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by German Lopez 01.28.2014 82 days ago
Posted In: News, Education, Poverty at 03:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
states reading proficiency

Report: Reading Proficiency Falls With Income

Lower-income fourth-graders much more likely to fail standards

Ohio’s lower-income fourth-graders were much more likely than higher-income fourth-graders to fall below reading proficiency standards in 2013, according to a report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Four in five lower-income fourth-graders were declared below reading proficiency standards in 2013, the report found. Only 48 percent of higher-income fourth-graders fell below proficiency.

Ohio mostly matched the national trend: About 80 percent of lower-income fourth-graders and 49 percent of higher-income fourth-graders across the country read below proficient levels last year.

The report also found Ohio’s overall reading proficiency improved by 5 percent between 2003 and 2013, a notch below the nation’s 6 percent improvement.

The report comes as state officials implement the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, which requires most Ohio third-graders to test as “proficient” before they advance to the fourth grade. Preliminary results showed one-third of Ohio students failing to pass the test, putting them at risk of retention.

“Ohio needs to do whatever it takes to get all children — especially low income and children of color — on track with this milestone,” said Renuka Mayadev, executive director of the Children’s Defense Fund of Ohio, in a statement. “The long-term prosperity of Ohio and our nation depends upon improving crucial educational outcomes such as reading proficiency.”

The report also speaks to some of the challenges Ohio and other states face in evaluating schools, teachers and students as the nation struggles with high levels of income inequality.

A Jan. 22 report from Policy Matters Ohio found high-scoring urban schools tend to have lower poverty rates than low-performing urban schools. In Cincinnati, nine of the 19 top-rated urban schools served a lower percentage of economically disadvantaged students than the district as a whole.

Another study from three school advocacy groups found Ohio’s school funding formula fails to fully account for how many resources school districts, including Cincinnati Public Schools, need to use to serve impoverished populations instead of basic education services. In effect, the discrepancy means Ohio’s impoverished school districts get even less funding per student for basic education than previously assumed.

 
 
by German Lopez 01.28.2014 82 days ago
Posted In: News, Education, Voting, Death Penalty at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
city hall

Morning News and Stuff

Early voting location debated, schools could get more snow days, execution investigated

Local early voting could move from downtown to Mount Airy, where only one bus line runs, following a split, party-line vote from the Hamilton County Board of Elections. Democrats oppose the move because they say it will make early voting less accessible to people who rely on public transportation to make it to the ballot box. Republicans support the move as part of a plan to consolidate some county services, particularly a new crime lab, at the Mount Airy facility. With the board split, Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, could step in to break the tie vote.

But Husted's spokesperson said the secretary of state might encourage the Board of Elections to "take another look" at the issue, and Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel says the county will not move the Board of Elections without a majority vote.

Gov. John Kasich called for a one-time increase in the number of school calamity days to cope with the unusually severe winter weather this year. Under state law, schools are normally allowed five calamity days before extra days off start chipping into summer break. The state legislature must approve legislation to enact the temporary increase.

Ohio officials found no substantial evidence that a public defender coached convicted killer Dennis McGuire to fake suffocation during his execution. Eye-witness accounts report McGuire visibly struggled, snorted and groaned as he took 26 minutes to die — the longest execution since Ohio restarted using the death penalty in 1999.

Despite what a local state senator says, there are a lot of differences between Ohio's Clean Energy Law and Stalinism.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Senate continues working on a proposal that would weaken Ohio's renewable energy and efficiency standards. But it's unclear if the new attempt will be any more successful than State Sen. Bill Seitz's failed, years-long crusade against the Clean Energy Law.

Local Democrats endorsed Christie Bryant for an open seat in the Ohio House, even though five interviewed for the position and could run in the Democratic primary. Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke previously told CityBeat local Democrats endorse prior to a primary in some special situations. In this case, the party wanted to guarantee a black candidate, and Bryant is the most qualified, according to Burke.

A new report found Ohio's prison population ticked down by nearly 2 percent since 2011, but the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) says it is now trending back up. To address the recent rise, ODRC Director Gary Mohr says legislators need to provide more opportunities for community-based drug treatment, mental health care and probation programs to help reduce prison re-entry rates.

More than 112,000 Ohio students dropped out of high schools between 2006 and 2010.

The Greater Cincinnati Port Authority will shape plans this year to remake some of Queensgate and Camp Washington into manufacturing, engineering and laboratory hubs with high-paying jobs.

Hamilton County might sell some of its six downtown buildings.

Former Mayor Mark Mallory took a job with the Pennsylvania-based Chester Group, which provides "energy, water and wastewater solutions to public and industrial clients across the United States and internationally," according to a press release.

Councilman Chris Seelbach's vegan chili won the Park+Vine cook-off.

Confirmed by science: Walking while texting or reading a text increases chances of injury.

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by Rick Pender 01.28.2014 82 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 09:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
onstage blog 1-28 - pirates of penzance @ actors theatre -photo by bill brymer

Advising a Louisville Theatre Field Trip

Actors Theatre's "Pirates of Penzance" is a joyous, festive hoot from start to finish

If I could charter a bus and offer you transportation to Louisville over the next few days to see a production at Actors Theatre, I'd happily do so. I made the drive to see a Sunday matinee of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, "reimagined by The Hypocrites." This zany group of theater artists from Chicago have found contemporary ways to inject new energy into traditional works from Shakespeare to Golden Age musicals. And that's what they've done with Pirates, a show that was a silly musical hit in the 1880s on both sides of the Atlantic.

In fact, what this energetic cast of 10 does with the show is restore its comic brilliance in a way that's wholly suited to the 21st century but in keeping with the original. The story of soft-hearted pirates, a soft-headed major-general and his melodic daughters and a crew of incompetent cops remains intact and is inherently funny. But The Hypocrites have pushed it to a contemporary level.

Entering Actors Theatre's arena-styled Bingham Theatre, audiences were immediately immersed in a beach party on the central stage. Beach balls were bouncing everywhere; the ushers were wearing floral shirts. The performers, also musicians, were leading a folksy singalong, tunes like the Lumineers' "Ho Hey" and Paul Simon's "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard." It was downright festive, and audience members who had seating onstage (many with kids) joined right in with the fun.

When showtime arrived, a few ground rules were laid out by actress Christine Stulik, who played both the matronly awkward Ruth and the sweet ingenue Mabel. She asked those onstage to follow any requests made by the stage managers, dressed as Victorian lifeguards, so that actors would have clear paths to move to their required locations. She also mentioned that the show would be one hour, 20 minutes, with a one-minute intermission. (That's what really happened: a quick break, with actors sipping bottled water, audience members running up the steps to an in-theater bar, stretching and so on.)

The performance follows Pirates' amusing tale of the virtuous young Fredric, who is a "Slave of Duty" (we were regularly reminded by the word DUTY, spelled out in giant red letters at the top of one audience section). The performers executed their roles in exaggerated fashion, squeezing humor out of every moment. They also played an astonishing array of musical instruments: guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, flute, clarinet, accordion, squeezebox and other esoteric items such as a toy piano, a kiddie xylophone and a saw(!). They were all accomplished singers, too, and just about everyone played multiple roles — including sweet young ladies who doubled as comically mustachioed police officers.

It was a joyous, festive hoot from start to finish, a wonderful tonic for a bitterly cold winter. My only regret is that I'm late to the party: The production of Pirates of Penzance wraps up on Saturday. If you have the time to drive down I-71 and can score a ticket (Actors Theatre box office: 502-584-1205), you'll feel like you took a mini-vacation.
 
 
by Kelsey Kennedy 01.27.2014 83 days ago
Posted In: TV/Celebrity at 04:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 
annabates

'Downton Abbey' Season Four, Episode Four

Bringing the Latest in Uppity British Television

Upstairs:

Mary, who looks about five minutes away from death, (yes she is THAT pale) wonders if the children have a “good childhood” and Lord Grantham has too much time on his hands and is super careless with his money. So…what’s new?

The latest development in the settlement of the property is about Mr. Drew, a farmer and side character with a disturbingly cool raspy voice. Mary deserves a medal for going up against her father about financial issues and that’s pretty much all of the excitement I got out of that subplot.

Onto the next one: Branson apparently wants to slum it in America for a while, which makes me really depressed because we cannot afford to lose another handsome face to those classless Americans. What?

Mary smiled with an intensity I haven’t seen all season when Evelyn Napier came to call (OK, am I the only one that’s been calling him “Ethan” for the past three seasons?) Let’s not forget he sort of knows about Kemal Pamuk – the handsome Turkish diplomat that ended up dead in Mary’s bed in season one. How salacious.

Wait a minute, Edith went to London and visited a doctor – this could mean so many things that possibly have to do with her sex life and the fact that she has turned into the most progressive character on the show. Meanwhile Rose had like, two lines the entire episode.

Continuing on with the theme of creativity being a shameful embarrassment, Violet scolds Robert after he expressed himself by saying, “The one thing we don’t want is a poet in the family.”

Elderly British women are kind of like elderly American women but way better and frightfully grand; Their wit is always on point and they have no filter. They walk through the regal gardens with their canes and a persistent banter that never seems to stop. This week, Violet got annoyed with Mrs. Crawley and called her out for being too nice: “I wonder your halo doesn’t grow heavy. It must be like wearing a tiara ‘round the clock.” (That would be a burn, but Isobel seriously doesn’t care).

Downstairs:

Downstairs, there seems to be an exceeding amount of decorative deer antlers on the walls. Carson’s eyebrows are actual caterpillars and Mrs. Patmore refuses any technological advances like refrigerators and sewing machines.

Nothing is more representative of the upper class system faltering then the Grantham’s staff constantly moving on to bigger and better things. Alfred, the tall, orange and handsome footman is “inciting a revolution” and defying gender roles by following his passion and learning how to cook from a pointy-eared Frenchman. His cooking class is like a 20th century Top Chef except at the Ritz and slightly more terrifying. Good on ya, Alfred.

Meanwhile, Thomas is conniving with the new lady’s maid. Mrs. Baxter seems truly likeable until she turns into a devious conspirator with a futuristic sewing machine. Thomas, in his usual form, seems to be blackmailing her in exchange for information from upstairs.

Molesley is a hot mess, as usual. He reluctantly accepts a job before Carson can tell him that he hasn’t gotten it in the most sarcastic butler-voice possible while breathing through his nose. Carson provides so much needed comic relief.

Mr. Bates is persistent in his efforts to persuade Anna into telling him what’s wrong while ominous piano music plays in the background. So he finds out what happened – via Mrs. Hughes – and his reaction is heartbreaking. After he confronts Anna, her lip quivers so violently I may or may not have started sobbing while eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. She vehemently defends her rapist so she can save her husband from killing him and going to jail. If that’s not true love I don’t know what is. And Mr. Bates consoles her by telling her, “There is no shame in this” and grabs her face while saying things like, “You are not spoiled. You are made higher to me and holier because of the suffering you have been put through. You are my wife, and I have never been prouder, nor loved you more than at this moment." OMG, swoon. This is why we love Anna and Bates so dearly. But this content feeling never stays long in Downton, and is ruined in the last minute of the episode when Bates reveals he’s out for blood. Cue the ominous piano music. 

“The world moves on and we must move with it” – Lady Mary

 
 
by Jac Kern 01.27.2014 83 days ago
Posted In: Music, TV/Celebrity at 02:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
thelist

Cincinnati Entertainment Awards to be Featured on 'The List'

Tune into WCPO at 7 p.m. tonight

As the dust from last night’s Cincinnati Entertainment Awards settles and musicians/attendees/hosts across the city nurse their hangovers, everybody’s talking about the epic night in local music that is the CEAs. Check out a list of the night’s winners here. Stay tuned for a full recap and photos from the show in this week’s upcoming issue. And tonight, look out for the CEAs as they’re featured on The List on WCPO.

The List is a national pop culture and news talk show broadcasted on local media networks. The 30-minute program airs locally at 7 p.m. on weeknights on WCPO. Each night The List’s hosts Teresa Strasser, Matt Gallant and Conor Knighton discuss trending topics, current events, pop culture news — think BuzzFeed for TV. Each show ends with a local segment; during tonight’s Cincinnati spot, viewers will get the scoop on the CEAs.

Tune in, check it out and remember to keep drinking water.

UPDATE: Here is video of The List's CEA mention:

 
 
by German Lopez 01.27.2014 83 days ago
Posted In: News, Environment, Energy at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
news1_angrypowerplant_ashleykroninger

Ohio's Clean Energy Standards vs. Stalinism

Local state senator continues comparing energy law to Stalinism

State Sen. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, continues comparing Ohio’s renewable energy and efficiency law to Stalinism and other extreme Soviet-era policies.

Seitz’s latest comparison, according to Columbus’ Business First, claims Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell didn’t need “Stalinist” mandates to pursue their inventions.

“It was not some Stalinist government mandating, ‘You must buy my stuff,’” Seitz said.

It’s not the first time Seitz made the comparison. In March, he said Ohio’s Clean Energy Law reminds him of “Joseph Stalin’s five-year plan.”

Seitz, a director of the conservative, oil-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), remains unsuccessful in his years-long push to repeal Ohio’s renewable energy and efficiency standards. He says the law picks winners and losers in the energy market by favoring Ohio-based efficient, renewable sources.

Environmentalists and other supporters of the law claim it helps combat global warming and encourages economy-boosting innovations in the energy market, including the adoption of more solar power in Cincinnati.

Seitz’s references to Stalin continue the long-popular Republican tactic of comparing economic policies conservatives oppose with socialism, communism and other scary-sounding ideas.

While Seitz’s argument makes for catchy rhetoric, there are a few key differences between Stalinism and Ohio’s Clean Energy Law:

Stalinism is a framework of authoritarian, communist policies pursued in the 20th century by Soviet Union dictator Joseph Stalin. It involves a state takeover of various aspects of private life and the economy.

The Clean Energy Law is a policy established in 2008 by the democratic state of Ohio. The law sets benchmarks requiring utility companies to get 12.5 percent of their electricity from renewable sources, such as wind, hydro, biomass and solar, and save 22 percent of electricity through new efficiency efforts by 2025.

Stalinism pushes out private markets and replaces them with an authoritarian government’s total command.

The Clean Energy Law sets standards and regulations for existing private businesses.

Stalinism saves Ohioans no money.

The Clean Energy Law will save Ohioans $3.65 billion on their electricity bills over the next 12 years, according to a 2013 report from the Ohio State University and the Ohio Advanced Energy Economy.

To enforce his policies, Stalin killed millions of people — a number so high that historians have trouble calculating exactly how many died under the Soviet leader’s reign.

To enforce the Clean Energy Law, Ohio officials have killed zero people.

Stalinism and other communist policies are widely considered unsustainable by economists and historians and a primary reason for the Soviet Union’s downfall.

The Clean Energy Law follows regulatory and incentive models established in various states and countries with flourishing economies, including Colorado and Sweden.

The differences are pretty clear. Ohio’s Clean Energy Law might require some refining, and there might be better solutions to global warming, such as the carbon tax. But comparisons to Stalinism go too far.

 
 
by German Lopez 01.27.2014 83 days ago
Posted In: News, Voting, Democrats, Republicans at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
news1_votingmachinesecurity

Early Voting Could Move Outside Downtown

Democrats and Republicans clash on moving elections offices to Mount Airy

The Hamilton County Board of Elections on Monday split along party lines over whether the board should move its offices and early voting from downtown, Cincinnati’s urban core, to Mount Airy, where only one bus line runs.

The two Democrats on the board dispute the move. They claim the move would make voting less accessible to voters who rely on public transportation to make it to the ballot box.

Republicans on the board argue the move would make voting more accessible to suburban voters and provide free parking that’s scarcely available at the current downtown offices. They call the move “good government” because it would consolidate some county services at Mount Airy, where county officials plan to build a crime lab as long as the Board of Elections moves with the coroner’s office and provides the critical mass necessary to financially justify renovations at a former hospital.

Republicans cautioned their proposed motion would keep early voting downtown through the 2016 presidential elections. After that, the board’s offices would move, along with early voting.

Ohios secretary of state — Republican Jon Husted — normally breaks tie votes on county boards of elections. The secretary of state’s office claims Husted will remain undecided on the issue until he reviews documents from the Board of Elections explaining both sides of the tie vote. But spokesperson Matt McClellan says Husted would like to see the Board of Elections reach a compromise before he is forced to intervene.

The board’s vote followed a contentious back-and-forth between public speakers and board members regarding the looming decision. Most speakers spoke against the move and labeled it “voter suppression.” Some dissenters supported the move for its fiscal prudence.

Alex Triantafilou, a Republican on the Board of Elections, accused Democrats of “playing politics” with the move. He claims Democrats just want to keep early voting in a Democratic stronghold like downtown.

Democrats Tim Burke and Caleb Faux countered that, along the same lines, the Mount Airy facility would benefit Republicans by making early voting more accessible to Republican-leaning suburban voters and less accessible to Democrat-leaning urban voters.

State Rep. Alicia Reece, a local Democrat who spoke at the meeting, rebuked accusations of partisan politics and reiterated an argument she made to reporters on Thursday.

“The reality is the Board of Elections at its current location has declared both Democrat and Republican winners of elections,” Reece previously said. “I think the focus is to just make sure that we have a facility that everyone can have access to, whether you’re driving or whether you’re on the bus.”

Mayor John Cranley, a Democrat, on Thursday offered free space at the Shillito’s building in an attempt to keep early voting downtown.

But Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann, a Republican, told CityBeat the offer is not enough to satisfy the county’s occupancy needs at Mount Airy, even if the city moves some police services, such as SWAT operations, to the Mount Airy facility to help fill out the 500,000 square foot building.

“Without the Board of Elections coming with the crime lab, that’s not enough occupancy,” Hartmann said. “There would be some good potential co-location opportunities with the city (at the Mount Airy facility), but not enough to take up 400,000 square feet.”

County officials expect the crime lab to take up 100,000 square feet at the Mount Airy facility, and the Board of Elections would occupy another 100,000 square feet. So the county needs to fill 300,000 square feet to fully utilize the Mount Airy facility, even if the Board of Elections moves.

This story was updated with comments from the secretary of states office.

 
 
by German Lopez 01.27.2014 83 days ago
Posted In: News, Voting, Guns, Fracking, Environment at 09:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
city hall

Morning News and Stuff

Elections board could move, bill allows armed teachers, fracking waste could move on river

The Hamilton County Board of Elections plans to decide today whether it will move its offices and early voting from downtown to Mount Airy. The two Democrats on the board argue moving the offices would push early voting away from public transportation options and the city’s core, while the two Republicans claim it’s “good government” because the Mount Airy site consolidates county services with the coroner’s office and includes free parking. In the event of a tie between Democrats and Republicans, Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, will break the tie. Mayor John Cranley, a Democrat, proposed an alternative site downtown on Thursday, but at least one Republican county official said it wasn’t enough to meet the county’s needs.

One of the Republicans on the board resigned as the city’s lobbyist to avoid a conflict of interest prior to today’s vote.

The Republican-controlled Ohio House last week approved a bill that would allow school boards to designate school employees to carry concealed firearms and prohibit school boards from releasing the names of those employees. Republicans argue the proposal will help make schools safer against would-be shooters. But several studies indicate more guns lead to more gun-related violence. A 2009 ABC News special also found even trained gun-wielders fail to properly react in the event of a shooting.

Fracking waste could soon move through barges on the Ohio River, depending on an incoming decision from the U.S. Coast Guard. During the fracking process, drillers pump millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals underground to unlock oil and gas reserves. But some of that water returns to the surface, and that wastewater needs to be dumped somewhere. Oil and gas companies support the allowance of river barges as a potentially cheaper transportation option for the wastewater. But environmentalists, emergency response experts and other critics argue a spill on the Ohio River could cause widespread damage as toxic wastewater flows down a river many communities tap into for drinking water.

Citing research from Pennsylvania fracking sites, some advocates argue Ohio officials should take another look at whether radiation from Ohio’s fracking operations is affecting surrounding landfills and aquifers.

Work at The Banks continues despite a debate over buildings’ heights.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center significantly improved outcomes for teens with asthma, according to a Pediatrics study.

Warning: Some Ohioans have been targeted by utility bill scams.

Ohio gas prices remained relatively steady at the start of the week.

Popular physicist Stephen Hawking argues there are no black holes, but other physicists appear skeptical of Hawking’s claims.

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by Mike Breen 01.27.2014 83 days ago
Posted In: CEAs, Live Music at 09:04 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
wtm

CEA 2014 Winners

Who won what at the 17th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards

Check out a wrap-up of last night's 17th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards show in this Wednesday issue of CityBeat. (Spoiler alert: It was an amazing night.)

In the meantime, below are the winners in each of the CEA categories. Congratulations to all of the performers, presenters, nominees and other attendees for making last night's show at the Madison Theater such a success. (Here's a link to some footage from ICRCTV's Livestream stream last night.)

Cincinnati Entertainment Awards 2014 Winners

Rock: Electric Citizen 

Indie/Alternative: DAAP Girls

Metal/Hard Rock: Moonbow

Punk: The Dopamines

Folk/Americana: The Tillers

Bluegrass: Rumpke Mountain Boys

Country: Jeremy Pinnell and the 55’s

Singer/Songwriter: Molly Sullivan

World Music/Reggae: The Cliftones

Hip Hop: Buggs Tha Rocka

Electronic: Black Signal

Blues: Ricky Nye

Jazz: The Faux Frenchmen

R&B/Funk/Soul: The Cincy Brass

Best Live Act: Foxy Shazam

Best Artist Not Nominated: Young Heirlooms 

Best Music Video: “8 Ball” by Valley High 

Album of the Year: Fists of Love - I Sang My Heart Out to a Snake Once

New Artist of the Year: Tweens

Artist of the Year: Walk the Moon

 
 
by Maija Zummo 01.24.2014 86 days ago
Posted In: Events, Contest at 03:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
rabbit-hash

Rabbit Hash Chili and Cornbread Cook-Off

A weekend of red hot music and red hot chili in Rabbit Hash

Head to Rabbit Hash this Sunday for a chili and cornbread cook-off, featuring live music from the Star Devils.

And while it is too cold outside to hang on the Rabbit Hash General Store porch with a beer, you can hang out in the relative warmth of the Rabbit Hash barn, chomping on some chili. Everyone is welcome to enter and winners will be decided on by the public. Votes are $1 and unlimited, and proceeds go to raise money for Rabbit Hash's 2014 float in the Bockfest Parade in March.

The cook-off starts at 1 p.m. and goes until 3 p.m. The Star Devils start playing in the general store at 2:30 p.m. To register to participate, contact the general store at 859-586-7744.

Here are the rules:

1. There is a $10 entry fee for each chili and/or cornbread entrant. You may participate in one or both at $10 per entry.

2. All types of chili and cornbread will be accepted.

3. Rabbit Hash will supply tables, spoons, bowls and electric. You must supply any extras (cheese, crackers, etc.) yourself. Be sure to bring a jar for your votes!

4. Tasting starts at 1 p.m. and ends at 3 p.m. At 3 p.m., money will be counted and winners announced.

5. Stovetop space is extremely limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis. Bringing your chili in a Crock Pot will be the only way to keep it warm.

6. Winners are determined by the highest dollar amount in your jar, so bring friends to vote for you!

7. Pre-registering is recommended but day-of-show entrants will be considered, if there is room. 
 
 

 

 

 
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