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Archive for Friday, January 6, 2012

Trash task force sets recycling goal, public forum

John Harjo pushes a trash bin while members of the city's Solid Waste Task Force observe, Tuesday, May 17, 2011. The task force took a tour to learn more about of Lawrence trash and recycling operations.

John Harjo pushes a trash bin while members of the city's Solid Waste Task Force observe, Tuesday, May 17, 2011. The task force took a tour to learn more about of Lawrence trash and recycling operations.

January 6, 2012

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Lawrence, get ready to recycle and get ready to talk about it.

The city’s Solid Waste Task Force at its Thursday evening meeting made a last-minute decision to recommend a new over-arching goal for its trash service: increase the city’s recycling rate to 50 percent by the year 2020.

“We have talked about the importance of increasing recycling for quite a while now,” said Mayor Aron Cromwell, who chairs the task force. “But we need to have something specific in mind that we’re trying to achieve. And I think this is very achievable.”

Now, city leaders want to hear what residents think about that goal and other proposed changes to the city’s trash and recycling system. Task force members agreed to host a public forum Jan. 19 to receive comments about the task force’s draft plan that will be delivered to city commissioners.

The time and location for the meeting haven’t yet been set. Task force members plan to release the draft plan on the city’s website in about a week once staff members finish making revisions to the document.

But at Thursday’s meeting, task force members reviewed several of the major elements of the plan. They included:

• Increasing the communitywide recycling rate to 50 percent by 2020. Currently, the city’s recycling rate is 34 percent, although the city’s auditor has questioned how that rate is figured.

For much of the 10 months that the task force has been meeting, city staff members have recommended against creating specific numerical goals and noted that a recycling rate could be particularly problematic because it can be rather imprecise.

But as task force members were concluding Thursday’s meeting, a majority said they believed a specific goal should be included in order for the public to better grasp what the city is trying to accomplish by changing its trash system.

“I don’t understand why we’re being so squishy on this,” said Sam Porritt, a task force member. “We’re recommending curbside recycling. What do we hope to get out of that? What is the fear of putting a goal out there?”

• Mandatory usage of carts for both trash and recycling continue to be a major part of the recommendations. The city would provide two carts to every single-family household. One would be for recycling and one would be for trash. The carts would be compatible with hydraulic lifts on the city’s trash trucks, reducing workers’ compensation costs. The report also leaves open the possibility that the city could switch to fully-automated trucks that would reduce the number of crew members on a trash truck from three to one.

The report, however, suggests that residents be given some leeway to occasionally set out trash bags on those weeks when they have more trash than can fit into the mandated carts. The report states that city staff members will have to decide how large the carts should be — likely either 65 gallons or 90 gallons.

• The report recommends the city receive proposals from private companies to run a new citywide curbside recycling program. The report recommends that a new curbside recycling program be created but recognizes it must be fiscally feasible. The report recommends any curbside service be offered on a weekly basis.

• Residents would be required to pay for the curbside recycling service, regardless of whether they choose to use the service. The curbside service simply would be included as part of the city’s standard monthly trash rate. The report doesn’t predict how much curbside recycling may add to a resident’s monthly trash bill. Cromwell previously has said he’s confident total monthly trash bills will be less than $20 per month under any new service.

City Manager David Corliss said Thursday he believes it is possible that people who currently pay a city trash bill plus pay for a private recycling service will pay less under a new system than what they pay today.

• Residents of apartment complexes largely will have to wait and see what changes may be in store for their trash service. The task force essentially said it ran out of time before it was able to discuss possible changes to the city’s multi-family and commercial trash services. But the report indicates that changes to those services are possible in the future.

Task force members are expected to finalize their report after hearing public comments Jan. 19. The report then will be forwarded to the Lawrence City Commission, which will have the final say on any changes that will be made to the trash service.

Cromwell said he expects having much of the trash discussion completed by April.

Comments

Alceste 2 years, 11 months ago

Ah ha. Alceste understands more better, now, why there is this huge thrust to fix something that isn't broken: Cromwell "heads" this group and no doubt packed it with like minded air heads. This:

• Mandatory usage of carts for both trash and recycling continue to be a major part of the recommendations. The city would provide two carts to every single-family household. One would be for recycling and one would be for trash. The carts would be compatible with hydraulic lifts on the city’s trash trucks, reducing workers’ compensation costs. The report also leaves open the possibility that the city could switch to fully-automated trucks that would reduce the number of crew members on a trash truck from three to one.

RUBBISH! There are PLENTY of "households" that simply don't generate so much "trash" that they can even half way fill one of these containers, let alone two. As well, where is a household expected to place the darn things? Let the state worry about recycling. Begin with a deposit on bottles, as an example, just like "the good ole days" when a kid could go around making a nickle for every pop bottle turned back into the grocery store.

City trash services are just fine the way they are now. Leave it be.

conservative 2 years, 11 months ago

While I agree that the city should stay out of the recycling and only encourage it by making it more expensive to throw away more than one cart of trash, to say the city trash services are fine the way they are is rubbish. The city has routinely run the services in the red and thats after they charge more than many similar sized cities in the area. The problem is the lack of automation and the 3 man trash crews. The city needs to move to carts and get down to 1 man trash crews. And the constantly repeated mantra of they will get down to 1 man per crew through attrition instead of laying people off needs to be abandoned. As soon as a truck is equiped to be run with one person that is all the people we have spots for. The city will need to bite the bullet and lay people off just like any other responsible business does when it no longer has a job for a person to fulfill.

Alceste 2 years, 11 months ago

You note: "The city has routinely run the services in the red and thats after they charge more than many similar sized cities in the area." I dunno about the numbers, but you will see a substantial increase should this nonsense be implemented. shrug It's just a backdoor way of raising city received taxes.

Getaroom 2 years, 11 months ago

Care to share percentage statics on how many households do not generate "that much trash". And might as well pony up the stats on how many households have no children, but pay taxes supporting Education and might as well add city street maintenance because some do not drive. Things do not need to be "broken" to improve they way system works.
Seems you do not understand as much as you think

Alceste 2 years, 11 months ago

Oh my word.....thems is what you call allegories. Excussssssssssssssse me....quoting Steve Martin that I don't have the stats. Too, don't get started about the the number of households with no children who subsidize the public school system which is yet another sore point.

The bottom line is that it's just another TAX the "city" wants to burden people with; it's NOT an improvement; and, in fact, will cut jobs. Lawrence is broken beyond repair. An "improvement". Please: What a joke!

pace 2 years, 11 months ago

I agree a deposit bill for beverage containers would be great, hold your breath for the state of Ks to do it. Some towns have enacted such bills, but a multi-state approach is much more efficient. Kansas legislature was bought and sold to Birp a long time ago.

There are not plenty of household who don't generate recyclable paper and cboards.

Every home in this town has paper in their trash every month. 99% every week. Every home and business is currently spending money to send paper, chip board, card boards, to the landfill. It should be recycled. In the long run it will serve this city and this country if we stop land-filling very easily recyclable materials and collect them curbside.

irvan moore 2 years, 11 months ago

wow, cromwell must have been right all along, the others on the task force have the same ideas. fixing one of the few city services that ain't broke shows the kind of leadership that we have come to expect from him.

Eileen Jones 2 years, 11 months ago

Exactly. The trash service is the one thing that WORKS in this town. Shame on them for tampering with it. They'll only make everything not work that works now.

Mike Edson 2 years, 11 months ago

Not interested in recycling. It is about as use full as hybrid and electric cars. The recycling process uses more energy than it saves and it is expensive. If you want to recycle come up with a creative way to re-purpose your bottles and containers. If the city goes to a mandatory recycling program I will hire an independent trash service.

parrothead8 2 years, 11 months ago

The recycling process is more about saving materials than energy. The more we re-use, the less we have to keep digging up or cutting down.

And I'd like to see you "come up with a creative way to re-purpose" everything that's recyclable. Think of everything you buy that's recyclable never leaving your house. I can only imagine how fast you'd wind up on an episode of "Hoarders."

salad 2 years, 11 months ago

Not true. Recycled glass uses 1/2 the energy just to remelt as it takes to melt raw material (silica....sand). If the glass bottles are simply cleaned and reused, the energy savings are tremendous. Recylcing aluminum saves around 90% of the energy used to refine aluminum from ore. Plastic is more difficult to recycle, but it's a finite resource.

salad 2 years, 11 months ago

Not true. Recycled glass uses 1/2 the energy just to remelt as it takes to melt raw material (silica....sand). If the glass bottles are simply cleaned and reused, the energy savings are tremendous. Recylcing aluminum saves around 90% of the energy used to refine aluminum from ore. Plastic is more difficult to recycle, but it's a finite resource

Liberty275 2 years, 11 months ago

That's nice. Shouldn't the glass companies be paying us for our used glass then?

Why is the city even considering charging residents when they will be selling the glass, aluminum and paper? If anything, they should reduce our garbage bill if we recycle.

All that was sarcasm. I expect government will squeeze every dollar possible out of citizens.

Until recycling can pay for itself, It's as dumb as buying an "carbon neutral" electric car that in reality runs on coal.

cowboy 2 years, 11 months ago

• Residents would be required to pay for the curbside recycling service, regardless of whether they choose to use the service. The curbside service simply would be included as part of the city’s standard monthly trash rate. The report doesn’t predict how much curbside recycling may add to a resident’s monthly trash bill. Cromwell previously has said he’s confident total monthly trash bills will be less than $20 per month under any new service.

Headline should read "Bend Over"

skinny 2 years, 11 months ago

I don't recycle and I am not paying for recycling. Get ready for a class action lawsuit!

Lee Eldridge 2 years, 11 months ago

"City Manager David Corliss said Thursday he believes it is possible that people who currently pay a city trash bill plus pay for a private recycling service will pay less under a new system than what they pay today."

You can recycle for FREE at Wal-Mart.

I pay Deffenbaugh less than $6/month, then make monthly trips to Wal-Mart with glass and plastic bags. Unless the city can do it for less than that, I'm not interested.

repaste 2 years, 11 months ago

Will closing our biggest recycling center help reach this goal?

Eric Neuteboom 2 years, 11 months ago

No kidding!!! That is conspicuously absent from these reports. And have you noticed that there is, literally, no place in town that is accepting glass for recycling now? We've tried several times over the last few weeks with no luck!

I also find is disingenuous for the article to state that carts are "being provided" to residents. They are not free, as this implies, but we will be charged for them.

Also note that any automated trash trucks would need to be purchased. How exactly are those going to be paid for?

parrothead8 2 years, 11 months ago

By "literally," you mean you've found NO place in town to accept your glass, even though the guy you're replying to talks about how much glass Walmart accepts?

Chad Lawhorn 2 years, 11 months ago

It is not disingenuous for me to write that the carts would be provided to residents. The city would provide you the carts — the city would actually own them — as opposed to you being required to buy them from a third party. "Provided" and "free" aren't synonyms.

As for glass, there's some news about that in today's Town Talk column.

Thanks, Chad

Alceste 2 years, 11 months ago

Yeah? Where you put them big a** carts?

Alceste 2 years, 11 months ago

"provided"......but AT A COST. ("provided" alone implies free to the prudent person)

nativeson 2 years, 11 months ago

The solid waste division has been highly regarded in citizen surveys. That being said, the community feedback has been consistent with its desire to have universal curbside recycling. The recommendation appears to be splitting the difference. It is illogical for recycling to be outsourced and have solid waste collection remain a city service. How can that be efficient? I think it needs to be one or the other.

The other issue being sidestepped regards variable billing. It has been highlighted in every report that their is some inequity in charging a flat fee across the board. I think one reason this is not being considered is based on the inability for the city to bill on a variable basis. However, our recycling rate will likely remain constant without the financial incentive to recycle for some households.

All the issues need to be put on the table. I believe if recycling is outsourced it will eventually lead to outsourcing solid waste.

conservative 2 years, 11 months ago

It is actually very easy for the city to charge more for people who use more. Mandate carts and if you have extra bags they require a sticker bought from the city. Set the price for the stickers at whatever is necessary to make the trashier households pay their share. I know several places in KC that use this method. Each household gets 5 free stickers per year and the rest cost.

tir 2 years, 11 months ago

I don't want to be forced to use two mandatory city trash cans and pay more for it. I want to recycle my stuff myself, for free.

What I would like from the city are some 24 hour bins around town where people could recycle glass, steel cans, and ALL plastic, like the bins already in place for recycling cardboard, paper, and aluminum cans. I hate, absolutely hate, having to hang around out at Walmart until 10 am just to recycle steel cans, and I can't recycle all my plastics out there, either. Now that the East Lawrence facility is closed, there is no free place to recycle plastics other than Walmart, which only accepts 1's and 2's.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 11 months ago

Government competing with private (Tax paying) enterprise, and they wonder why we don't have a tax base.

buffalo63 2 years, 11 months ago

Still haven't heard what they plan to do with yard waste. We live in an older neighborhood with plenty of trees (and leaves). Do we have to put stickers on the 5-20 bags a week in the fall? Or do we do like the neighbor a couple of blocks over and burn the leaves in the newly repaved street and have the fire department roll out two trucks and an ambulance to try and put them out?

Chad Lawhorn 2 years, 11 months ago

As currently written, the yard waste service would be unchanged. Just set them out in your paper bags and they'll pick them up and recycle them. Thanks, Chad

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 11 months ago

Its fine, KRichards, next to Bozo and Merrill is one of the boards self appointed forum cops. Most of us choose to call it a troll.

Don Whiteley 2 years, 11 months ago

For what is supposed to be a progressive city, Lawrence is living in the stone age when it comes to recycling. Most other cities, even those our size, already have well established recycling programs. In Phoenix, they have one person who drives a truck up to your driveway. Beyond that, picking up the barrel(s) and dumping the trash and/or recyclables is all automated, so collecting trash becomes a one person operation, not a crew of 3 or 4. If the city implements the right system, it could save thousands of dollars.

Eileen Jones 2 years, 11 months ago

This is not about money - at least not about the city's money and the taxpayer's money. It's about the greedy companies who want this privatized, and the commissioners who are on the take.

ssteve1 2 years, 11 months ago

If you want to see government recycling in action, go to Chapel Hill, NC. There, you can drive around the city and see the recycling containers (plastic!) sitting on the curbside, day after day, with the wind blowing cardboard, plastic bottles, paper plates (with spoiled left-overs) blowing up and down the streets. Looks good. Great plan. Best of luck.

parrothead8 2 years, 11 months ago

That's why Lawrence wants to use wheeled carts. With lids. To keep stuff from blowing around. As stated in the story. But nice try.

asixbury 2 years, 11 months ago

Newton has a mandatory recycling program. It's so convenient; I don't know why anyone wouldn't use it. It did not cost much more than regular trash pickup either. For a town as "liberal" as Lawrence, I was surprised they didn't already have a curbside recycling program included in their trash service. Not representing the "tree-huggers" very well, are we now? I do not recycle now because of the inconvenience. I will if they provide carts for it. (Yes, I know, I am a little lazy, but at least I'm honest).

tigerman03 2 years, 11 months ago

As jackbooted green stormtroopers march down your street and yank any offenders out of their homes for not conforming to Our Glorious Dear Leader Herr Cromwell's decree!

I can hear the theme song for this "Green Nazification" of Lawrence playing now... "The GREEN POLICE, they root through my government mandated trash bins!" (Uh-oh they found an aluminum can mixed in with the regular trash, HORRORS!) "The GREEN POLICE, they're coming to arrest me, OH NOOOOO!!!

ALL HAIL BIG BROTHER GOVERNMENT Thank you for doing all the thinking for me. I shall return to my TV and beer now and wait for you to determine when I will be sent to the disintegration chamber.

SouthWestKs 2 years, 11 months ago

Hay, that 2 cart system looks like a winner!! Need 2 new trucks & training on how to run them.. Will only lose 1 man per truck.. One truck comes by an picks up the trash.. Second truck comes by an picks up the recycling stuff.. Double the mileage, double the cost per truck & double the smog created.. Enjoy the warm weather!! Have a good day..

satie 2 years, 11 months ago

No kidding, let's talk about "smog". The kind that's generated from those lousy "T" buses that nobody uses. Gotta keep 'em looking spiffy, too and that ain't cheap nor is the damage they inflict on our streets. This town was once a pleasure to live in, beautiful and affordable. The citizens of Lawrence weren't bullied out of their hard earned money by a bunch of Austinite wantabes. They're too stupid to know that they don't have the class to compete. Ah well, one infliction at a time.

kernal 2 years, 11 months ago

fyi, anyone planning on taking glass to WalMart's recycling center this week needs to wait until Monday. Their glass recycling bins are full and taped shut. Evidently a lot of beer and champagne bottles from New Year's were recycled!

irvan moore 2 years, 11 months ago

notice they want to make a decision before they decide how to deal with apartments and commericial properties. i think the rush is to get this done before cromwell is gone because they know it will never happen without him. think about the money walmart spent on the recycle center, think about clo, think about the local jobs lost, this idea ain't a winner folks.

d_prowess 2 years, 11 months ago

I will echo the folks on here that say Glass needs to be included! I pay someone now around $7/month for monthly pick-up of all of my recycling. Weekly pick-ups would be way too frequent for our house and if it didn't include glass I would be at the same point I was before paying for this service... having to take my recycling somewhere each month.
What good would be paying for any recycling service if you still had to take glass to a facility? If you have to go anyway for glass, you might as well just take everything!

pace 2 years, 11 months ago

The energy savings are there, reduction in pollution and the cost savings are there. The cost difference is in collection costs. Right now we are paying to collect but choosing to send material to a land fill. We need to change the method of collection to allow for some of the material to be diverted to reuse streams. Glass is a market that really goes up and down. Many people don't realize we are talking about food container glass,because there are regulations covering what those containers can be made of. It seems hard at first to understand why some recycling is not self sustaining, but once one looks at the process, collection costs, changing systems, end use requirement, collection numbers. Think about it like mining. To bring keep future costs down, we need to invest in a modern recycling system now. Once certain materials are gathered in a clean enough stream and at a quantity, the savings will be worth it. Like any economic system, we should not tie our-self to past practices but to what is happening now and in the future. On reducing the impact on the environment the most important practice, is REDUCTION, use less. Combining city wide curbside recycling with our trash collection sure beats continued long hauls of all material to the landfill.

George Lippencott 2 years, 11 months ago

Here comes the train!! In due consideration of all our citizens we will trouble about half with a new responsibility subject to government review. We will allow citizen input on this matter in an atmosphere with advocacy groups well represented and indirectly dampening any opposition after a little more than a week available to review and understand the proposal..

Be nice if the public forum was limited to those actually impacted by the changes? Ah, but then opposition may raise its ugly head! I am so glad to see that Lawrence is like our federal government where those not impacted drive change on those who are but who are in a minority and unable to resist – except through the use of money!.

Does this count as the great accomplishment of Mr. Cromwell that he will use to run for public office elsewhere

JackMcKee 2 years, 11 months ago

I hope citizens turnout in droves to voice opposition to this plan.

1 I don't want two bins in my garage. I barely fill up half a bin per week as it stands. I need that space in my garage for other more useful things. It's not your house, Cromwell. Until you start paying my mortgage don't tell me what I have to have in my garage.

2 There are already recycling options.

3 A few times a year I have a need to put out more garbage and I'll have to drive to get a stamp. Why not just drive the garbage to a local apartment complex

4 What about renters and apartment complexes. Whose responsible for the mess left when the students leave town?

I never thought this city would see leadership that was worse than what we had a few years ago, but Cromwell has done it. The guy can't get out of office fast enough.

Eileen Jones 2 years, 11 months ago

Any "solution" (for a nonexistant problem!) that involves privatizing or Deffenbaugh should be met with a total push-back from the citizens.

ILoveLawrence 2 years, 11 months ago

I am a single person fixed-income household and feel like I'm paying too much for trash service as it is. Since I recycle (aprx. one trip to Wal Mart every two months) and compost, I hardly ever set out for pickup the large trash can in my garage - I think perhaps I last put it out in early December? (I honestly cannot remember!) Adding more money to my trash bill will only cause me more financial hardship and charge me for a service I rarely use. If I could opt out of trash service altogether, I would.

deec 2 years, 11 months ago

I'm with you. I compost, recycle (free curbside where I live) and reuse things. I generate a garbage bag of trash maybe every six weeks. The big wheeled cart we have here would take 4-6 months to fill.

Alceste 2 years, 11 months ago

http://www.lawrenceks.org/advisorybds/board_rosters/solid_waste_task_force.html Contact 'em:

Aron Cromwell, Mayor

P.O. Box 708, 66044

Email: aroncromwell@gmail.com

832.3400

City Commission Representative +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

William Beeson, Sanitation Division Loader

P.O. Box 708, 66044

Email: beestoyeast@gmail.com

Sanitation Division +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Suzi Cammon

2909 Stratford, 66049

Email: scammie80@hotmail.com

843.7566 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Joe Harkins

1713 Troon Lane, 66047

Email: occupant@sunflower.com
/>

841.1703 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Daniel Poull

821 Ohio, 66044

Email: dpjp8@yahoo.com

749.5578 Sustainability Advisory Board ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Sam Porritt

4513 Goldfield, 66049

Email: samporritt@aol.com

550.8129 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Ralph Reed

50 Winona Avenue, 66046-4848

Email: reedrmail-ttf@yahoo.com
/>

691.7181 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Charlie Sedlock

1101 Wagon Wheel Road, 66049

Email: csedlock@nrhamm.com

749.5799 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Jeff Severin

Center for Sustainability

320 Carruth-O’Leary

1246 West Campus Road, 66045

Email: jseverin@ku.edu 864.5804 University of Kansas Sustainability Office ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Christine Tomlin

1016 Hilltop Drive, 66049

Email: cblisstomlin@earthlink.net

843.1624 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Dan Wethington

3124 Campfire Ct., 66049

Email: dan.wethington@bartwest.com

841.6942 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

waitjustaminute 2 years, 11 months ago

Forced recycling. Just another example of those with a GREEN (not so) hidden agenda trying to force their personal beliefs on the rest of society. Didn't work with the Chevy Volt and the Obamagenda when there wasn't a demand for that crap, now after only 8k vehicles produced and even less of those actually purchased all are being recalled due to a haste of judgement, trying to force a product or service where it wasn't in demand. Forcing a recycling agenda is right out of the Nalbandian era playbook where to be a "first class city" you have to have a muni golf course, roundabouts, and ghost-rider public funded bus system. I recycle on my own thank you. Don't Tread on Me just because it will make you sleep better. Or, more pointly stated, keep the hell out of my personal life.

asixbury 2 years, 11 months ago

A lot of people use and rely on the bus system here. I was one of them until I was able to buy a second car. There are times of the day in which the buses are mostly, if not completely empty, but that is not the norm. Whenever I was on it, it was full. Just because something may not be used by you, does not mean it isn't valuable to someone else. I, for one, would not recycle as often without a curbside service. This service would be valuable to me, and I am sure to others as well.

asixbury 2 years, 11 months ago

A lot of people use and rely on the bus system here. I was one of them until I was able to buy a second car. There are times of the day in which the buses are mostly, if not completely empty, but that is not the norm. Whenever I was on it, it was full. Just because something may not be used by you, does not mean it isn't valuable to someone else. I, for one, would not recycle as often without a curbside service. This service would be valuable to me, and I am sure to others as well.

cummingshawk 2 years, 11 months ago

It seems that everytime there is news about this task force, the reports make it sound as if their minds have been made-up to allow the residents to use a city provided cart and now it appears another cart to recycle. Sadly, although the chairman seems committed to inflicting this change upon the good citizens asap, the details are still somewhat fuzzy concerning the actual increase in water/sewer/trash rates. I imagine we should trust them to keep the costs down and not cause there to be mass layoffs from the city workforce.

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