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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Next City

Flint Market Will Put Good Food, Ownership in Hands of Residents
BY SCOTT ATKINSON | JULY 13, 2017
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A new food co-op will take the place of about 7 acres of abandoned property and buildings in Flint, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Atkinson)

As a pastor, Reginald Reggie Flynn is used to hearing about peoples problems and helping them through rough patches, but there was a moment a few years ago when hed had enough.

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Hed been attending neighborhood meetings where he lives on the north side of Flint, Michigan, an area known in the city for blight, crime and disinvestment. Several large chain grocery stores had closed throughout Flint, including a Kroger on Pierson Road, a main north side corridor, in July 2014. On top of money struggles, residents were losing good access to healthful food. They began telling Flynn he had to do something.

I said, Ive had enough. Im not coming back to any more of these meetings, Flynn recalls. You guys are complaining too much about what you dont have, and you can take your destiny in your own hands and we can do something collectively.

Today, its hard for Flynn to see where his role as pastor ends and his role as a community developer and president of the North Flint Reinvestment Corporation begins. His wife jokes that he talks more about market shares for his most recent project a food co-op than he does about his sermons. Flynns threat to leave those neighborhood meetings led to talk with residents about starting the co-op, which is now on the verge of becoming a reality.

Starting a food co-op isnt easy, especially in a place that larger chain stores have decided arent good for business, but the timing has been right so far.

The city of Flint created the Economic Recovery Task Force, which in turn formed the Grocery Stores Initiative, a board focused on replacing and maintaining food shopping options in the city.

They began by commissioning a market analysis for north Flint, and the researchers concluded that attracting a large chain store could lead to problems, like driving out other smaller grocers or leaving certain residents without access.

However, that study also concluded that the north side could support two small grocery stores, with sales of about $4 million annually. (According to the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, a typical chain grocery store brings in about $19 million in sales in the region.) The North Flint Reinvestment Corporation is now one of two organizations working with the Grocery Stores Initiative.

A food co-op is owned by members who pay a fee and get a vote in how the company is managed. Flynn likes that community ownership aspect.

Theres a lot of talk about the community owning this grocery store, and were really pushing that aspect of the business model, Flynn says. I think that is what is going to distinguish us.

While the pastor is spearheading the effort, the creation of the food co-op is also the result of several community groups working in tandem. The site of the store is currently owned by the Genesee County Land Bank, which owns and works to maintain and revitalize abandoned properties. Flynn secured grant money for demolition of the abandoned structures (some are fire damaged) at the food co-op site. When those are removed, construction on the new market can begin. Predevelopment funding so far, which has gone to things like market research, has come from local philanthropic organizations like the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Ruth Mott Foundation, and Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. The chamber of commerce has assisted the North Flint Reinvestment Corporation in applying for grants.

The leveraging of partnerships is so critical. Its so critical to have willing partners at the table, Flynn says.

Its also important to have people on the ground willing to do the work.

Our responsibility is to help connect, facilitate they have to live with it, they have to build it, it is theirs, says George Wilkinson, formerly a group vice president of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, and a board member of the Grocery Stores Initiative. Were thankful for community advocates and pioneers like Pastor Flynn who have just a tremendous amount of passion, a tremendous amount of vision, and can put together the strategy.

Wilkinson says he was also happy to see the city of Flint take the initiative in implementing the Economic Development Task Force, which led to the Grocery Stores Initiative. While people like Flynn who are on the ground making it happen, nothing can happen, he says, without local governments, the nonprofit sector and the philanthropic community also working together.

The Grocery Stores Initiative is helping one other local grocer start up on Flints north side and is also working with existing small grocers in the city who have weathered the storm but could use assistance, Wilkinson says.

The community involvement and Flynns enthusiasm might be whats needed to make the project succeed, according to Mary Donnell, program manager for the Michigan Good Food Fund, which, in partnership with Capital Impact Partners, has provided early funding and continued counsel on the Flint food co-op.


Pastor Reginald Reggie Flynn (Photo by Scott Atkinson)

She says the opportunity for community engagement can be very powerful and serve as a reflection for community needs. Its community building, she says. What I think is true is you need a champion and you need the community support.
So far the co-op has close to 500 members and has raised about $50,000.

Flynn acknowledges that food co-ops in many U.S. cities are known for expensive organic fruits and vegetables, but he says the north Flint market will focus on traditional grocery items, with about 30 percent of the product being organic. That mix follows the market study results, which reinforced what Flynn already knew: North Flint residents arent necessarily looking for organic produce. They just need to go grocery shopping.

It will be the standard [food co-op business] model, Flynn says. But the food options will be different.

The co-op will also be a job creator. Flynn expects the market to create about 55 new jobs, most of them full-time. He is working with a local employment agency to hire local residents in need of work.

The market is one part of a larger plan that Flynn has for the Pierson Road corridor. Next door to the co-op, work has already begun on an apartment complex, and an expansion of the Eagles Nest Early Learning Center. The school, which serves 200 children, was one of Flynns earliest projects with North Flint Reinvestment Corporation. There are also plans for a youth business academy and aquaponics space.

Those community meetings Flynn attends have grown over the past year and a half. Now, he says, youll run into close to 200 people.

Thats huge. I mean, Ive been doing community engagement meetings for years, and youd be good to have five people come to a neighborhood meeting, he says.

That involvement might be just whats required to make the food co-op succeed and bring more attention to Flints north side. Much of the talk surrounding revitalization in the city is centered on downtown, an area known for being more affluent and more white.

Flynn says he isnt against downtown development, but he also wants to see a paradigm shift in where reinvestment dollars are spent, and the food co-op is a good start.

It transcends providing food, he says.

This article is one in a series on resident-led revitalization efforts in Flint, Michigan. The series is being reported with underwriting from the Center for Community Progress, through a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. Click here for more.

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Scott Atkinson is a writer based in Flint, Michigan. His reporting on Flint has appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Belt Magazine and elsewhere. He teaches writing and journalism at the University of Michigan-Flint. You can view more of his work at scottatkinson.info.


Last edited by untanglingwebs on Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:10 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:07 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Why this grocery store initiative means so much to Flint


North Flint Reinvestment Corp is looking to begin construction in 2018 on property across the street from Eagles Nest Academy on West Pierson Road. The other new grocery operated by Fresh Start CDC Inc. is eying North Saginaw and Hamilton streets asNorth Flint Reinvestment Corp is looking to begin construction in 2018 on property across the street from Eagles Nest Academy on West Pierson Road. The other new grocery operated by Fresh Start CDC Inc. is eying North Saginaw and Hamilton streets asJake Carah
FLINT, MichiganIt is about having a local grocery store. It is about having access to fresh foods. And, it is about so much more.

It is, says Pastor Reginald Flynn of Foss Avenue Baptist Church, about healing.

The grocery store initiative in north Flint is part of a larger strategy to rebuild, revitalize, and redevelop the northside of Flint. Flynn is also president of the North Flint Reinvestment Corp., founded in 2009 to relocate businesses to north Flint and reverse decades of disinvestment.

Were working specifically in terms of spurring economic development, Flynn says.

The grocery store initiativewhich brings together a variety of partners including churches, businesses, the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the Ruth Mott Foundationwill build two new grocery stores and help renovate four existing stores. It is designed to specifically address the lack of grocery stores in the neighborhoods (Flynn calls the northside an extreme food desert), and it also adds to the overall growth of the community.

Well see smaller businesses come into play, too, Flynn says.

Related story: A neighbor's perspective: Flint grocery store initiative
Target neighborhoods

The Flint grocery store initiative will build two new grocery stores and help renovate four existing stores to address the "extreme food desert" on the northside of Flint..
Planners originally considered working to attract a single, large national chain grocery store to Flint, but that proposal was altered to allow for a mixed-sized store approach to fill the gaps in multiple neighborhoods.

The grocery store initiative includes renovation of Landmark Food Center on Pierson Road, the Local Grocer on Martin Luther King Avenue, Mr. Bs Foodland on Dupont Street, and Hutchinson Food and Drug on North Saginaw Street.

It also will include two new grocery stores:

North Flint Reinvestment Corp is looking to begin construction in 2018 on property across the street from Eagles Nest Academy on West Pierson Road, which was founded by Flynn. Were looking at some environmental remediation issues going on with the property, said Flynn. He noted that the North Flint Reinvestment Corp. is working closely with the Land Bank to resolve the issues.
Fresh Start CDC Inc. is looking at "an area along Saginaw Street and Hamilton Avenue for the site of its grocery store, says Barry Turner, a board member who works alongside Pastor Patrick Sanders of New Jerusalem Baptist Church, which founded Fresh Start CDC. In the meantime, Fresh Start CDC has hosted pop-up grocery stores to bring food into the community.
Grocery stores are vital to well-functioning communities and an increase in store offerings will ensure north Flint residents wont have to leave their immediate neighborhoods for goods and services, said Handy Lindsey, president of the Ruth Mott Foundation, which gave grants of $75,000 in October and $110,000 in March to help fund the grocery store initiative through the chamber of commerce.

The Flint and Genesee Chamber noted that the investments provide access to healthy foods and jobs in the local community.

Mark Kattola, owner of Landmark Food Center, said he is hopeful and remains focused on the serving the community.

Weve been here for over 42 years, and weve been here for the community that whole time and we plan to be here for another 42 years, Kattola said. But were hoping that we can help stop people from leaving Flint, to convince people we still have a lot to offer here, to get people to come back.
Neighborhood support
There is something very unique about the grocery store initiative. Sure it will have lots of fresh produce. Its the business structure that is a bit unconventional.


Pastor Reginald Flynn is looking to bring in 1,500 residents as partners and investors in the North Flint Reinvestment Corp co-op grocery store.
This is really important to me. You see, we witnessed Krogers and Meijers exodus from the area and locals felt powerless, he said. Flynn recalls, hearing a recurring message from community members, parishioners, neighbors and residentsall said they wanted some control in the decision making process.

So, Flynn and his board members established the store as a full co-op. A business model of community ownership that allows residents to have a stake in this areas future success. The grocery store already has more than 400 members and a group equity of $50,000.

We have a goal of reaching 1,500 members in the co-op and so were on an aggressive campaign to reach that goal, because it will demonstrate community support, Flynn said. It shows that if residents invest in the idea, then they believe in Flints future and they are less likely to leave the community.
Post Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:09 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

The North Dallas Gazette provides information and African American community news and events.





Sen. Royce West brings together Dallas black pastors to discuss economic development
Sen. Royce West brings together Dallas black pastors to discuss economic development
NOVEMBER 15, 2017


Dr. Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. addressed the panel at the Black Church and Economic Development town hall meeting on Nov. 9 (Photo Credit: Kelvin Bass)

By Joe Farkus, NDG Contributing Writer

Seven Dallas-area ministers met with Sen. Royce West for a forum on the Black Church and Economic Development at Paul Quinn College Thursday, Nov. 9. The town hall meeting was well-attended by the community and special guests Dr. Zan Wesley Holmes Jr., Tracye McDaniel, and Dallas City Council member Tennell Atkins. The forums discussion centered around questions of economic justice, gentrification, and ways to innovate and encourage entrepreneurial opportunities in Dallas black community, specifically in the citys southern sector.

The black church has always been involved in economic development, said Dr. Zan Wesley Holmes Jr., who once led the African American Pastors Coalition and was the long-time pastor of St. Luke A.M.E. Weve done it individually in our different churches; the challenge is: how can we do it together?

A total of seven ministers were included on the panel, including Dr. Michael Bowie, Pastor of St. Luke Community UMC, Dr. Jerry Christian, Pastor of Kirkwood CME Church, Dr. Tony Evans, Pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III, Pastor of Friendship West Baptist Church, Rev. Lelious Johnson, Pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church, Dr. Ronald Jones, Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, and Dr. Stephen Nash, Pastor of Mt. Tabor Baptist Church.

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One of the most discussed topics during the panel discussion was the acquisition of property by black churches, both to help stem the tide of gentrification encroaching into South Dallas communities as well as to provide land where black businesses and business ventures can start and grow.

The land that you own gives you the freedom to determine what you can do with it, said Dr. Tony Evans. Weve accumulated some 150 acres to be able to have that independence.

In addition to sheer land acquisition, Dr. Evanss church has started their own credit union and provides opportunities for people to come and earn their G.E.D., get Microsoft certified, and get hired by Dallas companies looking for new employees.

What weve attempted to do at Friendship West has everything to do with, on one level, fighting for economic justice, Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III told the rest of the panel. Dallas, like many cities across this country, is being hit by gentrification especially on our side of town.

As churches, it is in our vested interest to understand our responsibility to get involved in public policy, Haynes continued. Its good to developbut your development can be sabotaged by economic injustice in the form of gentrification [or] pay-day predators having their way.

Dr. Hayness church has gained notoriety for its West Wall Street event. The initiative provides an opportunity for black businesses to sell their products to church members between and after services on Sunday before Black Friday, allowing members the chance to get their holiday shopping done while supporting black businesses in the community.

There was also considerable talk amongst the ministers about churches being more selective in who they bank with, only banking with institutions that support the community and line up with the collective interests of black churches. Some even proposed the concept of a Dallas-based black bank.

I believe we can grow financially, fiscally, and spiritually if we have a lending institution that we owned, said Dr. Michael Bowie.

The idea gained considerable traction, with a member of the audience urging community leaders to create a black-owned bank during the question and answer portion of the evening.

As the first and only black liquidator that closed Sunbelt Bank, I am pleading and asking in the name of God, that we create a black bank now, said the questioner. Will the black bank be a part of the agenda?

While much of the panel declined to indicate whether they would push for such an idea, there was much agreement on the need to coalesce around a common economic and community vision for the black community in South Dallas. The seven ministers present are expected to formulate a vision and plan to address the issues discussed the forum early next year.
Post Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:14 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Dr. Reginald Flynn
FlynnHeadshot
ENA Co-Founder

Pastor Reginald Reggie G. Flynn was born in Peoria, Illinois and reared in Flint, Michigan. He is the son of Pastor Earl and Marjorie Flynn-Willis. He is married to Deloris (Jefferson) Flynn of Santee-Elloree, South Carolina. They are the proud parents of two beautiful daughters, Courtney and Taylor. A proud 1984 graduate of Flint Beecher High School, Pastor Flynn attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College and played collegiate basketball. He later served in the United States Navy as a personnel officer. After receiving an honorable discharge, he relocated to Columbia, South Carolina. While in Columbia, South Carolina, Pastor Flynn began his public service career as the State Recruitment Director for One Church One Child of South Carolina, an adoption advocacy and recruitment agency. After a successful career in the public sector, Pastor Flynn embarked on a career in corporate America. He was employed as a corporate recruiter, and, ultimately, was promoted to the position of Director of Business Development and Marketing for the international emergency management firm, IAP World Services. He concluded his corporate career as a pharmaceutical account executive for Merck & Company. Pastor Flynn is also an entrepreneur. He is co-founder and President of CourTay Properties, LLC, a family-owned and operated real estate investment company. He serves as chairman of the Foss Avenue Federal Credit Union. Currently, he serves on the boards of the Uptown Reinvestment Corporation and the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce. He is also President of the newly formed North Flint Reinvestment Corporation; a non-profit organized to spearhead community and economic development initiatives in the North Flint business district and adjoining neighborhoods.

Upon acknowledging the call to preach the Gospel in 2001, Pastor Flynn received his ministers license under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Charles B. Jackson, Sr., Senior Pastor of Brookland Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina. He was ordained by the Gethsemane Baptist Association, and completed pastoral assignments at Beulah Baptist Church, Greenwood, South Carolina and Temple Zion Baptist Church, Columbia, South Carolina. Pastor Flynn has been employed as an Adjunct Professor of Religion at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina. He serves as vice-moderator of the Great Lakes Baptist District Association. He is an instructor of pastoral leadership for the Baptist Ministerial Alliance Fellowship of Flint and workshop lecturer in the field of community economic development for the Great Lakes Baptist District Leadership & Educational Congress as well as the Wolverine Baptist Congress of Christian Education. He received his formal education at the University of South Carolina, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He earned a Master of Divinity degree (M.Div.) at Erskine Theological Seminary in Due West, South Carolina, and his Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree in Pastoral Leadership and Urban Studies, with honors, from Columbia International University. Pastor Flynns Doctor of Ministry research dissertation topic was The Contemporary Role of the Church In Economically Distressed Neighborhoods: How Congregations Can Facilitate Community Economic Development In Impoverished Communities.

Pastor Flynn is also a distinguished author. In 2010, he authored So You Think Your Church Isnt Big Enough, a resource guide for pastors and small congregations interested in launching community economic development ministries in distressed neighborhoods. In 2009, he authored, compiled and published key research findings from a Flint-area Pastors and Ministers Leadership forum, which solicited input from area clergy on the role faith communities can play in community development work. As co-founder of Brothers Battling Bloodshed, a faith-based, anti-gang program for at-risk boys in Flint, Pastor Flynn has written numerous articles pertaining to crime, violence, gang activity, and the implementation of neighborhood empowerment strategies in urban areas. His articles have been widely published in The Flint Journal, CPSA Courier, The State (South Carolina), and various neighborhood and denominational newsletters. His most recent publication The Power of Vision, is a compilation of sermons relating to the importance of pursuing Gods purpose in life through a powerful, compelling and God-inspired vision.

Pastor Flynn is the Senior Pastor of Foss Avenue Baptist Church in Flint, Michigan. He is known as a visionary leader who advances a (w)holistic ministry around the Biblical principles of evangelism, education and economics by rebuilding and transforming the lives of the disadvantaged, the disenchanted and the distressed masses through the powerful and prophetic message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is a strong advocate for spiritual renewal, economic self-sufficiency, political empowerment, and physical health and wellness. Pastor Flynn truly desires to lead by his churchs motto: We are a voice for Christ in the community!

EAGLES NEST ACADEMY
Eagles Nest Academy
5005 Cloverlawn Dr. Flint, Mi 48504
Post Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:08 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Pastor Flynn is also an entrepreneur. He is co-founder and President of CourTay Properties, LLC, a family-owned and operated real estate investment company. He serves as chairman of the Foss Avenue Federal Credit Union. Currently, he serves on the boards of the Uptown Reinvestment Corporation and the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce. He is also President of the newly formed North Flint Reinvestment Corporation; a non-profit organized to spearhead community and economic development initiatives in the North Flint business district and adjoining neighborhoods.
Post Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:09 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

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Company Name COURTAY PROPERTIES & INVESTMENTS, LLC
Company No 463228
Domestic Domestic
Status Good Standing
State / Organization SOUTH CAROLINA
Profit
File Date 01/02/2007
Effective Date 01/02/2007
Dissolved Date n/a
Agent Information Name: DELORIS FLYNN
Address: 336 LINSBURY CIRCLE, COLUMBIA, SC 29210
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COURTAY PROPERTIES & INVESTMENTS, LLC is a company incorporated in South Carolina and its Company Number is 463228. COURTAY PROPERTIES & INVESTMENTS, LLC was filed on 01/02/2007. The company's status is listed as Good Standing.
Post Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:22 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Guest view of Reginald Flynn: Early childhood education investment should accompany Flint-area marketing plan

on April 01, 2013 at 1:16 PM, updated April 01, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Reginald Flynn
Written by the Rev. Reginald Flynn
The Genesee County Board of Commissioners has empowered the "new" Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce to attract tourists, businesses, colleges and universities, and potential investors to Flint.

This partnership of local government and area business leaders is now ready to promote the positive aspects of Flint. In fact, according to Tim Herman, the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce has been the "primary force" for promoting economic development in Flint for years. Further, Jamie Curtis, chairman of the Genesee County Board of Commissioners, contends the region is now dedicated to the revitalization of Flint. Consequently, a marketing strategy has been launched to market and sell Flint to the world.

On the surface, this partnership and marketing campaign appears to make sense. It certainly is honorable and will, in all likelihood, be well-financed and gain some measure of short-term success.

However, investing in a regional marketing campaign without a comprehensive local plan to connect economic development to early childhood education is a disaster waiting to happen.

National research data supports investment in at-risk kids as the surest way to sustain economic development. Timothy Bartik, economist with the W.E. Upjohn Institute, recently authored Investing in Kids: Early Childhood Programs and Local Economic Development. Bartiks book makes an excellent case that increasing investment in a continuum of early childhood programs pays off when examined from a business and economic development perspective. Annual rates of return of 7 percent to 10 percent per annum have been estimated, which are higher than the return on stocks over the period of 1945-2008.

Dave Adkisson, president and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce asserts, "Our chamber continues to advocate that local and state economies are strengthened by investments in both quality pre-K programs and business incentives. It cannot be a matter of choosing one over the other."

President Barack Obama affirmed, "Fewer than three in ten 4-year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program... For the poor children who need it the most, the lack of access to a great preschool education can have an impact on their entire lives. And we all pay a price for that... Every dollar we invest in quality early education can save more than $7 later on -- boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, reducing violent crime."

Recently, Gov. Rick Synder stated that Michigan must "create a coherent system of health and early learning that aligns, integrates and coordinates Michigan's investments from prenatal to third grade."


The economic case for supplementing the early environments of disadvantaged children is compelling.

The new Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce has a powerful network of partners to include Uptown Developments, Uptown Reinvestment Corporation, C.S. Mott Foundation, city of Flints emergency manager and city administrator, Downtown Development Authority, Michigans Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Kettering University, Baker College, University of Michigan-Flint, area banks and a host of other power brokers.

The work these influential institutions and their leaders have produced is impeccable. Their passion to see a "new" Flint promoted throughout the region and marketed to the world cant be questioned. However, I would venture to maintain Flints future will not be sustained by a corporate marketing campaign nor in economic development projects exclusively centered in downtown or its immediate peripheral -- but rather by the power structures "intentional willingness" to invest its institutional power, influence and resources in Flints most neglected and vulnerable children.

Our citys kids are not only our future, but they are worth our investment. And as Tim Bartik argues in his book, the case for treating early childhood development investments as economic development is long overdue.

Reginald Flynn is president of the North Flint Reinvestment Corp. and pastor of Foss Avenue Baptist Church.
Post Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:51 am 
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