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Chris Hamilton Announces Run for Purcellville Town Council

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On January 16, Chris Hamilton launched his campaign for a seat on the Purcellville Town Council. Instead of holding a traditional kick-off rally, he walked door to door talking to residents about his message of helping Purcellville stay Purcellville for the next generation. “I’m focused on representing the people and guiding the town forward based on principles, not politics,” said Hamilton. … Continue Reading

Planning Commissioner Nedim Ogelman Announces Bid for Town Council

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Nedim Ogelman, a Purcellville Planning Commissioner, on February 1 launched his campaign for a seat on the Purcellville Town Council.

“I look forward to continuing to serve Purcellville and adding another voice of leadership and expertise to our Town Council,” said Ogelman. “As a planning commissioner, I have gained an understanding of the complexities of our Town and its governance, including its capabilities and limitations.” … Continue Reading

Vice Mayor Packard Resigns Purcellville Town Council

January 13, 2016 Government, News 1 comment
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At the Purcellville Town Council meeting Tuesday, January 12, Vice-Mayor Ben Packard submitted his resignation which he said would be effective at the end of the council meeting. He said he had been looking at other options and would be listing his house on the market in February. He said that he had planned to live in Purcellville for 15 years, but his plans had changed. Additionally, he said that he had to deal with a health problem and would be in surgery the next day, January 13.

In his resignation letter which he did not read, he said, “As I have mentioned informally to several friends over the last few months, I have been exploring housing options. As this is not a move of necessity, but choice, I did not feel it appropriate to make any comment over the dais until I crossed a certain point in the process where I felt confident that things were going to move forward.” In his letter he also said that he would rather resign before the budget process starts.

At the end of the meeting the Town Council voted to appoint Council Member Patrick McConville Vice Mayor.

Defiant Planning Commission Sends Zoning Changes To Town Council

September 30, 2015 Development, News 1 comment
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In a dramatic 5-1-1 vote, the Purcellville Planning Commission has put the ball squarely in the Purcellville Town Council’s court, recommending dozens of sweeping zoning changes fought for tooth and nail by developers. The vote shifts the focus of the debate from the Planning Commission to Town Council meetings and public hearings scheduled to start in October.

Planning Commissioner Nedim Ogelman was the sole dissenter in the Planning Commission’s dramatic volley, voting no on the proposed changes. Planning Commissioners Chip Paciulli, Theresa Stein, Edward Van Istendal, Doug McCollum and Gil Paist, voted yes, with planning commissioner Chris Bledsoe absent for the vote.

At the Planning Commission public hearing Mayor Kwasi Fraser said, “A vast majority of the proposed changes will increase the value of a few property owners by granting by right use…while other citizens will lose out on the ability to obtain value added conditions for development that might compliment the lifestyles and environment they cherish in Purcellville … the majority of the residents with whom I have spoken … are recommending that we suspend making these drastic changes to the zoning uses … all energy should be on the Comprehensive Plan review; you have the attention of the citizens so let’s do it.”

A few of the changes proposed by the Planning Commission include:

  • Allowing completely new uses in select districts.
  • Eliminating Special Use Permits for many uses.
  • Increasing limits on restaurant size.
  • Adding big box retail up to 10,000 square feet to the C-4 and C-1 Districts to name a few.

Noted dissenting commissioner Nedim Ogelman, “We said we would not change the purposes of the districts to avoid claims we are engaging in rezoning, yet the draft ordinance amendment before us … is essentially rezoning … We are tasked with advising the Town Council on planning issues. My advice to the Town Council is to listen to what citizens have been telling us in our information sessions, through correspondence, in our public hearing, and in the town survey … that we table the draft zoning use changes until after we have a Comprehensive Plan Review.”
Many citizens spoke at the Planning Commission public hearing including Ed Need who highlighted the negative effects of rezoning.

Developer interests, however, presented a very different point of view. Attorney Mark Nelis, representing Jiffy Lube and others continued to press for a reduction in the number of zoning districts and a reduction in the number of special use permits required for various uses; the goal? – to save his clients time and money.

At the Town Council work session in late September, Councilmember Ben Packard made a motion to put the proposed zoning changes on the Oct. 13 town council meeting agenda.

Mayor Kwasi Fraser and Councilmember Karen Jimmerson objected, with the mayor noting that over the last three months he had sent numerous questions about the Planning Commission’s long list of zoning changes to Commissioner Gil Paist, but, had received no answers.

Said Mayor Fraser “ … we have a Planning Commission that refuses to answer fundamental questions about the economic, social, and environmental impacts of their recommended zoning use changes … There seems to be this continuous push to erect buildings without careful thought about supporting infrastructure and the impact to the surrounding environment … experts in the field of town planning warn [that] it is poor practice and could result in legal trouble for a community to adopt a zoning ordinance first and then write up a town plan.”

Planning Commissioner Nedim Ogelman, town council member Karen Jimmerson, Mayor Fraser and others are also expected to continue to push for a thorough Comprehensive Plan review before any major zoning changes are put in place.

Public Hearings

September 2, 2015 Committees at a Glance, News Comments Off on Public Hearings
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Planning Commission And Town Council This Month
The Big Giveaway

At the Purcellville Town Hall on Thursday, September 3 at 7:00 p.m., the first of two public hearings on the proposed zoning use changes will occur to amend sections of the zoning ordinance. One big change to the C-1 District is to allow for the addition of general retail sales to this district which is along Hirst Road. Currently not allowing for “big box,” this district’s use is being proposed to up to 10,000 square feet and a special use permit for anything above. The stated purpose of the C-1 District is to provide for planned office parks, offices, and similar business buildings and is limited to office support uses – in attractive surroundings with types of uses, structures, plantings, and signs so controlled as to be generally compatible with medium or low density residential surroundings. According to the spring Town of Purcellville 2008 minutes, a pharmacy was allowed, but it was supposed to be located in an office building, not stand alone. In fact, the current Comprehensive Plan does not allow for uses like “big box” retail. Some of the current proposed additions for this area are: Retail sales, child care, financial institution, fitness center, hotel, parking lot and structure, recreation facility, and temporary food trucks and trailers. Further, Special Use Permits (SUPs) are proposed to be eliminated for eating establishments. … Continue Reading

First Meeting of New Administration Foreshadows Change

August 6, 2014 Government, News Comments Off on First Meeting of New Administration Foreshadows Change
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Town Council Divided, But New Mayor Fights for Fresh Approach

The new Purcellville Town Council and Mayor held their first meeting, a work session, on July 22.

The meeting began with the new administration first discussing and then voting to go into closed-session to conduct interviews of six candidates for two vacancies on the Planning Commission.

The vote for the closed session was 4–3 with council members Lehr, McConville, McCollum, and Packard in favor of the closed session, and with Mayor Fraser, Jimmerson, and Nave voting to keep the interview process open to the public. … Continue Reading

June 17 Swearing In – Purcellville New Mayor And Council – Terms Begin July 1 –

July 3, 2014 Government, News, Our Towns Comments Off on June 17 Swearing In – Purcellville New Mayor And Council – Terms Begin July 1 –
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Gary Clemens, Clerk of the Loudoun County Circuit Court delivered the oath of office to Mayor-Elect Kwasi Fraser, and Council Members-Elect Karen Jimmerson, Doug McCollum and Ben Packard. Father Escalante, from Saint Francis De Sales gave the invocation. Former Purcellville Mayor Eric Zimmerman delivered opening remarks and told the newly elected members that they represent all the citizens of the town.
The swearing in ceremony ended with Clemens telling the attendees that the new council members are “accountable to you.”

… Continue Reading

Proposed Code Changes Delayed

July 3, 2014 Development, Government, News Comments Off on Proposed Code Changes Delayed
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Public Pressure Pushes Decision To New Mayor And Council

The outgoing Purcellville Town Council held sway over a loud and angry crowd in a packed meeting on June 24 as it considered whether to make significant changes to amend town code Section 54-78. In the end, the decision was delayed until the next Town Council meeting, when Mayor-Elect Kwasi Fraser and a new Town Council will have taken office. Section 54-78 controls the expiration dates of what are known as “Certificates of Design Approval” (CDAs) by the town’s Board of Architectural Review related to the demolition of historic structures, site plans, zoning permits, and other construction-related documents.

While the town’s public hearing notice for the proposed code changes did not specify that these changes related to the 100,000 plus square feet mixed use Vineyard Square development, the majority of citizens attending the meeting clearly believed otherwise.

… Continue Reading

Purcellville Town Council Loosens Employees As Candidate Rules

March 4, 2014 Government, News 4 comments
town of purcellville sign

Many localities require that town employees desiring to run for elected office take an unpaid leave of absence while campaigning. They also require that, if elected, the employee resign their original position. Laws such as these prevent potential conflicts of interests. For example, a newly elected member of a town council might serve as a member of law enforcement while at the same time, now voting on budgetary matters related to his/her job as a police officer. Or, an individual who, as a town employee and member of the town council might feel pressured to vote on town matters in a certain way.

At the Purcellville Town Council Worksession on February 25, council members voted unanimously, with Mayor Bob Lazaro absent for the vote, to repeal Purcellville’s Town Code Section 42-41 (Political Activity). This would allow a town employee to serve on town council, for example, without resigning their original job with the town. Earlier in the month the town manual was also changed so that a town employee would not be required to take an unpaid leave of absence while running for political office. Lt. James Rust of the Purcellville police force is running for town council. Under the new rules, Rust is not required to take an unpaid leave of absence while campaigning, and if elected, he can still hold positions on both the police force and the town council.

Candidates Announce Bids for Purcellville Town Council

March 4, 2014 Elections, Elections, News Comments Off on Candidates Announce Bids for Purcellville Town Council
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All announced Town of Purcellville candidates who filed as of our deadline have been contacted to send us their press releases. The statements from three of the four candidates for town council are featured below. Kwasi Fraser, who is running for mayor, sent us his press release last month.  We contacted mayoral candidate Keith Melton; however as of press time we have not received anything.

Karen Jimmerson
Karen Jimmerson is pleased to announce her candidacy for Purcellville Town Council in the upcoming May 6 town election.
“Among other reasons, I wish to become a member of the Town Council to protect the small town values that are being undermined by out-of-town developers,” says Jimmerson. Recent votes and annexations make it clear that developers have great representation in Purcellville, and Jimmerson believes that residents deserve to be better represented. … Continue Reading

Another Vote To Overrule Purcellville’s Board of Architectural Review

February 10, 2014 Dear Editor, Opinion Comments Off on Another Vote To Overrule Purcellville’s Board of Architectural Review
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The Purcellville Town Council, foolishly, in the view of many and perhaps most, has overruled its Board of Architectural Review and approved Mark Nelis’s and John Chapman’s plans for the destruction of old town Purcellville.

Now that Mr. Nelis and Mr. Chapman have been given the whip hand to go ahead with their plans without compromising with their fellow citizens, it would behoove them to think twice before they do. They should remember how often and how recently, in government and law, we have seen those who have power force their views, without compromise, down the throats of large numbers of people, sometimes even majorities, opposed to them. They should consider that, by refusing to compromise on a matter solely concerning their financial interest rather than any moral or even legal principle, they contribute further to the ugly winner-take-all attitude too prevalent in our politics and society. … Continue Reading

Chairman York: “It’s Time To Move On”

January 8, 2014 Development, News Comments Off on Chairman York: “It’s Time To Move On”
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Autumn Hill/Mayfair Gets Go Ahead

Saying that it was time to move on, Chairman Scott York (R-At-Large) led the Board of Supervisors in an approval of a boundary line adjustment with the Town of Purcellville. The January 2 vote in conjunction with the town council’s vote on December 10 seemingly ensures the development of at least 257 homes on the Autumn Hill / Mayfair property.

Citizens opposed to the decision were extremely disappointed. Richard Corns, a resident of the Chestnut Hills development adjacent to the Autumn Hill property, highlighted that the board voted on the motion prior to the meeting’s public comment period. “After I spoke, someone informed me that the board had already voted to approve the annex and “It was time to move on. How can I move on when my home has no chance in recovering the lost value? Maybe Scott York can absorb a $700k loss on his home – I cannot.” … Continue Reading

BAR Recommendations Rejected By Town Council

January 8, 2014 Development, News 2 comments
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By Valerie Cury

Historic Preservation Threatened

The Purcellville Town Council held a special meeting December 17 to hear an appeal by developers John Chapman and Mark Nelis on their Vineyard Square project.
The Board of Architectural Review (BAR) had earlier voted to stop demolition of two historic structures on 21st Street, noting that the existing facades in the town’s Historic Corridor Overlay District had to be maintained and incorporated into the design for the 6-story mixed-use project. In the BAR’s motion to deny the demolition, it noted that the buildings “possess integrity of design, craftsmanship and materials from their early twentieth-century period of significance that cannot be replicated.” “These buildings embody the early twentieth-century development of Purcellville’s business district and incorporate original period features such as brick facades, storefront windows, period appropriate entry doors, sign bands, and steeped parapet walls which are distinctive architectural elements of Purcellville’s downtown and link the design of these buildings with other buildings of the same period on the street which contribute to the historic context of the street.” … Continue Reading


 

 

 

 

Columns

Asterisk No More

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By Samuel Moore-Sobel “Moods come and go, but greatness endures.” These prescient words were uttered by President George H.W. Bush, a man who knows firsthand the truth of his own saying. In 1992, President Bush garnered only 37 percent of …

Second Bull Run

Bull Run Creek

It may not have been a battle, but – seeing as how it was my second attempt at getting a good look at Bull Run Creek – coupled with the fact that I’m a native Northerner – I felt a …

Snowmageddon III?  Seven Survival Tips for Parents

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By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. “snOMG,” “snowmageddon,” “snowpocalypse,” and “kaisersnoze” are a few terms to describe what just happened in Northern Virginia. The storm was reported to be the second worst storm on record. And while many children and teens gladly …

What Is a Sport?

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde On January 10, hundreds of talented dancers from across the East Coast competed at the Universal Dance Academy Regional Championship at West Springfield High School. Tensions were high and the stakes couldn’t have been greater. What …

Six Things to Know to Weather a Market Downturn

Smith0035

It’s natural to be nervous when the markets head for negative territory. Keep a positive perspective with these six investing reminders. It can be very unsettling for investors when their portfolios and the markets start heading for the red and …

El Nino Evolution

Figure 3. Sea-surface height as inferred by by NASA satellites during the current El Niño (December 27, 2015, at left, from Jason-2) and at a comparable point during the last “super” El Niño (December 28, 1997, at right, from TOPEX/Poseidon). Warmer temperatures in the upper ocean result in higher sea-surface heights, as the seawater expands. In 1997, the above-average sea surface height was generally more intense and peaked in November. In 2015, the area of high sea levels was less pronounced but considerably broader. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. (see [4])

Figure 1 shows the annual global temperature anomaly since 1980 up to November 2015 using the NASA GISS data set [1]. NASA has not yet published December’s data though BEST has [2] and yes 2015 was the hottest year on …

Editorial

Grief and Greed

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By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …

Op-ed

Oh No, It’s the Christians!

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By Nicholas Reid In the hours and days following every massacre perpetrated by radical Muslims, there is one unifying theme across most news coverage of the massacre, wherever it may …

Dear Editor

Job Well Done!

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Kudos to Town Manager Rob Lohr and his awesome hard working staff. You did a fantastic job of snow removal throughout the Town of Purcellville this past week. Mr. Lohr …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

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Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input …

Student News

Four Scouts Achieve Eagle Scout Rank

3 Feb 2016

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Joel Gicker, Kyle Siecker, Sam Soltis and David Watson achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at Blue Ridge Bible Church in Purcellville on January 9. The four Eagles are members of Troop 711 of …

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8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015

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Sixty-seven Blue Ridge Middle School eighth graders have been honored for their writing during the 2014-2015 school year. Many students had their writing selected for publication by Creative Communication, a program for student writers, while others won county-wide writing contests. …

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Ben Kellogg Achieves Eagle Scout

1 Jul 2015

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Benjamin Robert Kellogg achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Purcellville on March 29. Friends, family and troop leaders attended the celebration, including his parents, Robert and Deirdre Kellogg. …

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Calendar

February 2016
M T W T F S S
1 2 3

Loudoun Valley Boys Basketball Spirit Night at Coach's Corner

4

Music Together Classes - Winter Session

5

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

6

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

7

5K Race to Benefit Riverside High School Athletic Department

8 9 10 11

Music Together Classes - Winter Session

12

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

13

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

14

Gallery Coffeehouse: READERS THEATRE "LOVE LETTERS" BY A. R. GURNEY

15 16 17

Mad Cap Puppets: UNDER THE BONSAI TREE

18 19

LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV

20

CHINESE NEW YEAR EVENT: Year Of The Monkey

21

Loudoun Symphony presents A LITTLE CHAMBER MUSIC

Gallery Coffeehouse: THE COMEDY CULT IMPROV

Gallery Coffeehouse: THE COMEDY CULT IMPROV

22 23 24 25 26 27

THE EDGE: Malone Benefit Concert

28

Loudoun School of Ballet Winter Showcase

29 1 2 3 4

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

5

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

6

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theatre, 100 Lunches" by Jack Sharkey & Leo Sears

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Lifestyle

Run and Walk To Your Nearest 5K Pregame Event Happening on Super Bowl Day In Leesburg

3 Feb 2016

runandwalk

There is a new Running Company, the Pace Makers Running Company, in town and they are on a mission to help the local population with their health goals while raising money for selected charities. The race at The National Conference Center in Leesburg on February 7, is to help benefit the Riverside High School Athletic Department. The upcoming race on …

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Lovin’ Leesburg for All Its Beauty

3 Feb 2016

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By Hannah Hager We may be in the thick of winter, but this home on Cherry Spring Lane will melt your heart. Come spring you’ll fully be able to enjoy this simple, yet elegant brick home and its surrounding green pastures enclosed by miles of black wooden fences. Beyond your immediate yard are sweeping views of the mountains and valleys …

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6th Annual Loudoun Grown Expo February 27

3 Feb 2016

loudoungrownexpo

It’s that exciting time of year again for the Sixth Annual Loudoun Grown Expo. The yearly event will take place at the Bush Tabernacle 250 South Nursery Avenue, Purcellville, on February 27 with new expanded hours starting at 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There will be wine and beer exhibitors, farm exhibitors, artisans and makers, restaurants and other rural economy …

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Around Virginia

Education Savings Accounts Make Big Move in House

Dave_larock

The Virginia House of Delegates gave a strong push to House Bill 389, Delegate Dave LaRock’s (R-33rd District) innovative Education Savings Account legislation, as the House Education Committee voted 13-9 in favor of advancing the bill forward. “This is definitely an exciting development for parents and students in the Commonwealth,” …

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Kaine to Hold Hearing on Opioid Abuse

Kaine

On Monday, February 1, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, will hold a field hearing in Loudoun County to examine the ongoing fight against opioid misuse and abuse among older Americans. Kaine has met with families, law enforcement and business leaders across Virginia …

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Youth Can Apply for 2015 Livestock Exhibitor Scholarships

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Youth who exhibited beef cattle, sheep, meat goats or swine in the 2015 State Fair of Virginia 4-H and FFA youth livestock program are eligible to apply for 12 new scholarships being offered by the State Fair of Virginia. Scholarships will be offered in three age groups: Juniors (9-12), Intermediate …

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Sports

Western Loudon Volleyball Club “Hitmen” Team Finishes Second

3 Feb 2016

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The Western Loudon Volleyball Club U14 boys team, called the “Hitmen,” finished second in a tournament held January 17. This is the first ever boys team for the WLVBC (and only the second boys club in the area). Coach Allan Kotmel led the seven-member team. WLVBC started eight years ago, …

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ODFC West Travel Soccer Program Shines

2 Dec 2015

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The Old Dominion Football Club West boys and girls middle school travel soccer program scored big the weekend of November 21 and 22.  The girls Quest Premier 22 team took home the championship in the U12 Girls Premier Division of the Hunt Country Classic located in Fauquier County. The boys …

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