Please Vote, College Park!

Today is College Park’s Decision Day! Regardless of who you support, please make sure you go to polls and cast your vote. It’s our civic duty to take part in our local elections. From our past city elections, we’ve seen every vote counts!

Polls will open at 7 am and will close at 8 pm. You can vote at any of these three polling locations!

  • Davis Hall, 9217 51st Ave
  • Richie Coliseum, 7675 Baltimore Ave
  • Stamp Student Union, 3972 Campus Drive

If you know anyone who needs help with a ride to the polling station, please let me know (phone: 301 – 659-6295, email: faz.kabir@gmail.com)

Also, this evening, please join your fellow neighbors to celebrate post-election community unity in District 1. More below in the flyer!

I want to take this opportunity to express my thanks and gratitude for your support during my current Council term and discuss the opportunities ahead of us for the next term. Please come up with ideas you may have to make College Park a better place to live for everyone. I want to hear all of them!


Community Survey is now Online

An online version of our 2019 Community Survey is now available! Click here to fill it out here:

A Spanish version of the survey will be available online for the selected respondents.

Important Note: If you did receive a paper copy – be sure to complete that one instead of the online one. We still need your responses!!

A randomly selected sample of College Park residents received postcards from the City in early October notifying them of their selection in the survey process. Mailed paper surveys will arrived in October, with a City cover letter and instructions to complete and return the survey. Responses are anonymous.

Participation in the survey is very important. The results will help City officials better serve the College Park community, so please complete the survey if your household is selected. Help us shape the future of College Park!

For any questions about the 2019 City of College Park Community Survey, call 240-487-3501 or email cpcommunications@collegeparkmd.gov. Stay tuned to the City’s website, facebook and twitter pages for up-to-date news and information.

[City of College Park]


Streetscape Project Set to Change the Look of Hollywood’s Commercial District

For some years now, the City has been working on the Hollywood streetscape project to improve the appearance and functionality of the area around the corner of Edgewood Road and Rhode Island Avenue. The area is generally lacking in aesthetics and has seen minimal private investment in the preceding decades. We hope that once completed, the project will help invite private investment around the shopping complex area.

The project limits along Rhode Island Ave are from the Capital Beltway in the north to Muskogee Street in the south. The project limits along Edgewood Road are Narragansett Parkway in the East and 300’ west of Rhode Island Ave in the west.

Currently, the project team has completed the 30% design of the project. Staff is currently working to hold a community meeting with 60% design this month. Please stay tuned for an announcement of this meeting.

Once 60% design is completed, the project team will go into the final design. The City Council will then decide the scope and budget for the first phase of the project. The construction of the first phase is expected to start some time summer next year.

Below is a list of design elements of of the project:

Wide Sidewalk

The planning study identified narrow sidewalks and gaps in the sidewalk network as a design issue. Along the west side of Rhode Island Avenue, a 5-foot wide sidewalk is proposed from Muskogee Street to Edgewood Road where a sidewalk does not currently exist. On numerous occasions, residents have been observed walking along this stretch, and an informal well-worn pathway is noticeable. This stretch of sidewalk is impacted by an existing retaining wall which will require that the sidewalk narrows to 3 feet wide for the length of the retaining wall. The design team feels this is acceptable and does not cause a safety issue as pedestrians using the sidewalk will be separated from vehicular traffic by a protected bike lane.

On the east side of Rhode Island Avenue from Muskogee Street to Edgewood Road, the existing sidewalk is proposed to be widened to approximately 8 feet. A 2-foot strip of turf will remain between the sidewalk and curb to accommodate street signage and utility poles. This section of the sidewalk is considered part of the Wellness Circuit to complete a continuous walking loop around the Hollywood Shopping Center totaling 0.6 miles.

Gateway Plazas
The plan asks for installing gateway signage and/or art elements to brand the District. The Gateway Plazas are a way to establish community identity with potential for public art and/or signage. The gateways are located at the corner of Muskogee Street and Rhode Island Avenue. In the second phase, there could be another one at the corner of Narragansett Parkway and Edgewood Road. Small seating areas are envisioned at each gateway. Each Gateway Plaza features seating, bike racks, trash/recycling receptacles, bollard lighting and signage relevant to the Wellness Circuit.


The plan is to reclaim the Rhode Island Avenue east-side and west-side service road, between Nantucket Road and Edgewood Road, as neighborhood pocket parks or parklets. The Parklets are intended to provide community gathering spaces that are attractively landscaped and buffered from the traffic on the surrounding roads.

The Parklet on the east side of the road will also serve as seating to support retail and restaurant uses on the adjacent properties. In addition, the landscaped areas are intended to provide stormwater management treatment for the Parklets and possibly Rhode Island Avenue.

Improved Bus Shelters and Seating Nooks
A new bus shelter is proposed at the existing bus stop on the west side of Rhode Island Avenue just north of Muskogee Street to match the existing bus shelters located within the Hollywood Commercial District. To support the need for improved pedestrian circulation and gathering spaces, seating nooks are proposed along Rhode Island Avenue in three locations. In general, the seating nooks are intended to enhance the bus shelters providing additional seating and anchoring the shelters within the context of the streetscape improvements. The seating nooks are designed as a semicircle configuration directly adjacent to the sidewalk. Site furnishings proposed for the Seating Nooks include benches, trash/recycle receptacles, bollard lighting, and pavers.

Pedestrian Lighting
There will be a multi-tiered approach to lighting in the Hollywood Commercial District. Existing streetlights will be retained throughout the corridor. The existing street lights are cobra heads – approximately 25′ height. Pedestrian scale street lights, approximately 14’ height, will be added along Rhode Island Avenue, Edgewood Road, Nantucket Road, and Niagara Road and within the Parklets and Gateway Plazas. Bollard lights will be added to enhance pedestrian-oriented spaces including along the Wellness Circuit, within the Parklets, Gateway Plazas and Seating Nooks associated with improved bus shelters.

Pedestrian Path to MoM’s Parking Lot from Rhode Island Ave
Residents have asked to replace the current “goat path” that many pedestrians use to get to the MoM’s shopping complex from Rhode Island Ave at the Muskogee street corner. The path is uneven and thus can be hazardous to use, especially by the seniors and people with a disability. The Streetscape team has worked on a design of the concrete pedestrian path. The new path will be ADA compliant and thus residents on wheelchairs will now be able to use it safely. Staff will now work with the Carrollton Enterprises (the owner of the shopping plaza)  to get the approval of the path’s design.


Reconfiguration of Niagara Intersection
Currently, the intersection of Niagara Road at Rhode Island Avenue requires circuitous turn movements to travel through the intersection. The current 30% design seeks to eliminate the zig-zag pedestrian crossing, providing a more direct route for pedestrians and drivers. Please see the proposed design below.


Wellness Circuit
A Wellness Circuit is proposed in the right of way to provide formalized connections from the neighborhood to the commercial district and to provide opportunities for community fitness. The Wellness Circuit will connect the playground at the corner of Narragansett Parkway and Muskogee Street with Edgewood Road and Rhode Island Avenue through a shared-use path separate from the roadway. Informal desire lines to the shopping center will be formalized at multiple locations along the Wellness Circuit. Fitness stations are planned intermittently along the trail to encourage residents to be physically active in an outdoor natural setting at no cost to users. The Wellness Circuit includes a range of equipment suitable for different ages and fitness abilities focusing on the four essential components of fitness: strength, balance, cardio, and flexibility.

Along Muskogee Street, a portion of the Wellness Circuit is proposed adjacent to the curb. The placement of fitness stations adjacent to Muskogee Street provides ample space for plantings that would provide visual screening of equipment from residences. Existing trees displaced by the proposed improvements will be evaluated for relocation within the project limits.

Traffic Calming at Narragansett Pkway
The traffic calming proposed at the three-legged intersection of Edgewood Road and Narragansett Parkway was originally conceived as a min-roundabout during planning stages.
However, a review of turning movement templates showed that the roundabout would have to be too small (and entirely mountable) to be functional. Accordingly, bump-outs were designed for the southeast and southwest corners to reduce traffic speeds through this intersection and reduce the crossing distances for pedestrians. The bump-outs reduce the pedestrian crossing distance on the south leg and on the east leg. The bump-outs will be planted with low growing plants that do not affect pedestrian or driver sight distance. The bump-outs are designed as standard curb and gutter and designed so as not to interrupt the existing gutter pan, allowing it to continue to carry

Complimentary bump-outs were not introduced along the north side of Edgewood Road because of the presence of a commercial driveway, the existing inlet, and the need to retain on-street parking in front of 5006 Edgewood Road (which does not have a driveway). In addition to the curbed bump-outs, ladder style crosswalks were introduced to the intersection along the southern and eastern legs in order to provide for safer crossings and give the intersection a more pedestrian-oriented feel and because the southwest corner represents a gateway to the Wellness Circuit and the Hollywood Commercial District


College Park 2019 Election Guide

The Diamondback has profiled all 14 candidates running in this week’s City election. Please see that below.

Kabir has served as a District 1 council member for four terms — and, because his race isn’t contested, he’s set to win his fifth in November.

Nonetheless, Kabir said he’s taking the time to engage with his constituency, as he would in a more competitive election, to learn more about their concerns.

“Right now I am going door-to-door, knocking on doors and talking to residents,” he said.

It’s a process Kabir said he values greatly, and one he worries would be lost if council term lengths are changed from two to four years — a referendum on this year’s ballot. Kabir said he worries this move would decrease accountability for those in office and reduce communication between officials and their constituents.

“If you asked me to vote today, [based] on personal opinion, I would not support it,” Kabir said.

In his upcoming term, Kabir said he hopes to continue pushing along projects, such as renovations to the Hollywood neighborhood streetscape and Duvall Field, as well as adding a dog park to the Hollywood community. Kabir said these projects have “dragged on” for a long time but are approaching full funding or completion.

He also hopes to bring more parks and fields (plus community space) to his district. District 1, Kabir said, is a quarter of the city, but has nearly half of the city’s single-family homes. Kabir said the district needs places for people of all ages to gather and programs that fit resident needs.


No-Excuse Absentee Voting has Started in College Park

You may now vote on-the-spot in person at this College Park City office – 8400 Baltimore Avenue, Suite 375 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

By the new State law, you will not be asked any question about the reason for your early voting.

In May last year, the Maryland State legislators passed House Bill HB 829, prohibiting a municipality from requiring an individual to provide a certain reason in order to vote by absentee ballot.

The law went into effect in June last year.

You can also get the ballot from City office, and return the voted ballot to the City using the ballot envelope that is provided, no later than Tuesday, November 5. Click here to download an Emergency Absentee Ballot application and fill it up before heading to the City Office.

In addition to the No-Excuses absentee ballot, the City held early voting last Sunday.

Election Day is on Tuesday, November 5. You can vote from 7 am to 8 pm at 3 polling locations – Davis Hall, Ritchie’s Coliseum and the UMD’s Student Stamp Union.


Come Celebrate POSH’s First Year Anniversary Tomorrow

Posh is turning one! Celebrate with them Tomorrow, Saturday 11/2 from 9am to 3pm. POSH will have a Health & Fitness Expo, Vendors, Donation-based 30-Minute Workouts, Prizes & more!

Come celebrate the City of College Park’s Business of the Year recipient Posh Cycling on Fitness Studio’s 1st birthday! Free donation based fitness classes will be held all day long, and ALL proceeds will go to support Susan G Komen and the fight to end breast cancer! Pilates, Dance Groove, Strong, Spinning, and dancing classes. Health and wellness vendors tables will have free samples. Cake cutting will begin at 12pm! Come join the fun!

You can sign up for any of our Posh Classes at www.posh.fit/schedule.


Severe Weather, Tornado Watch – Please Take Cautions

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch this afternoon.

Earlier they forecasted scattered severe thunderstorms, with storms expected to hit our County later this afternoon and this evening. Damaging wing gusts, up to 40 mph, are expected to accompany these storms.

Expect heavy rain, about 1-2 inches across the I-95 corridor. Heavy rain may lead to scattered instances of minor flooding this evening. Moderate tidal flooding will be possible during tonight’s tide cycle along the Anne Arundel and Baltimore County coastline. A coastal flood watch is in effect.

Please note that this storm may affect the trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood. Please take caution.



Public Works Closed Today Due to Snow Training

Today is the Department of Public Work’s In-Service Snow Training Day!

Because of the training, Department of Public Works is closed to the public today (no bulk collections, deliveries, or loading of compost/wood mulch will occur). We apologize for any inconvenience.

The purpose of this training is to prepare crews for snow clearing duties which include proper handling of materials, and proper maintenance and operation of equipment. Knowing the route is also essential. The In-Service Snow Training is a classroom session of training and a “Dry Run” of the routes which is a valuable safety practice. Dry run means driving the entire Heavy & Light Plow routes assigned to each driver in non-snow and ice conditions to help awareness of features that may impact snow plowing and spreading materials.

This pre-storm run is for drivers to inspect and observe landmarks and the locations of possible hazards (school locations, guardrails, curbs, tight streets, etc.) which may cause difficulty or be hidden by falling or plowed snow.

[City of College Park]


Weekly Events at Proteus Bicycles

The Proteus Bicycles offer a number of weekly events at their store in north College Park (9827 Rhode Island Ave, College Park, MD 20740). They include commuter ride, pot luck dinner, morning coffee club, Velo Club meeting. Additionally, they will be having a winter riding clinic this Friday. This is a great way to connect with other neighbors and have some good exercise and fun! Please see below this week’s schedule.

Tuesday, October 29, 6:10-9 am – Proteus Bicycles Commuter Ride
Meet at intersection of Paint Branch Trail and the Trolley Trail just south of Lakeland Rd. Get an early start to your morning by joining this morning ride down the Anacostia River Trail (ART) and back to College Park, escorting the DC commuters riding to work. All are welcome! If you already commute into DC by bike, join us! Helmets are mandatory.

Thursday, October 31, 7-9 pm – Proteus Bicycles Pot Luck Dinner, 9826 Rhode Island Ave.
The shop stays open late for a weekly social gathering of bike-minded people. Meet new cycling friends as well as the Proteus staff, maybe even watch a bicycle competition currently airing. Bring a savory dish or dessert to share and your favorite beverage (some beverages are provided).

Friday, November 1, 7:45-9:15 am – Proteus Bicycles Friday Morning Coffee Club
Meet at the Board and Brew, 8150 Baltimore Avenue in the Varsity. Join us every Friday Morning for breakfast/coffee meet up with bike-minded folks at The Board and Brew where they serve up delicious food and coffee. There’s plenty of bike (and car) parking in the Varsity building. Time/weather permitting we may take a ride (helmets are mandatory) after breakfast.

Friday, November 1, 6:30-8 pm – Proteus Velo Club Meeting, Proteus Bicycles, 9826 Rhode Island Ave.
We’re starting a club team! Please join us for our monthly meeting as we form our club and start putting together some events. We start with a pot luck at 6pm (bring a dish to share) and the business meeting starts at 6:30. If you’ve attended past meetings, please make time to come or let John know you can’t make it (jbelltower@yahoo.comjbelltower@yahoo.com). Want to come to the meeting and learn more? email John or just show up!

Sunday, November 3, 6-8 pm – Winter Riding Clinic and Pot Luck, Proteus Bicycles, 9826 Rhode Island Ave.
Everyone is welcome to this Pot Luck supper and discussion about how to keep riding as the weather gets colder and the days get shorter. We’ll discuss bike gear, clothing, and other tips for extending your riding to year round. Bring a dish to share, a guest, a story, and your curiosity!
[Media: Proteus Bicycle]


Help Shape College Park by Filling Out Community Survey!

Don’t forget – we need your responses College Park!

Did you recently receive a survey from the City in the mail? If so, please fill it out and mail it back as soon as you can (a return envelope with postage is included)!

Your feedback is important – help shape College Park!
In case you haven’t received one, don’t worry, you’ll get an opportunity to submit one later online. City will announce when the online survey will be available.

[City of College Park]


Let’s Keep College Park’s Council Term to 2 Years

When you’ll be voting at next week’s City elections, you’ll be asked a referendum ballot question: Do you want to extend the term of your future elected representatives from the current two years to four years?

Early this year, the City established a Charter Review Commission (CRC) to hear from our residents on the benefits and concerns associated with changing the length of the term for elected officials from two to four years, and on the benefits and concerns related to staggering those 4-year terms or having them run concurrently.

The CRC did an incredible job of researching the topic and taking public input, which they put in a report. Please see the report here on the City’s website. While examples can be found across the country with municipalities using both 2- and 4-year terms, I personally believe that keeping the Council term at 2 years is best for our College Park residents. Below, I’ve explained my positions and also tried to address some arguments presented in support of 4-year terms.

Accountability: A 4-year term will make an elected representative less accountable:
A longer Council term means residents getting less opportunity to make their Council representatives accountable for the decisions they make at the Council. It’s not rare to find examples of elected representative(s) failing to deliver, making very wrong decisions, or even not responding to constituents’ concerns, thus making the constituents frustrated and helpless. If someone gets elected for four years at an election and does a terrible job in the first year of the term, the constituents will have no option to remove that representative from the office because the College Park’s Charter does not have a recall provision. The constituents will have to live with that representative for the next 3 years of the term.

Engagement: With a 4-year term, both residents and elected representatives will engage less:
Election time is probably the only time when the incumbent candidates get heavily involved with the residents. Only a few residents call or write to their elected representatives. Not many attend community meetings. If the Council term is extended to four years, a vast majority of our residents will lose the opportunity to get the incumbent candidates engaged. Candidates will also lose the opportunity to get the pulse of the community and listen to their concerns on a more frequent basis.

Campaign Funding & Difficulty: It doesn’t need to be expensive or hard to run a campaign:
One of the arguments of the proponents of a 4-year term is that it is difficult and expensive to run a campaign. This may be true for the campaigns in a very large constituency, but not for a small town like College Park. Thankfully, College Park is not a very large city like Baltimore. Furthermore, because College Park City Council seats are not “at-large,”  Council candidates run among a section of the city residents, not among all city residents. The typical campaign budget of a Council seat is also not that high – only a few hundred dollars on average. On top of that, it’s not that difficult to run a campaign. Most candidates run their own campaigns without any paid staff and a large contingent of volunteers. In fact, it’s a very rewarding experience to campaign among the neighbors, something I’ve described my own experience in this post.

Learning Curve: A Councilmember can learn the role quickly:
Another argument the proponent of 4-year term present is that by the time a freshman Councilmember knows everything about her or his job, it’s time for that Councilmember to run again. However, the City’s election history tells us otherwise. For essentially all elected councilmembers, they have been involved someway in some previous positions – in a board, committee, or civic association capacity –  in the city before they run for a Council seat. Thus they have some good exposure to how the city government actually runs. Their involvement also gives them a very good opportunity for interacting with the elected Councilmembers and senior staff even before they become an elected representative. Once elected, freshman Councilmembers go through an intensive Council orientation session, plus one-on-one sessions with City’s senior staff. Furthermore, from my own experience, Council colleagues are very helpful in mentoring fellow Councilmembers to learn and get up to speed quickly.

Continuity: A 2-year council term does not disrupt a council’s direction:
The other argument I’ve seen in support of extending the council term is that a 4-year term could help the continuity of the Council’s operations. Unlike other jurisdictions, College Park’s City Council is a fairly large body.  A decision is made on the vote of 8 Councilmembers, and in some cases, the Mayor. The election history of College Park tells us that the turnover of the Council membership is very low, which means that the makeup of the Council terms doesn’t change much from election to election. Furthermore, the City Council works as a team and continues to implement the goals set forth in the Five-Year strategic plan decided by the previous Council and based on the community’s input. Thus, there is very little chance for a new Councilmember to radically change the direction of the previous Council’s policy.

Again, these are my personal opinions. I sincerely hope you’ll vote to keep the Council term to the current 2-years length. That said if I get re-elected, and if I’m asked to vote on this matter during my term, I’ll vote based on the outcome of this referendum question. So, please VOTE!

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this very important matter. Thank you!


Campaigning is More than Asking for Votes. It’s about Connecting with Neighbors

1742 doors to knock. 4771 neighbors to talk.

Several weeks ago, I set a goal of knocking these doors and talking to these neighbors. With just about a week left until this year’s election, I think I am close to reaching that goal. Yes, I wasn’t able to see and talk to everyone, but I’m very happy that I tried to knock as many of them as I could – from Odessa Rd on the north to Cherokee St on the south, From Route 1 on the west to 53rd Ave on the east.
The election season is an incredible time for me to connect with my neighbors in College Park. Since I first ran (unsuccessfully) in 2009 for the City Council, I’ve never found another way to intimately connect with my neighbors.


Talking to my neighbors one-on-one is more than campaigning for their votes.

Yes, my neighbors talk a lot about city/neighborhood stuff. These topics range over a wide variety of things – public safety, crime, school, unregistered rentals, loud noise, traffic, parking, speeding, potholes, city-university relations, development – just to name a few.

But, walking on this campaign trail has also given me an opportunity on another level – a very personal, intimate neighborly level. I find many of my neighbors sharing their very personal stories – the news of a newborn or the death of their dearest ones in the family. Others talk about a new pet, a new job, retirement, the graduation of their kid, or move out of a family member to another state. I’m incredibly grateful to sense the trust they have in me in sharing these very personal stories.

I feel kind of embarrassed to knock my neighbors’ doors only during the election season. I wish I could be in touch with all of the neighbors year-round. Yes, I know a lot more of them now than I used to know back in 2009 when I first started knocking their doors. Yet I still need to do a lot of catching up to know them all on a personal level. I still dream of a day when I could name each of my neighbors at each of these houses, without looking at the list in my clipboard. Will that be true one day?


TOMORROW: Early Voting for City Elections

For the first time, early Voting for City elections will happen tomorrow, on Sunday, October 27, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the College Park Community Center located on 5051 Pierce Avenue in College Park.

The City encourages all voters who may find it difficult to vote on Election Day to come to the polls this Sunday, October 27 and cast their vote.

This will be the only opportunity for City residents to EARLY Vote. Voters from any City Council district may participate in Early Voting. The Voting Center at the College Park Community Center is ADA accessible and will be equipped with accessible voting equipment. Located across from Paint Branch Elementary school, ample free parking is available. Identification is not required for voting.

City of College Park Elections will occur on Tuesday, November 5, 2019. For more information about City Elections, please visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/elections .


November 2019 Leaf Collection Calendar

November 2019 Leaf Collection calendar (Please click to see the full view)

Curbside leaf vacuuming begins November 4 and will continue through the beginning of January. Look for the posted signs in your neighborhood to know when curbside leaf collection will occur. Collection schedules are tentative as they depend on weather conditions. Refer to the city website http://www.collegeparkmd.gov/dpw#curbsideleaf for the most up-to-date collection schedule.

NOTE: To stay on schedule, leaf trucks will not be able to return to collect leaves once they have already been through your street. Each area of the City is scheduled to be serviced at least 4 times during this period, so there will be several opportunities to have leaves collected. Additionally, the vacuum hoses are not able to reach around cars or other obstructions, so it is imperative that piles of leaves are accessible from the street.

Curbside Leaf Collection Do’s and Don’ts:

• No bagging is necessary during leaf collection with vacuums. Soft yard waste can be included in your leaf piles (e.g. grass, flowers, weeds – no vines or woody trimmings). 

• Rake leaves to the curb. Do not put them in the street. Pile leaves away from cars and storm drains. The leaf vacuum cannot reach around cars. 

• Remove vines or woody yard waste, tree limbs, rocks, trash, and other debris from leaves to be collected. These items can damage the equipment and cause delays.

• Noise and dust may be noticeable. Dry conditions generate more dust. We apologize for any inconvenience.

• If you put your soft yard waste (grass, leaves and weeds) in bags, containers or the yard waste carts, they will only be collected when the leaf vacuum is scheduled to be in your neighborhood. Weekly yard waste collections on regular trash collection days are suspended during curbside leaf collection period.

• Leaf vacuuming only occurs in the fall/early winter.

(City of College Park)


Downtown Farmers Market Closes – at Least for 2 Years!

The 2011 Downtown Farmer’s Market Banner

Last Sunday was the last day at the Downtown Farmers Market for the 2019 season.

The main reason for closing the market was due to low customer turnout. The market has been struggling to keep the participating vendors at the market.

In addition to the low turnout, the parking lot where the market was happening, will not be available due to the impending new City Hall Development. The construction will continue for at least 2 years.

The Downtown Farmers Market started its operation in 2011. A City committee used to run the market in the beginning. City staff later on took the responsibility of managing the vendors and its operation until now.

We want to thank its many friends for supporting our Market this year and look forward to seeing you at the other College Park Farmers Markets, including the Hollywood Farmers Market in north College Park.

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