Inside La Marque Vol 14 Summer 2020

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The City of La Marque and La Marque Economic Development Corporation are partnering with business leaders, school districts, the Chamber, local volunteers and community advocates to deliver relevant stories, timely announcements and important updates to residents and businesses in our city limits. Welcome to Inside La Marque.

TINK’S CONTRACT City Manager budget update.

JIMMY HAYLEY ELEMENTARY TCISD’s new school on Bayou Road.

CONSTRUCTION UPDATES Buckle up, La Marque. And get ready for detours. We’re building roads.

MILLION DOLLAR CITY La Marque EDC pumped $974,000 in to our local businesses in response to COVID-19.


Welcome from Mayor Hocking Bobby Hocking is the longest-serving Mayor in the history of La Marque.

He and his wife, Mrs. Patti, have decided to retire at the end of his term. Thank you for your service.

La Marque is a better place because of you, Mayor. As I take a look back at the past several years, I am immensely proud of the progress we have made as a municipality. It is undeniable that the sense of community pride is flourishing in the hearts of our citizens and city staff as we continue to make progress on goals we’ve set. We have new neighborhoods, new businesses and a new school under construction in La Marque. Equally as important, we’re seeing reinvestment in our town. Businesses are improving storefronts and expanding. Once-vacant residential lots on our historic east side of town are disappearing, replaced by beautiful new homes. City Council is committed to infrastructure improvements that are pivotal to the future prosperity and growth of our community. We are developing plans today that will help shape the future of La Marque for decades to come. Not all of our decisions have been easy, but we as a council believe we are doing what’s in the best interest of each citizen.

I think our most notable recent success was the decision to hire Tink Jackson as our City Manager. His energy and relentless pursuit of improving quality of life for the citizens of La Marque is contagious. Tink is tackling some big issues. He has big ideas and approaches challenges with a cool and balanced methodology. He has a true servant’s heart and is implementing the concepts of servant leadership with all our department directors. The future is bright, La Marque. We are dreaming big. I encourage any person interested in the government process to get engaged on a Board or Commission, or attend our City Council meetings. Ask questions. Share your ideas. Tell us what you want. I and the other members of La Marque City Council are here to serve you.

We are working hard to build on the progress and pride we are experiencing in our city now. I love La Marque.

SUMMER 2020 STORIES 2: Welcome from Mayor 3: Hayley Elementary 4: The Contract

5: Million Dollar City 6: Leading Ladies 7: Shine on Sloane

8: Roads and Drainage 10: COVID Resources 11: La Marque Parks





Please forward story ideas, suggestions or questions to or call 409-938-9255.

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TCISD EDUCATION UPDATE: Hayley Elementary on Bayou Road by Melissa Tortorici, TCISD Director of Communications Texas City ISD’s Jimmy Hayley Elementary School is set to open in January 2021, barring any setbacks on the manufacturing of necessary supplies due to the pandemic. Hayley Elementary will house approximately 570 students in grades kindergarten through 5th grade plus an elementary bilingual program. Patti Martin, currently principal at La Marque Primary, will be principal at Hayley. “We are very excited about the opening of our new school,” she said. “I believe Hayley Elementary will bring a lot of pride to the La Marque community, our students, staff and parents.” The interior will use uplifting colors primarily of blue, yellow and green. Each grade level will be in their own pod with a flex space that can be used for science experiments, large group lessons or programs. The library/multi-media center is prominently located in the center of the school, offering easy access for all students. It will feature Makerspaces, which are collaborative spaces where students gather to get creative with DIY projects, invent and share ideas. TCISD libraries are the ideal place for this collaboration. The music room is near the gymatorium so that students can easily access the stage from the classroom for programs. “We cannot wait to move into our new school. I’m really excited to see the looks on our teachers’ and students’ faces when they come inside for the first time,” said Martin. “An open house will be set when the school is ready so that the community can come and see the new campus.”

DINE & SHOP LA MARQUE Our hometown businesses need us, La Marque! Small businesses of every kind are feeling the sting of reduced sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to support our local barbers, shops, restaurants and service providers all the time - but especially now. Shop in La Marque when you can. Grab takeout from La Marque restaurants. Every little bit helps. Small business owners are the backbone of our community. They are the job creators and your kids’ team sponsors. Check out these tips from Texas City - La Marque Chamber of Commerce on how to support your friend’s small business on social media without spending any money. WAYS TO SUPPORT LOCAL BIZ: Share their post Like their post YUMMY Tag a friend Comment something nice Comment an emoji Post a pic Shout them out Leave a positive review


by Tink Jackson, La Marque City Manager My first budget adoption cycle with the City of La Marque was very different from any one that I have been through before. As the City Manager, I am required by Charter to provide the City Council a draft budget that meets all the needs of the City. The needs of our City are significant, so staff worked to provide a draft budget that starts to address the long term needs of our citizens. From failing infrastructure to aging public safety equipment, the needs list grew and grew. There was no plausible way to generate sufficient revenues to meet every need our city currently has. Our approach is to prioritize and do all we can to start the rebuilding process. From securing needed water supplies, to replacing a 27-year old firetruck, to purchasing equipment for crews to do their jobs, to required expansion at our wastewater treatment plant, we looked at every part of the budget to streamline and maximize resources. What must be done next year? What can wait one more year? What has the least chance of failure if we put off purchasing replacements for two years? City staff worked diligently to come up with a final list of “must do” items for this fiscal year. Once that was done, we looked at revenues. Property taxes had not been raised in 14 years (they had actually been reduced twice in that time), utility rates had not been reviewed since 2008. Yes, we have experienced some growth and that has helped revenues, however, based on the current conditions we saw in the budget preparation process, it obviously was a losing battle. Something had to change. At the conclusion of the budget process, we ended up with balanced operations budget and a list of “must do” items we called our “contract with the citizens”. That “contract”, composed of our list of most needed items, is our promise to the citizens that work and equipment recommended to be funded through an increase in property taxes and utility rates will get done. We will be accountable for making those things happen. The City has added a page on our website where progress on the “contract” can be tracked by the citizens. Please visit to see your tax dollars at work.



When Mr. Jackson took the helm in La Marque, property tax and utility rates hadn’t been increased in more than a decade. For a growing city with aging infrastructure, some tough decisions were made to ensure the future success of our community. A new tax rate and utility rate was adopted for Fiscal Year 2019. Tink made a list of promises based on the new revenue that would be generated. Despite COVID-19, city staff made substantial progress on the programs and promises. HERE’S A PROGRESS SNAPSHOT:

Nine New Employees Two New Fire Trucks Playground Equipment Front End Loader Bucket Truck I-45 Expansion Beautification Police Deescalation Training Water and Sewer Improvements Drainage Improvements Wastewater Plant Expansion Improvements at 8 Lift Stations Rehab of1764 Water Tower More at

DOING BUSINESS DURING COVID by Alex Getty, LMEDC Executive Director LMEDC’S COVID-19 RESPONSE La Marque Economic Development Corporation stepped up and worked fast to help La Marque business owners stay afloat after statewide closures due to Coronavirus. Just two weeks after the Governor’s March 18 order, the Emergency Business Retention Program launched. LMEDC provided nearly $550,000 in business grants to 64 La Marque business owners. The first-round checks were issued on April 15, less than a month after the first businesses were forced to close. On Thursday, May 21, 2020, the LMEDC Board of Directors approved Round Two of the COVID Emergency Grants, and the committee awarded an additional $426,500 to 61 businesses. That’s a total of $974,000

Living on the Texas Gulf Coast, we are no strangers to dealing with adversity. Over the years, we have banded together to help each other many times. We know what to do to prepare for and recover from a weather event, but a global pandemic is uncharted territory. The Greek philosopher Plato once said, “necessity is the mother of invention”. Necessity is also a huge driver of innovation. No doubt, this pandemic has not been friendly to many businesses and the effects will remain long after this first wave of infection is gone. However, the eternal optimist in me, while sometimes hard to see, looks for silver linings. I’ve seen families re-engaging with each other in many ways. Taking walks and gardening has become commonplace again. It’s almost as if we hit the reset button, allowing for a slower pace for a time. Some entrepreneurs have hit a reset button, too! Always an innovative bunch, they can identify opportunities in the free market and will no doubt figure out a way to persevere and thrive going forward.


What I have seen and read about regarding innovation over the past couple of months has been incredible. Businesses have pivoted production to meet current needs. I learned of a company turning their bar into a successful street-front grocery store selling, among other items, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Most of us have heard about some of the local distillers pivoting to make much-needed hand sanitizer. Even a mattress company got in on the action by manufacturing masks. Some car dealers are now offering pick-up and delivery at home or work to service or repair cars.

Dollar General #21135 is now open at 2020 Hwy 3 in La Marque.

Also, now more than ever, the shop local movement has momentum and a sense of purpose. People are genuinely making a concerted effort to support family owned businesses in their communities. It’s no secret that small businesses are the lifeblood of a community. We’ve seen all sorts of creative ways to incentivize patrons to shop locally. Very early on, City Manager, Tink Jackson personally put up some cash for a random giveaway to help stimulate local activity.

reinvested into La Marque businesses.

Check out our latest business spotlight videos and nominate at

We’ve also seen some local economic development corporations act quickly to infuse desperately needed cash into small businesses that have been negatively affected by policies put in place to flatten the curve. Those efforts will save some local businesses. Until next time, stay safe and keep shopping local! PAGE 5

La Marque’s Leading Ladies Kathleen, Barbara and Rosemary are dedicated members of the La Marque city staff team, but citizens might not ever interact with them one-on-one. Here’s a quick glimpse into the professional lives of three of La Marque’s leading ladies. They are each pioneers in their fields and are dedicated to serving the people of La Marque. These women are change makers, goal diggers and polished professionals. They are also mothers, meal makers and friends. Meet us before you need us!

ROSEMARY BELL - MUNICIPAL COURT Rosemary has worked in municipal courts for more than 15 years. She came to serve the people of La Marque in 2014 as the Municipal Court Administrator. In 2020, Rosemary developed and executed a Virtual Court system in response to COVID-19. In 2018, she completed the Institute for Court Management program and was designated a Certified Court Manager (CCM). In 2016, she implemented paperless court operation and online internet payments, reducing operating costs for her department by 70 percent and offering better customer service for defendants in La Marque. In 2015, she completed the Texas Court Clerks Certification Program in cooperation with Texas State University and became a Certified Municipal Court Clerk (CMCC), the highest accomplishment in the State of Texas. Out of 6,498 clerks in Texas, only 116 hold this designation, including Rosemary right here in La Marque! She leads by example and is a valuable member of the city staff team.

BARBARA GONZALES - FIRST FEMALE ACTING FIRE CHIEF Barbara Gonzales was born and raised in Galveston, Texas. She graduated from Ball High School in 2000 and attended Galveston College, earning her Associate of Applied Science degree in 2013. She began her EMS career as an EMT-Basic with Galveston County Health District, quickly earning EMT-Paramedic certifications and enjoying promotions. In 2017, she joined the ranks of the La Marque Fire Department as a Licensed Paramedic/Firefighter. Barbara was named ACTING CHIEF of LMFD in February 2020, making her the first Hispanic female to hold this role. In March 2020, she was appointed to EMS Administrator/EMS Captain, and she oversees the medical side of the fire department. She promotes the health and well being of La Marque citizens through employee accountability and community outreach. Barbara is a single mother of four beautiful children.

KATHLEEN VAN STAVERN - CODE COMPLIANCE Kathleen Van Stavern began her career at the City of La Marque in 1994 as a patrol officer with La Marque Police Department. Since then, she became the first female City Marshal in Texas and now leads La Marque Code Compliance. Kathleen led efforts to remove blight over the past several years and can be credited with demolishing more than 175 dilapidated structures in La Marque. She reorganized the Code Compliance Department, expanding it to five full-time employees. Kathleen is a Master Peace Officer for the State of Texas, Licensed Texas Code Enforcement II Officer, International Property Maintenance & Housing Inspector, Zoning Official Graduate of the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute and holds a Bachelor of Science in Administration of Criminal Justice. PAGE 6


Sloane Witter


WHAT IS YOUR JOB TITLE? Fire Administrative Assistant START DATE? Finance Department - February 7, 2017 Fire Department - October 14, 2019

Sloane Witter doesn’t have a typical day at the office. There are 30 firefighters and paramedics employed by the La Marque Fire Department and it’s Sloane’s job to make sure they are always prepared to give 100 percent to our citizens. She is responsible for purchasing, budget tracking, coordination of public outreach, project management, and, most importantly, ensuring the firefighters and paramedics have everything they need to do their jobs. From ordering medical supplies to making sure they stay current on credentials, she is there for Fire Department employees. “Sometimes, they just need to talk,” said Witter. “I’m here for that, too. Chief Weidman will tell you – he and I are here to serve our employees so they can serve the citizens of La Marque.”

MOST INTERESTING JOB YOU’VE HAD? This is the most interesting job I’ve ever had! Before this I Sloane began her career with the City of La Marque Finance worked at an insurance agency and focused on education. Department in February 2017. When the Administrative Assistant position opened at La Marque Fire Department, FAVORITE QUOTE? she was recruited from within and made the move to LMFD Throw kindness around like confetti. this past October. PROUDEST LA MARQUE MOMENT? Winning the 2018 Budget Award with the Finance team.

“I love working for the City of La Marque,” said Witter. “As the Finance Accounting Specialist, I helped with the annual budget, accounts payable, purchasing and payroll. I learned ADVICE FOR NEW HIRES? valuable skills and made a lot of work friends. When I was Enjoy the journey and make connections. recruited for the Fire Department job, I knew our leadership recognized my potential and it challenged me to grow. My FIVE-YEAR GOALS? I’d like to go back to school and get my master’s degree in degree is in Humanities so the Fire Department position is right up my alley and a great fit for my future.” Human Resources. DREAM VACATION? Christmas in New York City with my boyfriend, David. SOMETHING THAT WILL SHOCK US? I absolutely love the country life. I love wearing my cowboy boots and going dancing to old country and Texas country music. I recharge by walking the pastures on my family’s land in Lockhart. WORDS TO DESCRIBE LA MARQUE? Family, diverse, dynamic and growing.

HOW HAS CITY OF LA MARQUE HELPED YOU IN YOUR CAREER DEVELOPMENT? Our leadership has always been supportive when it comes to training and continuing education. It’s encouraging. I feel like I’ve grown as a person while working for La Marque. I graduated from Texas City-La Marque Chamber’s Leadership Mainland program in January and have been chosen by my peers to be a leader for the 2020 class. I am also active in Young Professionals groups with Amoco FCU and the Chamber. PAGE 7

FOCUS ON INFRASTRUCTURE ROAD AND DRAINAGE NEWS by Colleen Martin, La Marque Public Relations & Dinh Ho, ADICO Engineering

Infrastructure improvements have been a primary focus for La Marque City Council and city leadership since the 2015 – 2022 Strategic Economic and Community Development Plan was published. La Marque infrastructure is aging in some areas, but our city is growing with new infrastructure in other areas. West side development continues to boom with proposed new neighborhoods featuring amenities from walking trails and splash pads for growing families to cottages for comfortable senior living. We see a steady uptick of residential infill on the East Side. More than 175 dilapidated structures have been demolished since 2015. Today, new houses are being planned on those historical lots. Folks are fixing up their houses and businesses are renovating. Open fields that have been a grassland for 50 years or more are transforming into charming new homes. To keep up with demand, the City of La Marque is investing in water and sewer facility expansions. Plans are underway for an FM 1764 Water Tower face lift and the city is strategically replacing aging infrastructure. In April 2020, the City of La Marque’s $1.5 Million grant application submitted to the Texas General Land Office’s Hurricane Harvey Local Infrastructure Program was approved. The GLO allocated $668 million for disaster recovery across Texas. The City of La Marque’s grant application for $1,447,527 is intended for drainage and street improvements, storm water conveyance, providing continued street access during rain events and reducing the impact of future flooding. Specifically, these funds will mitigate flooding on Merry Lane, Melody Drive, and in Westlawn Subdivision. The city is also working on a regional detention pond, which will create new opportunities for commercial development along I-45.

These improvements serve the citizens of La Marque, but they also open doors for economic development. Having adequate infrastructure in place makes our city more appealing to commercial developers, bringing more restaurants, entertainment options and hotels to the table. We are firing on all cylinders, La Marque.

GALVESTON COUNTY BOND PROJECTS In November 2017, Galveston County voters approved an $80 million bond package to fund street, drainage and facility improvements in communities throughout the county. A kickoff meeting for road projects in the City of La Marque happened in January 2020. Here’s an update: PROPOSED ROAD PROJECTS IN LA MARQUE • 1st Street (Bayou – Hwy 3) • Bayou Road (FM 1765 – FM 519) • Demolay Street (1st – 2nd) • Edgar Street • Getty Road (Maxwell – Highland Bayou Park Pavilion) • Goliad Avenue (Magnolia – Pecos) • Kansas Street (Lake – Albert) • Lawndale Street (Garrett – Fleming) • Oaklawn Drive (Lake – Bayou) • Palm Street (Ross – FM 519) • Ryan Street • Vauthier Street (FM 1765 – Cedar) TIMELINE • Kickoff Meeting: January 21, 2020 • 30% Plan Review Meeting: April 17, 2020 • 60% Final Submittal: August 2020 • No construction schedule projections available yet PROJECTED INVESTMENT • City of La Marque – $1,000,000 • Galveston County – S2,730,000 • Total Project – $3,730,000


I-45 UPDATE Texas Department of Transportation’s I-45 expansion stretches the length of our community. The expansion requires underground infrastructure to be rerouted, which has been causing headaches for our citizens and businesses with repeated water line breaks. City leadership is communicating with TxDOT and demanding the contractors do better for our city. Once completed, our section of I-45 will serve as a beautiful entrance to our city and provide better regional mobility to all residents of south Galveston County. Until then, we will all be faced with construction zones and changing traffic patterns. We are all in it together, La Marque.

GET TRAFFIC ALERTS FROM HOUSTON TRANSTAR. Houston TranStar offers free, personalized email alerts or text messages that notify users of incidents, planned lane closures, and travel times on Houston area freeways. Alerts can be sent to any device capable of receiving email or text messages. Register online and make sure you stay current on road closures in our area. Visit THE VAUTHIER BRIDGE WAS DEMOLISHED IN SPRING 2020 TO MAKE WAY FOR THE I-45 EXPANSION IN LA MARQUE.

“Connecting You with Texas”
















45 517



Project Limits


Let Amount

Anticipated Compl. Date


NASA 1 to FM 518

Reconstruct and widen to 10 Main Lanes. Texas Clear Lanes Project

$99.2 M

4th Qtr. 2021


FM 518 PAGE 9 to FM 517

Reconstruct and widen to 8 Main Lanes.

$121.7 M

1st Qtr. 2022


FM 517 to FM 1764

Reconstruct and widen to 8 Main Lanes. Texas Clear Lanes Project

$230.4 M

4th Qtr. 2023


FM 1764 to FM 519

Reconstruct and widen to 8 Main Lanes.

$163.0 M

3rd Qtr. 2025

3 3

4 146 6 45



5 519


Project Limits


Estimated Const. Cost

Anticipated Let Date


FM 519 to Texas CIty Wye

Reconstruct and widen to 8 Main Lanes.

$105.7 M

Aug. 2020


Texas CIty Wye

Reconstruct interchange.

$74.0 M

Aug. 2020

Texas CIty Wye to Causeway

Reconstruct and widen to 8 Main Lanes.

$76.4 M

BNSF Railroad

Replace railroad bridge.

$15.7 M

Causeway to 61st Street

Reconstruct and widen to 8 Main Lanes.

$114.0 M

6 7 8 7

Aug. 2020

61st S t.

Galveston Island

8 Eliza Paul, P.E. Houston District Engineer 713-802-5011


April 2022

$452,005,988 PAGE


REVISED 2-26-20 WINTER 2019

Stay in the Know...

CITY NOTIFICATIONS Community News by Text & Email

Want to keep up with city news? Register for e-notifications, weather updates and Connect CTY Emergency Alerts. It’s free, quick and easy. For help call 409-938-9201.

An above-average hurricane season is expected this year with 13 to 19 named storms. No matter what the forecast, it is important to prepare every year. Please make a plan for your family and your pets. Stay HURRICANE SEASON Office of Emergency Management weather aware, La Marque.

CURBSIDE PICKUP La Marque Public Library

ONLINE BILL PAY La Marque Utility Billing

Our library is offering curbside pick up! Call or logon to place items on hold. Staff will call you when they are ready and upon arrival, stay in your vehicle. Materials will be loaded into your trunk. Call 409-938-9270.

Utility Billing accepts cash, checks and credit cards. Water bills can be paid in the drive-thru during regular business hours. A kiosk & drop box are available there 24/7. Online bill pay is available, as is credit card draft. Card payments have a three percent processing fee. Payments by mail & phone are always free. Visit

On our city website we post COVID resources for our citizens. The page is updated with the latest testing dates in our city, most recent mask orders and general updates. WE HAVE MASKS AVAILABLE AT CITY HALL FOR CITIZENS of La Marque who need them. Just drive through the Utility Billing lanes and show the ladies your driver’s license or utility bill with a La Marque address. They will take care of you! We offer four masks per household each time you stop by. More at

Daily COVID reports come from GALVESTON COUNTY HEALTH DISTRICT. GCHD is committed to identifying public health issues that impact citizens in Galveston County. They have led the local efforts to educate, provide testing and serve as a resource during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit or call 409-9387221 for information on their programs. Galveston County is partnering with UTMB to offer FREE COVID-19 AND ANTIBODY TESTING for Galveston County residents. Testing is available by appointment only and free to the public at three different sites in Galveston, League City and Texas City. County residents may schedule an appointment by calling 832-632-6731. A government-issued form of identification will be required at the time of testing to verify residency. PAGE 10

Get Outside to La Marque’s Parks Photo by Jasmin Perla The dog days of summer are back. Our city parks are open and provide opportunities for everything from walking to reading, fishing to throwing a football, and bird watching to quiet reflection. La Marque has a park that meets all of the needs of these activities and more while providing ample space to maintain social distancing requirements. If you haven’t been to a park lately, now is a great time to get a little fresh air and spend some time outdoors. - Tink Jackson, La Marque City Manager CITY PARKS:


Bayou City Park 217 Bayou Road

Carbide Park 4102 Main Street 409-934-8100

Jaycee Park 2706 Magnolia Lagana Park 1322 Yupon Mac McGaffey Highland Bayou Park 1991 Getty Road Mahan Park 2707 Woodland Martin Luther King, Jr. Park 419 Apricot Walter Feigle Park 1009 Bayou Road Westlawn Park 3010 Melody Drive

Carbide Park is part of the Galveston County Parks System. It is home to the Galveston County Master Gardeners and features “Motion Wellness System” for senior citizens. The equipment focuses on training balance, coordination and mobility.

Bobby Beach Park 800 Westward Private park, home of La Marque Little League.

Important Phone Numbers Animal Control City Administration Centerpoint Energy City Clerk City Receptionist Code Enforcement Crime Stoppers Development Services Dickinson ISD Economic Development Emergency Management Fire Department Gal Co Health District Hitchcock ISD Human Resources Finance Library Mosquito Control Municipal Court Natural Gas Emergency Police Department Tax Office TCLM Chamber Texas City ISD Texas New Mexico Power TNMP Outages Info Public Works Santa Fe ISD Utility Billing Waste Management

409-948-2485 409-938-9225 800-752-8036 409-938-9259 409-938-9202 409-938-9256 409-938-8477 409-938-9204 281-229-6000 409-938-9201 409-938-9225 409-938-9264 409-938-7221 409-316-6545 409-938-9249 409-938-9205 409-938-9270 800-842-5622 409-938-9247 713-659-2111 409-938-9269 409-770-5809 409-935-1408 409-916-0100 409-948-8451 888-866-7456 409-938-9280 409-925-3526 409-938-9209 800-800-5804

For emergencies, dial 911. For after-hours utility emergencies, such as a broken water main, call La Marque Police Dispatch at 409-938-9269. To report missed trash pickup, call Waste Management at 800-800-5804. To report a concern online, visit


TO POSTAL CUSTOMER 1111 Bayou Road La Marque, TX 77568

Jimmy Hayley Elementary School

GET A TCISD EDUCATION UPDATE ON PAGE 3 The City of La Marque and La Marque Economic Development Corporation are partnering with business leaders, school districts, the Chamber of Commerce, local volunteers and community advocates to deliver relevant stories, timely announcements and important updates to residents and businesses in our city.

WELCOME TO INSIDE LA MARQUE. Construction progress on August 4, 2020.

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