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Baby Girl Born on Route 5/15 in Hartford


A  baby girl was born on the Route 5/15 in Hartford early this morning and state police helped guide the driver through assisting with the delivery. 

A woman was driving the pregnant woman to the hospital, but the baby wasn’t going to wait to get there, so the driver called 911 at 1:24 a.m. and said mom was in labor. A state trooper then started providing assistance over the phone. 

By the time police got to Route 5/15 in Hartford, on the Wethersfield line, the baby had arrived and EMS brought the newborn and mom to Saint Francis Hospital, where they are happy and healthy.

In California's 'Pot Alley,' Agriculture Pivots to Marijuana


California's Salinas Valley is referred to as the "salad bowl of the nation," best described in iconic pages when John Steinbeck, American author and son of the Monterey County community, put pen to paper in most of his classic writings.

It's here in this region of sprawling fields about 100 miles south of San Francisco where Japanese immigrants found their American dream after World War II in the cut flowers business, evident even today.

"A lot of these houses are Japanese-style houses," said Alicia, a cannabis properties realtor.

With California's law legalizing marijuana poised to go into effect next year, Salinas enters a new chapter in its agricultural history. It could become the cannabis capital of the state.

Alicia agreed to show us around the valley on the condition we don't share her last name. She specializes in the new green that's growing here, pointing out farms she says are now cannabis farms.
"Look. Barbed wires, cameras," she said.
Alicia works to sell, buy or manage what used to be properties housing the booming flower market, properties that have since fallen apart due to various free trade agreements over the years.
She says ever since California legalized marijuana, there's new life breathing into the valley and sucking dry the idea of continuing with the cut flowers business, when owners can sell their properties for millions.
"It wouldn't make sense to grow flowers, you know, at $5 million," she said.
Under new California law, cannabis cultivators are banned from building new greenhouses, unless they are built in the footprint of old ones. So any "green" house in the state has the potential to evolve into a "grow" house.
"California cannabis is its own brand, no different than California wine or anything else," Michael Williamson, the director of operations at Harborside, a leading cannabis grower and distributor in Northern California.
He says his hairnet, white jumpsuit and gloves are a way to keep the product pure and free from human interaction.
"When you look at our product and our plants, it's really not that different than a lot of the cut flowers market," he said. "Which makes this valley kind of the potential to be the Sonoma Valley of cannabis."
Williamson wouldn't say how much Harborside makes on its product, adding that for now, it's grown solely for medical purposes.
He said the company is eyeing Los Angeles for what's to come.
"Our moral compass is always the same," he said. "We want to create a safe, consistent and hopefully potent cannabis."
Growers in Monterey County say they take pride in more than just their product, but also what the industry is doing for the local workforce: the general contractors, green house manufacturers, security companies, fence installers, security camera installers and providers.
"We feel that cannabis could be a $1 billion crop within the next 24 months in Monterey County," said Mike Bitar, the cofounder of Grupo Flor, a company that's been actively seeking out empty greenhouses to manage. "These greenhouses are getting a second life. Right now there are no empty greenhouses in Monterey County. They've all either been leased up or purchased in the last six months."
The numbers are already massive.
According to Arcview market research, a company specializing in the marijuana market, California accounted for 31 percent of the legal cannabis market in the U.S. last year. Locally that's only for medical use. Compare that with Colorado at 19 percent and Washington at 11 percent, where marijuana is legal for recreational use.
"This industry has grown by leaps and bounds," said Daniel Yi, a spokesman for Medmen, a cannabis management and investment firm based in Los Angeles. The company has a cultivation site in Sun Valley and also runs a dispensary in West Hollywood.
"LA plays a huge role in terms of what we've learned over 20 years of regulation, what we've learned in techniques and cultivation. We have a lot of experience and a lot of demand," he said.
Yi says research is showing as states legalize marijuana for recreational use, more and more users are opting against the flowery buds for smoking and turning to products that come from extracting the oils from pot plants.
"There are edibles, there are extracts, there are vape pens," he said.
And with much of the state's demand coming from LA, it leaves the smaller towns up north with dreams of what that could do for them.
"It'll be a pretty phenomenal crop going to LA, I'm sure, because their numbers are big," said Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter, adding his city is actively working to become a model for others in how to regulate the industry.
"We have to embrace it because it's coming."
For many, though, it's been here for decades.
"Our industry has been testing cannabis, has been labeling cannabis and has been concerned to consumer safety long before the California legislature woke to this monster," said Salinas attorney Gavin Kogan who made cannabis law a specialty.
But there's one thing that's keeping cannabis from growing greener across the country: the stigma of the drug the feds still say is illegal.
"We're chipping away at it," Yi said.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

For Proposal, Man Tucks Engagement Ring Into Chicken Nugget


When Kristian Helton proposed to Karsyn Long on Valentine's Day, he didn't put the ring in a velvet box. Instead, he tucked the ring into a McDonald's chicken nugget box with a note that asked, "Will you McMarry me??" 

"Her love for chicken nuggets, I'm sure, is more than she loves me," Helton said. "She has devoted her life to chicken nuggets, so that had to be part of the engagement." 

Britax Strollers Recalled for Damaged Receiver Mounts


Britax B-Agile and BOB Motion Strollers with Click and Go receivers are being recalled for a damaged receiver mount following reports of car seats unexpectedly disengaging from strollers and falling.

So far there have been 26 reports of injuries to children, including scratches, bruises, cuts and bumps on the head, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The strollers have been sold nationwide at Babys R Us, buy buy Baby and Target, among others. They’ve also been sold online at Amazon.com, albeebaby.com, buybuybaby.com, diapers.com, ToysRUs.com and other websites from May 2011 through February 2017, for prices between $250 and $470 for the strollers and travel systems.

All models are folding, single or double occupant strollers with Click and Go receiver mounts, and all colors are included. The model number of the stroller can be found on the inside of the stroller’s metal frame. The model number is near the right rear wheel for single strollers and the front middle underside on double strollers.

Click here to see the model numbers under recall. For more information, visit us.britax.com/recall, call toll-free at 844-227-0300 from 8:30 a.m.to 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET Saturday or email Britax at stroller.recall@britax.com.

Photo Credit: Consumer Product Safety Commission

Car Windows Smashed in West Shore Area of West Haven


West Haven police are investigating after several vehicles were found with their windows smashed in the West Shore area early Thursday morning.

Police said the vehicles were near the Pagels School at the time. Nothing was stolen from the vehicles and it appears to be vandalism, police said.

Anyone with information on this incident is encouraged to contact West Haven police.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

7-Year-Old Girl Asks Google for a Job, and the CEO Responded


A 7-year-old girl inspired to work at Google wrote a letter to their offices expressing her interest—and even got a response, CNBC reported.

Chloe Bridgewater’s father Andy wrote on LinkedIn that his daughter decided to write a letter asking for a job after she saw photos of the bean bags, go-karts and slides at Google’s offices. Chloe’s letter, addressed to "google boss," outlines her goals and qualifications—"I like computers too and have a tablet I play games on," she wrote. She also revealed that the only other person she’s written a letter to is Father Christmas.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai responded to U.K. girl's letter with encouragement, and gave her something to work toward.

"I look forward to receiving your job application when you are finished with school!" he wrote.

Photo Credit: Andy Bridgewater
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Firefighters Rescue Deer in Greenwich


Firefighters in Greenwich made a rescue that was a bit out of the norm this morning.

Members of Engine 8 came to the rescue of a deer that was stuck between a fence and a stone wall on Mountain Wood Drive.

They said in a Facebook post that the deer ran off after it was freed.

Photo Credit: Greenwich Professional Firefighters
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All CT Bonefish Grills, Manchester Carrabba’s Close


Both Bonefish Grill locations in Connecticut, as well as the Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Manchester, have closed. 

The last day for the Bonefish Grill locations on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington and at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor was yesterday, according to a spokesperson for Bloomin’ Brands, the parent company of Bonefish Grill, Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. 

“Closing restaurants is never easy. The decision was based solely on business circumstances and has no reflection on the employees or their service,” a statement from Bloomin’ Brands says. 

Some Bonefish Grille employees will have the opportunity to transfer to a sister restaurant and all employees will receive severance. 

If you have Bonefish Grill gift cards, call guest relations at 866-880-2226 or email customerservice@bonefishgril.com for a gift card that can be used at any Bloomin' Brands restaurant.

Carrabba's giftcards will not be swapped because there is another location in Connecticut.

Bloomin’ Brands announced in a quarterly statement in November that it decided on Feb. 12, 2016 to close 14 Bonefish restaurants and expected to “substantially complete these restaurant closings through the first quarter of 2019.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

People Skip Work, Class On 'Day Without Immigrants'


People across the country stayed home from work and class, refrained from shopping and marched in public spaces on Feb. 16, 2017. Their actions were part of "A Day Without Immigrants," a demonstration of the economic and cultural contributions of immigrants to life in the U.S. The protest came in response to the Trump administration's pledge to deport more immigrants who are in the country illegally, build a wall along the Mexican border and impose a travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Photo Credit: LM Otero/AP

Seasonable Tomorrow Followed by a Mild Weekend


Seasonable temperatures for Friday will be replaced by mild air for President's Day Weekend. 

Temperatures on Friday will make it into the middle to upper 30s with a light northwest wind. 

The weather for President's Day Weekend will be quite pleasant. Temperatures will be in the middle 40s with partly sunny skies. 

Temperatures warm to near 50 degrees by Sunday. 

The mild weather sticks around through next week with high temperatures in the middle to upper 40s all week. 

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'Day Without a Woman' Planned for March 8


The organizers of the Women's March, which drew hundreds of thousands to Washington D.C. following President Donald Trump's inauguration, have a new day of action planned: "A Day Without a Woman."

The official Twitter account for the Women's March tweeted an announcement that the "general strike" would be held on March 8.

"In the spirit of women and their allies coming together for love and liberation, we offer A Day Without A Woman. #WomensMarch," the tweet says.

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Historically, March 8 has been recognized as International Women's Day.

In a series of tweets following the announcement, the official account sent out questions such as, "Do businesses strive for gender equity or do they support the policies and leaders that perpetuate oppression?"

This isn't the first movement that aims to show Americans what a day without a large number of its population would be like.

On Thursday, a "Day Without Immigrants" took place in cities nationwide as immigrants were encouraged to stay home from work and school in protest of Trump's crackdown on immigration. 

Similarly, a "Day Without Latinos" took place in Wisconsin Monday.

More information will follow on what kind of actions will take place on March 8, according to the Women's March's Twitter account.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, Mario Tama
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3-Year-Old Left Locked in Wallingford Day Care: Family


Wallingford parents said her three year old child was locked inside a daycare on Tuesday. 

"We found our daughter in the toilet and she was covered in her own feces with nobody around," Bernadette Sorbo, the 3-year-old girl's mother, said. 

Wallingford Police said they were dispatched to the YMCA's Learning Community at Choate Rosemary Hall on 333 Christian Street for a welfare check at 6:30 p.m on Valentine's Day.

"I got her off the potty. I wiped her down and cleaned her off and we went over to the cubby," Sorbo said. "She was so excited to show me all her gifts."

Sorbo said that her daughter is picked up every day at 6 p.m.

When the girl's father, Timothy McWade, went to the daycare to pick up his daughter Aubrie, the doors were locked and the building appeared to be closed. McWade called Sorbo- who was only a few minutes away- to get a code to enter the building get into the building, Sorbo drove to the building and the pair found their daughter in the bathroom covered in feces and called police, Sorbo said. 

"My daughter was left in the building, unattended in the bathroom," Timothy McWade said on the 911 call to police. "My daughter is sitting on a toilet and all their workers left."

Th daycare reported the incident to the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood one day later and the agency is investigating. 

NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters found an online inspection summary that shows since April 1999, there have been 13 unannounced visits to the daycare.

The records also show multiple complaints in mid-October that resulted in 10 violations, including "diapering and toileting, sleeping arrangements and administering medications."

A corrective action plan was ordered. The Troubleshooters have requested the full inspection documents from the state.

Police said they've wrapped up their investigation and determined internal errors with procedures are to blame that don't rise to the level of anything criminal.

Meanwhile, Sorbo said she's waiting for Aubrie's night terrors to pass.

"She was up all night crying and upset about it," Sorbo said. "She would wake up in the middle of her sleep screaming for me or her dad and that was upsetting."

The Executive Director of the Wallingford YMCA tells NBC Connecticut their mission is "to promote children's emotional, social, physical and intellectual development while meeting the needs of families. We believe in the core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. We've been in communication with our parent community since this incident and have conducted an immediate and thorough investigation to prevent an incident like this from occurring again," Sean Doherty Executive Director.

Photo Credit: Bernadette Sorbo

Students in Manchester Build Prosthetic Hands for Other Children


Finger by finger, students at Illing Middle School are building prosthetic hands for children in need.

Twenty 7th graders at the Manchester school volunteered their time to assemble hands for the Prosthetic Kids Hand Challenge.

"It would be just cool to see their faces when they get one of these. Just think of that for a second," said student Zane Ramsey. "That's just a sight that should make you do this all alone."

"One act of kindness can change a person's life," said Meagan Miazga, while putting together a hand.

That's what these kids are hoping to do. They assembled six, 3-D printed prosthetic hands. Each took 80 hours to print.

The seventh graders are part of Jenn Rainey's language arts classes. There, they read books focusing on different disabilities, which inspired the project.

"(A) hand they can use for their work or anything like that. I feel like I'm doing something very good right now," student Camren Daley said.

The students plan to send out the hands by the end of the week.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Guiterrez: Hispanic Dems Barred From Meeting With ICE Director


Rep. Luis Gutierrez was among a group of Hispanic congressmen barred from a meeting Thursday with a top federal immigration enforcement official.

According to Gutierrez, a Democrat from Illinois, he and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus were scheduled to meet Tuesday with acting Immigration and Custom Enforcement Director Thomas Homan to discuss President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order on deportation.

The meeting was cancelled at the last minute and rescheduled for Thursday, at which point, Gutierrez said, it was transformed into an invitation-only, Republican-led affair. The congressman was ultimately asked to leave by an aide to House Speaker Paul Ryan, who wasn’t on hand. Several other members of the CHC were also excluded.

“In 20-plus years, I have never heard of the Republicans controlling what meetings Democrats can have with officials of the Executive Branch and never had a staffer ask me to leave a meeting to which I am entitled to attend,” Gutierrez said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for Ryan told Politico Thursday that the speaker’s office organized the bipartisan meeting at the request of the DHS, limiting attendance to “members with jurisdictional interests in immigration enforcement,” including certain members of the Democratic caucus.

Last week, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began carrying out Trump’s deportation order, arresting more than 680 individuals in Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta and San Antonio.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly insisted Monday that the order only affects “convicted criminal aliens and gang members” and “individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws,” although some continue to question the scope of the enforcement.

"My constituents have questions about who is being targeted by ICE, which DREAMers with DACA they are targeting for deportation, which victims of domestic violence ICE is deporting, which immigrants at church shelters are being targeted,” Gutierrez said.

“We know the statements by Trump about targeting criminals is a lie, but we were hoping someone could give us the truth or any information at all,” he added.

A group of Democratic senators, including Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, introduced legislation Thursday to rescind the measure.

“It’s time for Congress to stand up and make it clear that we will not be intimidated by the President’s bullying,” Durbin said in a statement. “This legislation would end the Administration’s mass deportation scheme and begin to lay the groundwork for a smarter, fairer immigration approach."

Trump extolled the virtues of his divisive order during a White House press conference Thursday, 

"We've begun a nationwide effort to remove criminal aliens, gang members, drug dealers and others who pose a threat to public safety," he told reporters. "We are saving American lives. Court system has not made it easy for us."

Outlining his vision for bolstering the country's borders, Trump detailed plans for a "great wall" on the Mexican border and a crackdown on sanctuary cities, like Chicago. In addition, the president was unable to give a clear answer Thursday about how his administration would handle DACA students, who came to the country as young children and applied for deferred action, a form of relief from deportation.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Nearly 60 Businesses in Danbury Closed for 'A Day Without Immigrants'


About 60 businesses in Danbury decided not to open Thursday as part of a national demonstration "A Day Without Immigrants".

The protest, like others across the country, is intended to demonstrate the impact of immigrants on the economy.

“The message for today was for the immigrant community regardless of what country you come from not to spend, not to go out, not to open your business, not to send your kids to school,” said Rolando Castro, owner of C & C Delicatessen.

Castro's business was among those that closed for the day.

Giovanni Novo not only closed his two liquor businesses, he did not send his son to school today.

“The reason is because I’m an immigrant and your blood is immigrant, too. The message is we’re also supposed to be treated the same way and I don’t want that to happen to you in the future they look at you because you’re an immigrant,” said Novo.

Danbury High School student Rhoeert Lopes is originally from Brazil and he also did not attend school Thursday. 

“We lost a day of school, that’s bad. But we are going to gain like so much more. I feel like I am doing the right thing,” said Lopes.

But not everyone was on board with the idea.

“That’s education we’re talking about like, no, I don’t understand that,” said Tykera Brown of Danbury.

“Not to go to school that’s hurting their own children so that is wrong,” said Mike Daubert of Danbury.

NBC Connecticut reached out to Danbury Public Schools to see how many absences they’ve had on Thursday, but they have not gotten back after several attempts to reach them.

Connecticut ACLU's outreach and advocacy director, Melvin Medina said in a statement:

Documented or undocumented, every person in Connecticut has rights under our Constitution. Immigrants are vital members of Connecticut communities. Businesses participating in today's protest sent the right message of support and solidarity for new Americans.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

UConn Health Center Disbanding Fire Department


UConn Health Center said it's disbanding its longtime fire department and paramedic services in Farmington.

It’s effective June 1st.

Currently, the department has 16 members who said they were stunned by Thursday's announcement.

"No one likes to hear that they’re going to lose their job, especially when you have firefighters who are dedicated to a campus. This is a small city for the most part," Glen Terlecki, Connecticut Police & Fire Union president, said.

UConn Health blames "fiscal pressures" for closing the station which was founded in 1971. Staff respond to about 4,350 calls a year.

In a statement, UConn Health CEO Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, wrote in part:

“Given the long and proud tradition associated with the UConn Health fire department, this was not an easy decision. However UConn Health has to make such hard choices to protect its core mission of research, teaching and patient care while dealing with the reality of financial pressures."

The plan going forward is for the town of Farmington’s fire department to handle calls, along with some staff on the campus.

UConn Health would not provide more details including how much this money this move will save.

In the current fiscal year, the fire union says UConn Health spent about $3.9 million on the department.

Firefighters fear the switch will increase response times and that other responders do not know the facilities and procedures as well as they do.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Pratt & Whitney Growth in Georgia Could Help Connecticut


Pratt and Whitney's announcement of an expansion in Georgia is expected to be beneficial for the operation in Connecticut.

The engine maker, which is based in East Hartford and manufactures engines in Middletown, announced this week that it would invest $386 million in a new facility in Columbus, Georgia, where the company has had a presence for more than 30 years.

Ray Hernandez, a spokesman for Pratt and Whitney, said in a statement, "This particular expansion supports a specific, new technology need where the capabilities currently exist. The investment we are making will complement Pratt & Whitney’s production value stream in other facilities, including our Connecticut operations."

Pratt announced late last year that it would hire 8,000 new employees in Connecticut over the next decade, as it expects to double production of the engines it makes for commercial aircraft. The company currently has a 7,000 engine backlog it's looking to address.

State Representative Matt Lesser said he thinks any expansion for Pratt nationwide, does well to help the company's operations in Connecticut.

“They have more work right now than they know what do with," Lesser said. "They have an enormous backlog of orders and it’s important to do what we can to ensure that those engines are produced in Connecticut."

The company has similar partnerships in Georgia as it does in Connecticut with community colleges and vocational tech programs. In Columbus, the company has partnered with Columbus Technical College, while in Connecticut it's partnered with, among others, Asnuntuck Community College, Manchester Community College, Middlesex Community College, Goodwin College, and UConn.

Lesser said as long as those partnerships hold, the state should have a secure future with Pratt and Whitney.

“We need to do what we can to make sure our community colleges, our votech schools are helping expand that workforce and allowing them to continue their commitment to Connecticut.”

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Woodbury Ski Area Will Refund Season Pass Holders


Connecticut has one less slope this winter. The Woodbury Ski Area never opened, leaving its customers, including season pass holders, wondering about the resort's future.

Kim Wakuluk bought season tickets to Woodbury Ski Area for her son Chase.

“It was convenient and something he would do Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but they took that away,” Wakuluk said.

Her biggest concern was the $251 she spent on the pass her son can't use. Wakuluk said she called and messaged the park's management several times starting in mid-December to try and get her money back. Every time, she said they promised her refund was on its way. But weeks went by with no sign of the check.

“It's just kind of frustrating. Just have the courtesy to let me know where I am in the process,” she said.

Wakuluk contacted NBC Connecticut Responds in early February.

A representative for Woodbury Ski Area assured us season pass refunds were in process. He didn’t have an additional comment.

A few days after we inquired about Wakuluk’s refund, her $251 check arrived in the mail. It was postmarked a week earlier. It turns out Woodbury had sent it to an old address.

Another customer received their refund after NBC Connecticut Responds got involved, so it does appear that checks were sent out at different times.

Customers who have not yet received their refunds should be on the lookout for a check in the mail. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Fla. Man Plotted to Put Explosives in Target Stores: Police


A Florida man has been accused of plotting to blow up Target stores along the East Coast.

Federal prosecutors said Thursday that Mark Barnett, 48, paid an unidentified man $10,000 to put at least 10 explosive devices, disguised as food items, in Target stores from Florida to New York.

The plan was ruined, however, when the man later surrendered the devices to police and turned Barnett in.

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Ocala, Barnett was charged with "possession of a firearm (destructive device) affecting commerce by a previously convicted felon."

The complaint continued: "Barnett theorized that the company's stock value would plunge after the explosions, allowing him to cheaply acquire shares of Target stock before an eventual rebound in prices."

As NBC News reported, authorties said Barnett is a registered sex offender on probation for multiple felony kidnapping, sexual battery and grand theft counts. They said he made the bombs at home and gave them to the individual, along with a bag of gloves, a mask and a license-plate cover, to complete the job.

Barnett is currently in custody at the Marion County Jail. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in federal prison.

Photo Credit: Marion County Jail

Officials May Propose Sending More Troops to Syria


Putting a number of conventional U.S. military forces into Syria is one of the options expected to be presented to President Donald Trump later this month as part of the effort to accelerate the defeat of ISIS, two senior U.S. defense officials told NBC News on Thursday.

The troops would be sent in to serve as enablers, force protection and engineering advisers — similar to the way the United States has worked alongside the Iraqi Security Forces in Iraq. 

The United States does already have conventional forces operating in Syria. However, under the Obama administration, the rules for how many troops are allowed in the country have been very specific and set by the White House. For example, the last increase allowed 203 more troops to operate in Syria.

The possible proposal could mean that most of the forces who typically rotate in and out for short durations would stay in country and build out an operating location or forward operating base.

Photo Credit: AP
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