Dawson City, Yukon Friday, May 24, 2002

This curious fellow wanted a close look at the ice chunks, which really weren't that large this year. Photo by Dan Davidson

Feature Stories

Break-up Comes as a Mother's Day Gift
Delegates Mixed Business with Pleasure in Dawson
Visiting Cabinet Ministers Bring Money
Dawson Ambulance Ready and Able for Summer 2002
Dawson to Discuss Smoking Bylaw
Historic Minute Ice Pool Rejuvenated
Accordions on the Wall
Fund Exists to Enhance Job Skills in the Klondike
Arts Activities at Tintina Bakery
Boiler Fixin' Time at the Home of the Pit
Wind and Water - Too Much

Welcome to the May 24, 2002 edition of the online Klondike Sun, which reproduces a selection of the 25 photographs and 34 articles that were in the 28 page May 22 hard copy edition. The hard copy also contains Doug Urquhart's famous "Paws" cartoon strip, our homegrown crossword puzzle, and obviously, all the other material you won't find here. See what you're missing by not subscribing?

Seriously, we do encourage viewers of this website to consider subscribing to the Sun. It would help us financially and you would get to see everything closer to when it's actually news. About 600 people read each issue of this paper online, and we'd love to be sending out that many more papers. See our home page for subscription information.

Break-up Comes as a Mother's Day Gift

by Dan Davidson

At sixteen minutes past four on Sunday afternoon Dawne Mitchell was taking a stroll along the dyke beside the Yukon River when the ice began to move.

Mitchell says it was so subtle that first she thought she was imagining it. In her many years in the Klondike this was only the second time she'd ever actually witnessed the breakup, and it was strange.

Part of the strangeness was that the big ice pan between the two ice bridges shifted all one piece, several hundred square metres of ice edging along like a gigantic raft, so large that it created the illusion that the watcher, not the object, must have moved.

This great raft carried the orange tripod down the river, tightening the cable attached to it, and stopping the clock attached above the deck of the Dänòja Zho Cultural Centre.

Within a couple of minutes, someone else had noted the movement and sounded the siren at the fire hall, giving the signal for Dawsonites to converge on the dyke and bid winter an official farewell.

Breakups aren't what they used to be, so there's more viewing room these days. The great crush used to assemble beside the old CIBC building, but now there's a good viewing area behind the SS Keno, another at the Princess Sophia memorial and, of course, the wooden deck behind Dänòja Zho. In all, perhaps 50 or 60 people actually assembled to see the ice leave.

The ice pan held together remarkably, and the orange-red tripod remained upright and visible for nearly an hour as the mass moved past Moosehide. Behind it floated increasingly smaller chunks of ice. Within an hour the river in front of Dawson was nearly clear and people could be heard wondering when the George Black ferry might be launched.

Locals have been expecting a fairly late breakup. Water levels have been too low to surge and fracture the ice. Cold night time temperatures persisted until the last couple of weeks, and there haven't been lot of really hot, sunny days. This weekend oscillated between sunshine and rain, so perhaps that combination did the trick.

Official clock watcher Joyce Caley wasn't even in town for the event, being et a Mother's Day dinner in Rock Creek, where she was reached by another member of the IODE. She checked the clock few hours later.

There is an unofficial winner of the IODE Ice Pool, a Dawsonite who is currently out of town. The name will be announced in a week.

In addition, this year a number of people will win 50/50 prizes in the Museum's revived Minute Pool.

Sadly, the breakup occurred just hours after the departure of the delegates to the annual general meeting of the Association of Yukon Communities, a number of whom had expressed a strong interest in seeing the ice leave the river.

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Delegates Mixed Business with Pleasure in Dawson

by Dan Davidson


The minister's roundtable provided the opportunity for a polite exchange of ideas. Photo by Dan Davidson

While the delegates to last weekend's annual general meeting of the Association of Yukon Communities didn't get to see the ice break up on the Yukon River, that was a minor disappointment in a weekend that many seemed to feel was quite worthwhile.

Second vice president Shannon Cooper of Mayo was firm in her assessment of the weekend: "It was the best one I've been to so far, and I've been to five now."

Certainly one of the key accomplishments of the weekend was that so many members of the territorial cabinet attended, along with a healthy contingent of staff.

The weekend opened with an address by Community Services Minister Pam Buckway on Friday and concluded with one by Business, Tourism and Culture Minister Dale Eftoda. In between, those ministers, along with Justice Minister Jim McLachlan and Infrastructure Minister Scott Kent sat through a polite but intense round table session on Saturday morning. It must have been a novelty: a question period where no one called anyone any names.

Said Cooper, "I liked the sincerity of the questions and the forthright answers, and the spirit of camaraderie that went along with them."

Also present for the meeting were Independent MLA Mike McLarnon and N.D.P. Leader Eric Fairclough.

The sessions, which were mostly in the ballroom of the Oddfellows' Hall, ranged over many topics.. There were presentations on government renewal, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Green Fund, formula financing, the proposed YTG marketing agency, proposed territorial signage legislation, municipal assessments, and proposed occupational health and safety regulations.

Claire Festel of the Tourism Industry Association was along to brief members on the doings of that organization, and there was surprisingly little overlap between this group and the TIAY membership itself, which gathered here just a few weeks earlier.

When they were meeting, it seemed like the delegates were eating, hitting every restaurant in town that was big enough to hold them, as well and enjoying a steak BBQ at the firehall on Saturday night.

Along with business and sustenance, there was some play time as well. The fund raising auction on Friday night may have had a serious purpose (and did raise $10,604.00 for the organization) but it was a riot as well, and allowed lots of time for friendly rivals to poke fun at each other.

Similarly, the meal and speeches on Saturday night were preceded by a gold panning competition and followed by a Klondike scavenger hunt, which had vehicles full of delegates driving about the town trying to find out the answers to such puzzles as 'How many stained glass windows are there in St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church?" The answer is "none" but at least one team got side tracked trying to count the panes at Saint Paul's, just down the street.

The business did get done though.

Cooper was hard pressed to pick out a favourite part of the AGM, feeling that all of it was worthwhile, though she had some personal interest in the signage legislation, something municipalities have been struggling with for years.

"There's some pending legislation and it's much needed. There will be some costs to smaller businesses and there was some confusion about how all encompassing it was."

Mayor Glen Everitt, president of the AYC, indicated that the organization will probably have something to say about the fees proposed for this act,, which would see a business pay $300 each for the right to place a sign at either end of a community.

Municipalities will also want to make sure, he said, that the legislation allows for municipal bylaws to take precedence within town boundaries.

"That guarantee was given," he said, "that they will go to the communities and work through the policies that are being developed."

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Visiting Cabinet Ministers Bring Money

by Dan Davidson


Scott Kent, Dale Eftoda and Pam Buckway gave the Masons $100,000 to fix up their hall. Photo by Dan Davidson

One of the advantages of hosting a major convention in town which attracts cabinet ministers is that any funding announcements which might be in the pipeline tend to gush out while they are in town.

Such was the case during the recent annual general meeting of the Association of Yukon Communities. Various projects in Dawson City got commitments amounting to about $160,000 during the three day event.

The largest was a $100,000 Project Yukon cheque to the Masonic Order to assist them in restoring the interior of the Masonic Lodge (or Carnegie Library) on the corner of Queen Street and Fourth Avenue. A lot of work has already been done there over the last couple of years, including a new foundation. The impressive interior of the former library, which is clad in pressed metal, needs to be cleaned and refinished before the place will be ready for visitors. As one of about five metal clad buildings from that era remaining in Canada, the Lodge is of some historical significance.

The metal walls, ceiling and trim are covered with chipped and peeling paint which needs to be stripped off painstakingly. Fortunately, the paint on them is not lead based, which will make the job a bit easier. According to Mason Tom Mickey, this is because there was some cost cutting done when the building was originally erected to keep it within the grant from the Carnegie Foundation.

Though tricky to work with, the metal has saved the building several times by making it relatively fireproof. Masons have discovered the results of several fires over the years which started spontaneously and apparently burned themselves out for lack of fuel.

The second Project Yukon cheque was presented by Community Services Minister Pam Buckway to Jon Magnusson of the Klondike Centennial Society in the amount of $26, 493, an odd amount to be sure, but it's what they applied for. The money will be used to complete planning an building a seniors park on the south end of the lot which hold the City Office/Firehall building.

Kelly Miller, the KCS's manager, says the park should serve a number of purposes, beautifying that part of Front Street, providing a place for seniors' outings, and perhaps even a spot for tourist held up by the ferry to stretch their legs.

"We want wheelchair accessible paths, a reading area, games table, perhaps a little gazebo." She is also thinking that a public washroom in the park would go a long way to ease the waiting of people in the summer ferry line-up.

The final bit of good news came from Louise Comeau, who oversees the Green Enabling and Investment Funds for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Dawson has an application in for install solar panelling on the new pool in order to recoup the loss of the waste heat from Yukon Energy that used to warm the pool water. A grant of between $25,000 and $30,000 has been approved for this project. The total is probably in the area of $58,000, of which approximately $20,000 has already been committed from the federal government's Readifund.

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Dawson Ambulance Ready and Able for Summer 2002

Article and picture submitted by Fr. John Tyrrell
EMA 1, Dawson Training Officer


The Ambulance Crew - ready to roll. Photo by Dan Davidson

This summer there are 21 volunteers trained, willing and able to respond to any medical emergency in our community. Under the capable leadership of Kathy Donnelly, the local supervisor, there are ten qualified paramedics and eight emergency medical responders plus three new trainees.

This is a really healthy situation as we head into our busy season for ambulance calls. All the paramedics and the emergency medical responders are fully qualified on the new AED's (Automated External Defibrillators) which our community so kindly and generously purchased for the local service.

At any given time, day or night, seven days a week, there are up to six people in radio contact who can be called upon for immediate response and, in the event of something more demanding, there is a rapid response call-out plan in place.

The Dawson Ambulance volunteers rate with the best in the country and meet national standards as well. The community can be proud of this dedicated group of helping people who train constantly and make real sacrifices in terms of time and commitment to make our home town a safer place to live in.

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Dawson to Discuss Smoking Bylaw

by Dan Davidson

It's been a subject of conversation before. Once it was even part of a highly successful April Fool's joke that caught all the media in the territory off guard, but this time it's for real.

At the May 6 council meeting, Mayor Glen Everitt announced his intention to bring forward a bylaw to restrict smoking in public buildings in Dawson City, particularly in restaurants.

"I am going to bring to the council table a smoking policy for your review and for public debate. We need to start a public discussion on it.

"The policy ... will basically say that if your business, event, or facility caters to a crowd under the age of nineteen years of age, then no smoking will be permitted. Then it becomes the business owner's decision as to whether they want their restaurant to have kids in it or not. Let them make their decision."

This could have implications beyond restaurants, of course. Bingos at the YOOP Hall could be affected. The Dawson City Music Festival might find itself forced to ask music lovers to butt out in the tent.

Everitt knows it's a thorny issue. He said he's been combing through samples from all over Canada through his resources link to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, trying to find something that might work here or that could be adapted to work here.

Everitt, still a smoker himself after many attempts to quit, was startled into this move during a recent visit to Ottawa, where he learned that an Ontario town that does not wish to be named is facing a major court case over its failure to restrict smoking in restaurants. Essentially, a person who was an employee of a restaurant where smoking was permitted contracted cancer and sued the employer. The restaurant, in turn, claimed that the liability lay with the municipality for failing to regulate the practice.

Everitt was told by town officials there that they expect to lose the case. He would like to have the discussion here and get ready before anything can happen.

"Let the public talk about it a little bit."

"It's very controversial," said councillor Byrun Shandler, himself a former smoker.

"I know it is," said Everitt, "but I think we should start the community dialogue and consultation."

He does not intend to rush the bylaw through once he has it drafted.

"I really want input on it."

He also expects that there will be more support than people might think. At least one eatery in town has a no smoking policy, and it is nearly always busy. In addition, he has found that the possibility of smoking restrictions has usually garnered him more favorable than unfavorable responses any time he has raised it in the past.

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Historic Minute Ice Pool Rejuvenated


Pussywillows, bicycles and open water mean that spring has officially arrived in Dawson. Photo by Dan Davidson

At the suggestion of John Gould, the Dawson City Museum & Historical Society renewed the time-honoured practice in Dawson of holding what are now officially known as "sports pools" based on guessing the minute of any hour that the ice on the Yukon River breaks up. Each pool board has only the number of minutes in one hour, so players' chances of winning that pool are one in sixty. The Museum operated $2.00, $5.00, and $10.00 pools with potential winnings ranging from $60.00 to $300. Winners of any pool boards not completely filled were awarded half of the proceeds from sales on that particular board.

Some players followed the traditional strategy of buying the same minute on any pool board encountered at local business or in the hands of Museum Board members. The largest amount of prizes awarded this year to a single winner was $765.00.

As most Dawsonites are aware, the ice on the Yukon River broke up this year on Sunday 12 May at 4:16 p.m. Thus, minute number 16 was the lucky one.

The winners of each pool board are: $10 #1 Edward Roberts, $10 #2 Edward Roberts, $5 #1 Mary Henry, $5 #2 Vera Holmes, $5 #3 Daryl Buckley/Gord Caley, $5 #4 Sandra Juneby, $5 #5 Edward Roberts, $5 #6 Monna Sprokkreeff, $5 #7 Kris Janus, $5 #8 Edward Roberts, $2 #1 Edward Roberts, $2 #2 Pam Firlotte, $2 #3 Eliza Farr, $2 #4 Edith Frazer, $2 #5 Colleen Smith, $2 #6 Gerry Langevin,$2 #7 Jim Titus, $2 #8 Mo Caley-Verdonk, $2 #9 J. Van Every, $2 #10 Susan Herrmann, $2 #11 Edward Roberts.

The Board and all those associated with the Dawson City Museum wish to express our deepest appreciation to all those who supported this historic form of fund raising. Special thanks goes to the I.O.D.E. for their openness to this idea and assisting the Museum in obtaining our lottery licence and to the Yukon Order of Pioneers for constructing the timing tripod on the ice. Credit is also due to the local businesses that made the extra effort to handle the Minute Ice Pool boards.

The Dawson City Museum Minute Ice Pools were authorized under Lottery License 2002-072.

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Accordions on the Wall

by Palma Berger


This section shows the mosaic effect of a mid-sized work. Photo by Dan Davidson

The artist Jacques Clement from Montreal, is abounding in energy and enthusiasm. This he imparted to the guests at his artist's talk on the opening of his show at the Odd Gallery. He included a showing of slides of his work mainly of the human figure, which give forth the same high energy whether done in acrylics, oil, or chalk or oil pastels. There was an exuberance of colour and energy.

But these were not the works of art he brought along with him.

His art works that hang on the walls of the Odd Gallery were painted on brown paper. He got this idea after he had put brown paper down on the floor of his studio for protection, and found the dropped paint was making its own artwork. To save these pieces he folded the paper accordion style, and from that came the idea of making even sized rectangles one under the other on each pleat. The paintings are mainly of the human figure with lively black lines added over a wide stroke of colour. The few figures he did not like he just wiped a wide brush of colour over them, but it added to the whole design. He states, "The live model has always been the center of my creative approach. For years, I have worked on improving my knowledge. I learned to reproduce what my eyes see. Following the technical learning process, I ceased to reproduce solely what my eyes could see to create my own language and use drawing as means of expression". Thus one does not see the exact copy of the human body. "When I trace a line or create a stain on a surface, I leave a sign - a sign which, I hope, will be passed on to the other , and will be capable of appealing to, perhaps of touching the other. My works are my method of communication."

They certainly brought out smiles from some, nods of appreciation from others, and a gasp of surprise as someone caught a new idea from the work in front of them. In the "accordions" there were large areas with one colour or then another colour dominant, and maybe some were heavy into black, so that when one stood back from these eight foot, or four foot pleats it became a mosaic. Each square was approximately 8" X 4" and there were over 900 drawings there. These were the smaller works. In his slides he showed works that were 8 feet by 56 feet, another was 12 feet by 40 feet. In other displays he also found it interesting to leave some of the work folded or opened into a fan, and attached to the wall that way.

Why did he find the brown paper so appealing? "Well, I can fold them up, and then fold them over again and they become small enough for me to slip into my knapsack, and it really saves on freight. As for the brown paper? Well, as you know I am an artist and artists are not rich and thus the brown paper saves me a lot of money." He explains with a laugh.

He loves drawing. It is his "drug". If he isn't drawing he is not happy. He does not always draw exactly what is in front of him. He just needs something there to work from. It doesn't have to be the human figure, it could be a vase of flowers.

Some guests thought his drawings as presented look like the drawings on Egyptian tombs. Another had named them "pictographs". This is what he had called his show.. "Pictographs" .Someone else remarked that the small "windows" of figures reminded him of a train trip at night, when he passed houses with their windows lit and he could see the figures inside.

"Dawson City," Jacques explained, "is as far away from Montreal as Europe is." So, he was asked, how did he decide to come here? "Well, a friend from Calgary visited me in Montreal and was telling me about Dawson City having an artist-in-residence programme,, and a great little gallery. I had always been curious about Dawson City, so I checked out the web-site I was given, and here I am." Loves the town too.

But regretfully, it is only a short visit for him as he leaves here on Sunday, to catch the plane to Vancouver where he has another showing. The Yukon will not see him again for a couple more years as he is booked up till 2004.

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Fund Exists to Enhance Job Skills in the Klondike

by Dan Davidson

The Klondike Region Training Trust Fund exists to "enhance the skills and employability of residents in the Klondike region" according to its statement of purpose.

As such, the KRTTF may respond to the requests of individual adults, corporate bodies, or municipal and first nation governments to assist in training people in the region to do their jobs better or to qualify for jobs.

Pauline Frost, the chair of the KRTTF, is concerned that people don't understand the potential that the three year old program creates, but she quickly points to a list of nine major initiatives that the trust assisted in funding during its 2001 year.

These include:

In 2001, the KRTTF approved funding grants worth up to $114,259.20. If every project has been completed - and some were not to due a lack of complementary funding from other agencies - the total benefits to the area would have been $220,783.09.

According to Frost, the committee has funded $257,979.45 worth of projects over the last three years, creating $622,727.05 worth of training opportunities in the region.

In some cases the projects were completed for less that the expected cost and the committee received refunds from the groups it had sponsored.

The Klondike Region Training Trust Fund wasn't eliminated by the government's changes in the management of Training Trust funds earlier in the year, but the way in which it now accesses its core funding was changed.

This year it had to put in its own project proposal in order to gain its $100,000 capital, a process which she admits felt a bit strange after two years of being able to count on base funding without such an application.

They did, however, get the money, and Frost is eager to see it used in the area, as well as to recruit new members for the board of directors.

The committee which oversees the trust meets three times a year to review finding applications. It met on January 25. It will meet again on May 24 and September 27.

The committee favours applications which deal with trades training, business/management, office administration and computer use, tourism and hospitality, marketing and the arts sector.

Interested parties can pick up application forms at the City of Dawson office on Front Street, can write to the Klondike Region Training Trust Fund at Box 1119, or can call committee secretary/bookkeeper Sonja Stephensen at 993-6928.

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Arts Activities at Tintina Bakery

by Palma Berger


Gordon Kerr welding and Halin, Him Fisher and Shirley Pennell. Photo by Palma Berger

The day was sunny and clear, although not overly warm at Henderson Corner. But it was a good omen for the opening of Jayne Fraser's Tintina Bakery for this season. Especially as the day before had seen an unseasonal snow fall, and cold temperatures.

This day was made special by the staging of a mini-arts Festival , or as Tintina Bakery called it, "An Arts Circus"

There were indeed many things going on in the arts fields. Halin DeRepentigny had a showing of his latest paintings, and during the afternoon he created another painting with Henderson Corner as the subject.

Carol Legace had her homemade soaps, with their brand name of Lousetown Soap Factory. Mary Dolman was beading. Barb Hanulik was braiding her well known rugs. Lynne McKenzie was working on her quilting. There was a lovely display of Joyce Scott's handmade gold jewellery. Outside Gordon Kerr was busy creating with his welding. Faye Chamberlain demonstrated moose hair tufting.

Tents were set up outside for some of the work of all artists to be displayed. But all artists were available to instruct as well as display their art work.

Inside there were refreshments available for the visitors and the bread fresh out of the oven for purchasing.

It was indeed a pleasure to see the arts combined with a business. The visitors were fortunate to have the business in such a spacious setting surrounded by grassy fields. It gave a lovely ambience to the day.

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Boiler Fixin' Time at the Home of the Pit

by Dan Davidson


Glen Rachel, Duncan Spriggs, Rob Scott and Ed Jacobs celebrate the completion of repairs at the West. Photo by Dan Davidson

When the furnace boiler at the Westminster Hotel broke down, Duncan Spriggs knew who to call.

"There's only one guy," he said last Saturday. "You see, Al Jacobs came up here four or five years ago and did the job, but he's died since then."

That left the problem in the capable hands of 86 year old Ed Jacobs, who agreed to bring himself out of retirement and handle the West's problem.

"I actually drove down to Whitehorse to talk to Ed and explain the situation, so he said he'd have to do the job himself."

"No, no," said Jacobs, when he and his helpers emerged from the bowels of the Pink Palace. "There's other people."

Jacobs was happy to help Spriggs out, but he couldn't do it alone.

"The thing is I have this horrible disease," he said. "I've got it, you've got it, he's got it - it's called age. As it starts to devour you, you do a little bit less every day, and that's my problem.

"Where I can't physically do it any more, I have it up here (tapping his head) and I get Scott to do it,"

Rob Scott, the youngest of Jacob's helpers, was stowing away the equipment and grinning as Ed spoke. Glen Rachel, a local brought in to help, also had a broad smile.

As they emerged, Jacobs sang out, "We're the boilermakers."

"Nah," spluttered Spriggs, "you're the boiler bloody fixers!"

Jacobs, Spriggs noted, is only about 14 years younger than the hotel itself, which celebrates its centennial this summer.

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Wind and Water - Too Much

by Palma Berger


Ice umbrellas hang from the water plants. Photo by Palma Bergers

The end of the week promised to be quiet enough except for the gathering clouds. Then it changed suddenly to high winds. One gets used to the winds in town, in Dawson City, but out "in the valley", there has been a smug feeling that we are safe from all that stuff. This year it really made up for the past good years, and it really blew.

In Bear Creek there were quite a few trees knocked down. Rock Creek reported the same. In fact one Rock Creek resident who had been nurturing her 1939 Fargo pick-up had a really big disappointment when one of the trees fell on it, and ended the little life it had left in it. Another Rock Creek resident had the corner of her dwelling damaged by a falling tree.

At Fischerville, Karen Fischer and husband lost the roof of their trailer to the high wind. They had to move in with the in-laws, but the small daughter pronounced that that was all right, as "we watched a movie there". Up Bonanza Creek, Joe Villeneuve had left his trailer while he visited back east for the a while, was quite shocked to receive a phone-call telling him that his trailer had lost its roof.

The fallen tree situation was promptly handled by the competent Klondike Valley Fire Fighters as they turned up with chain saws and cut the trees into easily removable sizes. All done free of charge, with only one fireman mouthing the words "chocolate cake" when asked if there was any donation to be given for their helpful work.

The water situation got out of hand when the culvert draining Hunker Creek across the highway became blocked with ice. This forced the water to go back into its old channel, to seek a new way out. So it ran across the road that leads to the airport, and washed out part of Hunker Road, and almost washed out the road to Bear Creek because its culvert had also become blocked. This all caused unusually high water in the surrounding areas.

This became interesting when the temperatures dropped below freezing that night and the water surface froze at that level. When the culvert was cleared the water was able to escape easily. What it left behind for a few days, was the ice hung up on the willows and trees like so many tables of a sheer material, and the resulting shapes and tinkling of lightly falling ice alternating with a loud crash as of glass breaking, made an unusual experience.

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