Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mid-week Roundup

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2011 at 12:25 PM

All variety of newsy bits in the past 24 hours, ranging from tragic to peevish to frivolous.

First, the tragic. SoHum blogger Kym Kemp reports that 20-year-old Amanda Sue Klemm of McKinleyville died last night after the truck she was in -- driven by Noah Joseph Carter, 19, of Eureka -- plunged off the wet road north of Leggett and ended up submerged in the South Fork Eel River.

The Times-Standard reports that a third suspect has been arrested in the May 4 murder of Willow Creek resident Darrell Hanger Sr.

Also on the T-S, eagle-eye reporter Donna "The Hoover" Tam relays the county Board of Supervisors' short list for the vacant at-large position on the planning commission: former Eureka Planning Commissioners David Edmonds and Greg Conners, retired Humboldt No. 1 Fire Protection District Chief Glenn Ziemer, Redwood Times reporter Virginia Graziani, former county Planning Commissioner Richard Hansis, former Arcata Planning Commissioner Ann King Smith, and planning consultant Sungnome Madrone. They're due to make a choice at their May 24 meeting.

On to the peevish: Lost Coast Outpost maestro Hank Sims has released a second email chain between opinionated Eureka businessman Rob Arkley and left-leaning Humboldt County Supervisor Mark Lovelace. Their spirited tête-à-tête "bears all the hallmarks of a classic flame war," as Sims puts it. All in all it's a spirited debate over who's a bigger liar, and who owes whom an apology.

Finally, the frivolous: This week the Journal releases its annual "Summer of Fun" issue, complete with an exhaustive list of kids' activities. (Not the frivolous part; parents may well find that list indispensable.)

On the cover you'll find a collage of goofy-lookin' chillun, with no explanation as to who these youngsters may be. You'll find the key below. Simply scroll over the photo to see who's who.

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1. Calendar Editor/Seven-O-Heaven creator Andrew Goff
2. Arts & Entertainment Editor Bob Doran
3. Staff Writer Heidi Walters (with grandma and sisters)
4. Ad Rep Colleen Hole
5. Advertising Assistant Kathryn Blaisdell
6. Graphic Designer Siobhan Calderwood
7. Graphic Designer Lynn Jones (and little brother Bob)
8. Acting Editor Ryan Burns (and older sister Melissa)
9. Ad Rep Karen Sack (and sister)
10. Ad Rep Shane Mizer (and mom)
11. Art Director Holly Harvey
12. Graphic Designer Alana Chenevert
13. Classified Assistant Corin Balkovek

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Low Was the Tide

Posted By on Tue, May 17, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Barry Evans, the Journal's eloquent "Field Notes" scribe, sent in these pictures of the Eureka waterfront. It was substantially lower this morning; at minus 2, the tide was at one of its lowest levels of the year. (Open each image in a new tab to view at full resolution.)

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Citizen Egger

Posted By on Mon, May 16, 2011 at 5:41 PM

Tonight at 6 p.m. Fortuna resident Janelle Egger will once again go before the Fortuna City Council to ask them, once again, what the heck they're doing spending money on a new water reservoir at Stewart Street when they've got a perfectly good, underused one on Vancil. She says.

She's gently, forcefully, legally and otherwise peck-peck-pecked at the council and city staff for years. She sued the city for access to public documents, and won. She even ran (unsuccessfuly) for city council last year.

And she's a regular public participant during public comment moments before the council.

Egger sent out a preview today of what she plans to say at tonight's meeting. And she made some handy charts.

In this chart she shows what she's figured out to be the change in cost estimates between 2005 and now to build a new tank to replace two old ones on Stewart Street. They've gone up. And in this chart she's compared the use of the existing big tank on Vancil to the proposed new tank on Stewart Street for meeting current and future water needs, including fire flow. The old Vancil one, she's figured, suits the city's needs just fine.

She also included her comments in the news release. If you can't make the meeting, you can read them after the jump.

I want to share with you information regarding the Stewart Street Replacement project. First, based on city records, it looks like the total cost of this project is at least a $4.5 million and could exceed $5million. 

It is important to remember that the money for this project is from the 2006 Water Revenue Bonds.  One of the reasons we raised water rates was to guarantee this $7million bond debt.

The 2006 City Council passed a resolution telling rate payers that specific projects had been identified by a 2005 study.* The Stewart Street Reservoir Reconstruction project had an estimated at $2.1 million.  Where is the rest of the money for this project coming from?

The resolution told us that the bond debt was for projects "that are required to fulfill the City's current operational responsibilities."  A 2007 Report* identified the citywide storage needs, and the need in each pressure zone.  I have a chart for you based on that report.  The chart reflects the two parts of our water system, with 3 pressure zones served by storage in the southeast and 5 zones served by storage in the north.

When you look at this chart it is important to remember that the 2006 Council resolution told us that the bond debt was for improvements to our existing system only and "are not driven by future development."

I remind you that up the street from the proposed tank are 5 million gallons in Vancil reservoir.  For 45 years, less than 1of its 5 million gallons have been utilized.  I respectfully suggest that a project to make the piping and pumping improvements to use this storage is a more appropriate use of the bond debt.  Of course we are concerned about the future, but the storage in Vancil can meet current need and provide for future development.

I remind you that the Stewart Street Replacement Project will soon go out to bid and you will be asked to authorize the signing of a contract to build 2 million gallons of additional storage down the street from Vancil reservoir.  I ask, is this project an appropriate use of the money rate payers were told was for improvements to our existing system, not for projects driven by future development?

I hope the information I'm providing is useful in helping you answer that question.

Janelle Egger

* 2005 Water Hydraulic Study; Resolution 2006-25; April 2007 Preliminary Design Report

 

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From the Gov: State Budget Magic

Posted By on Mon, May 16, 2011 at 12:08 PM

Just in from the Governor's office, long awaited details on how the state will move toward a balanced budget -- in bullet points. Among the highlights: less taxes and more spending (on education anyway). 

Hmm, sounds like some kind of voodoo.

SACRAMENTO -- Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. today unveiled a revised state budget that reduces by nearly $3 billion the amount of taxes needed to balance the budget, spurs job creation through new tax incentives and pays off most of the $34.7 billion debt built up over the last decade.

"California's economy is growing, but we still face a $10 billion structural deficit and a wall of debt for years to come," said Brown. "California's finances were plunged into turmoil by the Great Recession and a decade of short-term fixes and fiscal gimmicks. This is not the time to delay or evade. This is the time to put our finances in order."

The revised budget also downsizes state government and protects education and public safety. Since taking office in January, Brown and the legislature have cut spending by $9 billion and have taken other steps to reduce the deficit.

Key Highlights of Governor Brown's May Revision Budget

Reduce the amount of taxes required to balance the budget. Californians will pay $2 billion less in income taxes this year than proposed in the January budget.

Increase spending on K-12 education. For years, the state has shortchanged public education in order to balance the budget, forcing school districts to borrow in order to balance their budgets. The revised budget increases funds for public schools by $3 billion.  Even with this new infusion of funds, California schools are still owed billions by the state.

more after the jump...

Spur job creation through tax incentives. The revised budget restricts Enterprise Zone credits to create new jobs only; spurs investments in California jobs through mandatory single sales; encourages manufacturing jobs through reduced sales tax on equipment purchases; and revamps a hiring tax credit to encourage additional job creation.

Create a long-term strategy to address California's Wall of Debt. California has accrued $35 billion in budgetary debt by borrowing from future generations. The May Revision lays out a plan to pay off at least $29 billion in looming state debt by 2015.

Cut state government. The revised budget eliminates 43 boards, commissions, task forces, offices and departments that represent an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. As services are returned to the local level, the Departments of Mental Health and Alcohol and Drug Programs will be eliminated. The revised budget also proposes to merge the Healthy Families Program into the Medi-Cal program, reducing costs and creating a single health care program for low income families

Improve debt management. More than $11 billion in cash from bond sales is sitting in department accounts, where it costs taxpayers more than $700 million a year in debt service for projects that have yet to be completed, creating an unacceptable burden on taxpayers. The revised budget proposes expediting projects, moving cash out of accounts and into projects that create jobs and improve state infrastructure as taxpayers intended.

Restore honesty to the budget process. Last year's budget underfunded the costs of both the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and Department of Mental Health by $465 million. The revised budget addresses the shortfalls in these departments and establishes controls to prevent future overspending.

Sell underutilized state properties. The revised budget proposes the sale of state-owned properties like the Los Angeles Coliseum, the Montclair Golf Course in Oakland, the Capital Area Development Authority in Sacramento and the Ramirez Canyon property in Southern California. These properties serve no state function and should be sold off to pay debt.

The May Revision can be found here: www.ebudget.ca.gov/

 

 

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A Hupa Renaissance

Posted By on Mon, May 16, 2011 at 10:22 AM

A story in today's Sacramento Bee (originally published in the Contra-Costa Times) profiles the efforts to rescue the Hupa language from extinction. Native Hoopa resident Kayla Carpenter, 22, is a doctoral student studying linguistics at UC Berkeley. She tells reporter Matt Krupnick that she and her colleagues are "using education as a tool, rather than having education used as a tool against us."

That's a reference to the late 19th century, when the tribe's children were punished by white teachers if they dared speak their native language.

After completing her doctoral thesis, Carpenter plans to return to her family and culture in Hoopa. She narrates the above video in the Hupa language.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

California to Close 70 State Parks (Updated)

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2011 at 2:26 PM

Fort Humboldt

The Sacramento Bee reported earlier today that 70 state parks will be closed due to the state budget deficit, under plans announced by Gov. Jerry Brown's administration.

Governor Jerry Brown's budget calls for $22 million in cuts to state park funding. The criteria for choosing which parks would be shuttered were based on attendance rates and historical significance, according to the Bee.

The proposed closures include Fort Humboldt, Del Norte Coast Redwoods, Grizzly Creek Redwoods, the Weaverville Joss House, Shasta State Historic Park in Redding and the Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area.

UPDATE: The California State Parks System says the closures will not be completed until July 1, 2012.

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Interactive Census Data

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Here's a fun new playground for data hounds: The U.S. Census Bureau has created an interactive map that allows you to compare demographic data by state, county or city. So, for example, you can look at Humboldt County's race statistics and see that 81.7 percent of us are white (109,920 of 134,623). The next-largest group, American Indian and Alaska Native, is a paltry 5.7 percent of the total.

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How about age and sex data, you say? Check it out: 20.1 percent of Humboldt County is under the age of 18. Baby Boomers (age 50-64) make up 21.8 percent of the population; 20-34-year-olds are 23.7 percent. The male/female split is almost halfsies -- 50.2 to 49.8.

Then what you can do is compare us to our neighbors. Trinity County is even more homogeneous than we are (87 percent white), whereas Mendocino County has a bit more diversity (though they're still pretty pale at 76.5 percent white). Of our immediate neighbors, Del Norte County is the least honky-fied -- 73.7 percent white, 7.8 percent AIAN.

Age-wise, Mendocino County is 22.1 minors, 24 percent Boomers and just 17.7 percent fall in the 20-34 range.

Almost half of Trinity County's population (48.7 percent) is 50 or older.

Del Norte County is 55.6 percent male.

When you're done comparing things at the county level, you can dig deeper and compare city/town demographics. (Five African Americans live in Blue Lake (0.46 percent of the population) while nine live in Westhaven-Moonstone (0.83 percent)).

Anyway, you get the idea. Dig into the data, and let us know if you find anything interesting.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hey, You. Barred Owl.

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2011 at 5:20 PM

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All this fright and scatter about how the barred owl's taking over our Pacific Northwest woods, and nobody bothered to ask the barred owl directly about it? As in, "hey barred owl, how many of there are you, really, and have you really come to finish off what the "Spotted Owl--It's What's For Dinner" folks started?" (ouch. kidding. sort of.)

Well, results of a USGS study -- a mini study, part of a larger, nearly concluded four-year project on barred owl-spotted owl competition -- published in the April 2011 issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management suggest that sometimes it really is best to speak to the subject in its own language instead of some preferred-bird's lingo. From the news release:

"The purpose of this new research was to determine the degree to which barred owls were going undetected during calling surveys directed at spotted owls. Most previous information on barred owls in the Pacific Northwest was documented during calling surveys of spotted owls that used recorded spotted owl calls to elicit responses from both species at night. The new findings, however, are based on survey methods developed specifically for barred owls."

According to the lead scientist in the study, Dave Wiens of the USGS, on survey nights where researchers used spotted owl calls, only about half the barred owls present responded. When they used barred owl calls, two-thirds of the barred owls present responded.

So, heh heh, yes, they are in fact here to kick some s-owl booty. Actually, barred owls have been expanding west from the east coast for the past hundred years or so, said Wiens by phone today. "But their populations have really taken hold in the Pacific Northwest within the past 20 years or so," he said.

It's no laughing matter: The spotted owl's a protected species. Feathers may fly.

But maybe you want to nurture a little barred-owl love on the sly. If so, check out its vocalizations. They're far more intricate than the spotted owl's. Not that fancy speech matters.

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Food Safety Inspection Map

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2011 at 3:43 PM

This week's cover story, called "Queasy Eats," is the result of a months-long investigation by HSU students enrolled in an advanced reporting class taught by Asst. Professor (and the Journal's Media Maven) Marcy Burstiner. The issue is on the streets now and will be online tomorrow morning. But this here feature is so cool that we simply can't wait that long to show it to you.

The story is an examination of public food safety across the county, including hundreds of individual reports as well as the county's methods for conducting the inspections, the restaurants' records of compliance and the obstacles to public transparency.

That last one's a bugger. When's the last time you saw a health inspection report before sitting down for a meal out? Yeah, us either. Thankfully the industrious students of JMC 326 have done much of the work for us. Below is a map of Humboldt County with links to 95 noteworthy inspection reports. (We should note, this is not a comprehensive collection; there are more than 750 restaurants, food trucks, deli counters and cafeterias in Humboldt County.)

To access individual reports simply click on any of the markers, then click the name of the restaurant to view the county's report.

View Humboldt County Restaurant Inspection Reports in a full screen map

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Game of Kinetic Chicken (updated)

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2011 at 11:24 AM

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Humboldt County's annual Memorial Day event, known by locals as the Kinetic Sculpture Race, has been fraught with problems over the years, mostly revolving around the fact that the race itself has never had any built-in monetization. When he was alive "Glorious Founder" Hobart Brown spent a lot of time fundraising and ended up in some tangled business deals in order to keep the race going.

When he died he left behind a somewhat messy estate (see "Hobart's Children" Jan. 2009). Now his son, Justin Hobart Brown, is asserting his ownership of the name of the race and associated trademarks, including the oft-repeated phrase "For the Glory." Earlier this week, he served papers on Kinetic Universe Queen Monica Topping (see below).

Here is the latest salvo in the war over who controls Kinetics, a press release sent to us this morning by Justin Hobart Brown with the ominous subject line, "Kinetic race cancelled?"

Update: We just received the official response from Kinetic Universe. It follws the letter from Justin Brown.

Kinetic race may be cancelled due to lack of contract.

The Kinetic Sculpture Race owner Justin Hobart Brown is asking the community to assist him in ensuring the 43rd annual 3 day cross country race will go on. This last minute plea is after receiving a refusal from the Non Profit, Kinetic Universe to sign a new contract to organize and run the event.

The previous two-year contract expired in February of this year. Kinetic Universe -- presided over by Rutabaga Queen and President Monica Topping -- has rejected a contract for use of the trademarks that include the name Kinetic Sculpture Race, symbol the Kinetic Chicken, and the slogan "For the Glory". In addition Mr. Brown wished to add to the new contract, his receipt of copies of all records involved in the organization of the race including financial records, the right to approve changes made to the rules and race itself, notification of Kinetic Universe board meetings involving the race and the sum of [$]19.69 and four 2011 race t-shirts.

Applications for the "Kinetic Grand Championship" have already been posted to the mailing list and include new changes to the rules which include "all children 18 years and under must carry proof of age with them at all times," a result of age restrictions imposed by the new race organizers.

Justin Hobart Brown, heir to the race, disagrees with this policy, stating "My father never wanted to keep anyone from experiencing the Kinetic Race. I have been concerned about the direction the race has been going the last few years, and with the signing of a new contract looked forward to working with the Queens more closely to make sure my father's creation maintained its family friendly feeling"

Justin goes on to say, "The Queens have said they will run the race anyway, without a licensing agreement or contract, and will make changes to the name and the Kinetic Chicken and not use "For the Glory". They are asking me for proof of ownership and have said that the previous contract was quote 'a symbolic gesture of goodwill, and the board doesn't feel like that goodwill has come back to us,' unquote."

Racers or community sponsors should be aware Kinetic Universe has no contract to conduct business for the 2011 Kinetic Grand Championship at this time.

If enough volunteers come forward the race will go on as scheduled Memorial Weekend, May 28, 29 and 30th. Mr. Brown is in the process of seeking permits and insurance. The generous donation of [$]53.18 would be welcome to cover initial insurance costs. Additional support for permit fees and porta-potties would be greatly appreciated as well.

In the event that a contractual agreement is reached with Kinetic Universe before race day Mr. Brown promises all donations and volunteer information will be passed along for a seamless transition.

Justin would like to thank all of the volunteers who have worked to make the race happen in the past and hopes they will come and support his efforts to keep the 2011 Kinetic Sculpture Race from being cancelled. A volunteer sign up and information table will be on the Arcata Plaza during "Arts Arcata" Friday the 13th, 2011 from 6:00-9:00. Please help!

Justin Hobart Brown

And here's the above-mentioned cease-and-desist order delived to Monica Topping:

Kinetic Universe                                                                                 May 5, 2011

Attn: Monica Topping, President

PO Box 5065

Arcata, CA 95518

Re: Kinetic Sculpture Race, Kinetic Chicken, For the Glory Trademarks

Name and likeness of Hobart Brown, Kinetic Sculpture Race Rules, Rutabaga Queen name and Contest Copyrights

Dear Monica:

It has been brought to our attention that your business, Kinetic Universe, has been using the trademarks Kinetic Sculpture Race, Kinetic Chicken, For the Glory and Copyrights of the Name and Likeness of Hobart Brown, Kinetic Sculpture Race Rules and Rutabaga Queen name and contest in association with the marketing or sale of your products & services. It is possible that you were unaware of this conflict, so we believe that it is in our mutual interest to bring this matter to your attention.

Kinetic Sculpture Race is a registered trademark (U.S. Reg. No. 3013113) Kinetic Chicken is a registered trademark (U.S. Reg. No.3078558) of our business, Humboldt Kinetic Association, in the classes of IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S, for the following services: Arranging and conducting a race of people powered vehicles. The Hobart Brown name and likeness, Kinetic Sculpture Race Rules (copyright 1990 Hobart Brown) and Rutabaga Queen name and contest (copyright 1998 KSR Inc) now owned by the Hobart Brown Trust, Trustee Justin Hobart Brown. (copies enclosed).

Our federal registration of these trademarks and copyright provides us with certain proprietary rights. This includes the right to restrict the use of the trademarks, or confusingly similar trademarks, in association with confusingly similar products or services.

It is important that we exercise our right to protect our trademarks. It serves as an important and distinctive representation of the origin of our products as well as the goodwill of our company.

State and federal law (Federal Trademark Act 15 U.S.C 1125 et seq) supports our position that confusingly similar trademarks may cause confusion among customers. This confusion may cause substantial harm to the trademarks by facilitating the loss of its effectiveness in establishing a distinct association between it, our products & services, and our company's goodwill.

Due to these concerns, and because unauthorized use of our federally registered trademarks amounts to an infringement of our trademark rights, we respectively request that you cease & desist in any further use of all above listed trademarks, copyrights and any confusingly similar representations thereof in association with the marketing, sale, distribution, or identification of your products, or services. To withdraw, cancel and/or delete any corporate names, domain names, trademark applications and/or trademark registrations for the above listed marks and copyrights.

Please respond by letter indicating your intention to cease & desist the use of and never in future to make use of the trademarks Kinetic Sculpture Race, Kinetic Chicken, For the Glory and the Copyrights of the Name and Likeness of Hobart Brown, Kinetic Sculpture Race Rules and Rutabaga Queen name and contest or any confusingly similar trademarks or copyrights without prior written authority from us whether within any corporate name, trading name, trading style, domain name or otherwise or return the enclosed contract with notarized signature authorizing use for the 2011 Kinetic Grand Championship by Tuesday May 10, 2011.

We hope that this issue may be resolved this way so we can avoid any further legal remedies as provided by state law and the U.S. Trademark Act.

Sincerely,

Justin Hobart Brown        2641 Union St Apt B Eureka, CA 95501

cc: Humboldt County Sheriff's Dept                          CalTrans- 1656 Union St, Eureka

      California Highway Patrol (Arcata)                         City of Arcata

      California Dept of Forestry (Fortuna)                     City of Eureka

      Bob Walsh, County Parks Division                         City of Ferndale

      Roads Division- Dept of Public Works             Arcata Ambulance

      City Ambulance of Eureka                         North Coast Rail Authority

       Kim Conrad, Northern Area Road Superintendent   New Belgian Ale

      Steve Finch, Southern Area Road Superintendent

      City of Eureka Police and Fire Department

      City of Arcata Police and Fire Department

      USCG Group/ Air Station Humboldt Bay

      Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation and Conservation District

      Manila Community Center

      Ferndale Center for Community Services

 

Official response from Monica Topping, Queen of Kinetic Universe:

The Kinetic Grand Championship will go on this year!

No one owns the race. In 2007, while trademarked elements such as the name "Kinetic Sculpture Race," the slogan "For the Glory" and the Kinetic Chicken logo were tied up in litigation, and the former organizers were not going to be able to put together that year's race, the founding members of Kinetic Universe sat with the race's Glorious Founder Hobart Brown, on his couch, and he gave us his blessing to put on the race, which would not otherwise have happened that year. The race was renamed the Kinetic Grand Championship, we had a new logo created and we chose, sadly, not to use the slogan "For the Glory," lest we step on anyone's toes.

It is true that the board of Kinetic Universe has had a licensing agreement with Justin Brown for the last two years, for use of the three trademarked elements. That contract, which we were more than happy to sign, gave Kinetic Universe the ability to use the elements in trade for four t-shirts and $19.69 each year, symbolic of the first year the race ran down Ferndale's Main Street. 

Kinetic Universe was prepared to sign that same licensing agreement for this year, then we received a new agreement that included elements that Brown does not own, including the name and contest for "Rutabaga Queen," the rules, which have been adapted and changed many times over the years, and our organizational materials, which Kinetic Universe has created, from scratch, starting in 2007. Brown has neither the materials, nor the non-profit status to be able to organize the 2011 race with less than three weeks to go.

Kinetic Universe has made attempts to contact Justin Brown, and even contacted Humboldt Mediation Services earlier this week, in an attempt to come to some sort of agreement which would both appease Brown and allow Kinetic Universe to put its energy in this quickly shrinking time before the race toward finalizing the race, so that on Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, when the noon siren blows, our racers will be able to jump into their machines and begin traversing the 42 miles throughout Humboldt County to the grand finish in Ferndale on Monday.

Thank you,

Monica Topping

Kinetic Universe

 

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