Category Archives: Business

How a knight in a shiny tow truck saved the day with a bottle of Coke

Having just finished a yoga class I was pretty relaxed when I discovered that my car wouldn’t start.  Greeted by silence apart from an almost inaudible click when I turned the key, it was obvious I wasn’t going anywhere.

With the help of receptionist Amy at Beyond Yoga, I calmly contacted my emergency roadside assistance number.  I was told I would receive a call from the towing company to tell when they would be there to rescue me.  While I waited I checked out the bus times, found the towing company’s phone number, knowing that once the studio closed I would no longer have internet connection.

It was almost closing time and I hadn’t received a call, so it was obvious that the studio would close before tow truck arrived.  Concerned about me having to wait alone and get home by bus Amy offered to drive me home.  However, a call to Sharkey’s thwarted that plan as they don’t tow unattended cars.  So it became a matter of waiting and taking my chances that they would get the car started instead of towed, thereby avoiding a bus ride home and a very late night.

Fortunately I didn’t have to sit in the car for too long before my knight in shiny tow truck arrived.  I had deduced that it wasn’t a battery problem and thought it might be the starter motor.  I  wasn’t far off.

It didn’t take Kyle long to figure out the root of the problem with the hood up, as he watched and listened while I turned the key.  Yes, it was an issue with the starter motor.  At first he was going to tow the car to my garage.  However, he hesitated because he thought he just might be able to get it started, but no promises as he went to his truck for the necessary tools.

Only the tools proved to be nothing more than a bottle of Coke.   “Your not going to pour that over the engine are you?” I asked in disbelief, but as he began to explain that the problem was corrosion, I soon clued in.  “You mean you are going to use it the way they use Coke to clean pennies?”

“Exactly, the contacts are copper,” he replied.  He shone the torch on the green corroded contacts and pointed them out to me.  (I later took a photo of the area while he kindly pointed once more, to ensure I would recognize that part of the engine again and he demonstrated exactly what I had to wiggle).

One bottle of Coke later, when I turned the key, the engine roared into action without hesitation.  The Coke was rinsed off with a bottle of water to remove the residue.  What an amazing trick.

At this point, I could have had the car towed to the garage but Kyle advised that it wasn’t really necessary now and I too could start the car this way as long I was prepared, with a couple of bottles of Coke and a bottle of water.  How simple and how effective.  He even gave me a pair of latex gloves to keep in the glove compartment, so I am ready for action should the need arise in the future.

So thoughtful, and how appreciative I am.   After all, he could have just towed the car to the garage resulting in a repair bill, leaving me to find my way home by bus.  Instead he went that one step further, to try a simple solution that would allow me to drive home and perhaps even avoid a trip to the garage for a job that, obviously, I could do for myself.

So all this to say a great big thank you to two people in our community, who went beyond the call of duty, proving that a little kindness goes a long way.

Amy Pham at Beyond Yoga on Hearst Avenue, Kanata, who was prepared to drive me home, called emergency road assistance for me twice, and stayed later than she normally would.

And Kyle Abraham, on night shifts at Sharkey’s Towing, Iber Road, Stittsville, who did not take advantage of a damsel in distress, but instead solved the problem and gave her a useful lesson in simple, albeit unconventional, emergency auto mechanics.

Janice Blain's car in front of Beyond Yoga in Kanata.
Janice Blain’s car in front of Beyond Yoga in Kanata.

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NOTEBOOK: Local businesses invited to BIA info meeting on Tuesday

UPDATE: About 50 people attended the meeting on Tuesday night to hear about the BIA proposal, ask questions and share concerns.  The steering committee plans to keep educating the local business community on what the proposal is all about, and there’s a survey on the City’s web site for local business owners to complete.

***

Local businesses are being encouraged to attend an information meeting on Tuesday, July 18 to hear about plans to create a Business Improvement Area (BIA) for Stittsville. The meeting happens at 7pm at the Goulbourn Recreation Complex, Hall A.

A group of around half a dozen local business owners have formed a steering committee to drum up interest and support in the plan.  (The group includes a variety of owners and management from Walkerworks Framing, Jo-Jo’s Pizza, Huntington Properties, Stittsville IDA, Covered Bridge Brewing, and Warmstone Dentistry.)

From the group’s Facebook page: “Stittsville is such a dynamic community with incredible opportunity. The growth we’ve experienced and will continue to experience at an increasingly rapid pace needs direction. The Stittsville BIA proposal is here to exhibit the power of BIAs and how we can help unlock untapped potential for all Stittsville business owners. We need to support each other and our businesses through an organized effort. Shop the Stittsville is movement. Come enjoy some pizza courtesy of Jo-Jo’s and voice your opinion – it matters!”

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Demolition day at Quitters Coffee

It’s quitting time for the ugly old pigeon-riddled structure at the back of Quitters Coffee on Stittsville Main Street.

The coffee shop is temporarily closed to day so that they can demolish the structures out in the back lot.  Here are some pics shared by the coffee shop so far.

(They’re also doing a live video on Facebook.) Continue reading


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Two Stittsville engineering students selected for work-study program in China

(PHOTO: Students visit Parliament Hill before their trip to China.)

(Press release via HUAWEI)

HUAWEI, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of ICT and telecommunications equipment, has announced 20 university engineering students selected to participate in its “Seeds for the Future” program, and two are from Stittsville.

Allison Sherwin and Kyle Bjornson both grew up in Stittsville and are now third-year engineering students at Carleton University. They were among the 20 students who gathered in Kanata last week for two days of preparation at HUAWEI Canada’s Research Centre before departing for China for a two-week professional and cultural trip.

Now in its third year, ‘Seeds for the Future’ provides students an opportunity to experience firsthand the incredible advancement taking place in China’s technology industry. Designed for Canadian engineering students, the program aims to build links between Canada and China, promote a greater understanding of career opportunities in the telecommunications sector, and to encourage participation in the international ICT community.

“We are proud to offer this opportunity to another talented group of engineering students from across the country,” said HUAWEI Canada President, Sean Yang. “This award-winning program has grown in popularity and we’re happy to see that nearly half the students participating this year are women. This hands-on experience provides students with a once in a lifetime work and cultural exchange, with an opportunity to see China and its industry-leading innovation.”

“Our partners at HUAWEI have been fantastic. We look forward to continuing to develop these bright young minds and set them on these promising future career paths,” said Jose Pereira, Director, Engineering Career Centre, University of Toronto.

Students selected for ‘Seeds for the Future’ will be given first-hand learning opportunities through interactions with HUAWEI staff and visits to HUAWEI laboratories where they will witness live demonstrations of advanced communications technologies. The program also includes an opportunity to experience Chinese culture, and will include a visit to some well-known landmarks, including the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City.

Feedback from students who have been through the program has been extremely positive. “This program was a life changing experience in every way,” said Karl Tanguay-Verreault a student at Carleton University who participated in the program last year. “Not only did it open my eyes to the beauty of Chinese culture but it also gave me hands-on experience with the technologies that will power the future of ICT.”

 


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SATURDAY: Peek inside the renovated home of Jennifer McGahan Interiors

(PHOTO: From December 2016, Jennifer McGahan stands in front of her building on Main Street. Photo by Barry Gray.)

Since January, we’ve been watching the transformation of Lytle House from the outside, as Jennifer McGahan renovates and restores the century-old brick home on Stittsville Main Street. On Saturday, the public gets a chance to peek inside.  JMI is hosting an open house from 2pm-5pm at 1495 Stittsville Main Street and the whole neighbourhood is welcome.

(This weekend is also Doors Open Ottawa, with several local buildings participating: Goulbourn Museum, Fire Station 81 on Stittsville Main, and the Hazeldean Masonic Lodge nearby on Young Road in Kanata.)


UPDATE: I dropped in for McGahan’s grand opening party on Friday night & snapped some photos. She’s done an incredible transformation on the old home. Congrats Jen! -GG.

Jennifer McGahan Interiors - front door
Jennifer McGahan Interiors - Chandelier Jennifer McGahan Interiors - facade Jennifer McGahan Interiors - staircase Jennifer McGahan Interiors - ribbon cutting


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NOTEBOOK: Keg restaurant could arrive as soon as November 30

One of the most-visited articles in the StittsvilleCentral.ca archives is about a proposal to build a Keg restaurant on the corner of Hazeldean and Huntmar. And one of the most frequently asked questions received: “When is that Keg finally going in anyways?”

Councillor Shad Qadri provided an answer last night at the Fairwinds Community Association Annual General Meeting. Construction is scheduled to being April 15, with an opening date targeted for November 30 of this year. Continue reading


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Dandelion Consignment announces closure

(Dandelions owner Sandra Edwards, December 2015. Photo by Barry Gray.)

(Sorry to hear about the closure of Dandelion Consignment on Stittsville Main Street.  Owner Sandra Edwards posted a note on the store’s Facebook page today – see below. We wrote about her back in December 2015, and her efforts to have a positive impact on people in need locally and around the world.  Good luck Sandy with whatever comes next. -GG.)

We regret to inform you of our closure

Over the past 6 years I have done everything to try to keep this business running for all of us. Unfortunately with all the increases in expenses and rent I am not able to continue Dandelions Consignment. Over past 6 years, I have not taken a salary for myself in order to continue to give you the best service possible. My family and I are deeply grieved at this closure.

First Priority to you our Consignor

It is in my best effort to be the fairest to you my faithful clients. I am unable to do any payouts due to lack of revenue. However we do not want you our consignors to be at a total loss, so we are offering you store credit in lue of money. Consignors will have the opportunity to use store credit on items in the store. I will be opening the store on Tuesday and Wednesday to consignors only. We hope to see you on these days so we can convey our deepest apology to you in person.
We will be closed on Monday

We are closed this Monday in order to put aside all of the consignment that is belonging to you the consignor. This will be placed in bins and labeled for you to pick up. The only items that will be sold are the items that are the property of Dandelions.

If you have further concerns please contact me via email ms.sandy.edwards@gmail.com

Inside Dandelion Kids store on Stittsville Main Street Photo by Barry Gray.
Inside Dandelion Kids. December 2015. Photo by Barry Gray.

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Blue Bamboo Yoga to close at the end of March

(Received this note today from the operators of Blue Bamboo Yoga in Jackson Trails. It’s always disappointing to see a local business shutting their doors, especially one that has been involved with local charities and fundraisers in our community. Owner Tina Ferrone also runs Beyond Yoga in Kanata, which will remain open.)

It is with a heavy heart that we announce that we will be closing the Blue Bamboo Yoga studio on Sunday, March 26th. This has been a very difficult business decision to make.

We have been so grateful for the support of the Stittsville community since we took over ownership of the studio. A heartfelt thank you for building such a warm and caring community.

We are committed to continue to share the passion of yoga with our Blue Bamboo members through our sister studio Beyond Yoga Studio & Wellness Centre located at 66 Hearst Way in Kanata. A full complement of classes will continue to be offered at Blue Bamboo until March 26th.

We invite you to join us at Blue Bamboo on Sunday, March 26th for tea, treats and memories.

Sincerely,

Tina & The Blue Bamboo Yoga Team


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Stittsville’s GoodLife Fitness opens on January 10

(press release)

GoodLife Fitness will open the doors to its new Stittsville 24/7 co-ed on Tuesday morning at 5am, just in time for local residents to get started on their fitness resolutions for 2017. GoodLife Fitness associates and personal trainers will welcome new and prospective members for fitness orientations and consultations throughout opening day.

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NOTEBOOK: Business closures, Wiebe in India, Slide fee waived

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.

END OF THE LINE FOR TWO LOCAL BUSINESSES
Blumenstudio, the florist/cafe that opened in August, has moved out of their space at the front of Capital Cabinetry on Stittsville Main. Owner Kat Kosk says it was a “business decision” to close. There weren’t enough customers at the store and she didn’t want to keep putting a strain on her existing Parkdale Avenue shop. Blumenstudio opened in August of 2016, and was supposed to share the space with a custom bike shop, but that never happened. Paul Idone, who owns Capital Cabinetry, says he plans to turn the space vacated by Blumenstudio into a showroom for his woodworking business, scheduled to open by the end of this month.

Cactus at blumenstudio
Cacti at blumenstudio

Fresco Bistro has shut down their Hazeldean Road restaurant. They first opened in Stittsville back in the fall of 2012. Their original Elgin Street location closes for good at 10pm tonight. “For us, [closing] was just about a stimulus for some change, and maybe get ourselves into a more profitable situation, in a different location, and under different circumstances,” owner Jim Bickford told CBC about their Elgin Street closure. “Rent’s gone up considerably, utilities are through the roof. I mean Hydro Ottawa is obscene at this time, I think, personally. But … those aren’t necessarily the determining factors in our decision, they’re just part of the decision.”

Fresco Bistro on Hazeldean Road in Stittsville
Fresco Bistro on Hazeldean Road in Stittsville

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OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO
After a pre-Christmas tour that that took her to three Canadian Army bases in Greece, Kuwait, and Ukraine, Stittsville Olympian Erica Wiebe is spending the month in Mumbia, India wrestling in the Indian Professional Wrestling League. She’s been posting some great photos from her travels to Instagram and Twitter.

***

HELPING KIDS STRETCH THEIR ALLOWANCE DOLLARS
I don’t remember this as part of the city budget deliberations, but earlier this week Councillor Shad Qadri announced that the Goulbourn Rec Centre would be waiving (ha ha) the extra $1.25 fee to use the water slide.

***

TWEET TWEET TWEET

…plus one pic from Instagram…

***

(Got a story tip? Email us at feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca)


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Heritage house on Stittsville Main gets new life as interior design studio

(Photo:Jennifer McGahan in front of the building on Main Street that she has purchased and will renovate for her business. Photo by Barry Gray.)

After over a century as a private home, the old brick house at 1495 Stittsville Main will soon become the home of Jennifer McGahan Interiors.

McGahan made the announcement last week on Facebook: “I am thrilled to announce the next big step for Jennifer McGahan Interiors Inc. We are relocating the office to our new Stittsville Main Street location. We plan to restore this important heritage building to its original, and rightful beauty in the heart of the village. We plan to be respectful and true to the bones of the building, while improving the streetscape by adding our modern design touch. Opening April 2017!”

McGahan says she loves the history of the building and the family story connected to it.  She says that structurally the building is in good shape, and many original features remain. “We’re going to try keep as much as possible while we renovate. We want to keep it intact.”

The house belonged to the Lytle family for over 60 years.  Cathy Lytle told reporter Devyn Barrie about the history of the house in an interview last summer:  “It was built in 1900 from a bachelor and it was sold four years later to a young couple… he was a tinkerer and they raised their daughter, Evelyn. She took cancer and died and then the father died of old age and the mother died after she sold the house to my parents… she lived with my parents for five years, she had herself written into the deed, for one bedroom and three meals a day and they got along fine, until she passed away.”

The house doesn’t have official heritage designation, but it is on the City’s heritage registry, which lists buildings of historical importance.

McGahan takes possession in January, and hopes to have the renovations finished by April.  I’m thrilled to hear that this charming piece of our village history will get the attention and care it deserves. Congrats Jennifer!

1425 Stittsville Main Street, December 30, 2016. Photo by Barry Gray
1425 Stittsville Main Street, December 2016. Photo by Barry Gray.
1425 Stittsville Main Street, December 30, 2016. Photo by Barry Gray
1425 Stittsville Main Street, December 2016. Photo by Barry Gray.
1425 Stittsville Main Street, December 30, 2016. Photo by Barry Gray
1425 Stittsville Main Street, December 2016. Photo by Barry Gray.
1425 Stittsville Main Street, December 30, 2016. Photo by Barry Gray
1425 Stittsville Main Street, December 2016. Photo by Barry Gray.
Lytle House, June 2016. Photo by Glen Gower.
Lytle House, June 2016. Photo by Glen Gower.
Ab & Gwen Lytle's house, 1976. Photo from the Goulbourn Township Historical Society archives via Lesley McKay.
Ab & Gwen Lytle’s house, 1976. Photo from the Goulbourn Township Historical Society archives via Lesley McKay.

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2016 REWIND: It happened on Stittsville Main

(The Stittsville Jane’s Walk makes a stop in front of Hudson’s Insurance on Stittsville Main Street. Photo by Barry Gray.)

At the start of January of this year I wrote: “Compared to this time last year, I’d say the prospects for Stittsville Main Street are definitely looking up.” The same thing could be said today as well.  It’s been an encouraging year. Continue reading


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2016 REWIND: Welcoming new shops to our community

(PHOTO: Just Shawarma owner Nedal Atieh.)

With an exploding population, it’s no surprise that we’ve also had lots of interesting new businesses open up in Stittsville in 2016. Many of them were related in some way to food.

Robert Kinsman, Donna Kinsman and Patrick Caicco from The Grounds. Photo by Barry Gray.
Robert Kinsman, Donna Kinsman and Patrick Caicco from The Grounds. Photo by Barry Gray.
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LETTERS: Todd and Sandra Brown make Stittsville a caring community

EDITOR’S NOTE: Last week, Todd and Sandra Brown (pictured above) from Brown’s Independent won a Celebration of People award, recognizing their work to promote accessibility, inclusion and full community participation by citizens with disabilities. They’ve hired individuals with disabilities to work at the grocery store and provided co-op placements to high school students with physical and development disabilities. We’ve received several congratulatory letters from the community. Here’s a sample.

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Creative hub set to take over Bell House on Stittsville Main

(PHOTO: Story Art owner Mel Richer stands in the front from of the old Bell House at the corner of Stittsville Main Street and Elm Crescent. The main floor will be a boutique and showcase for local art. Photo by Barry Gray.)

Stittsville residents can look forward to having a new spot to be inspired and creative. Set to open on December 6, the owner of Story Art Creative Centre & Boutique wants it to be a gathering place for the local arts community.

“Why not a hub to spark creativity and have a place for arts in the community?” says owner Mel Richer. “We are excited, hopeful and hope the community will rally around us.”

Located in the old Bell House on Stittsville Main Street (most recently home to the Brown Bear Daycare), the beautiful house has found new life.

On the main floor, there is the crystal nook, filled with gorgeous rocks and crystals as well as jewelry. Rocks have a personal meaning for Richer.

“They help inspire my art work – the texture, the colour – they are beautiful,” she says.

Opposite the crystal nook, the room will be filled with curated art as well as vintage and retro antiques. Richer is looking for artists to display their art – and the definition of art is broad.

“Anything in the creative world,” said Richer. “I have a voice and something to share. I really want to help others share their stories.”

The boutique part of Story Art will open before Christmas. In the New Year, classes in the Creative Centre will begin. The second floor of the house will be dedicated to creative classes and will also have a space for children’s birthday parties.

The basement, which will be finished over the next few months, will be a space that available for rentals.

Paintings ready to be hung in the main room at Story Art. Photo by Barry Gray.
Paintings ready to be hung in the main room. Photo by Barry Gray.
The Crystal Nook at Story Art. Photo by Barry Gray.
The crystal nook inside the boutique. Photo by Barry Gray.

***

All of this is the brainchild of Richer. Born and raised in Kanata, Richer said she always knew that she wanted to be both a writer and an artist.

As a teenager, she studied art at De La Salle Secondary School and then photography at another school. After high school she headed to Algonquin College and that lead to a career working in marketing and communications.

So Richer’s dream to work as a writer had come true. The artist part of the dream was still a work in progress.

As life goes, art was on the back burner for Richer. Then, one day, she saw a call for applications for artists at the Ottawa Airport Community Art Program.

Much to her surprise, her application was successful.

“Oh my gosh. What have I done,” Richer says of her reaction. “But let’s go!”

And go she did. After the exhibition she had 25 pieces of work sitting around and Richer was wondering what to do with them.

Her son Oliver had the answer and suggested she hang them in the wall of her office. And she did. Having the art around sparked her creativity.

From there, she had an opportunity to submit some of her work for a fundraiser, so she decided to look at creating some work that was more accessible.

“What could I do that would be smaller or easier?” she says.

Looking into her yard, she took inspiration from the larch cones scattered across the lawn. She cleaned them and incased them in resin to create jewelry. After this successful jewelry creation, she started creating other resin jewelry using materials like dried flowers, mica and buttons.

As Richer’s art grew, so did her passion for sharing it. Soon she was looking for a retail outlet.

***

“This feels like a good space for me” she said. “We are thrilled to be a part of Stittsville Main Street,” she says.

Now, Richer’s dream of being both a writer and artist have come full circle. A good friend and business advisor, Irene Jaroszuk of Savvy Sage Consulting, says “she’s had this vision forever.”


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Qadri encourages Business Improvement Area for Stittsville Main

(via Councillor Shad Qadri)

On Monday, November 21st, I was pleased to attend the Stittsville Village Association event, “Reinventing Stittsville Main Street”. The discussion focused on potential business growth in the heart of our community and raised some insightful discussion amongst business owners, landowners and residents in the area. Continue reading


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Brown’s Independent recognized for supporting citizens with disabilities

UPDATE: They won!

Brown’s Independent has been nominated for this year’s Celebration of People awards, recognizing the achievements and contributions of individuals, businesses and organizations promoting accessibility, inclusion and full community participation by citizens with disabilities.

“Owners, Todd and Sandra Brown, have a long history of providing individuals with disabilities opportunities to work in their store, learn various skills and be contributing members of their community. They have brought awareness to the business and local community of the benefits of training and hiring people with disabilities, the positive impacts this has on the person and their families, the store staff and customers. The Browns have been true advocates and role models as business owners making their store an inclusive and welcoming environment for all. In addition, they were the first grocery store to develop and run baking classes for individuals with disabilities and they offer numerous co-op placements to students with physical and developmental disabilities from the local high school. A number of these students have gone on to be permanent employees at the store. The Browns have also supported Special Olympic athletes, events to raise funds for numerous causes, such as the Annual Motorcycle Ride for Autism and were willing participants on the employers’ panel at Citizen Advocacy’s 2015 Caregiver Retreat.”

This years winners will be announced at a dinner on December 1. More info: https://celebrationofpeople.com/


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COMMENT: Opportunity, momentum and passion for a revitalized Stittsville Main

About 45 people packed into Quitters on Monday night to take part in a panel discussion called Re-Inventing Stittsville Main.
I organized the event along with the Stittsville Village Association, the West Ottawa Board of Trade and Rick Tremblay from Quitters, with a goal of starting a conversation about the future of Stittsville Main. Continue reading


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New Ultramar officially opens on Hazeldean

(PHOTO: Kelly O’Reilly, Area manager, CST, Inc.; Corey Bovin, Assistant manager; Pierre Poilievre, MP Carleton; Ember Forbes, Manager; Shad Qadri, City Councillor and Bill McQuillan, Zone Manager, CST Inc.)

(press release via CST Brands)

CST Brands, Inc. is pleased to announce the official opening of a new Corner Store with an Ultramar service station located at 5943 Hazeldan Road. Residents and motorists passing through Stittsville now have a new Corner Store where they can stop for a wide selection of grocery items, a quick Grab ‘n Go lunch, products from the Transit Café line, a car wash and a tank full of gas.

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