is coming to Gwinnett, this time in Suwanee, being built by Caddis, a Dallas, Tex. developer of several of this style of units. Known as Heatis Suwanee, it will include 175 independent living, assisted living and memory care units in a building totaling 187,375 square feet. The building is well out of the ground now, and is expected to be complete by November 2018. It is located near the Suwanee Library on the west side of the railroad tracks. Caddis also has facilities in Smyrna, Houston and Phoenix.

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Chairman says Gwinnett is healthy and has job base of 345,000

Charlotte Nash | photo provided

By Heather Sawyer, Lawrenceville, Ga. | Almost 200 years of Gwinnett County history provided the backdrop for Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlotte Nash 's 2018 State of the County speech Wednesday to an audience of about 800 at the Infinite Energy Center.

"Gwinnett is not a bedroom community anymore," she told her listeners, "We're an employment center and a destination. Two hundred years after our founding, we remain a community of pioneers, with many of our residents having come from across the U.S. and from around the globe, seeking opportunity and prosperity."

Chairman Nash pointed to a pioneering spirit as "the true source of Gwinnett's strength" that is "not satisfied to simply accept what is, but rather strives to create what should be."

She said that SPLOST continues to help us address capital needs, with such projects as the expansion of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center for much-needed courts space, a new Fire Station 15 in Lawrenceville now under construction, a new Police Precinct adjacent to Bay Creek Park, parks and libraries, and almost $500 million in transportation improvements funded by the current six-year SPLOST."

Nash said that a robust economy is fundamental to a healthy community and that fostering job creation and economic opportunity is a primary focus for Gwinnett government. "Eight years ago, private sector jobs in Gwinnett had dropped to about 256,000 as a result of the Great Recession. Today the number stands near 320,000. Adding public sector jobs brings the figure closer to 345,000."

Noting that Gwinnett had only 4,000 residents when it was formed in 1818, she said, "Gwinnett's population is projected to exceed 1.5 million in 2040 and there must be expanded options for travel. My goal is to present a viable transit approach to voters and give them a chance to decide."

She praised several bills now in the state legislature and said, "Striking the right balance between regional oversight and local control is difficult and there are obviously hurdles to overcome. However, I believe we have a window of opportunity that should not be squandered."

Progress in the areas of public safety, water, education, economic development and community outreach provided other highlights of the speech. She urged listeners to get involved in bicentennial events throughout this year and attend a 200th birthday party for the county on December 15 at the Infinite Energy Center.

"We honor our past and those who built today's Gwinnett through 200 years of opportunities and decisions. And as we approach the next 100 years, we still need a pioneering, can-do spirit to face our challenges together and develop new solutions," Nash concluded.

Video of the speech will air frequently on the county's government access cable channel on Charter, Comcast and AT&T U-verse beginning at 7:30 p.m. daily and will be available to view on demand at A text version of the speech and a handout highlighting the county government's previous year accomplishments can also be found on the County's website.

It's good to see some Continuing Objectives for Gwinnett achieved

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher | Periodically we like to re-visit GwinnettForum's Continuing Objectives for Gwinnett County.

Here is a list we are currently running in each issue of GwinnettForum, to keep these ideas before the people of Gwinnett County:

  • Development of a two-party system for county offices
  • Moving statewide non-partisan judge election runoffs to the General Election
  • Light rail for Gwinnett from Doraville MARTA station to Gwinnett Arena
  • Extension of Gwinnett Place CID area to include Arena and Discovery Mills Mall
  • Banning of tobacco in all Gwinnett parks
  • More diverse candidates for political offices and appointment to local boards
  • Creative efforts to support the arts in Gwinnett
  • Advancement and expansion of city and Gwinnett historical societies
  • Stronger regulation of late-night establishments with alcohol licenses
  • Requiring the legislature to meet once every two years.
  • Development of more community gardens.

We're pleased to see some developments that have somewhat accomplished two of these objectives.

  • Instead of an extension of Gwinnett Place CID to the Arena and Discover Mills Mall, we have a new CID in Gwinnett that is covering that general area. The Sugarloaf CID is now operational, and takes in much of the area around the Infinite Energy Arena. The work will begin soon to bring a hotel and additional activities, which will be beneficial to the area and CID. So far, the Sugarloaf CID does not extend to the Discover Mills Mall.

  • Our objective of more community gardens has been achieved. We applaud work in Suwanee, Snellville, Sugar Hill, Lilburn, Norcross and other areas, in particular, as these areas have thriving community gardens. Such an activity can benefit any area. We hope to see even more in other parts of the community.

We are pleased to remove these two Objectives from our list.

There appears to be a possibility that another Objective will see significant changes this year. That concerns the elections scheduled for 2018. The Gwinnett Democratic Party seems to be fielding candidates with real chances at winning this year. Having two thriving political parties in the county will mean, in the long run, better candidates and a better county. A competitive two-party system has been a long time coming, but might make a significant breakthrough this year.

When Gwinnett sees a competitive two party system, that will go a long way toward completion of another objective: More diverse candidates for a political offices and appointment to local boards. So this, too, might move forward in and after the 2018 elections.

With lots of people having interest in crime control, one objective speaks to that. We would continue to push for stronger regulations of late night establishments which have alcohol permits. Currently they can serve drinks until 2 a.m., but can stay open until 5 a.m. Most everyone agrees that nothing much good happens at these establishments between 2 and 5 a.m. Closing them earlier would be most beneficial to the county.

We also emphasize our desire to see the Georgia Legislature meet only once every two years, like some other states do. All Georgians get nervous when the Legislature meets, so have them meet only once every other year.

So, our revised list for 2018 shows:

  • Development of a two-party system for county offices
  • Moving statewide non-partisan judge election runoffs to the General Election
  • Commuter rail for Gwinnett from Doraville MARTA station to Gwinnett Arena
  • Banning of tobacco in all Gwinnett parks
  • More diverse candidates for political offices and appointment to local boards
  • Creative efforts to support the arts in Gwinnett
  • Advancement and expansion of city and Gwinnett historical societies
  • Stronger regulation of late-night establishments with alcohol licenses
  • Requiring the legislature to meet once every two years.

  • Have a comment? Send to:

Loganville mayor pleased with visit to Trump White House

Rey Martinez | photo provided

By Robbie Schwartz, Loganville, Ga. | New Loganville Mayor Rey Martinez had high hopes of setting the pace for the celebration as Walton County's Bicentennial flag made its stop in Loganville. Literally. He's an avid runner and planned on leading the pack in taking the flag by foot along U.S. Highway 78 on its journey.

But when the White House called and extended an invitation to join the Mayors' Day at the White House, Martinez knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

He says: "A few days before the meeting, I received a call from the White House Intergovernmental Affairs Office congratulating me on becoming the new mayor of Loganville. I was asked if I would be interested in taking part of the annual Mayors' Day at the White House and of course I was humbled and honored to accept."

Martinez had helped lead a group in Georgia called Hispanics for Trump and also joined Vice President Mike Pence at the podium during campaign stops in Georgia in 2016. Some of the relationships forged during that experience led to the invitation.

On the Mayors' Day, President Donald Trump spoke to the 75 mayors that gathered for the January 24 event, which itself was in limbo because of the government shutdown just days beforehand. But the shutdown ended in time for Martinez and the others to gather and listen as President Trump addressed the crowd, speaking about the administration's accomplishments in its first year.

He said following the presidential address: "I was impressed with how much our president and vice president love our country and how much they want us to succeed. So many jobs were created in 2017, African-American and Hispanic unemployment rates are the lowest they have ever been and I think that the streamlining of the permitting process for roadwork will really help the City of Loganville as we work to address some of our congestion concerns.

"The president and vice president understand the role mayors play in their city. I also had a brief conversation with Vice President Pence to encourage and support the administration on the steps they've taken to advance the Hispanic population."

Following the president's address, the mayors then had a meet-and-greet to get to know the other elected officials in attendance and took part in a roundtable discussion with representatives from federal agencies on how to make cities safer and to make relationships stronger with the federal government.

The mayor served seven years on the Council before being elected to the post last year. He has been in the restaurant business since 2007, and recently turned this into a full catering service of Cuban dishes for events, festivals and markets across the Metro Atlanta area.

Mayor Martinez said he enjoyed his first trip to the White House and the overall experience. "I was amazed by the history and beauty of the East Wing. But more importantly, I feel this trip has made me a better leader and given me a deeper understanding of the relationship between the local and federal government," he said. "As mayor, it gives me great joy to know that Loganville has an ally in the White House. Our president and vice president are great leaders and I believe they want to bring the United States back into a prominent role as leader and defender of democracy across the globe."

Georgia Gwinnett College

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Waffle iron for Valentine?

Lawrenceville's new $20 million public works facility now operational

The new $20 million Public Works Complex of the city of Lawrenceville is now open at 435 West Pike Street. The facility brings together the city's gas, electric, damage prevention, fleet maintenance, streets and sanitation departments in one location. The facility also serves as an essential first-step toward completion of Gwinnett's largest redevelopment project currently underway - the South Lawn in downtown Lawrenceville.

Mayor Judy Johnson says that the new Public Works Facility "streamlines city services for the community as well as providing a quality work environment for our employees. This facility will serve as a catalyst for current redevelopment activity and future growth for our great city."

The new complex sits on a 25-acre site and now houses 122 employees. The 66,000-sq.-ft. complex includes three buildings, a mezzanine space and additional capacity for growth and future expansion if needed. The project also incorporated 240 parking spaces and new intersection improvements.

Opening of the Public Works Facility and moving those operations allows for the development of the South Lawn project. That will include over 600 residential living units, more than 15,000 square feet of retail space, connect City Hall and the Police Station with the increasingly popular Lawrenceville Lawn and create a comprehensive walkable environment straight down to the Lawrenceville Square.

Aurora Theatre presents hit musical Mamma Mia! through April 22

Calling all dancing queens and kings!

Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus' Mamma Mia!, the smash hit musical based on the songs of ABBA, is set to run at Aurora Theatre from March 8 until April 22. It is the eighth longest running show in Broadway history and one of only five musicals to have run for more than ten years on Broadway. Aurora Theatre is producing Atlanta's post-Broadway premiere of the feel-good show in the heart of downtown Lawrenceville!

"When the professional rights for Mamma Mia! were on the verge of becoming available last year, we knew we had to produce the show at Aurora Theatre," says Justin Anderson, Director. "It is both the most anticipated and most spectacular production of our theatrical season. Along with hit after danceable hit-that every dedicated fan knows and loves-we've taken a fresh look at the design that will inject the show with unprecedented energy and verve, while also mining the story for its real heart. Whether you've seen Mamma Mia! once or a hundred times, this production is sure to leave everyone singing and dancing all the way home!"

Mamma Mia! combines timeless tunes with a sunny, funny tale that unfolds on a small Greek island. Sophie dreams of a perfect wedding where her father walks her down the aisle, but she is faced with one problem: the identity of her father is unknown! On a quest to discover his identity, she secretly invites the three possible candidates to her wedding, bringing them back into her mother's life for the first time in 20 years. The show is filled with ABBA hits, non-stop laughs and explosive dance numbers.

Tickets range from $40-$75 and may be purchased online at or by calling the Box Office at 678-226-6222.

Show times are Tuesday-Saturday at 8 p. m.; and Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p. m. Get tickets soon. Many shows are already sold out.

Exhibit in Centerville recognizes achievements of African Americans

Gwinnett County Health and Human Services will celebrate Black History Month with a free self-guided exhibit at OneStop Centerville, located at 3025 Bethany Church Road, until March 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Gwinnett County Public Library Centerville Branch will also host a free orated tour of the exhibit on March 13 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The exhibit honors African Americans' achievements and recognizes their role in history. As a special recognition for the Gwinnett County Bicentennial, the display explores how Irish immigrant Thomas Maguire settled in Snellville. The Maguire house and surrounding land, later owned by the Livsey family, is known locally as the "Promised Land."

Gwinnett County acquired the Maguire-Livsey property in 2017 and will preserve it as a historic site. The exhibit also includes other history specific to the Snellville area, such as the first settlers and how English immigrants Thomas Snell and James and Charles Sawyer and their families impacted the area, including increasing commercialism, opening a post office and incorporating the city.

Attendees of the orated tour can learn more about Snellville's unique history, diverse community and dynamic growth from Mayor Dan Curry and historian Terry Freeman.

SPLOST funds to be used for Snellville's Oak Road Park and trail

Snellville's city council approved a measure Monday, which will help pay for the bulk of the new Oak Road Park and the proposed Towne Center Multi-Use Trail.

The city will use a maximum of $1 million in Special Local Option Sales Tax funds to pay for a majority of the costs of the two projects. Oak Road Park had a price tag of $400,000 while the trail system is expected to cost $1.25 million.

The trail will offer a path for pedestrians and cyclists to and from the city's proposed Towne Center which will feature commercial, residential and business space.

Beginning at Scenic Highway on the west side of the downtown area at a new trailhead, the proposed 1.25-mile multi-use trail will travel east crossing North Road. It is designed to include park space at many points along its path and will incorporate needed stormwater features that double as scenic lakes/ponds. The trail is slated to traverse the entirety of the proposed Towne Center area and become part of the city's Greenway system.

The trail will serve a larger purpose than just general recreation use as it will be an integral part of the city's Towne Center development tying together residential, retail and education aspects of the development creating a new downtown Snellville.

City officials said the trail would be constructed ahead of or in conjunction with the Towne Center project.

Oak Road Park was envisioned first in 2003, when a 4.67-acre tract of land was acquired by the city on Oak Road which included the stipulation that it could only be used for greenspace. In 2015, a united Mayor and Council agreed on how it should be developed as a neighborhood park. This plan included working with the county on building a sidewalk from Scenic Highway to Mountain View Road, also with joint SPLOST funding, to make the park easily accessible to downtown and nearby neighborhoods. The city hired the engineering firm of Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood to design the park and oversee construction.

Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock

Reviewed by Karen Burnette Garner, Dacula | Recent discoveries in Mexico and other locations in Central and South America have led experts to announce that vast ancient civilizations lie buried beneath tropical jungles. The timeline of human expansion in the Americas is now questioned, and what we were taught in grade school about the Aztecs, the Mayans, and the Incas appear to be woefully incomplete. Written in 1995, the writer heralds these discoveries, and accompanying questions, we are asking today. The author focuses on findings by other scientists and explorers who have spent their professional lives trying to make sense of facts that don't add up. Does the past of man reach back much further than we've thought? Mr. Hancock presents a vision of world pre-history that questions what we think we know about mankind's presence in the world, and ultimately where we may be going.

An invitation: What books, restaurants, movies or web sites have you enjoyed recently? Send us your recent selection, along with a short paragraph (150 words) as to why you liked this, plus what you plan to visit or read next. --eeb

Revolutionary War Battle of Kettle Creek named for fish trap

Kettle Creek flows into the Little River near the Tyrone community in Wilkes County. It likely takes its name from a local fish trap, called a kittle.

During the American Revolution (1775-83) several incidents occurred along its banks. The South Carolina militia established a station there in 1776; an Indian attack on Robert McNabb's Fort in November 1778 resulted in McNabb's death; and in the last days of the Revolution, the rebel partisan and horse thief Josiah Dunn met his death in a skirmish nearby.

The most important event to occur at Kettle Creek, however, took place on Sunday, February 14, 1779. On that morning 600 American supporters of the British cause, popularly known as Loyalists or Tories, encamped atop a hill in a bend of the creek. They were following an established trail to the nearby Quaker settlement of Wrightsborough en route to Augusta. Aside from the defensive qualities of the position, the hill offered the new arrivals food in the form of cattle penned there.

The leader of this expedition, James Boyd, an Irishman from Raeburn Creek, S.C., had traveled to Georgia with a British invasion force from New York. He carried an open commission (as a colonel) to recruit southerners for the British military from settlements behind the rebel lines. Boyd left Savannah sometime after January 20, 1779, and reached Wrightsborough, deep within the Georgia backcountry, by the 24th, looking for guides to the South Carolina frontier. Within a week he established a camp near present-day Spartanburg, S.C.. With 350 recruits he set out for Augusta on February 5. During their march south along the Indian frontier, Boyd and his followers were joined by 250 North Carolinians under the command of John Moore.

The Loyalists were ineffectively pursued by small groups of rebel militiamen. Boyd's command captured Fort Independence and the outpost at Broad Mouth Creek in South Carolina, but they declined to attack the garrison of McGowan's Blockhouse on the Cherokee Ford of the Savannah River. The Loyalists crossed the river further north at Vann's Creek on February 11. The garrison of Cherokee Ford, with reinforcements, attacked Boyd's men at the crossing but were repulsed. As Boyd and his men camped at Kettle Creek on February 14, he dispatched his prisoners to Augusta. He could not know that the British troops sent there to rendezvous with him had that morning begun a withdrawal toward Savannah.

At the same time 340 South Carolina and Georgia militiamen, under Colonel Andrew Pickens of South Carolina and Colonel John Dooly and Lieutenant Colonel Elijah Clarke of Georgia, were preparing to attack Boyd's camp at Kettle Creek. They had been besieging Loyalist horsemen at Robert Carr's Fort on nearby Beaverdam Creek when they abandoned their prey to intercept Boyd's party. Four days of pursuit brought them almost to where they had started.
(To be continued)

Pastoral scene begs your identification in this Mystery Photo

This edition's Mystery Photo may prove difficult, as it looks like many other areas of this part of our country, in a very good photo. Figure out where you think this pastoral scene is and send your info to, to include your hometown.

What we thought would be a difficult Mystery Photo last edition quickly was recognized by several of our eagle-eyed readers. First in was Susan McBrayer of Sugar Hill, recognizing the "Convent of Christ in Portugal. It is in Tomar and is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre." The photo came from among the travels of Ross Lenhart of Pawley's Island, S.C.

Bob Foreman of Grayson told us that "This Mystery Photo at least has some recognizable architectural elements. Based on the architectural style, I figured it was Spain, Portugal, or Italy. Portugal was a good place to start since you have had a lot of photos from Portugal in recent months. It is the convent in Tomar, Portugal. 'Convento de Cristo' - Convent of Christ is the English translation. It is also a Castle tied to the Knights Templar."

George Graf of Palmyra, Va. expounded more: "The cityscape of Tomar is dominated to its west by the vast monumental complex of the Convent of Christ as it stands at the top of a hill. It is a main feature of the city's identity, the unity of which has been preserved. The Convent is surrounded by the walls of the Castle of Tomar. It belonged to the Order of the Templars and was founded in 1160 by Gualdim Pais, grand master of the Knights Templar. Originally designed as a monument symbolizing the Reconquest, the Convent of the Knights Templar of Tomar (transferred in 1344 to the Knights of the Order of Christ) came to symbolize the opening up of Portugal to other civilizations."

Rotarians fill 300 bags for those struggling with food insecurity

Raising $7,700 to stuff over 300 bags with food, the Rotary Club of Gwinnett County celebrated Valentine's Day with a special '"Rotary Has Heart" project to benefit people in the community who are hungry and struggling with food insecurity. The bags contained items such as canned tuna or chicken breast, vegetables, fruit cups and fruits, crackers, oatmeal and cereal. The project was held in partnership with Friends of Gwinnett Seniors and View Point Health, groups who had identified low-income individuals in need of supplemental food during the winter months. Club members rolled up their sleeves and assembled over 300 bags in under 20 minutes. The bags were boxed and divided evenly between the two agencies and were in place to distribute that afternoon. Members Mary Hester, Sherwin Levinson, and Bill McCargo go down the line filling bags for the program. To learn more about the Gwinnett Rotary Club and the many ways they give back to the community, visit:


Films for Black History Month. In celebration of Black History Month, join Gwinnett County Public Library for a film screening and discussion surrounding the plight of the Civil Rights Movement. A different film will be shown each Saturday in February at 2 p.m. at the Five Forks Branch, 2780 Five Forks Trickum Road, Lawrenceville. All viewings, discussions, and popcorn are free and open to the public. For more information, visit or call 770-978-5154. The film schedule is below:

  • February 17 - Southside with You; and
  • February 24 - Selma.

(NEW) GROUNDBREAKING of a new parking deck, phase I, of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center will be Tuesday, February 20 at 3:30 p.m. The event will be at the GJAC Garage Avenue behind the exiting parking deck.

(NEW) "The Spirit of Frederick Douglass" is the topic of a lecture on Tuesday, February 20 at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center at 7 p.m. Historian Michael Crutcher Sr. portrays abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who was born into slavery and as a teen escaped to become an internationally known anti-slavery leader and adviser to President Abraham Lincoln. He is known as the "Grandfather of the Civil Rights movement." An exhibit on the Bicentennial of Frederick Douglass it will be on display at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center for the month of February!

JOB FAIR: Looking for a job? Let us help you! Gwinnett County Public Library, in partnership with Goodwill of North Georgia, is holding a Job Fair on Wednesday, February 21 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Five Forks Branch, 2780 Five Forks Trickum Road, Lawrenceville. This event is free and open to the public. Bring your resume, dress professionally, and get hired. For more information, visit or call 770-978-5154.

Legal help? Gwinnett County Public Library and Gwinnett Legal Aid, an office of Atlanta Legal Aid Society, can help! Gwinnett Legal Aid helps low income people meet basic needs through free civil legal services and legal education. Areas of law focused on are consumer, education, housing, health, probate, employment, public benefits, family, and juvenile. Three information sessions are available:

  • Wednesday, February 21 at 6:30 p.m. at our Lilburn Branch, 4817 Church Street, Lilburn.
  • Wednesday, February 28 at 6:30 p.m. at our Norcross Branch, 6025 Buford Highway, Norcross. These sessions are free and open to the public. For more information, call 770-978-5154 or visit

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2018, Gwinnett Gwinnett Forum is an online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.

Issue 16.86 | Feb. 16, 2018

TODAY'S FOCUS: Chairman Says Gwinnett Is Healthy and Has Job Base of 345,000

EEB PERSPECTIVE: It's Good To See Some Continuing Objectives for Gwinnett Achieved

ANOTHER VIEW: Loganville Mayor Pleased with Visit to the Trump White House

SPOTLIGHT: Georgia Gwinnett College

McLEMORE'S WORLD: Waffle Iron for Valentine?

UPCOMING: Lawrenceville's new $20 Million Public Works Facility Now Operational

NOTABLE: SPLOST Funds To Be Used for Snellville's Oak Road Park and Trail

RECOMMENDED: Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock

GEORGIA TIDBIT: Revolutionary War Battle of Kettle Creek Named for Fish Trap

MYSTERY PHOTO: Pastoral Scene Begs Your Identification in This Mystery Photo

CALENDAR: Lecture about Frederick Douglass Coming on February 2



"The first international service club in Gwinnett was the Lawrenceville Kiwanis Club, formed in 1923, with 36 members. The first president was F. Q. Sammon, a funeral director."

-- Want more? Get 366 Facts about Gwinnett County



Gwinnett Forum publisher Elliott Brack suggests that Gwinnett County needs a long-range list of continuing objectives for improving the county. Our 2018 list:

  • Development of a two-party system for county offices

  • Moving statewide non-partisan judge election runoffs to the General Election

  • Commuter rail for Gwinnett from Doraville MARTA station to Gwinnett Arena

  • Banning of tobacco in all Gwinnett parks

  • More diverse candidates for political offices and appointment to local boards

  • Creative efforts to support the arts in Gwinnett

  • Advancement and expansion of city and Gwinnett historical societies

  • Stronger regulation of late-night establishments with alcohol licenses

  • Requiring the legislature to meet once every two years.

ABOUT US is a twice-weekly online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.

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2001-2018, Gwinnett is Gwinnett County's online community forum for commentary that explores pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.

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