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WHMI 93.5 FM Radio Station for Livingston County Michigan with News, Traffic, and Weather Service for Howell and Brighton

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    A proposed project, estimated at $11 million, would bring four new retailers to the former Kmart property in the City of Fenton. Property owner, developer and contractor Kris Krstovski brought K2 Retail Construction Services’ plans before the city’s Planning Commission Thursday. Krstovski is looking to transform the approximately 22-year-old building that was once home to Kmart on Silver Parkway to instead be occupied by a T.J. Maxx, Michaels, Petco and Five Below. Krstovski also discussed rehabilitating the pot-hole ridden parking lot and replanting trees at the site’s entrance. Krstovski says the proposed stores are “thriving” and are seen as a great fit for many communities. He tells WHMI Fenton is growing fast and he wants to be a part of that. Krstovski says he’s interested in a couple of other potential developments along Silver Parkway that he may pursue in the future. The redevelopment plans received approval from the Planning Commission with some conditions, like negotiating and determining signage. The plans must next receive city council’s approval. Krstovski hopes to begin work late July and to have the project completed by next spring. Fenton’s Kmart closed in December of 2016. The retail giant filed for bankruptcy in 2002, later merging with Sears, and then closed numerous stores across the nation due in part to an increase in online shopping and its subsequent effect on brick and mortar businesses. (DK)

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    The six Livingston County libraries will be celebrating the start of this year’s Summer Reading program, “Libraries Rock”, with various events. The Hamburg Township Library will hold its celebration this Friday, June 8th, from 7 to 9pm. The library is located at 10411 Merrill Road. The event will include popcorn, ice cream, games, face painting and balloon animals. Those interested in taking part can also sign up for this year’s reading program and other summer events at the party. Participants in the reading program must be 17-years-old and under. After registering, participants can begin tracking their reading hours June 9th. Books must be from the Hamburg Library and new to the reader. Those who read and record at least ten hours can attend the program’s concluding party in August and will be eligible to enter a gift card drawing. Pre-registration for Friday’s party is not required. Call 810-231-1771 or visit www.hamburglibrary.org for more information. Additional details can be found at the attachment below.

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    A Howell attorney is among four candidates seeking a chance to run a judicial seat set to be created next year. Among the four candidates who have filed to run for an open seat on the 44th Circuit Court in Livingston County is Tara Pearson, a practicing attorney and longtime Livingston County resident. The Howell High School graduate attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She finished her Corporate Accounting degree Summa Cum Laude from Cleary University and later attended Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing. She has been a licensed attorney at the Law Offices of Parker and Parker for the past 12 years, handling Civil, Business, Real Estate, Probate, Will, Trust, Contract and Family Law cases in trial courts and the Court of Appeals. Pearson says her experience and perspective, and her commitment to Livingston County, will serve her well on the bench, adding that she intends to restore faith in the system, apply the law equally, “be efficient in case management, and to maintain honesty, respect and dignity in the judicial process.” Currently held by 53rd District Court Judge Carol Sue Reader, the judicial seat will move to the 44th Circuit Court on January 1st, 2019 following a recommendation from the State Court Administrative Office. Also in the running are 53rd District Court Judge Suzanne Geddis, Howell attorney Monica Copeland and Brighton attorney Dennis Brewer. The two candidates with the most votes in the August 7th primary will go head-to-head for the seat in the November General Election. Whoever is chosen for the new seat will serve the first term for eight years instead of the usual six, so that judicial seats will eventually be staggered and up for election every two years. (JK)

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    Northfield Township has an opportunity to transform a non-motorized path as part of a grant challenge. Northfield Township recently submitted an idea form to the “KaBOOM! Play Everywhere” grant committee. The idea was selected as a finalist in the award process and a full proposal must be submitted by June 15th. The Play Everywhere Challenge will award $720,000 in grants, ranging from $10,000 to $80,000, to winners with great ideas that integrate play into everyday life and unexpected places. The Northfield Township idea involves transforming the Barker Road Non-Motorized Path into the “Barker Road Play Path”. The vision is to incorporate hopscotch and other sidewalk games painted onto the path, signage for talking and walking games, small play installations and community murals among others. Officials say by enhancing the path, it would engage families in play while walking the path and encourage use by all residents by making it a fun family experience, not just a way to get from here to there. Township officials say they’re excited for the opportunity, and welcome any ideas that will make the pathway the most fun. A budget must be submitted with the proposal that’s based on actual costs including permit fees and labor costs. Grant recipients will be announced in August. (JM)

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    City of South Lyon officials have completed what many to believe was the most smooth budget process in recent memory. South Lyon City Council approved their 2018-19 Fiscal Year budget at their regular meeting held earlier this week. Without a full-time, permanent city manager, officials turned to the accounting firm of Plante Moran for help this year. This was the first budget process for Mayor Dan Pelchat, who was elected last year. Pelchat said the city’s bookkeeper and the Plante Moran representatives did an incredible job of breaking down the budget to help him grasp it. He noted that City Council had had problems getting the budget done in the past, but that this was enjoyable experience and they are done with it a month early. The budget was approved for just short of $6-million, and will grow the general fund balance to $2.73 million. Millage rates were approved for a total of 16.6707 mills. 15.2338 of that will be used for city operation and debt, with the remaining being an additional non-city millage for the library. Mayor Pelchat said the biggest challenge in drafting the budget was making sure the money is being assigned to where it can work best for the city. He recognized infrastructure problems locally and nationally, and the need to be able to explain to citizens why there money is being spent more in some areas than others. South Lyon’s new budget year begins July 1st. (MK)

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    It’s summer concert season again in Downtown Fenton. “Concerts in the Park” series will kick off on Thursday, June 7th in the Fenton Millpond Park and gazebo near City Hall. The concerts typically run from 7 to 8:30pm. Those looking to attend are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket. In the case of any inclement weather, then the concert will be held inside the Fenton Community & Cultural Center. Thursday’s upcoming concert will feature “One Love Reggae”, a popular Reggae band from Michigan. Other evenings will feature various genres of music including pop, rock, oldies, tribute bands and the Fenton Community Orchestra. The popular concert series is sponsored by Southern Lakes Parks and Recreation, the City of Fenton and the Fenton Downtown Development Authority. A full listing of artists and dates is available through the link. (JM)

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    A scam is circulating around the Linden area. The latest scam involves Priority Mail congratulating an individual for taking part in their first Secret Survey assignment. A Linden woman advised authorities of the scam. The Tri-County Times reports the scam includes a check for $2,850.24 made payable to Adams McDean. An enclosed letter directs the target to deposit the check and to keep $400 to cover their costs. Individuals are then assigned to evaluate stores selling eBay gift cards and purchase different denominations. The intended victim is then instructed to email all of the purchased gift card numbers to an account titled: adamsmacdean99@gmail.com and include numbers located beneath the scratch-off area in the email. The check is considered fake, and intended victims are then out $400. Any potential victims should contact their local police department. (JM)

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    The Brighton Board of Education voted Monday night to establish a line of credit to meet payroll during the summer months until the first state aid payment arrives. Superintendent Greg Gray says it's necessary for school districts need to borrow during the summer months because they receive no state per-pupil aid payments during that time. The Brighton Area Schools will be borrowing $2.5 million this year. The state’s fiscal year runs from October 1st to Sept. 30th, whereas the fiscal year of school districts in Michigan extends from July 1st to June 30th. As a result, there is always a lag time until the first state aid payment arrives in the fall. Despite the fact that there is no school in the summer, school districts still must pay the wages of teachers and other employees and meet other expenses. Assistant Superintendent of Finance Maria Gistinger says that with Brighton's improving financial position, she anticipates the district will not have to borrow at all by next year. Gistinger also says the district is expecting its fund equity to increase to about $5 million by the end of the current fiscal year. (TT)

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    Over 100 kids of all ages took part in the first Children’s Entrepreneurial Fair, held Saturday in downtown Brighton. The event was sponsored by the Greater Brighton Area of Commerce and numerous local businesses contributed to make the event an unqualified success. The organizer was Scott Taylor, a former Ann Arbor resident, who held the event in Ann Arbor previously and decided to bring it to Brighton when he moved to Livingston County. Some of the booths run buy the children included such novel ideas as renting out a family’s pet ducklings for kids to hold for a couple of minutes at 50 cents a pop, a handmade coloring book, a massage booth, homemade cupcakes for sale, homemade dog treats, nativity scenes, beauty and bath products, and…being as we’re talking about children… several slime booths. According to Taylor, the purpose of the fair is to get kids thinking independently, prepared to face challenges and to take charge, acting like entrepreneurs. He says the Children’s Entrepreneurial Fair was so successful that they plan on holding one again next year and making it an annual event. (TT)

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    Police are investigating an incident in which a teenager threatened to shoot up his middle school. Deputies with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Lyon Township Substation responded to the Millennium Middle School on 9 Mile Road for a report of a threat Thursday morning at approximately 9:30am. School administrators informed police a 13-year-old male student at Millennium Middle School had told another student, “I’m going to shoot up the school; just kidding”. The student who heard the comment reported the incident to a teacher, who then notified the Sheriff’s Office. The student’s parents were also notified and were requested to come to the school, where a detective and the Sheriff’s School Liaison Officer were present as well. Detectives spoke to the student with the mother’s consent and the student admitted he had made the statement. The student’s parents consented to a search of their residence by detectives, though no weapons were located. An Oakland County Juvenile Referee authorized the lodging of the student at the Oakland County Children’s Village pending an intake hearing. The incident remains under investigation.

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    A South Lyon man was arrested after allegedly stealing tools from a church under construction. Deputies with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Lyon Township substation responded around 11pm Thursday to the Cross of Christ Lutheran Church located in the 24000 block of Griswold Road on the report of a suspicious circumstance. The complainant advised that the church is currently under construction and a roofing company has their equipment on the roof. The complainant witnessed a subject on the roof of the church, throwing boxes down to the ground and loading them into his vehicle. The subject fled the area prior to Deputies arriving on the scene. The complainant stated that the subject had made at least two trips into the building and provided a description of the vehicle used during the incident, as well as a physical description of the suspect. The Sheriff’s Office says a deputy remained on scene hidden behind an outbuilding and approximately 30 minutes later, an individual matching the suspect’s vehicle and clothing description returned to the parking lot of the church. The Deputy made contact with the suspect and discovered miscellaneous tools inside of his vehicle. The Sheriff’s Office says the suspect was detained, later confessed to the theft, and the stolen property was recovered from his residence. The suspect, identified as a 51-year-old South Lyon man, was lodged at the Oakland County Jail pending his arraignment on criminal charges. The investigation is continuing. (JM)

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    Volunteers are being sought for a summer feeding program helping serve students through Whitmore Lake Public Schools. The Summer Food Service Program aims to ensure a stress-free summer for kids, full of food, friends and fun. Any child or teen age 18 and under can get free healthy meals at safe locations across the area through the program. Organizers say many of the meal sites provide learning and recreational activities to keep kids healthy and happy while they spend time with friends. Volunteers are currently being sought to serve meals to children this summer. Northfield Estates offers lunch and snacks to children from June 18th - August 24th Mondays through Fridays between noon and 3pm. Organizers say there is some flexibility but they’re hoping for a strong commitment from volunteers to make the program great and make sure children have a great summer. Those interested in volunteering should contact LeRonica Roberts at leronica@foodgatherers.org and include Northfield Volunteer in the subject line. (JM)

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    A new requirement for narcotic and opioid prescribers aims to help protect patients and curb substance use disorder. Physicians and pharmacists are now required to register with the Michigan Automated Prescription System or MAPS prior to prescribing or dispensing schedule 2-5 controlled substances in any quantity. Those include certain narcotics, sedatives, opiates and others due to the addictive nature of the drugs and the potential for abuse such as OxyContin, Percocet, and fentanyl. The new system has been active since April of 2017 and replaced an old program, which is said to be much more functional and efficient to not only run patient reports but integrate with the existing electronic medical records and current systems of individual practitioners, health systems and pharmacies. There’s also an online portal for practitioners that don’t prescribe as often to access information. Kim Gaedeke, deputy director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs or LARA, says the objective is to have practitioners use the system before they see a patient or when they are seeing a patient as a preventive tool. The MAPS system will show whether a patient has gone to multiple physicians or prescribers in a short period of time, or multiple pharmacies, to obtain different drugs. She says practitioners can then assess a patients risk for different drugs, whether there is possible abuse or a substance use disorder, find solutions and look at other ways to more appropriately treat someone. Gaedeke says it’s a great tool for prevention in that looking at a patient’s information and data, practitioners can pinpoint possible concerns and then have conversations or look at alternatives instead of perhaps feeding into an addiction or problem. She says MAPS is not the solution to the opiate epidemic but one of the many tools in a very collaborative effort between the state, multiple agencies and local jurisdictions and community groups. Gaedeke says the majority of prescribers and practitioners are doing the right thing and/or trying to do the right thing by making changes moving forward because they want to be a part of the solution. Gaedeke says they’re doing what they can to work with practitioners and find alternatives for pain management but everyone is different so it’s equally important citizens get educated, ask questions, understand the dangers of different drugs and how quickly someone can become addicted. Gaedeke says the key component is having providers and prescribers use MAPS for prevention because the more they can tackle on the front end the better – adding many are exploring alternative methods and different ways to deal with pain for patients, instead of over-prescribing dangerous combinations of certain drugs. Gaedeke says they’ve seen an increase in use of the MAPS and the number of practitioners registering each month since launching. She says more than 75% of those with controlled substance licenses are registered but that number will likely increase after registrations from the June 1st requirement are factored in. The total number registered by the June 1st deadline stood at 43,116 - compared to 13,150 when initially launched. As a regulatory agency, Gaedeke says their mission is to protect the health and welfare of the public. She notes the agency is not just “going after everybody” but really trying to identify the worst of the worst when there is imminent threat to the public and dangerous combinations of drugs are being prescribed to a number of patients. Gaedeke says ultimately they are seeing a decline overall in these types of drugs being prescribed, which is a good downward trend, but there’s still a long way to go. She says it will take everyone working together to overcome the opiate epidemic - stressing Michigan is not unique to the problem as every state in the country is facing it. (JM)

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    A candidate for the 8th Congressional District was arrested Saturday by Royal Oak Police after they say he refused to stay out of the roadway during a running event. Brian Ellison, who is running as a Libertarian in the 8th District, was taken into custody at the Royal Oak Police Department's Run with the Police event as he protested two recent fatal shootings by Royal Oak police. Royal Oak Police Chief Corrigan O'Donohue told the Detroit Free Press that Ellison was told to stay out of the roadway, but refused. Ellison was charged with two misdemeanors accusing him of interfering with a government operation and resisting arrest. He was released on bond and will be arraigned at a later date. Ellison could not be immediately reached for comment Sunday. A video of the incident was posted on a Facebook page for Brian Ellison. In the video, Ellison is seen being arrested after going into the street. As they handcuffed him, he repeatedly says: "Get your hands off me." O'Donohue said it was Ellison’s intent to disrupt the event. Ellison gained media attention earlier this year when he proposed arming homeless people with guns. The 8th District covers Ingham and Livingston counties and northern Oakland County, but does not include Royal Oak. (JK)

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    An annual event at the Brighton District Library will have fun activities for kids, but serve an educational purpose as well by kicking off the library’s Summer Reading Program. Springfest will be held this Sunday, June 10th, from 1 to 4pm in Millie’s Garden, which sits right outside of the library. Youth Services Specialist Margaret Vergith says Springfest will be an activity-filled day including giant bubble stations, a robot shop, jump rope team, stilt walker, juggler, a petting zoo and more. At the event, readers of all ages can sign up for the library’s eight-week “Libraries Rock” Summer Reading Program, which begins with Springfest and runs through August 4th. Vergith tells WHMI the event is a favorite among the community and continues to grow each year, with as many as 800 community members attending last year's event. This year, the library will offer numerous programs for every age, with over 40 available to kids, more than 20 for teens and more than 30 programs for adults. The goal is to promote summer reading to help children make gains in their education that they would otherwise lose when school is not in session. A schedule of events and additional information can be found at the link below. (DK)

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    A memorial service is set for a Dexter woman whose body was recovered from the Huron River after she went kayaking. Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office spokesman Derrick Jackson has confirmed that the body of 36-year-old Robin Early was found Friday evening in the river about 1.5 miles from where she disappeared. Early, who has a Dexter address, was last seen putting a kayak in the water near the Portage Lake Dam Thursday afternoon. A GoFundMe Page has been created to assist the family with funeral expenses and future educational needs for her two children. Early loved to fish and according to the page, she was fishing for smallmouth bass on “her beloved Huron River” at the time of her death. You’ll find that link below. A memorial service for Early is also set for this Saturday, June 9th at 11am at the Peoples Church in Pinckney. Her death is the second one on the river last week. On Thursday night, a person spotted what looked to be a body near the Argo Dam in Ann Arbor. The sheriff's office said the body was that of 35-year-old Jason Yoder. He'd been missing since jumping from a railroad bridge Wednesday. (JK)

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    Another full freeway closure is planned on westbound I-96 tonight, resulting in detours and possibly delays tonight in the Brighton area. The Michigan Department of Transportation advises that westbound I-96 will be closed at Kensington Road for the Pleasant Valley Road overpass reconstruction. This is the third full closure to be scheduled during the project. Westbound I-96 from Kensington Road to Spencer Road will close starting at 11:00 tonight. It will remain closed until 5am Tuesday. Work to construct a new bridge is underway after it was significantly damaged last September by a flatbed semi hauling several boom lifts. Work also includes raising the bridge over I-96 to increase its overall height. The posted detour during tonight’s closure utilizes Kensington Road to Grand River to old US-23 to Spencer Road to westbound I-96. (JK)

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    The legacy of a lifelong Howell resident known for his dedication to the city will live on in the community garden he cultivated. A ceremony Sunday honored Maurice Henry Coles, better known as "Morrie", on what would’ve been his 100th birthday. He was 99 when he was killed in a tragic car crash last October. Morrie was a career employee of the U.S. Postal Service and a World War II veteran. He served on the Howell City Council for 12 years and was a “core member” of the Howell Beautification Committee. It was Morrie who cultivated a small garden off Thompson Lake, to the left of the Howell Boat Launch on Roosevelt Street, which friends and family say was his “pride and joy”. Committee members say Morrie not only established the garden’s location, but also tilled the ground, planted the flowers, did the weeding and watered the garden with pails of water dipped into the lake. The garden was dedicated in Morrie’s honor at Sunday’s ceremony. Among the red and yellow flowers is a new addition; a stone and plaque memorial telling the story of Morrie’s love for the modest garden and how it came to be. Karen Perras, President of the Howell Beautification Committee, says Morrie was a “very special guy”, adding, “You know, not everybody gets a monument.” Morrie's son, Maurice Albert Coles, who also goes by Morrie, says the garden and stone memorial pays tribute to his father’s giving nature. Reflecting on his father’s humor and personality, Coles says, “…you always miss a person more when they’re gone and you see how their traits affect you.” Morrie’s eldest child, Carol Oesterle, says her father did so much and didn’t ask to be recognized, but feels he would’ve liked the recognition for the garden that now permanently grows in his memory. (DK)

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    A retired Livingston County judge has filed for a special prosecutor to be appointed and a grand jury to be created concerning an embattled local judge. Former Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Burress filed a petition Monday to impanel a citizen’s grand jury to investigate 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan. In the filing, Judge Burress cites the issues surrounding Brennan’s admitted relationship with former State Police Detective Sean Furlong, who served as the chief prosecution witness in a 2013 double-murder trial that she presided over and resulted in the conviction and life sentence of Jerome Kowalski. Burress points to testimony from Brennan’s 2016 divorce proceeding that indicates she and Furlong were engaged in a sexual relationship before, during and after the trial. Burress says prior to the Kowalski trial, “the Livingston County legal community was awash with rumors” of an improper relationship between the two and that if Livingston County Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt was unaware of the rumors, he was “likely one of only a few in the legal community who was,” pointing out that Shawn Ryan, an Assistant Prosecutor in Vailliencourt’s office, was part of the social circle that included the judge. Furthermore, he says Brennan’s former law clerk, Jessica Yakel, has testified that she routinely performed the services of a personal assistant, while on county time, including paying the judge’s bills, having her vehicle serviced, fixing her television set and even staining her deck. Burress notes that all of this information was presented to the Judicial Tenure Commission more than a year ago, which confirmed that it is investigating Brennan, something that it rarely publicly acknowledges. The filing also notes that the Michigan State Police have been investigating Brennan, including executing search warrants and seizing computers last year from her courtroom and home. Taken together, Burress contends the allegations “reveal the possibility of violations of criminal laws…involving perjury, misconduct in office,” and obstruction of justice. He asks that as the Judicial Tenure Commission and State Police investigations are “proceeding at a glacial pace” it is in the “interest of justice and to protect the integrity and respect for our legal system” that a grand jury must be authorized, “in order to complete a proper investigation.” Vailliencourt has responded to say that shortly after he filed his first request with the Judicial Tenure Commission regarding Judge Brennan in early February of 2017, he also requested that a separate criminal investigation be conducted by the Michigan State Police in order to determine what the facts are, as opposed to rumor, speculation, and innuendo. He says there were, and continue to be, multiple potential conflicts of interest when a sitting judge is investigated. In this case because the investigation could impact the validity of a murder conviction, Vailliencourt says he wanted there to be no question about the independence and integrity of the investigation – adding he, like everyone else in this community, is anxiously awaiting answers from the State Police investigation as justice demands it. The full response from Vailliencourt and the petition filed by Burress are attached. (JK/JM)

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    A member of the state’s highest court will be in Livingston County this week. Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Clement will be at the Livingston County Judicial Center on S. Highlander Way on Wednesday. Justice Clement will be visiting two of Livingston County’s Specialty Courts, the Intensive Treatment Mental Health Court (IT Court) and the Adult Drug Treatment Court. Justice Clement will meet with the respective teams and observe court hearings. 53rd District Court Judge L. Suzanne Geddis presides over the IT Court which diverts select defendants with mental illness into judicially-supervised, community-based treatment. The Adult Drug Treatment Court is Livingston County’s longest running and active Specialty Court with 96 participants. This court is presided over by Circuit Court Judge Michael P. Hatty and is designed to reduce recidivism and substance abuse through treatment, community support, incentives and accountability. Justice Clement joined the Michigan Supreme Court last November, becoming the 113th Justice and the 11th woman to serve on the bench. Before her appointment by Governor Rick Snyder, she served as chief legal counsel for the Governor, advising him on a wide variety of legal, legislative, and policy matters. (JK)

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