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Category: Events

“Wow, Syracuse. I want to go there:” Welcoming Economies Convening + Northside Tours

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • October 16, 2017

WE-Convening

 

Next week, organizations, business owners, and individuals across the United States will convene in Syracuse to learn more about “cutting edge policies, successful programs, innovative ideas, and a network of trailblazers in our emerging field of immigrant economic development.” The Welcoming Economies event begins on Monday, October 23rd and ends on the 25th.

The Convening features a number of workshops and community tours. We’re most excited about:

1. Northside Tours

On Monday afternoon, participants can choose from several tours, three of which focus on the Northside: Building Community Amidst Constant Change: The Realities of Northside Micro-Neighborhoods; Food on the Northside: The Language that Needs No Translation; Creating safe and inclusive spaces for Faith: The Journey of Converting a Historic Church into a Welcoming Mosque.

 

2. Ignite Talks and Welcoming Reception

The first day of the conference ends with a fast-paced session where organizations give a five minute presentation about innovative ideas they’re adopted. The Talks are emceed by Nicole Watts of Hopeprint and Joe Cimperman of Global Cleveland.

A My Lucky Tummy pop-up follows the Ignite Talks, with food from Burma, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, and Syria.

 

3. Community Organizing Case Study: Perspectives form Organizers and Community Members in the Near Westside Peacemaking Project

This panel is made up of leaders and participants of the Peacemaking Project, an innovative community organization model, that will share best practices with attendees.

 

We’re also excited to see the debut of a video about New Americans in Syracuse and their impact on the small business and workforce industries. Here’s two teasers to get you just as excited as we are:

 

To register for the conference, visit the We Global Network’s website. For those in Syracuse, you can use the local discount to save money on your registration. Go to the registration page and click on “Enter Promotion Code” in blue at the top of the registration form. Enter code LocalDiscount and press “Apply Code.”

This conference is hosted by CenterState CEO and  WE Global Network, a program of Welcoming America in partnership with Global Detroit. For more information about the Welcoming Economies Convening, visit CenterSatte CEO’s website.

Happy Anniversary Coop Fed: Dine and Dance with us on October 20!

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • October 12, 2017

Coop Fed Gala

Cooperative Federal is celebrating their 35th Anniversary this year with a Gala & Fundraiser at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo on October 20th at 5:30 p.m. Our staff will be there feasting on pecan crusted salmon, dancing to the beats of DJ Rondell with Ear Catcher Sound, and bidding on all the silent auction items. Proceeds from the event go to support Coop Fed’s youth programs, including their In-School Branches at Nottingham, Henninger, and Fowler High Schools.

For many years, Cooperative Federal has been a trusted partner in all of our Economic Inclusion initiatives at CenterState CEO and we’re excited to revisit the accomplishments of this community development credit union and look to the future for more ways to “foster economic justice, inclusion, and opportunity” in all of Syracuse’s neighborhoods.

Tickets are available on a sliding scale from $30-75 and includes dinner, dessert, entertainment, and access to the zoo. Purchase them HERE. Thanks to event sponsors, there are also a limited amount of free tickets for anyone who is unable to pay. Send inquiries to event@coopfed.org.

For more information about the event – including the music line up and full dinner menu – visit CoopFed.org or join their Facebook InviteCooperative Federal works to “rebuild our local economy in ways that foster justice, serve people and communities that are under-served by conventional financial institutions, and responsibly manage our members’ assets.”

Photo Friday: At Play

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • September 29, 2017

This #FlashBackFriday is from last September’s Northside Festival. Looks like fun, right? Head over to Schiller Park for this year’s Northside Festival on Saturday: www.facebook.com/events/471176649930496/?ti=icl

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Run for Refugees: September 30

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • September 14, 2017

Run for Refugees

“I grew up internationally, so I’ve always had a heart for international issues and affairs. With issues such as the Syrian refugee crisis and the current political climate, I felt like I needed to do something to support local refugees. I’m also an avid runner, so it made sense for me to use my love for running and host a 5K. Ultimately, my desire is to see the Syracuse and CNY community as a whole support our refugees in a fun and exciting way.” - Adrian Mellinger, co-organizer of the Run for Refugees

 

WHAT: Run for Refugees 2017

WHEN: Thursday, September 30 from 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM

WHERE: Long Branch Park, 3813 Longbranch Park in Liverpool

 

Grab your sneakers. Adrian Mellinger and InterFaith Works are hosting Run for Refugees, a run/walk of solidarity with refugees in our community. The event is family-friendly and the 5K course is un-timed, allowing for participants to go their own pace and bring friendly dogs (on leashes), children, and strollers.

Interested? You must register for the event in advance by September 23. The cost is $25 and proceeds support the Center for New Americans at InterFaith Works. For more information, visit InterFaith Works’ website and Facebook event.

Photo Friday: NEHDA’s Community Photography Show

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • August 25, 2017

Photo credit: David Haas. To view all of the submissions to the Northside Photography Show, visit: www.facebook.com/pg/NehdaInc/photos/?tab=album&album_id=839331309570203

Photo credit: David Haas. To view all of the submissions to the Northside Photography Show, visit: www.facebook.com/pg/NehdaInc/photos/?tab=album&album_id=839331309570203

This collage by David Haas was submitted to NEHDA to be considered for their Northside Photography Show on September 8th.

Do you have photos of the Northside? Submit your image by September 1st by sharing it to NEHDA’s Facebook page. Check out their album for details about how your photo could be displayed at their event.

 

World Refugee Day: Community Orientation Highlights

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • July 27, 2017

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Last month, InterFaith Works organized a Community Orientation, featuring a conversation between Abdul Saboor (a refugee from Afghanistan who oversees the Match Grant Program at InterFaith Works) and Dominic Robinson (our Vice President of Economic Inclusion at CenterState CEO) and a panel discussion with a variety of service providers in our community. Guests enjoyed refreshments as they learned more about the refugee experience and the ways citizens can help support New Americans in Syracuse.

 

Abdul

Quotes from ABDUL SABOOR

“When you go from being detached from your home, from your country, from the place where you built your dreams on, when you go to leave those places, it’s not easy. It’s something that I personally wish for no one. But, this is a journey, and this is something that I had to make in order to survive, in order for us to continue our dreams. This was a very, very rough transition. Grass root agencies such as InterFaith Works, Catholic Charities, ARISE, and others who are willing to accept and to do the resettlement at the grassroots level, are the ones who are actually going to welcome these families from the airport, from the housing, to making their appointments, to getting an ID card, a benefit cards, and helping and establishing a life, jobsyou can name it and every step of that process is easier said than done.

It requires a lot of effort and it is not the job of the resettlement agency alone. It takes a neighborhood, it takes a community. I don’t think InterFaith itself alone could do the resettlement work that they’re doing right now if it wasn’t for community support . . .  Because I lived there, I can see how society, the pillars of our communities are not based on the individual. It depends on all of us . . .  We do it hand-to-hand, shoulder-to-shoulder with those individuals and we try to make sure they succeed because their success is our success. And by ‘we’ meaning us as a community, as Syracuse. Because if they struggle, we struggle.”

 

“When I first arrived, I had 3, 4 priorities that I had to establish. First thing was I had to get a job. Becoming self-sufficient in a place where I had no friends at that time in my life was a number one priority. . . But, this life was not about me only. I had a wife, so, building a family, making sure that my family accepts the new neighborhood we’re going to live in as home . . .  Bombs, and kidnappings are no longer the impressions that we have to worry about. Survival no longer becomes a question. I’m a special case. [As an English-speaker] I had the ability to speak and communicate and break all my frustrations out, and sit down to someone like Dominic and InterFaith Works and complain about all the challenges I’m facing—my wife didn’t have anyone. And it goes along to the many, many hundreds of women and men and childrens who are coming into our doors. While you have so much to say, you can’t say it.

 

“Next time you visit Destiny Mall. There’s a lot of Cubans that are in Destiny Mall right now. They’re just living in those shadows, but I’ll be honest with you – if you do get the chance to say ‘hello,’ and you have the opportunity to ask him about his background, I will almost guarantee that everyone of those guys were either a nurse or a doctor. So, by just excepting that they’re going to start from zero, a jump that a majority of us would not take—becoming a janitor and going to Destiny Mall. But, they happily do it because it provides them income. But yet, they take off that doctor hat and they accept the janitor hat. . . . If you get the first job it will get you going, so that you can get the second job, you can get the third job, and eventually end up exactly where you come from.”

 

Dominic

Quotes from DOMINIC ROBINSON

I was really enamored with the idea of neighborhood-level work. Thinking, if we could community organize, we can get neighbors to work together, that’s kind of the currency of all good social change . . . I happen to be a white male who grew up with an upper-middle class background. You know, I drew the longest straw possible in our world. But, I think the dynamics that I was interacting with were all part of this larger system of inequality that we’re all trying to work against. So, it’s kind of a matter of saying, ‘Okay, I’m working in a community that has a lot of refugees,’ but I think the underlining principle is the same:  there are people across our country, across our community who have the answers, who have the ability and the power within them to change their communities, to live good, productive lives, to provide for their families and for whatever reason, they face barriers to that. And so, I think the organizing theory in this work for me over the years, is always trying to build better systems to allow that self-empowerment to be possible . . . Get out of the way. Let business owners take hold, let people enter into leadership positions within their workforce, and not try to be too forceful for what it means to help, but rather create the tools and vehicles that allow that to be possible.”

“When facts don’t sink in, I think we have to tell stories. I’ve had the luxury you know, these past years, of experiences where you’ve talked about the resiliency, you talk about the people who keep putting one foot in front of the next, in front of the next and all of those challenges, all of that gut-wrenching, soul-sucking amount of work that it takes just to flee political persecution to come here, to start a new life, to go to work oftentimes in a place that is far below your skill set, but to do it because you have to put food on your table—whatever it is. I would just ask, ‘Why wouldn’t you want that person in your community?’ And, when we also know that there is a net economic contribution that in fact the more productive we are, the more jobs there are. We’re not taking jobs away. When a group of people are creating an impact, more jobs come. There’s actually a scarcity mindset that is far too prevalent now, that we have to hoard all the opportunity, when in fact, if we only welcome people, we create a reality of abundance. I think that’s the story we have to do a better job of telling.”  

 

Panel

 

The Community Orientation ended with a panel representing many of the service agencies who help refugees transition to life in Syracuse. To begin, Beth Broadway, Executive Director at InterFaith Works, introduced the panel and stressed the importance of each role these organizations play in refugee resettlement: “We know that ecosystems are best when they are diverse. And when that diversity is lost . . . it makes it very vulnerable. And resilience in that ecosystem is reduced and that is making it ultimately endangered. The same is true for our human family. That when our human family is not diverse, the system is not as resilient and we are endangered at that point. We recognize . . . that to do refugee resettlement work, it’s an ecosystem that requires many different parts. And if the parts are diverse and require many different way of interacting and providing support, we will be stronger for that.”

The panel included Christina Costello, Director of Health Services at Catholic Charities; Janet Lenkiewicz, Income Maintenance Specialist at Onondaga County Department of Social Services – Economic Security; Jacki Leroy, Director of ENL Services at the Syracuse City School District; Shelly Tsai, Staff Attorney at Legal Services of CNY; and Khadija Muse, Bridging Case Manager and Women’s Empowerment Program Director at ARISE. Participants talked about their own experiences working with the refugee community and answered some questions from the audience.

The Orientation was followed by a World Refugee Day celebration with music, presentations, and food at Dr. Weeks Elementary School. To learn more about the days’ events, check out this photo gallery from Syracuse.com and some of the photos and videos posted by InterFaith Works on Facebook.

There are many ways you can get involved with the refugee community in Syracuse. Abdul suggests talking with volunteer coordinators at InterFaith Works and Catholic Charities to volunteer your time or donatea variety of different items to their programs. If you’d like InterFaith Works to come talk to your church or civic group, reach out to info@interfaithworkscny.org.

NBP Member Interview Series Featuring Mike Glynn

Written by Rachel Nolte  • July 13, 2017

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Editor’s Note: The Northside Business Partnership is an association comprised of Northside businesses, property owners, and organizations. It serves as an advocate group for the Northside, strengthening the vitality of the business community by connecting, engaging, and promoting its members. NBP is administrated by NEHDA.

 

 

 

 

Mike is the co-owner of Rocky’s News & Cigars, a four-year NBP member business with over 50 years of experience in cigars. Read on to find out more about the history of the business and what makes it such a unique store today.

 

Mike

 

Q: Has Rocky’s always been located here on the Northside?

Mike: Yes, it was originally where Asti’s is now and then the previous owner moved it to this location, and then we bought it from him in 1985.

 

Q: What do you like about your location?

A: Well, we’ve seen this neighborhood change quite a lot. When we first got here, it was one of the last really vibrant blocks, and it was really super. We do like our proximity to downtown, the new residential (development) that’s going on down there, a lot of the goods and services we offer are a little bit harder to find downtown so that helps us out a lot. We like being on the main thoroughfare of Salina Street, loads of cars, loads of traffic, that’s really good for us. We like being within an eyeshot of the hospital, one of the major employers, that’s very good for us. Having 81 situated like it is, both the on-ramps and off-ramps are very good for customers.

 

Q: Do you have a lot of people that travel far to get here?

Mike: Yes. We have city-wide, we’re very well known for the level of service we offer for lottery customers, so we get a lot of people that drive from far points in the city. Secondly though, our cigar business is actually known across the nation and very much state wide―to where we have customers from Albany, Watertown, Binghamton, Buffalo―that will drive specially to see us. We’re also highly regarded nationally. We do a lot of business over the phone and internet, ship to people on vacation and help ‘em out with their cigars that way. We focused on cigars because we needed to become a destination to get more people in the store. . .Our most recent change to expand the time frame—obviously, it’s a fair weather pastime—so it’s enjoyed far more in the fair weather months than in the winter. So this winter, we added the leather chairs which gave guys a reason to enjoy their hobby indoors because you can smoke at Rocky’s. We are allowed to have smoking in the building. It’s one of the unique exemptions that we have with the state.

 

Collage 1

 

Q: How did you come to this line of work?

 Mike: Well, it was very strange. I was selling radio advertising locally as a kid out of college, and—

 

Q: What did you go to college for?

Mike: I went for broadcast.

 

Q: Are you a local?

 Mike: Yes, I grew up in Liverpool, went to school in Genesseo, and then I was here working, and my wife’s dad, my father-in-law, was doing business with Rocky, the original Rocky Salino, in a side business that he was doing. I was getting a little antsy selling advertising. I was meeting a lot of business owners and I kind of thought that I would be cut out to be on that side of the desk instead of just selling to the guys on that side of the desk. So with that in mind, my father-in-law came here in, I can tell you when it was, it was Christmas Eve 1984, and had brought Rocky a Christmas present, said “Thanks for a good year together.” Rocky said, “What’s going on? I’m waiting on an offer to sell the store. There’s a fellow coming in here but he’s all alone. It really takes two people to run this place. It’s very complicated, it runs 24 hours a day, it never closes, 7 days a week, and my father-in-law coincidentally had just sold a similar business. So he had done this for about ten years. He said, “Hey, if that deal doesn’t work out, I have a young son-in-law who’s 26 years old, has got a ton of energy and wants to own a business, and I know how to run the business, maybe together we could do it.” And as luck would have it, May 15th, ’85, 45 days later, we step behind the register and own the place. So we just finished our 31st year, May 15th. Quite a feat in the city of Syracuse.

 

Q: Do you get a lot of customers that come in for a first time cigar experience or do you have a lot of reoccurring customers?

 Mike: Our business grows on first time customers because our information, the tracking that we do on sales, shows that once we get the customer, if they enjoy the experience, which we work hard at, as they repeat business, their purchases grow. So, our core business is on existing customers but our growth is always on new customers. So this year, we committed more than ever to advertising our store, promoting our store, so that we can reach people who are new to cigar smoking, or people who are new to Syracuse and don’t yet know about us. We’re quite a landmark in town, but still there are those who don’t know about Rocky’s.

 

Q: Is it a lot of people that come in to celebrate a wedding or a birth, or is it just to explore?

Mike: Well, the reason guys come in, is if they’re in the hobby of cigars and they hear my advertising, they want to come in and see what’s going on. Our store is—just matter of fact, not bragging—you’d have to go to Albany to find more cigars. You’d have to go west, you’d have to go all the way south to Jamestown to find as many cigars. We have an unbelievable inventory of product. We maintain a massive inventory, and when guys come in, they’re pretty impressed and we usually have what they want. So for new guys, that’s the way that works. But we also have, over the last several years, we have really expanded our offerings of cigars. So beyond just retailing product, we have a Cuban guy on staff who rolls cigars. He’s very popular with weddings, corporate events, things like that. Then we also custom band cigars. I have a graphic designer that will say, you know, “Mike and Rachel: May 24, 2017” and we do a wedding band. So we just did two boxes this week. Some guys were at a cigar dinner I just had, they said “Mike, it’s short notice, we’ve got a wedding in June, do you think you could do a box of cigars for my wedding?” We tore that right up. We had that done in a week’s time.  Both guys were ecstatic. So there are a lot of special occasions that work around cigars, including boy/girl. We have boy/girl cigars out there. Our proximity to the hospital has always been good for that, although it’s not as popular as it used to be.

 

Q: What cigar would you recommend to somebody who is completely new to the experience?

Mike: We would start with a really mild cigar. I’m actually part owner in a cigar company that’s a national affair and we have a brand called Affinity that is a very, very good cigar for the price and it’s very mild so I would start with that.

 

Q: What does your ideal cigar experience involve, in terms of type of cigar, method of cutting, method of lighting, etc?

Mike: Well, cigars are very, very subjective, and I don’t have a favorite cigar. I just smoke what’s new. I have a theory, a principle here that everything we carry is taste-tested. We don’t just take stuff off of some guy’s price list and throw it in here. Everything is very particular about what we carry. But, at the same time, what I’ve noticed about cigars that is the greatest experience, is that when the cigars get lit and the smoke gets in the air, all the barriers get broken down. Whether you’re a prison guard or an insurance salesman, or a driver of a milk truck, or a farmer or a retail clerk at the mall, everybody enjoys the company of others when they’re smoking cigars. So it breaks down all the barriers and it creates—the best word I ever heard for it though—it creates a great sense of comradery and that is my best experience with cigars, is the comradery it creates among people.

Everyone cuts it their own way, everyone gets to light it their own way, they get to smoke their own size, and they get to smoke their own brand and choose their own flavors, and that’s the beauty of it, because it is so very subjective. I have a guy that comes in here, he’s one of my very best customers, I can tell you two customers. One guy is a retired county worker and he buys one of the least expensive cigars in the store, and he buys them by the handful. He’s one of my best customers, he’s a great guy. Another guy is a business owner in town, and he buys cigars, a different cigar, by the handful, that cost five times as much.  And he buys five or six every single day. They’re two completely different walks of life, they’re smoking two completely different cigars, but they’re enjoying them at exactly the same level. They just light them and enjoy them.

 

Collage 2

 

Q: Cigars have a culture that is heavily grounded in tradition. Having been in the businesses for so long, what kind of changes have you seen?

Mike: The cigar business has changed immensely. It’s totally different than it used to be. It used to be that a guy smoked the same cigar all the time, and he smoked two or three of those, and they all smoked really big cigars, like the gangsters in the movies used to smoke. Now a days, they are open to all different shapes and sizes where they weren’t before. They are very interested in what’s new. To run a successful cigar operation today, you have to be very open minded to carrying what’s new, which is why we’re very strict on taste testing everything because it’s okay to be new, but it’s gotta be really high quality. Today’s cigars smoker though, changes brands, they have less brand loyalty, they’re much more open to ideas about trying new shapes, new sizes, and new companies. That’s very different than it was 30 years ago. And there’s a lot more companies, especially what we call boutique companies, which are the real small guys. This business, like any business, is dominated by say half a dozen major players, and then a dozen mid-tier players, and then 200 small players, all trying to get bigger. That’s our breakout, of how we find cigars, who we choose to do business with, we’re very particular about who we buy from, and cigar smokers today have all those choices that, thirty years ago there were only three or four makers.

One of the other things that I’ve learned that it’s very important that we emphasize in, is this is a hobby for our customers, but the depth of knowledge for the customer is not very deep. So we actually provide, we do a lot of promotions all year long, and many, many cigars dinners at various locations around town, and we have a core of customers who enjoy coming to the dinners because of the comradery, because of the ability to smoke a cigar and enjoy a meal, and what happens is we’ve formed some educational-based dinners. The guys come and they learn in a very in depth way about cigars. We’ve dissected them, we’ve demonstrated six ways to cut them, we’ve demonstrated ways to light them, how to store them, how to select them, how to talk the jargon. So it’s very education based.

 

 

To learn more about Rocky’s News & Cigars, visit their website or follow them on Facebook. If you’re interested in cigars and cigar events, Rocky’s has many events coming up.

 

 ROCKY’S EVENTS

 

JULY 23rd: Rocky’s Golf Tournament

The third annual golf tournament based around cigars.

 

AUGUST 15th: Rocky’s Day at Chief Stadium

 

SEPTEMBER 24th: Ballpark Brewfest

NBT Bank Stadium hosts a beer festival.

 

OCTOBERR 12th: The Little Big Smoke

Based on Cigar Aficionado magazine’s Big Smoke event, this is Rocky’s 18th annual fundraising event for MS. Event is held at Barbagallo’s and involves raffles, giveaways, nation-wide vendors, cigars, dinner, door prizes, liquor and beer tastings, and more.

Community Appreciation Picnic: July 18

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • July 12, 2017

Appreciation picnic

WHAT: Annual Community Appreciation Picnic

WHEN: Tuesday, July 18 from 3:00 – 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Clinton Playlot on the corner of Gertrude and Lodi Streets

NEHDA and the Syracuse Northeast Community Center (SNCC) are combining their community picnics this year to celebrate all of the city officials, partner organizations, and neighbors that are dedicated to helping the Northside thrive. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit NEHDA’s website or join the Facebook invite.

Interested in volunteering at the event? Contact Lexie at lkwiek@snccsyr.org.

 

 

Carving Through Borders: Exhibit at ArtRage Gallery

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • June 28, 2017

Image Credit: ArtRageGallery.org | Left: "Image by Mazatl. He is an activist and artist who lives in Mexico where he partakes in several collectives seeking social/political/environmental justice."

Image Credit: ArtRageGallery.org | Left: “Image by Mazatl. He is an activist and artist who lives in Mexico where he partakes in several collectives seeking social/political/environmental justice.”

 

“When you’re interacting with art it’s a moment for you to connect with the story.” – Favianna Rodriguez, artist and Co-Founder of CultureStrike

ArtRage Gallery’s current exhibition, “Carving Through Borders,” showcases large-scale woodcuts from fifteen artists exploring the experiences of documented and undocumented immigrants. Using woodcuts to make prints has a long history in social justice movements and ArtRage’s display seeks to illustrate “various aspects of migration—detention, deportation, displacement, discrimination—and also communities’ resistance and resilience.”

The pieces on display were made in 2014 as part of Syracuse University’s printmaking program. Professor Holly Greenberg and her students traveled to San Fancisco’s Mission District to set up a print making shop and work with local artists to produce large-scale prints intended for use as flags and banners in protests across the country. To learn more about their project and the artists involved, check out the video below made by Daylight Blue Media.

 

 

 

“Carving Through Borders” will be on display until July 7, closing out ArtRage’s exhibits for their summer hiatus. In Tandem with the show, a Butterfly Wing Workshop is scheduled for July 5 at 7:00 PM to celebrate the themes of “migration” and “transformation.” Participants will paint and decorate wings to be worn at marches or rallies. You must RSVP to participate: email info@artragegallery.org  or call 315-218-5711.

To learn more about the exhibit, visit ArtRage’s website or read this review in The New Times.

Photo Friday: “Come As Strangers, Leave As Friends”

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • June 23, 2017

Guests at InterFaith Works‘ World Refugee Day Celebration look on as different speakers and artists reflect on the importance of culture and community in our city and the world beyond.

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