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Photos: Prince William Officials Sworn In

Prince William County, Va. — Prince William County on Monday night held a swearing-in ceremony for members of the county Board of Supervisors, Sheriff’s office, and other elected positions, at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas.

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Prince William County Board of Supervisor Chairman At-large Corey A. Stewart is sworn in for his second term as At-large Supervisor. [Photo courtesy: Prince William County]

 

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Prince William Sheriff Glen Hill is sworn in for his next term, a position he’s held since 2003. [Photo courtesy: Prince William County]

 

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Prince William Neabsco District Supervisor John Jenkins, a member of the Board since 1982, is sworn in for his next four-year term. [Photo courtesy: Prince William County]

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Prince William Commonwealth Attorney Paul Ebert is sworn in. [Photo courtesy: Prince William County]

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Elected officials attend a swearing-in ceremony in Manassas on Monday night. [Photo courtesy: Prince William County]

News
Fire Rips Through House

(Photo: Martin O’Connor)

(Photo: Martin O’Connor)

(Photo: Martin O’Connor)

Dumfries, Va. – A house went up in flames early Thursday in Montclair near Dumfries.

Fire and rescue crews were called to 4391 Spillway Lane about 5 a.m. after a home caught fire. Officials reported the two-story house fully involved in fire when they arrived. Everyone inside the home made it out safely and no one was injured while fighting the blaze, said Prince William fire and rescue spokesman Joe Robertson.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation but damage is estimated at $150,000. 

The house fire follows another fire at a homeless camp behind Potomac Festival Shopping Center in Woodbridge.

Crews were called Wednesday morning to a wooded area of Potomac Mills Road after a fire started in a tent and quickly spreak to other tents in the area, said Robertson.

Crews doused the blaze and found the cause to be a heating device attached to a camping sized propane bottle, said Robertson.

No one was injured.


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News
Parade Winners Announced

(Submitted photo)

Dumfries, Va. — Dumfries held its 37th Annual Holiday Parade on Saturday afternoon.

This year’s parade theme was “Toys on Parade.” It was evident that parade participants put in a lot of time and commitment to create such wonderful floats and costumes to reflect the theme.

There were hundreds of parade spectators lining the parade route who were able to view performances by Potomac High School Marching Band, Freedom High School Marching Band, as well as the All That Jazz, Graham Park Middle School’s Dance Team, and NOVAK’s Gymnastics. They were also treated to candy, hats and other tokens passed to spectators, from the parade participants.

The town was honored to have Shelly Cramer, daughter of the late “Donna “Jeanie” Cramer –who played Mrs. Claus in the past, fill her mother’s legacy.

“I never understood why my mom loved it so much, now I do, I had a great time. It was a wonderful experience; I know that my mother is really proud that I did that. There are no words for the experience I had on Saturday,” said Cramer.

The town would like to thank all of its participants who braved the cool weather, to make this event a success. We would also like to thank our volunteers and guests who participated in the event.

The following is a list of parade winners:

Animal Unit—American Red Cross, 1st place; Dumfries Animal Hospital, 2nd place

Business/Organization—Prince William Forest Park, 1st place; Parish Blue, 2nd place; Top Teens of America, 3rd place.

Marching Band—Potomac High School, 1st place, Freedom High School, 2nd place.

Dance, Step Cheer—All That Jazz, 1st place; Graham Park Middle School Dance Team, 2nd place.

Emergency Vehicle Services—Dumfries Triangle Rescue Squad, 1st place; Family Health Connection, 2nd place; Dumfries Triangle Volunteer Fire Department, 3rd place.

Honor Guard—Freedom High School, 1st place, Prince William County Sherriff’s Department, 2nd place.

Motorcycle Unit—American Legion, 1st place; Buffalo Soldiers of Northern Virginia, 2nd place; Relay for Life, 3rd place.

Scouting Unit—Troop 861, 5894, 3705, 1st place; Brownie Troop 1789, 2nd place; Girl Scouts of Aquia, 3rd place.

Walking Group—Dumfries Elementary School, 1st place; NOVAKS Gymnastics Center, 2nd place; Dumfries United Methodist Church, 3rd place.

Council’s Choice—Two Guys Antiques, 1st place; Emoni’s Dessert Bar, 2nd place; Belle Framing, 3rd place.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!

If any of the winners have not collected their trophies, they should contact, Cydny Neville, Director of Community Services at cneville@dumfriesva.gov, or call 703.221.3400 ext. 144.

-Submitted by the Town of Dumfries

News
$16 Million Radio Upgrade Proposed

The new public safety radio system eyed by officials in Prince William County would improve radio ability inside buildings, documents state. Areas in red indicate improved radio coverage with after a new radio system is implemented.

Prince William County, Va. — The communication system used by first responders in Prince William County could soon get an upgrade.

County officials want to replace the radio system used by county police, fire and rescue personnel, public schools, sheriff’s office and jail with a new system guaranteed to last 15 years. It comes with a $16 million contract price tag with nearly $6 million in incentives worked into the deal, according to county documents.

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors is expected to be briefed on the new system at their public meeting Tuesday.

In addition to agencies in Prince William County, Dumfries, Haymarket, Quantico and Occoquan will also use the system.

The new radio system, which could be implemented by the lower of two current bidding compaines, Motorola, will improve radio communication inside of buildings on the eastern and extreme western sides of the county, documents state. The new system would also include two new base towers to improve the radio system’s transmission abilities.

The county’s current radio system was installed in 1999 and was guaranteed a lifespan of 15 years. It will no longer be supported by its manufacturer in 2013, and county officials hope to have a new system in place by the end of its guaranteed lifespan.

County documents don’t address an option of encrypting the radio system to shield communications from public ears. If county officials do encrypt its radio frequencies, they will follow suit with neighboring Stafford Count which last year hushed police communications, preventing residents from monitoring the sheriff’s department’s actions and from getting up to the minute information about road closures over the public airwaves.

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1 Ejected from Car

Triangle, Va. — One person was reported ejected from a car when it crashed on Joplin Road.

Fire and rescue personnel were called to mile post 16 along the two-lane road just before 2 p.m. Sunday. Four people were involved in the crash, and one person was ejected from the vehicle, according to initial reports.

One person was flown to an area hospital following the crash. Details have not been released by police.

One man was killed and another woman were seriously injured in September when their car crashed on Joplin Road.

News
Dumfries Christmas Parade Tomorrow

Dumfries, Va. — Dumfries will ring in the holiday season Saturday with the town’s annual Christmas parade.

The festivities will begin at 1 p.m. in front of town hall on Main Street, and the parade route will follow U.S. 1 to the Dumfries Shopping Center.

Before the parade, Mahogany Books will provide a kid’s literature corner on the second floor fo the community center from noon to 2 p.m.

The Weems-Botts Museum will also host their annual Victorian open house Saturday complete with a Victorian Santa, short tours, music and colonial cider refreshments.

News
Dumfries Appoints New Mayor and Vice Mayor

Dumfries Town Hall

By KJ Mushung

Dumfries, Va. — The Dumfries Town Council appointed Vice Mayor Nancy West as Interim Mayor of Dumfries in a closed session Tuesday night. In the same resolution, council members also appointed Councilman Willie J. Toney as Interim Vice Mayor and town citizen Gwendolyn Washington as a councilmember. The move follows the Nov. 6 death of Mayor Fred Yohey Jr.

The vote was not unanimous. Five of the remaining members of the council voted for the resolution, while Councilwoman Kristin Forrester voted against the appointments. There was only one vote held for all three appointments together, so council members were unable to vote for each candidate individually.

“I am truly humbled and honored to have this opportunity to carry forward the legacy of Fred Yohey,” said West in a press release. “He was a friend, a mentor and a beloved member of our town for many years. Although this is a tremendous opportunity, it is a bittersweet one. Fred had great faith in our community and in each other and believed that active involvement by our residents and business leaders was essential to building a strong and successful community. We are blessed and fortunate to have so many people devoted to making our town a better place to live… One of [Yohey’s] greatest desires was to establish a strong foundation that we can leave to our children, one they will look back on with great pride. As mayor, I promise to make this a priority to ensure his vision is realized.”

West and Toney will serve in their new interim positions until a special election, scheduled for May 2012, is held. That election will determine who will serve the remaining two years of Yohey’s term. They were both elected to the town council in May 2008.

Washington, daughter of former Councilman Wilmer Porter and wife of former Vice Mayor Clyde Washington, will serve the remainder of West’s council term, which expires June 30, 2012. Washington is a retired educator.

News
JoJo’s For Sale?

Dumfries, Va. — Could a staple in the Potomac Communities known for its ice cream be for sale? Or is it a clever buzz-generating trick?

JoJo’s Ice Cream in Dumfries just closed for its regular season this past weekend, but cryptic a message posted to their Facebook page Tuesday night had many fans wondering just what was happening.

“JO JO 4 sale…….what!” stated the business’ Facebook page.

No one at JoJo’s was available for comment Tuesday.

Responses to the strange post ranged from “huh,” to “say it isn’t so.” Another commenter said she talked with the owner on Friday and got no indication the ice cream shop was going out of business.

“I sa[w] jojo on Friday and he didn’t say anything to me about selling the sho[p],” said Jennifer M. Fishback of Dumfries.

News
Dumfries’ Yohey ‘Beat the Odds’ at Life

By Uriah Kiser

Dumfries, Va. – As much as he was fired up lately about a foul stench coming from a landfill, he was equally as excited about a new park and coming street scape improvements on Dumfries’  Main Street.

Dumfries Mayor Fred Yohey died Sunday at age of 63 after complications from juvenile diabetes, said Dumfries Vice Mayor Nancy West. It’s an ailment that haunted him all of his life, one Yohey would discuss with West when he would call her at home to discuss the events of the day.

“I feel like I’ve lost a good friend,” said West. “You know, people from our generation, like Fred, who have juvenile diabetes didn’t have a long life expectancy. Fred said he expected to live until his early to mid thirties, and he once told me ‘I’ve beat the odds and lived this long,’” said West.

West and her husband met Yohey while attending Dumfries United Methodist Church.

Over the course of the last month Yohey’s health was beginning to fade. West presided over the town’s last council meeting on Nov. 1 in Yohey’s absence. His eyesight was failing and he resigned from driving a car, said West.

He was admitted to Sentara Potomac Hospital on Oct. 22 and was placed into medical coma. Word of his death came late Sunday night.

Yohey, a retired federal worker, made a day job out of being mayor. Most days showed up at town hall at 10 a.m. and stay until after 5 p.m. “He was really excited about the staff we have working in the town, about how well trained and professional they are,” said West.

Yohey would have turned 64-years-old next month, and had he just finished serving the the first two years of a four-year term. It was his second term as elected mayor.

Town council will meet again Nov. 15 and West will once more preside over the meeting. Its expected she will serve as interim town mayor for up to 45 days until the council appoints a new mayor.

The town will hold a scheduled election in May as three current town council members, including West, will be up for reelection. If a mayoral candidate steps forward in May and is elected, they will serve the remaining two years of Yohey’s term, said West.

A memorial service will be held for Yohey at 1 p.m. Thursday at Mountcastle Funeral Home on Dale Boulevard in Dale City. He will be buried at Dumfries Cemetery behind Dumfries Elementary School.

News
Dumfries Mayor Dies

Dumfries Town Manager DanTaber, Mayor Fred Yohey Jr. and Vice Mayor Nancy West talk at a Town Council Meeting. (KJ Mushung/PotomacLocal.com)

Dumfries, Va. — Dumfries Mayor Fred Yohey has died at age 63.

According to Insidenova.com, Yohey passed away Sunday night at Sentara Potomac Hospital where he had been admitted on Oct. 22 after a medical emergency.

Yohey was serving his second term as mayor and had previously served on the town council.

 

News
Dumfries Mayor in ICU

Dumfries Mayor Fred Yohey Jr., (center) chats with Town Manager Dan Taber (left) and Vice Mayor Nancy West after a council meeting in September. Photo by: KJ Mushung

By KJ Mushung

Dumfries, Va. — The mayor of Dumfries, Fred Yohey Jr., has been a patient in the intensive care unit of Sentara Potomac Hospital in Woodbridge since he suffered what Vice Mayor Nancy West described as a “major medical event” on Saturday, Oct. 22.

“Recent reports are that Mayor Yohey is in serious but stable condition,” said West. “My husband and I did go to the hospital on… Sunday afternoon, and the nurse that we spoke with that was in his room did say that he was gaining strength.”

The hospital confirmed today that the mayor is a patient in the ICU and that he was admitted Oct. 22.

West said he was in a medically induced coma to let his body heal. The hospital would not confirm specifics of the mayor’s medical condition.

News
State Probes Odor at Potomac Landfill

Potomac Landfill

Dumfries, Va. — Last month, Dumfries residents and those driving along Interstate 95 near the town complained about an awful odor.

Now, Virginia officials are looking into whether the Potomac Landfill – the source of the smell – violated state law, reports InsideNoVa.com.

Landfill officials say unusually high amounts of rain in our area lead to the smells, and that they have purchased new equipment and chemicals to lessen that will help to lessen the odor.

News
150 Attend Job Dumfries Job Fair

Officials said more than 150 attended Dumfries' first ever government contractors jobs expo on Wednesday night. (Submitted)

The Town of Dumfries held their first-ever Government Contractors/Technology Job Expo on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. The purpose of holding a Government Contractors/Technology Job Expo was to Connect the Defense/Technology Industry located in the Town of Dumfries with talent located in the community and the Greater Prince William County area. The town is fortunate to have several nationally and worldwide government contractors located within the town limits and right-outside the town limits. With the close proximity to Quantico Marine Corp Base, the Town of Dumfries is becoming a natural hub for defense and technology related companies.

“We are seeing more inquiries from defense contracting and Technology companies inquiring about expanding or moving their operations to Dumfries,” stated Debi Sandlin, Director of Community and Economic Development. “The expo was initiated by companies located in the town and along with the Town collaborated together to hold a government contractor/technology specific job expo.”

Held on Wednesday from 3 to 7 p.m., the expo drew in over 150 job seekers. The workshops job seekers were able to take advantage of included “How to Work a Job Fair,” presented by Pete White from the Prince William Chamber of Commerce; “How to Market Yourself,” and “Preparing for the Interview,” both presented by the Virginia Employment Commission, Skill Source Group in Woodbridge.

“The Job Expo far exceeded our expectations. Well worth our time,” said Joe Miller of DSC Corp.

“It not only met our expectations, it exceeded our expectations,” stated Jen Arnold from Chenega CTI.

Robert Rufu, a job seeker, stated that he “was very impressed with the number of local and regional companies who exhibited and the spectrum of positions available”.

Dumfries Council Lady Michele Jurgensen stated, “The Town of Dumfries, a magnet for growth in federal, information technology, and contractor services job market attracts a strong workforce. There are many opportunities for economic development and job growth. This is what local government can do to create an economically advantageous environment for businesses. The Town of Dumfries is the place to invest, live, work, and play.”

This Expo would not have been possible without the sponsoring companies, to include: American Systems, The Hosting Company, Armed Forces Services Corporation, Platinum Sponsor for the event, Chenega CTI and Aurora Flight Sciences.

-Press release 

News
ACTS Food Pantry Reopens

Dumfries, Va. — The ACTS Food Pantry in Dumfries reopened earlier than anticipated Tuesday afternoon.

A community rallied in support for the center by collecting 30,000 pounds of food, NBCWashington.com reported.

The shelter ran out of food Oct. 18 for the first time since the recession hit in 2008. Many in our area feared the shelter would remain closed at least until Nov. 1 leaving thousands without food.

 

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Fall Fest Attracts Thousands

By late in the day, festival goers still visited booths at this year’s Dumfries Fall Extravaganza 2011.

Dumfries, Va. — This year’s Dumfries Fall Festival Extravaganza attracted more festival goers than last year’s, up from about 60 people to a whopping 2,700 attendees, said town economic development Coordinator Debi Sandlin.

The annual event was held Saturday behind Dumfries Town Hall and for the first time featured a “Dumfries Has Talent” competition, wineries and local businesses and vendors.

“They don’t do these kinds of festivals anymore, where the community comes together and they don’t focus on scary Halloween things, it’s just about fall,” said Sarina Clements of Alexandria, who picked up some candy from local baker.

Potomac Point Winery in neighboring Stafford County’s Widewater area was one of the vineyards that participated in this year’s event. Its La Belle Vie, Potomac Point’s signature white table wine, was a favorite among tasters.

“We always think local, because we’re six miles down the road so we always want to think where we are. A lot of our customers come from Dumfries, from Woodridge and in Stafford so why would we say no,” Potomac Point manager Michele Patterson.

Many who tried wine at the festival said they have heard of Potomac Point Winery, had seen a sign for it on Interstate 95, but were trying it for the first time Saturday.

News
ACTS Food Pantry to Close

Kristina Schnack Kotlus- kkotlus@potomaclocal.com

When Action in the Community Through Service (ACTS) team members decided they had no choice but to close the food pantry until November, it wasn’t easy.  However, the team has been overwhelmed by the response of the community as news of the need has gone “viral” on everything from news sources to radio to facebook.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting the outpouring of community support”, shared Rebekah McGee, program director for emergency assistance at ACTS.  “To see the community just come together, it’s been tremendous.”

One thing that McGee wants to make sure people know is that the closure has nothing to do with the recent flooding in our area.  “We’ve been seeing an increase in need of almsot 40 percent over the last 3 months, with a 50 percent increase in the number of children who need food assistance.  Those numbers don’t reflect flood victims, it’s just a terrible economy and people need help making ends meet.”  ACTS is meeting needs up nearly 98% from this same time three years ago.

This time of year, people begin thinking about ACTS and the food pantry because of their “Operation Turkey” program, which feeds the almost 4,000 people ACTS serves each month in addition to almost 1,600 extra families who need a Thanksgiving meal.  McGee cautions that Operation Turkey is a special program in addition to the 50,000 pounds of food ACTS distributes each month.  “We’re feeding people 52 weeks a year- not just at Thanksgiving.”

McGee also stressed that they are thankful for a great group of continuous donors who give faithfully to the program.  “We couldn’t do what we do without our supporters, and we enjoy very strong working relationships with several grocery stores in the area, it’s just that the need has increased at such a rate that we aren’t able to keep up, even with those who regularly support us.”  

Community members have stepped up, too, with people doing everything from contacting grocery stores to setting aside portions of their business profits to help.  Meshell Hicks, owner of Gymboree Play and Music in Woodbridge has offered the profits from Halloween parties.  Churches,  such as Prince of Peace United Methodist in Manassas, have committed to collecting goods.  people are spreading the word like wildfire across social media and it seems to be helping, with donations trickling in as people hear about the need and more expected to come.

“I think the problem is that people think that people who need food assistance look a certain way.  They don’t.  We’re serving your neighbors, you children’s friends at school, your co-workers, you just can’t see it because they look just like you.  They could be you” said McGee.

On a tour of the ACTS facility this afternoon, shelves were bare or sparse, although several bags of recently donated items offered some small hope.  Yesterday, the shelves were completely empty.  ACTS accepts non-perishable goods as well as refrigerated or frozen items and personal items.  Online donations are also accepted at their website.

News
BRAC Committee Releases Final Report

North Stafford, Va. — The committee formed to handle the anticipated problems some feared would come as BRAC relocated federal jobs to the area issued its final report, and all appears to be OK.

The Quantico Growth Management Committee said the major relocation was completed with no major impacts to traffic in the Quantico area, and added enrollment at area schools did not increase and more workers who made the move simply chose to commute from their Washington-area homes to the their new offices than move to the Potomac Communities.

Transportation, and moreover, the lack of federal funding for transportation improvements was a major focus of the committee. While no federal money was provided to improve conditions on Interstate 95, add new transit services or a commuter ferry between Maryland and Virginia, the group was successful in getting $2.5 million to engineer the widening of U.S. 1 between Boswells Corner in North Stafford and Triangle in Prince William County.

The majority of those relocated because of BRAC, from points in Arlington, Fort Belvoir, Maryland and Washington, now work at the 719,000 square foot, $323 million Russell-Knox Building on Russell Road at Quantico.

News
Dumfries Names Permanent Police Chief

Police Chief Robert Forker swears in a new member of the Dumfries police force, Mike Fink, at the Dumfries town council meeting Oct. 11. Photo by: KJ Mushung

By KJ Mushung

Dumfries, Va. — The Dumfries Town Council voted in a closed session at their Oct. 11 meeting to approve Robert Forker as the town’s police chief. Forker had been serving in an interim capacity since former police chief Dan Taber took on the responsibilities of town manager in August.

Taber, a former Prince William County police major, took the Dumfries police chief position in September 2010 after spending 37 years on the county’s force.

 

News
Career Staff to Takeover Fire Station

Dumfries, Va. — One of the newest fire stations in Prince William County will be staffed by career firefighters at all times beginning this weekend.

Fire Station 23 at River Oaks, at U.S. 1 and River Ridge Boulevard near Dumfries, has been operated by the Dumfries-Triangle Volunteer Fire Department since opening on Sept. 11, 2010. While career firefighters employed full time by Prince William County have always staffed the station on weekdays, DTVFD has struggled to staff the station with enough volunteers on weeknights and weekends.

Now, Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department crews will work there 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

An agreement between the county and the volunteer department states this new plan will free up other volunteers to better staff other stations within the Dumfries-Triangle department, including Station 3 on U.S. 1 in Triangle.

Volunteers will still pay for the operation of Station 23 and will regain staffing control once DTVFD can train and provide enough volunteers to properly staff the stations at 90 percent or better for four consecutive months, according to the agreement.

The plan was unanimously approved late last month at a meeting of the Prince William County Fire and Rescue Association – a group led by Prince William fire officials to include both career and volunteer firefighters.

In addition to Station 3, DTVFD also operates station 17 in Montclair and is separate from the Dumfries-Triangle Rescue Squad.

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What’s That Smell?

Dumfries, Va. — Since Monday, fire and EMS crews in Dumfries have been called to at least five instances where residents have reported a strange smell.

In some of the cases the callers said the smell is so bad they have become ill, feeling light headed and nauseated, according to fire and rescue crews.

In most cases, fire crews have been called for reports of natural gas permeating neighborhoods. But what is it?

Dumfries officials are on the case and insidenova.com has more on this story.

 

News
It’s Official: Taber is Town Manager

By KJ Mushung

Dumfries, Va. — The Dumfries Town Council voted Tuesday night to approve interim town manager Daniel Taber as the permanent town manager.

Taber used to be the police chief of Dumfries. Robert Forker is currently the interim police chief. The matter of whether or not Forker would be made the permanent police chief was not raised.

Taber was voted in as interim town manager Aug. 2 while the town conducted a search for a permanent town manager. The search was expected to take three months.

Councilman Willie J. Toney abstained from the vote for two reasons. He said that he believed the entire council should be present to vote on something so important, but not all the members were there. Kristin W. Forrester was not present at the meeting. Toney also raised concerns about discussions among council members and the mayor that he said he was left out of. Therefore he abstained from the vote partially “as a matter of protest.”

Toney tried to make it clear that he was not protesting Taber becoming town manager but rather the execution of the process.

“There’s no question in my mind that Mr. Taber, once he’s confirmed, will be very able, and the town of Dumfries will be well served by him,” said Toney to the council.

“You have my support professionally, but I will not endorse this process,” Toney said to Taber.

“Nobody intentionally did anything to exclude anybody on the staff. So I apologize publicly. Nothing was intentional,” Mayor Fred Yohey Jr., explained to Toney.

The rest of the council members who were present voted to hire Taber as the permanent town manager.

Former Town Manager Kim Alexander, who left to become the town manager of Culpeper, said in an earlier interview that the town manager manages the budget, manages and oversees departments in the town government and serves as a liaison between the departments and the town council.

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