Friday, May 9, 2008

Budget Negotiations Continue Even While The Governor Catches Walleye

Governor Tim Pawlenty and Minnesota House and Senate leaders are still negotiating ways to trim the state budget by $935-Million. The parties met yesterday morning and again yesterday at noon but still no solution. Pawlenty said negotiations continue and if someone needs him, he's as close as a cell phone. The Governor said he's heard suggestions that the Senate may adjourn early and go home and if that happens, he said the choices then are to call a special session or to un-allot money from existing budgets. The Governor will be in Pequot Lakes and Breezy Point today and tomorrow for the Governor's Fishing Opener. And he said he may try an artificial lure tomorrow morning but he'll rely on his guide for more specific fish-catching advice.

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Brainerd History Walk Sunday

Area citizens get a chance this weekend to imagine what historic Brainerd looked like. Carl Faust is one of the moving forces behind The Brainerd History Walk and he and his training guides will begin conducting tours Sunday morning, May 11th at 11am. Faust said the tours will start at the Brainerd Public Library on Fifth Street. Faust said the guide will highlight historic buildings and point out the locations where buildings no longer exist. Faust said the one hour guided tours will run everyday from this Sunday until next, May 17th and from 11am until 6pm. Eventually, he said there will be tours of more areas like a south tour near Boom Lake, a southeast and a north Brainerd loop.

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Paul Bunyan Bobber Search Clue #5

Today is the big day!... The Governor is coming, the unveiling of Babe’s statue, and a community picnic! I sure hope that Bernice had a chat with Sourdough Sam so she’d know how much grub to make. For lunch, I usually have 75 lbs. of fried potatoes, 45 lbs. of T-bone steak, 60 lbs. of ham, 16 large loaves of bread, 13 dozen eggs (I’ve been trying the Adkins diet), and of course, 12 Mary Etta pies. I like to wash it all down with 10 gallons of strong black coffee! Yum!

I’m really getting worried though. I still can’t find my bobber. Have you had any luck? I was also starting to fret that winter would never end! I remember the winter that was so cold our words froze in mid air. We had to wait until spring to finish talking to each other!

Did you find something tall that Doc Sherman can stand on to look inside of Babe’s mouth? He really is gettin’ cantankerous with that baling wire stuck in his mouth. I think that the old fire tower would be just about tall enough, but Doc would have to go to the very top and stand on his tippy-toes. If Doc faced east maybe the breezy from the south would blow Babe’s bad breath away.

Did you ever hear the story of the bear that climbed all of the way to the top of the fire tower? He was so scared that he decided to just stay up there and hibernate. I wonder if he’s woken up yet? Be careful if you ever go up there!

I sure hope that somebody finds my lucky bobber today. If you do, track down Sue Galligan at the Chamber. She’ll have a basket of goodies fer ya and she’ll give me a holler. Thanks everybody for helpin’ me find my bobber. Good luck fishin’ tomorrow. Remember, Notorious Nate is mine! - Paul Bunyan -

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House Resolution Remembers WWII Vets

On the 63rd anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, the Minnesota House honored all those who fought in World War Two. Long Prairie lawmaker Mary Ellen Otremba read a portion of the resolution from the House floor Thursday and said the state recognizes the many contributions made by veterans during WWII and extends its gratitude for their sacrifices. VE Day marks the day allied forces acccepted the surrender of Nazi Germany and the end of the Third Reich.

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Senate Approves Minimum Wage Bill

The Minnesota Senate approved a minimum wage increase Thursday night. Senator Claire Robling said she was concerned that the bill would hurt those seeking minimum wage jobs because small businesses may have to reduce the number of those jobs. The bill now goes to a conference committee to iron out differences with a similar House bill.

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mid-Life Crisis Raising Money for CLC Foundation

The Central Lakes College Foundation and the Chanhassen Dinner Theater will team up this summer to raise money for the Foundation. Executive Director Diane Searcy said play Mid Life Crisis will be performed on August 8th and 9th at Breezy Point Resort. The play ran for 18 months at the Chanhassen and is now on the road. Tickets are $75 per person, went on sale last week, and Diane said they're going fast. Get yours at or call their toll-free number 1-866-687-4243. And if you'd like a corporate table for your company or your family, call Diane at her office, 1-218-855-8129.

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Paul Bunyan Bobber Hunt Clue #4:

Have you heard that a statue of Babe is coming to town? Some of Guenther's high school art kids painted it. That Guenther sure looks like one of my lumberjack buddies! Of course, that painted ox is no where near the size as the real Babe.

Babe is so big that the camp laundryman would use Babe's horns to hang the laundry on for drying. It would dry lickety-split because of all the wind blowing around above the tree line.

Babe's been in a foul mood lately though. Some of the baling wire from all of the hay bales that he's been eatin' has gotten stuck in his teeth. I heard that Doc Sherman is a pretty good dentist. I wonder if he wouldn't mind giving a look see in Babe's mouth. I sure hope that Babe's been brushing his teeth. Have you ever smelled an oxe's breath? Whewey!! It can get pretty potent! I'm wonderin' what's tall enough that Doc Sherman can stand on?

While you're lookin' for my bobber give a look about for somethin' tall. Le me know what you find.

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Crosslake Man Faces Sexual Assault Charges

48-year old Daniel Kevin Finn of Crosslake has been charged with criminal sexual conduct in Becker County. Finn was arrested last week and taken to Becker County for prosecution of his case. Officials told the Lake Country Echo that Finn sexually assaulted two young adult males in late March. His next court appearance on the charges will be May 12th.

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Thursday 8:45am: Still No Bobber

There are only two days left before the 2008 Fishing Opener and Paul Bunyan still has not found his bobber. Brainerd Lakes Chamber's Sue Gallatin said lots of people are out looking but still, no finders. Gallatin said the bobber is red and white, about the size of a baseball and is hidden somewhere in Pequot Lakes. Whoever finds the bobber wins a Paul Bunyan-sized gift basket of items from area merchants. Check out the clues on the KLKS web site on the News page.

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Governor's Fishing Opener Events Ready

All the fun events for the 2008 Governor's Fishing Opener are ready and all that's needed are happy, smiling people to enjoy themselves. Organizing Committee Co-Chair Dr. Ryan Buel said he's roughly 99.8% prepared for Friday's activities. Buell said the Governor, First Lady and Lieutenant Governor will tour the area during the midday. There will be a veteran's commeration near Dru's Garden at the North End of Pequot Lakes Trailside Park around 3pm. The welcoming program begins at 4:30p and serving at the free Community Picnic begins around 5pm. A performance of No Fish by the By The Way Players has been scheduled for sometime during the picnic.

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Budget Talks Continue

House Majority Leader Tony Sertich believes negotiations to balance the budget are going well. Sertich said he thinks the budget will be balanced before the end of the session. The Chisholm lawmaker said Democrats want to use more of the state's reserve funds and the Governor doesn't want to reduce any of his programs. The session will end a week from next Monday on May 19th.

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House Passes Veterans Assistance Bill

The Minnesota House has approved a Veterans Assistance Bill to help the state prepare for veteran reintegration. Wilmar lawmaker Al Juhnke said the bill will begin to modernize veterans programs across the state so that they're more responsive and effective. The bill was approved 123-9 and now heads to the Governor's desk.

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Paul Bunyan's Bobber Search - Clue #3:

I had better get my axe sharpened before the Fishing Opener. Do you know of any good hardware stores in town? I might need to clear some trees, so I have a good spot to sit and fish from.

Old Notorious Nate, the Walleye sounds pretty tasty for lunch. Boy, Sourdough Sam, our camp cook, sure can make some good grub but I'm getting tired of eatin' bean soup. He fed us bean soup all winter because the wagon with the pork and beans went through East Twin Lake, so he built fires along the shore and boiled the lake to make bean soup. I heard that Lakes Latte has good grub. Do they have some of Nate's cousins on their menu? I like mine cooked though.

Babe is a big eater too, especially after he's been helping me haul wood and straightenin' roads all day. Highway 11 used to be like a corkscrew, but Babe has done a fine job of pullin' it straight! He'll usually chew up 30 bales of hay, wire and all, for a snack in the mornin'. He'd eat a ton of grain for lunch and then pester Sourdough Sam for leftovers.

How's looking for my bobber going? I wish that Babe and Besse wouldn't have tossed it so far. They play like they're a couple of pups!

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Balancing the Budget Efforts Continue

Meetings with Governor Pawlenty and legislative leaders continue. The goal is to reduce the state budget by $935-Million by May 19th, the final day of the session. House Republican Leader Marty Seifert said the group has met until 11:30 most recent nights but so far, no final solution. Seifert said what could be done is an across-the-board cut, reducing all programs by a certain percentage but its a method he would rather not use. Seifert said Republican leaders have agreed to roughly $355-Million in cuts, Democrats approximately $215-Million. If lawmakers can't agree to reductions before the end of session, the Governor may spend down the state's reserve funds and un-allot money from agencies on his own.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

State Patrol Celebrates Fishing Opener

Minnesota State Patrol Officers will be on hand for the Governor's Fishing Opener this year but it won't be only to make sure you obey the traffic laws. Sergeant Curt Mower said officers will be handing out free fishing lures and offering good advice about buckling up. Mower said officers will be in front of the Mills Fleet Farm Store in Baxter and at the Holiday Station in Garrison from 1-3pm. Mower said officers will also share information about the May Mobilization, the concentrated enforcement effort at some un-disclosed date in the near future.

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Walleye? Probably Not

Those who hope for a walleye on the line may need more hope than usual for this year's fishing opener. Department of Natural Resources Area Fisheries Manager Tim Brastrup said the wiley walleye may not cooperate all that much. The Governor's Fishing Opener festivities start Friday afternoon with the Community Picnic in Trailside Park. Brastrup suggested you tone down the sting of an opener without walleyes, make do with northerns or crappies, and enjoy the event.

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Nisswa Chamber Grounds To Get Face Lift

A number of Nisswa citizens are going to work dressing up the grounds around the Chamber of Commerce building. Chamber member Mike Edmunds said the renovation of the grounds will take most of the summer and include and underground sprinkling system and lots of new plantings. Edmunds said phase two of the project will focus on the sale of personal paver blocks, installed near the Chamber building. Each block can include up to three lines of copy and each will cost $100. Edmunds said the project should get started around the first of June.

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Tribal Chairman Goggleye at CLC Thursday

Leech Lake Tribal Chairman George Goggleye, Jr. will be the featured speaker at a Rosenmeier Center presentation on Thursday, May 8th. Goggleye said he will talk about the education of tribal members and the challenges they face. Goggleye's speech begins at Noon in Central Lakes College's Dryden Theater. The event is sponsored by the Rosenmeier Center for State and Local Government and there is no charge.

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Governor's Fishing Opener Free Picnic

You can't legally wet a line for walleye until Saturday but there's fun and food to be had the day before. Brainerd Lakes Chamber Executive Ruth Ann Hansen said you're invited to a picnic Friday afternoon and all you have to bring is your appetite. The Governor will arrive around 3:30p for a presentation at Dru's Garden and at the Veteran's Memorial. And there'll be a performance of the By the Way Players and their tale of 1940s Whitefish Chain mailman Ben Knebel in the play No Fish.

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Biofuels Promoters Warn of Unexpected Consequences

A new study by a Minnesota-based agriculture think tank finds that growing crops to make gasoline is having unexpected consequences. Ben Lilliston is with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. He said growing corn for ethanol production is reducing the diversity of crop rotation and threatening wetlands. Lilliston said the report doesn't oppose the continued manufacture of bio-fuels and ethanol but that more money has to be put into government programs to protect growing areas.

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Budget Talks Continue

Governor Pawlenty and legislative leaders were to meet Tuesday night to continue talking about balancing the budget. The meeting was to start at 8:30p. Officials must agree to trim $935-Million from the state budget before May 19th, when this session will end. If leaders don't reach agreement, the governor can un-allot the money from government agencies so that Minnesota doesn't spend more than it takes in.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Paul Bunyan Bobber Hunt: Clue #2:

When I was a little tike my Ma had me sleep in a logging wagon. But, whenever I rolled over I knocked down the trees for miles around. So, she decided that I needed to sleep on a boat on Sibley Lake. She'd kiss me goodnight from the landing and give me a push to the middle of the lake. My Ma would make 74 buckets of oatmeal with 5 gallons of maple syrup on it and 14 gallons of milk for me every morning. I wonder if A-Pine has good oatmeal? My Pa made wooden boots for me when I got to be a toddler. My feet grew so fast that he had to make a new pair every day. Maybe Dean at Expressions has my size, 42EEEEEEEE. Babe grew so big that 42 axe handles plus a plug of tobacco could fit between his eyes. One morning when he was a youngun, I woke up and Babe and his barn were gone! I found him in the woods east of Pequot Lakes. He grew so fast during the night that he plum bust through the sides of his barn and it was stuck on top of him. He was runnin' through the woods trying to knock it off. He and I sure get into some predicaments! Have you had any luck finding my bobber yet?

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Teach A Kid (Or Lady) To Trap Shoot

The 5th annual Teach a Kid Trap Shooting Day will be held the week after the Governor's Fishing Opener, on Saturday May 17th. Steve Weigel is a certified gun instructor with the Lakeshore Conservation Club. He said there's no charge for the class. Weigel said this year, the club is inviting women who want to learn trap shooting to take the class as well. Classes start at 10am and run as long as necessary or until 4pm. Lunch is served at 1pm. The Lakeshore Conservation Club is on County 77 west of Gull Lake near Ski Gull ski resort. To get more information, call Steve Weigel at 543-4321.

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House Considers A Special Session Bill

The Minnesota House will consider a bill that would allow lawmakers to call a special session if they felt like it. Walker Representative Larry Howes thinks its a bad idea. Howes said lawmakers set the agenda for a special session under current rules and the governor decides whether or not to call the session. Howes said allowing one branch of government to do both would tip the balance of state government in a less than positive way. Representative Howes believes that any governor would veto such a proposition. Some lawmakers called for a number of special sessions last year after Governor Pawlenty vetoed a number of bills.

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Thieves Steal Seed Corn

Thieves broke into the Sobieski Co-op Creamery sometime over the weekend and stole 40 bags of Croplan Seed Corn. Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said the bags are white, green and yellow colored and weigh 50-pounds each. Total loss is estimated at $6,000. Wetzel said he wants anyone with information about the crime to call the Morrison County Sheriff's office and if you can remain anonymous.

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Frazee Girl Injured By Ricochet

A 15-year old girl is recovering after being struck in the face by a bullet bouncing off a rock. Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon said the Frazee girl was at a friend's house east of Detroit Lakes on Sunday. Her friend's 13-year old brother fired the shot. The bullet struck the girl in the right cheek and sinus. The injuries were described as serious but not life threatening.

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2008 Farm Bill May 'Bloom' This Week

The new US Farm Bill may go before the House and Senate this week. Adam Wartheson is with the Land Stewardship Project in Minnesota and said while the overall bill is seriously flawed, it does cover some important issues like land conservation, help for new and beginning farmers and local and regional food systems. The bill includes continued large tax subsidies even as crop prices remain high. The bill also includes increases for school lunch programs, Meals on Wheels, and Food Stamp programs. Country of origin labeling and a permanent disaster program have also made it into the final version. Congressional leaders hope to bring it to a vote this week.

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Officials Still Talking About The State Budget Fix

Lawmakers and Governor Pawlenty are still talking about cutting the state budget by $925-Million. Senate Minority Leader David Senjem said he's optimistic that the sides can meet in the middle somewhere. Senjem said Republicans continue to insist on allowing property taxes to rise no more than 3% per year and want to make it a part of the budget deal. The legislative session has to be over by May 19th.

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MN House Approves Property Tax Bill

After 8 hours of debate, Minnesota House Legislators approved a bill that would have state tax payers pick up more of the bill for some local property taxpayers. Royalton Lawmaker Al Doty said the bill would help 'grandpas and grandmas and young people buying their first house'. Grand Rapids Lawmaker Loren Solberg also voted for the bill. Homeowners whose property taxes take more than 2% of their household income would get a rebate on those taxes. This latest version of the bill does away with the property tax deduction on state income taxes so most homeowners would see their final tax bill rise. The bill now goes to a conference committee.

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Paul Bunyan Bobber Hunt - Clue No. 1

Monday, May 5th

My first bobber is in the middle of town in Pequot Lakes. It's 60' wide and was made for me by Ole, the Big Swede. I gave it to the city of Pequot Lakes because they needed a water tower during the drought. The bobber that Babe and Besse, The Yeller Cow, lost is red/white and has the Brainerd Lakes Chamber Logo on it. You know, that Chamber building in Pequot Lakes is a neat place to visit. I heard that Bob Uppgaard brought in a 13 lb. Walleye that he caught with a Sunfish hook on a 4 lb. test line for everyone to look at. That fish sounds like it might have been Notorious Nate's little cousin. Good job, Bob! I remember the time when Nate got away...I caught him on Whitefish in Moonlight Bay. Nate fought so hard that he jumped out of Whitefish and into Pelican Lake. That's why I was so giddy with joy when I heard that the Governor's Fishing Opener was going to be on Pelican Lake and Breezy Point Resort this year because old Nate is going to be mine!

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Going Green With Trees

The special K-Lakes series on the environment called Go Green With K-Lakes continues. Certified Arborist Dan Swanson said among the most important natural mechanism to combat harmful affects to the environment is the tree. And trees have to be watched carefully and assisted when they need it. Listen to KLKS at 104.3 at 7:40am this week for the next program in the Go Green with K-Lakes series. And for tips on saving money and acting environmentally sound, check out the 'Green' page on the web site.

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Fishing Opener May Be Closed On Your Lake

The Department of Natural Resources said because of the late ice-out this year, some public access docks may not be ready for Saturday's fishing opener this year. A DNR spokesman said most lakes in the southern part of the state are ready now but many lakes in the northern part of the state are still ice-covered. Officials cautioned anglers to be careful and watch for floating ice chunks and always wear their personal floatation device.

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Concerned Citizens Meet Wednesday NIght

The group of Pequot Lakes area voters who make up the Coalition of Concerned Citizens will meet again this Wednesday night at the American Legion. Organizer Jack Schmidt said the community effort of those concerned about law enforcement and public safety is going well. Schmidt expects the Pequot Lakes City Councy to set a date soon for a public meeting to hear comments about law enforcement. The meeting Wednesday night in the back room of the American Legion starts at 6pm.

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House Offers Property Tax Refund Bill

The Minnesota House has passed a property tax refund bill that would give taxpayers some money back if their property taxes have risen more than 12% in the past year. The amount of money a taxpayer would received would depend on how much money they make each year. For example, a household making $50,000 a year would get roughly half of the increased amount back up to a maximum of $2,500. The refund program would phase out over the next five years. The bill now goes to a conference committee.

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Paul Bunyan's Lost His Bobber!

As if the 60th Governor's Fishing Opener was not enough of a big deal, now Paul Bunyan has lost his bobber and if you find it, you win big prizes. Brainerd Lakes Chamber Executive Ruth Ann Hanson said clues to the whereabouts of this peculiar item will be available soon, Monday morning. Different clues will be posted each day until the bobber is found. Hanson said the prize will be a large gift bag of items from area merchants. Stay tuned for more information.

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MN House and Senate Approve Minimum Wage Hikes

Both the Minnesota House and Senate approved minimum wage increases last week. The bills would raise the minimum to either $7.75 or $7.90 an hour and would tie annual increases starting next year to the rate of inflation. House author Virginia lawmaker Tom Rukavina said minimum wage workers deserve the increase. Governor Pawlenty has indicated he doesn't like tying further increases to the rate of inflation. A House/Senate conference committee may consider the bills this week.

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Kjergaard Gets Wilmar Superintendent's Job

The man who came in second to be the new Brainerd School Superintendent has been hired in Wilmar. Current Waconia Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard was a finalist for the Brainerd job. The Wilmar School Board voted Friday to hire him for their superintendent. Brainerd's new superintendent is former Assistant Superintendent Steve Razidlo. He'll replace retiring Brainerd Superintendent Jerry Walseth.

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Not Wearing Seat Belt Could Become Primary Offense

Not wearing a seat belt could become a primary offense this year. A member of the Minnesota Senate has offered the bill to the Transportation Policy Bill now in conference committee. If the bill is accepted by the House, a motorist could be stopped and cited for not wearing a seat belt. To get a seat belt ticket now, the driver has to be stopped for another violation. Roughly 85% of Minnesotans buckle up now. The State Office of Traffic Safety said the other 15% account for most of the traffic crash fatalities.

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Fire Damages Brainerd Business

Roughly 40 firefighters from Brainerd, Nisswa, Crosby, Pillager and Pequot Lakes fought a blaze in Southeast Brainerd Friday morning that eventually did a $100,000 worth of damage. Brainerd Assistant Chief Kevin Stunek told the Brainerd Dispatch the fire was reported just before 7:30am Friday morning in the northwest corner of the Keystone Automotive building in the Brainerd Industrial Park. About 100 people were working in the plant at the time but all got out safely. The cause of the fire has not yet beeen determined.

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