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Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 10:49 pm

In clash of 4-2 teams, Alexander comes out on top, 21-0

post by Howard B. Owens in alexander, byron-bergen, elba, football, high school sports

Before facing off against Elba/Byron-Bergen, Alexander's Head Coach Tim Sawyer offered an assessment of what it would take the Trojans to beat the Lancers.

"We need 48 minutes of perfect football," he said.

After the game, Sawyer said his team got pretty close.

"I feel like we get maximum effort out of our boys, a good effort, but we still continue to make some mistakes," Sawyer said. "Today we played a pretty complete game. I'd say 42, 44 minutes of pretty good football."

The result was a 21-0 win, giving Alexander a 5-2 record on the season and carrying them into sectional play on a four-game win streak.

Pre-game, the meeting of the two 4 and 2 Genesee Region rivals promised to be a close battle, and for the first 11 minutes of play, that's exactly what it was. But as the scoreless first quarter drew to a close, LB Derrick Busch cut in front of a Lancers receiver to snag a Garrett Chapell pass and dash 28 yards unimpeded for the score.

"That gave us the momentum that carried us through the game," said senior Tyler Laird.

In the second quarter, RB Tristan Aldinger scored on a 44-yard run and RB Jacob Wozniak scored on a 50-yard run.

"Running up the middle, my fullback, Al Hadsall, had a really good block on the inside, so I broke it off on the outside of him and the whole team really put it together on that play and helped me score," Wozniak said.

Sawyer said he knew coming into the game that the Lancers feature a strong, aggressive defense, and he came prepared.

Six different players took snaps and four backs took turns taking handoffs.

"We wanted to use our speed early to get out wide and get them to spread and they did," Sawyer said. "Then we started running zone run up the middle, and you guys saw the game kind of open up for us."

Wozniak and Aldinger shouldered most of the load out of the backfield. Wozniak had 23 carries for 108 yards and the TD, and Aldinger had 128 yards and a TD on 14 carries.

Elba/BB isn't an easy team to shut down offensively. It's a good team with Chapell, John Hochmuth and Steele Truax to power the scoring.

Yet, they were shutout.

"I give all the credit to (Defensive Coach Matt) McCracken," Sawyer said. "I think he's under 30, but he's (the) mastermind."

Laird said the defensive line really sparked the performance.

"Our guys were working hard," Laird said. "Our D-line has got a push and they were opening up the lanes for me to make tackles. That goes for me and the other linebackers Cody Trzecieski and Jake Wozniak. The linemen really opened it up for us."

This is the second year the Trojans have run a three-man front on defense, and it's kind of a secret weapon, Sawyer said.

"I think that confuses our opponents a bit and we're getting pretty good at it," Sawyer said.

On Saturday, Alexander travels to Honeoye Falls for a first-round sectional game against Avon.

Last year the Trojans made it all the way to Section V finals. This year's team is a very different kind of team, with more speed and not as much power, but Laird said that's the only difference between each year's teams.

This year's team is just as ready to challenge for a title.

"It was rough at the beginning of the year trying to adjust to a new scheme, but these kids are working just as hard as that team did last year and they just keep getting better every single week," Laird said. "It's basically the same atmosphere as last year. Five and one in the GR and I'm excited. It feels great."

Top photo: Jacob Wozniak breaks free for Alexander's third, and final touchdown -- a 50-yard run.

Elba/BB's Mike Shanley comes close to blocking Zach Shilvock second of three extra points.

Steele Truax dives for a few extra yards in the third quarter.

Tristan Aldinger comes close to a third-quarter pass interception.

Samuel Browne picking up yardage in the third quarter.

Mike Shanley on a run in the third quarter.

UPDATE: Rick Franclemont also took pictures of the game. You can view them here.

To purchase prints, click here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Ranzenhofer, Hawley on hand at Byron-Bergen to help celebrate passage of yogurt bill

post by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, yogurt

Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer and Assemblyman Steve Hawley just happened to be in Bergen this morning when they learned that Gov. Andrew Cuomo had signed legislation first conceived by students at Byron-Bergen School to make yogurt the official state snack.  

The two representatives who carried the bill through the legislature immediately headed over to the school to celebrate the bill's passage with the students who made it all possible.

Below, a recording of the announcement, with Principal Brian Meister.

Several of the students wanted to hug Sen. Ranzenhofer when they first saw him at the school this afternoon.

 

Friday, October 10, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Photo: Cornfields across the road from Byron-Bergen School

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, byron-bergen

When I was out there today, I liked this early-fall-day scene I spotted across the road from Byron-Bergen School.

BTW: Byron-Bergen is hosting a first-ever Friday night football game tonight. It's a big local football night. Batavia HS has its homecoming and the 5-0 Le Roy team meets 5-0 Bishop Kearney in a homecoming game. (I'll be in Le Roy).

Friday, October 10, 2014 at 3:31 pm

WNY Tech Academy learn some of the ways jobs are created locally

post by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, education, schools, WNY Tech Academy

Assemblyman Steve Hawley and John Jakubowski, a workforce development consultant for Genesee County Economic Development Center, spoke to students at the WNY Tech Academy at Byron-Bergen High School this afternoon.

Hawley spoke about how he works in Albany to help get legislation passed and drum up support for projects such as the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park and WNY STAMP.

Cooperation and relationship building is a big part of the job, he said.

"Communication is the key to getting anything done," Hawley said. "It doesn't matter whether it's texting, whether it's e-mailing, whether it's on the phone, but the best sort of communication is what we're doing here today, looking at each other, eyeball-to-eyeball. You know who I am now. I know who you guys are."

Jakubowski, a retired educator, told students about how he uses his expertise to create job-training programs so the companies coming into the Ag Park and STAMP have a local workforce of job-ready applicants when they open their doors.

Monday, September 29, 2014 at 9:37 am

Byron-Bergen names two alumni to hall of fame

post by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, education, schools
Elizabeth Findlay David Keller

Press release:

Byron-Bergen Central Schools has named two alumni to the Hall of Fame for 2014.  Elizabeth Findlay (class of 1980) and David Keller (class of 1975) join the ranks of other distinguished Byron-Bergen alumni honored with a place in the Hall of Fame for their achievements after graduation.

The Byron-Bergen Alumni Hall of Fame recognizes the accomplishments of the district’s graduates, providing young people of our district with positive adult role models, showing that graduates of Byron-Bergen can achieve high levels of accomplishment in their lives.  This honor is in its twelfth year and has become part of our school district culture and a permanent reminder to our students about the outcome of hard work and diligence.

This year’s honorees exemplify dedication, leadership and service.

While attending Byron-Bergen Central School District, Miss Elizabeth Findlay participated in National Honor Society, Band, Chorale, Solo Festival and All County Band.  She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from SUNY Fredonia in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Reading from SUNY Brockport.  Miss Findlay started teaching at Byron-Bergen in 1985 as a kindergarten teacher for her first 5 years, becoming a 6th grade teacher in 1990 and continues in that role today.  Miss Findlay has been very active in Byron-Bergen Central School District, participating on many committees, mentoring new teachers, and is a Master Teacher for student teachers.  Miss Findlay also participated in the Bureau of Education and Research in Rochester “using guided reading to help your students become better readers.”  In the 2005-06 school year, she was selected as the Byron-Bergen Middle School Teacher of the Year.  In 2008, she was chosen as the Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year.  Miss Findlay has served on the Gillam-Grant Board of Directors and is a member of the St. James Episcopal Church.  Miss Findlay is a compassionate role model and a constant source of encouragement and inspiration to the youth of the Byron-Bergen learning community.

Mr. David Keller was active in French Club, Future Teachers of America, American Field Service, Yearbook Co-Editor, Swim Club, Concert Band, Marching Band, and hosted an exchange student from Brazil during his time at Byron-Bergen.  In 1975, Mr. Keller joined the U.S. Army Bands Program and studied music under the Navy Master Chief Mike Scairini.  Upon graduation from the School of Music, Mr. Keller served in multiple Army Bands throughout the United States and in Berlin, Germany.  In 1992, Mr. Keller was selected to the prestigious U.S. Army Field Band (the musical ambassadors of the Army) in Washington, D.C.  The culmination of his military career came when he was selected as the first musician to become a Command Sergeant Major.  Sergeant Major Keller (retired) served our nation for over 34 years and while in the U.S. Army Field Band, performed in all 50 states.  He performed for every Presidential Inaugural event from George Bush, Sr. through Barrack Obama.  During his Military career, Mr. Keller received numerous awards and medals.  Mr. Keller has performed with many symphonies and orchestras throughout the United States.  During his long and distinguished military career, Mr. Keller pursued his education at numerous universities and colleges, ultimately studying music with Karl Nitchie, Principle Bassoonist Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.  Mr. Keller is a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.  Mr. Keller is currently the Principle Bassoonist, Genesee Symphony; Bassoonist/Clarinetist, Batavia Concert Band; pit musician for Genesee Community College, Batavia Players, and Byron-Bergen CSD.  Mr. Keller participates in the Byron-Bergen holiday and spring concerts (2011-present), performs in the pit orchestra for musicals, and has assisted with construction/painting of the school musical sets.  Currently, Mr. Keller is the treasurer of the B-B Music Boosters, and has been instrumental in fundraising events for the group; and is an active member of Gillam-Grant.  Mr. Keller enjoys gardening, renovating his 179 year old house in South Byron, taking cruises, and being helpful to others.  Mr. Keller’s loyalty to his community/country, passion for music, and tireless volunteerism make him an outstanding role model for our youth.

The 2014 Byron-Bergen Alumni Hall of Fame inductees will be honored on Friday, October 17, 2014.  They will spend the day visiting with Byron-Bergen students and sharing how their school experience influenced their lives.  After an induction ceremony and dinner that evening, the two honorees will be recognized just prior to the boys’ varsity soccer game.  If you would like to attend the induction ceremony and dinner ($25.00 per person), please contact Patty Gunio at (585) 494-1220, ext. 2329 by October 10, 2014, to find out the details and make a reservation.  (Seating is limited to 80 people.)

Saturday, September 27, 2014 at 9:40 pm

Elba/BB holds on in defensive battle for win over Oakfield-Alabama

It was Robert Neyland, the legendary Tennessee head coach, who first observed that the team which makes the fewest mistakes usually wins.

Neyland also said teams need to make their breaks and pounce on opportunity.

While Elba/Byron-Bergen wasn't without its own miscues in a Saturday afternoon scrap on its home field, the inability of Oakfield-Alabama to strike from the red zone on successive drives in the second quarter turned out to be a deal breaker for the Hornets.

The Lancers won the defensive battle 7-6.

Brian Palone, O-A's head coach, gave credit to the Lancers' defense, but also said mental errors by his players and a lack of execution on the details in the red zone hurt his team's chance of notching a win.

"I also have to do a better job with play calling down here at times to give us a better opportunity," Palone said. "I'll point the finger at myself  for some of the stuff we had down here in the red zone. Some of it is on them. It goes both ways, but we just didn't finish."

On one possession, with the ball inside the five, Elba/BB even gave O-A a whole new set of downs on a pass interference call, either because of a stout defense or an inability to finish, the Hornets couldn't punch it in.

The Hornets would return the favor, stopping a Lancers drive on the goal line, in the 4th quarter.

Elba/BB also had its share of turnovers and penalties to help keep points off the board.

"I'm just glad we both did have mistakes," Lancers Head Coach Mike Cintorino said. "I'm glad we're both kind of even. We've seen games and we've had games ourselves where those mistakes aren't even and it ends up being a game you give away.  It very easily could have gone the other way today.  We had some opportunities that we didn't capitalize on and our defense bailed us out. They came up big."

The way Cintorino sees the game is that two well-prepared defenses shut down a pair of powerful offenses.

"You get two offenses like this, one that really passes the ball well and one that really runs the ball well and you think it's going to be this high scoring game, but both teams did a really nice job preparing for the other offense and it turned out to be a great defensive game," Cintorino said.

Both coaches said they were proud of their defenses.

"It was a real grinder of a game that was just going to come down to who had the ball last," Palone said. "We're all really proud of the way our team held together."

O-A put points on the board first when Trent Stack pulled in an Alan Chatt nine-yard pass just over the goal line (top photo).

Being down 6-0 seemed to give the Lancer's offense a spark it lacked through the entire first half.  The combination of Garrett Chapell  to John Hochmuth seemed unbreakable as QB and tight end connected for reception after reception, including a leaping grab by Hochmuth on the sideline to secure another first down.

"Early on, John had a drop, but the best athletes I have ever coached know how to come back from adversity in a game," Cintorino said.  "He had that same idea in the Holley game where he had a drop and came back with a huge touchdown for us on the next drive."

Hochmuth had 10 receptions for 142 yards on the day, but it was Chapell who finished off the winning drive.

With the ball on the three, Chapell ran a keeper wide right and found little in the way of opposition from the Hornet's defense.

An extra point kick and the Lancers had the seven points that would prove enough to move the team to 3-1 on the season.

Chatt threw a lot of passes -- 40 on the day, and completed half of them for 259 yards, with a TD toss and an interception. Sal Schwable had five catches for 86 yards and Stack had four receptions for 65 yards.

Chapell had 13 completions on 23 attempts for 154 yards. Truax carried the ball 14 times for 61 yards. He also had 16 tackles on defense and a fumble recovery.

Trent Stack holds the ball aloft after putting the Hornets on the board first in the third quarter.

John Hochmuth with a grab on the sideline to help keep the Lancer's eventual winning drive alive.

Reice Woodward found that one pass near the sideline in the second quarter was just a bit beyond his grasp.

Hornets QB Alan Chatt.

Hochmuth grabs for an O-A runner.

Steele Truax on a big gainer in the 4th quarter that would help put the Lancers on the two-yard line with a chance to extend the team's lead, but O-A stopped the drive and took over on downs.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Notre Dame's first win knocks Elba/BB off unbeaten path

post by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, elba, football, high school sports, Notre Dame, sports

One team enters the game 2-0, the other is 0-2. Who do you think is going to win?

It's fair to say, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish upset the Elba/Byron-Bergen Lancers on Saturday with a 15-8 win at home.

The Irish struggled in the first two weeks of the season against Oakfield-Alabama and Alexander. It was looking like it might be a long season for Head Coach Rick Mancuso and his squad.

Meanwhile, the Lancers crushed Pembroke and Holley.

But as Elba's Mike Cintorino said after beating Holley last week, when it comes to matches between the Lancers and Notre Dame in any sport, you can throw the win-loss records out the window. These teams grapple no matter what the expectations.

Mancuso downplayed the rivalry after the win, however. A win is a win, and Notre Dame very much needed a win.

"This is more about us coming together as a team and playing the game and getting our first victory," Mancuso said. "That's really what it was about."

Mancuso credited a defense that held Elba/BB to 148 yards total offense, but what made the difference was an offense that showed it could move the ball effectively.

Take away a couple of turnovers and some mental error penalties and the final score might have been more lopsided than a victory just eked out.

The big difference, Mancuso said, was the offensive line.

"We've got a lot of young guys along the line," Mancuso said. "They may be juniors, but they don't have a lot of varsity experience. I really think they're starting to understand it. They're starting to click. They're working really, really hard. We saw it in practice this week. It started coming together. We're happy with where we're at, but we've got a lot of work to do."

Joe Zickl replaced and injured Connor Logsdon at QB and was six for 10 passing for 67 yards and a TD. Josh Johnson caught that TD pass (top photo) to give the Irish the lead in the third quarter.

Peter Daversa rushed for 84 yards and a TD on 15 carries.

Johnson had three receptions for 32 yards. Jack Sutherland carried the ball nine times for 33 yards.

For the Lancers, Garrett Chapell was 11 for 23 passing for 75 yards. Steele Truax rushed for 70 yards and a TD on 16 attempts. Mike Shanley had three catches for 23 yards and John Hochmuth gained 20 yards on three receptions.

Jack Sutherland had 10.5 tackles for Notre Dame. Johnson had six and Casey Midwick had five. 

Hunter Taylor and Truax each had five tackles for the Lancers. Taylor also had a sack.

Someday, your sons are going to be all grown up and you're going to wish you had some quality photos of them on the gridiron. To purchase prints, click here. Proceeds help improve The Batavian's photography.

Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 10:12 am

Lancers off to a fast start with second win against Holley, 32-6

Elba/Byron-Bergen grabbed a share of the Genesee Region lead Saturday with a convincing 32-6 victory over Holley Central.

In week two, only the Lancers and Attica remain undefeated.

The victory Saturday, Head Coach Mike Cintorino said, shows his team can bounce back from adversity.

"We had a couple of guys go down last week and a couple of guys go down this week and we had guys ready to step in and do those jobs," Cintorino said. "It shows that they've been putting in the work both during the off season and during practices. They know their responsibilities and their jobs and they're ready to go."

The offense Saturday was led by Steele Truax, who rushed for 108 yards and two TDs on 20 carries.

"That's what Elba does is ground and pound," Truax said. "That's what we do. That's what we like to do."

QB Garrett Chapell was 4-8 for 56 yards and two touchdowns.  

John Hochmuth caught both of those two TD passes and gained 44 yards on the day.

Pitching in on the ground game was Richard Flores with seven carries for 46 yards and a TD.

On defense, Truax had 18 tackles. Hunter Taylor had 13 tackles and Mike Shanley had an interception.

The Lancers held Holly to 108 total yards of offense.

Holley's lone score came on a five-yard run by Zachary Day with about two minutes left in the 4th quarter.

Cintorino said he was really pleased with the play of his young linemen, who are still all underclassmen.

"They've come a long way from where we were last year," Cintorino said. "You know, we had almost this same exact starting line last year. We have them again this year and we have them for another year, so the more they continue to learn, the better  job they're going to do and the more they're going to spring their teammates like they did today."

Chapell said he's looking forward to seeing how this team performs over the course of the season.

"We'll have a good year," Chapell said. "We've got a good receiving corps, good line, good backs, so the rest of the season will be interesting."

Next up for Elba/BB, archrival Notre Dame.

The tables are turned a bit in week three compared to recent history. While the Lancers are undefeated, the Fighting Irish come into the came at 0-2.

"When you get into that game, you throw the records out," Cintorino said. "We've been on the other side of it and we kind of know where they're at right now in terms of being 0-2."

Both teams will be highly motivated when they hit the gridiron on Notre Dame's home turf, Cintorino said.

"It's one of those things where you throw the records out because at the end of the day it doesn't matter," Cintorino said. "They're always focused to face each other, no matter the sport. No matter if it's football, boys basketball, girls basketball, softball, soccer, it's a nice little rivalry between the two schools, so records really don't mean anything going into that game."

Top Photo: John Hochmuth sprints toward the end zone for a touchdown.

Steele Truax scores in the first quarter.

Richard Flores breaks free on his way to the end zone.

Garrett Chapell hands off to Steele Truax.

Garrett Chapell sweeps wide on a keeper for some positive yards.

To purchase prints and ensure you have copies of these pictures for years to come, click here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at 10:28 am

Gift from Liberty Pumps puts new technology in the hands of every Byron-Bergen student

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, business, byron, byron-bergen, liberty pumps

There's a selfish reason Charle Cook got behind the idea of his company donating money to help the Byron-Bergen School District buy 1,100 tablet computers for all of the district's children: He wants potential future employees to have the technical skills to work for the Liberty Pumps of tomorrow.

But the donation is also a good deed that will benefit his and his son's alma mater and perhaps encourage other rural companies to be as generous with their local school districts.

"We felt it's important as kids progress through school that they become knowledgable and comfortable with technology," said Charlie Cook, CEO of Liberty. "It's going to be part of their future employment. To have that as a kind of leg up to students who might not have access is an advantage.

"Somewhat from a selfish standpoint," he added, "we're going to need a certain segment of those graduates, and we're interested in keeping as many kids as we can in the community."

Superintendent Casey Kosiorek said the gift was timely. The district had recently cut a staff position from its library and New York's formula for aid to district continues to disportionately favor affluent suburban districts over rural districts.

"This allows us to do something that most of the school districts in the more affluent areas of the state are able to do," Kosiorek said. "We're very thankful for that."

That was part of what motivated Liberty to seek out a way to assist the district, said Jeff Cook, who initiated the talks with the district that led to the donation.

"The reason Liberty Pumps thought the Learn Pads were a good idea was that we hear a lot about how wealthier, suburban districts seem to have advantages over poorer, more rural districts in terms of course offerings and opportunities for their students," Jeff Cook said. "We were looking for a way to help give our students an edge while minimizing the overhead burden of the district and therefore the taxpayer."

Charlie Cook didn't want to reveal the total monetary amount of the donation, but it's roughly 30 percent of the cost of the 1,100 tablets, which cost a few hundred dollars each. That donation made Byron-Bergen eligible for a technology grant from the state education department that covered the remaining 70 percent of the cost.

There will be no new local spending as a result of the program.

The tablets are known as LearnPads. They are Droid-based tablets with modifications to suit the needs of an educational institution.  

First, there are limits on how students can use them. There's access to YouTube, for example, but they can only watch teacher-approved videos. They can only visit approved Web pages. They can only download and install teacher-approved apps.

Teachers control the entire LearnPad environment according to the education needs of the class.

From a desktop computer program, teachers can customize how the LearnPads can be used, develop each day's lesson plan, then provide a QR code that can be posted to a wall. As students enter the class that day or that hour, the student scans the QR code to receive the lesson plan. As class progresses, teachers can monitor student activity to ensure they're staying on task.

However, Kosiorek stressed, LearnPads don't replace lectures and class discussions.

"This is a great tool for students and for teachers, but it doesn't replace quality education," Kosiorek said. "It's a tool, it's a supplement, an addition to a teacher's toolbox."

There are educational books available on the LearnPad and Kosiorek said the district hopes to someday replace all of its text books with tablets. That would save the district money as well as end the days of one-ton backpacks and multiple trips to lockers for students.

And yes, there are games available to students. Math games and vocabulary games, for example.

"Many students have access to video games and those games are very engaging," Kosiorek said. "There are goals that are set and you work toward those goals, so whatever we can do to provide relevance and engagement for students (we will do)."

Every student, starting this week, gets a LearnPad, from kindergarten through 12th grade. The younger students don't get a keyboard and will just use the touch screen, but starting in about third grade, keyboards will be introduced.

At younger grades, the LearnPads stay in school -- at least until the summer, when they can go with the summer reading program already installed -- while older children can bring the LearnPads home for homework once permissions slips and guideline acknowledgments are signed.

"We're very excited to be doing it," Charlie Cook said. "I've got four grandkids in the system right now and when I come to an event, which I do as often as I can, it's amazing to me to watch these kids work with the technology, even what they have currently. I think even in preschool years, they were up operating the touch screen, so this is a natural progression for them."

Jeff Cook said he hopes other business owners will look at this initiative and contact their own school administrators and ask "How can we help?".

Education, after all, is everybody's business.

"My hope is that what Liberty Pumps is doing will gain traction in the business community and others will join in on supporting our schools," Jeff Cook said. "If you are a business that is passionate about something you would be willing to help fund or support, I would suggest talking to the school administration about your idea and see if it is feasible. 

"In the case of Byron-Bergen, they did all the leg work and presented us with their vision based on our ideas. This could be anything from supporting sport programs and class offerings, to equipment for the district. Anything that could enhance a student's learning opportunity."

Photo: Casey Kosiorek, left, and Charlie Cook.

Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Assembly passes yogurt bill

post by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, Mike Ranzenhofer

Statement from Senator Micheal Ranzenhofer:

The New York State Assembly has passed legislation, S.6695, to designating yogurt as the official snack for the State of New York.
 
State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has issued the following statement:
 
“I commend the New York State Assembly for passing my legislation to name yogurt the official snack of New York State although fourth-graders at Byron-Bergen Elementary School deserve all of the credit. From initially suggesting the idea to traveling to the State Capitol this morning, these students deserve high marks for their efforts to get this legislation passed by both houses of the State Legislature. I am hopeful that the bill will be signed into law when it is delivered to the Governor’s desk.”
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