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Archive for Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dandelion woes

June 27, 2007

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To the editor:

When we talk about the beauty of Douglas County, Lawrence and the surrounding area, we look at fine lawns and great amounts of vegetation. This is wonderful to see in the spring, until the dandelions appear. They multiply by the thousands every spring, and the city does nothing to stop it.

I spend more than $100 each year to put weed and feed on my lawn (as small as it is), but to no avail. I am losing a battle that can't be won alone. We need the city to get serious about killing the millions and millions of dandelion plants or we soon will be overrun with them and lose the beauty of the area. A little bit of weed killer on them and they will be gone, but it must be everyone who does this or we all suffer with those ugly things.

David Omar,

Lawrence

Comments

average 7 years, 6 months ago

There isn't a city in Kansas without dandelions.

They're natural. They've been here longer than humans have.

Might as well appreciate them as beautiful, good at breaking up hard soils, and tasty.

gr 7 years, 6 months ago

I do believe David is being sarcastic in response to http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/jun...

I just can't believe LJWorld prints sarcasm in their letters unless they missed it.

Jaehde 7 years, 6 months ago

This letter is a hoax, right? fishing to measure response, or something? Surely no one can seriously advocate using more herbicides.

LongGoneFromLarryville 7 years, 6 months ago

Dandelion wine, my man! Sure beats the chemical cocktail you're inflicting on the rest of us.

But I would be interested to hear your version of what the city could do to stop them! An ordinance perhaps? "Henceforth there shall be no unsightly weeds in our fair city."

TheYetiSpeaks 7 years, 6 months ago

Scientists have been working around the clock to combat this threat, not just on our lawns, but our LIVES. The president was said to be locked in his warroom with the Joint Chiefs and was unavailable for comment....or was it Chief joints?..anyway. Dan D. Lyon, repugnant weed, had this to say to the people of Lawrence: "You know, we just can't get ahead of ourselves. We gotta take it one yard at a time. We also have to watch out for that little Billy Hemlicker. I've lost a lot of comrades to plucked off heads."

terrapin2 7 years, 6 months ago

Not exactly. Judging by his credentials as a mortgage consultant, and his many past letters to the editor, I'm guessing he REALLY would like to see a city of unblemished lawns! http://www2.ljworld.com/photos/2006/dec/23/113424/ http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/mar... http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/jan...

The fact that Americans spend so much money & time on maintaining short grasses on their lawns is really a joke, and a sick joke if you're promoting the use of more poisonous chemicals. I grew up in Topeka and my Dad paid Chemlawn to spray our yard for many years, and while it did look nice it was kind of like the untouchable living room in a fancy house where the room looks nice because it is off limits to everyone! After they sprayed we were told we had to keep children and pets out of the lawn for something like 24 or 48 hours! How ridiculous to put pets & children through that in the first place, as if what was a concern yesterday is perfectly OK today!

That said, I am willing to maintain a large lawn in my backyard so my kids have a great place to play, but I don't use any chemical weed killers and I'm slowly converting our entire front yard into a garden, using as many native and drought-tolerant species as possible. And there again, I don't use any chemical pesticides or herbicides. Only natural options like pyrethrins, which are extracts from Chrysanthemums (mums), or lady bugs.

For my own sake, I can live with the dandelions........and look at them as just another flower that Mother Nature provided us with.

pelliott 7 years, 6 months ago

I am completely for redesigning the parks and flower bed to be pesticide and herbacide free and I totally believe this letter a hoax. i don't think an ordinance banning dandelioning within the city limits will stand up like the antismoking one did. But I admire Omar for willing to be ridiculed for a silly letter to keep the discussion lively. And the city of lawrence stood on the hill overlooking the river and decreed, from today forward all in Lawrence will place poisons or hot boiling water or dig until all dandelions die, die, die, and once full dandelion death has been obtained we will spread out and lobby all of kansas and we will rise up in an unrelenting mass and kill all the dandelions. They will all die die die, We might sacrifice our money, our time, our soil, our water, but we will get those little yellow flowers.

trinity 7 years, 6 months ago

oh, mister letter writer, it is time to {{embrace}} the dandy lions! i think they're a happy cheerful lil' sign of spring/summer! :-)

Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

This is in no way a rebuke to the author of the letter, but rather an honest question: Why do so many people hate dandelions? I have had lawns with them and without them and can't say I care too much either way.

Linda Endicott 7 years, 6 months ago

Personally, I have always thought that dandelions are pretty.

They're the first sure sign that spring is here, and they're yellow and cheerful.

I suppose he would also like to eliminate some of the other beautiful wildflowers along our roadways.

What grumps some people are.

karensisson 7 years, 6 months ago

Two words in response: corn gluten

Maybe this letter writer is another 10-year-old whose "proud parents" will weigh in soon to scold us all for not realizing it.

pelliott 7 years, 6 months ago

Gosh, maybe i should write that I think the chem green short lawns are too ugly for me to drive by. I do hate to drive by the fake things. In some neighborhoods they literally reek of poison. The beauty of Douglas county is marred by the the funny green lawns. I think of them as the french poodles of yards. The beauty of Douglas county is of course in the river, the hills, the pastures, the trees, I have to say, I have liked this one little french poodle so my comparison of those yards to a real actual dog was for illustration, I do not mean to besmirch any dog.

Snoop 7 years, 6 months ago

Being sort of a lawn Nazi I started to comment on this topic until I saw that this dude is a "letter to the editor" junkie. He has an addiction and you people are feeding it. When you see his name, back away from the keyboard, help him curb this addiction.

karensisson 7 years, 6 months ago

This is all you need to keep dandelions out of your yard.

http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2003/04/19/DKiller - dandelion killer tool

and

http://www.gardensalive.com/product.asp?pn=8862 - corn gluten prevents weed seeds from sprouting

If you use the corn gluten, the very few dandelions you might get anyway later on can be left to bloom, then you can get them with the dandelion kiiller tool before they go to seed - if you, like me, enjoy the flowers. Good job for an unemployed teenager. The corn gluten feeds the lawn as it breaks down, too.

My neighborhood smells like poison in the spring. I really hate it.

Linda Endicott 7 years, 6 months ago

Uh, TOB, you don't have holes in your yard if you leave the dandelions alone.

Once the flowers are done, the rest of the plant stays green.

And I even like the dandelions when they become little white puffballs.

countrygirl 7 years, 6 months ago

The dandelions don't bother me nearly me as the musk thistles growing all over the place. The state won't even take care of a noxious weed that grows along the state highways. I spent countless hours as a kid trying to keep those things under control in our pastures. To see them so thick and know how they can take over makes me a little sick. So give me dandelions over those nasty plants any day!

Eileen Jones 7 years, 6 months ago

The purple musk thistles are gorgeous!

I guess one man's weed is another man's flower.

pelliott 7 years, 6 months ago

my favorite line was "the beauty of Douglas County" I can hear the question, hey honey, your folks are coming to town, lets drive them up and down the suburban streets and show them the lawns, I bet they haven't seen anything prettier than that. I sure hope they don't have any dandelions, that just ruin it you know. Well if there is dandelion, we will have to make do with second best and take them down the farmers turnpike and just look at the river, and hills, the eagles, you know that would be such a pity.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 years, 6 months ago

The thistles are pretty, but I guess they are poison to cattle. They also aren't native to Kansas.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 7 years, 6 months ago

Just drink the Kool-Aid, man. Your dandelion problems will be solved!~) Seriously, though, you cannot even hope to eradicate the tooth of the lion. You can simply pull or rot a few in your sphere. Poor lawns.

Of course, I see almost NOBODY "enjoying" anything about their lawn beyond staring at it and relishing being a slave to its looks. It seems so unnatural, destructive, unproductive and foolhardy to hold a manicured monoculture in such high esteem. I mean, when you begin to think more about destroying life than promoting it, something is wrong.

Dandelions don't need our help and can survive our hatred. Until scientists find a way to block their reproductive processes, they will be fine, continuing to attempt to infiltrate all lawns and roaring their yellow slurs at our most toxic weapons of mass destruction. It will be difficult to block their proliferation, though, since they are self pollinating. http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~insrisg/nature/nw03/0602DandelionReprise.htm It seems as if just one of these "swine's snout" plants would have a chance of repopulating the entire planet! Wars just never end. I guess dandelions are a lot like terrorists and wasps. You can eradicate a big patch of them but their continued presence is pretty much guaranteed "...as long as grass grow...wind blow...and the sky is blue..."

Emily Hadley 7 years, 6 months ago

This has to be a joke.

I have never put any chemicals on any earth surface anywhere I have lived, and I have never had any problems with dandelions.

If I did, I couldn't imagine complaining to the government to take care of it. We have a budget crisis that vows to cut social services and kill the bus system, yet some people seriously DO want taxpayers to pay to spread poison on their lawns and even every other area where their children play.

Perhaps Mr. Omar has just taken one too many spins around his cul-de-sac and gotten disoriented.

Emily Hadley 7 years, 6 months ago

terrapin posted http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/jan...

I suppose I would rather people complain about weeds and be rational about nuclear war than have things the other way around!!

Linda Endicott 7 years, 6 months ago

According to what I found online, dorothy, thistles aren't poisonous at all. The leaves have little spines on them, which can be irritating to cattle, but they're not considered dangerous.

However, before I read the stuff online this morning about thistles, I believed all the hype the county and city governments around here spewed about the "dangers" of thistle.

They can be annoying in crops, but probably not any more so than any other plant considered a weed.

Nate Poell 7 years, 6 months ago

It doesn't seem possible that this guy is serious. And I agree w/LongGoneFromLarryville, if you're that upset about dandelions, dandelion wine is a labor-intensive but wonderful revenge.

trinity 7 years, 6 months ago

oh! emily this is priceless, lol! "Perhaps Mr. Omar has just taken one too many spins around his cul-de-sac and gotten disoriented."

i long for the days when my three angelic daughters used to make me dandelion necklaces from the stems, after blowing the puffballs off. sigh those are some sweet memories of being a young mama!

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm with this guy: I wish more people in my nieghborhood would do their part to deal with the weeds. But, I'm not calling on the city to "do" something. That's going a bit too far. My plan: I'm going to spray my nieghbor's yard when he's not around.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 7 years, 6 months ago

OldEnuf2BYurDad says: I'm going to spray my nieghbor's yard when he's not around.

---Oh, no...The turf wars begin!~)

nettieb 7 years, 6 months ago

I wish this is was my biggest stress.

Don't you think the city has more important things than your lawn to worry about?

I don't care about your lawn. I will not do my part to erradicate them so you can have people drive by and look at your green carpet.

countrygirl 7 years, 6 months ago

Musk thistle are extremely invasive. If left unchecked, they will take over an entire pasture and livestock won't eat them. There's a reason that Kansas has declared it a noxious weed!

Linda Endicott 7 years, 6 months ago

Then why would you leave them unchecked?

All it takes is a little simple digging to remove them for good.

average 7 years, 6 months ago

OldEnuf -

Here's hoping I'm not your neighbor. I may not be the perfect neighbor, but the anyone I find surreptitiously spraying mysterious chemicals on my property will find themselves deeply regretting that decision.

Jamesaust 7 years, 6 months ago

Actually, dandelions are not native to North America but were brought along by Europeans. Supposedly, some Native Americans called them "White Man's Footprint" as the dandelions spread faster than did European settlers. (That's pretty fast.)

Per some magazine in a doctor's waiting room last month, dandelions make a very health salad green (particularly high in Vitamin A and potassium). Perhaps this letter's author could use a broader diet?

countrygirl 7 years, 6 months ago

crazy ks-- The state of Kansas lets the darn things just go on the road sides. They might mow them off once in a while, buy the thistles still bloom and the seeds spread just like a dandelion. I've seen musk thistles get way over head high with tons of blooms on them. At that stage, you have to dig, pull the blossoms off and them chop up the plant or any buds still on it will go ahead and bloom. Makes for a heck of a work out. I'm just annoyed that Kansas has declared it a noxious weed (meaning you are required to get rid of any you have) and yet the highways have tons of them along side the roads. Feels like fighting a losing battle.

aquakej 7 years, 6 months ago

My boyfriend has a tortoise whose favorite food is dandelions, so we like them. Plus, they are pretty. Perhaps the writer of this letter should look into a pet tortoise to eat his dandelions. Chemicals are never the answer.

Eileen Jones 7 years, 6 months ago

countrygirl,

Why can't the farmers mow the ditches adjacent to their land, since they are the ones who care so much? It strikes me this is a day's work for a farmer who likely has the equipment to do it anyway.

The state doesn't have money for everything.

countrygirl 7 years, 6 months ago

Farmers mow the interstates?? And burn more expensive fuel? The roads and ditches are the responsibilty of the state or county. And like I said earlier, mowing doesn't really help. You either have to dig or spray.

Eileen Jones 7 years, 6 months ago

The last thing I want is for the state to poison all the ditches. Sorry, countrygirl.

countrygirl 7 years, 6 months ago

All I'm saying is that the state of Kansas says you have to control muskthistle on your own property. Then you drive down the interstate and the areas around the over passes and off ramps are loaded with the darn things. Surely one of those guys who passes his day by leaning on a shovel could actually use it. Heaven knows I've dug my share of them.

Eileen Jones 7 years, 6 months ago

Mr_Ramirez,

Apparently it is farmers who have a problem with this particular weed countrygirl mentions. Nobody else cares. Why does the state have to alter the ecosystem for the farmers, at taxpayer cost? Farmers are the ones who claim to be for small government until they want something, like agricultural subsidies, and now the state controlling the plant life based on their wishes.

Eileen Jones 7 years, 6 months ago

BTW my father in law is a wheat farmer and they do cut down the weeds in their ditches, either with a weedeater or a riding mower. He's kind of anal about his property, probably more than the average farmer.

Eileen Jones 7 years, 6 months ago

Jamesaust says, Per some magazine in a doctor's waiting room last month, dandelions make a very health salad green (particularly high in Vitamin A and potassium).

And incredible as a wilted salad with a hot dressing of bacon and drippings, onion fried in it, sugar, salt, pepper, and cider vinegar. Throw some of the flowers in, too.

countrygirl 7 years, 6 months ago

Stain, why don't you ask your father in law how many chemicals he uses in farming? Might surprise you. And I was talking about along the interstates. You offering to go mow those off? People besides just farmers should be concerned about these things. You let one go in your yard and you'll just think dandelions are bad.

alicenevada 7 years, 6 months ago

I am guessing Omar does not live in East Lawrence! There is so much beauty in my neighborhood, and a lot of it is just from all the native "weeds" and plants that grow in the yards up and down my street. When spring hits and the dandy's sprout in my yard, I just let them do their thing until all the white puffs have blown away. My yard looks like a snowy field for awhile and it is actually quite pretty, although mildly irratating at first because of how fast they grow! Also, does anyone know where I can get one of those hand push mowers that don't require any gas?

Eileen Jones 7 years, 6 months ago

Mr_Ramirez,

My father in law, unlike most of them, at least acknowledges agricultural subsidies are a form of socialism. And no, I don't admire him for voting like a robot - Republican every time, no matter who or what.

Eileen Jones 7 years, 6 months ago

countrygirl,

The amount of chemicals wheat farmers use is horrible. So what. They are depleting the land and the water table and they know it, and it will not be sustainable in the end. If your point is that they already use lots of chemicals on fields so the state might as well spend taxpayer money to poison the ditches too, I don't buy it.

Eileen Jones 7 years, 6 months ago

countrygirl,

According to the State of Kansas noxious weed control department, musk thistle is an annual or biennial, which means that mowing would kill it, although it might come back the second year if a biennial, and in fact mowing is what they recommend.

http://www.ksda.gov/plant_protection/content/181/cid/587

I wonder what it would cost each time the state mowed all the interstate ditches, and how many times in a year they would have to do it. Where would this money come from? The state doesn't even have the money to educate our kids properly or followup on all child abuse reports.

Do you think it is possible for the state to eradicate this weed? Wouldn't seeds just blow in all over again, from, say, Oklahoma?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

Great article in yesterday's Topeka Capital-Journal about how the City of Lawrence is spraying toxic weed killer in violation of its own policy:

Letters to the editor, Topeka Capital-Journal

Published Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Let us not spray

After reviewing the pesticide record for 2006, I have discovered that two pesticides were used in violation of the current Lawrence Parks and Recreation pesticide use policy.

In 2005, parks management told the Lawrence City Commission the department would no longer use category I and II pesticides. However, the record indicates that Surge and Trimec Plus were used. Surge is a category I pesticide. EPA Category I pesticides are deemed highly toxic. Trimec Plus is in category II, considered by the EPA to be moderately toxic.

This is a serious situation. For two years, parks and recreation has told the Lawrence community that it doesn't use highly toxic or moderately toxic pesticides when it clearly has and continues to do so.

Making false claims such as this puts the community at risk physically and the city at risk legally and further serves to severely erode trust between city and community.

This serious situation is unfortunately just the latest example of a pattern of behavior that illustrates a lack of leadership and a lack of appropriate controls and oversight pertaining to pesticide-free maintenance.

The pesticide-free process wasn't intended to challenge the department to reinvent the wheel.

LPRD needs to be directed to correct the outstanding deficiencies and develop leadership in this area by consulting with experts and professionals who have been successful in the field of pesticide-free maintenance.

MARIE L. STOCKETT, co-coordinator, Pesticide-Free Parks Project, Lawrence

karensisson 7 years, 6 months ago

The_Original_Bob (Anonymous) says: Yeah, they die and then new dandelions emerge in other spots choking out other grass. I was thinking crabgrass or something else. While it drives the wife nuts, I'm not sure she'd write a letter to the editor chastizing the citizens of Lawrence for liking ugly ass dandelioins.

Try corn gluten.

You have to put it on early in the season because it dries out seeds - all seeds - so they won't germinate. If your grass comes up without the dandelion "holes" there will be fewer spots for new windblown seeds to settle in and you'll have a leg up on the weeds in another way.

It doubles as a fertilizer, adding nitrogen as it breaks down.

trinity 7 years, 6 months ago

alicenevada, the home depot has those reel-type mowers that don't have an engine. i'm thinking of getting one myself, only have a really small patch to hand mow. we had a couple of 'em when i was a kid, i used to think mowing was fun! :-p

karensisson 7 years, 6 months ago

countrygirl says "You let one go in your yard and you'll just think dandelions are bad."

If I let a musk thistle go in my yard I won't blame the government for not herbiciding half the state. That is a really scary thought. I thought farmers were all about personal responsibility.

Confrontation 7 years, 6 months ago

It sounds like someone is jealous that dandelions are hotter than he is.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

It is rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, and other substances that may protect against cancer. It is also a good source of fiber and various minerals, particularly iron and calcium. Ounce to ounce, dandelion are richer in calcium than milk.

Health benefits The plant is used in the treatment of gall bladder, urinary disorders, chronic joint diseases (arthritis, gout...) and skin complaints (acne, eczema...). Dandelion supports digestion and have natural laxative hepatic and diuretic properties which help reduce swelling and inflammation. Liver is one of the primary organ of concern in dealing with an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis. One half cup of dandelion juice morning and evening on an empty stomach seems to be effective. Dandelion juice is also good for obesity, gout, hypertension, arteriosclerosis, kidney stones... The vitamin A in it boosts our immune system and the alkaline power of dandelion helps us fight herpes virus. It is a friend for our arteries and veins. It has a positive effect on cholesterol and varicose. The plant also has an antibacterial action.

Careful: People with delicate digestive tracts might want to dilute dandelion juice with carrot juice.

http://www.dietobio.com/aliments/en/dandelion.html

gr 7 years, 6 months ago

Stain, the pain: "I wonder what it would cost each time the state mowed all the interstate ditches, and how many times in a year they would have to do it."

Well, how much would it cost the farmers to mow the ditches. They aren't the ones who have a problem with thistles. It's the fat slobs sitting in their fancy offices looking out the window and saying "Ewwww, I don't like dandylions. I don't like thistles. I think I'll make a law that forces farmers to get rid of them at their expense. But I won't worry about the state, county, city thistles. It costs too much."

That's what I believe countrygirl is objecting to.

Linda Endicott 7 years, 6 months ago

I haven't noticed that many thistles and such along the interstates myself...but perhaps I wasn't looking as closely as countrygirl...

The state already DOES mow the areas along the interstates and in the medians. I see them out there mowing off and on all summer. Don't you? When was the last time you saw tall grass and weeds right next to the highways?

Although I don't know how far back from the road they're required to mow.

Charles L Bloss Jr 7 years, 6 months ago

Marion, I refuse to get drunk on dandelions. In fact, I refuse to get drunk on anything, but I did like your solution. Thank you, Lynn

Linda Endicott 7 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for the info on the old push mowers, Trinity...I've been thinking about getting one.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

I would like more growth along the highways for it is more beautiful than constantly mowed areas. Let some evergreens grow...what the heck.

Allow some trees to grow up in the median strip. They just might become a traffic calming device each time they prevent a vehicle from crossing over into oncoming traffic.

Why burn all that gasoline and/or diesel?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

A money saving idea for some who like to keep large yards spotless. Build a leaf,branches and grass corral in the back yard. Have your yard debris dumped there which would quicker and less tedious than bagging. Also would require fewer hours of hired help. Next thing you presto/chango you have mulch for your flower/shrub gardens. If chemicals are used in the yard this mulch would not be suggested for a food garden.

When I drive by homes on Inverness I often wonder why those yards do not have large beautiful beds out front instead of many miles of grass.

Eileen Jones 7 years, 6 months ago

max1 (Anonymous) says: "Apparently it is farmers who have a problem with this particular weed countrygirl mentions. Nobody else cares." -stain Wrong! You've also demonstrated ignorance about many other agricultural topics.

I never claimed to be a weed expert. OK, you're right: farmers AND the noxious weed control department at the State of Kansas care about musk thistle.

I still don't think the state should poison every ditch in the state to fight a losing battle against one weed. When you poison one thing, you kill many others - some you don't even know about. Let's please reserve the use of poison for the most dire of situations - malaria, for example.

Eileen Jones 7 years, 6 months ago

max1 You just don't get it. Apparently you don't mind if noxious non-native weeds kill our native ecosystem.

Do you advocate killing everything in the ditches by spraying them? How would this work, in reality?

Eileen Jones 7 years, 6 months ago

max1: There may be a misunderstanding. My point has been that the average person does not mind the look of these thistles. I, for one, find them beautiful, and often comment on them when I'm driving in the country. At least I think they are musk thistles - the tall, purple thistles.

I understand they bother farmers who must keep them in control on their land. I understand there is a department at the state charged with controlling certain things.

I just don't think the average person is bothered by these weeds. So if you advocate extreme measures to kill them, don't blame it on the average joe who is not complaining about them and probably doesn't even know what they are.

gr 7 years, 6 months ago

From the Sericea link: "Its perceived value at the time for erosion control, hay, wildlife cover and food, and seed production was generally accepted"

Anyone else see the parallels? Global warming caused by man - generally accepted. Little study done. --Oops, maybe not what we thought.

What's interesting is no one learns from past mistakes. They are continually introducing new alien species and then going, "oops".

Then, they tell the farmers they must control the mistakes the state made. That's what's not fair.

Janet Lowther 7 years, 6 months ago

It is the lawn that is unnatural, not the dandelion.

In most of Kansas, the lawn is an exotic creature, created at great expense out of a prairie.

I don't remember if the dandelion is a native or not, though I doubt it: It doesn't grow tall enough to compete with most tall grass prairie plants.

The city really aught to make provisions for more natural landscaping. They won't even allow for natural grass control. The lawns in New York City's Central Park were maintained with sheep into the 1930s.

pelliott 7 years, 6 months ago

I don't know this farmer who thinks as you think he thinks. The Farmer I know is a complex guy that has a lot of different personalities, one side of him panhandles off the government, one side leases his land, one side farms the same land his grandpa did but grows organic and one side thinks suburban city people are all stupid.

gr 7 years, 6 months ago

"Maybe it is because most farmers believe in evolution and not burning books."

"Most farmers".

Evidence, please.

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