List of upcoming community events (Oct. 18, 2017)

The Ford County Historical Society’s Water Tower Museum is open every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The  museum, located at 135 S. Market St. just behind Paxton City Hall, specializes in Ford County history. For information or to schedule special tours, call 217-379-3723 or 217-379-4111.

Yarns and Threads, a group of people who enjoy knitting, crocheting, quilting, embroidery and all other sewing crafts, is inviting members of the public to join the group for its meetings held every Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:15 p.m. at the Paxton Carnegie Library.

Tim Ryan — a recovered heroin and cocaine addict, A&E’s “Dope Man” and national expert featured in USA Today, Newsweek and The Chicago Tribune concerning the opioid epidemic — will present “A Man in Recovery, from Dope to Hope” to parents and the community on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the Watseka Community High School gymnasium. 
There will be informational booths starting at 5:30 p.m., with Ryan speaking at 6 p.m. 
The program is an opportunity for the community to hear about today’s drug culture and to learn tools to protect children.  The program is not recommended for children, but there will be childcare available. In addition to the presentation, Ryan will be sharing with Iroquois County students during the day.  All Iroquois County public middle and high schools have been invited to attend his presentation.
“The thought of ‘it’s not happening in my community’ is complete crap,” Ryan passionately proclaims. “The opiate pandemic is everywhere, and it’s affecting everyone. People need to see that this is happening in our own backyards, and we need to talk about it!
“Addiction is pain — not just for the addict but for all those who love him, befriend him and work with him,” Ryan states in a press release. “My own battle with heroin and other drugs caused untold suffering for myself and my family.  As a result, I have committed my life to helping others get clean and stay clean.”
A Naperville native, Ryan has experienced the worst sides of the opioid epidemic.  His moving motivational speech chronicles his harrowing experience as a troubled addict who did drugs with his own son and his son’s friends, his incarceration, his son’s tragic heroin overdose death, his life today that includes his own journey in recovery, and his work in serving others.
Reaching beyond his own devastation and heartbreak, Ryan used his son’s death as the inspiration to spread hope, believing that if even one addict or family could be spared the horror of addiction, he would make a difference. As a result, he founded A Man in Recovery Foundation, a nonprofit that helps anyone find treatment and recovery.
“We’re taking one addict at a time from dope to hope,” Ryan says.
Along with giving hope, Ryan will also provide information about opiates, about the surprising effects of heroin on the brain and body, and how to recognize and handle those who struggle with addiction to opiates and other substances.
For more information on Tim’s foundation, A Man in Recovery, visit his website at
Watseka Community High School is located at 138 S. Belmont Ave. in Watseka.  The event is free and sponsored by the Iroquois Coalition for Change.

The movie “Case for Christ” will be shown while a dinner of soup and chili with cornbread will be served during an event at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Melvin. There is no fee to attend. Attendees are welcome to bring a dish or dessert to share.

A euchre party sponsored by Chic’s Ford County Relay for Life team is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, at the Moyer District Library, 618 S. Sangamon Ave., Gibson City. There is a $10 entry fee, and snacks and water will be provided. To sign up, people can call 217-784-5267 and leave a message with their name and telephone number.

The movie “Captain Underpants” will be shown at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, at the Melvin Community Hall. There is no charge to attend. Attendees are asked to bring a rug or blanket on which to sit.

The old Ford County jail will be opening for an early Halloween treat on Oct. 21-22 and Oct. 28-29, when tours of the 19th Century facility will be offered to the public from 6 to 10 p.m. each day. During the tours, attendees will hear ghost stories about the old jail and its former inmates (who may still reside there). The jail, located at the northeast corner of American and State streets, closed in the early 1990s. The cost to attend the tour is $7 for adults, $5 for high school students (ages 14-17) and $3 for junior high school students (ages 10-13). Children under age 10 must be accompanied by an adult. All proceeds will go to the nonprofit Paxton Foundation, which provides the upkeep for the property.

The Paxton IGA is hosting cookouts in its parking lot to help raise funds for nonprofit organizations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday. The next one, set for Oct. 21, will raise funds for the Lake Iroquois Association Bass Club. The IGA is located at 144 W. Pells St. in Paxton. Pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.

The Arrowsmith Christian Church is hosting its annual luncheon, bake sale and bazaar from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21. The public is encouraged to attend and enjoy potato soup, chili, barbecue, hot dogs, chili dogs or dessert.

The Bellflower Country Opry’s next country music show is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Bellflower Community Center, 202 Center St., Bellflower. The special guest performer will be Jason Gentry. Prior to the show, starting at 5 p.m., a chicken and noodle meal will be served for a cost of $6 per plate. Tickets to the show cost $10, with children ages 12 and under admitted for free. To reserve a seat or for more information, call 309-722-3497 or 217-898-7493.

Just An Angel, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for children afflicted with cancer, will hold a Halloween car show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, at Pells Park in Paxton. Registration for car show entries is from 9 a.m. to noon. Candy will be distributed to kids attending the car show. Also, a costume contest will be held at 1 p.m. There is a $10 fee for car show entries. Awards will be given. There will be ice cream and tacos available for purchase. Miniature ponies will be on hand, as well, and free wagon rides will be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Organizations or individuals who would like to set up a flea market at the event are welcome to do so free of charge.  For more information, call Dale and Christine Puls of Just An Angel at 217-419-1659 or 217-379-2388.

The Saybrook Sons of the American Legion Squad No. 427 will be hosting a breakfast at 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 22, at the American Legion Hall in Saybrook. Breakfast will include biscuits and gravy, pancakes, eggs, hashbrowns, sausage and bacon. The cost of the meal is a donation of your choice.

Rehearsals for the Gibson Area Music Foundation’s annual production of ‘The Messiah’ will begin Monday, Oct. 23.
Rehearsals will be held at 7 p.m. each Monday at the First Presbyterian Church in Gibson City.
Participants are encouraged but not required to attend all of the rehearsals. Vocal scores will be provided.
A final dress rehearsal with all musicians will be Dec. 2, one day before the Dec. 3 community performance. Both will be held at the Gibson City Bible Church.
This year’s performance is being directed by Dr. Janet McCumber of Villa Grove. The performance will be dedicated to the late Willie Summerville, who directed the event for the past 10 years. Bill Ogg and Beverly Hilmer will serve as pianists.
High school-aged singers are especially encouraged to participate. Participation makes students highly eligible for vocal and instrumental scholarships given each year by Gibson Area Music Foundation.
For more information, people can contact Galen Litwiller at 217-898-3946 or Val Hunt at 217-784-4742.

James T. “Jim” Marter,  who has declared his candidacy for the 2018 Republican primary election in the 16th Congressional District, will be visiting Watseka and Gibson City on Tuesday, Oct. 24. At 1:30 p.m., Marter will be at the Table Restaurant, 101 Jefferson St., Watseka. At 5 p.m., he will be meeting and greeting those at the Gibson City Fright Night event in downtown Gibson. This is an opportunity for people to meet Marter and learn about his views on issues. Marter is a proponent of the 2nd Amendment, a constitutional conservative, is pro-life, favors limited government, and is a patriot. His website is, and his e-mail is

Gibson City Fright Night is set for 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, in downtown Gibson City.
The event, sponsored by the Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce, features a costume contest for children. Judging for the contest will be held on Sangamon Avenue between 8th and 9th streets. Judging begins at 6 p.m., with costumed children asked to line up no later than 5:45 p.m. There are four age categories — 0-3, 4-6, 7-10 and 11-14 — with two winners chosen in the two younger categories and one winner in the two older categories. Prizes will be awarded for cutest, scariest and most original costume in each age group.
Also during Fright Night, trick-or-treating will be offered at participating downtown businesses. Also, the Gibson City Rotary Club will be selling food. The Gibson City Lions Club and Moyer District Library will also provide treats and games.
In the case of inclement weather, the costume contest will be relocated to the cafeteria at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Elementary School.
Any questions can be directed or 217-784-4233.

A free class entitled “Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate?” will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the Paxton Carnegie Library, 254 S. Market St., Paxton. During the class, led by University of Illinois Extension family life educator Chelsey Byers Gerstenecker, participants will explore ways to talk to their family members about the difficult subject of distributing family items with emotional and sentimental value following a loved one’s death, while still keeping relationships intact. People who plan to attend the class must register by Oct. 17 by visiting or calling 217-333-7672.

The Kankakee County Center Against Sexual Assault (KC-CASA) and Iroquois Sexual Assault Services (ISAS) have announced their next 40-hour crisis intervention training session for prospective volunteers, professionals and students.  
The classes are held Tuesdays and Thursdays from Oct. 24 through Nov. 28 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., plus one on Saturday, Oct. 28, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The classes will take place at KC-CASA’s office at 1440 W. Court St. in Kankakee. 
During the training, participants will enhance their knowledge and skills in the field of crisis intervention. Participants will learn how to respond to sexual violence survivors with sensitivity and support, recognize issues influencing different types of sexual violence, understand the medical and legal rights of survivors, and apply theories of rape culture.
Participants will earn a certificate in sexual assault crisis intervention. Professionals can earn 35 CEUs/CPDUs in partnership with Kankakee Community College. 
For more information, including what fees are charged to participants, call Amy at 815-932-7273, Ext. 228, or email her at

A potluck dinner for senior citizens in the Gibson City area will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, at  the Telecare building in Gibson City. This will be the last meal for this year. Newcomers are especially welcome. Fried chicken and a cold drink will be provided. Attendees are asked to bring their own place setting and a dish to share.

Members of the Ford-Iroquois Retired Teachers Association will meet at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, at the Milford Family Restaurant, 107 E. Jones St., Milford. The guest speaker will be attorney Ted Spenn, who will discuss laws that seniors should be aware of, including power of attorney for health and money, wills and trusts. For more information, call Joyce Dorsey at 815-432-3876 or send an email to reservations are needed, and all retired teachers are invited.

The Saybrook American Legion Post No. 427 will be holding its first supper of the season from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, at the Legion Hall in Saybrook.  There will be a choice of either catfish, walleye or chicken. Sides include baked beans, baked potato, coleslaw, relishes and a drink.  People have the option of eating in or taking a carryout order.

The GCMS Education Foundation is hosting its fourth annual 5K Monster Dash at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28. Pre-registration forms may be found at Race day registration starts at 8 a.m. Registration costs $25 through Oct. 17, then goes up to $30. T-shirts will only be given to those who pre-register by the deadline. During the race, there will be no timing bibs, but a timing clock will be present. The GCMS Education Foundation provides funds for special teachers’ projects. For more information, people can email Jewel Lewis at

Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley will host its annual Oktoberfest dinner from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29, at the Buckley American Legion post. The menu includes schweinbratten, brats, wieners, German meatballs, German potato salad, red cabbage, German sausage soup, green beans, beer bread and an assortment of desserts. German folk and polka music will be performed. Freewill donations are appreciated.

On Sunday, Oct. 29, people can walk in the footsteps of Martin Luther at a Reformation Walk being held at St. John’s Lutheran School, 206 E. Main St., Buckley.
Participants will experience the sights and sounds of life during the time of Martin Luther.  Along the way, they will meet people who played a role in transforming the church and world forever. The walk stations include Luther’s birthplace, schoolhouse, indulgence sales, Wittenberg, the Castle Church, the Wartburg Castle and Luther’s house.
To take a tour, people can visit the school’s gym at 11 a.m. or at 1 p.m. Tours last about an hour. The Iroquois Circuit Reformation Service will be held at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Buckley at 3 p.m. 
Community members are invited to attend the walk and church services. For more information, contact Amy Reutter at the church office at 217-394-2444.

The annual Paxton Park District-sponsored Halloween Parade is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31, on Market Street in downtown Paxton.
Kids in costume are asked by Paxton Park District Recreation Director Neal McKenry to plan to meet around the corner of Market and Orleans streets, where the parade will begin at 4 p.m. 
“We’ll be walking up Market Street to the Paxton fire department, where kids will receive their trick-or-treat bags,” McKenry said. “Kids will then be able to walk back downtown and visit any local businesses participating in trick-or-treating.”

The Gibson City Bible Church will host a Hallelujah Party for children in fifth grade or younger on Tuesday, Oct. 31. A meal will be served from 6 to 6:30 p.m., followed by the party from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The party will feature prizes, candy, face painting, a cake walk, a bounce house, games, relays and cookie decorating. Children ages 5 and under must be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian. No evil or scary costumes will be permitted. The church is located at 309 N. Illinois 47 in Gibson City. For more information, call 217-784-5702.

Expressions Salon in Gibson City will host an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, in celebration of its new salon location at 110 E. 9th St. Cookies will be provided, and there will also be giveaways and a chance to meet the salon’s staff.

The family of Ethan Glascock will hold a memorial fundraiser for Handles of Hope, a local nonprofit organization, on Thursday, Nov. 2, in downtown Gibson City.
That date marks the 10-year anniversary of the accident that took Mr. Glascock’s life. It is the hope of the family that this “pay-it-forward” event will serve to honor his memory and to benefit children and families in need.
The fundraiser begins at 9 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m. Weather permitting, the family will have a collection table for supplies or monetary donations in front of Hood’s Ace Hardware. In the event of inclement weather, the table will be located just inside the store.
During the fundraiser, there will be Handles of Hope pamphlets available at Hood’s Ace Hardware and other Gibson City businesses.
For additional information about Handles of Hope, people can visit the organization’s FaceBook page or visit its website at

The Saybrook Sons of the American Legion Squad No. 427 will be hosting a spaghetti dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, at the American Legion Hall in Saybrook. Dinner includes spaghetti, garlic bread and salad. The cost is $7. All-you-can-eat dine-in meals are available, as well as carryout orders.

The Immanuel Lutheran Church in Osman will be preparing a benefit soup supper on Saturday, Nov. 4, for people in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico who have suffered loss from recent hurricanes. Proceeds will be given to LCMS World Relief and Human Care. Thrivent Financial provided an action team card to buy supplies for the benefit. The menu for the supper will be chili, potato soup, oyster soup, sandwiches, pie and drinks.  The meal will be served from 4:30 to 7 p.m. in the church’s fellowship hall. A free-will offering will be taken.  Persons who are interested in donating can make out a check to Immanuel Lutheran Church of Osman and mail it to Immanuel Lutheran Church, 942 Grape Ave., Fisher, IL 61843.  The church is located between Mansfield and Bellflower.

The American Lutheran Church in Gibson City will be hosting the Little Acheivers Holiday Shopping Bazaar from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4.
The  bazaar features 20 booths showcasing handmade items, personalized crafts, jewelry, boutique clothing, Tupperware, Norwex, Usborne Books, Scentsy, LuLaRoe, Lipsense, Thirty-One, Stella & Dot, Rodan & Fields, Matilda Jane (children’s clothing), Party Lite, Knock On Wood (handmade barnwood signs), Pretty Pretty Please, HandLetteringLife (wood signs/canvas) and more. The first 20 shoppers will receive a free gift.
There will also be door prizes and raffles. Persons who bring three or more canned goods will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of many door prizes. Raffles will be for gift cards, gift baskets, children’s toys and items from bazaar vendors.
A barbecue lunch with chips, drink and dessert will be sold for $6 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
The church is located at 905 E. First St. in Gibson City.
For more information, visit the Little Achievers Academy Preschool on Facebook or contact Jessica Birky at

The Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School band will host the Air National Guard Band of the Midwest in a Veterans Day celebration at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5, in the PBL High School gymnasium. No reservations are necessary, and the concert is free.
Stationed at the Peoria Air National Guard base and attached to the 182nd Airlift Wing, the band serves as musical ambassadors of the Midwest. All of the highly trained musicians are citizen-soldiers, performing with the Air National Guard Band of the Midwest only two days per month, and traveling on a two-week performance tour in the summer. While their primary area of responsibility encompasses Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, the band has also traveled and performed extensively for both civilian and military audiences, to include presidents, nobility and dignitaries throughout the U.S. and the world.
Additionally, a community choir is being formed to join the PBL High School choirs and band for a joint performance of “America the Beautiful” accompanied by the Band of the Midwest. Music is enclosed, and the music will be under the direction of Miranda Roland, PBL’s director of choirs. A short rehearsal will take place prior to the concert at 12:30 p.m. in the chorus room adjacent to the gymnasium. 
Anyone interested in performing in the choir or would like more information is asked to contact Timothy Hess at or call the school at 217-379-4331.

The Hustlers class of First Christian Church in Gibson City will hold a barbecue and pie lunch at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 5, at the church. The event is a fundraiser to support the Robb Warfield family in their mission work in Senegal and an orphan in Uganda.

A program about Bellflower women in World War II — including those serving as well as those at home — will be given by Laura Zimmerman at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5, at the Bellflower Christian Church. The program is being sponsored by the Bellflower Genealogical and Historical Society. Refreshments will be served.

The University of Illinois Extension office serving Ford and Iroquois counties will hold its fourth annual Agriculture Careers Night on Monday, Nov. 6, at the Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau Building in Gilman.
Students in junior high school and high school and their parents are invited to attend to learn more about agriculture career options and degree programs.
From 5-6 p.m., participants will have the opportunity to speak with agriculture departments from eight participating colleges, including the University of Illinois, Joliet Junior College, Illinois Central College and Illinois State University.
A formal program begins at 6 p.m. with a panel of local agribusiness men and women speaking on the agriculture careers they hold. Students and parents will learn about the duties of various agricultural careers, schooling and training needed and even courses they can focus on in school to help prepare for one of these careers. There will be time for questions and answers, as well.
After the agribusiness panel, representatives from the colleges will be around to discuss their programs with interested students. Light refreshments will be served.
In addition to the colleges, the Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau Young Leaders will have a display and members available to help youth become acquainted with local FFA chapters.
The Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau is located at 1381 S. Crescent St., Gilman. For more information, call the University of Illinois Extension office in Onarga at 815-268-4051 and ask for Larry Haigh, Ford-Iroquois Ag in the Classroom and Iroquois County 4-H Program coordinator.
The Agriculture Careers Night is sponsored by the Ford-Iroquois Agriculture in the Classroom Program, University of Illinois Extension and Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau.

The Iroquois County Republican Women’s Club’s inaugural Bottles & Brushes Painting Party is set for 6:15 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Town & Country Events venue at 35 E. Jones St. in Milford.
Tickets can be purchased at Illiana Backyard Fun in Watseka; from women’s club members Laura Suchor, Mindy Hagan, Kristie Cheatum, Angel Crawford, Kara Macz Bartucci, Mary Kay Lavicka, Jane Wagner and Deb Monk; or by emailing
The ticket cost includes painting supplies and complementary appetizers. Attendees may bring their own beverages.
The Iroquois County Republican Women’s Club will use funds raised for its “Hats & Mittens” project, which will involve giving hats and mittens to all schools in Iroquois County. Proceeds will also be used to grant scholarships to 2018 senior girls going to college and the “Give a Teacher a Hand” project, in which the club gives back supplies to teachers in Iroquois County.

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church’s annual turkey dinner is set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12, at Father Kirk Hall in Gibson City. The cost of the meal is $8. The meal includes sides and desserts. Carryout orders are available.

The Foosland Sportsman’s Club will host a splatterboard shoot on Sunday, Nov. 12. Breakfast starts at 6 a.m., and the shoot starts at 8 a.m. An Annie Shoot will start at 10:30 a.m. Lunch will be served around noon. The shoots are open to the public.

The 23rd Annual Lighted Holiday Parade sponsored by the Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce will be held at 6;30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, in downtown Gibson City.
The parade’s theme this year is “Presents on Parade.” The theme was submitted by second-grader Coben Phillips as part of a contest asking kids to choose it.
The chamber is seeking entries for the parade, including commercial floats, organization floats, commercial vehicles/tractors, religious floats and individual/family/political floats. Registration should be completed by Wednesday, Nov. 15, if possible.  However, entries will be accepted up to the day of the event at 5 p.m. at County Market in Gibson City. All entries should have lights of some kind and a sign designating the business or owner of the float. For more information, contact Ellen Maxey at 217-784-4140 or Janna Friday at 217-781-0012.
Parade entries will line up starting at 5 p.m. on the east side of County Market. The parade will leave County Market and turn West on Illinois 9. At Sangamon Avenue, the parade will turn north and continue until 10th Street, when entries may pull off anytime after that.
A total of $300 in Gibson Bucks gift certificates will be awarded to the overall winner of the float contest. The overall winner will not be eligible to win individual categories. Category winners will receive $75 in Gibson Bucks.
Santa will visit with children at Ace Hardware in downtown Gibson City starting at 4 p.m. prior to the parade, as well as after the parade concludes.
Also, food and craft vendors will be set up downtown starting at 4 p.m. To register to be a vendor at no charge, people can email or drop off/mail the necessary registration form to Janna Friday at the Bank of Gibson City.
As in years past, a holiday decorating contest will be held in conjunction with the parade for both the large flower pots in the downtown area as well as window displays. Registration forms for the decorating contest are available by contacting Friday. Awards will be given to the top three windows and top three flower pots.

The Ford-Iroquois 4-H Foundation’s annual 4-H Auction will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19, in the gymnasium of St Paul’s Lutheran School, 108 W. Woodworth Road, Milford.
A free-will-donation pork burger meal starts at 1:30 p.m., with the live auction starting at 2 p.m. and concluding when all items are auctioned off.
Proceeds are used for annual membership fees for 4-H in both Iroquois and Ford counties and scholarships for 4-H seniors to continue their education. The money is also used to help cover some costs for camping expenses and work shop fees for 4-H’ers.   
For more information or to donate toward the auction, people can contact Sharleen Finegan at 815-383-9891.  

PRIDE in Paxton’s Christmas Parade is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, in downtown Paxton.
“We are inviting all members of our armed forces, businesses, marching units, bands, Christian and civic units, floats, antique vehicles, new cars, farm machinery, individuals and families to enter and participate in this year’s parade,” a news release from PRIDE said.
Line-up for the parade — which will have the theme “A Taste of Christmas” and feature the Cola-Cola Bear as its grand marshal — begins at 1 p.m. at the intersection of Taft and Orleans streets. The parade will move east on Orleans Street before turning onto Market Street. It ends at the intersection of Market and Pine streets.
All entries should be decoated in some manner. No Santa Claus figurines should be on floats, so as not to confuse small children.
Judges will choose the best  parade entries in the areas of “best of show,” “theme-oriented” and “most unusual/unique.”
For more information, call Teri Hancock at 217-379-4245.

The Foosland Sportsman’s Club will host a splatterboard shoot on Sunday, Dec. 10. Breakfast starts at 6 a.m., and the shoot starts at 8 a.m. An Annie Shoot will start at 10:30 a.m. Lunch will be served around noon. The shoots are open to the public.


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