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Virginia’s governor wants money ‘off the top’ for Metro. But our ‘non-Metro’ jurisdictions like Prince William and Manassas say not so fast.

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Our premium membership content tier launches Jan. 10, 2018

Starting Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, we will introduce our premium content tier. I hope you will choose to become a member!

Here, our best and most informative work to cover our community — from local government to new and fun things to do with your friends and family — will be featured in our premium content tier.

Gaining access to our premium content tier is easy, and it’s priced at a great value: $6 a month, or save 10% and pay up front at just $65 a year.

Only selected content will appear on our premium membership tier. Many of the features you have come to expect from Potomac Local, including the police blotter, reader questions, and emails, our popular Breakfast Links email will continue to be sent at 5 a.m. each weekday, will remain free.

So, if you already get it you’ll keep getting it. If you don’t, sign up free.

We first told you about membership and our upcoming premium content in early December.

In addition to access to great local news coverage, members will also be eligible for special offers and discounts from area businesses and will be invited to special events.

Your membership — valued at less than two cups of coffee month — is vital for Potomac Local to not only to continue to cover our community with trusted, unbiased, objective local news but also to expand our coverage in traffic and transportation news, something that affects all Northern Virginians.

I had the pleasure of speaking with many readers about the change shortly after I announced it in December. I’m always available to answer any questions you might have regarding this first-of-its-kind change on Potomac Local, so please email me at ukiser[at]potomaclocal.com.

Thank you for your continued support of Potomac Local over the years, and for becoming a sustaining member of our local news organization.

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Watch your language: How communication influences the care relationship

“No one likes to be given bad news, and a diagnosis of dementia is devastating. How wonderful it would be though if the bad news and negative language stopped at that point.”

So begins a short article by Wendy Mitchell, who is living with dementia.  Wendy says the manner in which care providers communicate can have a profound effect on a patient’s ability to cope with a chronic medical condition.

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School delays and closures for Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018

Here’s today’s OPM status. 

The Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates from Prince William County Public Schools, Stafford County Public Schools, Manassas City Public Schools, Manassas Park City Public Schools, Northern Virginia Community College, Germanna Community College, George Mason University, Mary Washington University. 

This Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates posted by local governments in Prince William County, Stafford County, Manassas City, Manassas Park, Dumfries Town, Haymarket Town, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Fort Belvoir. 

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VDOT warns of slick roads Tuesday morning

Transportation officials tell us that they expect tonight’s freezing rain and rain will refreeze overnight.

From the Virginia Department of Transportation: 

FAIRFAX—(7:30 p.m.) As temperatures drop tonight, Virginia Department of Transportation crews will remain on duty to treat roads through some final bands of predicted sleet and freezing rain that will create icy conditions. 

VDOT offers the following reminders for drivers overnight and Tuesday morning:

  • Trucks will continue to treat any wet pavement with salt and/or sand. Give them plenty of room to work. Even previously treated roads will become slick quickly with low pavement temperatures.
  • Stay tuned to the National Weather Service’s forecast and Winter Weather Advisory statements.
  • If conditions are icy, delay trips or allow plenty of extra time and reduce speeds significantly. Take it slow on bridges, ramps, overpasses, and other known trouble spots.
  • Ensure gas and wiper fluid tanks are full, and be prepared with an emergency kit. Here’s how:www.ready.gov/car.

The sun returns on Tuesday with temperatures in the low 40s — a far cry from where we’ve been in with temperatures in the single digits. Get ready for temperatures in the low 60s — yes 60s — with showers on Friday.

News
Afternoon ice possible, school delays and closures for Monday, Jan. 8, 2018

Here’s today’s OPM status. 

The Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates from Prince William County Public Schools, Stafford County Public Schools, Manassas City Public Schools, Manassas Park City Public Schools, Northern Virginia Community College, Germanna Community College, George Mason University, Mary Washington University. 

This Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates posted by local governments in Prince William County, Stafford County, Manassas City, Manassas Park, Dumfries Town, Haymarket Town, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Fort Belvoir. 

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The flu is making people in our region sicker than it did last year

The waiting room at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center was full on Friday.

The hospital in Woodbridge and its satellite location in Lake Ridge have been swamped in recent days by patients who have fallen ill with the flu.

In Virginia, it’s widespread, and this year’s flu strain is different than what we saw last year. The predominant strain that is seen this year is making people sicker than in year’s past.

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center Emergency Department Chief Dr. Adam Brown: 

“However this year is dissimilar from last year we are seeing patients get much sicker and have more respiratory type of complaints or respiratory issues associated with it, meaning severe shortness of breath, wheezing, having high fevers listlessness etc. When those type of things are happening, that’s definitely the reason to be coming to the emergency department… Last year with the flu…we didn’t see it at the levels that we are already seeing influenza this year and as early as we are seeing it. We typically gets peaks of influenza in January and February and we’re already starting to see high levels but we’re also starting to see patients get sicker this year than we’ve seen in the past.”

Those who have not already been vaccinated this season for flu should plan to wear a mask if they need to visit the hospital, says Brown:

“… we require them to wear masks not only for their own safety from getting infected by influenza but also to prevent trans transmitting the virus to other patients and to other colleagues. What we’ve done is we have multiple flu kits that are stationed around the entrances in the lobbies that have masks as well as a gel hand sanitizers scattered around the hospital in the hallways et cetera. We just want to make sure that patients know that that’s available to them. We want them to use it liberally because people can spread the virus the influenza virus even before they start having symptoms up to 12 to 24 hours. So whatever you’re coming here to visit a family member or a loved one here at the hospital we want people to feel very comfortable of course and wearing the mask as they’d like. And also we always want people to wash their hands on a very frequent basis with any type of patient interaction or family interaction.”

The flu shot is having less of a preventative effect on patients with this year’s flu strain, Brown tells us. But llu season runs until May, so it’s still a good idea to get your flu shot, says Brown: 

“So it takes a few weeks for the shot to start working within the system and within the body. So if you don’t have your flu shot you need to get it now so that protects you for the end of January February March and beyond. Still recommended one thing that is a little different this year is that the predominant strain of flu that is floating out there around the community is not as sensitive to the flu shot. Now does that mean that you should not get the flu shot. Absolutely not. You still need to get the flu shot because there are still a good chance that that flu vaccine will prevent you from getting the flu. And it’s much better than having nothing.”

And there are over-the-counter ways to treat the flu, says Brown:

‘Those symptoms are fevers chills really severe body aches sometimes headaches and then in addition to that people will get coughing dry cough type symptoms. For the most part most people with run of the mill influenza. It’s a self-limited disease process meaning that taking things like acetaminophen or Tylenol or Motrin to help treat fevers some cough medications over the over-the-counter staying in bed drinking lots of fluids takes care of that illness without a lot of problems.”

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The Annual Joe 15 Blood Drive for Joe Page who would have turned 30 this year

Good Morning Prince William – Happy New Year! Please mark your calendars for Saturday, January 20 when the Annual Joe 15 Blood Drive will be held, 9am to 2pm, at Manassas Church of the Brethren. Not only does this provide life-giving blood for the community, this event also honors the memory of Joseph “Joe” Page, who would have turned 30 this year. Please contact Debbie at debd509@aol.com to schedule an appointment. You can also visit redcrossblood.org/make-donation and enter The Joe 15 Team in the Sponsor Code box.

· Prince William Health District is holding their Community Health Worker (CHW) information & recruitment session on Wednesday, January 10, 10:30am– 1:00pm at 8470 Kao Circle, Manassas 20110. The CHW volunteer program aims at improving health in the community by facilitating access to resources and providing health education. This session will be an opportunity to learn more about the program and go through an onboarding process for anyone interested in joining. Please RSVP to bisrat.tesfagiorgis@vdh.virginia.gov to learn more.

· The wonderful team at Astar Education Institute is searching for families interested in hosting a Chinese high school student January 22 thru February 1. This is a great way to introduce yourself or your family to a different culture and get a taste of hosting without making a long term commitment. All host families will get the opportunity to send their son, daughter or other family member to China for free as part of a culture exchange this summer as a thank you for hosting! Please call (703) 368-6838 for more information on how you can support this opportunity.

· People Incorporated is looking for volunteer tax preparers willing to be certified as an IRS VITA Income Tax Preparer for the 2018 tax season. This special tax preparer assists low-income individuals and families with tax preparation at Saint James Episcopal Church, 73 Culpeper Street in Warrenton. Training is required, but you will be helping this vulnerable population navigate through their tax forms and IRS regulations. Volunteer Greeters are also needed to welcome those who visit the site, distribute forms, and create a pleasant atmosphere for the clients. For more information, please call Jeanne at (571) 445-3020 or email jhaley@peopleinc.net.

· The busy team at the SERVE Shelter are looking for volunteers age 18 and up to help with the annual Point in Time Count on January 25, 6:30am-12Noon. This survey provides an annual count of the nation’s unsheltered homeless population, and will focus on Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. The survey will be held, rain, snow or shine. Training prior to the survey will be provided. Please contact Julie at jrmartinez@nvfs.org for more information on how to get involved with this important project.

· Serve Our Willing Warriors will be hosting “A Night in Monte Carlo” February 3, 6:30pm-10:30pm at the Piedmont Club. Volunteers are needed to spread the word about the event, collect auction items, help with sponsorships and assist with various tasks the day of the event. Kimberly at kimberly.gaytan@willingwarriors.org is happy to provide more information on this great fundraiser. The agency also has numerous other volunteer opportunities available. It’s a great way to say Thank You to our veterans for their sacrifices, and also help this wonderful organization spread the word on how they support veterans. Please email volunteer@willingwarriors.org or visit willingwarriors.org for more information.

· The good folks at ACTS are in need of volunteer groups (large and small) who can help with various facilities projects such as grounds work, painting and helping their shelter create more space. Volunteers must be at least 16, and this is family friendly! Please contact Tamika at tmartin2@actspwc.us to learn how you can support this agency’s programs.

· The Retired & Senior Volunteer Program is in urgent need of volunteers age 55+ to teach 4th grade children the life skills to keep them safe alone and safe at home. Volunteers must be available during school hours. This fun curriculum is very interactive and of course the kids are very fun. Training is provided; please call Jan to learn more at (571) 292-5307 to be part of the RSVP team.

· SERVE Shelter is in need of small volunteer groups (6-8) who can prepare and serve a meal to their shelter residents in February. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old. Meals needed are February 3 Dinner, February 4 Brunch, February 11 Dinner and February 19 (President’s Day) Brunch and Dinner. Groups have the option to prepare food offsite and deliver, or bring ingredients and prepare and serve onsite in the shelter kitchen. Please contact Julie at jrmartinez@nvfs.org for more information on how to provide the homeless with a delicious, home-cooked meal.

Call to Action is a column written by Volunteer Prince William Director Mary Foley.

The friendly faces of website design, SEO, online advertising

At FreshySites, we’re dedicated to taking our clients’ online presence to the next level through the creation of beautiful, clean and user-friendly websites.

In all we do, we strive to follow an Ethos, made up of seven clear and honest components that define who we are as a company. Our posts over the next few months will serve as an explanation of our Ethos and how we carry this creed out on a daily basis.

Serve the Customer is the first part of our Ethos. Every other part of the FS Ethos, as well as our daily process, flows from this mantra. We recognize that without the members of our client family, we wouldn’t be in business. We want them to know they are our top priority and truly appreciated, through our best-in-industry customer service/support.

This is why our team comes to work each day ready to serve our clients in any way possible, constantly looking for ways to help them and show them how valued they are. Each employee is essential in generating this culture and mindset throughout FS.

We understand that website design, SEO, online advertising, etc. is uncharted territory for many of the businesses, organizations, and nonprofits that we serve. We are the link to this world for our clients who don’t know the ins and outs of the industry as we do.

If you call us or come to our office, you will always be greeted with a friendly, understanding tone or a warm, welcoming smile courtesy of someone who is eager and ready to help you to the best of his/her ability.

FreshySites’ success can be attributed to a lot of things, but predominantly to our team’s attention to the members of our client family – whether that’s staying on the phone and going to a client’s website page by page, responding to countless support emails in a matter of minutes or turning around proposals on the same day.

The fundamentals of good business start with serving the customer. At FreshySites, our Ethos does too. It’s our (not-so-secret) recipe for success 🙂

FreshySites – a regionally focused company with national reach and operations, dedicated to serving our clients.

FreshySites is a fast-growing website design firm dedicated to creating beautiful websites, while consistently delivering best-in-industry customer service and support. Founded in 2011, FreshySites has quickly expanded into the largest in-house WordPress web design shop on the East Coast. 

Our Washington D.C. office was founded in 2012 by Vincent Consumano. With additional offices, we have the team, resources and tools to serve our local – and national – clients through website mockups, creative briefs, revision rounds, and Search Engine Optimization audits. FreshySites is determined to take our regional clients’ online presence to the next level, ultimately helping them to grow and thrive. Explore our website to learn more about us, see our portfolio of work and become a part of our client family today!”


Children can forge communication skills, writing with Youth Center Stage

Youth Center Stage classes starting Saturday, January 6

Exploring Acting (Ages 5 – 7)

Would you love for your child to improve their cognitive functions, forge communication skills, and enhance confidence? Well, they can, in a safe, fun and excellence-orientated environment with our Exploring Acting class! They’ll sing, dance, and enjoy their way through early development.

Kids Again the Musical

With our Kids Again the Musical class, your child will play fun games, work in harmony with other children, and improve their interpersonal skills. Now, when it comes to the performance, they’ll have superb confidence levels, new-found abilities, and a passion of learning, all of which will stand them in good stead for the rest of their education!

Improv Comedy (Ages 13 and Up)

Improvisation is a wonderful way to build interpersonal skills, express personality and harness some real self-belief. So, why not provide your child with a brilliant opportunity to do just that, with our amazing Improv Comedy class? They’ll play improv games and perform on stage, both of which will make them smile and develop skills!

Young Author’s – Online (Ages 8 and Up)

The art of writing is a fantastic way to improve and showcase creativity, as well as push your child further in their academic studies. With our Young Author’s online class, your child will have a fabulous chance to compose their own book, publish it and then attend the book release. What a great way to develop communication and interpersonal skills, eh?!


Job post: HVAC/ R

HVAC/ R Commercial Technician – Commercial HVAC Service Technician 2 Plus yrs of Commercial HVAC Service exp. required. CFC certificate & a clean record required. Installation & Preventative Maintenance knowledge a plus. Please contact us at info@airtechsolutionsinc.com.

Location/Region: Stafford, VA (US – 22554)

We cover Maryland, DC, Fredericksburg, and Stafford.

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Winter weather delays and closings information for Jan. 4, 2018

Here’s today’s OPM status. 

The Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates from Prince William County Public Schools, Stafford County Public Schools, Manassas City Public Schools, Manassas Park City Public Schools, Northern Virginia Community College, Germanna Community College, George Mason University, Mary Washington University. 

This Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates posted by local governments in Prince William County, Stafford County, Manassas City, Manassas Park, Dumfries Town, Haymarket Town, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Fort Belvoir. 


New Years living healthier: Get pap smears beginning at 21, yearly mammograms starting at 40, colonoscopies at 45 or 50

As we kick off a new year, many women will be vowing to hit the gym, but this year, healthcare providers are challenging women to expand that resolution to include their overall health.

”If we want to have a good quality of life, as well as quantity, we have to be proactive about our health,” explains Sentara Family and Internal Medicine Physicians, Dr. Raenell Williams.

Many women are traditionally caregivers, putting everyone’s health and well-being before their own. This is where problems can arise. Dr. Williams says simple changes now can pay off in the future, “It means living a healthy lifestyle.  This means eating healthier and getting regular exercise towards maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking.  Then, we have to take advantage of the preventive measures that are available to us such as regular pap smears beginning at age 21, yearly mammograms starting at age 40, and colonoscopies at 45 or 50 years old.

As for physicals, Dr. Williams says that really depends on your family history and risk factors. If you don’t feel well and have a strong family history of health issues, you should see your primary care physician every year. If you’re in generally good health, you may be able to spread those visits to every two to three years.

Bottom line she says, the investment in ourselves is worth it, “We have a lot to live for and knowledge is power.  So, as women, we should empower ourselves by being proactive about our health.  We don’t want to be blindsided by a diagnosis.  Prevention, early detection, and proper maintenance are the best ways to fight any condition.  Get guidance by partnering with your primary care physician.  The internet and social media should not be your main source of information.”

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There are some changes to OmniRide’s Snow Emergency Plan

From OmniRide: 

PRTC’s new Emergency Service Plan brochure is available on buses and online. Please make sure to familiarize yourself with the plan as we enter the winter weather season.

This year’s changes to the plan include:

  • In the morning, OmniRide routes will only operate between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., with buses departing every 20 minutes.

  • Dale City – Washington/Pentagon/ Rosslyn/ Ballston/ Navy Yard. All AM buses start at the Lindendale Commuter Lot. Bus stops along Minnieville and Caton Hill ARE NOT SERVED. However, if PRTC runs regular service in the AM, and the ESP is implemented for PM service, passengers who need to travel to bus stops on Minnieville and Caton Hill roads should remain on the bus past the Lindendale Commuter Lot.

  • Gainesville – Washington/ Pentagon. All AM buses start at the Limestone Commuter Lot before serving the Cushing Road Commuter Lot. In the AM and PM, buses will follow Linton Hall Metro Direct routing.

  • South Route 1. AM passengers should board a shuttle bus at any PRTC bus stop along Route 1 between Fox Lair and Wayside Drive, and then transfer to a waiting Montclair OmniRide bus at the Route 234 Commuter Lot. In the PM, riders will share a bus with Montclair OmniRide passengers and transfer to a shuttle at the Route 234 Commuter Lot.

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New Years Eve will be so cold, frostbite possible

Headed outside for New Years Eve celebrations? While the cold weather has prompted the cancelation of some, revelers still headed outdoors should be careful to limit the time they spend outside tonight.

The National Weather Service issued a wind chill advisory starting at 9 p.m. It will feel like zero to 10 degrees, and it won’t take long for frostbite to set in,

From the weather service: 

…WIND CHILL ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 9 AM EST MONDAY…

* WHAT…Very cold wind chills expected. The cold wind chills will cause frostbite in as little as 30 minutes to exposed skin. Expect wind chills to range from 0 to 10 below zero.

* WHERE…Northern and central Virginia and central and southern Maryland including Baltimore and Washington DC.

* WHEN…From 9 PM this evening to 9 AM EST Monday.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Wind Chill Advisory means that cold air and the wind will combine to create low wind chills. Frostbite and hypothermia can occur if precautions are not taken. Make sure you wear a hat and gloves.

 

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! We hope 2018 brings you peace and prosperity, and we’re glad you make Potomac Local a part of your daily local news routine. 

In case you missed it, here’s a look back at the most-read posts on Potomac Local in 2017. 

And, for a trip down memory lane, here are links to the most-read posts on this site broken out by year. It dates back to when we started Potomac Local in 2o10.

2016: Prince William police officer killed the first day on the job

2015: The year of the brewpub

2014: K-Mart closing, road rage stabbing 

2013: Shooting on Quantico base gains national attention 

2012: The great derecho blows through, Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center to alter the landscape

2011: Wild weather: wildfires, neighborhood landslide, tropical storm flooding

2010: Shooter takes aim at Marine Corps museum 

 

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Here are the most read stories on Potomac Local in 2017

10. Driver killed in I-95 wrong-way crash 

A driver was killed on October 12 when he entered Interstate 95 headed in the wrong direction.

9. Mapledale fatal motorcycle crash

On February 18, we reported on a motorcyclist who was killed while riding on Mapledale Avenue.

8. Heroin seizure in Aquia Harbour 

On October 23, we were told about a large heroin seizure that took place following a drug overdose at Aquia Harbour.

7. Two fights at Downtown Manassas bars

On January 30, we were told of the arrest of two people in connection with two separate fights at as many bars in Downtown Manassas.

6. Stafford deputy frees captive woman 

On September 15, we were told a Stafford County Sheriff’s Deputy approached a truck in a commuter parking lot and found a woman who was being held against her will.

5. Social media fight search 

Police began a search for a 19-year-old woman following an argument on social media.

4. Farm Brew Live prepares to open

On February 22, we reported (the then) soon to open Farm Brew Live project was moving along and had planned to hire 100 employees. 

3. Civil War Weekend canceled 

On August 18, Manassas officials said the annual Civil War Weekend would be canceled following violent and deadly protests in Charlottesville. 

2. Clint Gaskins dies following police pursuit 

On August 6, police pursued 36-year-old Clint Gaskins, of Lake Ridge, during a chase on Interstates 395 and 95. Gaskins was killed when the motorcycle he was riding ran off the road.

1. Security guard stabbed to death at Potomac Mills

On March 4, two loss prevention employees approached a man they suspected of shoplifting outside of a Burlington Coat Factory at Potomac Mills mall in Woodbridge. 

The man stabbed to death one of the employees

Sentara in step with the community, creates foot and ankle program

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center is pleased to introduce the Foot & Ankle Program at Sentara.  

The Program partners highly skilled physicians with state-of-the-art procedures, so patients will have a pathway to receive the right care for their foot and ankle health concerns, all while staying close to home for treatment.

The physicians which support the Foot & Ankle Program at Sentara perform a multitude of procedures, from ankle replacements and pediatric flat foot reconstructions to trailblazing minimally-invasive Subchondroplasty® Procedures which use stem cells and a liquid bone material to fill internal fractures and lesions. These high-tech procedures allow a shorter recovery which means less pain, fewer follow up appointments and less time away from work, ensuring patients can get back to their lives sooner.

“We’re really excited and honored to be working with Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center to provide this level of care to patients,” says Dr. Vincent Bonini, Doctor of Podiatry Medicine, F.A.C.F.A.S.

Dr. Bonini is certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. He and his team have been based in Prince William County for the last 25 years. While the group treats traditional aliments, the field of podiatry has grown.

“We’ve become a very specific subset of orthopedics, at this point. Our roots are in the bunions and hammer toes, but with the advent of newer technology, we’ve really branched out to all phases of orthopedics as it relates to foot and ankle,” explains Dr. Bonini.

Pain or injury in your foot or ankle can keep you from activities you enjoy. It may even be keeping you from simply walking. With 26 bones in each foot and 7 bones in each ankle, it can often be complicated to determine what is actually creating the pain. When conservative measures such as rest, anti-inflammatories or physical therapy are not offering relief, it’s probably time to see a specialist.

Whether it’s pain due to a chronic condition such as diabetes or arthritis, a congenital deformity, an overuse fracture, or an accidental/work related injury, our team will be able to connect you to the care you need, with both outpatient and inpatient services.

Dr. Bonini says foot and ankle discomfort and injuries shouldn’t keep you from activities you enjoy, “Don’t live with the pain, we can help right away.”

To be connected to the Foot & Ankle Program at Sentara or to find a podiatrist, call 1-800-SENTARA or search ‘Find a Provider’ at Sentara.com.

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