Tag Archives: Glendale

Glendale business aims to showcase local artists


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

The arts are coming to Glendale.

Angelica Harris runs the Excalibur Reading Program on 78th Avenue, and she hopes to transform the center into an art venue once a week.

“We don’t have a program or venue that showcases Glendale artists,” Harris said. “It’s my dream to bring the arts to Glendale.”

Harris plans on booking musicians and poets every Friday evening to showcase their work to an audience of about 30 people. The July 18 event kicks off a new feature that Harris hopes will become a staple every week.

“I want to expose artists and educate people about the need for art in the community,” said Harris, who has run the learning and tutoring programs on 78th Avenue for two years.

Bill McClure, a landscape painter and window designer, has lived in Glendale for a year and said that the creation of an art night is welcome news.

“It’s wonderful because we need places for artists to communicate and there’s nothing in the Glendale area,” he said.

Since moving to Glendale, McClure has had to leave the neighborhood to showcase his work.

But with the new venue, McClure, 52, plans to exhibit his work locally.

Harris, who has lived in Glendale for 20 years, is asking people who want to watch the music and poetry show to make a $10 donation.

Harris has a personal devotion to the arts, having written several books, including “Living With Rage,” which recounts the domestic violence she experienced.

“The arts were my salvation, my sanity,” she said. “That’s why I have this dream of the art program. I want people to talk about what art helps them with.”

 

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Glendale pastor writes YA self-help book


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Writing a successful book for young adults can be hard if it doesn’t have magic and vampires in it.

But a pastor in a Glendale church wrote a book aimed to help troubled teenagers in 2011, and since then, the book has taken on a second life, spurring the creation of conventions and a clothing company.

Even a hip-hop group called Social Club released an album called “Misfits 2” which features the pastor rapping in a song.

The Rev. Chris Durso, a pastor in Christ Tabernacle, wrote “Misfit” in 2011 and since then interest in the book has become national, with religious youth conferences called MISFIT Tours being held in Washington, D.C., and other places. These conferences have attracted Christian rappers like “Da’ Truth” and Sean Simmonds. And in August, there will be another MISFIT conference.

“I had no idea that the book would get so big,” Durso said. “I never sought out to be an author. I grew up diagnosed with ADD and I never read many books. So it’s pretty ironic.”

The book reads like a self-help book and in the first few pages Durso writes about a student, Eugene, he knew in school who committed suicide. Durso wrote the book in the hopes that today’s youth won’t go down the same path.

“I didn’t want the book to read like I’m telling the reader what to do,” Durso said. “I wanted it to feel like we’re on a journey together.”

Along with the periodic tours, Durso, who is the youth minister, holds a youth group meeting at the church called Misfit NYC. Every Friday, kids from the area and all over the city sing, rap and hold a religious service. The group, led by Durso, discusses many of the issues that are in the book: being yourself instead of conforming to others and pursuing goals in life that are personally worthwhile.

“I want this book to spur you on and reach your goals,” Durso said. “There are too few revolutionaries in this world and if we had more we could see this world in a much better state.”

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Stats show universal pre-K’s limited reach in western, central Queens


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo by Rob Bennett for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio

Only 30 percent of 4-year-olds in parts of western and central Queens got into the pre-K of their choice, the lowest percentage of matched applicants in all of New York City.

Parents in Queens District 24 — Corona, Glendale, Ridgewood, Elmhurst, Long Island City, Maspeth and Middle Village — must now search for an alternative to public schools.

According to the Department of Education, the majority of parents with 4-year-olds — 70 percent — in the district recently received letters informing them that the public pre-K of their choice was already full.

In comparison, in Manhattan’s District 1 only 10 percent of applicants were unmatched and, overall, 38 percent of applicants throughout New York City were unmatched.

“Every single school in this district is overcrowded,” said Nick Comaianni, president of School Board District 24. “In the past we’ve actually had to get rid of pre-K seats to make room for kindergarten to fifth grade.”

As the city changes gears for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s aim to make pre-K universal, the DOE is using community-based organizations like local YMCAs and mom-and-pop pre-K programs to scoop up the applicants that didn’t get into a public school pre-K.

But Comaianni, who has been president of the board for 11 years, believes that the mayor’s office and the DOE are moving too fast.

“Someone should’ve done their homework before pushing pre-K through so quickly,” he said, noting that since the schools in the district are already overcrowded, there is no extra space for more students. “You can’t have pre-K if you don’t even have second grade.”

The DOE is opening up 53,000 full-day seats through community-based organizations in time for the new school year in September. While this will still leave some toddlers behind, by next year there will be 73,250 seats, enough to put every 4-year-old in New York City in school, according to education officials.

Which is just fine, Comaianni said, but warned: “In our haste to open these seats let’s hope we have qualified people who can teach pre-K and it’s not just a baby-sitting center.

Queens by school district:

Source: Office of Student Enrollment

 

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Residents skeptical as Maspeth, Glendale, Middle Village begin composting in city program


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Liam La Guerre

Little brown plastic bins have begun to appear in Maspeth, Glendale and Middle Village as those neighborhoods have been chosen as the vanguard in the city’s new composting program.

The first bins were installed on June 2 as the city attempts to reduce the amount of trash going into landfills by recycling organic waste.

The neighborhoods were chosen because they’re a microcosm of the rest of the city with the rich variety of housing from single-family homes to larger apartment buildings, said sanitation representative Lisa Brunie-McDermott.

The city-run program’s goal is to collect organic waste like food scraps and turn it into renewable energy or compost, which is used to enrich soil.

But many in the communities are skeptical about how effective the program will be and say that the city didn’t warn them that they would be chosen for the composting experiment.

“It’s an inefficient program at this point,” said Gary Giordano, a resident of Glendale and district manager for Community Board 5. During a meeting that the Glendale Property Owners held on June 5 to discuss the pilot program, Giordano noted that in order for the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to collect the organic waste, an extra truck would have to be sent out on each block where there are brown bins.

“So what we’re looking at is an oxymoron. You’re wasting extra fuel in the name of going green,” he said.

Many residents at the meeting were also concerned that the city would ticket them for not participating in a program that they never wanted to be a part of in the first place. But, Brunie-McDermott explained, since the program is not law yet, there are no fines.

“It’s likely that if this becomes law, then there will be tickets involved,” she said. And whether or not the program becomes law is dependent on how communities like Glendale respond to it and whether residents participate. The DSNY is holding similar programs in the other four boroughs and by this time next year, the city will gauge how successfully the programs worked in the pilot areas.

Brunie-McDermott noted that during the first recycling period on June 3, just a day after the bins were given out, residents in Glendale had filled up their brown bins with all kinds of organic waste. And that’s a good sign for her, even if some in the community express trepidation.

“It’s a behavior change and it takes time,” Brunie-McDermott said. “I’m sure there were similar growing pains when the city decided to have regular recycling.”

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Queens students create art to tackle issues of abuse and teen pregnancy


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of LeAp

Middle school students from Queens are taking a trip down New York City’s art circuit.

Walter Reed School in Maspeth and Robert E. Peary School in Glendale teamed up with a nonprofit art program to help students create an art exhibit that turns cafeteria benches into canvases with pictures of butterflies, the grim reaper and the words, “Be yourself. Stay above the influence” on them.

Students at Walter Reed presented their picture collage to an audience in Union Square on May 20 and on June 10 they will hold an exhibition at Juniper Park Valley. Students from Robert E. Peary School in Glendale will unveil their exhibit at the Evergreen Park on the same day.

The exhibits are meant to help students address problems in their communities that are important to them. These issues include substance abuse, teen pregnancy and dropping out of school and each table features pictures created by students from both schools.

“The students are the ones that brought these issues up,” said Jenny Castillo, an art teacher at the Walter Reed school. “These are issues they deal with on a daily basis.” The school worked with LeAp, a nonprofit organization that holds programs to educate students through art in New York City, to help the students create the art.

The art exhibits are part of LeAp’s larger citywide project to empower students in 10 schools on topics and issues that students come up with, according to LeAp’s Art Program Director Alexandra Leff.

“The idea is that students talk about these things around lunch time,” Leff said, explaining why cafeteria benches were chosen as the canvas. “It’s their moment to have a voice and talk about what’s important to them in a larger public space.”

“They live in neighborhoods where they’re around these problems all the time,” Castillo said.

The cafeteria benches will be on display for the whole summer and afterwards they will go on display in each school.

 

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Car break-ins increasing in Glendale, police and residents say


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Joann Guidici

Glendale is seeing a rise in car break-ins this year, according to police.

During a community meeting on May 20, Capt. Christopher Manson, commanding officer of the 104th Precinct, said that compared to last year, there was a rise in thefts from automobiles.

He was unable to provide exact stats at the meeting, but, through May 18, the latest state available on the NYPD website, there were marked increases in both grand larceny (up 21 percent) and petit larceny (up 16.5 percent).

The spike in crime is leaving many residents of this usually quiet neighborhood surprised and frustrated with cops.

Joann Guidici, a resident of Glendale, found her car broken into on a recent Saturday morning. The car had been parked on 72nd Street and the driver window was smashed but nothing valuable had been stolen from the car.

“They must’ve done it for the high,” she said. “Because they didn’t take any of the valuable stuff.”

She noted that there had been two pairs of expensive, designer glasses in the car that were left untouched.

Brian Dooley, a member of the Glendale Property Owners Organization, had a similar experience.

“My car was broken into twice,” he said. Unlike Guidici, there were no broken windows. “The first time I thought that we had left the car unlocked. But after the second incident, I knew that they must be using a magnetic device of some sort.”

Manson echoed Dooley’s suspicion about the use of a magnetic device.

“Most of the cases we’ve responded to are with cars that don’t have any broken windows or picked locks,” he said during the meeting. “So we think that whoever is doing that is using some kind of magnetic device.”

Police say they are doing everything they can to stop the spike in car break-ins, which are mostly occurring in Glendale with a few also in Middle Village. But Guidici said that it isn’t enough.

“This has been an issue for over a year,” she said. “The 104th Precinct wasn’t very helpful. They need to step it up.”

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Glendale residents fume over proposed homeless shelter in the neighborhood


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Residents and politicians in Glendale banded together for one last hoorah against a proposed homeless shelter in the neighborhood.

For over a year now, the community wrestled with the non-profit Samaritan Village’s proposal to convert an abandoned factory on 78-16 Cooper Ave. in Glendale into a homeless shelter for 125 families, with a proposed $27-million contract with the city’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS). For the residents who attended the meeting at the Christ the King High School, the shelter posed a threat to the community’s welfare. The meeting was hosted by Community Board 5 and members of the Samaritan Village and the DHS were invited to hear out residents’ thoughts on the proposed homeless shelter.

“These facilities have drunks, drug addicts, the mentally ill and pedophiles,” one Glendale resident said. “It would be inappropriate for them to be around our women and children.”

All 33 residents who signed up to speak were against putting a homeless shelter in their area. Residents’ concerns ranged from the lack of public transportation in the area and the strain that an additional 125 families with children under 18 would put on the area’s infrastructure.

“I don’t think they should be placed in our schools,” a local schoolteacher said and she then went on to say that homeless children are more troublesome. “One hundred and twenty five children, if that’s to be expected, with behavioral problems are going to destroy our children and our neighborhood.”

Politicians representing the area also attended the meeting. Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, State Sen. Joseph Addabbo and Assemblyman Mike Miller all echoed residents’ desire to not have a homeless shelter in the neighborhood.

After a formal proposal was submitted by Samaritan Village in May, 2011, the homeless services department began investigating the site. They have analyzed 70 locations, 16 in Queens, and 54 in other boroughs since then.

Chris Miller, a spokesman for the department, said that they are still in the selection process and that they haven’t settled on any particular location.

“This is nowhere near a done deal,” he said.

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High school brings colorful posters to Queens businesses


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Eric Jankiewicz


A local high school is designing posters and fliers for independent Glendale and Ridgewood businesses.


Andrew Drozd teaches three art and design classes at the Academy of Urban Planning in Bushwick where students work with local businesses in Brooklyn and Queens to apply design techniques to real world applications like advertisement.

“This is something that’s still in its infancy but we’re learning,” Drozd said.

“Students appreciate what they’re learning if there’s a real value attached to it.”

He first started the class this semester in April. The design exercise was meant to only last a couple of weeks.

“And now here we are, nearing the end of the school year and my students are still passionate about it,” Drozd said. “There’s been such an outpouring of support from the local business communities.”

Jesse Ibrahim owns Roma Deli in Glendale. He displays a huge poster at the entrance of his store.  The poster has pastel colors that frame a picture of the deli-front in the center. On the bottom right corner it says, “This poster was created by Jocelyn Perez a student at the Academy of Urban Planning.”

“I love it,” said Ibrahim, who has owned the deli for almost 15 years.  “Now my entrance is brightened. It’s very presentable.”

Ibrahim was first approached by Drozd two weeks ago and was then given an option of about 15 different poster designs all made by separate students.

“So there’s a level of competition,” Drozd said.

In Ridgewood, Armand Baklajan was expecting his poster any day now when it would be hand-delivered by Drozd.

“This is fantastic work,” he said, holding a sketch of his yet-to-be completed poster. “I wish I had such a motivated and passionate teacher when I was in high school.”

Drozd said that he has about 40 other businesses lined up for future posters. He first came up with the idea when he noticed that so many delis have hand-written signs advertising things like breakfast sandwiches.

“So there’s an element of social justice in this. We’re providing a service to people who could really benefit from it,” he said.

Each class produces about three posters a week using design programs and pictures. Drozd expects the work to continue through the summer and next school year the design exercise will be introduced to another batch of students.

“We’re going to ride this until it crashes,” he said.

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104th Precinct sting finds delis, restaurants selling alcohol to minors


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

police-web11

Updated Saturday, May 17 11:12 a.m.

Two Queens businesses have been forced to close as they were caught selling alcohol to minors for a third time, police said.

Mount Everest Deli, 5609 Myrtle Avenue, and Apulum Bar, 18-19 Palmetto St., were shuttered by cops after allegedly selling alcohol to undercover auxiliary cops who were under 21.

Eight other establishments received summonses for alleges alcohol sales to minors: Optimo Convenience Store, 6693 Fresh Pond Road; Linden Convenience Store, 6661 Fresh Pond Rd; M&A Deli and Grocery, 6920 Fresh Pond Rd; Start Smart Deli, 6042 Myrtle Avenue; Three Family Deli, 801 Cypress Avenue; Eddy’s Grocery, 10-34 Wyckoff Avenue; Sabor and Rumba Bar, 666 Seneca Avenue; and Sabores Restaurant and Bar, 392 Woodward Avenue.

The operation was carried out by the 104th Precinct on April 12, according to Detective Thomas Bell, the precinct’s community affairs officer.

The precinct goes out periodically in their coverage neighborhoods of Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth to look for businesses that sell alcohol to minors, Bell said.

Robert Holden, a local and president of the Juniper Park civic association, said that he has witnessed the remains of underage drinking in Juniper Park Valley Park in Middle Village.

“We find dozens of bottles thrown all over the baseball field. They just get wild and crazy,” he said, noting that these findings have been on the rise lately. He worries that if more kids are drinking, they will be putting themselves and others danger.

Holden said he has been pushing the cops to come down on businesses that sell beer and alcohol to minors.

“We hope they expand the sweeps,” Holden said. “We think it’s a good deterrent. The community works with the precinct and we’ve made this a priority.”

 

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Glendale-based supermarket chain cheated employees: government


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

ERIC JANKIEWICZ

A Glendale-based chain of 17 neighborhood supermarkets, all owned by Andres Ferreira, has been cheating employees out of wages, according to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor. The company agreed to pay $372,172 in back pay and “liquidated damages” to 18 workers, many of whom didn’t even receive a wage and survived on tips.

The supermarkets are NSA Supermarket, NSA Golden Mango and Met Food. They span the New York City area, and the employees who are being compensated worked in the Brooklyn and Queens branches. The investigation was performed by the department’s Wage and Hour Division. The investigation revealed that the 18 workers were either being paid less than minimum wage or nothing at all, leaving them only tips they received when bagging groceries. They also found that the supermarkets did not keep accurate records of the workers’ hours.

“Supermarkets that underpay their employees also undercut those employers who elect to obey the law and pay lawfully required wages,” said Maria L. Rosado, director of the Wage and Hour Division in New York City. “This settlement applies to all 17 stores. We welcome this employer’s commitment to enterprise wide compliance and encourage other employers to follow suit in ensuring that they comply with federal wage laws at all locations.”

The Glendale firm also agreed to put posters up in their stores that will inform workers, in Spanish and English, of their rights. They will also pay $7,480 in civil penalties.

Ferreira did not immediately return call for comment.

 

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More retail coming to Shops at Atlas Park


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

More retail is coming to a Glendale shopping center about a year after the mall underwent a makeover.

The Shops at Atlas Park announced Thursday it will be opening a Footlocker, Payless ShoeSource, Auntie Anne’s, beauty retailer ULTA Beauty and Crazy 8, a children’s clothing and accessories store.

The shopping center, located at 8000 Cooper Ave., and owned by Macerich, is also in the process of planning its Summer on the Green event series, which features family-friendly programs, such as movies and concerts.

Last summer, Atlas Park opened the Center Green, a 10,000-square-foot area especially designed for events, as part of an overall redesign for the mall.

After shoppers said the center’s selection of stores was subpar, Macerich, with the hopes of a new and improved retail experience, also brought in new retail last year, including, Charlotte Russe and Forever 21.

 

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Glendale’s Finback Brewery set to open in May


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Finback Brewery.

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

The Finback Brewery will finally surface on May 10, the Glendale establishment announced via Twitter Wednesday.

Craft beer makers Kevin Stafford and Basil Lee were planning to open the Queens brewery last November, but construction delayed its debut.

Lee, a Harvard-educated architect, and Stafford, an art designer, were frequent home brewers, but finally decided to take the leap a few years ago to open a full brick-and-beer location.

The name Finback Brewery is a tribute to the Finback whale that washed up on the shores of Breezy Point in 2012.

In the past few months the brewery has been selling its beer in bars around Queens and in the city.

 

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Frustrated community board members wait for more details on Glendale homeless shelter


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Jeff Stone

JEFF STONE

Queens leaders said they are frustrated that there has been no date set for a community meeting on a controversial Glendale homeless shelter proposal.

Community board members, along with the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS), said Monday they have yet to hear from Samaritan Village about when the homeless advocacy group will be ready with a presentation on the proposal to convert the abandoned manufacturing plant at 78-16 Cooper Ave. into a home for 125 families.

Politicians and Glendale residents alike have previously expressed reservations over the sudden population influx, the building’s distance from the subway and possible contamination at the site in question.

Since the DHS announced that it would support the Samaritan Village effort, though, elected officials in Queens have worried about whether the two political groups are on the same page.

“It’s a very difficult process that seems to be all too standard,” said Gary Giordano, District Manager of Community Board 5, which includes Glendale. “It’s my impression that the Department of Homeless Services is talking to the applicant long before they’re talking to either the community board or the council person in the community.”

The frustration stretches back to December of last year, when the DHS sent a letter to the mayor’s office recommending the former airplane manufacturing plant be converted into a living space for displaced New Yorkers. Along with unanimously disagreeing with the letter, board members complained about being given too little notice that meetings had been scheduled and implied that the DHS might be trying to rush through the process.

Asked if the Department of Homeless Services needed a community board’s permission to build a new shelter, Giordano said, “Their policy is that they tell the applicant that they have to reach out to the local community board and let them know what they are intending and to give the community board an opportunity to conduct a public meeting on the matter.”

DHS spokesman Christopher Miller said the agency has been trying to find a time that works for all three parties.

“We are waiting for the provider to come up with a presentation date,” he said.

Samaritan Village did not return repeated requests for comment.

How soon the tension will simmer is anyone’s guess. Mr. Giordano refused to speculate on whether anything in the to-be-scheduled presentation was likely change his mind or the minds of any other board members, although he did say a meeting could soon be slated for a weeknight in May.

“I expect them to tell us as much as possible, or as much as we can get out of them, about the specifics of what’s in their application, some of which we know and some of which we don’t know,” he said. “I haven’t heard anybody say this is a reasonable site and that this is a reasonable way to be living.”

 

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Glendale’s St. Pancras Church choir to host anniversary concert


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

St. Pancras Church in Glendale is planning a free concert in May to celebrate three landmark anniversaries.

The concert will honor the 10th year of the church organ, 20 years that Steven Frank has been the choir director and organist, and the 40th year that the church has been in the Archdiocese of Brooklyn.

The 18 members of the choir will be joined by former St. Pancras choristers and special guests to sing a variety of songs.

Frank, who is also dean of the Queens chapter of American Guild of Organists, said the group has been putting the concert together since last year, and it will be something that you don’t want to miss.

Free St. Pancras Choristers’ concert:
May 18, 5:30 p.m.
St. Pancras Church
72-22 68th St., Glendale

 

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Addabbo sends list of bus problems to MTA


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

A local legislator is hoping to put the brakes on bus problems in the region he represents.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo recently sent a list of complaints from constituents to the MTA about bus service on nearly 10 lines, including some that travel through the subway scarce neighborhoods of Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village, hoping the agency can resolve the issues.

The note includes problems such as buses frequently arriving 20 or more minutes behind schedule, multiple buses bunching together and buses passing by commuters with “not in service” signs. The lines include the Q18, Q11/Q21, Q54, Q55, Q67, Q38 and Q29.

“As we negotiate our state budget funding and administrative decisions, we must realize that these resources must be allocated rationally and efficiently,” Addabbo said. “Acknowledging that the MTA provides a critical service and that state resources are not infinite, we must impress upon the MTA to improve service for my constituents given the resources it has.”

Last month, The Courier revealed exclusively that the MTA plans to reduce overall service in April of the Q54, which riders in Middle Village and Glendale depend on to connect to subway lines in Jamaica and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

During weekday “PM peak” hours—from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.—the Q54 will run every six minutes and 30 seconds, instead of every five minutes, according to the MTA’s January Transit & Bus Committee Meeting. During the evening schedule, which follows “PM peak” hours, the Q54 will run every 20 minutes instead of every 15.

 

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