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October 19 2015

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Natural Septic Cleaning With The Best Septic Tank Treatment

 Activator1000, the best septic tank treatment is the key to natural septic cleaning and septic maintenance. Activator1000 is a septic tank additive that contains enzymes and 2 different bacteria for septic tanks and septic tank aerators. It activates the bacteria that's in your tank already plus builds up additional bacteria. When you flush Activator 1000 down your comode, you are put billions of fast-acting, natural bacteria and enzymes to work. The high potency bacteria and the enzymes they produce act as a catalyst to quickly increase the fermentation process when coming into http://is.gd/EGylVN contact with organic waste, liquefying and purifying the solid matter in your septic system. This bacteria - enzyme action digests the dead organic matter and recycles these various wastes through the leaching fields back to the basic parts of the soil, air, and water from which they were formed. That is how , in addition to septic tank cleaning it will quickly break down and liquefy proteins, starches, carbohydrates, animal and vegetable fats and oils, and paper.

A common misconception is that if you aren't having an obvious problem with you septic system such as clogs, back-ups, or surface water, then your system is working great. It things were only that simple, right? The truth is your septic system is underground, so you never know how its working unless it does give you a problem. If you've ever had your septic tank pumped out, even once, that is a sign that your system is out of balance, and in need of additional septic tank bacteria. Activator 1000 is used as a preventative http://is.gd/EGylVN septic maintenance product and when used as directed, will eliminate all frequent septic tank pump outs and prevent any problem related to the malfunctioning of your septic system , potentially saving you hundreds, even thousands of dollars in repairs. As long as you use Activator1000 as directed you no longer will have a need to have your septic system pumped out. Calling a plumber or having the system pumped out are only temporary solutions. The problem still exists. Using Activator 1000 will fix the problem at its source, the imbalance. a

Other septic tank chemicals and septic tank supplies are expensive and harmful to your system while Activator 1000 is the only septic treatment products 100% SAFE http://is.gd/wf060F to Humans, Pets, Septic Systems, Septic Drain fields, Plumbing and the Environment . It is a much stronger than any septic tank treatment . After performing many tests on Activator 1000, an independent research group proved that Activator1000 is the most effective maintenance product that you can use. Because Activator 1000 contains no fillers like other over the counter septic cleaners, the already affordable septic tank treatment gives you more for your money. Close analysis of Activator1000 in controlled environmental tests shows its high potency goes to work right away against organic build-up. Don't wait until you have a problem with your bio septic tank, go to www.myactivator1000.com to learn more about the top septic tank treatment and learn how to get your septic tank supply for 30 days at no cost today!

http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/natural-septic-cleaning-with-the-best-septic-tank-treatment

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October 09 2015

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check back later

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This guy knows what he is doing

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RN - home remodel

https://robertsneagle.wordpress.com/ ideas for remodeling and renovations

September 10 2015

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Ex-Cleethorpes care home renovation plan approved despite parking fears - Grimsby Telegraph

GO AHEAD: The former Farringford care home, in Grimsby Road, Cleethorpes.

Comments(0)

A renovation of a prominent Cleethorpes building will go ahead despite fears over parking problems.

Only eight car parking spaces were allocated in an application for 13 self-contained flats at the former Farringford care home, in Grimsby Road.

It raised concerns among some Planning Committee members today that the development would add to an existing parking issue in the area.

Architect Mark Hodson said the 101-year-old building had been a 21-bed care home. It closed in September 2014.

He told members: "Wherever possible we should look to maintain or renovate old buildings.

"We believe this proposal will be a positive addition to the area."

Councillor Ray Sutton (Lab, Yarborough) said: "It's not unusual for people to have two cars. I would find it very surprising if even eight spaces were sufficient for 13 properties.

"I think it's a fine scheme and I want to see it go ahead but I would have been looking to try to purchase an adjacent property to create more parking space."

Officer Mr Dixon the location was a sustainable one, with good public transport access.

But Mr Sutton responded: "We can't keep ignoring the motor car."

Councillor Terry Thurogood (Lab, Croft Baker), said Government policy leaned towards sustainability and warned that the council could lose an appeal should the proposal be turned down.

Councillor Iain Colquhoun (Con, Waltham) said parking would be no worse than in the past when staff and visitors attended the former care home.

After further debate, councillors voted to approve the application by seven to two.

See tomorrow's Grimsby Telegraph for more on this story and others from the Planning Committee meeting.

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September 08 2015

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Septic System Installation (with Photos!) - Mother Earth News

Septic Tank Burial

The Small Home, Big Decisions seriesfollows Jennifer and her husband, Tyler, as they build a self-reliant homestead on a piece of country property in northeastern Kansas. The series will delve into questions that arise during their building process and the decisions they make along the way. The posts are a work in progress, written as their homestead-building adventure unfolds.

Our septic system installation really began a few months ago, when we went through the process of having a perc test performed, siting our septic system based on the results of that test, and having the plans for our septic system approved by the Leavenworth County Planning and Zoning Department. Fast forward to last week, and our septic system was actually installed, and the county representative came out to inspect and, ultimately, approve the system. The whole installation and approval process took a day and a half, which is a fraction of the time it took for the upfront planning and preparation.

Both Tyler and I have always lived in homes on the municipal sewer system, so having and maintaining a septic system is new to us. Seeing the installation process, shown in the photos here, made it easier to understand all that weve read about how a septic system works (and how to maintain one).

The first part of the system (see the image above) is the septic tank. This tank houses an anaerobic environment, where bacteria break down the raw sewage and liquefy most of the solids. The remaining solids settle in the tank, and the liquid flows down through a pipe to a series of perforated pipes (shown below) known as the "lateral field" or "leaching bed." The nutrient-rich wastewater dribbles out of the pipes into the soil and gravel beds, where soil microbes, insects and plant roots purify the water and take up the nutrients.

Septic Pipe with Laterals

After the septic system was approved, the lateral lines, the long pipe and the septic tank were all buried safely below the frost line. The image below shows how the line lays out underground (the red line), with the only visible part of the system the inspection pipe extending from the tank at the bottom right corner of the image. We will not plant trees, crops for human consumption, build structures or drive vehicles over the lateral fields or underground pipe. The only time we hope to see our septic system is every few years when we remove the dirt from on top of the tank and have it emptied as part of routine maintenance.

Septic System Installed and Drawn

Im tempted to make a crude closing joke about what having this system in place makes possible at the homestead, but instead Ill let you know that the next two posts will continue our homestead water series with two-part look at how our well was dug and how it will run through our home.

Photos by Jennifer Kongs and Tyler Gill.

Jennifer Kongsis the Managing Editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine. When shes not working at the magazine, shes likely in her garden, on the local running trails or in her kitchen instead. You can connect directly with Jennifer and Tyler by leaving a comment below!

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September 07 2015

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WNY shows its generosity once again in campaign to help boy's home renovation - Buffalo News

Whats Western New Yorks best asset? The waterfront? The 20-minute commutes?

Ben Botwin has learned the answer, but at 12, with blonde hair, a few freckles and the mischievous smile of a boy about to enter seventh grade, the words are a little tough to coax out of him.

You can see the answer in the photo Ben keeps of a girl named Sofia, little more than 3, who saved up her chore money for him. You can see it in the handmade oversized check he kept from a teenager named Wendy who turned her Sweet 16 into a fundraiser. You can see it as he flicks through photos on Facebook to show off the compassion of strangers during a family garage sale that grew into a neighborhood campaign to raise money to renovate Bens house.

It just amazes me the kindness and generosity that are in this community, said Bens mother, Laurie Werbow.

Ben has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder that will weaken his muscles as he ages. There were years when he could get away with not telling the other kids in school, when he didnt need a wheelchair and didnt need to explain why he got to take the elevator.

Those days, though, are waning. His heels no longer touch the ground as he walks, pushing him onto the balls of his feet and placing strain on other muscles. Most days, outside his home, he uses a red motorized wheelchair, decked out with a license plate with the words Banshee on the back.

His mother knows, eventually, he wont even have that freedom; and that when that happens, his home will become his entire world. She worries their modest house in Amherst with the bathrooms and bedrooms on the second floor wont accommodate his changing life. As his disease progresses, his life is shrinking, Werbow said.

She and her husband are doing all they can to make Ben comfortable as his muscles degenerate. They plan to take out a loan and use savings toward modifying the house. Werbow, a respiratory therapist, has taken on extra work in addition to her full-time job.

But it hasnt been enough; and so, like others in their situation, their family turned to the kindness of strangers. They planned fundraisers and set up a website, ahomeforbenny.org, and hoped for the best. What they found like so many others facing hardship was that people in Western New York can really step up.

There were the folks at Crossroads Lutheran Church. There was the crew from Tree Services of Western New York that cut down two giant maples to make way for the renovation. There is the team at Kaz Brothers Construction that took on the project despite the difficult financing arrangement. There were the owners of the Ramada who agreed to provide space for a benefit after another venue fell through. The list goes on.

Ben will still need more help to get the project off the ground. His disease will eventually rob him of his ability to walk. It will steal from him the newfound freedom and independence of young adulthood.

But, for now, Ben is just a 12-year-old boy, happily making model rockets and shooting air guns and studying classic cars. For now, Ben is thinking about starting seventh grade. For now, he is thankful for all who have helped him. And hes learned, firsthand, of the best asset of Western New York by far, the generous spirit of the people here.

email: djgee@buffnews.com

http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNGDN070AxpAqQz6rQWbXSD1bfOBLQ&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52778927945686&ei=qrLtVeGPGpW7aMmFmtAO&url=http://www.buffalonews.com/columns/denise-jewell-gee/wny-shows-its-generosity-once-again-in-campaign-to-help-boys-home-renovation-20150816
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How Much Will Your Home Renovation Cost? (Hint: More Than You Think) - DNAinfo

 The before and after photos of one of Pepper Binkley's bathrooms, which she renovated using a contractor she found through Sweeten.com, whose blog documented the renovation of both of Binkley's bathrooms.  The before and after photos of one of Pepper Binkley's bathrooms, which she renovated using a contractor she found through Sweeten.com, whose blog documented the renovation of both of Binkley's bathrooms. View Full Caption

Sweeten.com

MANHATTAN After living in her Hudson Heights pre-war apartment for eight years, Pepper Binkley finally decided to re-do her two bathrooms, getting bids from five contractors.

She was shocked at how high the quotes were and how wildly far apart they were in price.

The low end of the bids, which were just for labor and did not include fixtures or tiles, came in about $20,000, while the high end was above $40,000.

"I thought the whole cost was going to be about $10,000 to $15,000 for labor for both bathrooms," said Binkley, an actress, who ended up scaling down her project, deciding to put more money into nice fixtures rather than moving any plumbing around.

It's not uncommon for homeowners to receive multiple bids from a range of contractors, all of which vary greatly in price as well as scope, experts said. Prices in the industry seem to be running especially high these days as renovation permits have spiked and contractors are in high demand.

Binkley went with a contractor on the lower end of the bidding spectrum, who was just starting his own business and was "hungry." She found him through Sweeten, a New York City-focused online matchmaking service for homeowners and licensed contractors. Even though there was a "fair amount he didn't know," Binkley said "he was responsible and responsive and was around the project, so when issues came up, he was around," said Binkley, who was happy with the results.

Here's what you need to know if you're planning a project:

1. Kitchen renovations start at $30,000; bathrooms start at $20,000.

For a kitchen renovation that's "done right," including all appliances, expect it to cost at least $30,000, according to Bolster, a startup that aims to transform homeowners' renovation experience by guaranteeing their projects never go over budget.

Bathrooms will likely start at $20,000, with new fixtures.

The starting cost of a basic kitchen and bathroom renovation that includes some electrical and plumbing replacement with basic carpentry and finishes and does not include relocating any water lines or outlets is $60,000.

In Manhattan, the average project ran about $117,595, with kitchens the most popular type of project by volume, according to a new analysis of Bolster's projects from the third quarter.

Brooklyn projects averaged roughly $80,000, with gut renovations most popular.

Guts were also most popular in Queens and the Bronx, where average prices were about $246,000 and $225,000 respectively.

The quality of materials and workmanship can affect the price tremendously and mean the difference between a job that costs $100 a square foot versus $300 per square foot, said Bolster's founder and CEO Fraser Patterson.

2. Contractors are busy and can charge accordingly.

Renovation spending is expected to reach a high in the third quarter of this year, surpassing its previous record of 2007, according to the Residential Remodeling Index, a national consumer retail index monitored by Harvard's Joint Center for Housing.

 Fraser Patterson, founder and CEO of Bolster. Fraser Patterson, founder and CEO of Bolster. View Full Caption

Bolster

"This means increasingly more demand for contractors which can, in itself, drive up prices," Patterson said.

The city's renovation landscape is busiest in Brooklyn with roughly 3,790 permits for alterations filed between June 2014 through July 2015, up more than 14 percent from the year before, according to a DNAinfo analysis of Department of Buildings data.

Manhattan saw 3,530 permits filed, up nearly 10 percent from the year before, and Queens saw 3,110 permits filed, up 7 percent.

Though the Bronx trailed in overall permits, with 1,140, the borough's jump was nearly 14 percent from the year before.

(Staten Island's 540 permits represented a slight dip from the year before.)

3. More work brings out more "amateurs."

The high demand draws inexperienced contractors who sometimes offer low prices but buyer beware, sometimes you get what you pay for, Patterson said.

Without the necessary overhead, like licenses, insurances or training, fly-by-night contractors could provide dangerously cheap bids and undercut the professionals, he warned.

Making matters worse, these contractors will sometimes take the money and run, leaving the homeowner high and dry. With no known reputation to uphold, new to the scene contractors can be less reliable than ones who've been in the business for a while.

Experts say you should always check with the city's Department of Consumer Affairs to ensure your contractor is licensed in good standing, and make sure you check their insurance policy to make sure it's the right one for your project.

4. If you don't present your contractors with the same scope of work, it's hard to compare bids.

Contractors are often not bidding on the same set of tasks, which makes it hard for a homeowner to understand what they might be getting or paying for.

"[Contractors] each interpret and quote differently omitting or obfuscating various things, either by virtue of the way they 'build' an estimate or deliberately to confuse the homeowner," Patterson explained.

He added that consumers typically don't have the technical expertise to tell the difference between the information and pricing the contractors are giving them.

5. The best way to get an estimate is to have your contractor do a thorough walkthrough.

When figuring out how much their renovation project will cost, a lot of homeowners will ask their friends, real estate brokers or architects.

"Those are the wrong people," said Aaron Borenstein, a contractor with more than 14 years experience who works for Bolster.

"The right way to figure out how much it is going to cost is to allow your contractor to come in and do their due diligence and iron out unforeseen issues. The more discovery pre-construction, the more control over the costs while you're building," Borenstein said.

There are a lot of factors to consider in New York City, he added, like whether you live in an elevator building or walkup, whether there's parking nearby, whether there's space to store materials in the apartment while work is happening, or whether construction work will be restricted to certain hours.

There are also questions about who will be doing the work.

"Are you hiring a man and his son to do everything? Maybe it will take six months instead of two," said Borenstein.

"There are a lot of construction firms out there that lowball projects and then hit the homeowners with additional work orders," he said, adding, "The prices when they're higher, they're just realistic."

http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNGJLMs-Wwpysrulay8eT-NhHcmEaA&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52778929865417&ei=nX3tVaCJMcqk1gan6L6gBg&url=http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20150818/hudson-heights/how-much-will-your-home-renovation-cost-hint-more-than-you-think
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Benton County planners back septic system ordinance - Arkansas Online

BENTONVILLE -- Benton County planners on Wednesday endorsed requiring inspection of septic systems before property is sold or transferred.

John Sudduth, general services administrator, who oversees the planning and environmental services departments, said the ordinance is needed to address a long-standing problem. Sudduth said the proposal will protect people buying and selling property and help protect the environment as well.

"This is something I think is going to be very beneficial to Benton County as a whole," Sudduth said.

Ashley Tucker, Planning Board member, said the ordinance is a needed first step and he would like to see officials do more.

"I would like to see it happen when property is subdivided, not just when it's sold," Tucker said.

The proposal was developed by members of the Land Use Committee that recently revised planning and development regulations. James Gately and Larry Kelly, members of the committee, headed the presentations made to the planners and justices of the peace.

The men said the need to identify and ensure function of septic systems was clear to the committee during the earlier process but members agreed it needed to be addressed separately. Gately said the goal is to protect the residents' health and safety. He said many property owners don't maintain septic systems or fail to maintain them properly, causing problems when the wastewater escapes into the porous karst limestone formations under much of Benton County. He presented information on a gasoline leak and other incidents where water wells off site were contaminated.

Gately has presented photos showing examples of failed septic systems and information on how leaks can affect wells and even larger bodies of water. He has also offered photos of algae blooms in Table Rock Lake and Grand Lake of the Cherokees caused by high phosphorus levels and spoke of the need to protect Beaver Lake, an important part of the local tourism economy and the source of drinking water for much of Northwest Arkansas.

Kelly said he has dealt with properties with failing septic systems and the problem is widespread. State law didn't require permits for septic systems until 1977 and parcels more than 10 acres were exempt until 1999.

The Planning Board also reviewed an emergency services station proposed by Carroll Electric on company property near Garfield. The board discussed the site plan for the station during the Technical Advisory Committee portion of its Wednesday meeting. The project will be the subject of a public hearing by the board on Sept. 16.

Mike Jorgenson of Carroll Electric said the facility will be at the northeast corner of Arkansas 59 and Mount Olive Road between Gravette and Decatur. He said it will be an emergency service center for Carroll Electric to provide a quick response during inclement weather.

"You won't have 30 trucks daily but in the event of an ice storm you're going to have several trucks coming and going," he said.

The 18,500 square-foot building will have offices for two or three employees, 14 indoor truck bays, two outdoor fuel storage tanks and a refueling area, and outdoor storage for electric poles and other material. The facility will not be open for customers to pay their bills. The board questioned Jorgenson about landscape buffers for neighboring residences, drainage on the site and whether water pressure from a proposed six-inch water line extension will be adequate for fire protection purposes.

NW News on 09/03/2015

http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNHbyJperVpgrnBewfARao7iyb97CA&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52778942531300&ei=wU7tVaCGMsef1gaclYiIBg&url=http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2015/sep/03/benton-county-planners-back-septic-syst/?f%3Dlatest
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WNY shows its generosity once again in campaign to help boy's home renovation - Buffalo News

Whats Western New Yorks best asset? The waterfront? The 20-minute commutes?

Ben Botwin has learned the answer, but at 12, with blonde hair, a few freckles and the mischievous smile of a boy about to enter seventh grade, the words are a little tough to coax out of him.

You can see the answer in the photo Ben keeps of a girl named Sofia, little more than 3, who saved up her chore money for him. You can see it in the handmade oversized check he kept from a teenager named Wendy who turned her Sweet 16 into a fundraiser. You can see it as he flicks through photos on Facebook to show off the compassion of strangers during a family garage sale that grew into a neighborhood campaign to raise money to renovate Bens house.

It just amazes me the kindness and generosity that are in this community, said Bens mother, Laurie Werbow.

Ben has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder that will weaken his muscles as he ages. There were years when he could get away with not telling the other kids in school, when he didnt need a wheelchair and didnt need to explain why he got to take the elevator.

Those days, though, are waning. His heels no longer touch the ground as he walks, pushing him onto the balls of his feet and placing strain on other muscles. Most days, outside his home, he uses a red motorized wheelchair, decked out with a license plate with the words Banshee on the back.

His mother knows, eventually, he wont even have that freedom; and that when that happens, his home will become his entire world. She worries their modest house in Amherst with the bathrooms and bedrooms on the second floor wont accommodate his changing life. As his disease progresses, his life is shrinking, Werbow said.

She and her husband are doing all they can to make Ben comfortable as his muscles degenerate. They plan to take out a loan and use savings toward modifying the house. Werbow, a respiratory therapist, has taken on extra work in addition to her full-time job.

But it hasnt been enough; and so, like others in their situation, their family turned to the kindness of strangers. They planned fundraisers and set up a website, ahomeforbenny.org, and hoped for the best. What they found like so many others facing hardship was that people in Western New York can really step up.

There were the folks at Crossroads Lutheran Church. There was the crew from Tree Services of Western New York that cut down two giant maples to make way for the renovation. There is the team at Kaz Brothers Construction that took on the project despite the difficult financing arrangement. There were the owners of the Ramada who agreed to provide space for a benefit after another venue fell through. The list goes on.

Ben will still need more help to get the project off the ground. His disease will eventually rob him of his ability to walk. It will steal from him the newfound freedom and independence of young adulthood.

But, for now, Ben is just a 12-year-old boy, happily making model rockets and shooting air guns and studying classic cars. For now, Ben is thinking about starting seventh grade. For now, he is thankful for all who have helped him. And hes learned, firsthand, of the best asset of Western New York by far, the generous spirit of the people here.

email: djgee@buffnews.com

http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNGDN070AxpAqQz6rQWbXSD1bfOBLQ&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52778927945686&ei=O-fsVaD0N8im1gbAp4qYBw&url=http://www.buffalonews.com/columns/denise-jewell-gee/wny-shows-its-generosity-once-again-in-campaign-to-help-boys-home-renovation-20150816

September 06 2015

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69 Vintage Vehicles Left Behind By Plumber Head to Auction - NBC Southern California

Nearly 70 vehicles, some from the 1920s, owned by a plumber who died last summer without an original will are up for auction by the Orange County Public Administrator.

The 76-year-old man's estate included 69 cars discovered in the front, side and back yards of his half-acre property in Buena Park. The Public Administrator's office petitioned the court to sell the assets of the owner, who did not have a legal executor for the estate or any legally recognized next of kin when he died in August 2014.

The office is charged with taking care of assets in such situations. The vehicles were transported to the Public Administrator's lot in Santa Ana, where they were parked during the legal process that led to this week's auction.

"This is a unique situation for us," Elizabeth Henderson, chief deputy public administrator for Orange County, told The Orange County Register. "We get cars all the time, but we mostly deal with individual cars people would generally have in their driveways, somebody's Honda Accord that has to be auctioned.

"This stuff is kind of amazing."

The collection includes 1930s Ford Model A Roadsters, several VW Beetles, Mercedes-Benz models, a 1965 Volkswagen van and an experimental aircraft. Fans of vintage British roadsters will note Lots 90 and 24 -- a 1959 Austin Healey 3000 and 1953 MG TD.

The vehicles were stored outdoors for decades and all require some work. Other are probably just scrap.

Many of the vehicles are in what vintage automotive enthusiasts refer to as "barn find" condition -- something that can probably be restored, but isn't immediately fit for the street.

The automotive stockpile includes 1930s Ford Model A Roadsters, several VW Beetles, Mercedes-Benz models, a 1965 Volkswagen van and an experimental aircraft. Raw video broadcast Monday Aug. 31, 2015 on NBC4. (Published Monday, Aug. 31, 2015)

"They're full of straw and leaves and newspapers," said Henderson.

The items also include an assortment of vehicle parts, tires and engines.

The man behind the automotive stockpile is somewhat of a mystery. Gerald Willits died at 76 and apparently worked in the plumbing business, the Register reported, citing signage on some of the vehicles.

A neighbor told the Register Willits only drove his Saturn and appeared to live a humble lifestyle.

But the automobiles were just part of what appears to be a considerable estate. He also owned at least four homes in Orange County, three of which also will be auctioned, the Register reported.

Ken Porter Auctions of Carson will conduct the auction Tuesday, beginning at 8 a.m. The vehicles are available Monday for viewing at 1300 South Grand Ave. in Santa Ana.

A judge will determine how the proceeds from the auction will be distributed.

Click here to view items up for auction.

Published at 10:49 AM PDT on Aug 31, 2015



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Home renovation money makers endorsed by the experts - bnn.ca

Pass through virtually any neighbourhood and youre almost certain to see work vans packed with building supplies spilling from driveways, accompanied by the unmistakable clap of a nail gun and the high-pitch whine of a table saw.

Canadians are opening their wallets to renovate their homes like never before. Renovation spending hit $68-billion in 2014, compared to $20-billion spent on purchasing new homes, according to research released in July by Altus Group.

Home price appreciation is strong. Interest rates are low. And the so-call HGTV-effect has Canadians raiding hardware aisles and hiring contractors to keep pace with the latest reality TV shows.

BNN reached out to Scott McGillivray, the host and executive producer of Income Property on HGTV, and Paul Maranger, a real estate broker with Sothebys International Realty Canada who handles some of the most sought-after real estate in Toronto, to find out how to increase the value of your home and avoid the common pitfalls that turn renovation investments into sunk costs.

COLOUR ME WEALTHY

Updating a home with the latest colour pallet is by far the best value for money according to Maranger. He estimates an impressive 400 percent-plus return on investment, and even more if the homeowner is handy with a roller and brush.

Fresh paint equals cleanliness in the eyes of buyers. Buyers dont like going into a house with fingerprints and scratches. Even if a property is terribly maintained, but then freshly painted, youre going to have an incredibly large return, he said.

Maranger says being mindful of the target buyer is essential. White paint may suit an eclectic modern loft, but it tends to create an ice cold and unfriendly environment for families.

HARDWARE UPGRADES ARE EASY MONEY

Door knobs, door bells, light switches, and electrical outlet covers. These touchpoints are where a potential buyer will get up close and personal with your home. Think about greeting someone with a weak handshake -- thats the impression your house will give if you neglect these simple upgrades.

If youve got a buyer coming through, theyre going to grab the door handles and turn on the light switches. If the hardware is all old and busted, you immediately feel like this is a low-quality product that you are getting into, said McGillivray.



COOKING UP VALUE

Aprons and tea cozies help make the kitchen feel like the heart of any home. Our experts agree its the first place homeowners should look to do more serious upgrades.

Living rooms, dining rooms, family rooms are typically just walls and floors. The kitchen is really the trademark telltale of the latest and greatest of the home, said McGillivray. You might put $25,000 into a kitchen renovation, and you might get $40,000 of value. Even though its a smaller percentage return, its a higher value return.

McGillivray says refurbishing cabinets and replacing faucets, sinks, and countertops makes a big difference on price since people tend to congregate in kitchens because of the high-traffic and functionality of the space.



UPGRADE THE BASEMENT FOR INCOME

Gone are the days when the basement served as a catch-all for outdated furniture and home dcor. Canadians have upped their expectations for subterranean spaces. Buyers are looking for a place to relax that exudes the same quality as the rest of the home, according to Maranger.

Basements today have a very high return compared to previous years, he said. If your basement reads storage, you pull away from value.

Maranger says the best layouts feature a large, open media-focused room at the foot of the staircase where guests can get comfortable and enjoy a movie.

McGillivray, however, argues that converting a finished basement into an income property has been his biggest value booster, especially in urban markets. He says buyers are willing to pay more for a guaranteed monthly revenue stream, and the pool of eligible buyers is exponentially expanded when an income suite is added.

If youve got two houses side-by-side for $500,000, and one has an income suite, someone who is qualified for a $400,000 mortgage based on their income cant buy the one without the income suite. The one with the income suite may add $1,200 or $1,500 per month to their qualified income. Now they can qualify for financing on the property, he said.

KEEP YOUR CUSTOM BUILDS IN CHECK

The experts agree that the worst thing a homeowner can do is build a highly personal project and expect to recover the cost when they sell. Renovating to boost the value of your home means adding features most potential buyers will appreciate.

We saw a property a few years ago. They renovated it for three boys, ripped out the main bathroom. They created three urinals and three shower heads in oversized showers, said McGillivray. It was ludicrous. What if the buyers had daughters?

Photos courtesyof SKIT Inc.

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Drought Backs Up North County Sewer Lines - KPBS

In response to the drought that is gripping the state, San Diego County residents have been cutting back on showering, watering lawns and even flushing toilets.

At the Leucadia Wastewater District in Carlsbad, they can see the results. They have to do more maintenance as tree roots find their way into their sewer pipes and manholes. When trees are well watered, they are less likely to seek out the local sewer pipes.

We used to come every year. Now we have to come back every three months, just to get the roots out, said Marvin Gonzalez, field supervisor.

Its more than drought-thirsty trees causing problems. Since 2007, this small waste water district in Carlsbad has seen the amount of sewage they treat drop by 15 percent, even as the population increased by 5 percent.

Some of the areas in our service system now where things are flatter, where in yesteryear the solids would have pushed through very easily. Now the solids are separating out, and they are creating a lot of odor issues, and things of that nature, said Paul Bushee, Leucadia Wastewater District general manager.

Solids can actually eat away at the walls of clay pipe. The district has added an extra video truck to monitor their system.

Problems with sewer pipes caused by the drought are being seen all over California.

In California and in the arid West, this is going to be the new normal, John Shaw, PE., an engineer, water and waste management consultant, based in California.

The costs of maintaining the systems will vary by the utility. One fix is to replace old clay pipe with brand new plastic, which is less susceptible to roots and decay. But, that will be expensive. Most districts first opt for better maintenance, he said.

As the drought continues, and as conservation continues to kind of ratchet in, everyone will find the new operation and maintenance regime, he said.

He added that a little rain wouldnt hurt either.

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Garbage governance: Poor waste management causes environmental crises - Deutsche Welle

Tons of garbage has continued to pile up on the streets of Lebanon's capital Beirut as the government struggles to deal with a situation that is quickly turning into an environmental crisis for the country.

Household waste has remained uncollected for weeks in the Middle Eastern city after authorities closed an overflowing landfill site without finding an alternative place to dump the trash.

Protesters from a grassroots movement with the apt title of "You Stink!" have taken to the streets over past weeks to demonstrate over the garbage - which has become symbolic for the corruption and inadequacies of the current regime.

But non-governmental organizations point out that the problem could have a big environmental impact.

Lebanon's waste disposal problem

"Waste emits methane and other greenhouse gases that are polluting and can generate fires, which also emit very toxic gases," said Olivia Maarmari, head of the environment program at Beirut-based nonprofit Arc en Ciel.

The trash crisis in Beirut is just a small part of a more serious problem in Lebanon with regard to domestic waste disposal. The small country has little space for landfills, and a widespread recycling and composting program has yet to be introduced.

"The government doesnt have a strategy regarding waste management," Maamari told Deutsche Welle.

Lebanese people in street protest over waste management crisis

Lebanese citizens have taken to the streets over the waste management crisis

Nada Abdelsater-Abusamra, head of Lebanese Transparency Association - a non-governmental organization focused on curbing corruption and promoting good governance - agreed with this assessment. "They had zero plan of what to do with the waste once this area was closed," Abdelsater-Abusamra said.

"Its a flagrant, unacceptable lack of any sense of responsibility. If these people worked at a company, it would fire them and sue them for damages," Abdelsater-Abusamra pointed out.

However, she added that the Lebanese authorities are not alone in mismanagement of public services such as waste management.

Global issue

Not just in Lebanon but also in other places around the world, governments are failing to provide adequate solutions to deal with garbage. They are also failing to prevent corruption within the system that can lead to the dumping of household and toxic waste.

For example, in Dhaka in Bangladesh, garbage is a major problem. It lines the streets outside of houses, parks and even hospitals and schools. The municipal waste management service has capacity to collect just 60 percent of the trash.

With the landfills also quickly filling up, the rest is left behind, said Rashadul Hasan, project manager at Swisscontact, an organization working to introduce recycling in the region.

Policymakers have failed to introduce new systems of recycling to cut down waste, Hasan told Deutsche Welle. "The tax they are getting from houses is not enough, and they are not increasing collection," he said.

People sorting recyclables by hand in Bangladesh

Existing recycling programs in Bangladesh are not keeping enough rubbish off the streets

"They are operating on a British-era system that runs on primitive waste management [practices] and rules and regulations," Hasan added.

As well as releasing pollutants and creating a damaging environment for those living in the city, Hasan said that much waste has also been left in drainage systems, preventing effective drainage and creating a risk of flooding. This also has a negative impact on the environment.

'Prone to corruption'

But its not simply an issue of mismanagement that leads to street pollution. Corruption is particularly an issue within waste management. A European Commission report published last year on the fight against corruption said that public services - particularly construction and waste management - were "among the sectors most prone to corruption at local level."

In Naples, Italy, connections between the mafia and trash disposal are well documented. Waste management contracts handed to companies run by the local mafia, the Camorra, have led to widespread illegal dumping in the area - not just of domestic waste, but also toxic and industrial waste. This region has come to be known as the "Triangle of Death," with waste-related pollution linked to higher cancer rates compared to other similar regions.

A man transporting goods in a cart past a pile of uncollected rubbish in a street in Naples, Italy (Photo: EPA/CESARE ABBATE)

Mafia control over parts of the waste disposal system around Naples exacerbates the problem of illegal dumping

"There's no transparency," said Abdelsater-Abusamra in reference to the situation in Lebanon. She said this is why her group is promoting an access to information law. "Then it would be more difficult for anyone to work under the table," she said.

Sorting at source

While transparency laws could help with the issue of corruption and insure that legitimate companies are covering waste disposal, one of the biggest issues with regard to dumped waste comes back to a lack of recycling. With better processes in place, there would not be so much overall garbage that ends up on the streets.

Pilot projects run by both Arc en Ciel and Swisscontact in Lebanon and Bangladesh, respectively, are working to show the governments the benefits of sorting rubbish at the source, including composting organic material and recycling nonorganic waste. And this represents a solution that could be rolled out in the short term, said Beirut-based Maamari.

"Sustainable waste management is feasible in Lebanon," she said. "If they start now and are well-advised - and install infrastructure for sorting at source and composting and creating incentives for he population - this could be a huge part of the solution."

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August 24 2015

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Waldoboro school's leach field to be replaced after oil pumped into septic system - WMTW Portland

The oil company responsible for pumping thousands of gallons of heating oil into the septic tank at Medomak Middle School will replace the leach field.

Click here to watch report

Workers from Maritime Energy had to clear feet of snow from the school's leach field just to gain access to the soil.

They are using ground warmers to remove the frozen layer of topsoil.

The warmers need at least 36 hours to thaw the soil.

The company said that tests continue to come back negative for contamination to the school's water.

The company is paying for the cleanup, and the costs of replacing the septic system.

The project should take less than two months.

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August 21 2015

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Montvale officials seek extension on Waste Management contract - NorthJersey.com

Montvale officials seek extension on Waste Management contract - News - NorthJersey.com');$('.adwrapper').css('margin','0');if (document.getElementById("localNewsCountyList"))$("select#localNewsCountyList").val("1"); if (document.getElementById("difDealsFrame"))document.getElementById("difDealsFrame").src = "http://my.northjersey.com/apps/deals_widget/dealsparser.php";if (document.getElementById("newincwidget"))document.getElementById("newincwidget").src = "http://widget.newsinc.com/_fw/northjerseyrecord/toppicks_njrecord_top.html";if (document.getElementById("difJobsiFrame"))document.getElementById("difJobsiFrame").src = "http://jobs.northjersey.com/clientmodules/featuredjobs_295.aspx";if (document.getElementById("difCustTowns"))var CXTdom = "http://www.northjersey.com/templates/mylocalnews?towns="+ readCCookie('njmg_localtown')+"&ab=cd";document.getElementById("difCustTowns").src = CXTdom;if (document.getElementById("topadframe"))document.getElementById("topadframe").src = "http://my.northjersey.com/test/thanksgiving_ad/iframe.html";if (document.getElementById("difRSFrame"))document.getElementById("difRSFrame").src = "http://my.northjersey.com/apps/real_estate/v1/?rc_town=$rscalTown&rc_county=";if (document.getElementById("difCHRSFrame")) document.getElementById("difCHRSFrame").src = "http://my.northjersey.com/apps/real_estate/v1/index_rc_oh_only.php?rc_town=$rscalTown&rc_county=";if (document.getElementById("difCalRame")) document.getElementById("difCalRame").src = "http://calendar.northjersey.com/eawidget.aspx?market=Bergen+County@NJNJC&page=5&days=300"; if (document.getElementById("difCalRameOld"))document.getElementById("difCalRameOld").src = "http://calendar.northjersey.com/swidget.aspx?market=Bergen+County@NJNJC&days=10";if (document.getElementById("realSearchIframe"))document.getElementById("realSearchIframe").src = "http://realestate.northjersey.com/SearchWidgetHtml_Sales.html";if (document.getElementById("difRPEFrame")) document.getElementById("difRPEFrame").src = "http://my.northjersey.com/apps/record_ad/";if (document.getElementById("difTweeterFrame"))document.getElementById("difTweeterFrame").src = "http://www.northjersey.com/templates/tweeter_iframe";if (document.getElementById("buythisphoto"))buyThisPhoto();indow.onbeforeunload = function () // This fucntion does nothing. It won't spawn a confirmation dialog // But it will ensure that the page is not cached by the browser.window.onload = reloadAlliFrames();

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August 19 2015

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Affordable septic repair keeps Pierce County waterways healthy | Tacoma ... - Enumclaw Courier-Herald

Failing septic systems once posed a great threat to water quality in Pierce County, but a variety of affordable loans and grants are turning that tide. In just the last few years, these programs have funneled more than $1.5 million toward septic maintenance, protecting ground, surface and drinking water from contamination and keeping local shellfish and beaches safe to enjoy.

Septic system maintenance is expensive, but poor regional water quality is more expensive with serious public health and financial impacts for everyone in Pierce County. Thats why the Health Department offers several innovative financing programs,said Gary Porter, program manager.

Since 2007, theSeptic Repair Grant and Loan Project has financed the repair of 52 failing septic systems in Pierce County. The state Department of Ecology provided funding of more than $1 million, with Pierce County Surface Water Management as the lead agency, and the Health Department and Pierce County Community Connections as partnering agencies.

Also, Clean Water Loans from Craft3 have distributed $494,609 in Pierce County since the Health Department joined that program in2014. Starting in 2003, Craft3has helped repair or replace 535 failing Pacific Northwest septic systems through more than $12 million in Clean Water Loans.

One geographical area of special concern is the Key Peninsula Marine Recovery Area. All residences and businesses there have onsite septic service, making proper septic maintenance and repair critical in maintaining water quality and healthy shellfish beaches. Fifteen peninsula residents have received Septic Repair Grant and Loan Project financing totaling $362,800.

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August 17 2015

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Common mistakes made on home renovation projects - Mountain Mail Newspaper

Home improvement projects can turn a house into a home. Homeowners plan scores of renovations to transform living spaces into rooms that reflect their personal tastes and comforts.

Homeowners going it alone may find things do not always go as planned. In fact, a Harris Interactive study found that 85 percent of homeowners say remodeling is a more stressful undertaking than buying a home. But homeowners about to embark on home improvement projects can make the process go more smoothly by avoiding these common pitfalls.

Failing to understand the scope of the projectNot establishing a budgetMaking trendy or overpersonal improvementsForgetting to properly vet all workersExpecting everything to go as plannedOverestimating DIY abilities

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August 14 2015

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As city ranking slips to 21, questions raised over solid waste management - Chandigarh Tribune



Rajinder Nagarkoti



Tribune News Service



Chandigarh, August 10



The slip in the city's ranking from the top to 21 in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has raised question on the solid waste management system of the City Beautiful. The performance was judged 10 months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. 

The survey conducted during 2014-15 was commissioned by the Ministry of Urban Development as required under the National Sanitation Policy of 2008.

Over all, the sanitation rankings of these cities based on a total of 100 marks and on different parameters covering all aspects will be announced later. The Swachh Bharat rankings are based on a total of 42 marks, including 20 for open defecation indicators and 22 for solid waste management indicators. 

Chandigarh Tribune takes a look on the reasons why the city slipped in Swach Bharat ranking. 

Mc failed to keep city clean

The Municipal Corporation spends crores of rupees on the purchase of garbage-lifting vehicles, garbage bins, and rehris, but it has miserably failed to put in place the basic mechanism for the collection and segregation of garbage at the household level and at Sehaj Safai Kendras (SSKs). As there is no mechanism for the segregation of garbage, neither at the household level nor at the MC level, the garbage, which can be recycled after proper segregation, is being dumped in open spaces.

Similarly, bio-medical waste management is also not effective in the city.

Civic body's failed projects



Coloured bins



The Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee and the UT Administration issued directions that coloured bins should be installed in vegetable and meat markets so that the segregation of garbage could be done at the markets itself. The coloured bins were placed in the markets, but good response was not received from the residents.

Door-to-door collection ofsegregated garbage

The project was launched by the UT in 2001. NGOs and the Residents' Welfare Associations were involved in the project. The contractor had to collect the garbage in specially designed rickshaws with two separate bins. The project did not take off.

Sehaj Safai Kendras



The MC started the project in 2002 and proposed the setting up of 132 such centres in different sectors. The proposal involved the segregation of garbage collected from houses at the centres, where coloured bins were to be installed. The authorities had decided that special provisions would be made for domestic-hazard waste. No provision has yet been made for the segregation of garbage at these centres, which have become mere collection centres, from where the garbage is sent to the garbage-processing plant at Dadu Majra.

Pilot project failed to take off 

A pilot project started by the MC for the collection of garbage in Sector 22 last year failed soon after its launch. Under the pilot project, the MC hired a contractor for garbage collection. The rates were fixed for the door-to-door collection of garbage. After protests by sanitation workers and political interference, the project was scrapped.

25% waste dumped without processing

The city generates 350-400 tonnes of municipal solid waste daily that is managed by the Municipal Corporation. There is one garbage processing plant in Dadu Majra, which, at present, is processing approximately 75 per cent of the garbage while the rest is being dumped at the dumping ground without processing.

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August 12 2015

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Think hard before undertaking a home renovation - durhamregion.com



Canadians spend more than $50 billion every year on home renovation and improvement. It seems that the first thing we do once we've found the perfect house is shell out a bunch of money to try and make it more perfect. Redo a bathroom here, take a wall out there, new hardwood everywhere.



When considering whether to do a renovation, you might think that the first question you need to ask yourself is, "How am I going to pay for this?" That's a good question, but the question you really need to ask yourself is, "Why am I doing this?"



One of the most popular rationales for taking on a renovation project is that it will increase your home's value. This is one of those things that sounds great in theory but rarely works out in reality.



First of all, renovations almost always end up costing more than you expect. Second, while it's true that some renovations can help boost your home's value, rarely does the increase cover the cost of the improvements. Even with kitchen and bathroom upgrades -- those areas being the ones that typically bring you the best bang for your renovation buck -- you will be lucky if your home's value rises by 70 per cent of the price of the work. Usually it's less. When updating any other area of your house, you will be fortunate if your home's value goes up by even 50 per cent of whatever you spend. Lastly, there's no other area of spending that tempts us to spend more once the spending has started than a home renovation does. Our sense and reason filters fail us completely whenever we renovate.



The kitchen faucet starts to leak, so we decide to "upgrade" it, rather than repair it. The new faucet costs $275 plus taxes. While a new washer would have cost only 20 cents, the new faucet looks much fancier and, besides, it's an "investment" in the house. The thing is, when we go to install the new faucet, we can't help but notice how tired the sink and countertop look in comparison. Two weeks and a credit card swipe later, a contractor is installing the new marble countertop, a glass and tile backsplash, a flush-mount double sink, and an even better-looking faucet (we upgraded the upgrade). It looks awesome. Not surprisingly though, the old kitchen appliances don't look so awesome any more. All of a sudden they look dated and too white. We "might as well" get some new stainless steel appliances "while we're at it." We discover that we can get a "deal" on a double-door fridge with a crushed ice dispenser if we pair it with the chef-endorsed gas convection oven. Swipe or insert your credit card here. "We're in this far" so let's get the matching microwave hood too. Swipe. Fixing a leaky faucet just cost us $30,000 and, astonishingly, many people are OK with that.



The other rationale for renovating is that people simply want to make their homes a little nicer. And if that's what you want to do and you can afford it, knock yourself (or a wall) out. Just keep in mind that affording it means that you can complete the renovation without interfering with your long-term savings and without going into excessive consumer debt. Yes, adhering to those guidelines may mean that you can't afford the renovation, at least right now. Don't despair though, this is often the smartest renovation decision that you can make. We see far too many people ripping out perfectly fine kitchens and bathrooms for no practical reason when they simply can't afford it.



That doesn't mean there aren't other options available to you to help improve your living space. Quite the contrary. It's amazing how much a home can be rejuvenated without going into debt, with nothing more than some creative thought, some vision, a couple of accents, and the judicious use of the greatest home improvement product ever invented: paint.



Nothing will transform your house as inexpensively or as easily as a well-chosen coat of paint. It's the near-perfect product. It can completely change a room in just a couple of hours. It's relatively inexpensive and you can do it yourself. There are literally thousands of colours to choose from. Best of all, at least for colour-challenged people like me, painting is not only the most cost effective way to reinvent a space, it's also the most forgiving. If you goof and choose a paint colour that doesn't work (read: makes you want to barf) all it will cost to correct your mistake is another can of paint and the time required to roll it on. See how that works out for you when you don't like the colour of the heated travertine tile you paid the tile guy $4,000 to install in your bathroom.



If you do decide to go ahead with a complete renovation, be patient and wait at least a year before you start it, even if you have the money needed to do it already socked away. The extra time will give you a chance to think carefully about the renovation and whether it is really the best idea for your situation. Is there a better way to do this? Is there a less expensive way to do this? Do I really need to do this? Would I get more bang for my buck over the long-term by paying down the mortgage instead? Is a thermostatic walk-in shower with a tsunami-class shower head and multiple rotating body jets simultaneously shooting water into every orifice of your body really more important than helping your daughter through university? Does the water coming out of the new faucet taste any different than it would if you had decided to simply replace the 20-cent washer instead?



Please think carefully before taking on any renovation projects. As usual, every situation is a little different. Think very carefully.



- Robert R. Brown is a personal finance freelance writer, speaker, and the author of "Wealthing Like Rabbits - An Original Introduction to Personal Finance". Follow him on Twitter @wealthingrabbit or e-mail him at rob@wealthinglikerabbits.com .

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