Denver Post’s ballpark blunder mocked by many, but we’re not here to judge

Last month the Denver Post announced it would be shedding 30 newsroom employees from the roughly 100 it had, a “dreadfully stressful,” situation, Editor Lee Ann Colacioppo admitted. Today, the newspaper is enduring more stress after a mistake that might have been caught by an extra set of eyeballs.

Ahead of the Colorado Rockies’ home opener Friday, the newspaper’s Life & Culture section presented “The Ultimate Visitors Guide to Coors Field” with a big, six-column photo of … Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia?

While many baseball fields look similar, the obvious sign that Citizens Bank Park isn’t Coors Field is in left field, where the word “Phillies” is scrawled in cursive over the scoreboard. The Denver Post called its incorrect photo choice a “production error” in an apology tweet.

Everybody makes mistakes, and as much as newsroom staff tries to avoid them, they still happen. This particular editor/blogger is guilty of several — most of which were caught by another editor, saving our paper from some level of embarrassment. So you won’t get snarky commentary or snippy jokes here (though you can find plenty on www.twitter.com).

Instead, let’s allow the Denver Post to take a jab at itself with self-effacing humor. “We’re confused. Can you show us what Coors Field looks like?” the paper titled a post on its website acknowledging its gaffe and offering a contest to fans.

“Send us your best photo of Coors Field by noon on Saturday, April 7, 2018, and you can win two front-row Rockies tickets to Monday’s game against San Diego,” the story says. The Denver Post is directing fans to submit their photos on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #ThisIsCoorsField.

#CoorsField, #ILoveCoorsField and @Phillies have already been trending topics in Denver on Friday morning.

Sure enough, Coors Field will look a bit different when the Rockies take the field against the Atlanta Braves for this weekend’s series. As part of their 25th anniversary season, the Rockies are unveiling a massive scoreboard that is, according to the team’s website, 8,369 square feet, “equivalent in display size to 784 60-inch televisions.”

Early renderings show no proof of the word Phil… nope, I promised I wouldn’t.

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DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Iowa Future Ready Summit on Tuesday highlighted steps the state is taking to better train its students for the workforce, but whether young people will use those skills in Iowa jobs — rather than out-of-state — remains to be seen.

“The worst thing is you train all these kids, and then they want to live in Colorado,” said John Hickenlooper, Colorado’s governor. “And some do.”

Reynolds, Hickenlooper, and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson discussed the expansion of computer science education in their respective states during a panel at the summit moderated by Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise.

One way to convince young Iowans to stay in-state is to create partnerships with schools and businesses, Reynolds said, so students have learning opportunities out in their communities.

“If you form those partnerships and start to develop opportunities for juniors, seniors, college kids, not only does it help them see the opportunities that exist in communities all across the state, but it means economic development,” she said. “We’re providing them opportunities to find out their passion, what they’re interested in. We’re allowing them to see the phenomenal opportunities that exist right in their community.

Advances in technology itself, Arkansas’ Hutchinson said, could allow for more students to stay close to home.

“We’re not training them to send them to Colorado or Silicon Valley,” Hutchinson said. “You can run the world from the front porch in Harrison, Ark.”

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But Iowa, and other states, have long struggled to entice its young people to remain in the state. That “brain drain” contributes to more than 4,000 computing jobs remaining unfilled in Iowa.

Reynolds said a bill signed into law by her predecessor, Gov. Terry Branstad, encouraged every Iowa school to offer computer science by the 2019-20 school year.

About 70 percent of Iowa middle and high schools have a computer science course, Reynolds said.

Wise noted, though, that only 14 percent of 2017 high school graduates took at least one rigorous course in computer science.

“There is great momentum that we’re seeing taking place in the state of Iowa,” Reynolds said, adding she hopes to catch up to Arkansas and Colorado. “We’re a competitive state, and I let them know right off the bat, we’re on their tail.”

In Arkansas, Hutchinson said he believes his work to expand computer science education will have long-lasting impact. Since 2015 Arkansas has invested $7.5 million in computer science education, he said, and trained 2,000 teachers.

Colorado has taken a similar approach to Iowa by providing schools with voluntary academic standards in computer science. Hickenlooper said he expects computer science education “almost certainly” will eventually be mandatory in Colorado schools.

“If we don’t give kids the tools to navigate the future economy, (it’s) government malpractice,” Hickenlooper said.

l Comments: (319) 398-8330; molly.duffy@thegazette.com

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Colorado State is busy adding depth to the roster by utilizing graduate transfers from power conference programs. The newest addition is offensive lineman T.J. Roundtree, a graduate transfer from Louisville. The Rams announced the addition of Roundtree to the program on Friday.

As a graduate transfer, Roundtree will be eligible to play for the Mountain West Conference contenders this fall. Having Roundtree on the roster should help plug some holes on the offensive line after losing three starters from last year’s team. Roundtree could also potentially be protecting another graduate transfer addition to the program, quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels. Carta-Samuels was formally added to the program earlier in the week after transferring to Fort Collins from Washington.

Roundtree played in five games for Louisville last season and all 13 games in the 2016 season. At 6′-5″ and 315 lb, he should add some weight to a Colorado State offensive line that is already pretty stacked in size, making for a formidable offensive line unit in the MWC.

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Jennifer Blagg, left, Michael Blagg and Abigail Blagg CBS Denver

GOLDEN, Colo. – A Colorado man being re-tried in his wife’s murder denies any involvement in her death or their daughter’s disappearance.

Michael Blagg took the stand Tuesday, something he didn’t do during his first trial, CBS Denver reports.

He told jurors in Golden that he came home from work in November 2001, and was "very distressed that something horrible had happened" when he found a blood-soaked mattress in the couple’s bedroom.

There were no signs of his wife, Jennifer Blagg, or their 6-year-old daughter, Abby.

Blagg said he called 911 to report Jennifer and Abby missing, but said on cross-examination that he didn’t search for them in the house first.

Several months later, Jennifer Blagg’s body was found in a landfill near refuse from the company where Michael Blagg worked. Abby was never found.

Blagg testified that he had attempted suicide a few months after his wife and daughter disappeared, because he was told there was no hope of finding them alive, and because he was being targeted by investigators.

Blagg also said that he and his wife had arguments over their use of pornography to aid their sex life– but that there was no reason for the marriage to end, reports CBS Denver.

On Monday, Blagg’s defense team said hairs were found in the couple’s bed that did not belong to either Michael or Jennifer.

Blagg was found guilty of murder in 2004 in Mesa County but his conviction was later overturned because a juror concealed her experience with domestic violence.

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Colorado State has landed the commitment of graduate transfer quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels, Rams head coach Mike Bobo announced Sunday.

Carta-Samuels comes from Washington, and is the younger brother of former Wyoming and Vanderbilt quarterback and current Missouri quality control coach Austyn Carta-Samuels. A native of Saratoga, Calif., Carta-Samuels threw 47 passes in 25 career appearances as a Husky. Working primarily as Jake Browning‘s backup, Carta-Samuels hit 27-of-47 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns.

Carta-Samuels figures to compete for the Colorado State quarterback job this fall. Senior Nick Stevens threw all 459 passes for the Rams last season. Sophomore Collin Hill figures to be Carta-Samuels’s chief competition; he was 75-of-129 for 1,096 yards (8.5 per attempt) with eight touchdowns against two interceptions as a true freshman in 2016 before taking a redshirt season in 2017.

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In a Thursday, March 22, 2018 photo provided by the Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience, a life-sized animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex at the Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience in Canon City, Colo., is ablaze after an electrical issue, according to Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience personnel. T-Rex was a total loss, but Zach Reynolds, co-owner of Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience, hopes to have a replacement T-Rex before summer. (Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience via AP)

CANON CITY, Colo. (AP) — The co-owner of a dinosaur-themed park in southern Colorado thinks an electrical malfunction caused a life-size animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex to burst into flames.

Zach Reynolds says the T-Rex at the Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience smoldered for about 10 minutes before it caught fire Thursday morning. Visitors watched as the inferno spread through the dinosaur, which appeared at times to be breathing flames.

Reynolds joked, "We knew he had a temper, but today he blew his top."

The 24-foot-tall (7-meter-tall) T-Rex, which moved and made sounds, was one of 16 dinosaurs that line the park’s Wild Walk exhibit. Reynolds says it was a total loss but at least "it made for some spectacular imagery along the way."

He hopes to have a replacement T-Rex installed by the summer.

Dino…BBQ? A T-Rex at an attraction in Colorado burns after an electrical malfunction. Wow! pic.twitter.com/XulcwCaH9P

— Rob Wu (@IAmRobWu) March 23, 2018
Protesters block the door of the Golden 1 Center during a demonstration, Thursday, March 22, 2018 in Sacramento, Calif. Protesters decrying this week’s fatal shooting on an unarmed black man marched through downtown Sacramento, disrupting rush hour traffic, blocking Interstate 5 for awhile and forcing the Golden 1 Center to lock its doors, leaving hundreds of ticket holders unable to enter. The Kings NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks was delayed for a while but play was started with hundreds of empty seats. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A protest over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man briefly shut down a major California freeway and disrupted the start of an NBA game Thursday.

The game between the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks got underway about 20 minutes late as thousands of frustrated fans waited outside. Protesters shouting "Shut it down" formed a human chain blocking fans from entering Golden 1 Center while dozens of police initially attempted to clear entrances before fans were told to go home.

There was shouting but no apparent violence.

Kings officials moved the few hundred fans inside to courtside seats and offered them free non-alcoholic beverages before the game began in the largely empty arena. A half-hour after the delayed tipoff, officials announced no more fans would be admitted.

Fan Doug Hillblon said he thought protesters upset at the Sunday’s shooting of 22-year-old Stephon Clark went too far in blocking the entrances.

"Their rights don’t supersede everyone else’s," he told The Sacramento Bee as he waited with his wife and a family friend outside the arena.

But season ticket holder Barbara Mitchell, who is black, told the newspaper she was "appalled by what happened to the young man. It was a travesty. So as much as I love basketball, it’s OK. I’m not angry. I admire them for taking the time to protest an injustice."

Earlier, the several hundred protesters marched from Sacramento City Hall onto a nearby freeway, disrupting rush hour traffic and holding signs with messages like "Sac PD: Stop killing us!"

They were upset that Clark was shot in the backyard of his grandparents’ home. Police say they feared he had a handgun when they confronted him after reports that he had been breaking windows in the South Sacramento neighborhood.

But police found only a cellphone.

"We are at a place of deep pain" because of recent violence directed at black people in Sacramento and elsewhere, said the Rev. Les Simmons, a community leader. He said the city’s first black police chief, Daniel Hahn, is doing what he can but protested the actions of Hahn’s officers.

Clinton Primm said he was friends with Clark for about six years and fears others are also at risk at being shot by police.

"He was a great dad," he recalled of Clark, the father of sons ages 1 and 3. "He loved both of them to death."

Sacramento resident Vanessa Cullars said she has lost two family members to police violence.

"I’m fed up with this," she said at the protest. "I feel like our lives don’t matter to them."

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg earlier said he was horrified but won’t second-guess the "split-second decisions" of the officers. He praised Hahn for quickly releasing videos of the shooting and said the department has improved its policies since the fatal shooting of a mentally ill black man in 2016.

But independent experts said the footage from body cameras and an overhead helicopter raises more questions than it answers.

The officers appeared to believe they were in danger, they said, and if so the shooting was likely legally justified.

One officer is heard "doing a mental inventory to make sure there’s no holes in his body" because the officers appear to think Clark may have shot at them and missed, said Peter Moskos, a former police officer and assistant professor in the Department of Law and Police Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

But Geoffrey Alpert, a professor of criminology at the University of South Carolina and an expert on police use of force, said the officers may have a tough time explaining why they jumped to the conclusion that Clark had a gun.

He also questioned why an arriving backup officer had the two original officers turn off the microphones on their body cameras, eliminating what he called "important evidence."

In an ideal world, the two officers should have immediately provided first aid instead of waiting five minutes for backup, said Eugene O’Donnell, a professor of police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. "But that could be more the product of hope than reality," he said, with the officers still in shock and worried about their own safety.

The Sacramento Police Department said officers were responding to reports of a man seen breaking into at least three vehicles and later into a neighbor’s home. The police said deputies in the helicopter saw Clark break a neighbor’s sliding glass door before jumping a fence.

As a result, "their threat radar is really high," said Plumas County sheriff’s deputy and special prosecutor Ed Obayashi, who trains officers and testifies in court on police use of force.

"They have to assume that their lives are in danger at that very second," he said.

Girl shot at Maryland school is ‘brain dead,’ being taken off life support
This undated photo provided by the Willey family shows Jaelynn Willey. A teenager armed with a handgun shot Willey inside a Maryland school on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, and the shooter was killed when a school resource officer confronted him moments after the gunfire erupted. (Courtesy of the Willey family via AP)

GREAT MILLS, Md. (AP) — A teenage girl who was shot when a classmate opened fire inside their Maryland high school is brain dead and is being removed from life support, her mother said Thursday

Melissa Willey told news reporters Thursday night that her daughter, 16-year-old Jaelynn Willey has "no life left in her." She said Jaelynn would be removed from life support during the evening.

The teen was shot Tuesday by 17-year-old Austin Rollins at Great Mills High School in St. Mary’s County.

Rollins died after shooting Willey. A school resource officer got there within a minute and fired a shot at Rollins, but it’s not yet clear whether Rollins was killed by the officer’s bullet or took his own life.

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday Rollins and the girl had been in a relationship that recently ended.

"All indications suggest the shooting was not a random act of violence," police said in a statement.

Willey had been in critical condition at the University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center. A fundraising page to help her family has raised more than $59,000.

A 14-year-old boy who was shot in the thigh during the encounter was released Wednesday from a hospital.

Attempts to reach Rollins’ family have been unsuccessful.

St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron credited Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill with preventing any more loss of life.

Cameron said Gaskill, a six-year veteran with SWAT team training, responded within a minute and fired his weapon simultaneously with a final shot fired by Rollins. The officer was unharmed.

On Wednesday, authorities said the Glock handgun used in the shooting was legally owned by Rollins’ father. In Maryland it is illegal for anyone under age 21 to possess a handgun unless it is required for their employment.

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Glendening recorded an assist during a 5-1 defeat against Colorado on Sunday.

Although that was just Glendening’s second point in his last 15 games, he’s been pitching in with a more physical presence lately, logging 33 hits and blocking 23 shots as well during the span. The 28-year-old also now sits with 16 points (four goals, four assists) in 60 games on the season, falling just four tallies shy of eclipsing the 20-point mark for the second time of his career. Although, since Glendening’s currently lining up with the fourth forward unit, the odds might not be in his favor, as he likely won’t see many offensive opportunities.

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Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin, right, works the ball inside as Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 15, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER — Nikola Jokic had 23 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his eighth triple-double of the season, Jamal Murray added 26 points and the Denver Nuggets’ playoff hopes received a much-needed boost with a 120-113 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night.

Will Barton hit a big basket down the stretch and later knocked down two free throws to help the Nuggets hold off a Pistons team that trailed by as many as 26 points in the third quarter. The Nuggets now hit the road for a pivotal seven-game trip.

The fading Pistons dropped their 11th straight road game despite Andre Drummond scoring 21 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. It was Drummond’s 51st double-double of the season.

Blake Griffin added 26 points and nine assists.

The Pistons cut the deficit to 102-97 with 6:55 remaining. Gary Harris hit a scoop shot and then had a fast-break dunk in which he was fouled. He landed awkwardly on his right leg and after a timeout he hit the free throw. He then left the game.

Jokic was a handful for his center counterpart Drummond — and vice versa. Jokic had trouble with Drummond’s strength down low, and Drummond struggled with Jokic’s range as he frequently took Drummond outside.

Jokic’s eight triple-doubles are the most by a Nuggets player in a season since Fat Lever had nine in 1988-89.

Denver’s big second-half lead melted away with the Pistons heating up behind the play of Dwight Buycks, who had 19 of his 22 points in the second half.

Pistons guard Reggie Bullock returned to score 17 points after missing a game with a sore back.

Detroit’s last road victory was Jan. 10 at Brooklyn, and the Pistons were coming off a 110-79 loss at Utah on Tuesday.

The Pistons are at Portland on Saturday in stop No. 3 on a six-game trip, while the Nugget begin a long road trip at Memphis on Saturday.

Ben Wallace is joined by family members during his jersey retirement ceremony with the Detroit Pistons in 2016.
Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris drives past the Pistons’ Stanley Johnson during the first meeting between the teams this season.

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John Elway is looking to free agency for his fix at quarterback following a season in which all three of his drafted QBs fell flat in Denver.

After sitting out the playoffs in each of the last two years following their Super Bowl 50 triumph, the Broncos have apparently found their next signal-caller. Case Keenum plans to sign with Denver when free agency opens Wednesday, ESPN reported early Tuesday.

That would leave the Vikings, Cardinals and Jets vying to land ex-Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, who is expected to sign a record-breaking contract this week.

The 30-year-old Keenum is considered the second-best QB available on the open market. He guided Minnesota to the NFC championship game after replacing an injured Sam Bradford last season.

Keenum went 11-3 with 3,547 yards passing, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions and threw that last-second heave to Stephon Diggs to stun the New Orleans Saints 29-24 in the playoffs.

The Vikings, who were subsequently blown out at Philadelphia in the conference championship, decided to let all three of their QBs — Keenum, Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater — test free agency.

With a sparkling new stadium, stacked roster and head coaching stability, the Vikings jumped to the head of the line of potential suitors for Cousins.

The Broncos, who own the fifth pick in next month’s NFL draft, also considered Cousins following a 5-11 season in which Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch all struggled behind a porous offensive line and questionable play-calling before Mike McCoy was replaced by Bill Musgrave as offensive coordinator.

All three quarterbacks were draft picks by Elway, the Hall of Fame quarterback who has only had success at quarterback in free agency.

Six years ago, Elway landed Peyton Manning, the biggest free agent prize in NFL history, following his release by the Colts and a series of neck fusion surgeries.

Manning had a spectacular closing chapter in Denver, leading the Broncos to the playoffs in all four of his seasons, reaching two Super Bowls and winning one.

Manning retired a month after Denver’s 24-10 win over Carolina in Super Bowl 50, and Elway brought in veteran Mark Sanchez, then moved up to grab Lynch in the first round of the draft.

But it was Siemian, a seventh-rounder from Northwestern, who emerged as Manning’s surprise successor in 2016.

Gary Kubiak stepped down as head coach over health concerns following a 9-7 season that ended the Broncos’ five-year playoff run.

Siemian again handily beat out Lynch last summer, but the Broncos would cycle through their trio of homegrown QBs during a 5-11 season that nearly cost rookie head coach Vance Joseph his job.

Keenum is a player the Broncos know well because Kubiak, now the Broncos’ senior personnel adviser, coached him for two seasons while he was head coach of the Houston Texans.

Keenum would have veterans Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders as his targets in Denver after Elway chose not to release either of the expensive wide receivers.

At the NFL scouting combine this month, Elway said, "we’ll continue to look at all of the options out there when it comes to quarterback."

That included choosing among the draft prospects that include Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield and others.

Despite his swings and misses at QB before, Elway said, "Believe me, I’m not done swinging and missing. Misses don’t bother me. We just have to figure out a way to get it right. That is what we are working on."

Siemian, Lynch and Chad Kelly, a seventh-rounder last year who sat out his rookie season with injuries, remain on the roster.

Elway insists the Broncos can get right back into the playoff picture with the right quarterback and tweaks to other areas of the roster.

"I still think we’re not too far away," Elway said at the combine. "Obviously, we have to get better at that (quarterback) position. We didn’t play well there last year. That doesn’t all go on the players. There were some things that we should have done differently that we didn’t do. I feel like we can get right back in the thick of the things rather quickly."

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For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP—NFL

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DENVER — The former Colorado governor behind Denver’s historic snubbing of the Olympics and the man who spearheaded the effort to stop Boston from hosting the Olympics think Colorado voters should be able to weigh in on whether Denver should host the Winter Games.

Speaking at a community forum on Denver’s consideration of a possible 2030 bid on Saturday, former Gov. Dick Lamm said democracies make up their minds by voting and said lawmakers should put a referendum on the ballot this fall.

“Let’s vote,” Lamm, part of a newly formed Olympic opposition group, told the crowd of about 200.

In 1972, Lamm was a state lawmaker who helped lead a campaign to convince voters to reject funding for the 1976 Winter Games in Denver, making it the only city to ever walk away from a successful bid. Besides cost concerns, Lamm said Colorado now would also have to worry about having enough snow to host the games because of climate change.

No Boston Olympics co-chair Chris Dempsey also said Colorado voters should have a referendum, adding the International Olympic Committee “hates them.”

Dempsey called the Olympic bidding process the “world’s most expensive auction” and said that the promises that cities make to win Olympics usually can’t stand up to democratic scrutiny. He warned attendees that hosting the Olympics could mean giving up one lane of Interstate 70 — Colorado’s often crowded highway to the mountains — to Olympic officials, including royal members of the IOC, and said it would be impossible to avoid having taxpayers be responsible for budget overruns despite the promises to the contrary.

“Bid books are the greatest fiction ever written,” Dempsey said.

Steve McConahey, a member of a committee convened by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to study whether Denver should pursue an Olympic bid, said the committee will not include any taxpayer subsidies in its budget plans and that insurance would cover any unexpected expenses.

While Olympic exploratory chairman Rob Cohen said that the IOC recently told Scion, Switzerland, that it would look at allowing insurance to cover a limited amount of cost overruns, Dempsey said such insurance coverage does not exist.

The Olympic exploratory committee is expected to make a recommendation to Hancock and Gov. John Hickenlooper on whether to pursue an Olympic bid in early May. Committee chair Rob Cohen told the audience that the committee will discuss whether to ask for a vote as part of its deliberations.

After the forum, Lamm said there are no talks underway to introduce a referendum and that it would be better if the committee and Olympic opponents jointly ask state lawmakers for one.

However, state lawmakers finish up their session around the same time that the Olympic committee will be making its recommendation, making it unlikely there would be enough time for lawmakers to agree to pursue a possible joint request. Olympic opponents still have the option to collect signatures to put their own measure on the ballot.

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