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the North Country Trail Association.
"new" sign on the Battle
Creek Linear Park:
Seems like it's been
years since we
started trying to get
this sign up in front of
Clara's On the River
on the Battle Creek
River between McCamly
Street and Capital
Wait, it has been
years! I'm pretty
sure we already had
possession of this sign
from the National
Park Service when I
first became active in
the Chapter in late
2005. Larry Pio
made a guess that it all
started in 2002.
I queried our senior
members about it, but it
became apparent that our
regarding the early
stages of this project
is a bit hazy. I
concluded that we
probably received the
sign originally in 2003
the new frame,
poses with the
work in progress
The text on the sign is
already a bit outdated,
describing the Trail as
4,175 miles long.
Referring as it does to
the shores of Lake
Champlain in New York
State, it'll become even
more outdated when the
Trail extends into
Vermont in the
here for a larger
The original plan for
this sign was that it
would be mounted on the
designed type of signage
mounts already used
along the Linear Park.
figured out that the
sign was simply too
heavy and wind-resistant to be mounted in
And so the Chapter
engaged Dave Kaufman
at Specialty Machining
in Kalamazoo to
fabricate its new
frame. The frame
was powder coated to a
matte brown color, which
will extend the life of
the frame and provide a
stable color, which
leaving it to oxidize in
its natural state would
not have done.
In Chief Noonday
country, similar signs
were erected years ago
along the Trail in the
Station (a short
distance south of B
Avenue) and Historic
The sign at KBS is still
there, but the one in
Historic Bridge Park
some time ago.
The sign in its brand
spankin' new frame was
planted at Clara's by a
Chief Noonday crew
(pictured below, from
Wilkey, Larry Pio,
and Linda and
Ron Sootsman, with
collaboration from staff
of the City of Battle
Creek. The setting
was a nice little plot
filled with yew bushes
and a couple ornamental
Webmaster, Chief Noonday Chapter
of a friend:
We received word that a
long-time friend and member of Chief
Noonday Chapter, Gerald A. Phillips,
had passed away Friday morning,
August 30, under hospice care in
Kalamazoo. Jerry had been
battling cancer since late last year.
He was 70 years old and a resident of
Portage at the time of his death.
1943 - August 30, 2013
I first met
Jerry at our Chapter meeting in
April 2011. He had been a member
of the chapter and a Trail Adopter in
previous years but had taken a break
from involvement with the North
Country Trail because of all the
other things he was involved in
and there were lots of them. His
Adopter section had been between M-89
and C Avenue the section now under the
care of Ron Sootsman.
had decided to get re-involved with the
Trail and was interested in resuming
service as an Adopter. We promptly
found an Adopter slot for him, teaming
him up with Bob Cooley to tend to
the Ott Biological Preserve and Kimball
Pines sections. He and Bob
became close friends.
intrigued by Jerry's e-mail
handle, "Zernialgus." He explained
that it was a homage to
Gus Zernial, who back in the '50s had played as an
outfielder successively for the Chicago
White Sox, the Philadelphia Athletics,
staying with the Athletics when they
moved to Kansas City, and finally with
the Detroit Tigers.
To put it
mildly, Jerry was a dedicated fan
of baseball a walking library of
baseball facts, stories and lore.
Bob Cooley said that among
Jerry's possessions he found several
boxes of books, at least 50
books, just on the subject of baseball.
was a devoted teacher, and he didn't
retire from teaching when he retired
from his day job in 1997 as anyone who
ever hiked in the woods with him can
testify. Every time Jerry
wanted to emphasize a point, he would
stop, face you, make the point, and only
then would you move on. There
would be a lot of stops....
was born in Dowagiac in 1943. He
graduated from Decatur High School in
1962. He went on to Western
Michigan University, graduating there in
1966 with a Bachelor of Science degree.
His college major had been History, with
a double minor in Social Science and
Physical Education. He went to
work for the Battle Creek Lakeview
School District as a teacher and
taught there for 30 years.
He taught 6th, 7th and 8th grade U. S.
History, Social Studies, and English.
coached for Middle School track,
basketball, and football teams. He
also coached for Battle Creek summer
baseball league and for several years
was the director of the entire summer
baseball program for 600 kids.
Cooley, whom Jerry had named
as the executor of his estate, reports
that Jerry had been the second youngest
of six children. Jerry had
been married in the past but never had
children of his own. He more than
made up for it in the love he had for
kids and the dedication of his talents,
energies and time over so many years to
teaching and coaching so many kids.
sidelines Jerry became involved
in were researching and documenting
genealogy, which he did for over 40
years, and he was a long time member of
Buren Genealogical Society. He
loved the outdoors and loved sports.
He was once a long-distance runner.
North Country Trail Association and
Chief Noonday Chapter, Jerry's
memberships included the
Michigan Nature Association,
Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy,
Buren Regional Genealogical Society
mentioned above, the
Kalamazoo Valley Genealogical Society,
Rose Family Association.
expected that a celebration of Jerry's
life will be held in the next few weeks.
And what a life to celebrate!
My thanks to
Bob Cooley for providing most of
the biographical information above.
Webmaster, Chief Noonday Chapter
9/18/2013: A celebration of
Jerry's life will take place on
Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 11:00 AM
in the Grange Hall, in front of the
Hamilton Coastal Plain Sanctuary,
located at the intersection of 84th Ave
and County Road 215, Hamilton Township,
MI. 49045. Click
here for a map.
July 9, 2013
National Scenic Trail
2013 through-hiker Luke
getting underway on the
next mile set.
West Michigan Chapter)
Long-distance hiker coming through Chief
Meet Luke Jordan,
who acquired his trail moniker "Strider"
for exactly the reason you might think:
his stride when he has a full head of
steam up on the trail is long enough
that other hikers who join him on the
trail have to be in good shape and
pretty motivated to keep up.
reached Lowell on Wednesday 7/17
and met N.C.T.A. national
staff members (from left)
Executive Director Bruce
Matthews, Jill DeCator,
Tarin Hasper, Beth
Henkels, and Andrea
wouldn't just be an issue of velocity.
On Luke's trek to cover the
entire 4,600 mile length of the North
Country Trail this year, they'd also
need to be ready for distance,
because Luke has been averaging around
25 miles a day.
who hails from Minnesota, elected to do
sort of a preamble to his main trek on
the NCNST by coming to Michigan last
year to satisfy the requirement that one
walk the bridge over the Straits of
Mackinac in order to claim a true
through-hike on the North Country
Trail. And as we Michiganians
all know, the only day you can do that
is Labor Day each year. So Luke
termed Labor Day 2012 as "Trail Day 000"
in his journal.
the main trek six months later on March
27 of this year ("Trail Day 001") from
Lake Sakakawea State Park in
he's been hiking on the NCNST nearly
four months now.
|Prior to his
"official" arrival at Lowell on
Wednesday, Luke left the
Trail briefly on July 12 to be
in Lowell for the unveiling
of the new mural at NCTA HQ
and the inauguration of Lowell
as one of Michigan's latest
week he passed the half-way point on his
way to Lake Champlain in New
York. I understand he actually
plans to finish his trek in Vermont.
the Schoolhouse at White Cloud on
Saturday, July 13, and hooked up with
Western Michigan Chapter members.
Lowell on Wednesday, July 17, had
lunch and spoke to the Rotary there, and
continued on from Lowell that afternoon.
in Michigan's First Trail Town,
Middleville, on Thursday, July 18,
was greeted by Jean Lamoreaux and
Village staff members, and was treated
to lunch at The Big Easy (where
Chief Noonday folks have been known to
break fast before setting out on hikes
and workdays in the Middleville area).
had a chance to do a bit of
interviewing. She writes:
him to lunch at the Big Easy, who gave
him a free lunch. We had a nice chance
Luke "Strider" Jordan, graduated
from St. Cloud State in December 2012
with a degree in Natural Science.
Being totally burned out from college,
he wanted to be outdoors and personally
accomplish something. He planned
for six months this hike on the North
Country National Scenic Trail.
caught Luke on camera on
the Trail through Middleville
(note the urban signage on the
27, he started in North Dakota and for
six weeks he had to wear snow shoes to
walk the Trail. He averages about
25 miles a day. And he plans to
finish in Vermont by October.
So far he has covered 2,400 miles and
worn out 1½ pairs of shoes. He has
a third pair ready just in case.
The Post Offices along the way are his
lifeline for supplies.
He eats one full meal a day and survives
the rest on protein bars. He
sleeps along the trail wherever he can.
Stays in a motel about once a week. He
said there has been a lot of "trail
magic" so far, where people have offered
their homes and food.
He budgeted $5,000 for the trip and has
quite a bit left. He plans to take
a train from Vermont back to Minnesota
where he is from.
wanted to quit three times from
exhaustion, blisters on his feet, and
pests. The ticks were the worst in
Wisconsin, where he had to remove three,
and the mosquitoes were the worst in the
UP where he had to wear netting, which
was also hot.
He was anxious to keep going today and
plans to be in Battle Creek on Friday
night and into Ohio by next week.
He got lost once in the UP and disliked
walking in the hot sun where the Trail
goes along roads. He had no
problem finding his way from Lowell to
from the mash-up collection on Chief
Noonday's Web site were strategically
placed on several trail kiosks in Chief
Noonday's tri-county area to help ensure
that any side trips Luke took
were ... intentional.
on-line journal of his trek here. Also,
check the Facebook pages (NCTAs
Chief Noondays) for
updates. And see the
article by Howard Meyerson, writing
July 29, 2013, for the Grand Rapids
The Webmaster will try to keep
an eye and ear out for further reports
on Luke's progress through Lower
Michigan and spread the
Webmaster, Chief Noonday Chapter
Trail happenings in January:
Winter hike at
it was February 2.
Groundhog Day. And
after breakfast at The
Big Easy, nine hardy
souls stepped out for
Chief Noonday's second
winter hike of the
season, walking about
four miles in about six
inches of snow on the
Paul Henry Thornapple
National Scenic Trail.
They started at the
Irving Trailhead, where
this picture was taken
by Jean Lamoreaux,
and walked about four
chilly Hiker Challenge
miles along the
Thornapple River and
into the Trail Town of
Middleville, and eight
continued on to Crane
camera lens did not need
cleaning that's snow
coming down as the
picture was taken.
Hiking were Mark Adams, Ron Sootsman,
Jackie and Fred
Bartig, and Patt's
son Bruce. (The
Webmaster apologizes to
Karen for not
having her full name.)
The highest temp on the
Trail today was 20° at
10:45 AM, and the wind
chill was around 10°.
Year's Day 2013 at Yankee
For Chief Noonday's first winter
hike of the season on New Year's
we teamed up with the DNR
management and staff to host the
second annual Shoe Year's Day
event at the Yankee Springs
Recreation Area. We'd
thought last year's program was
a success with a total
attendance of around 70 so we
were amazed when over 130 people
showed up for this year's
The hike started
at the YSRA Winter Sports Area
on Gun Lake Road west of Hall
Lake, followed the North
Country National Scenic Trail
to the west Norris Road
Trailhead, and then returned to
the Winter Sports Area a total
distance of about four miles.
DNR staff provided refreshments
at both the WSA and the Norris
Rd TH and awarded hiking staff
medallions to those who
completed the hike. Ron
Sootsman gave a presentation
and guided tour on the history
of Yankee Bill Lewis's
hotel site and stagecoach stop
and the old Yankee Bill's spring
at the Norris Road trailhead.
YSRA's DNR Park Manager, Andru Jevicks, and Park
Supervisor, Joseph Jandernoa,
were assisted by several other
DNR staffers. Chief
Noonday members included Ron
Sootsman, Charles Krammin,
Marcia Mellen, Steve
Hicks, Gerald Phillips,
Cal and Jean Lamoreaux,
Jane Norton, Mary
Armitage, Eric Longman,
and Bobbi Jo Gamache who
brought a group up from Portage
and helped spread the word to
other hiking groups.
Regrettably the Webmaster was only able to take a few
pictures at the beginning,
including this one before his
camera froze up.
Calhoun County Trailway Alliance
In January the CCTA and the
Community Foundation Alliance of
Calhoun County received a second
grant of $100,000 from Enbridge
Energy. This was a
matching grant and marked the
single largest corporate grant
the CCTA had received to date.
Over 20 different contributors
helped the CCTA meet the match.
The CFACC serves as the fiscal
agent for the CCTA. From
left: Larry Rizor, CCTA
President; Ron Sootsman,
CCTA Treasurer; John
Sobojinski, Enbridge; and
Karen Yankie, CFACC
President. Ron Sootsman is
also VP/Administration for Chief
Noonday Chapter, a partner of
the CCTA. (Photo by
Wildflowers on the North
At the January chapter
meeting, Chief Noonday's
Cal Lamoreaux (in
the teal shirt, right)
treated the chapter to
exploration of the
wildflowers and flora to
be found along the NCNST
in Chief Noonday
of Cal's captioned
images and impressive
We were also impressed with Audrey VanStrien's
tote bag, which was
covered with pins and
badges from many places
she had visited and
trails she had hiked.
Webmaster, Chief Noonday Chapter
2012 National Conference
of the NCTA:
On Friday evening NCTA
Bruce Matthews opens
introducing what has
become an annual event
within the annual
v the singing of
what has become sort of
the NCTA's national
anthem, the North
County National Scenic
written by Charlie
introduced to the NCTA
membership at the 2007
National Conference at
CND caps a big year:
been an exceptional year for Chief Noonday Chapter.
There were two big events on CND's
calendar that were unique in its
● We celebrated the
15th Anniversary of our founding
as a chapter in the North Country
Trail Association, when we set out
on our mission of building, developing,
maintaining and promoting the North
Country National Scenic Trail in the
south central and western counties of
the State of Michigan. And,
● We took on the challenge
of hosting the 2012 National
Conference of the NCTA and we
pulled it off!
preparing for a national conference is a
long process. For us it
began with discussion at the April
2010 chapter meeting. Search
for a site began in May 2010. The
Chapter voted to take on the mission at
the June 2010 chapter meeting.
Plan B for the site, the Yarrow Golf &
Conference Resort in Kalamazoo County
near Augusta, solidified in October
2010. And we were off and running.
people, including several who were
brand new members of the Chapter,
stepped forward to take up the challenge
of serving on the various Conference
committees, under the initial leadership
of Dave Cornell, who was soon
joined by a co-chairman, Eric Longman.
this intrepid crew did the planning,
made the contacts, did all the legwork,
talked to all the people, recruited
help, solicited financial support,
obtained and prepared materials and
souvenirs, arranged transportation, and
tended to the gazillion details of
preparation (including a lot of Trail
work during an exceptionally hot summer)
that ultimately led to a great and very
picture caption in our gallery of
pictures from the Conference lists all
the people involved in the Conference
work whom the Webmaster knows about.
There may be others as well that he
didn't know about.
Country Trail Quilt
was created by Chief
Noonday members and
their friends, to be
auctioned off at the
Displaying the quilt are
Linda Wilkey, and
Josie and Steve
gallery picture caption
for more details.)
activities included (but were not
limited to) workshops and
discussions led by NCTA and NPS national
staff as well as National Board
President Larry Hawkins.
hikes on our urban and park Trail
segments in Calhoun County, the entire
Trail through Kalamazoo County, most of
the off-road Trail in Barry County, and
a long segment in Kent County.
There was a side hike and tour at
Saugatuck hosted by Charles and
There were tours in Lowell, KBS,
Marshall and Albion.
reports from HQ at Lowell, there were
136 paid registrations for the
Conference. Add to that the staff,
family and guests which brings the
total of those attending part or all of
the Conference to more than 150.
The Webmaster counted around 70
registrations from Michigan. There
were a total of 506 sign-ups for the
various hikes, workshops and tours.
Numerous people, with Chief Noonday
members and friends well represented
among them, received national awards
from the National Park Service
and the NCTA.
having taken Greek for five years in
high school and college, the Webmaster
couldn't make much of the final
financial report. Suffice it to
say that after all the fees and
donations were collected and bills were
paid, there was $3,848 left over, which
was divided equally between NCTA and
Chief Noonday Chapter.
Be sure to
check out our picture galleries
Chief Noonday's CND national award
recipients and of
Congratulations and thanks to all the
Chief Noonday Chapter members and
friends who helped to produce this
highly successful event!
it's Pennsylvania's turn.
Webmaster, Chief Noonday Chapter
The North Country
Trail may not be part of the
National Historic Trail system, but it
doesn't lack its own historical
Lake Junction station in the
interurban railway system was
located at what is now the North
Country National Scenic Trail
trailhead on Augusta Drive.
Click on the picture to see a
One site of
historical interest is the Augusta
Drive trailhead on the Ron and
Grace Hutchinson property on the
edge of Augusta. That spot a
hundred years ago was what you might
call a bit of a transportation hub.
village got its start back in the early
1830s when a visionary and enterprising
physician, Dr. Salmon King,
arrived with his family, staked a claim,
built a log cabin (and later an inn),
and established his medical practice.
He sold his
holdings to another enterprising group
who formed the Augusta Company in
1836. They platted the village and
re-channeled Augusta Creek into a new
millrace, one of the longest and most
successful in Michigan.
mill, a sawmill, started operation in
1837, and processed timber that was
hauled, dragged or floated into town,
producing the railroad ties and the
lumber which led to construction of more
mills, more industry, more trades, more
stores and businesses, and the homes of
the growing population of families
employed by and utilizing all these
interurban station in the
village was located on what is
now Michigan Avenue in Augusta
but at the time this picture was
still referred to as Augusta
Drive. Click on the
picture to see a larger version.
of transportation and Augusta is an
interesting topic in itself. No
doubt the very first avenue of transport
was the Kalamazoo River. Augusta
Creek flowing into the Kalamazoo River
would have triggered visions of water
power and future mills and industries
before Dr. King arrived, which
was exactly what ensued.
road was a dirt road that ran through
town between the county line and the
somewhat older Galesburg
(initially known as "Morton") to the
west on the same general
southwest-northeast axis as the river.
That road was called "Augusta Drive" for
its entire length and is still
labeled as such on older maps (and the
Google on-line map).
upgrade from "hoofing" it on such roads
would have been horse riding or using
horse-drawn carts. But not
everybody owned a horse. One
option would be for people to rent a
horse (and a cart, if desired) from a
local livery in Augusta.
Click here to see a
gallery of images and
maps for more
background on the
interurban railway at
here to see the
posters put on display
on the kiosk at the
Augusta Drive trailhead
by Larry Pio.
In 1845 the
railroad arrived and afforded yet
another option the Michigan Central
Railroad, which connected Augusta
and its businesses and industries with
the markets in the rest of the State to
the east and eventually to the west.
Augusta was off and running.
first became an incorporated village in
1869, less than a decade behind
Galesburg, which had incorporated as a
village in 1861.
firefighter in a previous life, I
couldn't help be struck by the following
story recounted in an article in the
Kalamazoo Gazette (August 20, 2010):
the night of June 28, 1893, a
devastating fire leveled an entire block
of the village. Possibly started in a
bakery oven, the inferno destroyed a
drug store, meat market, furniture store
and grocery, along with the
just-completed Finleys Hotel at the
corner of Fayette and Webster near the
Michigan Central tracks. By the time a
hand-pumper fire rig arrived by train
from Battle Creek, the fire was
substantially out. Almost all of the
horses boarded at the William Giddings
livery stable were lost.
1900, at the turn of the 20th century,
railway access at Augusta was enhanced
when the Michigan Traction Company
began running an electric interurban
railway for passengers between
Battle Creek and Kalamazoo through
ran along the northwest side of Augusta
Drive right across the front of what
is now the Augusta Drive trailhead of
the North Country National Scenic
interurban division connecting Battle
Creek with Gull Lake and Richland via
what would later become Camp Custer ran
right through the present
tracks intersected right in front of the
present trailhead, forming a junction.
Station buildings were built there.
And people coming from Battle Creek or
Kalamazoo could get off at the station
and catch the Gull Lake Division car to
ride on up to the depot at Bay View,
Gull Lake. One could make
connections at Gull Lake and continue on
the interurban up to Grand Rapids.
One report I
read said that Michigan Central ran
over 90 trains a day through Augusta
in the 1920's, between freight and
passenger trains. Another source
said that the interurban came through
Augusta in one direction or the other
every 45 minutes. But this also
was the era that saw great growth in the
automobile and trucking industries, with
consequent improvement of roads and
ultimately profound evolutions in the
way people traveled.
The era of
Augusta and the interurbans ended in
1929. Access to Augusta gradually
became problematic as highways and an
interstate were built away from it to
the south and Camp (later Fort) Custer
monopolized the area south of the River
from Battle Creek to Galesburg.
The lack of easy access inevitably
impacted commerce and industry, quite
significantly changing the character of
the town and the pace of life there.
probably the vast majority of Augusta
residents still gainfully employed
actually work elsewhere, mainly in
Battle Creek or Kalamazoo, I suspect,
and return to Augusta at the end of the
daily grind to enjoy the relative peace
and quiet which this pleasant town
affords. Maybe it's too bad the
old interurban is no longer around.
The commuters' fares would probably be a
fraction of what they're spending on
Webmaster, Chief Noonday Chapter
this Trail Log item included Mill
Town: The History of Augusta, Michigan,
Kalamazoo Gazette, 8/20/2010; How
Dear to Our Hearts: Augusta, Michigan -
1976; Michigan Place Names,
by Walter Romig, LHD, 1986. Thanks
to Larry Pio for gathering much
of the background material from Ron
Hutchinson and the Kalamazoo Public
May 19, 2012
profile for the Trail at the border:
The northern border of
Chief Noonday Chapter country, that is.
recently, the North Country National
Scenic Trail became a bit vague once you
reached the northern boundary of the
Middleville State Game Area south of
Parmalee Road in Barry County on your
makes fast work of raising the
kiosk and settling it into its
new site at the Maher Audubon
Sanctuary on 108th Street.
That's the North Country Trail
passing behind them
the time being.
have some real work to do in that area,
but we've had some interesting
developments lately where the Trail
follows the border between Barry and
Kent Counties along 108th Street.
the Trail joins 108th Street from the
Harris Creek Rd roadwalk connector trail
and heads east over a mile-long stretch
of straight but hilly off-road trail
along the edge of the Middleville
State Game Area.
then crosses Solomon Rd/Coldwater Avenue and
continues east as a roadwalk along 108th
Street, a dirt road, until it turns
north on Baker Avenue and heads up into
things a bit, the road that is Baker
Avenue going north at this point is Wood
School Rd going south in Barry County.
map mash-up of the "border" section.)
boring? Well, maybe so up
till now, but things are changing.
structural details on the back.
happens, for the last 2,500 feet on
108th Street before the Trail turns
north, it goes right by the Maher
Audubon Sanctuary, which is owned by
the Grand Rapids Audubon Club.
Noonday president Larry Pio
has been working with the GRAC to
bring the two organizations into a new
partnering relationship, and we see his
work bearing fruit already.
On our May
19th workday we took down the trailhead
kiosk from the old abandoned Mullen Rd
trailhead, loaded it onto Jeff
Fleming's trailer, hauled it north
miles, and gave it new life putting it
up at the entrance of the footpath
leading into the Maher Sanctuary from
preliminary informational materials on
the kiosk including a map of the NCNST
in that area between Baker Avenue and
Parmalee Rd and a map of the trails and
creeks within the sanctuary itself.
was measured for Plexiglas panes, which
will be installed later, and a coat of
stain was applied. (See a later
picture of the finished product on
the Facebook page.)
The plan is
to have informational materials relating
to the North Country National Scenic
Trail on the side of the kiosk facing
the road and information on Audubon and
the Maher Sanctuary on the side facing
... the Sanctuary.
just the beginning. The GR Audubon
Club and the Chapter leaders are
exploring the possibility of re-routing
the North Country Trail off 108th Street
and through the Sanctuary to come out on
Wood School Road to the east, where it
would turn north and continue as a
roadwalk connector trail up into Kent
County, which is the Western Michigan
kiosk was up, Larry Pio, Larry
Hawkins, and Ron Sootsman
checked out and flagged a couple
possible routes leading out to Wood
School Road from the Sanctuary's loop
trail, for later study and shared
decision by the two organizations.
to the Larrys and Ron,
today's work team was rounded out by
Jeff Fleming, Bob Sulaski,
Mary Rebert, and Yrs Truly.
Webmaster, Chief Noonday Chapter
The Merry Month of May
NCTA Director of
sign a Memo of
Village and NCTA
support of the
and the North
also a CND
member and Trail
Adopter for the
State Game Area
section of the
Middleville is believed to be the first NCTA Trail Town
the Barry State
Mill Pond which
is adjacent to
the Paul Henry
many of us was
her primer on
which are vying
at the pond.
Webmaster, Chief Noonday Chapter
to see previous Trail Log postings
Wednesday, November 06, 2013
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