a local institution, but few people recognized last edition’s Mystery Photo. Bob Foreman of Grayson recognized it immediately, as “The Commons at Stone Mountain Park.  A great place to have lunch or dinner.”  The photo was sent in by Jerry Colley of Alpharetta.

George Graf of Palmyra, Va. gave additional details, calling the photo by its official name, the “Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort, Stone Mountain. Surrounded by 3,200 acres of lush greenery, this resort is located in the picturesque scenery of Stone Mountain Park which is Georgia’s most-visited attraction.  Stone Mountain is a quartz monzonite dome monadnock (try saying that three times fast).  The Stone Mountain Memorial Association (SMMA), a State of Georgia authority, is charged by Georgia law with self-sufficiently managing the State owned Stone Mountain Park.”


Accents Creative Group celebrates with move to new office

Clients and community members joined Accent Creative Group (ACG), a Lawrenceville-based marketing and design firm, recently for an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the firm’s new location at 365 South Perry Street.  The move represents ACG’s continued commitment to marketing and design excellence and meeting the needs of clients and the local community. According to ACG President Pam Ledbetter, the historical 1907 office is the perfect environment for the creative team. She says: “The ambience and outdoor garden space lends itself to great brainstorming sessions as does the downstairs parlor, dining room, sunroom and game room.” From left are Partner/Head Graphic Designer Ashleigh James; Production Designer Bebe Rogers; Community Relations Paula Hastings; President Pam Ledbetter; City of Lawrenceville Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson; Gwinnett Chamber President Dr. Dan Kaufman; Project Coordinator Emily O’Toole; Business Development Manager April Grennan; Web Developer Nick Ledbetter; Gwinnett County Commissioner Jace Brooks; and Events and Special Projects Director Rachel Jeffers.


(NEW) Join the chat with City of Duluth officials on Tuesday, June 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Heights of Sugarloaf, 2370 Chattahoochee Drive. Learn more about some great things happening in Duluth that you will want to hear about. Invite your friends and neighbors.

Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting of Eastside Medical Center South Campus Emergency Department, June 22 from 4-7 p.m., 2160 Fountain Drive, Snellville. Take a tour of the new campus department after the ribbon cutting. More info: hope.moeck@hcahealthcare.com.

The second annual Ruppert Run 5K will be run on Saturday, June 24, in Lilburn City Park. This year’s race will benefit the Lilburn Police Explorers, the Lilburn Terrace Community, the Lilburn Community Partnership and Wynne Russell Historic House. Ruppert Landscaping is the sponsor. For more information, contact Steve Faber at 770 931-9900.

Free Photography Workshop at Lilburn Library Branch, 4817 Church Street, will take place on June 24, at 2 p.m. Join the Georgia Nature Photographers Association for this informal talk and Q&A photography workshop.  They will provide information about cameras, editing software, and tips for getting better photographs with the equipment you already have. Preceding this in the Lilburn Library, GNPA member Steve Wilkerson will give a talk on macro photography at 10:30 a.m. on June 20.


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