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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Sep 27, 2015

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ON SEPTEMBER 8, 2015 Health and Human Services Director Stacey Cryer told the Board of Supervisors that she plans to hire a new Mental Health Director to replace former Ortner Management Group exec Tom Pinizzotto who will assume the title of Assistant Health and Human Services Director — one among several other HHSA Assistant Directors. Also on that day she announced that she was going to put the privatized mental health contracts out for bid four years before their current options expire. Cryer also reported that the County was going to hire an outside auditor to evaluate the mental health contracts and specifications. But Cryer provided little detail about any of this and no explanation about why she was promoting Pinizzotto, why she was putting the Ortner contract out for bid prematurely, or why they are going to conduct an audit; nor did she offer any schedule for any of these new developments — developments that seem precipitated by complaints about Ortner’s services and/or Ortner’s suspiciously high admin costs. “We will have to work out all of the timeframes and we want to get started on that project and really work with the board,” said Cryer.

NOR HAS ANYONE on the Board asked for any specifics about when all of this is supposed to occur other than vague references to maybe by the end of the year, or maybe by the end of the fiscal year in June of 2016.

ACCORDING TO WILLITS WEEKLY’S Board of Supervisors reporter Mike A’Dair in this week’s edition, “Contacted on Tuesday [September 22] in the board of supervisors chambers, HHSA Director Stacey Cryer said Pinizzotto would be retained as assistant director of HHSA but would no longer be responsible for the mental health division. Cryer said the change will take place as soon as the county can hire a new mental health director.” (In the past, such hiring decisions have been known to take months, especially for the position of Mental Health Director.)

Cryer, Pinizzotto
Cryer, Pinizzotto

NOW RECALL THAT last year’s Mendocino Grand Jury pointed out the obvious conflict of interest inherent in Pinizzotto — a former Ortner exec in the months leading up to the award of the $7 million plus Mental Health contract to Ortner — being part of the HHSA team that picked Ortner for the contract.

CONNECTING THE RATHER OBVIOUS DOTS HERE, we easily conclude that Mr. Pinizzotto will stay on as Mental Health Director (and overseer of the Ortner contract, and overseer of the preparation for putting the Ortner contract out to re-bid, and decider of who will do the audit, and gatekeeper for reporting on Ortner’s contract activities to the CEO and the Board of Supervisors) until…? Until he’s replaced. Whenever that may be.

SINCE THE COUNTY is on record in the response to the Grand Jury report insisting that nothing was amiss in the obvious inside job which delivered the adult mental health services contract to Ortner, and since no one has assured the Board or the public that Pinizzotto will have nothing to do with the next mental health contract, we have to assume from the conspicuous avoidance of the question of timing that Mr. Pinizzotto will remain in his influential position to steer the contract toward his old buddies at Ortner until it’s all wrapped up again.

OF COURSE, the County could clear this up by firing Pinizzotto, or by excluding Ortner from the bidding process, or at least by making sure that Pinizzotto has nothing to do with this suspicious current round of Mental Health contract reviews.


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THE FOLLOWING appears in the current Willits News:

"The Board of Trustees hired California executive search firm 'Leadership Associates' in 2012 to recruit candidates for Willits’s superintendent position. The firm presented interim superintendents for 2012-2013 until Johnson was hired in May 2013 from the Victor Valley Unified High School District.

Willits trustees hired consultant Chris von Kleist from Leadership Associates to provide consulting sessions on board procedure, the role of superintendents compared with board members, moderating board retreats and other consulting services, explained Trustee Saprina Rodriguez.

Von Kleist was the superintendent of Orland Unified School District (OUSD), near Chico, leaving Orland in December 2013. When he left OUSD the district was $1.2 million in the red and was under the budgetary review of the Glenn County Office of Education, according to the Chico Enterprise Record. Von Kleist had also received a 90-percent vote of no confidence from the Orland Teachers Association in November 2013.

Trustee Saprina Rodriguez said they initially hired von Kleist for his seasoned experience as a superintendent across several districts. Since his job has been to facilitate discussions, explain policy and not provide opinions, she didn’t see his past as relevant."

NOT RELEVANT? All but a few people working for the guy had no confidence in him? So Willits hires him to hire Willits new educational leader?

MANY SCHOOL BOARDS long ago abdicated responsibility for hiring their administrators. Classrooms are short of everything, including teachers, but Willits, fresh off a ruinous bond fiasco, has the dough to pay von Kleist to do their hiring for them?

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ASHA KREIMER IS MISSING. Friends and family are desperate for any information. She lives on Middle Ridge in Albion and was last seen at the Rollerville Cafe, Point Arena on Monday, September 21. Asha is 26 years old, has brown eyes and long brown hair worn in a bun. She is 5'9", 130 lbs. She was wearing skinny black jeans and a grey hoodie. Asha is from Australia, and speaks with an accent. If you have ANY INFORMATION please call 911 first, and then 707 463 4086 or 415 793 1901. Thank you very much. (Jan DeSipio, Fort Bragg)


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SAD FIASCO in Mendocino today. The refs didn't show up for the homecoming game and related ceremonies with Point Arena. Apparently, they thought the game was in Point Arena, not Mendocino. How it happened, who is responsible not yet known.

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(Photo by Susie de Castro)

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IMAGINE YOU’RE A SENIOR PUBLIC HEALTH NURSE working in Mendocino County’s Health and Human Services Agency making the mid-range for the position at about $51,000 per year. Then imagine that you’re not too happy with the management of your department and your prospects for promotion or pay increase and so you’re considering applying for a comparable position in Sonoma County which pays $83,000 or more per year depending on experience.

FROM ITEM 5(e) from Mendocino County’s Board of Supervisors agenda for September 22: “Presentation and Possible Adoption of a Retention Pay Schedule for Mendocino County Job Classifications Which Have Been Identified as Hard to Retain, and Approval of Retention Pay for Social Workers and Nurses To be Paid Out Over Four Pay Periods During November and December 2015. … The Human Resources Department is submitting the recommended Retention Pay Schedule [which] includes the following retention pay schedule using the 21/33/57 month schedule with corresponding pay rates of $1,000/$1,500/$2,500.” …

I.e.: Nurses with 21-32 Months with the County will received a bonus of $1,000; 33-56 Months will receive $1,500 and over 57 months $2,500.”

MENDO APPARENTLY THINKS that you, an experienced public health nurse employee, will decline that $83k opening in Sonoma County which would represent maybe a $30k per year pay increase (and a somewhat higher cost of living) because you got a couple thou from Mendo as a one-time retention bonus.

WOULD YOU BE INSULTED and apply in Sonoma County anyway? Or would you thank the County for their generosity?

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OXYMORONIC Photo/Caption of the Day


(Courtesy, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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A revealing report on the history of Sonoma County’s capital city and environs will be seen next weekend on C-SPAN channels.

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Authorities are urging people to keep their pets out of the Eel River in Northern California after a dog died from toxic algae.

It is the second confirmed canine fatality in two months linked to toxic algae and swimming in a North Coast stream. The first case involved a dog that died during an outing on the Russian River in Sonoma County.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports Saturday ( ) that in the latest case, the stricken dog had been swimming earlier this month in the Eel River at a Potter Valley-area campground before becoming ill.

Mendocino County officials say tests this week confirmed the death was related to toxic algae.

They are advising people to avoid any water body in which they can see the algal scum and mats floating in the water or collecting along the shore.

(Courtesy, the Associated Press)

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by Justine Frederiksen

A hearing to determine if a receivership is warranted for the Palace Hotel in Ukiah has now been scheduled for Nov. 2 at the Mendocino County Courthouse.

City Attorney David Rapport said the process is known as receivership, and begins with the city petitioning the court to appoint a “receiver to take control of the property and undertake its rehabilitation.”

Eladia Laines “is still the owner, and at the end of the process she may wind up happy with a rehabilitated building that could generate revenue,” said Rapport when he and former City Manager Jane Chambers first floated the idea of a receivership, which he explained as a way to have someone other than the owner “take control of the property and be able to enter into contracts and borrow funds with all the power of the owner,” but who does not own the property.

More than a year after staff recommended seeking receivership, a petition was finally filed and a hearing scheduled this month. However, Laines had requested changes that led to the need for a judge outside of the county to hear the case.

If the judge rules in the city’s favor, Rapport said it will request the appointment of Mark Adams, “a professional receiver from Los Angeles who specializes in Health and Safety Code receiverships and who has had considerable success in achieving rehabilitation without recourse to public funds.”

If he is appointed, Adams will answer to the court, not the city, and will be tasked with abating the property’s health and safety code violations. To complete that abatement, he will “have the power to borrow funds, secured by the hotel property, to pay all costs of the receivership,” according to the city.

Rapport said the receiver will not get paid unless the building is rehabilitated and generates enough revenue to pay all of the contractors and all of the debts.

“(Adams) is reasonably confident (the hotel’s rehabilitation) can work. He looked at it very carefully,” Rapport said.

If the building is transformed into a profitable business, such as the mix of condominiums, restaurants and upscale boutiques the owner envisions, Laines can receive money after all the liens against the building are paid.

However, several people hired to do work on the building in recent years have filed liens against the building claiming they were not paid, including the man Laines called the “Palace Cowboy,” Norm Hudson, who is suing her for nearly half a million dollars.

Once a thriving business in the heart of downtown, the building has languished since being bought at a tax auction by Laines, who lives in Corte Madera, and several partners. Laines eventually bought out all her former partners and states that she remains committed to restoring the building to renewed glory.

Nearly four years ago, the council first considered voting on a resolution that would have allowed its Public Works Department to take over abatement of the building, but postponed voting on it nearly two dozen times after receiving monthly progress updates from Laines.

In January of 2015, the council voted that if Laines did not complete a list of seven tasks by April 21, Public Works Director Tim Eriksen could decide to file for receivership. A few days before the deadline, Planning Director Charley Stump said it appeared Laines had only completed one of the tasks, which was obtaining the necessary permits for asbestos removal.

However, it still took a few more months for the city to file the petition.

This will be the first receivership sought by the city for a property, and former longtime City Council member Phil Baldwin has all along urged the council to “tread very carefully,” saying he did not believe that Adams had proven he could successfully transform such a big project, and that seeking receivership was more likely to mean the building would be demolished instead of remodeled.

(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal.)

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CATCH OF THE DAY: September 26, 2015

Albritton, Anderson, Cornwall
Albritton, Anderson, Cornwall

MARK ALBRITTON, Eureka/Ukiah. Domestic battery.

SCOTT ANDERSON, Willits. Unauthorized entry into building with owner’s consent.

TINA CORNWALL, Ukiah. Unauthorized entry into building with owner’s consent.

Blackwell, Daniels, Douglas, Hernandez
Blackwell, Daniels, Douglas, Hernandez

ERIN BLACKWELL, Ukiah. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

STEVEN DANIELS, Fort Bragg. Court order violation, probation revocation.

ROBERT DOUGLAS, Ukiah. Unauthorized entry into building with owner’s consent, probation revocation.

VINCENT HERNANDEZ, Ukiah. Unauthorized entry into building with owner’s consent, probation revocation.

Lincoln, Maldonado, Mork, Pina
Lincoln, Maldonado, Mork, Pina

DEBORAH LINCOLN, Ukiah. Harboring a wanted suspected felon.

OSCAR MALDONADO, Ukiah. Possession of paraphernalia.

JOSEPH MORK, Willits. Possession of controlled substance without prescription, possession of paraphernalia, probation revocation.

MICHAEL PINA, Vallejo/Ukiah. Unauthorized entry into building with owner’s consent.

Teimoury, Tillman, Wake
Teimoury, Tillman, Wake

ALI TEIMOURY, Point Arena. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

TYLER TILLMAN, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

TASHA WAKE, Covelo. Harboring a wanted suspected felon.

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Seriously, here are my criticisms of the Church:

  1. It seems the most basic of common sense that those who are opposed to abortion would strongly support contraception.
  2. To reduce or stop the incidence of sexual abuse by priests, why not rescind the rule that priests may not marry or have relations with other consenting adults; while at the same time making it abundantly clear to all concerned that priests accused of sexual abuse will be reported to the civil authorities for investigation and, where warranted, prosecution.

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by Michael Crichton

“Media carries with it a credibility that is totally undeserved.”

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To the Editor:

For the last 15 years I’ve lived near the gravel processing plant along Outlet Creek and Highway 162 and the plant has quietly been supplying us with all kinds of gravel for our roads and private use. Now the new asphalt plant on our quite little highway has exploded with loud roaring, banging and rumbling noises sometimes waking us up at 3:30 a.m. Well the noise isn’t what scares me. The plant is about a half mile east of me as the bird flies, located in the bottom of the Outlet Creek canyon. It’s my experience, living 1,000 feet above the creek, that you can see the fog settle on the canyon floor. When we have forest fires the smoke often hangs low in the canyon. My concern is the dangerous chemicals, some you can see and some you can’t, that cause cancer and birth defects, that will lay on the canyon floor instead of dissipating. We have heard stories from neighbors closer to the plant of dust on all the plants and strong odors.

Well, Thursday morning September 10 was my worst nightmare. When I went outside to feed my chickens, horses and water my vegetable garden there was a strange strong smell. I yelled for my husband to come outside and smell the air. It was the smell of diesel fuel, he said. By the time I got done with my chores my eyes burned and the taste of diesel was in my mouth. I brushed my teeth and rinsed my mouth but it took over 2 hours to get rid of the taste of gasoline. Afterwards I got the worst headache I’ve ever had and I rarely get headaches. I also had pain in my nose and behind my eyes and ears.

So, if it got in my mouth it must be getting in the eyes and mouths of the turkey vultures and hawks and other birds flying above. If it’s getting in my mouth it must be getting on my food growing outside. It’s getting on the flowers that the bees and butterflies are feeding on. The deer, my horses and all the other animals are breathing it.

That day was a spare the air day in San Francisco which means there’s an inversion which holds the air down. I’ve already sent a letter to the Air District warning them ahead of time this would happen. It’s sad that this asphalt plant is more important to the County than the health of our environment.

Susan Crews, Longvale

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By C.W. Nevius

Ron Lem, who owns a plumbing company that often sends him to jobs in San Francisco, stopped into the Safeway near Pier 39 the other day. He picked up an energy drink and was flabbergasted to see a guy pick up a 12-pack of beer, put it under his coat and start out the door.

“I went to the security guard,” Lem wrote in an e-mail, “only to be told there was nothing they could do.”

And that wasn’t the end of it. In the next 20 minutes, Lem says he saw three cases of blatant shoplifting with no response from security. The capper was: After he left the store and walked over to the waterfront, there was one of the shoplifters, enjoying his stolen snack.

“He was like, ‘What? Me worry?’” Lem said, recounting the incident on the phone. “He had everything he needed. It is bizarre. If they are not going to enforce it, why make us pay?”

Lem was so disturbed by what he saw that he followed up with a Safeway loss prevention manager.

“He told me they do have a policy in place of not apprehending shoplifters,” Lem said.

Contacted Friday, Safeway spokesman Keith Turner said Lem “apparently misunderstood his conversation with Safeway’s loss prevention investigator.”

Turner said, “We do have procedures in place to prevent theft and to apprehend shoplifters without chasing, getting into altercations or other dangerous situations. The details of those policies are kept confidential.”

That sounded pretty vague, so I went to that Bay Street Safeway Friday morning. It didn’t take long to see what Lem was talking about.

Although at least two security officials patrolled the entrance to the supermarket, a kid in dreadlocks and a bucket hat strolled in, walked over to the produce aisle and casually put a bottle of orange juice and a sandwich in his backpack. He didn’t seem bothered in the slightest that I was watching, looking me straight in the eye as he walked past me and out the door.

I went to the nearest security officer and told him what I’d seen. He looked at the kid, who was half a block away and shrugged.

“If it is under $1,000 (actually the amount is $950) it is just a misdemeanor,” he said. “We don’t usually do anything.”

The surprising part of this is that this is not an isolated situation. Many large corporations have established policies of looking the other way when shoplifters strike. Concerned about legal liability and the potential for injury, in many cases they actually forbid employees to confront thieves.

Walmart, which was famous for its “zero tolerance” policy on theft, made an almost complete about-face in 2006. In an in-house document obtained by the New York Times, Walmart told employees it would not prosecute shoplifters who steal items worth less than $25.

Apparently, it doesn’t want its employees chasing thieves, even if the items are valuable. In January, an Alabama Walmart manager spotted a habitual shoplifter leaving the store with what turned out to be $1,118 worth of goods.

The manager chased the man across the street and, with the help of nearby security guards, apprehended and held the man until police arrived.

Walmart’s response? The manager was fired for failing to follow company policy. Walmart said, “For the safety of our associates as well as our customers . . . (we) rely on law enforcement.”

The problem with calling the cops is that by the time they arrive the shoplifter is already gone — or relaxing by the bay, in Lem’s example. The chances of arriving in time to catch them are almost zero.

So, although Safeway’s Turner says, “Theft is a serious problem in the retail industry and we do our best to control it,” shoplifting seems to be just part of the cost of doing business.

It’s not just Safeway or Walmart. Other large retail companies have the same nonconfrontational policies, but, like Safeway, they don’t want them to become public.

It’s only when someone like Lem sees blatant theft taking place that this is mentioned. It may be company policy but Lem was still shocked.

“I mean,” Lem said. “if you are not going to enforce it, why not just put a sign up that says, ‘If you really want it, take it. We won’t stop you.’”

No need for a sign. It’s clear petty thieves have already figured that out.

(Courtesy, the San Francisco Chronicle)

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SPECTACULAR BLOOD SUPERMOON Rocky Horror Picture Show 40th Anniversary Biblical Apocalypse Wine Train Weekend Ticket Bargains. At you'll find the recording of last night’s (2015-09-25) KNYO Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show ready to download and keep or just play with one click.

A long and information-dense show. Slightly more than usual sex and blood. A literal wine train. Alex Bosworth called and told the story of the kinetic manic-pixie junkie who broke his mouth with a clock radio. You’ve already heard about how she ruined his life by deleting all his story files and locking him out of his email and business accounts and so on, so we didn’t go too far into all that.

No Boston Blackie at the end. Instead, exciting audio from a ten-minute 1960 US Government training film about high-G and low-air-pressure experiments on astronauts. (The film is half an hour, but I used the silence-removal function of MP3DirectCut to shorten it to ten minutes, to suit the gnat-like modern attention span.)

Further, at there are wholesale quantities of worthwhile but not necessarily radio-useful items that I found while putting my show together. Here are just a few:

“This ridiculous toy will give you the best orgasms of your life.” If true, cheap at $138.

A superheated solar tornado. (Just the point at the bottom of the funnel is bigger than Earth.)

Inside a German U-Boat. Beautiful claustrophobic photographs of constricted corroded spaces and pipes and valves and levers. (Many of these ships sank because of operator error. One is known to have sunk because the captain hadn’t read the manual for the toilet.)

And a greener-grass fauxtopia.

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For thousands of years until the Industrial Revolution began some 200 years ago, everything was made by hand. In the case of fabric, the work of many hands went into each sheet on the bed and shirt on one's back. From raising the sheep, goats, silk worms, and flax and cotton plants to cleaning and preparing the fibers, to spinning, dyeing, weaving, felting and sewing, each step required skilled hand labor. In colonial America, a family's collection of bed and table linens and intricately woven coverlets were often their chief wealth. Today many of our friends and neighbors in Mendocino County still pursue these crafts, and their work will be celebrated in numerous venues around the county during the month of October in recognition of American Craft Week.

From art cloth through knitting, weaving, felting, rugs and quilts to wearables in silk, wool and cotton, fiber arts and textiles of all sorts will be on display and for sale.

In Ukiah, the Grace Hudson Museum, 431 South Main Street, will host "Mendocino Quilt Artists: A Fiber Perspective," featuring contemporary quilt work by the 12 members of the Mendocino Quilt Artists group, local quilters whose work has garnered numerous national awards by taking the traditional quilt of old into new and unexpected directions, uniting a solid grounding in craft with designs that reflect on contemporary themes, incorporate new material, and celebrate the beauty of the local landscape.

The Ukiah Library, 105 North Main Street will feature rugs and tapestries by Stephanie Hoppe, who works in wool and silk on a Navajo-style loom, weaving contemporary designs in techniques developed a thousand years ago by the Native Peoples in the American Southwest. The First Friday opening will include demonstrations of weaving and spinning.

Heidi's Yarn Haven, 180 South School Street, will display knitted garments, shawls and hats by Clara Reid, Heidi Purcell, Jennifer Vagt and Sharon Ford, embodying the range and complexity of contemporary knitting. Expert knitters will be on hand during the First Friday reception, as they are every day, to advise and demonstrate and troubleshoot on knitting projects.

Textile members of the Corner Gallery, 201 South State Street, will have their work on display as well, including quilts, scarves in silk and wool, and felted garments and accessories by Ursula Partch, Cassie Gibson, Laura Fogg, and others.

All of the Ukiah venues will be open for First Friday festivities, October 2, from 5 to 8 pm, with hors d'oeuvres and music. View the exquisite craftworks as well as demonstrations of how they are made, and try your hand at some of the techniques.

In Willits, "Common Thread: Three Textile Artists Use the Dyepot as Their Palette: Art Cloth, Wearables, Rugs and Wall Hangings by Anita Sison, Stephanie Hoppe, and Ursula Partch," will be on display October 2-25 at the Willits Center for the Arts, 71 East Commercial Street. Opening reception, Friday, October 2, from 7 to 9 pm, with live music and hors d'oeuvres. On Saturday, October 3, at 10 am, the artists will conduct a tour of the exhibit and talk about their work with very different methods of dyeing. Sison produces art cloth, commercial silk and wool fabric to which she applies natural dyes in a variety of dyeing and printing techniques. Hoppe dyes and paints wool and silk yarns she then weaves into rugs and tapestries. She also weaves rag rugs worn cotton sheets and clothing which she overdyes. Partch dyes wool and silk fiber, which she then felts into her own handwoven or commercial fabric to create wearable or wall art.

In Fort Bragg, Pacific Textile Arts, 450 Alger Street, hosts a Fiber Fair and Textile Bazaar, Friday and Saturday, October 2 and 3. Visit booths offering all kinds of textile items for sale together with demonstrations of how they are made, including several methods of weaving as well as felting and kumihimo braiding.

In Mendocino village, Flockworks, at the corner of Kasten and Ukiah Streets, includes contemporary quilt and fiber arts among other crafts for the month of October.

For more information, visit


  1. Bill Pilgrim September 27, 2015

    RE: Oxymoronic photo/caption. Actually, the kids might need microscopes to view what’s left of the river a few years hence.

  2. Stephen Rosenthal September 27, 2015

    Re: There is such a thing as a free lunch. Why the surprise? After all, San Francisco is a “Sanctuary City.”

  3. Jim Updegraff September 27, 2015

    Safeway should put up a sign ‘Free meals here” and set up picnic tables for the shoplifters. Why should I shop at Safeway if I have to pay higher prices for all the bums stealing food?

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