Link to KansasPrairie.net

5/30/2003

WOW! HIGH SPEED IS REALLY FAST AND WONDERFUL

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 12:01 pm

I’m connected to the wonderful world of high speed internet through Classic Cable. Of course, I posed a difficult problem, as expected. The minute Mark tried to connect me to their service, the whole system…that would be nation-wide…crashed for the first time that anyone who works for the company remembers. It had nothing to do with my connection, but I wish it had occurred yesterday rather than today. It was a momentous occasion and a tad worrisome.So far everything is working like greased lightning. My mail downloads instantaneously which is a huge improvement over what I am accustomed to. I sent out change of address notices this evening in a matter of minutes. At other times, it has taken literally an entire day to send dozens of letters with just a handful of names in each To box. I haven’t done much with websites, but I can pull up mine and my granddaughter’s much faster. I’m presuming downloads will be speedy as well.

So as far as cost is concerned, it’s about a break-even thing for me. I can get rid of my dedicated phone line and my ISP which combined run somewhere close to $40 a month. Then, since I have cable TV, they give me a $10 deduction every month on the price of that. Classic internet runs $49.95 a month and the first month is free. So is installation. So it’s about a wash.

If I blow a modem, they replace it. It’s a really cool looking modem, compact and sleek. I have it on my monitor. It matches!

You get 5 megs of webspace free with the service. My website is way over 15 megs now, and growing daily, so I have it hosted at MetaPros in Wichita.

You get 5 email addresses and they all connect to @classicnet.net. That’s not the best, but there are no choices in the matter. I took all 5 but peg was already taken. Too bad. I got some other favorites. I know that Wes, who signed me up, wondered what in the world I’d want with 5 email addresses. I guess because they wanted to give them to me. Certainly I won’t need but one since I have others with my domain name.

They have support but there shouldn’t be much need for it. Not much can go wrong. When the system went down today, they had 1,200 calls within minutes. It was such a rarity users were astounded.

Mark has connected 44 people to Classic Cable Internet in Ellsworth and has another 40 on the list to get to eventually. Their systems all seem to be working fine and if there is a problem, he can detect it. He checks on everyone every morning to see that they are up and running. That is a nice, comforting thought. And he makes house calls.

Speed makes a difference to me and I can justify the price based on what I was paying. It’s just going to be very nice not having to dial up a number a bazillion times a day for a connection. I’ll love the speed and convenience and such other things that go with high speed broadband.

That’s about all I know about it!

5/29/2003

WHAT HAPPENED TO SPRING?

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 6:25 pm

We had such a glorious spring and now it is summer. I’m just not a summer person at all. I like the weather the rest of the year, but heat and I don’t get along at all. I’ve found lots of friends who share that same feeling. It’s a good thing Randy came to fix all the “water stuff” in our house yesterday because I know he doesn’t like hot weather and getting him out in it isn’t easy. I don’t blame him.

Mark tried to connect my cable modem and something happened to the system. No doubt I fried Classic Cable. They are trying to fix the problem and he’ll return later to try once again to make the connection. I am so excited! I have the modem with the blinking green lights on my monitor so there should be some action soon. I think I’ll find a hood for it so I won’t have those lights blinking in my field of vision. I hear they have a good support system through the company…so that is good. I don’t want pretend fixer people. There shouldn’t be much to complain about since we won’t be troubled by SBC.

I rather imagine SBC will lose a noticeable amount of business because of this. So will the internet providers who were not first in line with broadband. Broadband high speed internet connections are very important to the future potential growth of Ellsworth. That is one thing that people require who might consider moving here. We’ve been saying this for years, and now it’s becoming apparent.

Tonight is breakfast night at the Lorraine Cafe. Their Thursday night breakfasts are good, plentiful and reasonable. Besides, it’s fun going to Lorraine and talking with the people at the cafe. I had lunch at Orozco’s with friends so I shouldn’t need to eat at all..but..well…

I’m interested in my granddaughter’s blog about life on the east coast. It’s fun to read about her new experiences. Her researcher/boss arrived today so it should be another interesting day for her. She’s getting acquainted with her roommates and one is actually younger than Mackenzie so she likes that. Being the youngest is always disconcerting.

YEAH! MARK GWINNER IS HERE INSTALLING MY HIGH SPEED CABLE CONNECTION

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 4:05 pm

Mark is here a day early to make my high speed cable connection so that I can zip right through my internet “stuff”. He actually thinks it will work.

I have the most complicated cable set up in town…no, a local doctor has joined us with the same crazy stuff too…so everything we attempt to do is “iffy”. Mark has worked with our cable cables for 25 years…so he knows where everything is. You can’t string new wire in the this house, but my computer is right by the spot where all the wires come into the house, so the 8 foot connection should be easy. He’ll even put in a TV cable for me too so I can have my own TV by my computer. Hurray…now I can watch what I want to watch when I want to watch it.

Mark said he’s already hooked up about 40 to Classic Cable and has another 40 to go that are on his list. I’m sure as word spreads, there will be more. It’s a very good deal for those who have two phone lines, one dedicated to a computer as you can eliminate a phone and an ISP.

ECED, Inc.

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 3:16 pm

Monday night the Ellsworth City Council, in a unanimous vote, gave ECED, Inc. $4,500 of tax payer money and suggested they might give more at a later date.

ECED, Inc. still owes the county $4,767.70 in unpaid 2002 taxes. One could draw conclusions, but I won’t.

I can say, in my very own personal opinion, that I believe ECED, Inc. should work altogether from donations from people who believe in what they are doing. I don’t believe they should be using my taxpayer money for their private corporation projects. But as I say, that is only my opinion. I presented my viewpoints to the entire city council so they know my position on the matter. At least the County Commissioners concur. That’s all I can do for the time being.

DENA’S YOGA FREE CLASS

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 2:50 pm

Dena Woods Stoltz is teaching a free yoga class on Monday June 9 at the Methodist Church from 7 to 8:30 p.m. She will be explaining a little about yoga and then will do a short class just to give everyone an idea of what she will be teaching. Following that, she will have a question and answer session. Anybody who is interested is welcome - young or old, male or female. Any questions can be directed to Dena (Woods) Stoltz at: 531-0902.

Now if I could just figure out a way to sit on the floor, yoga style, and then manage to get upright again. I’ve always wanted to learn about yoga, but I have a feeling that Tai Chi is more along the line of what I am capable of doing.

Dena is great at teaching yoga and giving instructions in relaxation techniques. I’ve enjoyed what I have learned from her. I think you would too, so why don’t you drop in and see what her free session is all about. You won’t be disappointed.

5/28/2003

CONDITIONING AT THE HIGH SCHOOL

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 6:19 pm

One of these days soon I want to blog the conditioning program at the high school. I have an invitation to visit the weight room and read what is written on the wall. Stix said he wouldn’t mind if I appeared there as an observer so I don’t imagine Twigs will either.

There are about 140 students who are involved in the program and between one-third and one-half are girls. Coach Ken Windholz does an excellent job of promoting strength and fitness in students regardless of their athletic or academic interests and I find that very commendable.

Young people seem to be increasingly bi-polar: those like my grandsons who are very fit and those couch potatoes who face real health risks from inactivity and poor diet. This program offers a wonderful opportunity for every student to participate regardless of ability. So, I want to go see for myself what it is all about as I know it has vastly improved since as a school board member we bought the first Universal Gym. I’ve seen the results of daily conditioning in the growth and maturity of my two grandsons and others who are in the program. Kids are very much stronger than they used to be and conditioning programs make a difference.

The program is not just for football boys, as some presume. It’s for everyone and it would be wonderful if everyone who was able participated.

One of these days, I’m going to check it out. I’ll get back to you so stay tuned.

STIX AND OTHER FRIENDS

Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends — Peg Britton @ 6:05 pm

What a day this has been. It has been very productive but not without its problems. After all was said and done, I managed to get two trucks stuck in our backyard and finally had to call Corey to come winch them out. He just giggled. His dad has been up here sooooo many times winching trucks out of our back yard that I’d hate to try to count the times. Once we had to get the wrecker to winch the winch to winch the truck. We never learn that fescue is slick, even if the ground is bone dry.

Well, I borrowed a truck from Todd without really asking permission and thought maybe we could use it and return it before he knew it was missing from the prison. It’s a family thing that we do. I got that one stuck. Randy Kempke was here working so I sort of borrowed his truck too to help pull out the first one and got that one stuck too. It’s a pattern.

Stix created some beauty today where before it was a mass of jungle growth. One thing led to another, as yard work is inclined to do, and there is one corner that is vastly improved over what it was at eight this morning. That kid worked so hard that I don’t think there is anyway he can go to conditioning. He sawed and clipped and axed and hauled stuff to the tree and limb dump until he was dragging. The only thing left to do is to plant some flowers and ivy. That’s the plan. We’ve made one corner of the yard much nicer. It satisfies every claim to scenic magnificence.

And it has been one of those days where I wonder what I’d do without Rachael Carrell, Randy, Stix and Twigs, Todd, Ted Edgerle, Brit, Edie Grogg and Corey Minear. Each and everyone had some part in making today a successful and pleasant one for me. I thank them.

5/27/2003

WHO UNDERSTANDS EVERYTHING ABOUT MSIE?

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 7:33 pm

My MSIE bit the dirt and for the life of me, I can’t figure out what is wrong with it. It acts very much like there is a switch some place that has been tripped that prohibits MSIE from connecting to the internet. I’ve tried everything from resetting all my defaults, to checking all the connections and going through everything on my computer that relates to it. I spent two hours working on it Saturday with a friend in Texas who knows all these things, and we couldn’t fix it. I’ve even thought about taking my present version off and downloading a new one, but I’ve already done that once on this machine and once is about all they want you to do. I am not sure what it will do to Outlook, if anything. All the warning pop-ups say to leave it alone. Well, fine…but how do I fix it?

Fortunately, I have both Netscape and Mozilla humming away so all is not lost. I’m using Netscape as my default browser as I did when I first started on the net. It’s fine. I just don’t like having something not working on my computer and I do like MSIE for some things and I’d like to have it operational.

So, if there is someone close by who has a clue as to what I should do next, please let me know.

Thanks…

PROOF THAT BLOGGING PAYS

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 5:02 pm

Blogging pays off in the best way imaginable….I was showered with produce from Annie Hochman’s garden today. It just so happens that she reads my blog every day and when she had extra fresh spinach and lettuce today and wondered who might enjoy it, she thought of me. And we will enjoy it enormously. Just as we have enjoyed her tomatoes and other wonderful things she grows. She has that green thumb and can get more tomatoes off 6 plants that any human alive. She has a miracle spray she attributes it to, but it really is her thumb. I know.

Besides getting a generous supply of both spinach and lettuce, she handed it to Brit cleaned and ready for the table. That goes above and beyond any standard. It is beautiful. And we’re having it tonight fixed our favorite way, “wilted style” with a homemade sweet-sour dressing, topped with chopped sweet onions, crisp bacon crumbles and sliced hard-boiled eggs. It’s to die for!

Thanks, Annie.

P.S. After dinner report: We just ate the whole thing and it was THE Best.

JUNE MAKE A DIFFERENCE MONTH

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 4:42 pm

Starting next week we are doing a little experiment to see how many people will go to La Prairie for “June Makes a Difference Month”. Lori Park is the owner of the store and has it stocked with unique items. You’re bound to find something there that you’d like to have.

I’m suggesting that you go in her store and spend $5.00 on an item that you would like for yourself or as a gift for someone else. It isn’t very much to spend, but if enough people would do that, it would be a way for us to show that we appreciate her store, her energy, her creativity and willingness to support our town. It would make a difference to Lori and her business to have that income.

I asked exactly what she had that only cost $5.00 and here are some of the things she mentioned:

Bracelets, Trapp candles, hand lotion, picture frames, jewelry, kitchen spoons, utensils, measuring spoons, European wooden spoons, Gel Gems (she’s about sold out so I bought a package of them for a bathroom window), dip mix, canisters, beaded tassels and colored glass candle holders.

I posted a sheet of paper on a filing cabinet so everyone can sign it who specifically goes in to “Make a Difference”. Let’s see if we can make it work. I think you’ll be glad you were a part of this effort.

NOISES HAVE CHANGED

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:07 am

We moved into this house 26 years ago when things were quite different at this corner of town. For one thing, it was very quiet as there wasn’t much activity around here. There was no prison or hospital and nothing to create any traffic other than people coming to and leaving town. Traffic was slow and easy and the Y shaped intersection had been a presence for many years.

That all changed with the construction of the prison and the increased activity that came about because of it. Buildings were constructed near by. Then the hospital was built a few years ago further increasing the traffic at this end of town. Traffic can get pretty brisk around here at times with employees coming and going to work.

The sirens are most notable especially when they call out all the emergency vehicle crews at one time. We do have our share of sirens in this town, but at least they aren’t blowing the town’s emergency sirens to call volunteer firemen to duty as once they did, even during the middle of the night. There is nothing to complain about as we’re very fortunate to have a new hospital with emergency medical services available, an excellent volunteer fire department, law enforcement and all the other services who need to crank up a siren now and then.

And those are all good things, but I do notice the noise from the traffic that once wasn’t very noticeable. There are rumble strips that carry the noise of vehicles crossing over them. It’s like an echo when I hear a car hitting the first batch heading north, then turn and hit the second batch of strips going east. That noise carries for long distances, but I think the strips are a very good thing.

The hidden noise of car stereos is something I can feel in the house. It’s a rumble you can feel in your body and a concussion to the head without really hearing a lot of sound. I don’t think these kids have any idea what it’s like to be deaf, but surely they will be when they are older. It’s bound to happen.

There are endless streams of big trucks and semis that once were a rarity. When they stopped sending everything by rail and switched to trucking, it made a big difference every where on our highways. I’ve never tried to drive one of those huge monsters, but I know from the sounds I hear from the gears about how to do it. Then there are Jake brakes.

This is the after-effect of progress. It was bound to happen. All we can do is plant more trees to help muffle the sounds. Trees are good as they help reduce sounds and clean our air of exhaust fumes. And if you plant enough of them, you can pretend you are living in a tree house.

5/26/2003

THE 100 BEST SCHOOLS IN AMERICA

Filed under: print news — Peg Britton @ 9:29 pm

The 100 Best High Schools in America
The surge in the number of students taking AP tests is changing life inside America’s classrooms and altering the rules of the college-admissions game. A look at a new set of winners for 2003.

By Jay Mathews
NEWSWEEK

June 2 issue - In the 1970s, Mike Riley was a young Chicago teacher trying to save failing inner-city students. He found they blossomed if he simply sat them down each day after class and made sure they did their homework. “They went from F’s to honor roll, and I realized that… they weren’t dumb kids, just kids we hadn’t connected to,” he says. Riley learned that even the most apathetic students responded to a challenge - as long as they had the right support.

Rank / School Name / City / State / Score
1 . International Academy* Bloomfield Hills , Mich 6.323
2 . Stanton College Prep* Jacksonville , Fla. 5.639
3 . Paxon* Jacksonville , Fla. 4.668
4 . Alabama School of Fine Arts Birmingham , Ala. 4.567
5 . Jericho Jericho , N.Y. 4.519
6 . George Mason* Falls Church , Va. 4.365
7 . Myers Park* Charlotte , N.C. 4.086
8 . Science Academy of South Texas Mercedes , Tex. 4.024
9 . H-B Woodlawn Arlington , Va. 3.961
10 . Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies Los Angeles , Calif. 3.893
11 . Manhasset Manhasset , N.Y. 3.840
12 . Wyoming Cincinnati , Ohio 3.782
13 . Bellevue Bellevue , Wash. 3.755
14 . Highland Park Dallas , Tex. 3.693
15 . Edgemont Scarsdale , N.Y 3.673
16 . International Bellevue , Wash. 3.643
17 . Great Neck South Great Neck , N.Y. 3.640
18 . Newport Bellevue Bellevue , Wash. 3.625
19 . Cold Spring Harbor Cold Spring Harbor , N.Y. 3.573
20 . Mills University Studies Little Rock , Ark. 3.564
99. Sumner Academy in Kansas City, Kans. 2.340

CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE

A FAMILY TRAGEDY

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 7:51 pm

There was a family tragedy that occurred Saturday in Abilene. My daughter called right away as she was so upset about the event involving a woman who worked for her at the Country Club. As it turns out, it was a tragedy that touched many lives and families not only in Abilene, but in Wilson, Holyrood and Ellsworth. It was a tragic and sad ending to two young lives. You wonder why it couldn’t have been prevented.

SPRING CLEAN UP

Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends — Peg Britton @ 8:59 am

This has been a long week of spring cleanup. It’s very nice to have two willing grandsons who lend muscle to some difficult chores to help “the elderly”. Once those chores were very routine for us, but time takes its toll.

Have you noticed how much stronger kids are these days? They go to conditioning early every morning to lift weights and run. The two who help me are nothing but muscle and bone (how delightful it would be to be like that!). They are trying to “bulk up” this summer, as they say. That means they are eating all the time too.

Anyway, the thing about tending to plants is that as they grow, they need larger and larger pots. And they get heavier. Even the boys can only barely budge the pot the century plant is in. It has a large part of the century to keep growing so I don’t know what the future holds for it. I wonder what happened to the century plant that was about 8 feet tall that lived in the nursery south of Lyons? The nursery is no more, but maybe the plant found a new happy home. I wonder about it.

Morfords are closing out some of their plants at greatly reduced prices. We took advantage of that yesterday and planted more things of beauty around the house. Mrs. Morford gave me some larkspur out of her garden which Tyler planted for me in ours. My grandmother always had larkspur around her house and it is sort of special to me in that regard. I’ve just never had any luck getting it to grow here.

We also bought more of their eggs - those pretty little pastel blue and green ones that my friend in England steadfastly denies exist.

All this is to say, I’m getting a hold on the plants and clutter and making some headway. It always feels good this time of year to clean things up that seem to accumulate during the winter. What I need most of all is for three offspring to come claim what they want out of this house and take it home with them. The other alternative is to wait a few years and just let Tyler come take it over. For many years now, it has been “his” house too.

OROZCO’S MEXICAN BREAKFAST

Filed under: Kanopolis Musings — Peg Britton @ 8:44 am

Saturday I had breakfast at Orozco’s with two of my most favorite people in the world (that would be Cindy and Meredith). It is something we do occasionally in the summer when they aren’t teaching. I almost never see them during the school year as they are as conscientious about their work as any teachers anywhere. On one of our leisurely mornings during the summer when they take time to slow down, we start at nine and usually wind up our visit about noon when the lunch crowd arrives.

Orozco’s Mexican breakfast is the best - scrambled eggs, hash browns and refried beans smothered with pork chili with “extra juice - so it fills the “round” plate. It should be a traditional round plate, but it depends on who is cooking. Then we cover it with hot sauce. They serve warm tortillas on the side. If you haven’t ever tried it, I’d suggest you do. Life is too short not to enjoy it. When I take my grandsons, they have a stack of pancakes on the side. They make great pancakes.

That breakfast made the fourth meal of Mexican food I had last week, which was just fine with me. You can tell I like it. That’s the thing with Mexican food…it all tastes different depending on who’s doing the cooking….so it’s always a treat. I never tire of it.

RICH VARGO, THE VINTNER

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Kanopolis Musings — Peg Britton @ 8:22 am

Yesterday I discovered a new treasure in an old friend - a vintner with extraordinary talent and skill - Rich Vargo. I don’t pretend to be a wine connoisseur, but I do know an excellent glass of wine when I taste it. And his is excellent and the kind I much prefer over other labels. It is fruity and full-flavored with a perfect degree of sweetness. He raises his own grapes and fruit for his several varieties of wines, ages and bottles them just like the professional he is. He even encases the corks in his special wax seals. I’ve been treated to some very expensive wine in my lifetime, but I don’t think I enjoyed any as much as I did that glass of Rich’s wine yesterday. It was a perfect. And there isn’t anything that I know of that this guy can’t do. No wonder that kindergarten teacher married him.

CSB and T

Filed under: Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 7:52 am

The new bank clock is a fine addition to the town especially for those of us who like to keep track of the time and temperature. It’s a great looking clock and a nice change from the old one it replaced. Thanks to the board of the CSB and T for this nice downtown improvement.

MACKENZIE’S SUMMER INTERNSHIP…NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY

Filed under: family — Peg Britton @ 7:50 am

If anyone would like to learn about what computer science/mathematics majors do during their three months of internship researching artificial intelligence at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, you can follow her blog by going to CLICK HERE FOR MACKENZIE .

Then again, it might be more about her life in and around Gaithersburg MD. We shall see. It’s a completely new experience for her.

BIRDS OF A FEATHER

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 7:11 am

Birds are so interesting. I guess that’s the reason so many people like to follow their strange, yet predictable habits.

For the past twelve days, we’ve had a bird with a beak full of nesting material trying to get in our house to build a nest. I’m almost to the point to just open the door and let him in. The pecking starts at dawn and is relentless through most of the day. At first glimpse, I thought it was an oriole, but since a glimpse is all I ever get of it, I’ve changed my mind. It looks more like a black-headed grosbeak, but they aren’t all that common to this area. At least I don’t think so. Someone can let me know. Sneaking up on it to get a good look is almost impossible.

During this time of year, since all the windows in the house are open, the first morning sound I hear is one of our faithful cardinals, who at five twenty five, belts out his loud abbreviated half song and then stops. I’m sure he’s hit his snooze alarm so he can sleep for another fifteen minutes. Silence. All I can hear is the sound of vehicles going over the rumble strips on the highway. Then he comes up with another longer song, but still not the full thing. None of the other birds respond. Finally, after about half an hour, he tackles it again and by this time, his other feathers friends are rustling in their roosts and slowly come out to play. It’s not long until the cacophony of bird sounds will roust anyone out of bed. That noise is soon followed by the constant pecking at our window by Mr. Groesbeak.

I hear lots of mourning doves too….always from a distance. We have them in our yard all the time, feeding on the ground under the feeders, but they never sing their mournful song where I can see them. Their song is sung by some dove far away. I’ve never heard one sing close to where I am.

Well, spring is always interesting around here. I wouldn’t trade this location for for barking dogs and howling cats in town…fur nuttin’. I remember what that was like.

5/23/2003

HIGH SPEED INTERNET….I’M DOING THE MATH

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 12:23 pm

Over dinner with the family last night (Mexican food for the third time this week), my computer-literate granddaughter and my financial manager son convinced me that the offering by Classic Cable for high-speed internet service was the “way to go”.

Their reasoning is sound:

  • We get $10.00 off per month…forever… on our limited cable TV service fee as long as I subscribe to both cable tv and internet service. We pay $15.95 now so we will be billed $5.95 for cable TV.
  • I can eliminate the phone line to my computer which costs about $20.00 per month.
  • I can eliminate my ISP service which also runs about $20.00 a month.
  • The installation for the high-speed service is free at this time. I won’t have to invest in a $150 modem as they provide it free.

And the price for it is $49.95 a month plus the $5.95 ($15.95 less $10.00 credit) cost for our limited cable TV.

This sounds like a great opportunity to get high-speed service for the right price which will run about $10 more than I’m paying now. I will always be connected to the net and won’t spend time waiting for downed services to right themselves or tapping my foot during downloads. Ha…I will extend my life span.
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The technician is coming next Friday to do the installation. He will do the whole thing so that all I will need to do after he leaves is call and disconnect the services I will no longer need. He’ll also tweak my cable TV adjustments as they need it.

I’ll learn then about my email address options. I just notified everyone of my change of address, so now I’ll have to do it again. It’s easy to lose track of people when you do that. Someway or other my kansasprairie.net domain name address will still work. I hope the cable internet people have a spam filter as I’ve really appreciated that with KIT.

I’ve wanted high speed internet since I bought my first computer many years ago and now seems the logical time to make the switch. I’ll let you know how it works.

The toll free number to call, if you are interested, is: 1.866.999.6845.

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