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Latest News in Black Canyon, AZ

Volleyball: Returning region champions in northern Arizona begin quest for repeat

With volleyball practice underway across the state of Arizona, there are several northern Arizona clubs looking to defend their region crowns from a season ago.We at AzPreps365.com checked in with them this week to see how the offseason went and what their expectations are for the 2022 campaign.4A GRAND CANYON, BRADSHAW MOUNTAINThe Bears from Bradshaw Mountain had one of their more successful seasons in program history a year ago, finishing 16-9 overall but going 12-0 in the Grand Canyon region to claim ...

With volleyball practice underway across the state of Arizona, there are several northern Arizona clubs looking to defend their region crowns from a season ago.

We at AzPreps365.com checked in with them this week to see how the offseason went and what their expectations are for the 2022 campaign.

4A GRAND CANYON, BRADSHAW MOUNTAIN

The Bears from Bradshaw Mountain had one of their more successful seasons in program history a year ago, finishing 16-9 overall but going 12-0 in the Grand Canyon region to claim the title.

Bradshaw Mountain was one of three clubs in the 4A conference to win double-digit matches while being undefeated in region play. The other two were Poston Butte (10-0, Black Canyon) and Notre Dame Prep. (10-0, West Valley).

The Bears were able to qualify for the 4A state playoffs as a No. 10 seed, defeating No. 7-ranked Greenway 3-0 before losing to No. 2 Canyon Del Oro in round two, 3-0. Canyon Del Oro lost to No. 1-ranked Notre Dame 3-0 in the finals.

Despite the Bears graduating five starters from last year’s club, head coach Karrie Platt believes she has plenty of “strong players” returning to fill the void.

“We have strong players ready to step in and fill those roles. [We have] girls that know what it takes to compete at a high level,” Platt said via email Tuesday, Aug. 9.

The four varsity players returning include senior outside hitter Anna Daines, senior Mikayla Buckwalter and junior Maya Lopez, who will each share time as defensive specialists, and middle blocker Hannah Platt, who returns as the team’s best overall player.

Newcomers include middle blocker Kalli Smith and setter Bri Helmerson.

“We think our defense is going to be really strong this season. We will put up our biggest block we’ve ever had and have fast strong liberos and defenders,” Platt said. “Our region is really competitive. It’s certainly our goal to win region again, but respectfully know our competition is going to be strong.”

Opener: 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29, Greenway.

2A NORTH, ROUND VALLEY

After an early exit from the 2A state playoffs in a 3-1 loss to No. 7 Rancho Solano Prep., Round Valley is poised for another run at a 2A North region title this fall.

“As a coaching staff we have changed quite a few things for our program. We have switched athletes' positions, set up a different defense, and are currently increasing our offensive options,” Round Valley head coach Erin Stoffel said via email Aug. 5.

The Elks were 16-7 overall and finished a perfect 9-0 in region play before the early state loss a year ago. Stoffel returns several players from last season, including senior Allyson Muth at libero, junior Lauren Bates at outside hitter, and senior Mary-Kate Hunt at outside hitter.

“We have a deep lineup of returners this year,” Stoffel said. “Every single athlete on this varsity squad brings something to the table.”

Stoffel said many of her players spent time on both varsity and junior varsity last season due to small numbers in the program, but she feels that will only make them stronger this fall.

“Those extra touches have helped propel [our kids] forward this season,” Stoffel said.

Opener: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31, Joseph City.

1A NORTH, ROCK POINT

The defending 1A state champion Rock Point Cougars return this season having put in the record books one of Arizona’s best prep volleyball campaigns a year ago.

With the majority of the players coming back from the club that beat No. 2-ranked Tempe Prep in the state finals 3-2, only the third time the club was pushed to play a five-game set all season, head coach Kyle Arthur said his team’s biggest strength will be experience and motivation.

“These girls have overcome adversity many time over through unity and work ethic,” Arthur said via email Aug. 4. “Not only do they want to be better than their opponent this year, they want to be better than themselves last season.”

That’s going to be difficult.

In 2021, Rock Point recorded 27 straight victories after a 3-0 loss to Winslow in early September, earning the Cougars a title. That included a perfect 10-0 record in the 1A North region where they didn’t lose a game, sweeping all 10 opponents 3-0.

Arthur is confident his club will repeat as North champs this fall.

“We are in a great position to accomplish that goal again. We have the experience and determination to pull off another championship,” Arthur said. “It’s really going to come down to who wants it more. Other teams are not going to hand us the championship this year, so the sooner the girls understand that, the sooner they prepare themselves for the final dance mentally and physically.”

Top returners for Rock Point include Arianne Begay, a senior outside hitter; Taylyn Woody, a junior middle blocker; Sasha Chee, a senior defensive specialist and setter; and senior June Yazzie, a defensive specialist and setter.

Opener: 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, Williams.

1A CENTRAL, MOGOLLON

Reaching the 1A state semifinals and losing to No. 1-ranked Rock Point 3-0, 1A Central (Now 1A Copper) returning champ, the Mogollon Mustangs, can hold their heads high on a great 2021 season.

And the Mustangs hope to do it all over again in 2022.

Head coach Valerie Reynolds said Aug. 4 via email that her club is a “young team” with only three returning seniors, two of which didn’t get a lot of playing time last season.

“We worked hard over the summer and the younger girls have a lot of talent so we just have to work hard to get them where they need to be,” Reynolds said.

Ellie Hancock, a four-year senior starter, plays setter and outside hitter for the Mustangs, which finished 13-1 in the Central region a season ago to claim the title. They were 22-7 overall.

The other two seniors, Illa Despain and Lily Horn, will likely play opposite each other on the outside.

“I think we could win the region, but this year our region is completely different,” Reynolds said. The 1A Copper region includes Dishchii’bikoh, Fort Thomas, Hayden, Joseph City, Superior Jr./Sr. and Mogollon. Joseph City is the only holdover (besides Mogollon) in the region from a year ago.

Opener: 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26, at Fort Thomas.

OTHER RETURNING REGION CHAMPS IN NORTHERN ARIZONA

Anthem Prep. moves to the 1A Central this season after winning the 1A West by going a perfect 10-0 in region play last fall.

In 2A, the defending Central region champ, Sedona Red Rock, moves to the Metro region after going 11-1 in region play a season ago. The Scorpions earned a No. 8 seed and beat No. 9 Arizona Lutheran 3-0 in the first round of the state tournament, but suffered a 3-0 sweep to No. 1-ranked Chandler Prep. in round two.

As for the 3A, Monument Valley looks to defend its North title after going a perfect 10-0 in region play (16-1 overall), while the Lobos from Snowflake look to do the same in the East, repeat a 10-0 record from 2021.

Snowflake was the No. 1-seeded team heading into the state playoffs last season, but lost to No. 2 Valley Christian 3-0 in the 3A state finals.

Monument Valley opens the season Sept. 6 against Piedra Vista, while Snowflake opens against Tuba City on Aug. 24. Sedona opens against Kingman Academy on Aug. 25, and Anthem Prep. travels to Lincoln Prep. on Sept. 6.

For more information on these northern Arizona clubs, visit azpreps365.com.

Brian M. Bergner Jr. has covered professional, collegiate and high school sports for more than 20 years. If you have a northern Arizona high school story idea, feel free to contact him at bbergner@azpreps365.com. Follow him on Twitter @AzPreps365Brian.

Horror scenes as explosion rocks Hoover Dam – enormous black smoke cloud stops tour

The cause of the explosion in Nevada, United States, is not yet known. In a video shared on Twitter, a woman taking part in a tour of the concrete arch dam can be heard saying: "My goodness, something has just blown up." Alarm sirens could be heard in a second video.The incident happened just after 10am local time when visitors reported seeing an explosion, fire and smoke near the base of the dam.The City of Boulder said in a statement: "Boulder City Fire Department is en route to an emergency call at Hoover Dam....

The cause of the explosion in Nevada, United States, is not yet known. In a video shared on Twitter, a woman taking part in a tour of the concrete arch dam can be heard saying: "My goodness, something has just blown up." Alarm sirens could be heard in a second video.

The incident happened just after 10am local time when visitors reported seeing an explosion, fire and smoke near the base of the dam.

The City of Boulder said in a statement: "Boulder City Fire Department is en route to an emergency call at Hoover Dam.

"No further information is available at this time."

Built nearly a century ago — construction began in 1931 as the US was withering under the Great Depression — the Hoover Dam was designed to provide irrigation water and hydroelectric power, as well as to control seasonal flooding of the Colorado River, which made downstream settlement possible.

The largest dam in the world at the time of its completion in 1936, it stores enough water in Lake Mead to irrigate two million acres.

It also serves as a popular tourist destination.

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Today, although millions of gallons of river water continue to hurtle through the dam every day, generating electricity for hundreds of thousands of homes, drought in the west of the country is increasingly affecting the Hoover Dam, as reservoir levels are plummeting towards deadpool, at which point power production will no longer be possible.

At its height, the lake surface sits over 1,200 feet above sea level. But after more than two decades of drought, it is now less than 1,050 feet – the lowest since the lake was filled.

As it falls about a foot a week, the danger is obvious: If it drops to 950 feet, the intakes for the dam won't be under water and the turbines will stop.

The circumstances of Tuesday's incident remain unclear. Yet, people on social media were quick to point at climate change as the reason behind the explosion.

One Twitter user, @JaehJee, said: "My guess is an overheated transformer blew. Not a quick thing to replace. Could be a serious power supply problem for South California since output of the dam is already reduced due to low water."

The City of Boulder said in an update shortly before 12pm local time: "The fire was extinguished before Boulder City Fire Department arrived on scene.

"Bureau of Reclamation/ Hoover Dam will be handling any additional questions"

Willa Cather, Mesa Verde and Southwestern literature

Willa Cather is best known for her novels about pioneering the Great Plains, but she was also one of the first female writers to describe the Southwest. She became inspired by a transformative trip to Arizona and to Mesa Verde, and she reshaped Western writing and helped create Southwestern literature.Authorized with the stroke of a pen by Theodore Roosevelt in June 1906, Mesa Verde National Park influenced many creative people. Pioneer archaeologist Jesse Fewkes had the first National Park Service museum there. Superintendent Jesse N...

Willa Cather is best known for her novels about pioneering the Great Plains, but she was also one of the first female writers to describe the Southwest. She became inspired by a transformative trip to Arizona and to Mesa Verde, and she reshaped Western writing and helped create Southwestern literature.

Authorized with the stroke of a pen by Theodore Roosevelt in June 1906, Mesa Verde National Park influenced many creative people. Pioneer archaeologist Jesse Fewkes had the first National Park Service museum there. Superintendent Jesse Nussbaum helped design stone buildings in the park’s main area, now its own National Register District.

In the winters, Nussbaum built Southwestern furniture in Santa Fe, where he recommended the city’s distinctive Santa Fe style of flat roofs, projecting vigas and rooms with corner fireplaces. Designer and architect Mary Colter was inspired by Ancestral Puebloan towers at Mesa Verde and later designed The Watchtower on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.

∎∎∎

Willa Cather’s impact was different. She toured Mesa Verde and soaked up the stillness and the profound antiquity of the sites first named by the Wetherill brothers, early guides to the area when it was still Ute Indian land. She learned the oft-told tale of how Richard Wetherill and Charlie Mason, looking for lost cows as it began to snow on a December day “discovered” Cliff Palace, though the Ute elder Acowitz had told them of the impressive ruins long before.

Still, the discovery of what postcards would call “an ancient city of the silent dead,” intrigued Cather, who knew she had to write about it, knew she had to fictionalize the story, and she did. In the process, she reshaped writing about the West, which had almost exclusively been about gunslingers, lovesick cowboys, lost cows and conflict on the range.

The quintessential Western novel had been Owen Wister’s “The Virginian” (1902) with its famous walk-down, or gunfight, on a town’s main street. The Virginian, a good guy though he may have worn a black hat, outdraws his adversary and restores peace to the wild frontier. Most stories about the West had been cheap dime novels, stories about Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson and the drinking, gambling Earp brothers with their shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.

Cather was captivated by the Ancient Ones. Early on, she eschewed the hustle and bustle of the cattle towns, though they provided valuable markets for the Nebraska prairie farmers she would write about in “O Pioneers!” (1913) and immortalize in her book “My Antonia” (1918), which earned the Pulitzer Prize. Yet in addition to writing about pioneer experiences, she visited Mesa Verde. Less than a decade after Mesa Verde had been declared a national park, Cather published “The Song of the Lark” (1915), about a fictional Swedish American opera singer Thea Kronberg, who sought rest in a remote place.

Cather’s inspiration for “The Song of the Lark” came from Walnut Canyon National Monument, which she visited after arriving in Flagstaff, Arizona, in spring 1912. Not her strongest book, “The Song of the Lark” still displays Cather’s literary skills and descriptive style. She revels in describing an Ancestral Puebloan village in one of the first such accounts in American literature. Kronberg finds an ancient site and carefully explores it. Cather writes:

From the ancient dwelling there came always a dignified, unobtrusive sadness; now stronger, now fainter – like the aromatic smell which the dwarf cedars gave out in the sun – but always present, a part of the air one breathed. At night, when Thea dreamed about the canyon – or in the early morning when she hurried toward it, anticipating it – her conception of it was of yellow rocks baking in sunlight, the swallows, the cedar smell, and that peculiar sadness – a voice out of the past, not very loud ...

Cather, a Nebraskan, was deeply moved by Ancestral Puebloan builders and inhabitants. She reflects that emotional response in describing her fictional character Kronberg:

She found herself trying to walk as they must have walked, with a feeling in her feet and knees and loins, which she had never known before – which must have come up to her out of the accustomed dust of that rocky trail. She could feel the weight of an Indian baby hanging to her back as she climbed. The empty houses, among which she wandered in the afternoon, the blanketed one in which she lay all morning, were haunted by certain fears and desires; feelings about warmth and cold and water and physical strength.

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Cather’s train trip to the Southwest changed her life, and she, in turn, influenced Western literature.

The trip “began a love affair with ancient cliff dwellings and the desert,” wrote Mark Athitakis in Humanities. Cather arrived in Arizona after a busy six years during which she had risen to managing editor of McClure’s magazine, “a rare accomplishment for a woman in journalism at the time.”

Living in Greenwich Village in New York City, she became overwhelmed by the contrast of the vivid air and striking Southwestern light. “I long to tell you about wonderful Arizona,” Cather wrote a friend quoting novelist Honore de Balzac. “I really learned ... In the desert there is everything and nothing – God without mankind.”

In summer 1915, Cather spent a week at Mesa Verde where according to Athitakis, “she was again struck by the union of past and ancient civilizations, nature, and culture.” Cather’s Mesa Verde trip prompted her to write about the national park and also to help promote her new book, “The Song of the Lark.” In a short essay, she described how the park’s ruins “stood as if (they) had been deserted yesterday; undisturbed and undesecrated, preserved by the dry atmosphere and its great inaccessibility.”

“The Song of the Lark” was published on Oct. 2, 1915. A New York Post reviewer noted that “the cowpuncher’s experience of the West was not the only experience possible there.” A decade later, she published “The Professor’s House” (1925) with its lengthy fictional account of the Wetherill discovery. Instead of Richard Wetherill, the character is Tom Outland. He climbs up out of a canyon, which would have been Mancos Canyon, and he sees Cliff Palace for the first time. Cather writes:

Such silence and stillness and repose – immortal repose. That village sat looking down into the canyon with the calmness of eternity. The falling snowflakes, sprinkling the piñons, gave it a special kind of solemnity. I can’t describe it. It was more like sculpture than anything else. I knew at once that I had come upon the city of some extinct civilization, hidden away in this inaccessible mesa for centuries, preserved in the dry air and almost perpetual sunlight like a fly in amber, guarded by the cliffs and the river and the desert.

Like others of her generation, Cather falsely believed that Ancestral Puebloans had gone extinct, when in fact they had continued their migrations toward the upper Rio Grande Valley and the high mesas of Acoma, Hopi and Zuni. Their descendant communities thrive today.

Willa Cather worked in New York City. She would go on to write about New Mexico in “Death Comes for the Archbishop” (1927). Though she lived back East, a part of her heart always stayed with Southwestern cliff dwellings and their sunlit, narrow ledges. Her writing helped to define the Southwest as an inspiration for other writers, artists and travelers eager to see what she had seen, and eager to soak in some of that sandstone silence.

Andrew Gulliford is an award-winning author and editor and a professor of history at Fort Lewis College. Reach him at gulliford_a@fortlewis.edu.

Concerns arise about water source for I-17 project

With the 23-mile “Improving I-17” project underway, Black Canyon City residents voiced concerns over potential adverse effects to the Agua Fria River aquifer in a time where water levels are already low.Construction is set to start in 2022 to widen roadways, implement flex lanes and repair bridges stretching from Anthem Way to Sunset Point Rest Area. Laura Douglas, communications project manager for the ADOT Major Projects Team, said the developer, Kiewit-Fann Joint Venture, currently estimates 65 million gallons of water ...

With the 23-mile “Improving I-17” project underway, Black Canyon City residents voiced concerns over potential adverse effects to the Agua Fria River aquifer in a time where water levels are already low.

Construction is set to start in 2022 to widen roadways, implement flex lanes and repair bridges stretching from Anthem Way to Sunset Point Rest Area. Laura Douglas, communications project manager for the ADOT Major Projects Team, said the developer, Kiewit-Fann Joint Venture, currently estimates 65 million gallons of water will be needed for the project. This is an early estimate, though, and subject to change.

Mary Hoadley is a chair of the Upper Agua Fria Watershed Partnership, an organization that got involved in water for ADOT construction around 2013, after the Cordes Junction interchange reconfiguration project used more water than originally planned for and, as a result, a spring on Big Bug Creek went dry.

“It was clear that everybody acted within their legal rights,” Hoadley said. “After that, our group started meeting regularly with ADOT, and we wanted to try to get into the conversations at the beginning of any project to have ADOT require that any contractor use sustainable water supplies, that their withdrawals of water wouldn’t adversely impact any existing user or the environment.”

There are two major water companies in Black Canyon City, the Black Canyon Water Improvement District and the Coldwater Canyon Water Company. Those two companies serve over 2,000 people. Hoadley said companies have committed to not provide water for ADOT to protect the Agua Fria River aquifer water supply.

For the I-17 project, Douglas said Kiewit-Fann Joint Venture is still finalizing details on the water source. She said it is exploring a few different options, including getting water from EPCOR in Anthem, which would be nonpotable water that would not affect the water table, and getting water from a pump at a Fann-owned construction pit east of I-17 on Table Mesa Road. The developer is also talking to two private landowners in Black Canyon City about getting water from them.

“This is still in the discussion phase, and no agreements have been made,” Douglas said.

Concerns lie in the participation of the two private landowners in Black Canyon City. Hoadley said the city is not in an active management area, so private well owners have the right to sell their water and ADOT can dig wells without pumping restrictions. She acknowledged that while it is the property owner’s right to sell their water, this can still have a major impact on their neighbors’ water supply and, in turn, adversely affect the aquifer.

Ultimately, it is up to the developer to identify and provide the water source for the project while adhering to all state regulations, but, as Hoadley pointed out, the state regulations don’t always protect everyone.

“This could be another situation where everybody is in the right and everybody follows the law, but bad things happen regarding water,” Hoadley said.

Douglas, however, said ADOT has been in communication with the Upper Agua Fria Watershed Partnership and residents of Black Canyon City and has acknowledged concerns about water.

“ADOT is very much aware of our state’s water concerns during the long-term drought and the need to conserve this precious resource,” Douglas said. “The developer is working with EPCOR to secure and use nonpotable water as part of the overall water needs of the project.”

The department has had online open houses and public meetings to address questions and concerns about the improving I-17 project, and Douglas said it has been transparent with providing information. She added that as more information becomes available, that will be relayed to residents and all interested parties. Further information about the project can be found at improvingi17.com.

Here Are The Most Abandoned Spots Around Arizona

For some, surviving through a global epidemic may be something of a post-apocalyptic experience, but for others, wandering around deserted and undoubtedly haunted locales across Arizona may be the answer. Arizona may have just passed the century mark, but it still has a couple of long-forgotten sites and things scattered over its vast, parched landscape. These once-vibrant locations are now empty and accumulating dust. Arizona's arid deserts, hills, and valleys are littered with almost as many abandoned locations as its saguaros. Some sites ...

For some, surviving through a global epidemic may be something of a post-apocalyptic experience, but for others, wandering around deserted and undoubtedly haunted locales across Arizona may be the answer. Arizona may have just passed the century mark, but it still has a couple of long-forgotten sites and things scattered over its vast, parched landscape. These once-vibrant locations are now empty and accumulating dust. Arizona's arid deserts, hills, and valleys are littered with almost as many abandoned locations as its saguaros. Some sites bear merely traces of the individuals who had resided there, while others seem to be forbidden.

THETRAVEL VIDEO OF THE DAY

Let's take a glance at a few of Arizona's banned sites, which serve as relics of the state's forgotten past and places we don't recommend going solo.

Gila River Memorial Airport

This derelict former airport in Chandler still sits in the heart of the desert, with a half-dozen huge planes in varying degrees of disrepair. The airport, which was built in 1942, once served as a base for aircraft operations during WWII. Bold taggers, photographers, videographers, and ambitious Instagrammers have made it a popular location.

However, the rotting planes are located on the Gila River Indian Settlement, and visiting or photographing them requires a permit. If visitors are not willing to smooth talk their way out of a trespassing charge, don't even consider scoping out this location.

The Decaying Dog Tracks

Both of the deserted dog paths detailed below have been widely worn by urban explorers and trespassers in the past.

About 40 miles to the north of Phoenix, the Black Canyon City Dog Circuit is a haven for nomads and urban explorers and an interesting study in ruin. The Funk family constructed the dog track in 1967, and it held greyhound racing events till 1982. Ever since the late 1980s, this large property has been rapidly deteriorating, and it continues to be one of the Valley's most accessible abandoned locations.

The building of Phoenix Trotting Park started in 1964 on a bleak strip of desert near Goodyear that is today the bustling I-10. Due to minimal turnout and its remote site, the park was closed in 1966 after only a few races. The massive structure has stood unoccupied and in withering abandonment ever since. It is also said to be haunted by some.

The Boneyard

Over 4,000 military jets and choppers have been laid to rest at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), often known as "The Boneyard." It is the world's biggest airplane cemetery, displaying over 3000 aircraft on Davis-Monthan Airbase near Tucson. The aircraft, unlike Gila River, are either in storage or in the course of being refurbished or renewed.

There are also public tours available. The tours are only available during the week at the Pima Air & Space Museum. Photo identification is required for tour participants aged 16 and up, and stringent security protocols apply.

The Santa Claus Ghost Town

The village of Santa Claus was established in 1937 as a flamboyant tourist attraction and was a prominent Route 66 attraction for a few decades until trade deteriorated in the 1970s. During the mid-'90s, the Christmas-themed town in Mohave County was declared a ghost town.

Nina Talbot, an eccentric realtor, envisioned the hamlet as a year-round vacation destination. The Santa Claus Lodge, the town's only dining, was a big hit during its peak, as did the town's post office, which received an overflow of emails to Santa. The town's only resource of Christmas cheer is a dilapidated wishing well, destroyed, boarded-up structures, and a bright pink train that has derailed and is rotting. It is definitely among the tropical places that no family should consider vacationing.

Casa Grande Domes

Ever since the 1980s, this cluster of strange, crumbling circular shapes in Casa Grande has already been abandoned. The domes are the skeletal remains of a never-built computer hardware center.

On the other hand, these intriguing modern ruins resemble an abandoned extraterrestrial spacecraft rather than a relic of a bygone era of technology. Supernatural fans, urban explorers, graffiti makers, conspiracy theorists, and local youths searching for a private area to get inebriated have all been drawn to the massive, UFO-shaped artifacts.

The strange structures have even been featured on Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures. After the biggest dome collapsed in December, the district banned the domes. Even though the structures are set to be demolished, they will continue to stay in one of Arizona's mysterious places where tourists are forbidden, if not the creepiest.

From abandoned mining towns to Route 66 remnants, Arizona is home to a plethora of eerie locations in various states of decay. These locations, which were once thriving and flourishing with energy and kitschy mystery, now stand as forlorn, hollow bones from a bygone era.

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