Friday, March 30, 2018

Through a Donkey's Eyes


His eyes met mine, and I knew that this was no mortal human.


St. Petersburg, Fl
By: E. Eugene Webb PhD 


The day started normally the keeper of the flock singled out a few goats and a couple of us donkeys to take to the market place in a small village just outside of Jerusalem.

I had made this trip before. I was often put up for sale, but I have never been ridden, and a little hostile action sent most would-be buyers looking elsewhere for a donkey.

The trip from the fields to the village was uneventful, but there did seem to more people than normal on the road, and they were carrying palm fronds and seemed very excited, all very upsetting to me.

Once at the market things went pretty much as usual, a lot of lookers but no one seemed particularly interested in buying me.

As the day wore on, activity in the market dropped off as people headed back to the road to see a new King that was coming to Jerusalem.

My owners packed up and lead me to a small inn where I was tied to a hitch rack outside while they had something to eat and drink.

Suddenly, two men arrived and began to untie my line. The owners shouted, "Hey what are you doing with our donkey?" The men replied, "The Master has need of your donkey." The owners bowed as the men unhitched my line. I felt no need to buck or pull away; there was a strange feeling in my soul to go where I was needed.

In a short time, we arrived at a throng of people, in their midst a man like no man I had ever seen. His eyes met mine, and I knew that this was no mortal human.

As they threw their cloaks on my back, at first I shivered and wanted to throw them off, but then the man, this King, was at my side and laid his hand on me. All fear left me.

As they sat him on my back warmth filled my being, and we headed toward the great City.

The trip was not long the cloaks and palm fronds made stepping a bit treacherous, but there was always the steady hand guiding me to the final destination.

The crowd was cheering, as the man climbed off my back. Our eyes once again met. This time he looked sad and deeply concerned. His eyes moved to the City for a moment then, for some reason, back to mine.

There was a loving smile, I could only close my eyes in response, and when I opened them, he was gone.

The two who had found me returned me to the village where surprisingly my owners still waited.

We returned to the fields, but I was never again taken to the market for sale.

Sometimes in the cool of the evening, my owners would come to my place in the field and sit and tell stories to their children about the day the King rode me to Jerusalem.

The children would pet me gently, and the warmth of that day would once again fill my body.

May the blessing of Easter be yours.


E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
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Monday, March 26, 2018

Robinson Preserve 5K&10K Run

One of the most beautiful and scenic running race courses in Florida

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.

This weekend was a great weekend for running races and Theresa decided to run the 10th annual Robinson Preserve 5K&10K Run in Manatee County sponsored by Fit2Run and host of others on Saturday March 23.
Since Manatee County will be our new home soon, this was a great opportunity to see the Preserve and enjoy the race.
Robison Preserve is a beautiful site currently under development by Manatee County and is destined to become a premier family park over time.
Over the years, I have covered many running races, and this event was one of the best organized and executed in recent memory. Hats off the race organizers and planners.
You can get more detail on the Race and the 700-acre Robinson Preserve here.
Running races are very visual events so the best way to portray them is in pictures.

For this event I shot over 1,400 frames. You can see these photos at 10th Annual Robison Reserve 5k and 10k Run.
In order to get these photos out quickly, they are the raw shoot and have not been edited in any way, so you may see some fuzzy images and out of frame pictures.
They are in the public area our photo hosting site and are available for you to copy or download at no cost for both individuals and media. So please enjoy.
By the way, after a bit of hiatus from running, Theresa finished 14th of 44 in her class.
Please take a look at the photos, like this post on your Facebook page and Twitter and share on Instagram so as many of the Race participants as possible can check them out.
We are looking forward to becoming part of the Manatee County/Palmetto community later in the year.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.
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Sunday, March 25, 2018

St. Pete Unfiltered calls out the Kriseman Administration


The millennials have arrived and they are speaking up


 A couple of decades ago, the then City Leaders of St. Petersburg decided it was time to change the City’s image from Green benches, retirement communities and the somewhat sleepy place downtown had become and “move" the city into the next Century.
Then began what former Mayor Rick Baker has often referred to as the 20-year overnight renaissance of St. Petersburg.
The decision was made to attract this new group of people, the millennials, to St. Pete with their new work ethics, software-based business and app powered lifestyle. 
It was a long slow process to shake off the retirement image of St. Pete and there were a number of false starts, but gradually the development regulations were changed; Bay Plaza started and stumbled; Baywalk started and stumbled, but then the tall buildings began to be permitted, and alongside Bayfront Towers and  the City began to spring to life.
People started to come back down town and among them the millennials who found a place where they were welcome, could live and thrive.
Although their numbers have grown, their political influence and response to over-all issues in St. Pete have been somewhat muted. Content with Beach Drive and Central Avenue with open work spaces, home offices, brew pubs and sidewalk cafes, the millennials have been content, up to now, to let the “old guard” and the old politics run the City.
That is about to change.
More and more frequently, we see them coming before City Council with issues, questions, new ideas, new business and problems that affect them and their lifestyles.
This weekend a group of millennials has taken to the motion picture screen to raise their concern about how things are getting done in St. Petersburg and have chosen to focus on a quality of life issue - the sewage debacle with their documentary St. Petersburg Unfiltered.
The Kriseman Administration and City Council have totally bugled this crisis right up to last week’s "Sewer Report”; see my Post St. Petersburg’s “SAD” water resources Administrator and their reaction to the Documentary is apolitically typical see the Fox News piece by Evan Axelbank: Documentary examines St. Pete's sewer issues
The crowd at the premier showing was large and responsive.
Rick Kriseman and every City Council member better take note. The whole idea of throwing a pile of money at the problem and not holding people accountable, not getting to the root cause of the problem is the issue of St. Petersburg Unfiltered.
Several administrations have catered to the millennials while ignoring the infrastructure. I have even heard them called “precious” for their lifestyles and ability to bring change.
Well, they are here now, and it seems they are not happy with how things are being done.
Meet twelve people who have stepped up top call out the City government, all of it, for how it is managing the sewer and infrastructure problem.
Names from left to right and top to bottom: Caroline, Brandon Melissa, Evan, Luke, Jaycie, Shelby, Victoria, Ridley, Kelly, Justine and Dylan.
I fully expect some of these names on the ballot in the very near future.
E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Calling St. Pete Police for noise gets you labeled as re-occurring complainant

St. Petersburg Fl
Public Opinion by author: Robert Neff


The St. Petersburg police are not enforcing the noise ordinance. Mayor Kriseman is aware of the noise issue and has not directed Chief Holloway to enforce it. If you call the police to report a noise issue, you may have:


  • your Community Service Office labels you a "re-occurring complainant," 
  • your City Council Member [Kornell] call you a liar in a public meeting 
  • other Council members or bar supporters label you as the only person calling, when they have not researched the matter beyond accepting input from the Police   
  • bar supporters tell you to move
  • Mayor Kriseman apologize to the police for you being an inconvenience. 
  • have neighborhood association leads say you are the problem and ask you to move. 
  • have neighborhood association board presidents and leads not support you   
  • neighborhood chatter label you to be the problem because they are friends of the bar or do not want to loose the bar 
  • a bar file a civil lawsuit against you for calling the police and or sharing the experience on social media. 
This has created a chilling effect on neighborhoods, where residents live in fear of being targeted by the police, sued by a bar, or ostracized by the neighborhood. Lawsuits have a chilling effect, especially for people on fixed incomes or seniors, who want to help but will not come forward. They know they cannot afford $2500 for an attorney. This will get you started, but is not enough. The lawsuit may cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000. 

The frustration is evident and many have given up calling the police. City Council Members have stated the reduction in calls is due to the new ordinance in 2014 and revision in 2016. Council Members do not have the research to prove that statement and should refrain from publicizing this until the research has been conducted and analyzed. The Police have had the data for years and have not conducted trend analysis. 

The police knew there was a problem, yet, failed to run a proper investigation of the noise issue. Had they done so, they would have seen this and more:



A solid argument can be made that the lack of enforcement and frustration is a stronger reason than a change in noise ordinance to cause a decrease in noise calls! Lack of citations have been a strong contributing factor. They have been almost nonexistent as compared to the number of calls. 
Citations have dropped a third since 2014 from 49 to 9
By responding to the calls and not citing the bars and residences generating noise, Mayor Kriseman and Police Chief Holloway have wasted resident's taxes. One note: Police do not cite bars, per the noise ordinance, which states the individual managing the bar are to be cited.

The City was made aware of the noise issue countless times prior to 2014. Back then, the City thought noise was a downtown issue between the residences and the bars. That is, until I started calling about the noise from an establishment that serves alcohol in South St. Petersburg and discovered otherwise. There are more repeat noise calls to residences than bars and this is a citywide issue, not a downtown issue.

I worked with the local Community Service Officer to address the noise issue with the local establishment. I told him there were other callers. I even had been elevated to work with then acting Assistant Police Chief Kovacsev. He used the Police CAD system, which issued a report of calls. He said I was the only caller. Yet, the Police could not tell me which noise ordinance applied. 

Had he listened to the audio tapes and read the incident reports, requested the data and analyzed it, expanded the timeline to understand the trends, reviewed the Call For Service Reports, he would have known I was not the only caller and there was an issue. Both Chief Holloway and Major Kovacsev should have asked why the establishment had 180 calls from 2009-2016 and no citations?

I started making Public Records Requests for information and digging into the data. I shared the results with the Mayor, City Council, and Police. They failed to act upon the data. Why? An obvious question that had to be considered was, were they protecting the bars? 

The bar establishments causing the noise were a very small percentage of all establishments selling alcohol. The City did not realize there were more noise calls to residences spread throughout the city than there were calls to downtown bars.
The City thought the issue was just with downtown bars. Then why was the City protecting the bars and blaming residents?
In March 2018, the police provided me with an updated spreadsheet on the citations that showed there had been 114 citations issued to individuals. The previous spreadsheet obtained through a Public Records Request had 15 calls. 
I have logged over 50 excuses why the responding police would not cite an establishment.
In December 2015, Police Legal Advisor Andrea Luce provided guidance on the correct noise ordinance to use for establishment. When you read the ordinance, the referenced paragraph provides the distance from the establishment and the time noise is allowed. However, on multiple occasions the responding officers did not follow this guidance, changed the paragraph that applied and said I was 1000' or 3000', or they verbally old me that they would not follow Police Legal's advice. 

One officer, who admonished me for taking decibel readings across the street from the establishment and sending them to the Mayor and Council (Decibel peaks were 97 dBA), documented his response in a Police Incident Report.  

The officer refused to accept and review the copy of the Police Legal Advisor Luce's email. I have a witness to that conversation with the officer. I read his Police Incident Report. It was inaccurate. I notified the Police and was told this would not be changed. 

On December 15, 2015, Police Legal Advisor Andrea Luce had asked Officer Kelly to provide a copy of the ordinance to the establishment. I was never copied on the email. Why not? I had been working with the Police, but Police and Police Legal seemed to be throwing up a roadblock ever chance they could.

In 2016, the new Community Service Officer came to call me a re-occuring complainant. Officer Rulison, Police Advisors Sasha Lohn-McDermott, Andrea Luce never once offered to speak to me about the noise issue to hear my side. 



In the email, the referenced Flamingo Resort's owner is the President of the Board for the Skyway Marina District.

According to court documents filed on March 18, 2016, EDGE PARTNERS LLC d/b/a Flamingo Resort filed a civil lawsuit against Robert Neff seeking damages that exceed $15,000 exclusive of interests and costs. The five counts were: 
  • Count 1 — Defamation
  • Count 2 — Injurious Falsehood
  • Count 3 — Private Nuisance
  • On August 3, Flamingo Resort DROPPED Counts 4 and 5 — Tortious Interference with Advantagous Business Relationships and Malicious Prosecution
On September 13, 2016, Judge Boyer dismissed the three remaining counts.

The Community Service Officer and Police Legal have never offered to meet and discuss the issue. They never apologized for labeling me a "re-occurring complainant." 

The research I conducted to identify the problem was a significant cost in both cost for the Public Records and my time. Not once did Mayor Kriseman or the Police offer to reimburse me for my Public Records Requests. 

Mayor Kriseman and Police Chief Holloway have failed to address the lack of oversight, failed to enforce the noise pollution ordinance, failed to protect us in our homes from noise, and have not apologized to the residents labeled called re-occurring complainants or problem callers. They should, but that would take leadership.


The opinions here are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bay Post Internet or the Blog Publishers where it appears.


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Friday, March 23, 2018

St. Pete Unfiltered - St. Petersburg’s sewage crisis the Movie


Premiering this Saturday at Gasparilla International Film Festival  


St. Petersburg, Fl. 
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD 
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.
Here is how St. Pete Unfiltered describes themselves on their WEB SITE: 
“The St Pete Unfiltered Team is a close-knit group of environmental activists and advocates from St. Petersburg, Florida. Coming together after Hurricane Irma contributed to the chronic and ongoing spills from the city's sewage treatment facilities, the team decided to document the reasons for St. Petersburg's continuing poisoning of Tampa Bay's beloved waters. The result of that work is St Pete Unfiltered.”

A group of millennials that have adopted St. Petersburg as their home want to be a part of seeing their home town is protected and those that fail to protect it are held accountable.

Now they have produced a motion picture documentary to detail St. Petersburg’s ongoing sewage problem and those who are part of the problem.

To see a trailer, click here: St. Pete Unfiltered Trailer This is a must see.

The documentary runs Saturday March 24 at the Gasparilla International Film Festival

To Buy tickets click here: St. Pete Unfiltered

These nine people could be the leading edge of the “new” St. Petersburg.

Theresa and I will be there Saturday, come and join us for what may just be the beginning of a major change in the fabric of St. Petersburg politics.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
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Thursday, March 22, 2018

City of St. Petersburg lacks reporting to know the noise and crime calls by time of day

St. Petersburg Fl
Public Opinion by author: Robert Neff

While the city owns the data, Mayor Kriseman and Police Chief Holloway have  a lack of reporting for addresses with repeat calls for noise. These repeat calls to bars and addresses are costing the City a lot of money to have Police respond. The City needs one report for noise at addresses and bars with repeat calls. They need to add another report for bars that shows the crime alongside the noise. Then they could quickly see if there are a hot spot and direct resources.

By reviewing the report, the Police would be able to quickly know there was a high number of calls at a location after midnight and on Sunday. Officers, especially community service officers, would know which bars and residences are repeat callers, and be in a better position to work with the resident or bar.

Unfortunately, the police have no stats to alert them to these facts. If they had this report and other reports, they would not be so inclined to target individuals as reoccurring callers when they hear the noise and or thumping inside their residence.

This report does not only use the calls to the location. The report needs to include:
1. Calls assigned to addresses in the area that were labeled as noise, loud party. ordinance violation,
2. Calls assigned to addresses in the area, but assigned to a residence or intersection.
3. Listen to audio of the calls because Police Dispatch may roll up multiple calls in a time frame from residents into one call. Thus, only one call is logged.
4. Calls assigned to addresses in a local intersection. The Police Call For Service Report would need to be reviewed to determine if the call was for the repeat address in question.
 
The opinions here are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bay Post Internet or the Blog Publishers where it appears.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

St. Petersburg’s “SAD” water resources Administrator

His face was sad; his body motions almost contorted and his signature bow tie somewhat askew.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author
: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.
Last Thursday’s St. Pete City Council meeting featured a report, more like an episode of a soap opera, entitled “Sewer Report” featuring Claud Tankersly, Public Works Administrator, in the lead role.
 The event complete with intrigue, deflection, denial and betrayal was replete with hand wringing, whining, sad eyes, sorrowful but poor acting and accusations.
Craven Askew, the St. Petersburg treatment plant operator turned Whistle Blower, who informed all of us and City Council of issues with the treatment plants last year has raised the ire of St. Pete Public Works officials by once again blowing the whistle when one of his reports was modified.
Askew ‘s report said about 100,000 gallons of reclaimed water entered a ditch that led to Tampa Bay. Upon review by St. Pete Waste Water officials, the report was changed leaving out the part about leading into the Bay and Askew was not notified.
You can get more detail in an article by Josh Solomon in the  Tampa Bay Times St. Petersburg’s latest sewage mystery is quite colorful. 
What struck me about Thursday’s Council meeting and Tankersley’s report was the demeanor more than the substance. Tankersly moaned and whined about the report with his “I’m saddened" argument.
His face was sad; his body motions almost contorted and his signature bow tie somewhat askew.
You can catch the whole somewhat disgusting episode on video at the City Council Sewer Report scroll down to Item 3  “Sewer Report” and listen/watch the woeful lament of  Claude Tankersly the City’s Public Works Administrator.
He blamed Askew for putting the “entire” wastewater department into turmoil. I suspect the reason the department is in a turmoil is most of them don’t trust management any more than Askew does.
 It was clear that Tankersly was sending a strong message to the rest of the plant operators and the rest of the Waste Water employees to keep their opinions to themselves.
If you look carefully you will see a somewhat uncomfortable appearing Water Resources Director, John Palenchar, standing in frame dutifully nodding agreement with everything Tankersly says.
Great staging.
It would seem Tankersly is most upset because Askew originally reported as a whistle blower to protect himself, and once again invoked whistle blower status, since apparently, he (Askew) does not trust either of these guys any further than he could throw them.
Tankersly went on at length to firmly state “he” not think this episode rises to the level of whistle blower, but I am not sure what he thinks about the law matters much.
The point is, these two guys, Tankersley and Palenchar, are those selected to run the wastewater system. They only stop shooting themselves in the foot long enough to reload and Askew is handing them the bullets.
A lot of us have had employees who somehow manage to get themselves into a seemingly untouchable position but going out of your way to further agitate the man is just simply poor management.
 And Tankersley’s argument regarding reconciliation that Askew had not “reached out to him” has to be one of the lamest excuses ever and brought reactions from Council Members Montanari and Kornell. (Scroll down the video).
All of this would be pretty good television and print if there was not so much at stake.
It is time Mayor Kriseman step in and get someone to bring some sanity and manage the chaos that his current team can’t seem to handle before something really serious happens again.
I can’t wait for the next episode.
E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Is St. Pete too loud for The Who and AC/DC?

St. Petersburg Fl
Opinion by author: Robert Neff

Rock 'n' Roll fans know noise is serious when Roger Daltrey of The Who declares himself “very, very deaf” in the Times article, I'm so deaf I have to lipread at gigs admits Roger Daltrey, by Geddes and Tucker, who added, AC/DC postponed their 2016 tour because of the singer Brian John Johnson risk of “total hearing loss.” Neil Young said, "I hurt my ears [Making the live Album Weld] and they'll never be the same again." Daltrey is advising fans to bring your ear plugs to the gig. 

According to the article, “Hearing degrades slightly with every period of sustained noise above 85 decibels.” Unfortunately the City of St. Petersburg didn't hear that! In the 3rd Noise Ordinance’s Public Meeting, the City proposed a separate noise level for the Downtown Core.
  • Jannus Block 85dBA/87dBC. 8a.m.-*11 p.m.(1a.m. Friday, Saturday, before holiday)
  • Jannus Block 65dBA/75dBC. *11p.m.-8a.m.(1a.m. Friday, Saturday, before holiday)
Residents need to understand the difference between dBA (A-Weighted) and dBC (C-Weighted).
dBA is a measurement of audio, where dBC measures bass and subwoofers. 
Both 85 dBA and 87 dBC during the day is a serious cause for public health. Just ask Roger Daltry, Neil Young and Brian Johnson! Will the City issue ear plugs and noise cancelling headsets to downtown visitors and residents?

The City had a respected acoustical company measure the sound in several locations and areas. There were three studies, where one was a mechanical study and two were acoustical. Overall, the noise results were worse than expected for the downtown areas measured.
At the City's 3rd Noise Ordinance Public Meeting, bar supporters questioned the company's credentials without knowing who the City had hired. The audio engineer who asked the question could have used his cellphone to do a quick google search, but instead chose to question the City's selection. Here is Keane Acoustics' portfolio

The real issue is Mayor Kriseman and City Council, who will approve the ordinance, do not understand what the noise levels are, how they feel inside your home, and how they impact our health. Nor do the bar owners and patrons. 

They do not live near a bar or nightclub, so they have no real world experience. Saying 60 dBA is a normal conversation at 3 feet and thinking 70 and 80 decibels is not bad, is wrong. This is not a linear measurement. The sound keeps doubling every ten decibels!  That is, 70 is double 60 and 80 is double 70.

Where dBA measures audible, dBC measures  low frequency bass and subwoofer. Bass and subwoofers are low frequency waves. This is the thumping residents hear and feel inside their home. These are powerful waves and can bounce off buildings, impact one floor and not another, and enter buildings through the walls and glass. 

When they enter the building, the wall material acts as a filter, leaving only the thumping. How would you like to be subjected to thumping in your own home for 2 hours? How about 2-8 hours?

Noise impacts adults and kids health. This causes health issues with blood pressure, anxiety, heart issues, ringing in the ears, and sleep deprivation. Since the Mayor and City Council do not live with the noise, that is why they always seem happy and well-rested.

Unlike Mayor Kriseman and City Council, trapped residents do have real world experience. Yet, residents are forced to listen to the thumping inside the home because Police are not actively issuing citations. Many times, the officers just tell the repeat noise offenders to turn it down, again, and again, and again. 

Police can hide behind the current noise ordinance and say the noise is not clearly audible. So the Police who have had been to homes and felt the walls vibrating are not convinced the noise is clearly audible. Doesn't it seem odd that many times residents can give you the DJ's play list? 

Then to add insult to the injury, residents who complain, get to hear the bar owners or the offending resident tell them to move.  The bar owners will have you believe they are the victims, but let’s think talk at the bars in the City’s Top 50 addresses with repeat calls

There are approximately ten bars, but not all are downtown. One club blasts the music at the outdoor pool every Sunday per their advertisement on Facebook. You can see the 2016 map of addresses with repeat calls online.

Actually, the City has no idea how many bars and residents have repeat calls for noise. There is very little information on where the problem addresses are, how many are bars or residences, and how much crime comes with repeat noise calls

How can our Mayor and City Council make a solid decision without understanding how many addresses are repeat callers? What is the mix of residents and bar owners? What day of the week has the most calls? What time of day does Police dispatch get the most calls? How many calls are made during the allowable and not allowed times and where?What are the trends? 

Why haven't the the City and Police broke down the data for each bar and residence with repeat calls? Council needs to ask or the data, so they can make an informed decision.  

Mayor Kriseman and the Police have not provided the City Council with the data needed to understand the noise issue. This is a lack of transparency, and Mayor Kriseman excels at this! Or maybe, he can't hear you because he is wearing his City-issued earplugs and noise cancelling headset?


The opinions here are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bay Post Internet or the Blog Publishers where it appears.

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