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Weekly News Published - September 29, 2015 by the Central Office


Media Alert: Concrete deer notice a hoax

An official looking memo from DNR is making the rounds on social media asking citizens to remove concrete deer from their property so they won't be accidentally counted in an upcoming statewide deer count. This is a hoax. This did not come from DNR.

One way to spot this hoax is in the signature on the fake memo. The name used is misspelled and even if spelled correctly, that person is not the DNR Secretary as suggested.




Brook trout found within reclaimed cranberry marsh and flowage

SPOONER, Wis. - Tiny trout now swimming in a reclaimed cranberry marsh near Spooner offer proof that habitat restoration efforts produce results, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologists say.

The trout occupy Beaver Brook, the largest class 1 trout stream in Washburn County and home to naturally reproducing populations of brown and brook trout. In 2003, DNR and DOT partnered to purchase property known as Badger Cranberry that holds the small stream as an addition to the DNR-owned Beaver Brook Wildlife Area.

A restored section of Beaver Brook within the Beaver Brook Wildlife Area.
A restored section of Beaver Brook within the Beaver Brook Wildlife Area.
Photo Credit: WDNR

The 541 acre addition to Beaver Brook contained 81 acres of old cranberry marsh and a 65 acre flowage that was historically the upper reaches of the trout stream. In the summer of 2008, removal of the flowage dam, dikes, and draining of the cranberry marshes took place in hopes of restoring the trout stream, wetlands, and a native plant community.

"Initially, it was believed the area would not be able to sustain trout due to warm water temperatures," said Craig Roberts, DNR fisheries biologist for Washburn County. "Even though we didn't think trout could survive in the area, we believed rehabilitation work would increase water quality and benefit downstream trout populations. After several years of monitoring, we were all pleasantly surprised to find that trout appear to be settling in."

Following dam removal, water temperatures have dropped 9 degrees to a yearly average of 63 degrees Fahrenheit in 2014, Roberts said. However, summer temperatures can range into the 70s which is considered marginal for native brook trout to survive. In 2011, a fish survey showed no trout within the old flowage bed.

Now, seven years after restoration efforts began, two 6 inch brook trout were found in early May of 2015. The survey was the first time trout had been found in that restored section of stream. To confirm the trout were not errant visitors, fisheries staff again surveyed the stream in late summer and found seven additional brook trout.

"The latest survey found trout that ranged from 2.5 to 7.5 inches, suggesting multiple ages of trout are residing in the area," Roberts said. "The fish were living in 72 degree water at that time, which is considered warm for brook trout. The fish are likely using the large amount of spring activity to survive in the area."

Though the finding doesn't mean trout are permanently established here, it is a positive sign to see trout present in the restored area, Roberts said. Ultimately, the expansion of trout into the restored section of Beaver Brook will strengthen the overall population and lead to additional trout fishing opportunities.

To learn more about the cranberry marsh restoration effort, search the DNR website,, for "Beaver Brook Wildlife Area." Questions about the local fishery can be directed to Craig Roberts at 715-635-4095 or email:

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Craig Roberts, DNR Washburn County fisheries biologist, 715-635-4095,; or Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084,



Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas Survey Releases First-Season Findings

Survey documents 1.7 million birds of 229 species, eight new species nesting here, some species on the move

ASHLAND, Wis. - Information gathered in the first season by more than 700 volunteers documenting bird breeding activity in Wisconsin found an impressive array of birds in the state, including eight species nesting here that weren't found 15 years ago and range shifts in others such as the wild turkey.

"With only one breeding season down and four to go it's too early to say how most species' populations are changing, but we're very pleased with participation so far and what volunteers have been able to document in these early stages," says Nick Anich, lead coordinator of the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas survey and conservation biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

"Turkeys are on the move and are now found in every corner of the state. We're also seeing whooping cranes and seven other species that weren't nesting here 15 years ago."

Click on image for larger version
Click on image for larger version
Photo Credit: WDNR

With observations slowing to a trickle as the bird breeding season ends and many birds now migrating south, Anich and other leaders of the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II are taking stock of data recorded this season.

Volunteers submitted nearly 24,000 checklists documenting the location and breeding activity of more than 1.7 million birds of 229 species.

"A lot of people are getting outside and having fun finding birds, and the project is generating a dataset that is really going to help inform management and conservation of birds and their habitats for the next generation," Anich says.

The survey will continue for the next four years to document the abundance and location of Wisconsin's breeding birds. The project is led by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative, and DNR, but volunteers are what make the project run, Anich says.

The survey is the follow-up to a first Atlas conducted from 1995-2000. Information collected during that period is still used in species conservation and land management planning today, but changes in habitat and seeming shifts in bird populations make it important to get a more current picture of Wisconsin's breeding bird population, Anich says.

Survey participants collect data by observing birds, noting the date and location, and entering their sightings online into an eBird database specially developed for the project by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The records are then checked by Anich and volunteer ornithologists. When the project is completed the data will be published in a hard-copy book and online, and the dataset will be available for use by researchers, land managers, and others working to conserve birds and their habitats.

Survey Shows Species on the Move

One of the most dramatic results from the 2015 survey can be seen in the wild turkey, which has experienced a marked increase in range since the last survey. Absent from the northern third of the state then, turkeys are now found statewide, according to Ryan Brady, Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative bird monitoring coordinator and the atlas survey's science leader.

Several new species were confirmed this year that were not found during the first survey. A few of these species, such as whooping crane and Kirtland's warbler, are endangered species taking steps toward population recovery through the aid of conservation efforts. Other species, such as European goldfinch and great tit, are non-native species that, as popular cage birds, have been introduced into the wild from captivity, Brady says.

Getting Involved in Surveying Birds

While bird breeding activity is mostly over for this year, Brady encourages interested people to learn more about the effort and get ready to join in next year when the breeding season starts up again.

"People at all skill levels of birding can participate," he says. "We encourage you to visit our project website at and learn how to contribute your own observations or simply explore preliminary project results on the Atlas eBird webpage." That page is found at

Join in online bird atlas chat

The public is invited to a live chat this Thursday, October 1 at noon as DNR birding experts discuss the preliminary results of the breeding bird atlas project. They will also answer questions about fall bird migration. To join the conversation, people can go to the DNR website,, and click on "Ask the Experts" in the Popular Links section.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Nick Anich, Breeding Bird Atlas Project Coordinator, Wisconsin DNR, (715) 685-2930; Ryan Brady, Breeding Bird Atlas Science Coordinator, Wisconsin DNR, (715) 685-2933



With fall on the way, protect state waters by properly disposing of water garden plants

MADISON -- Bag it, seal it, take it out with the trash.

That's the best way to dispose of a nonnative plant if you need to clean out your water garden before colder weather sets in, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources experts say. Water garden plants are often discovered in Wisconsin waters this time of year when pond owners reduce plant numbers or drain ponds before winter.

The problem is that nonnative aquatic plants can quickly spread, harming fish and wildlife habitat as well as limiting recreation, said Susan Graham, a DNR lakes biologist. A recent case in point involved water lettuce , a prohibited invasive species - that was discovered in Lake Mendota in late July.

Water lettuce.
Individual water lettuce plants can form dense mats.
Photo Credit: WDNR

Water lettuce is a floating aquatic plant that quickly reproduces and can reach densities that choke out other plants and inhibit recreational activity. It is illegal to sell or possess any prohibited species due to the potentially large negative economic or environmental impact. The discovery of water lettuce in Lake Mendota triggered a response effort throughout August by local DNR staff to locate and remove the plants.

Water lettuce reproduces rapidly.
Water lettuce reproduces rapidly.
Photo Credit: WDNR

"Monitoring efforts found that the water lettuce was limited to the south shore of Lake Mendota near the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus," Graham said. "Staff and volunteers from several partner groups removed all of the water lettuce that could be found and this should prevent it from becoming a nuisance this year and hopefully into the future. The team's quick response prevented water lettuce from spreading throughout the lake."

Although water lettuce isn't thought to be able to survive a Wisconsin winter, discoveries of water lettuce in the Mississippi River in consecutive years suggest that seeds could overwinter. Additionally, its rapid growth means that it can reach nuisance densities in a single growing season.

Another common water garden species, water hyacinth, is also a recent addition to the prohibited invasive species list. It, too, has been discovered in Wisconsin waterways recently - at a public pond in La Crosse and in Arkdale Lake in central Wisconsin. In both instances, quick and organized responses from partner groups helped remove all of the plants before they could spread.

While avid gardeners frequently compost excess vegetation when preparing beds and water features for winter, prohibited species can spread if seeds or roots are carried away by birds, animals or heavy rains. Compost can also move invasive species when it is transported and used elsewhere. As a result, sealed plastic bags are recommended for disposal if you find a prohibited species in your garden.

To learn more, search the DNR website,, for "invasive species" or search here for a list of prohibited plants [PDF].

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob Wakeman, DNR aquatic invasive species coordinator, 262-574-2149,; Susan Graham, DNR lakes biologist, 608-275-3329,; Jennifer Sereno, DNR Communications, 608-770-8084,



Lake trout online survey, public meetings to inform resource management decisions

SUPERIOR, Wis. - An online survey, two public meetings and a public comment period that runs through Oct. 15 are part of efforts by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to develop new rules that protect lake trout populations while minimizing economic and recreational anger impacts.

Two public meetings to discuss next steps in aiding recovery of lake trout populations in Lake Superior are set for this week on Tuesday (Sept. 29) at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland and Thursday (Oct. 1) at Saxon Community Center. The public meetings will cover six regulation options developed by DNR fisheries biologists to help lake trout numbers recover and improve the long-term sustainability of the fishery.

Terry Margenau, DNR Lake Superior fisheries supervisor, said anglers are being encouraged to provide feedback on the options through an online survey. The survey lists options in order of risk to meet or exceed the safe harvest quota, with the options least likely to result in an early closure of the fishery at the top.

After reviewing public input on the various options, the fisheries team will develop an emergency rule covering the recreational lake trout open season that runs from Dec. 1, 2015 through Sept. 30, 2016. The current emergency rule expires Sept. 30. Options for public consideration include:

Margenau stressed that more liberal regulation options may result in reaching the quota prior to Sept. 30, 2016 and require a season closure. Population assessments over the last six to eight years indicate that the decline in lake trout abundance is largely due to harvest. Recent research by the fisheries team show lake trout numbers remain well below historical averages.

Lake trout often live more than 40 years and do not reach sexual maturity until they are eight to 10 years old. As a result, the lake trout stock must be carefully managed to address the needs of many stakeholders including commercial fishers, sport anglers and a host of associated businesses that all depend on a strong lake trout fishery in the Wisconsin waters of Lake Superior.

This week's meetings will run from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday's meeting will be at the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center, 29270 Highway G in Ashland. Thursday's meeting will be at the Saxon Community Center, 2 Church St., Saxon.

The survey can be found at:

Citizens also may provide feedback by mailing Terry L. Margenau, Lake Superior fisheries supervisor, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 589, 141 S. Third Street Bayfield, WI 54814; or emailing

For information about lake trout, search the DNR website,, for "Lake Superior fisheries management." For more information about the Lake Superior fishery, search "fishing Lake Superior."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Terry Margenau, (715) 779-4035,; Jennifer Sereno, communications, 608-770-8084,



Youth deer hunt provides great opportunity to introduce young hunters to the outdoors

Oct. 10-11 hunt open to youths 10-15 with mentors

MADISON -- Youth hunters and those interested in mentoring young hunters are reminded to mark their calendars for this year's Wisconsin youth deer hunt Oct. 10-11.

The youth hunt allows boys and girls ages 10-15 to hunt with a gun or other legal weapon prior to the regular firearm seasons. The youth hunt is open to all resident and non-resident youth hunters with a gun deer license and appropriate tags.

"This is a great opportunity for families and friends to mentor and train young hunters," said Keith Warnke, hunting and shooting sports coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "The memories made last a lifetime and sharing our conservation history and ethos with our children is a rewarding experience - I know from personal experiences with my own daughters."

Buck and antlerless deer permit tags included with a junior gun deer license are valid statewide for youth hunters.

All youth hunters must be accompanied by a mentor 18 years of age or older. Youth ages 12-15 with a hunter education certificate may hunt within visual and voice range of a mentor. When accompanying one or two youth ages 12-15 that have successfully completed hunter education, a mentor is not required to possess a hunter education certificate or a current hunting license.

Hunters ages 10 and 11, as well as those ages 12-15 that have not completed hunter education, may gain hunting experience under the Hunting Mentorship Program. This program requires youth to hunt within arm's reach of a qualified mentor who has completed hunter education and holds a current hunting license. Only one weapon may be possessed jointly between youth and mentor. Mentors may not hunt using a firearm during the youth deer hunt weekend, and must possess a valid Wisconsin hunting license for the current hunting season. License type does not matter, unless the mentor will be hunting other game.

Hunters of all ages are reminded to follow the four rules of firearm safety:

To learn more about youth hunting and general deer season regulations, search the DNR website for keywords "youth hunt" and "deer" respectively.

First-time hunters and those that have not purchased a license in at least 10 years are eligible for a discounted first-time buyer license. Search keyword "license" for more information.

As in previous years, those new to hunting can celebrate their first harvest with the official first deer certificate. Simply follow the instructions on the page to upload a photo of your first deer and describe your experience. For more information, and to create your own first deer certificate, search keywords "first deer."

For more information regarding deer hunting in Wisconsin, search keyword "deer."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke, DNR hunting and shooting sports coordinator, 608-576-5243



Find a place to hunt in Wisconsin using online and mobile app tools

MADISON - It has never been easier to find a place to hunt or simply enjoy the outdoors in Wisconsin, and there are a number of tools and programs available to help you find a new favorite spot this fall.

Public Access Lands Atlas of Wisconsin

Whether you are looking for new public hunting grounds or a spot for a fall picnic, the Public Access Lands Atlas of Wisconsin is a great tool for finding new public lands and creating new memories. The atlas includes all DNR properties as well as nearly all federal and county-owned lands. People can download and print these maps free of charge from a home computer.

The University Book Store's digital storefront provides a web-based option for those interested in purchasing a PAL Atlas. The original PAL Atlas, with 441 maps, two indexes and a glossary is available for $89.95. A separate PAL atlas is also available for each of Wisconsin's 72 counties for $24.95. Lastly, a DVD with over 450 pages of public lands access data is available for $5.95.

For orders using a check, a mail order form [PDF] is available on the University Book Store's website. Please do not send cash or credit card information with a mail order form.

To place an order by phone using a credit card, call: 1-800-993-2665 EXT 5929. In order to simplify the purchasing process, be sure to mention the item number (099127660) in your call.

For more information, visit and search keyword "atlas."

Pocket Ranger App

The Pocket Ranger mobile application is a great way to not only find a place to hunt, but also connect with other hunters and have a number of tools at your fingertips in the field.

Pocket Ranger features include:

Since its launch in November 2013, more than 128,000 people have downloaded the Wisconsin Pocket Ranger to their Apple or Android mobile devices.

To learn more and download the free application, search keyword "mobile apps," or search "Wisconsin Pocket Ranger" in the Apple App Store or Android Market from your Apple or Android device.

Fields & Forest Lands Interactive Gamebird Hunting Tool

Those interested in hunting on DNR managed lands are reminded to check out the department's Fields & Forest Lands Interactive Gamebird Hunting Tool. FFLIGHT helps hunters of all types locate young aspen and alder habitat, pheasant-stocked public hunting grounds, and managed dove fields.

Features available within FFLIGHT can help hunters locate DNR public parking areas, overlay township descriptions, and view topographic maps or aerial photos of prospective hunting areas. Users can choose which type of habitat to highlight - FFLIGHT can help you find the best grouse and woodcock cover in the woods near your cabin.

To learn more and start your search for hunting land, visit and search keyword "FFLIGHT."

Hunting Wisconsin's State Parks, Trails and Forests

In general, fall gun and archery hunting and trapping are allowed in the open areas of these properties during the open season from Nov. 15 - Dec. 15 in Wisconsin's state parks (where applicable, hunting with legal archery methods is allowed through Jan. 3).

Search keywords "hunting state parks" or check with local department staff to learn more.

Managed Forest Law and Forest Crop Law programs

Managed Forest Law and Forest Crop Law are landowner-incentive programs that incorporate sustainable forest practices, such as timber harvesting, wildlife management, water quality and recreation -- all while improving public access to these lands.

When landowners enroll in the Managed Forest Law, they may choose whether they want their lands designated as open or closed to public recreation. Open Managed Forest Law lands are open to public recreation available for hunting, fishing, hiking, cross-country skiing, and sight-seeing.

Forest Crop Law lands are open to public recreation for hunting and fishing only.

A mapping tool shows the approximate location of all MFL-Open and FCL lands in Wisconsin - here, you can find landowner information, acreage and enrollment information. To access the mapping tool, search keywords "MFL open land." Users are encouraged to refer to a plat book or other online data sources to help them decipher the information shown in the mapping tool.

For more general information regarding these programs, contact your local DNR Forester or search keywords "forest landowner."

Voluntary Public Access program

The Voluntary Public Access program provides financial incentives to private landowners who open their property to public hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife observation.

With additional USDA funding over the next 3 years, the department is hoping to extend the current leases as well as add more properties. New with this grant will be the ability to fund some habitat work on properties as well as lease public access.

To learn more, search keyword "VPA."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Sawyer Briel - 608-261-0751



Gun hunt for hunters with disabilities opens in October

MADISON - More than 100 landowners in 46 counties and 74,000 acres are enrolled in the disabled deer hunt program in 2015, and those who plan to participate in the hunt, which runs Oct. 3-11, should look forward to another great year in the field.

"The cooperation of landowners is critical to our ability to offer this unique opportunity," said Adam Murkowski, disabled hunt program coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "In 2014, over 500 hunters participated in the disabled deer hunt and we hope that level of participation continues in the future."

The disabled gun deer hunt is only open on properties that are enrolled in the program. Hunters with a valid disabled hunting permit can contact a participating landowner to sign up for the hunt by Sept. 1 each year.

"October is really a great time to be outdoors in Wisconsin," said Murkowski. "This hunt offers a tremendous opportunity for landowners to maintain deer herds in balance with the habitat and help carry on a tradition that we at DNR are very excited to provide."

Hunters should contact sponsors directly and be prepared to provide their name, contact information and DNR customer ID number. To be eligible, hunters must possess a valid Class A, Class B long-term permit that allows shooting from a vehicle or Class C or D disabled hunting permit. As in the past, eligible hunters must also possess a gun deer license.

Landowners interested in enrolling their property to host a disabled deer hunt in the future should do so by June 1, 2016. Assistance to disabled hunters and landowners may also be possible in certain parts of the state through organizations dedicated to enhancing outdoor recreational opportunities for disabled persons.

For more information and a list of sponsors for the 2015 season, search the DNR website,, for keywords "disabled deer hunt."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Adam Murkowski, assistant big game ecologist, 608-261-7588



Annual Operation Deer Watch survey period comes to an end

MADISON -- Operation Deer Watch, the annual citizen-science survey that tracks the numbers of bucks, does and fawns will conclude Sept. 30. It is not too late to submit your observations. Each year outdoor enthusiasts submit hundreds of observations which contribute to monitoring white-tailed deer population trends in Wisconsin. .

"The summer months are an important time to collect data the department uses to assess deer populations around the state," says Jes Rees Lohr, research scientist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Sightings from Operation Deer Watch supplement the department's existing summer deer observation database. These surveys provide fawn to doe ratios; a parameter for deer population estimates.

Participants may submit their observations online by going to and searching keyword "deer watch," or by mailing their tally sheets to Wildlife Surveys, Attn: Brian Dhuey, 2801 Progress Road, Madison, WI 53716. Participants can also find more information on the site including videos and results of previous year's surveys.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Dhuey, 608-221-6342



Help the DNR monitor Wisconsin's wolf population - Become a volunteer carnivore tracker!

MADISON - Wisconsin's wolf monitoring program relies upon volunteers from around the state who help track the animals each winter, and those interested in becoming volunteers are encouraged to sign up for one of a number of clinics offered statewide.

Winter tracking is a great way to experience the outdoors in winter and make a contribution to natural resource management.

DNR biologists and volunteers have partnered to provide informative classes focused on aspects of wolf ecology, population biology and field study techniques.

"DNR staff and volunteers tracked over 16,000 miles last winter searching for wolf, coyote, bobcat, and other medium to large size carnivore tracks in Wisconsin," said DNR large carnivore specialist David MacFarland. "It's a great way to get out and enjoy Wisconsin in the winter while helping the department monitor some of the state's most interesting wildlife."

Tracking-focused classes will focus on medium to large size carnivores that inhabit Wisconsin, as well as a few other common mammals. It will also provide the required training and prepare participants to conduct formal track surveys as a volunteer tracker.

Ecology-focused classes will cover the history of wolves in Wisconsin, their biology and ecology, how DNR monitors the population, and state management and research.

For a list of courses offered, search the DNR website for volunteer carnivore tracking page and select the "training courses" option on the right side of the page.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: David MacFarland, DNR large carnivore specialist, 715-365-8917; Jane Wiedenhoeft, DNR wildlife biologist and track program manager, 715-762-1362



The eagle has landed on the cover of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine's October issue

Click on image for current issue.

MADISON - The October issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine features "Talon a great story," which highlights the state's new bald eagle license plate to benefit endangered resources and celebrates the comeback of eagles in Wisconsin.

Swans take center stage as they stop along the Mississippi River during fall migration in "Swan songs." Find out how you can help improve your favorite state property with "Adopt a Fish and Wildlife Area program" and learn about another special place in "The beauty of Barkhausen."

Discover what students, educators and partners are raving about in "MOHEE, Yippee!" and make plans for the 2016 Midwest Outdoor Heritage Education Expo at the MacKenzie Center.

Wisconsin is undergoing a statewide urban forest inventory in communities big and small. This effort is outlined in "Taking good ideas from Rural Wisconsin."

Ten years in Green Tier, Madison-area plastics company Placon shows why it is a shining example of a company going beyond compliance in "A decade of partnerships takes place."

Learn about William F. Grimmer, a giant in Wisconsin natural resources history, in "A portrait of a giant in wildlife management."

Two Wisconsin teens share their surprise in landing a paddlefish in "A fantastic fishing tale. The author of "A buck in the balsam" makes a discovery of his own on a November bow hunt.

The Green Bay Packers aren't the only attraction in Green Bay. Learn about Heritage Hill State Park in "Wisconsin, Traveler." Our "Back in the Day" column takes a look at a controlled hunt on Chambers Island 70 years ago that provides a lesson for modern wildlife managers. The "Wisconsin, Naturally" feature takes readers to Keller Whitcomb Creek Woods State Natural Area in Waupaca County.

WNR magazine also has an e-newsletter "Previews and Reviews" to keep our readers informed about upcoming stories and past articles. Sign up to receive the e-newsletter and other email updates.

(Under the Publications box, select Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine).

Not a subscriber? Here's what you are missing:

Already a subscriber? Remember to consider Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine as a thoughtful and inexpensive gift that gives all year. Share what you value about the outdoors with family, friends, customers and professional colleagues. Subscribe toll-free at 1-800-678-9472, online at or by mail. Subscription blanks and single issues are also available from our circulation office at P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Natasha Kassulke at (608) 261-8446.


The Weekly News is updated every Tuesday at noon.
Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 29, 2015

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