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Afton’s revival: Lerk’s new owner, Love Your Melon’s founder join new blood in the Old Village

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Selma'S Ice Cream Parlor.

The Old Village in Afton was a mess a few years ago as crews worked on four major infrastructure projects: a community sewer system, a better flood levee, reconstruction of St. Croix Trail and storm sewer improvements.

Now that the work in the commercial district is complete, the city is attracting new business owners.

First came Jill and Nick Livingston, who purchased Squire House Gardens last year after longtime owner Martin Stern retired. The couple reopened and renamed the shop, now known as Horta Culture, and moved into the historic home with their two young children.

Next came Nick Morrison, who in April purchased the former Lerk’s Bar — famous for its Lerkburgers — from longtime owner Bonnie Lind. Morrison plans to open a new restaurant in the space, which has been vacant since 2005.

Just north of Horta Culture, the dilapidated “green house” was demolished earlier this month. The property, previously owned by Dennis Amoth, was purchased by Zachary Quinn, the founder and co-CEO of Love Your Melon, who hails from the area. He’s still deciding what to build on the site, but he expects it to be commercial/residential mixed use.

Also in the works: the Afton Retreat Center for Arts and Healing, a new retreat center and commercial space being developed by residents Krista and Steve Dorgan. They purchased the lot at 3185 St. Croix Trail S. and demolished the house and plan to construct a new 5,000-square-foot building.

“If somebody had said, ‘What are the odds that Lerk’s and Dennis’ house both go in the same year?’ I would have said, ‘You’re nuts,’ ” said City Administrator Ron Moorse. “All of a sudden, boom, it happened. Then, at the same time, the Dorgans decide they’re going to build, and Jill and Nick have taken over Squire House. … It becomes much more of a place where people want to be. There starts to be a critical mass.”

Selma’s Ice Cream Parlor in downtown Afton. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

Becky Nickerson, owner of Selma’s Ice Cream Parlor, is thrilled with the explosion of interest. Nickerson, who purchased the Afton landmark in 2011 and opened for her first season in 2012, said all of the new owners “have great energy, great ideas. I think Afton has just been poised for this.”

Dave Jarvis, whose family owns the Afton House Inn, the Swirl Wine Club, Shop and Bar and Current restaurant in Afton, along with the Hudson, Wis.-based St. Croix River Cruises, said he, too, is encouraged.

“For Afton to be a desirable location that is sustainable for small businesses, there needs to be more,” said Jarvis, whose parents, Gordy and Kathy, bought the Afton House Inn in 1976. “It’s one thing for us to withstand the ’70s and ’80s and high interest rates and 9/11 and the pandemic and everything else that we’ve seen in this crazy world, but there just needs to be more — more retail shops, more restaurants, more living spaces. This is a great first step.”

Added Mayor Bill Palmquist: “It’s not going to happen overnight — it never does — but, right now, things look really good. We’ve got a great group of people investing in the community.”


A Couple And Two Children In A Store.
Jill and Nicholas Livingston, with their children, 11-month-old Anders, left, and Lotte, 3, in their new business, Horta Culture, which replaced Squire House Gardens, in Afton’s Old Village on Thursday, July 21, 2022. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

When Martin Stern, the longtime owner of Squire House Gardens, announced last year that he was retiring from the store and closing the business in August, people worried about what would happen to the shop, a longtime destination for out-of-towners. They needn’t have.

The Livingstons continue to sell plants, flowers and garden supplies, but they’ve revamped the place. The retail operation is now solely in the back of the building, in the 1970s addition, and the Livingstons and their two young children, Lotte, 3½, and Anders, 11 months, have moved into the historic home, built in 1876 by Minnesota’s first postmaster, which is in front.

“When we first moved in, we were just going to do exactly what Richard (Meacock) and Martin had done: live upstairs, retail downstairs. But the more we lived in the space, the more we felt really drawn to living in that sort of cohesive historic home,” Jill Livingston said. “The front room has a beautiful view of the garden, and we spend a lot of time around our dining room table, so it felt right for us.”

Retail is located in three rooms, and all of the items sold embody the store’s mission of “artful and sustainable outdoor living,” said Jill Livingston, who has worked in garden and floral design, education and retail for more than 20 years. Workshops and classes will be held in the back room, which doubles as a potting studio.

Yoga classes are held in the garden on the fourth Sunday of every month, and the couple plans to begin offering up the space for private dinners, bridal luncheons and other events.

Eventually, the Livingstons would like to build a glass house in the shop’s “sunken garden” for more events and additional retail, she said.

“We want another way to draw people out into the garden, because part of what really fuels this is this whole idea of it being a gathering space,” she said. “That’s why the yoga, the classes, the dinners. We want to demonstrate to people what all you can do in your outdoor space.”

The couple also hopes to begin offering picnic fare to cyclists, boaters, motorcyclists and hikers. “People are moving,” she said. “They don’t necessarily want to stop and sit down, but they do want to have something, especially in the summer, that is fresh and delicious and something portable.”

The Livingstons said they are encouraged by the “welcoming reception” they have received.

“I just feel like we walked into a place that really lives old-town values, but in a way that’s becoming modernized,” Jill Livingston said. “I don’t know if ‘zeitgeist’ is the right term … there’s definitely an alignment of values and an alignment of aesthetic that is happening here for a lot of people, and that’s been really positive.”


Man Standing Outside A Bar.
Nick Morrison at the former Lerk’s Bar in Afton on Thursday, July 21, 2022. Morrison has purchased the bar, vacant since 2005, and plans to build an addition to the building and open a restaurant. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

Originally from London, England, Nick Morrison moved to Minnesota with his family when he was 16. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, he worked for the luxury-hotel brand Viceroy, which took him to Los Angeles; Aspen, Colo.; and Nantucket, Mass. While living on Nantucket, he started his career in real estate. After moving back to Minnesota in 2018, he started working as a Realtor for Bridge Realty in Bloomington.

Morrison, an avid skier, said he discovered Lerk’s during trips to and from Afton Alps. He purchased the building in April.

“I remember driving into town and seeing the building, and my first thought was, ‘Why is this not what it was?’ ” he said. “It’s such a great little Victorian village — I just fell in love with it, really, with those beautiful mature trees, lovely main street, the park, the ice cream shop, the decor shop, the little inn, and I just thought, ‘Oh, there are so many incredible things,’ but then smack in the middle of that is this abandoned building, basically, and I thought, ‘Well, that doesn’t seem right.’ ”

Morrison, 38, plans to open a restaurant in the space next year. The name has yet to be determined, but he says it will be a nod to the town’s founding or have a connection to the St. Croix River Valley.

“I want it to feel like it has always been there, like it had never gone away, and that it had been a continuous operation from the early days of the town’s founding,” he said.

He said Lind, the previous owner, preferred that he not keep the name “Lerk’s,” which was named for her father, Harold “Lerk” Lind, whose nickname meant “onion” in Swedish.

Morrison’s restaurant will have a limited menu featuring local ingredients. “I want it to be simple,” he said. “I hate menus that are pages and pages long, where you can serve a whole multitude of things, but can’t do anything right. I’d like to focus on 12 to 14 all-day items, and for dinner service, expand upon that.”

Morrison said he hopes others will invest in the town as well.

“I feel all ships rise on the same tide,” he said. “If we can give people a reason, as they are traversing down the river between Hudson and Prescott, to pull into the dock at Windmill Marina and come in and enjoy what the town has to offer, I think it is just positive all around.”


Architectural Rendering Of The Afton Retreat Center For Arts And Healing.
A July 2022 architectural rendering of the Afton Retreat Center for Arts and Healing. Krista Dorgan and her husband, Steve Dorgan, hope to begin construction on the Center in the spring of 2023 on property they own in Afton’s Old Village. (Courtesy of Krista Dorgan)

Krista Dorgan, a licensed marriage and family therapist, moved to Afton with her husband, Steven, in 2005. “When we were shopping around for homes, we drove the whole outskirts of the cities, and when we drove to Afton, we thought, ‘This is so beautiful.’ ”

A year or two after moving to town, the couple was “introduced to all the life on the river,” she said. “I was, like, wait, we haven’t been doing this yet? This is a whole subculture. This is fabulous.”

In December 2019, the Dorgans, who have two children, purchased the property at 3185 St. Croix Trail S. with the intention of creating the Afton Retreat Center for Arts and Healing. The pandemic sidelined the project, but the couple now hopes to break ground in the spring, she said.

Krista Dorgan, who specializes in trauma-informed therapy, said her goal is to create a “unique retreat space for artists and healers of different modalities to gather, provide services, create, teach, learn and grow together.”

Man And Woman At A Demolition Site.
Steve and Krista Dorgan pose near the demolished structure at 3185 St. Croix Trail South in Afton’s Old Village on Dec. 9, 2021. (Courtesy of Krista Dorgan)

“I have traveled all over the world to different creative and healing retreats, and I wanted to create a space that could provide those types of experiences close to home and easily accessible for the Twin Cities and surrounding communities,” she said.

She envisions retreats for yoga and for the ancient Chinese practice of qi gong, or couples therapy weekends.

The retreat center will include studio space, a teaching kitchen and five bedrooms for short-term rentals associated with small-group gatherings. Plans also call for a small retail space and room for five office spaces, she said.

“Afton just has such a good energy to it,” Krista Dorgan said. “We are in the perfect location: it’s right next to the marina, it’s just very visible, and it gets a lot of sun. It will be a destination spot for people to gather, especially if we are bringing in groups of 10 to 14 people for long weekends. We want this to be a place where people can gather.”


Couple And Child At A Cookout.
Zachary Quinn, the founder and co-CEO of Love Your Melon, and his fiancee, Brooke Durham, pictured here with their 7-month-old son, Jack, grilled burgers for neighbors during Afton’s Fourth of July parade. (Courtesy of Zachary Quinn)

Quinn made the news earlier this year when New York e-commerce holding company Win Brands Group purchased Love Your Melon, the Minneapolis-based apparel company he co-founded with Brian Keller as a class project at the University of St. Thomas. Love Your Melon’s sales help support pediatric cancer research.

The purchase was made after Win Brands Group raised $40 million with the help of private investment firm Orangewood Partners; the purchase price was not disclosed.

Quinn, 29, grew up in St. Mary’s Point and recently moved back to the area with his fiancée, Brooke Durham, and the couple’s 7-month-old son, Jack.

“I have a deep connection to the St. Croix River Valley and to Afton,” he said. “Brooke and I wanted to have a place down there to eventually do something with.”

In May, the couple purchased the lot at 3326 St. Croix Trail S., known for the large pine tree in the front yard. The green house that stood on the property, built in 1880, was torn down earlier this month; the couple kept the “ice house” that was used to store ice hauled in from the winter through the summer months.

“We haven’t figured out what we’re going to do yet,” Quinn said. “We’re open to ideas. We want to figure out the right thing to build. We’ve talked about everything from a sandwich shop to a ski shop to doing weddings and events there.”

Quinn said he has already talked to the Livingstons, his neighbors to the south, about partnering on different projects.

“I think it’s an incredible moment for this small town,” he said. “I tell people that we have the original zip code: 55001. Being able to create something here, where I’m from, will be important to my legacy and to creating a life for our new family.”



Liz Cheney ponders 2024 bid after losing Wyoming GOP primary

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Liz Cheney Ponders 2024 Bid After Losing Wyoming Gop Primary

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney was increasingly open on Wednesday about considering a 2024 presidential campaign after soundly losing a Republican primary to a challenger backed by former President Donald Trump.

Speaking to NBC in the wake of her loss, the third-term congresswoman called Trump “a very grave threat and risk to our republic,” and said defeating him will require “a broad and united front of Republicans, Democrats and independents — and that’s what I intend to be part of.”

She declined to say if she would run for president but conceded it’s “something that I’m thinking about.”

The primary results — and the more than 35-point margin of her defeat — were a powerful reminder of the GOP’s rapid shift to the right. A party once dominated by national security-oriented, business-friendly conservatives like her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, now belongs to Trump, animated by his populist appeal and, above all, his denial of defeat in the 2020 election.

Such lies, which have been roundly rejected by federal and state election officials along with Trump’s own attorney general and judges he appointed, transformed Cheney from an occasional critic of the former president to the clearest voice inside the GOP warning that he represents a threat to democratic norms. She’s the top Republican on the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters, an attack she referenced in nodding to her political future.

“I have said since Jan. 6 that I will do whatever it takes to ensure Donald Trump is never again anywhere near the Oval Office — and I mean it,” she said during her concession speech on Tuesday.

Cheney described her primary loss on Tuesday night as the beginning of a new chapter in her political career as she addressed a small collection of supporters, including her father, on the edge of a vast field flanked by mountains and bales of hay.

“Our work is far from over,” she said, evoking Abraham Lincoln, who also lost congressional elections before ascending to the presidency and preserving the union.

Four hundred miles (645 kilometers) to the east of Cheney’s concession speech, festive Hageman supporters gathered at a sprawling outdoor rodeo and Western culture festival in Cheyenne, many wearing cowboy boots, hats and blue jeans.

“Obviously we’re all very grateful to President Trump, who recognizes that Wyoming has only one congressional representative and we have to make it count,” said Hageman, a ranching industry attorney who had finished third in a previous bid for governor.

Echoing Trump’s conspiracy theories, she falsely claimed the 2020 election was “rigged” as she courted his loyalists in the runup to the election.

Trump and his team celebrated Cheney’s loss, which may represent his biggest political victory in a primary season full of them. The former president called the results “a complete rebuke” of the Jan. 6 committee.

“Liz Cheney should be ashamed of herself, the way she acted, and her spiteful, sanctimonious words and actions towards others,” he wrote on his social media platform. “Now she can finally disappear into the depths of political oblivion where, I am sure, she will be much happier than she is right now. Thank you WYOMING!”

The news offered a welcome break from Trump’s focus on his growing legal entanglements. Just eight days earlier, federal agents executing a search warrant recovered 11 sets of classified records from the former president’s Florida estate.

Meanwhile in Alaska, which also held elections on Tuesday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, another prominent GOP critic of Trump, advanced from her primary. Sarah Palin, the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee and a staunch ally of Trump, was also bound for the November general election in the race for Alaska’s sole U.S. House seat.

But most of the attention was on Cheney, whose defeat would have been unthinkable just two years ago. The daughter of a former vice president, she hails from one of the most prominent political families in Wyoming. And in Washington, she was the No. 3 House Republican, an influential voice in GOP politics and policy with a sterling conservative voting record.

Cheney will now be forced from Congress at the end of her third and final term in January. She is not expected to leave Capitol Hill quietly.

She will continue in her leadership role on the congressional panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack until it dissolves at the end of the year. And she is actively considering a 2024 White House bid — as a Republican or independent — having vowed to do everything in her power to fight Trump’s influence in her party.

With Cheney’s loss, Republicans who voted to impeach Trump are going extinct.

In all, seven Republican senators and 10 Republican House members backed Trump’s impeachment in the days after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as Congress tried to certify President Joe Biden’s victory. Just two of those 10 House members have won their primaries this year. After two Senate retirements, Murkowski is the only such Senate Republican on this year’s ballot.

Cheney was forced to seek assistance from the state’s tiny Democratic minority in her bid to pull off a victory. But Democrats across America, major donors among them, took notice. She raised at least $15 million for her election, a stunning figure for a Wyoming political contest.

Voters responded to the interest in the race. With a little more than half of the vote counted, turnout ran about 50% higher than in the 2018 Republican primary for governor.

If Cheney does ultimately run for president — either as a Republican or an independent — don’t expect her to win Wyoming’s three electoral votes.

“We like Trump. She tried to impeach Trump,” Cheyenne voter Chester Barkell said of Cheney on Tuesday. “I don’t trust Liz Cheney.”

And in Jackson, Republican voter Dan Winder said he felt betrayed by his congresswoman.

“Over 70% of the state of Wyoming voted Republican in the last presidential election and she turned right around and voted against us,” said Winder, a hotel manager. “She was our representative, not her own.”


Peoples reported from New York. AP writers Thomas Peipert in Cheyenne and Jill Colvin in new York contributed.

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Georgia man sentenced for spending lavishly after $31,000 bank teller error

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Georgia Man Sentenced For Spending Lavishly After $31,000 Bank Teller Error

HULL, Georgia — A northeast Georgia man has been convicted of spending part of a $31,000 check that was mistakenly deposited in his bank account.

Steven Fields, 18, was sentenced to 10 years probation and ordered to make restitution to a 70-year-old victim of the same name who lives in the same small town.

Madison County Sheriff’s officials said in March 2014 that Fields was charged with theft while taking after a bank teller accidentally deposited a check for about $31,000 into his account that was meant for another client. also named Steven Fields.

After receiving the deposit by mistake, the 18-year-old withdrew $20,000 and then made $5,000 in purchases with his ATM card, ABC News reports. When he tried to withdraw more money the next day, the bank informed him of the mistake and called the police.

“I informed Mr. Fields that the bank wanted the money back as soon as possible,” the police report said. “Mr. Fields said he would go to the bank and speak with Ms. Bryant and try to work this out without going to jail.”

Authorities said Fields spent the money at a car dealership, various stores and a fast food restaurant. Authorities hope to auction off the purchased BMW Fields convertible.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All rights reserved.


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Camden Yards to welcome its first ever sportsbook in 2023, partnering with SuperBook Sports

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Camden Yards To Welcome Its First Ever Sportsbook In 2023, Partnering With Superbook Sports

Sports gambling is coming to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The Orioles will partner with SuperBook Sports, which has operated in Nevada since 1986, to launch a “retail sport lounge,” the baseball club said Wednesday in a news release.

“Subject to licensing and approvals from the Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Commission, sports enthusiasts will be able to experience the SuperBook Sports lounge at Camden Yards upon its anticipated completion in 2023,” the release said.

Maryland voters approved legalized sports gambling in 2020 and last year, casinos in Maryland, including Baltimore’s Horseshoe Casino, launched in-person sports betting.

SuperBook advertising will be “prevalent throughout the ballpark, including on the center field scoreboard and home plate signage.”

“While our organization is striving to build the next World Series contender in Charm City, we are constantly exploring unique opportunities to engage with Birdland’s diverse fanbase and welcome new visitors to downtown Baltimore,” Orioles chief revenue officer T.J. Brightman said in the release. “The addition of a SuperBook sportsbook only reinforces our iconic ballpark’s standing as one of the premier entertainment destinations in the region.”

This article will be updated.


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Rep. Cheney concedes defeat in primary

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In her concession speech Tuesday night, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said she could have won the Republican primary in her state had she backed former President Donald Trump’s false claims about the United States election. 2020. “It was a path I couldn’t and didn’t want to take,” Cheney said.


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Why does boxing announcer David Diamante repeat last names before fights? The Dreadlocked MC feature that features Anthony Joshua and others goes way back

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Why Does Boxing Announcer David Diamante Repeat Last Names Before Fights? The Dreadlocked Mc Feature That Features Anthony Joshua And Others Goes Way Back

David Diamante is one of boxing’s leading voices and plays a key role in some of the biggest fights every year.

Like his counterpart Michael Buffer, Diamante is one of the sport’s premier announcers and certainly brings his own personal style to the role.


Diamante is one of the leading voices in boxing and his suave tones will be familiar to millions in the UK.

Who is David Diamond?

From Baltimore, Maryland, Diamante is a familiar face to boxing fans around the world.

He was a ring announcer, sports announcer, television host and actor for over 17 years and worked in the disciplines of professional boxing, MMA and Muay Thai.

Famous for his long dreadlocks and towering height, the 50-year-old presenter is a former gentlemen’s club DJ and motorcycle enthusiast.

He has his own line of hand-rolled cigars after opening Diamante’s Brooklyn Cigar Lounge in 2009.

He has appeared in several films, including Jake Gyllenhaal’s 2015 film Southpaw, as well as others including Counterpunch, Out of the Ring, Ringside and Hardy.

Diamante To Announce Usyk Against Joshua 2, Live On Talksport

Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing

Diamante to announce Usyk against Joshua 2, live on talkSPORT

Why is he repeating surnames?

Diamante is widely known for his catchphrase “The fight begins now”, but is also known for other key traits.

Fans will have grown accustomed to his style of repeating each boxer’s last name twice when announcing them to the crowd.

For example, Diamante will introduce Anthony Joshua with an “ANTHONY JOSHUA!” emphatically, before pausing until the noise had died down, then adding another quieter “Joshua.”

This practice began in his day in smaller venues, where the announcer wanted to make sure the entire crowd heard every contestant’s name – even those in the back.

Diamante said: “Growing up, I loved it when guys did it. My two favorite announcers were Mark Bureau and Ed Derian and they didn’t do the big fights, but they were great announcers.

“They were always repeating surnames and I always liked that when I was a kid.

“It was one of those things – I grew up watching the fights and loving the fights. Hearing that with the music feels right to me.

“[Saying the names twice] originally started many, many years ago. Back then some of the speaker systems weren’t that great and guys would call the name once and then do it [again to a different part of the arena]so the guys can hear it on the other side.

Tune into talkSPORT for Usyk vs Joshua on Saturday August 20 – online, via DAB digital radio, through your smart speakers, at 1089 or 1053 AM, or via the talkSPORT app


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Investing in infrastructure is essential for crypto startups, not a ‘nice to have’ – TechCrunch

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Investing In Infrastructure Is Essential For Crypto Startups, Not A 'Nice To Have' – Techcrunch

Crypto had for a few months or so, much of the macro and fintech downward hammering software hit the broader crypto market. Valuations have crashed, revenue growth (for many companies) is starting to slow, and institutional and retail capital is shrinking on a large scale.

One area of ​​crypto that is weathering the storm quite well is the “infrastructure,” companies, and protocols that enable the core functionality of other crypto companies. Despite negative pricing pressure mostly in line with the broader market, these infrastructure companies have continued to generate sustainable revenue by serving emerging but clear and enduring use cases.

Additionally, many of these companies are growing horizontally and vertically into true enterprise-grade infrastructure, a process accelerated by the large influx of Web 2.0 capital and talent into the space.

Going forward, we expect businesses and protocols focused on building critical infrastructure to continue to emerge and grow, generating attractive investment opportunities.

The Six Layer Cake Model

To better understand the crypto landscape, we unpacked the industry into its core technology layers, which resulted in a six-layer crypto stack, ranging from the core settlement/mining layer, down to the decentralized application and consumer access.

We see tremendous value in tools that encapsulate and enable core crypto business.

Between these two extremes are an array of infrastructure providers, hybrid infrastructure application tools known as primitives, and composable applications that codify, enable, and make accessible the various use cases in the world. crypto ecosystem.

Investing In Infrastructure Is Essential For Crypto Startups, Not A 'Nice To Have' – Techcrunch

Picture credits: Insight Partners

Imagine that a consumer wants to exchange ETH for another Ethereum-based token on a decentralized exchange – an exchange protocol that allows two assets to trade without an order book.

The initial set of steps for this consumer exists in the access layer. This layer aims to give individuals or institutions the tools to interact with decentralized applications and networks. For our exchange example, the access layer will provide consumers with a few essentials:


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