Link to KansasPrairie.net

6/29/2012

THE REAL WINNERS BY PAUL KRUGMAN…

Filed under: prairie musings, Barack Obama — Peg Britton @ 11:01 am

The Real Winners

Paul Krugman
The New York Times

So the Supreme Court — defying many expectations — upheld the Affordable Care Act, a k a Obamacare. There will, no doubt, be many headlines declaring this a big victory for President Obama, which it is. But the real winners are ordinary Americans — people like you.

How many people are we talking about? You might say 30 million, the number of additional people the Congressional Budget Office says will have health insurance thanks to Obamacare. But that vastly understates the true number of winners because millions of other Americans — including many who oppose the act — would have been at risk of being one of those 30 million.

So add in every American who currently works for a company that offers good health insurance but is at risk of losing that job (and who isn’t in this world of outsourcing and private equity buyouts?); every American who would have found health insurance unaffordable but will now receive crucial financial help; every American with a pre-existing condition who would have been flatly denied coverage in many states.

In short, unless you belong to that tiny class of wealthy Americans who are insulated and isolated from the realities of most people’s lives, the winners from that Supreme Court decision are your friends, your relatives, the people you work with — and, very likely, you. For almost all of us stand to benefit from making America a kinder and more decent society.

But what about the cost? Put it this way: the budget office’s estimate of the cost over the next decade of Obamacare’s “coverage provisions” — basically, the subsidies needed to make insurance affordable for all — is about only a third of the cost of the tax cuts, overwhelmingly favoring the wealthy, that Mitt Romney is proposing over the same period. True, Mr. Romney says that he would offset that cost, but he has failed to provide any plausible explanation of how he’d do that. The Affordable Care Act, by contrast, is fully paid for, with an explicit combination of tax increases and spending cuts elsewhere.

So the law that the Supreme Court upheld is an act of human decency that is also fiscally responsible. It’s not perfect, by a long shot — it is, after all, originally a Republican plan, devised long ago as a way to forestall the obvious alternative of extending Medicare to cover everyone. As a result, it’s an awkward hybrid of public and private insurance that isn’t the way anyone would have designed a system from scratch. And there will be a long struggle to make it better, just as there was for Social Security. (Bring back the public option!) But it’s still a big step toward a better — and by that I mean morally better — society.

Which brings us to the nature of the people who tried to kill health reform — and who will, of course, continue their efforts despite this unexpected defeat.

At one level, the most striking thing about the campaign against reform was its dishonesty. Remember “death panels”? Remember how reform’s opponents would, in the same breath, accuse Mr. Obama of promoting big government and denounce him for cutting Medicare? Politics ain’t beanbag, but, even in these partisan times, the unscrupulous nature of the campaign against reform was exceptional. And, rest assured, all the old lies and probably a bunch of new ones will be rolled out again in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision. Let’s hope the Democrats are ready.

But what was and is really striking about the anti-reformers is their cruelty. It would be one thing if, at any point, they had offered any hint of an alternative proposal to help Americans with pre-existing conditions, Americans who simply can’t afford expensive individual insurance, Americans who lose coverage along with their jobs. But it has long been obvious that the opposition’s goal is simply to kill reform, never mind the human consequences. We should all be thankful that, for the moment at least, that effort has failed.

Let me add a final word on the Supreme Court.

Before the arguments began, the overwhelming consensus among legal experts who aren’t hard-core conservatives — and even among some who are — was that Obamacare was clearly constitutional. And, in the end, thanks to Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., the court upheld that view. But four justices dissented, and did so in extreme terms, proclaiming not just the much-disputed individual mandate but the whole act unconstitutional. Given prevailing legal opinion, it’s hard to see that position as anything but naked partisanship.

The point is that this isn’t over — not on health care, not on the broader shape of American society. The cruelty and ruthlessness that made this court decision such a nail-biter aren’t going away.

But, for now, let’s celebrate. This was a big day, a victory for due process, decency and the American people.

6/28/2012

CANCER CENTER AT KU TO RECEIVE NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE DESIGNATION…

Filed under: prairie musings, Kansas — Peg Britton @ 7:34 pm

Kansas University’s Cancer Center will receive its long-sought National Cancer Institute designation, with a formal announcement expected in early July.

CITY OF ELLSWORTH DECLARES AN EMERGENCY FIRE AND FIREWORKS BAN UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE…

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

By order of the Fire Chief of Ellsworth, Kansas:

Due to dry conditions and the high probability of fire, the City of Ellsworth declares an emergency fire ban.  Individual fireworks are not to be lit in City limits until further notice.  The fireworks show on June 30th will continue as planned at the Ellsworth Recreation Center.

Bob Kepka
Fire Chief
City of Ellsworth

AFFORADABLE HEALTH CARE AND WHAT THE SUPREME COURT’S DECISION MEANS…

Filed under: prairie musings, SCOTUS — Peg Britton @ 1:15 pm

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Kyle Seiler sent me the following which explains the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act so that we can understand it.
What people call “Obamacare” is actually the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. However, people were calling it “Obamacare” before everyone even hammered out what it would be. It’s a term mostly used by people who don’t like the PPACA, and it’s become popularized in part because PPACA is a really long and awkward name, even when you turn it into an acronym like that.

Anyway, the PPACA made a bunch of new rules regarding health care, with the purpose of making health care more affordable for everyone. Opponents of the PPACA, on the other hand, feel that the rules it makes take away too many freedoms and force people (both individuals and businesses) to do things they shouldn’t have to.

So what does it do? Well, here is everything, in the order of when it goes into effect (because some of it happens later than other parts of it):

Click here to read the entire article from Reddit.com

CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS SIDES WITH THE MAJORITY AND SAVES OBAMA HEALTH CARE…

Filed under: prairie musings, SCOTUS — Peg Britton @ 9:12 am

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In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Affordable Health Care Act.  Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the majority and saved it.   Along with Roberts,  Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, Ginsberg, and Breyer voted to uphold the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate as a tax, requiring almost all Americans to buy health insurance. Justices Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Kennedy voted to strike it down.  The Kennedy and Roberts votes surprised me.

The Supreme Court decision means women will be charged the same as men for health care insurance (instead of more), children can stay on their parent’s plan and no one can be denied health care because of a preexisting condition.

The decision is an individual mandate in that everyone is required to carry health insurance and if you don’t have it,  the government can tax you as they now do for flood insurance, et al.

The decision is an absolute victory for the administration and Democrats.  This law now stands and it is believed Republicans can’t muster enough votes to demolish it.

Stay tuned…

6/27/2012

WHAT IT COSTS TO BUILD A HOME…

Filed under: prairie musings, 1404 N.Douglas — Peg Britton @ 5:16 pm

In case you might be interested…

I talked to my architect friend today who designs most of the major structures in mid to western Kansas to find out what it it costs for construction of residential homes.

A house he recently designed with bells and whistles cost  $300 a square foot when all was said and done.

Most good quality residential construction runs between $200 and $250 a square foot, he said.

Construction costs for bare bones standard homes is $160 to $180 per square foot.

Then you have the additional expense of a lot, utilities, etc.

If you hope to build in the country, acquiring land close to town is always an issue, plus drilling for water or connecting to Post Rock, connecting to the grid,  installing a septic system, roads and landscaping, etc.

So, there you have it.  I have a good idea what the replacement costs of my home would be.

Stay tuned…

THIS HAPPENS ONLY OCCASIONALLY…

Filed under: prairie musings, 1404 N.Douglas — Peg Britton @ 3:08 pm

Calendar for July 2012

This year, July has 5 Sundays, 5 Mondays and 5 Tuesdays.

I think I’ll call this my lucky month.  Someone is going to walk through my front door and tell me to move out.   Wouldn’t that be nice?
Stay tuned…

ELLSWORTH AREA ART GALLERY RECEPTION ON FRIDAY…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth Art Gallery — Peg Britton @ 6:08 am

On Friday, June 29, 2012, the Ellsworth Area Art Council is inviting everyone to the
reception held for the young artists from 6:30 to 8 p.m.  at 223 N. Douglas in Ellsworth.

Students’ work from the Ellsworth High School Art Class
Kaitlin Ptacek         Wison        paintings
Tanisha Stenike     Wilson       photography
Nicole Bowen         Salina        paintings & drawings
Lindsay Jackson    Ellsworth    photography
Rusty Cross           Ellsworth    drawings

Morgan Dobrinski   Ellsworth    photography

from Sharon Haverkamp

6/26/2012

CHAPTER 5…CROW’S NEST TREE HOUSE FOR SALE…

Filed under: prairie musings, 1404 N.Douglas — Peg Britton @ 4:47 pm

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The Crow’s Nest.  This was the favorite place for my grandchildren to play “school” and “office” with Mackenzie as the teacher and supervisor.  Then they graduated to video games and later Texas Hold’m.  During college they returned for more card games. Brit and I loved to sit up here and watch storms roll in.

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This is the way down….

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And, down again…

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And…down again until you are down as far as you can go.

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After the first “down” from the Crow’s Nest you can cross the bridge and reach this loft bedroom/office  that overlooks the living room.  If you turn around and walk outside you’ll be on the top deck on the third level surround by tree tops.

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At one time we could see the EHS football games from this deck, but the trees are much toO tall for that now.

You can see, perhaps, why this house that I love so much is hard to leave.  It’s just time for someone else to enjoy it as much as I have.

Stay tuned for more.

6/25/2012

PRAIRIE DANCER HERITAGE TURKEY RANCH …RANCHER…

Filed under: prairie musings, Heritage turkeys/chickens, Ally Britton, 1404 N.Douglas — Peg Britton @ 11:55 am

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Here’s my daughter, Ally Britton, the heritage turkey ranch rancher stylin’ with her brand new shiny rubber boots to protect her legs from her ardent followers who insist on pecking on her legs. Her dogs are learning the tricks of the trade in protecting the flock.

Does anyone want to tear down an old barn for the barn wood?  It was beyond saving (without investing a small fortune) when she bought the farm.

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Ally and Maggie tending the flock.  Prior to her starting the turkey business, the farm had been used for dairy cattle and milk production for 100 years.

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A miniature dinosaur: a priceless little remnant of earth’s beginnings…

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And, as a reminder, my house is for sale.  Please pass the word along.  This is part of the lower level featuring an antique Brunswick snooker table that came from the Playmor in Ellsworth.  It should see some action before we move.

Stayed tuned…it’s getting interesting.

6/23/2012

IT’S BIRTHDAY TIME….AGAIN…

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 7:22 am

I’m having some birthday fun today…

…hair cut and visit with Richelle

… prime rib dinner at the Valley Cafe with Ally and friends Ryon, James and Shannon and maybe my long time friend Francis from Wellington/Lawrence who might come spend the night and join us for dinner on his way to Colorado

…tomorrow will be a movie and Hog Wild BBQ I’ve been yearning for in Salina with Todd and Karen

…Roger will be here Monday and dinner at Pretty Boy Floyd’s is on the schedule for next weekend

…Then my “bestest” buddies Meredith and Cindy and I will be doing something next week or whenever we get around to it

…Eddie is arriving also for a stay

…and with calls from my grandchildren that are sure to come, I’ll come full circle on the celebration of another milestone with family, friends and well-wishers

…84 years and always with a roof over my head, food on the table, work to do,  good health and surrounded by a loving family. What more could one ever want?

…Thank you all very much.

6/21/2012

HOUSE APPROVES: DOES KANSAS LAW LEGALIZE DISCRIMINATION?

Filed under: prairie musings, LGBT, Civil/Gay Rights, Kansas — Peg Britton @ 10:02 am

Kansas lawmakers voted overwhelmingly today to pass a bill that opponents say legalizes discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Members of both parties joined together in the House on the 89-27 vote, according to the Lawrence Journal-World. If the Senate follows suit and Governor Sam Brownback signs the bill, as he has indicted, then anyone could opt out of anti-discrimination laws that protect gays and lesbians by claiming they violate their “religious freedom.”

For example, an employer could fire someone if they discovered the employee was gay. Or a landlord could kick a renter out of their home. The religious exemption extends past places of business to universities, where students or instructors could opt out of a school’s anti-discrimination policy.

The idea for the bill, called the “Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act,” came in reaction to the college town of Lawrence passing an anti-discrimination ordinance that included sexual orientation. The new state law would nullify that and any other local anti-discrimination ordinance that included sexual orientation by granting citizens the right to opt out if they felt it conflicted with their religious beliefs.

“I don’t think an ordinance should trump other people’s religious rights,” said Rep. Jan Pauls, a Democrat on the Judiciary Committee that heard testimony about the bill. During a forum earlier this year, Pauls gave an example to explain why she backs the bill, saying an employer should be allowed to fire a “cross dresser.”

“The question is personal belief as far as religion,” she said. “Should that be trumped by forcing people to then support a lifestyle that they don’t support due to their religion?”

“If this law were passed,” Pauls explained, “people could bring up their religion as a reason that they did not want to follow the ordinances.”

6/20/2012

CHAPTER 4…SELLING MY HOUSE…

Filed under: prairie musings, 1404 N.Douglas — Peg Britton @ 12:31 pm

Ally is going to take care of all the details of selling our house.  She’ll be showing it so you can call her to schedule a walk through or longer stay.  Whatever you like. Her number is 785.472.7065 or you can email her here:  ally (at) rhelectic.net

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Photos by Joel Smith

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Stay tuned…

EAAC TO HONOR ELLSWORTH HIGH SCHOOL ARTISTS JUNE 29…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 6:50 am

The following young artists will be honored at a reception on Friday, June 29, 2012, at 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Ellsworth Area Art Center, 223 N. Douglas Ave., in Ellsworth, Kansas:

Students’ work from the Ellsworth High School Art Class
Kaitlin Ptacek         Wison        paintings
Tanisha Stenike     Wilson       photography
Nicole Bowen         Salina        paintings & drawings
Lindsay Jackson    Ellsworth    photography
Rusty Cross           Ellsworth    drawings
Morgan Dobrinski   Ellsworth    photography

The Ellsworth Chapter of DAR are exhibiting their photos,  scrapbooks and other mementos for people to look at.  Everyone is welcome to visit us, Monday to Friday, 12:30 to 4:30.

Thank you for your help!
Sincerely,
Sharon Haverkamp
785 472 5682

6/19/2012

CHAPTER 3…SIGNING UP AT THE PRESBYTERIAN MANOR

Filed under: prairie musings, 1404 N.Douglas, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 12:57 pm

Driving to Salina today in this horrible wind was like trying to keep a paper boat upright in a typhoon. Impossible.

I’m all signed up at the Presbyterian Manor for a one bedroom apartment deluxe.  The deluxe only means it’s  250 square feet larger than the one bedroom standard and doesn’t come with a view except for one night a year when the city has their fireworks.  Then I’ll have the best seat in town.  There aren’t many one bedroom deluxe apartments and the turnover is infrequent.  I’m just keeping my fingers crossed on getting one as otherwise I’ll just take something that is available and wait it out until the deluxe does become available.  The deluxe has 800 square feet with living room and bedroom each 16 feet square.  That’s enough for me and my books, music, computer, TV, bed and chair.

I really like the make up of the residents there as they range in age from 55 to well over 100.  They are living independently and are active.  The assisted living and the memory units are elsewhere on the campus.  Some residents are working in businesses in town.  One lady is 102 and has had a continuous paycheck all her life.  She goes to work every day at the Manor.  She plays the piano for the other residents during dinner hours and she’s very good.

Where I’ll be living is just another apartment complex full of interesting people only they are a little more selective who they admit as people stay for life.  It is anything except “an old folks home on the hill”.  There are some very talented, sharp people living there.   Noise isn’t a problem.  Many are married couples who grew tired of taking care of their yard and home.  There is plenty to do there, or nothing to do.  Whatever you choose.  It’s just a very nice apartment building that provides one meal a day, ample parking, security, transportation, emergency assistance, and various activities, among other things.

What’s not to like about that, I ask?  I’m looking forward to the change.

Now…back to finish unloading Brit’s desk of odds and ends.

Stay tuned…

6/17/2012

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL YOU FABULOUS DADS…PAST AND PRESENT…

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:32 am

6/16/2012

CHAPTER 2 MOVING…MY BACK YARD…ETC.

Filed under: prairie musings, 1404 N.Douglas — Peg Britton @ 9:13 pm

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My wonderful back yard.  The trees provide a shelter surround that is reminiscent of a vacation in some far away place.  The swamp oak tree in the foreground was planted shortly after we built the house.  It was about 10 feet tall when an enormous wind storm threatened to  level it to the ground.  In the height of the storm with rain pounding on us in torrents, Brit, Ally and I forged out into the elements and held the tree in place until the storm abated. It has thought itself to in our debt ever since and provided us with beauty and shade everlasting.  When I’m sitting on my back deck, this is what I see. Georgia isn’t always exploring as she is today.  The photo was taken by Joel Smith of J&JPhotographers.

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Photos by J&J Photography June 16, 2012.  Another view of our house. Deck around the hot tub room on the left, stairs to the main level deck off the living room, and deck at the top of the picture off the loft bedroom.  The loft bedroom received a lot of attention this weekend from Ally who sorted through all of her dad’s papers in his filing cabinet and Todd and Karen who made appropriate stacks of Christmas decorations, handmade treasurers from my grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother…plus other assorted family keepsakes.  They’ve all found family homes.

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Lower level bedroom next to the hot tub room and outdoor deck.

Stayed tuned for more photos.  This house is for sale by owner.

6/15/2012

CHAPTER 1 OF MOVING LOCK, STOCK AND BARRELL…

Filed under: prairie musings, 1404 N.Douglas — Peg Britton @ 7:28 am

As with most new journeys, the major decisions and destination have been determined and I’m pointed in the right direction, but the push from the rear engine is coughing and sputtering and spinning wheels.  I hear the screeching of the rails, not of resistance but of the lack of steam.  We’ll get rolling one of these days, but right now there is much to do.

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My Japanese son, Izo Tanemura (above with me), read here yesterday that I was moving.  The news has filtered to Osaka.

With the accumulation of treasures, gifts from family and friends and having stuff just walk through the back door and finding a friendly environment for multiplying, I’ve found downsizing for the first time in 36 years overwhelming in magnitude and proving to be a daunting task.  I know that it will resolve itself one way or another…eventually…but right now it’s staggering.  There should be a law that when you bring anything in your house, an equivalent amount of “stuff” has to go out the back door.Another hard and fast rule:  Parents should be required to “downsize” before their children.  My kids are wise and rid themselves of unwanted “stuff” when they bought smaller houses.  They don’t want or have room for my “stuff”.  That was a major “oops” on my part.

I lie in bed at night, my mind flitting over what to take to the Presby Palace for an apartment that I don’t yet have. In any case, it will be very small, 600 square feet at best. (I have in the neighborhood of 3,600 square feet of house filled to the rafters.)  I’m not even on their list for one.  I haven’t even applied to get on the list.  There is all that yet to do and I decided I might be trying to make that part too hard.  My kids and close friends have “fine print” reading assignments.  I’ve also received some very good suggestions on how to proceed, but as a good friend said…you have to start.Yesterday I got through the bottom drawer of Brit’s filing cabinet.  Claudia wisely told me to go buy all the storage containers they had at ALCO and transfer the stuff that I have to keep.  She’s right.  Ally has storage space for it and in a few years she can pitch it all and have a stack of reusable storage containers.  Now I’m on a roll.

In the meantime, interested parties, all friends, are showing themselves around my house to see if it might work for them.  It’s a lot of house and it takes some time to get your mind around it.  It’s a wonderful place to live…like being on constant vacation… and it will always hold precious memories for me, my kids and grandkids.  We all love this place and have enjoyed every minute we’ve been in it..

Most old people move to be close to their children.  I don’t feel as though I’m moving away from mine as it’s only a short distance to Salina where I’ll be living for the rest of my life.  They are there frequently.  Presby Manor is the only place in the area that provides life time care for all your needs, whatever they might be.  Once I’m there, I’ll remain there and my family won’t have to make any further decisions about my care.  I really, really want to save my children and grandchildren from those concerns as I know full well the impact they can have on families.  I’ll rid myself of all the concerns about maintaining this house and free up a lot of time for other activities.  The road goes both ways and I’ll be back here frequently. This is my home.  I’m not passing by invitations to sit at Ally’s and Todd and Karen’s dinner table…or any others that might come my way.

Stay tuned as I have all kinds of new blogging material…

6/13/2012

FOR SALE TO THE RIGHT BUYER…

Filed under: prairie musings, 1404 N.Douglas — Peg Britton @ 7:56 pm

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Hot tub/plant room to the right…

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Hot tub/plant room on the right; storage shed on the left…

It’s a lot of lovely house, about 3,600 square feet…on three acres in the city with another approximately 5 acres available from a separate buyer.  This is a very private enclave within the city limits of Ellsworth KS.  You can’t find a more private place so near quality schools, a growing economy, the beauty of the prairie, and independent living.

Stay tuned…

6/12/2012

I’M GOING TO CHANGE MY ADDRESS AND HAVE A HOUSE FOR SALE..

Filed under: prairie musings, 1404 N.Douglas — Peg Britton @ 5:40 pm

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I’m ready for a change and am selling my house and moving to Salina. I’ve loved every minute of the 36 years I’ve lived in my castle and most of my adult life in Ellsworth.  It’s home.  It’s just way too much house for me and I need to be some place where I can be more active.

The appraisers are coming within a couple of weeks, but I don’t mind showing seriously interested people around the property before then, if I’m available.

I hope to move into the apartment high rise of the Presbyterian Manor where I can lead a more active, productive life.  I have some close friends who have lived there for years and love it, so I think it’s time for me to join them.  I’ll be there until my last sigh as that’s part of the deal!   Once I’m in, you’ll always know where to find me.  If you want to pass the word along that my house is for sale, I’d appreciate it.

I’ll have more details later…

4 level house, unique, premium construction well-maintained, full-length window surround; custom built 1976 by Kohls Construction; acreage and building lots within Ellsworth City limits, secluded location surrounded by trees, near intersection of Highways 14 and 40.

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Stay tuned…

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