Covering the Greater Prince William County, Virginia Area

Dumfries Local

Extreme Heat Coming

Remember when the weather for the first part of this past weekend was relatively cool for summertime in the Potomac Communities: fair-weather clouds, a nice summer breeze and temperatures in the 80s? Now try and forget about it.

The forecasted heat index values this week should rise above the 100 degree mark, and it all begins Monday with forecasted temps in the 90s and a code orange air quality alert.

The outside air Monday may become unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as children, seniors and those with heart and lung diseases, according to the National Weather Service.

Bottom line: stay indoors in the air conditioning if you can and avoid strenuous activity.

Over the next six days, expect a similar summertime weather pattern: extreme heat with the chance of afternoon and overnight thunderstorms.

Those 100-degree heat index values are forecast to kick in Thursday, while showers and thunderstorms could affect the Potomac Communities overnight tonight into Tuesday, according to the weather service.

Those with Disabilities Invited to Join Bible Study Group

Dumfries, Va. — Spirit Life Church in Montclair will offer a Bible study for adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities for participants ages 18 and up.

The church meets at 10 a.m. Sundays at Forest Park High School in Montclair, and the Bible study group, Friendship Club, meets in the cafeteria after worship service to study the Bible and have fun.

“It seems that many churches turn a blind-eye to [people with disabilities] (not just the adults with disabilities, but children too). I think it stems from fear of the unknown: not knowing how to interact with people who are “different,” not wanting to offend them or their loved ones by using politically incorrect language,” said Spirit Life Church spokeswoman Sarah Meisenhelter. “We believe all people can learn about God and have a relationship with him and we just want to make that available for those who want it.”

Those who are interested in learning more about the Bible study group should call 703-819-2919 or email

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Stolen Air Conditioner Found

Jonathan Fields, of Dumfries, is charged in connection to a case of a stolen air conditioner. (Submitted)

Nokesville, Va. –– The recent hot weather has apparently taken its toll on a Dumfries area man.

Police said they were called to a neighborhood in Nokesville after someone reported a suspicious car driving around an area of new construction. Officers found the car in a ditch, and then found an air conditioner that was stolen from a house under construction, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

Officers also found a torch cutter, a pry bar, wire cutters and a knife in the car, said Perok.

Jonathan William Fields, 26, of 4226 Wiltshire Place in Dumfries is charged with grand larceny, destruction of property, possession of burglarious tools and with possession of the concealed weapon, said Perok.

He was held without bond.

Weems-Botts Museum Damaged

The Weems-Botts Museum in Dumfries. (KJ Mushung/

Dumfries, Va. –– The 250-year-old Weems-Botts Museum house sustained damage during an attempted burglary.

Police were called to the home, now a museum at the intersection of Duke and Cameron streets in Dumfries, at 3:04 p.m. Thursday after museum staff told police they got word of two suspicious males that were seen kicking the rear door to the museum.

No one was able to get inside, but the door was damaged to the tune of $350 and damage to the door prevented it from being opened, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

The house was once home to Mason Weems, the man who made famous the life of George Washington, telling the story of Washington chipping bark from his father’s Cherry Tree and skipping stones across the Rappahannock River. The house was later sold in 1802 to Benjamin Botts, who defended Aaron Burr during his treason trial.

Dumfries later purchased the house and opened the current museum in 1975.

Heat Advisory in Effect

James Fitzgerald and Brandon Corey load up the ice bins at Kangaroo Express on Va. 610 in North Stafford. They’ve had to use a bigger truck to keep up with demand that has more than doubled due to the unusually hot weather. (File Photo / Mary Davidson)

Call it another summer scorcher, as a heat advisory will go into effect from noon until 8 p.m.

Temperatures will hover in the middle 90s but heat index values (what it feels like when you factor in the heat and humidity) will be between 100 and 105, according to the National Weather Service.

This is the second of two very hot days in the Potomac Communities, and the last one we’ll have to deal with this week, according to the forecast.

In order to get through today’s hot weather, officials urge everyone to reduce strenuous outdoor activities until the early morning or late evening, wear light weight and loose fitting clothes and drink lots of water. Finding a cool, air conditioned place to spend the day in is also suggested.

On Wednesday, temperatures will fall into the upper 80s and into the low 80s on Thursday, according to the weather service.

Crime Watch: Taxi Driver Robbed, 2 Injured in Large Fight

Cab Driver Robbed
A taxi driver was robbed at knife point Monday in the Montclair subdivision.

The 44-year-old victim was driving three men to the 15000 Block of Mill Spring Drive, off Holleyside Drive and Spring Branch Boulevard at 3:34 a.m. when one of the men pulled out a knife and demanded money, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

After the robbery, the three fled the scene and police were able to locate the three men, one of which has been charged.

Nathan Robert McGill, 23, of 13002 Kimbrough Lane in Dale City, is charged with robbery, said Perok.

His court date was not released.

2 injured in fight involving 50 people, police said
Two men were taken to the hospital suffering injuries that were suffered during a fight that involved at least 50 people, police said.

The fight broke out at 12:39 a.m. Saturday in the 2500 block of Oak Tree Lane in the Southbridge subdivision outside of Dumfries.

Callers told police a fight was in progress, and police found the two victims – a 20-year-old man from Alexandria and 22-year-old man from Dale City – when they arrived.

Police don’t know what caused the fight and the victims were not able to provide descriptions of their attackers.

Cars, property vandalized in Dale City
Eight vehicles were tampered with in the 14500 block of Three Domers Court in Dale City, between 10 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday.

The vehicles were left unlocked and a laptop, speakers were reported mission from two of the eight vehicles, police said.

There were also several vandalisms to property on Saturday in the area of Birchdale Avenue and Burleigh Lane in Dale City.

Eleven vehicles on Birchdale Avenue, Burbank and Burligh lanes were vandalized, as were fences at homes in the area.

Damaged property is suspected to be valued in the thousands of dollars, said police.

State Won’t Fund Hybrid Cars

Stafford, Va. –– Local governments won’t get money from Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s massive transportation plan to purchase new hybrid fleet vehicles.

Late last month, the Commonwealth Transportation Board voted to withhold funding from a six-year transportation plan approved by the group in Richmond, reports Bloomberg Business Week.

“We’re not going to fix transportation by buying municipal fleets,” said Stafford County Supervisor Cord A. Sterling, who also represents the Fredericksburg District on the CTB. “We’ve got very limited resources and we’ve got a lot of needs.”

McDonnell’s $10 billion transportation plan will fund new road construction through 2017.

Stafford County began purchasing hybrid vehicles in 2005 and has continually bought hybrid cars over the past four years when available, said Stafford spokeswoman Cathy Riddle.

A portion of the county’s green vehicle purchasing policy states all hybrids under consideration for purchase must meet all federal, state and local emission standards and manufacturers must be able to deliver the cars within 90 and 120 days.

New OmniRide Trips Eyed

OmniLink switch riders buses at the Potomac Rappahannock Transportation Center in Woodbridge.

Woodbridge, Va. –– As many as eight new morning trips could be coming to OmniRide in an effort to ease crowding.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, the public agency that operates the commuter bus service from Prince William County to points in Northern Virginia and Washington, says 20 percent of their routes have long suffered from overcrowding –– a result of higher gas prices and congress’ decision to extend the $230 employer-sponsored commuter benefit for federal employees through 2011.

PRTC commissioners are expected to vote on the plan Thursday night.

Until now, all of the agency’s available buses have been in use during peak rush hour times. Last month, however, the transit agency received four new federally-funded buses meant to replace aging buses in PRTC’s fleet.

Instead of retiring the four older buses, OmniRide plans to keep three in service and use the forth to help speed up an ongoing mid-life bus restoration project, said PRTC spokeswoman Christine Rodrigo.

The transit agency says a combination of scheduling efficiencies, higher than budgeted fare revenue and additional contingency hours already budgeted into the year’s budget schedule will make the additional trips possible.

If the change is approved, the new trips will be rolled out gradually and would be added to the system’s printed schedules in the fall, said Rodrigo.

Storms Possible Before Fireworks

An overcast afternoon could lead to some summer storms this Independence Day.

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for Stafford County and points south until 10 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

At 5 p.m., doppler radar indicated a large area of rain moving from west to east that could affect the Potomac Communities before many of the fireworks shows in the region are set to begin at 9 pm.

For the latest weather updates from, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

One Killed, Power Out After Storms

Powerful storms rolled through the Washington area Sunday night killing one and leaving hundreds in the Potomac Communities without power.

The unidentified storm victim was riding his bicycle along the C&O Canal in Montgomery County, Md. and was struck by a tree, reports the Washington Post.

Closer to home, about 600 Dominion Virginia customers in the Brooke and Widewater areas of Stafford County had their power knocked out. About 300 Dominion customers in the Dumfries area lost their power.

There were 498 NOVEC customers in Prince William County with power out about 10:30 p.m. and four customers in Stafford with their power out, according to the utility’s website.

The storms contained heavy downpours and lightening, and came after flirted with the low 90s across the region. The high temperature at Quantico measured 88 degrees at 6 p.m. Sunday.

The weather service has issued an air quality alert for Independence Day, as temperatures are expected to rise into the 90s. The air is expected to become unhealthy for children, older adults and those who suffer from asthma.

Those who may be sensitive to poor air quality conditions are urged to stay indoors tomorrow, according to the National Weather Service.

Drivers Face Long Delays

Drivers make a hasty entrance to Interstate 95’ High Occupancy Vehicle lanes near Potomac Mills.

Woodbridge, Va. –– Traffic headed south on Interstate 95 in Virginia has been backed up since 11:30 a.m.

A crash just south of Lorton snarled traffic between from the Occoquan River all the way to the Capital Beltway, and there are no signs traffic is easing as many commuters are making a break for the long holiday weekend.

The delays along the highway were so bad about 2 p.m. some drivers chose to drive off the highway, into a median and access the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes near Potomac Mills mall.

Anticipating afternoon crowding, Virginia Railway Express will add additional cars to Fredericksburg line train #303 leaving Washington’s Union Station at 3:35 p.m., and will also add more cars to Manassas line train #327 departing Union Station at 4:25 p.m.

The commuter railroad reminded riders Friday there will be no service Monday in observance of Independence Day.

July 4th Get There Guide

Drivers travel north on Interstate 95 at Garrisonville Road (Va. 610) in North Stafford. (Mary Davidson/

Interstate 95 / 395 High Occupancy Vehicle lanes

  • HOV restrictions on I-66, I-95 and I-395 will be lifted on Monday, July 4. Normal HOV restrictions will be in place on Friday, July 1, and Tuesday, July 5.
  • Northbound/southbound schedule for the I-95/395 reversible lanes: Lanes will be southbound from 1 p.m., Friday until 2 p.m. Saturday; and northbound from 4 p.m. Saturday through 7:30 p.m. Monday. On Monday, the lanes will be northbound until 7:30 p.m., and southbound from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. Tuesday. The lanes will re-open northbound by 3 a.m. July 5.
  • July 4 event traffic: To accommodate travelers attending Fourth of July events in Washington, the Virginia Department of Transportation will coordinate and adjust signal timings at approximately 116 signalized intersections along major arterial roads, including U.S. 1, 29, 50 and Va. 7, 123, 236 and 244. Signals will be timed to help move traffic into the District during the day and then south and west from the city between 9:30 p.m. and midnight.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge

  • Drivers are urged to travel to Maryland’s eastern shore / Ocean City, Md., Deleware Beaches using the Chesapeake Bay Bridge during off-peak times, before 2 p.m. Friday, before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m. Saturday, before 11 a.m. and after 10 p.m. Sunday.

Hampton Roads / Virginia Beach / Outer Banks, N.C.


  • The transit system says they’ll be geared up to handle the increased volume of riders on Independence Day.
  • Click here to see the Metro’s full service schedule for Monday.
  • The Smithsonian station on the Blue and Orange lines will be closed until after the conclusion of the fireworks display on the National Mall. Metro urges riders trying to get downtown to see the fireworks to use Farragut North, Federal Center SW, Capitol South, L’Enfant Plaza, Archives Navy Memorial, Union Station or Judiciary Square stations.
  • All regularly scheduled track work for Monday has been canceled due to the anticipated volume of riders.

Virginia Railway Express

  • No service Monday

Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission OmniRide, OmniLink

  • No service Monday

July 4th Holiday Weekend Events Guide

By Kristina Schnack Kotlus

Friday, July 1

  • Fabulous Fridays at Waterworks Waterpark in Dale City will be feature a “Happy Birthday USA” theme and includes food specials, giveaways and games from 5 to 9 p.m. when the park closes.
  • Not ready to be decked out in red, white, and blue quite yet? The Potomac Nationals 7:05 p.m. game will have a “Star Trek Night” promotion.

Saturday, July 2

  • Leesylvania State Park hosts their monthly Kid’s Fishing Tournament beginning at 9:00 a.m. at the marina. Children do not need game licenses, but adults who plan to “help hold the rod” should be sure to have one. Participants are encouraged to bring their own supplies.
  • Kick back and celebrate early with the Arts and Stripes Picnic at the Lorton Workhouse. The picnic is a free event, but a $5 donation is suggested. Parking will be available on site to picnic-goers who are asked to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets. The event begins at 2 p.m. Entertainment will include interactive art demonstrations, the Navy Commodores, New Dominion Choraliers, and a keynote from Congressman Gerry Connolly.
  • At 3 p.m., head to the Spotsylvania Courthouse for the “Spotsylvania Stars and Stripes Spectacular” which will feature live music, fire trucks, children’s activities, pony rides and more. Admission is free, but some activities have an additional fee. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and plan to stay late for the fireworks display at 9:25 p.m. once the sun goes down. Avoid the crowds at the courthouse parking lot and use the free shuttle from Courtland High School for the least hassle.
  • Join the Potomac Nationals for their “History of Baseball” night featuring vintage jersey auction, bobbleheads for the first 1,000 fans and fireworks after the game, which begins at 6:35 p.m. Special tickets are available that include an all-you-care-to-eat picnic style dinner before the game.

Closed Saturday: Prince William County Neighborhood Libraries

Sunday, July 3

  • It’s everyone’s favorite mascot’s birthday, and Uncle Slam plans to celebrate in style. Special tickets are available that include an all-you-care-to-eat picnic dinner before a 6:35 p.m. Potomac Nationals game, which will feature mascots from around the area. After the game, be sure to stick around for fireworks!
  • The Village Anniversary Laser Show on the Spotsylvania Town Center Village Green will include patriotic music with neon light accompaniment and sneak previews of the upcoming shows at the Riverside Dinner Theatre. The events start at 6 p.m. and admission is free.

Closed Sunday: Prince William County neighborhood and regional Libraries

Monday, July 4

  • The Dale City Independence Day Parade begins at 10 a.m. Dale Boulevard will be reduced from four to two lanes between Mapledale Avenue and Minnieville Road beginning at 8 a.m. Drivers should use alternate routes to avoid backups. The parade will feature between 150 and 200 floats and civic groups, and is being Grand Marshaled by hometown hero Marine Corporal Joshua Himan. Parking lots at Beville Middle and the Dale City Boys and Girls Club, and Center Plaza will be closed for event use, but any other plaza along the parade route may be used for parade viewing. The Center Plaza commuter lot will be the site of the annual Family Fun Day that follows the parade until 2 p.m.
  • Between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., celebrate our nation’s birthday at the home of one of its founding fathers! Ferry Farm in south Stafford will have period actors, games, food, live music and more including appearances by an actor portraying General George Washington who called Ferry Farm his home. Admission is $1 but military families with proper identification get in free.
  • Celebrate America with Old Town Manassas. Starting at 2 p.m. at the train depot in Old Town there will be rides for children, food concessions and a “red, white, and blue hayride.” Bring your lawn chairs and blankets starting at 4 p.m. to get seats at the Manassas Museum lawn for the 9:15 p.m. fireworks display –– one of the largest in Northern Virginia. Festivities also include Jay Henley and the Stone Brook Band at 4:30 p.m. at the Harris Pavilion.
  • Stafford’s Pratt Park will have a “July 4th Spectacular” beginning at 6 p.m. and continuing until the conclusion of their fireworks display. Food vendors will be available, but picnic dinners are encouraged, so be sure to bring a blanket or lawn chairs and plan to enjoy the evening full of music and fun.
  • Join the Potomac Nationals at 6:35 p.m. for the largest game of the season! Special tickets are available that include a picnic meal before the game, and be sure to stick around after the final pitch for a large fireworks show in honor of the 4th of July.

Closed Monday: Prince William County Government Offices, Prince William County courts, Prince William County Landfill, Prince William County Libraries, Dale City Recreation Center, Stafford government offices, Stafford Regional Landfill, Stafford Departments and Facilities, Stafford County courts.

Open Monday: Prince William County Fire and Rescue, Stafford County pools, Aquia Landing, Historic Port of Falmouth, Stafford Fire and Rescue, Stafford County Magistrate.

Fireworks that Could Land You in Jail

Woodbridge, Va. –– Prince William fire and rescue officials warn about the dangers of illegal fireworks.

During the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, officials plan to write summonses and place some behind bars for possessing illegal fireworks.

“On the Fourth of July weekend, fire marshals and police officers will patrol the region looking for illegal fireworks, which will be confiscated,” Prince William fire and rescue Assistant Chief Hadden Culp said. “The violator will then be charged with the offence and must appear in court. Locally, use of illegal fireworks in Virginia is a Class 1 misdemeanor, meaning a person could receive jail time of up to 1 year and a fine of up to $2,500.00.”

Every year, many multiple injuries are reported because of the use of illegal fireworks, officials say. Fires and even death are also to be blamed on illegal fireworks, the use of which has increased over the past 10 years.

So what fireworks can you have? Officials say cones, sparklers, sparkling devices and novelties are legal in some jurisdictions. Illegal are anything that shoots into the air, roman candles and firecrackers.

In the end, it’s up to the local jurisdiction to set the rules and users are urged to check first with local governments to find out what fireworks are legal to posses.

Police in recent years have confiscated more than $10,000 in illegal fireworks in Prince William County–– a fraction of the illegal fireworks confiscated in the Washington area, officials said.

Town Reverts to 1790s Map to Set Historical Boundaries

By KJ Mushung

Dumfries, Va. — The latest changes to Dumfries’ historic boundaries were made by the town council in 2005. The problem is they were never amended in the town code, so now Virginia’s oldest-chartered town must revert to boundaries drawn in 1790.

The change means some property owners may have buildings the historic district and may require approval before any changes to their exterior can be made.

Debi Sandlin, Director of Economic Development for the town of Dumfries, asked the town council to approve a survey of the historic area. They did, but now the survey has to be developed, conducted and the results compiled. According to Sandlin, this could take a year.

Vice Mayor Nancy West said at the June 21 council meeting that she wants to make sure any new boundaries include the Weems-Botts Museum.

Mayor Fred Yohey Jr., and Councilman Willie Toney both want Dumfries Public Cemetery to be protected by the historic designation. Though it has graves dating back to the 18th century, the cemetery it’s not located in the historic districts set by the 1790 or the 2005 maps.

Cemeteries are normally protected under state and federal law. However that’s not always enough, according to Toney.

“I have been in a municipality where a cemetery was removed so a road [could be put] through it,” Toney pointed out. “That was in North Carolina.”

“It can’t hurt to have an extra layer of protection in place,” said Sandlin later in a phone interview.

The cemetery is located near Dumfries Elementary School.

Section 70-383 of the town code currently states:

The boundaries of the historic district shall be according to the overlay of the 1790 town map, with the exclusion of everything east of Fraley Boulevard, better known as U.S. Route 1: South boundaries, Quantico Street; east boundaries, U.S. Route 1 (north Fraley Boulevard); west boundaries, Old Back Street; north boundaries, Marion Street, which presently does not exist.

Weems-Botts Museum Free to Military Families

The Weems-Botts Museum in Dumfries. (KJ Mushung/

By KJ Mushung

Dumfries, Va. –– Historic Weems-Botts Museum in Dumfries has joined the league of Blue Star Museums, which allows free admission to active-duty personnel and up to five immediate family members each year from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.

The service member must be present and have proper identification, according to museum officials.

The museum also altered its hours for the summer. It’s now open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Before the change, it was closed on Sundays and open on Tuesdays.

On July 9 at Merchant Park, there will be a presentation on the history of Dumfries at 7 p.m.

You can visit the museum’s website for more information.

Town Manager Search Underway

Dumfries, Va. –– The search for a new Dumfries Town Manager began Tuesday night.

That’s when Kimberly Alexander, who’s held the position since 2009, announced she has accepted a similar position in Culpeper.

Alexander is the eighth person to hold the job in Dumfries in 17 years.

Dumfries Mayor Fred Yohey praised Alexander and said she’s moving on to bigger and better things, and noted that she’s leaving on the job on amicable terms.

“I can’t think of a more capable local government employee. She’s helped us through a lot in the 25 months she’s been here. Were operating on a surplus budget surplus and things have improved since she’s came,” said Yohey.

The town has hired a private staffing agency to replace Alexander, and hopes to have the position filled by Sept. 1.

Yohey says they are looking for someone who can “hit the ground running” and be able to assist the town’s economic development manager in luring new business to the town.

Culpeper is a larger town with more than 13,500 residents, a stark contrast to Dumfries’ nearly 5,000.

She will make $19,000 per year more than what she did in Dumfries, with her salary in Culpeper listed as $122,000 per year.

Alexander to Bid Adios to Dumfries

Dumfries, Va. –– Dumfries’ Town Manager has accepted a similar position in Culpeper.

Kimberley Alexander, 33, was chosen out of 51 applicants who applied to be Culpeper’s new town manager.

“She proved to be the top candidate in a field of very talented people who applied,” said Mayor Chip Coleman in a press release. “She has faced some tough issues in her previous position and handled them well.”

Alexander has served as Dumfries Town Manager since 2009. During her tenure, she oversaw saw an extensive investigation into the town’s police department. During the probe, the town’s police chief of 15-years, Calvin Johnson, was placed on administrative leave. He had spent a total of 27-years on the force and was eventually replaced in September with current Police Chief Daniel Taber.

Alexander lives in Spotsylvania, but her mother owns 15 acres of farmland in Culpeper County, according to the town’s press release announcing her hire, which remains contingent on a background check and a final decision by that town’s governing council.

Alexander holds a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and graduating cum laude from James Madison University in 2000.

Prior to heading to Dumfries, she worked in her college town of Harrisonburg, serving as the assistant to the city manager for more than a year. Before that promotion, she served as the city’s director of Special Projects and Grants Management.

Boys & Girls Club Reopens

Dumfries, Va. –– The Boys and Girls Club in Dumfries is ready to reopen its doors for the first time in more than two years. 

On Monday, the facility was set to welcome 27 children into a nine-week summer camp, which offers children access to the gym, basketball courts, game rooms and computers. Children will also enjoy a field trip once per week.

“It’s good to be back here at the General Heiser Branch [of the Boys and Girls Club]. I’ve worked at the Manassas branch and at the Hylton Branch in Dale City, but I started here and it’s good to have it back open” said Camp Director Judy Moore.

Budget cuts forced the closure of the facility which was scheduled to reopen for the first time Monday.

Children will also have access to a math and reading center that will allow them to keep up with learning while school is out.

The cost of the summer camp is $120 per week per child.

The General Heiser Branch of the Boys and Girls Club is located 17565 Old Stagecoach Road in Dumfries.

Emails, Cell Phone Safety Messages Win Award

Fire and rescue officials in Prince William County were honored for their work on broadcasting safety messages.

The Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue was honored with a Governor’s Transportation Safety Award for sending safety messages twice a day to all personnel through cell phones and email, reinforcing the county’s safety policies –– including the dangers of distracted and impaired driving.

“This is a dangerous job, but by sending out these messages is just one more tool in our toolbox to help a safer workplace,” said Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department Assistant Chief Hadden Culp.

The awards ceremony was held Wednesday in Richmond, and is an annual event that identifies and recognizes those working to make transportation safer in Virginia.

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