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October/November 2020 Contributor Articles 


by Marcie Johnson, VA Accredited Attorney

The COVID-19 virus is not going away as many had hoped. And studies have shown it is deadlier for those over the age of 65. Individuals living in senior living communities, such as independent living, assisted living, memory care, and nursing homes have the highest risk of becoming infected and possibly dying from the virus or a secondary illness, such as pneumonia, after being weakened from the virus. For many families, providing long term care for a loved one in the home has become an even bigger priority than normal. In-home care can be costly, which makes the Aid and Attendance Benefit provided by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs of critical importance to help pay for such care.

For 2020, a married wartime veteran could receive up to $2,266 tax free income per month, $1,911 for a single wartime veteran and up to $1,228 for a surviving spouse of a wartime veteran. 

With extra income from the VA, families have more choices for selecting in-home care providers, and may choose to pay family members for such services. The need for long term care will only increase. The cost of care will only increase. And now the COVID-19 virus makes it critical that everything possible is done to protect this vulnerable community. 

If you have questions or would like to discuss whether you or a loved one may qualify for Veterans Benefits, please contact a VA Accredited Attorney.•


by Beth Shumate 

The McKinney Community Band (MCB) will be celebrating popular tunes from the silver screen in a free virtual concert on Saturday, Oct. 24. The Movies & More concert will delight all ages and will feature new recordings by small ensembles and a few videos from the band’s past performances. 

The concert will stream on MCB’s Facebook page and YouTube channel beginning at 7 p.m. Prior to the concert start time, the band will stream a virtual instrument “petting zoo” designed to help young people (and adults, too) learn more about instruments they may someday want to play. 

“We had such a great response to our virtual patriotic concert, we decided to do it again!” said Chris Heider, president of the MCB board. 

The all-volunteer McKinney Community Band was formed in 2006. In its 14 years, the group has grown from the original 10 or so musicians to its 50-plus present membership. The band rehearsed weekly and performed a free concert series each year until March when the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down.

As the band’s annual patriotic concert date neared with no ability to rehearsal, the MCB board voted to share music in a virtual format in late June. The band and its artistic director/conductor. Jeremy Kondrat, developed a program of previous band recordings, a few of which were new compilations of previously-taped audio that was synched with 360-degree video recorded from inside the band, enabling the audience to experience the music from a musician’s on-stage perspective. The program also included one new arrangement comprised of recordings of individual members at home that were edited into a single new video. The patriotic concert streamed simultaneously on Facebook and YouTube, garnering more than 1,000 views during the month it was available online. 

With the band’s fall family concert date quickly approaching and its normal rehearsal space - a local school band room – still not available, the band is developing a new virtual concert.  The program will again include some recordings from previous concerts, but the highlight of the event will be new recordings by small ensembles including flutes, saxophones, French horns, trumpets, and more. 

Concert viewers will also have a chance to win prizes from three McKinney businesses - Arcade 92, Rockin’ AB, and the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary.

The virtual concert is sponsored in part by grants from the McKinney Community Development Corporation and McKinney Arts Commission.


by Stacy Allyn Dominguez

When we named our show the Spectacular Follies back in 2008, we wanted to conjure up an image in the minds of our audiences before they stepped foot in the theater. The words Spectacular and Follies both bring to mind images that we’ve tried to live up to for the past 12 years. When one hears ‘Spectacular’ when talking about a show, they envision a larger than life production that exceeds expectations with lavish sets, exceptional costumes and glorious singing and dancing. Using the term ‘Follies’ brings to mind a production with a variety of acts reminiscent of The Ziegfeld Follies, the Folies Bergere, Las Vegas and the great tradition of Vaudeville. Our founders wanted to bring all of these popular show business traditions to the stage, and, as sung in the great musical, “Gypsy,” ‘You gotta get a gimmick.’ The Spectacular Follies presents the best gimmick of all, everyone in our cast is over the age of 55, making us the longest running variety show in the country with a cast of over 100 talented entertainers who have spent a lifetime honing their craft to bring our audiences the best of the best in live entertainment. Some may call our cast seniors, but we prefer the term ‘seasoned.’

Each year, when the curtain opens on the Spectacular Follies, the audiences are treated to a vision they can’t get anywhere else. The stage is filled with a feast for the eyes and ears with big, fully choreographed production numbers featuring handsome men and beautiful women whose talent jumps over the footlights and grabs the audience from the first notes of the live band on stage. With scene after scene of beautiful music and dancing, the audiences sit up with attention enjoying each song and anticipating what will come next. 

The Spectacular Follies is a two-hour tribute to great music and has featured the words and music of Berlin, Porter, Gershwin and many other famous composers whose timeless music is known to all and lives forever. Over the years the Follies has presented tributes to the great songs from the 40s to the 80s. From big band to Elvis to Doo Wop to Country, we’ve staged music everyone will recognize and enjoy. Last year the Follies added a classical section featuring some of the most beautiful and beloved music ever written.

Although the Follies produces a new show every season, the Spectacular Follies always presents audience favorites in every show. Many of our cast members have appeared in several of our productions but each year bring something original to delight the crowds. One of the most anticipated parts of the show is the presentation of the famous Follies Showgirls. The Showgirl presentation is a valentine to glamorous women of a certain age who appear in beautiful costumes covered in sequins and beads and parade down the grand staircase and glide across the stage wearing impossible, over-the-top feather head dresses. The audience reaction of oohs and ahs can be heard as these women defy age and prove that there is beauty and grace at every stage of life. 

When Spectacular Follies’ founders Ned Startzel and Mark Carroll first envisioned producing a show in 2008 they knew that Dallas was home to many performers who had left the stage but were still active and looking for a chance to strut their stuff before an audience. They rounded up around 40 singers, dancers and musicians and staged a 3-hour musical revue and those who attended loved it and it became an instant hit. 

The Spectacular Follies has gained a large audience following and now entertains over 4,000 theater goers each year and we add new fans of the Follies every season.  

Over the past 11 years the Follies has auditioned and cast hundreds of performers who wanted to volunteer their time to be part of the show. The Follies has featured performers from all across the country, including Hollywood, Broadway, Las Vegas and many other entertainment cities. We’ve featured ballroom dancers, comedians, dance ensembles and even a few ventriloquist acts, always making sure we presented the true concept of variety. Our current productions feature over 100 dynamic entertainers who all hope to bring our audiences the most fun-filled and lively show in town. 

When theaters reopen again, the Spectacular Follies will present “Decades!, the Soundtrack of Your Life.” Music at its best acts as a record of the emotions and stories we experience at a given moment in time. We’ve all been surrounded by music all of our lives and certain songs bring back forgotten memories. It happens when we hear the songs sung to us as children, or Mom and Dad listened to on the radio and danced to in the kitchen or from our school years that bring back thoughts of good times with friends or our first loves and as we got older we had ‘our song’ with a partner and later in life the tunes our own children and grandchildren introduced us to. We find that these melodies all become the soundtrack of life for each of us. The Follies hopes to reawaken these memories and help the audience relive the great times of their lives through songs and dances and beautiful memories. 

The Spectacular Follies is on hiatus until we can safely bring our cast and audience back to the theater and we know that when that happens, we’ll bring the best of the Follies to honor the memories of our late founders, Ned Startzel and Mark Carroll who always dreamed of the Follies going on long after they departed.  

But, while we wait till we can perform live again we look forward to seeing you on Zoom for our Celebration Magazine presentation on November 11th at 2:00pm. 


by Ronnie D. Foster

In March of 1966, I turned 18 and joined the United States Marine Corps. Two weeks after my high school graduation, my friend Bill Bryan and I reported in to the Marine Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. Three years later I returned to my home of McKinney, Texas, a 21-year-old veteran, very grateful to be back from where I had started. Although physically in excellent condition, I was carrying around a lot of baggage and memories of my tours in Vietnam, Okinawa and the Philippines. Part of that baggage was about my friend Bill. He didn’t make it home.

I often think of the last time I saw Bill. After Boot Camp we had been sent our separate ways and it would be about a year before I would see him again. That happened on a Sunday afternoon at an enlisted men’s club at Camp Pendleton, California. We weren’t kids anymore; we were United States Marines. So, since we considered ourselves grown men now, we decided to go to the bar and buy each other a beer. The only problem was we weren’t old enough to buy a beer, so we settled for a chocolate milkshake instead.
Just about five months later, in January of 1968, Cpl. Bill Bryan was killed in action while leading a seven-man team on a reconnaissance mission deep in the jungle-covered mountains just south of the DMZ in South Vietnam. His small team ran up against a full North Vietnamese Army battalion on Hill 881 North. Bill was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his heroic actions that day. He never did get old enough to buy a beer.

On the Wall of Honor at the Veterans Memorial Park in McKinney, Texas, there are 424 names etched into the shiny black granite. These are Collin County men, and one woman, who died while in the service of our country, dating as far back as the 1840s. As one of my roles in the creation of the memorial, I have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours researching each and every one of those names. One of the most heartbreaking facts I learned was just how many of those heroes never got old enough to buy a beer.
In partnership with the Collin County History Museum in McKinney, Texas, I am writing a series of books telling the stories of all 424 of these heroes. There are many names on the wall whose ages could not be confirmed. Of those we have identified, there are four boys that were only 17 years old. Thirteen were 18, 32 were 19, and 37 died at the age of 20.

In our newest edition, “Collin County Freedom Fighters – The Vietnam War” the stories are told of 28 young men who died during that war. Of those great heroes 13 were under the age of 21.

Royce Scoggins dropped out of school in 1966 and joined the Marines. Royce would not only be the first Collin County boy to be killed in Vietnam, but at 18, one of the three youngest. In March of 1966, as a machine gunner, he would be among the first US Marines to go up against the North Vietnamese Army. Royce was killed by enemy rifle fire while valiantly holding his position against advancing enemy troops in a bloody, hand-to-hand combat situation.

Sp4 Martin Leroy Rodgers, a helicopter crew chief with the 5th Armored Cavalry Brigade, was killed in 1970 when his helicopter went down in the Mekong River. Marty drowned while waiting to be rescued. At 18, he was the youngest US Army helicopter crewman to be killed in Vietnam.

We lost six boys who were 19. PFC Thomas Holdbrooks, USMC, had been in Vietnam for only 12 days when he was cut down by heavy machine-gun fire in a fierce battle at a place called Go Noi Island. Another Marine, L/CPL Steve Hitchings, was killed while leading a night patrol as a point man outside of Con Thein, South Vietnam. Con Thein, just south of the DMZ. was not only the northernmost US Military base in South Vietnam but was also known as the most dangerous. Communist leader Ho Chi Minh had called the Marines at that isolated outpost, the “Walking Dead”.

Charles Hoffman was another close friend of mine from my high school class of 1966. During the “Tet Offensive” of 1968, Charles was killed during a heavy enemy mortar barrage. Performing his duties, in complete disregard for his own life, he went from one wounded soldier to another, administering life-saving first aid, until he was killed when a round exploded close to his position. Quite a courageous thing to do for a 19-year-old boy.

Bobby Harris, a door gunner on a Huey assault helicopter was on a “Top Secret” mission when his chopper was shot down on an enevmy controlled mountaintop, deep in the jungles of Cambodia. He was listed as “missing in action” for 32 years, until his remains were returned in 2004. Buried at US National Cemetery, Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.

Six boys, including my friend Bill Bryan, were 20, as was Joe Huston. Joe was killed in March of 1969 during an ambush on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In complete disregard for his life he went to the aid of wounded comrades who were lying in an open area completely exposed to enemy machine guns. He was cut down after picking up one of those men and carrying him back to safety.
It has been 51 years now since my war ended. Sometimes it seems like yesterday. I have lived two-and-one half lifetimes longer than my friend Bill Bryan. It just doesn’t seem right. Every day that I wake up I consider it to be another gift. My name could just as easily have been on that Wall. As I dug into each boy’s life, I couldn’t help but be amazed and astonished at some of the most heroic and horrific things these young men saw and did, and how they faced death just as bravely as anyone could imagine.

When I look at boys of this age today, it’s hard to picture any of them “going over the top” in France in 1918, or staying at your duty station when it’s obvious the ship is sinking and there aren’t enough life boats. Sitting in the ball gunner’s tiny plexiglass dome, underneath a B17 bomber with enemy fighter planes trying their best to riddle it with bullets.

I wonder if there are any kids like Bill Bryan and Charles Hoffman out there. Even though it’s hard for me to imagine, I’m sure there are. The United States of America has been producing brave, young heroes since our country began.

And when they do sign up, put on that uniform and march off to war, it is up to those who get to carry on with their lives to make sure the ones who don’t come home are never forgotten, especially those who never got old enough to buy a beer.


by R.W. Sine

Time turned back, now a second chance,
Given time, would you, could you, change,

Time the constant, life change given a glance.
Given time would you, could you, change.

Stitch in time,  really saves their minds,
Given time would you, could you, change

Questions, the answers given in kind.
Given time, would you, could you change.

Time defines itself, past or present,
Given time, would you, could you change,

Time past can make now pleasant.
Given time, would you, could you, change.

Only we humans are defined by our time,

If turned back, would you really change,

Given a second chance, would it be fine?
Push comes to shove, could you, change?

As the only constant, why turn it back,
Most would rather time cut them slack.

Pressing forward, never turn back,
Always upward, always on the attack.

Knowing that time will come to an end,
Would the change be relative to the outcome?



by Dan Steelman

The Frontiers of Flight Museum is Texas’ premier aviation and space museum. From the aviation ideas of Leonardo da Vinci, to the Wright Brothers, to the spacecraft of the twenty-first century – we combine it all here for you, in one museum.  There are many fine museums that specialize in either aviation or space, but we are different in that we tell the stories of both aviation and space flight. The mission of the Museum is to educate, motivate, and inspire all ages in North Texas by presenting aviation and space flight history and innovation through our comprehensive exhibits, collections, programming and our award-winning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum.

The Museum’s 100,000 square foot facility is located on the southeast corner of Dallas Love Field Airport. It’s an ideal place to experience aviation as airplanes are taking off and landing just outside our facility. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the airport is our biggest gallery. The Museum has more than 40 air and space vehicles and includes 20 galleries and displays. The Museum’s holdings consist of over 35,000 historical artifacts.

Last year, the Museum celebrated its 30th anniversary. The organization’s origins can be traced back to 1963 when George Haddaway, a noted aviation historian and the publisher of Flight Magazine, donated his enormous collection of artifacts and archival materials to The University of Texas. This “History of Aviation Collection” was later moved from Austin to The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) in the late 1970’s. In 1988, UTD and Mr. Haddaway forged an agreement with a group of Dallas leaders to make possible the display of most of the physical artifacts at an off-campus site. With the leadership of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, William E. “Bill” Cooper, and Jan Collmer, the Frontiers of Flight Museum was formed in 1988 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The City of Dallas agreed to provide space on the mezzanine level of the main terminal building at Love Field beginning in 1990. The public’s enthusiasm for the Museum prompted city and Museum leadership to embark on an ambitious plan to build the Museum that stands today. The 100,000 square foot facility, located at 6911 Lemmon Avenue, opened in June 2004. It consists of two climate-controlled hangar-like buildings, joined by a connecting structure on both levels. 

The Museum contains some amazing one-of-a-kind or extremely rare artifacts. For example, the Museum is home to the Apollo 7 Command Module. The first manned flight of the Apollo Program was accomplished by Walter Cunningham, Walter Schirra, and Donn Eisele in this spacecraft from October 11 to 22, 1968. All systems and procedures required for the moon mission were flight-tested for the first time with this vehicle during its 163 Earth orbits in 10 days, 20 hours and 9 minutes, traveling a total distance of 4,539,959 miles. 

A few feet away from the Command Module is North Texas’ only Moon Rock. Lunar Sample 15059 was brought back to Earth by astronauts from Apollo 15. It was a small boulder picked up near the rim of a crater in the Hadley Rille region. Back on Earth, scientists broke the boulder into smaller pieces as they studied its composition. Following scientific evaluation, NASA gave a fragment of the sample, encapsulated in Lucite, to the Museum for display. 

Welcoming visitors into the Museum’s Main Gallery is an exceptional full-size model of the 1903 Wright Flyer. The permanent exhibit marks the first flight of a piloted, controlled, powered, heavier-than-air machine in sustained flight. After four years of research and development, Wilbur and Orville Wright successfully flew their first powered airplane, the 1903 Wright Flyer, on 17 December 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Orville Wright piloted the first flight, lasting only 12 seconds and traveling 120 feet. Wilbur took the controls on the last of three flights that historic December day and flew 852 feet in 59 seconds.

Amazingly, the Lighter Than Air Gallery features the perfectly-intact radio operator's chair from the doomed dirigible "Hindenburg." Zeppelin designers insulated the radio room to keep sparks from radio equipment from setting the highly-flammable airship on fire. In such a situation the radio room would burn but the ship would be spared. In fact, the opposite occurred: the bulk of the ship burned, but the contents of the radio room, including this rare chair, survived.

Although the Museum examines all aspects of aviation and space flight, many of our displays do have a military connection. Military aircraft from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan remind us of the cost of freedom and the sacrifices made on behalf of our country. One of the joys of working at the Museum is visiting with veterans who tell stories about their own flight experiences. They relate stories of courage, recollections of honor, reflections of strength, and memoirs of patriotism. It is always appropriate to remember these men and women, and especially so in November as we celebrate Veterans Day, and say thank you for your service. 

LBJ Presidential Library

LBJ Presidential Library and Museum 

“It is all here: the story of our time – with the bark off.” So declared Lyndon Baines Johnson on May 22, 1971, during dedication ceremonies for his sparkling new presidential library on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. 

A few earlier presidents had established similar institutions in previous years, but the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum was unprecedented in its physical grandeur and the fanfare with which it was opened to the American public. Like the man whose presidency it encapsulated, the Library made an outsize impression from the moment of its opening fifty years ago next spring.

Designed by renowned architects Gordon Bunshaft and R. Max Brooks, the 10-story edifice built of white marble dominates the northwestern corner of the UT campus. Inside, the structure features a cavernous atrium known as the Great Hall, well suited to public events and museum exhibits.

In opening his library, however, LBJ focused not on the building itself or the museum that it housed but on the vast archive of documentary material that it contained from his life and presidency. “The Library records,” said Johnson, “reflect the nation for 40 years – from the ‘30s through the ‘60s. They picture a sweep of history beginning with the depression and ending with the most prosperous era we have ever known.” 

Safeguarding, organizing, and helping researchers gain access to that material has been the Library’s core mission ever since. A collection estimated to hold 31 million pages in 1971 has grown to 45 million, assuring a heavy workload for a team of highly skilled archivists. 

The Library has also thrived in other ways over the last five decades. Countless visitors have toured its permanent exhibit on the Johnson presidency and temporary exhibits on themes ranging from Motown music to the space race. The Library’s education department has run programs and designed curriculum for thousands of teachers and students. And, perhaps most visibly, the Library has hosted innumerable high-profile public events, including visits by several sitting and former presidents. Most recently, President Barack Obama, along with former chief executives Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, spoke at the Library in 2014 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

All of this makes for an impressive half-century track record, but challenging questions nonetheless loom: How to celebrate the Library’s fiftieth anniversary next year despite the COVID-19 pandemic and how to chart a course for the future that will build on past successes?

A number of initiatives are underway to mark the fiftieth birthday. If the public-health situation allows, the Library will host high-profile public events throughout the year. Please stay tuned by consulting The Library will also launch a new website, including a special section highlighting the audio recordings made by Lyndon Johnson during his presidency, perhaps the most sensational part of the LBJ archive. And Library leaders have commissioned top young historians of the 1960s to write a series of essays about the Johnson administration’s legacies in the twenty-first century. These works of scholarship will be collected in an anthology to be published in 2021.

What lies ahead for the next fifty years? As for cultural institutions across the nation and around the world, a number of innovations are in the works to assure continued relevance as a younger generation of technology-savvy patrons, with fewer connections to an ever-receding past, comes to the fore. The highest priority will be to continue organizing the archival collections and making them available to the American public. These materials will be available in the LBJ’s Library’s research room, but increasingly they will also be available in digital form through the Library’s website and on the National Archives’ digital catalog ( Digitization will not only preserve archival materials for all time but will also assure that Library collections are available to researchers regardless of their location or ability to travel to Austin.

Meanwhile, education and museum programs will increasingly focus on the legacies and implications of the Johnson presidency. How and why do the Great Society, the Vietnam War, and other major issues of the 1960s remain important for younger people? The Library will strive to draw the connections and promote informed discussion of an era that may seem long ago but holds profound implications for our own day. 

This goal will also inform public programming – the array of speakers, workshops, and conferences that will continue to keep the auditoriums buzzing. Lyndon Johnson hoped that his Library would provide a forum for the best minds in American life to share their ideas and promote public discussion of major issues of the day. On topics ranging from politics, to race relations, to foreign affairs, the Library’s stages and podiums will continue to do just that, while new technologies will enable viewers far and wide to take part.• 

The Museum of Western Art

by Darrell Beauchamp, Ed.D. 

The Museum of Western Art is dedicated to excellence in the collection, preservation, and promotion of Western Heritage and the education and cultural enrichment of our diverse audiences.

The Museum is located in Kerrville, TX, only a short drive northwest from San Antonio, and sits on prime real estate in the heart of the famed Texas Hill Country. This outstanding facility provides the opportunity for one and all to relive Western heritage through great Western Art.

The Museum opened on April 23rd, 1983, and was first known as the Cowboy Artists of America Museum. In the years since, thousands of visitors have walked the Museum galleries and have seen the West brought to life through the artwork on view. The hardworking cowboys, Native Americans, women of the West, settlers, mountain men and others are featured through various themed exhibits. Through other exhibitions, the history of famous ranches as well as other diverse aspects of our Western heritage are shared wit h our ever-widening audience. In addition, educators, students, writers, and the public make use of the museum’s 6000 volume Western art and history research library.

The Museum is a work of art in its own right, with its unique architectural design by renowned Texas architect O’Neil Ford. Featuring heavy timbers and rugged retaining walls of stacked limestone, the building’s exterior resembles a fortressed hacienda. Heroic and life-size bronzes dot the landscape of the outer grounds. Inside the 14,000 foot facility, 23 bovedas give visitors a glimpse of artisan work rarely seen today. Floors of end-cut mesquite wood and saltillo tile are polished to a warm glow, complementing the Western artwork on view in the galleries. In 2004, the Masel S. Quinn Pavilion was completed and made ready for event use and as an integral part of our art education program.

In preserving and promoting the heritage of the American West, the Museum is committed to exhibiting the very finest artwork including art created by today’s well-known Western artists. Temporary exhibits feature famous masters of the past, regional artists, artifacts from the era, and historical explorations of the region’s past. The Museum’s goal is to represent authentically the life of the West, in both its historic and contemporary context.  Past exhibitions have included the works of major historic artists such as Howard Terpning, E.I. Couse, Oscar Berninghaus and J.H. Sharp.  Recently, the Museum hosted a showing of the works from the L.D. “Brink” Brinkman Foundation Collection, now on permanent loan to the Museum.  A showing of the works of master wood carver Gene Zesch brought in substantial crowds and opened to rave reviews.  The 2020 season opened with the Exhibition “The West In Winter,” a showing of works from renowned collectors Betsy and George Matthews. The major summer exhibition included sixty-five major works from world renowned western artist and landscapist Robert Pummill.  The closing exhibition of the year will be a display of 140 works from 58 major western artists.  That exhibition, “The 37th Annual Roundup Exhibition and Sale,” is the major fundraiser for the Museum each year.  

“We are thrilled to present incredible lineups of great American Western Art,” noted Dr. Darrell Beauchamp, the Museum’s Executive Director.  “The Museum is dedicated to the preservation and presentation of major Western Art in a variety of formats.  We welcome visitors from all over the world to see our amazing exhibits and collections.  We love to see them visit the Texas Hill Country.”

Finally, in all that it does, the Museum serves as a bridge between the past and the present, ensuring that the legacy of the American West will be preserved for the future. We invite our guests to be part of that mission. Experience the West as it was and as it is at the Museum of Western Art…Where the Legend Lives.

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