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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published September 6, 2011

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2011 Wisconsin archery deer season to be longest in state history

EDITOR'S ADVISORY: This news release has been updated to clarify that there will be a two-day statewide youth deer hunt Oct. 8-9.

EAU CLAIRE - The 2011 Wisconsin's archery deer hunt that opens September 17 will be the longest bow deer hunt in state history.

For the first time, bow hunting will be allowed during the regular nine-day gun deer hunt in November. As before, there will be no deer hunting on the Friday preceding the gun deer hunt. This single day will now separate the early and late bow deer seasons.

The 2011 archery deer season runs from Saturday, Sept. 17, through Thursday, Nov. 17 and then from Saturday, Nov. 19, the start of the gun season, through Jan. 8, a Sunday.

During the gun deer season, bow hunters will be required to follow the same blaze orange clothing regulations as gun hunters.

Another piece of welcome news this year for many bow hunters is the absence of any October antlerless gun deer hunts outside the Chronic Wasting Disease management zone in south central Wisconsin. There is a two-day statewide youth hunt Oct. 8-9. The four-day, antlerless only gun deer hunt occurs Oct. 13-16 this year in the disease management zone.

With warm temperatures and insect activity in mid September, many archers are less enthusiastic about opening day and the season begins with much less fanfare than the annual gun deer hunt. But as summer fades into fall, the number of bow hunters in the field will grow dramatically.

In 1966 about 85,000 licensed archery hunters took just under 6,000 deer. In 2010, the number of bow hunters had swelled to 260,000, and they harvested 87,000 deer, 36 percent as many deer as taken by gun hunters in the previous year. The 2010 bow buck harvest was the third highest on record. Pope and Young record book entries show Wisconsin as the leading stat for large-antlered whitetails.

Other changes of interest to bow hunters this year:

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan Hirchert (608) 264-6023

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Fall wild turkey and ruffed grouse seasons open September 17

Hunter safety should be a top priority

MADISON - The 2011 fall wild turkey and ruffed grouse seasons are set to open at the start of shooting hours on Sept. 17, and state wildlife officials say that hunter prospects are good for both seasons.

Overall, Wisconsin's statewide wild turkey population remains strong and wildlife officials have maintained the number of fall turkey permits at 95,700, the same number that was offered during last year's fall turkey season.

"After 30 years of sustained population growth and expansion across the state, turkeys are now found statewide, and local populations will likely nudge upward or downward from year to year as weather determines annual levels of survival and reproduction," says Scott Walter, upland game ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources.

Watson says the spring 2011 Wisconsin turkey harvest was down 16 percent, reflecting a series of relatively hard winters, wet springs, and snow, wind, and rain early in the 2011 spring season that limited hunter access to birds.

"Harvest during the fall season does not play a significant role in turkey population dynamics, and hunters venturing into the fall woods should expect a hunt similar to that of 2010," he said.

As during the 2010 fall season, hunters may use dogs statewide to hunt wild turkey this fall.

New turkey harvest registration procedures

Starting with the Fall 2011 turkey season, hunters must register their turkey by telephone or online. No in-person registration stations will be available. All harvested turkeys must be registered by telephone by calling the DNR's Harvest Registration System at 1-888-HUNT-WIS (1-888-486-8947) or online via the DNR website (dnr.wi.gov). The phone-in system will accept touch tone entries only. Hunters will be asked to record a harvest registration confirmation number on their hunting permit at the end of the call or online session. Hunters will still have until 5:00 PM on the day after harvest to register their turkey. Please visit the DNR's Wild Turkey website for updates regarding specific registration procedures.

Turkey hunters may again have additional opportunities during the fall 2011 season. During the 2009 and 2010 fall hunts, the season was extended on an experimental basis in Zones 1 through 5, from the day after the traditional nine-day gun deer season through Dec. 31. The proposal to make this extended season permanent was supported by the Wisconsin Conservation Congress at 2011 Spring Hearings, but legislative approval is pending. Hunters should monitor DNR press releases or check the DNR website to see if the fall turkey extended season will be open again this year. If approved, the extended season will run from Nov. 28 through Dec. 31 in turkey management zones 1-5 only.

Ruffed grouse drumming counts up

Spring drumming survey data suggest that Wisconsin's ruffed grouse population increased 38 percent statewide between 2010 and 2011, and hunters should therefore expect a rewarding season this fall. Due to a variety of factors, ruffed grouse populations cycle up and down, with peaks occurring approximately every 10 years.

In northern Wisconsin, survey data suggest a current grouse population as high as any since the early 1970s. 2011 likely marks the current peak population for grouse in Wisconsin, and hunters should therefore plan to take advantage of outstanding grouse hunting opportunities this fall.

Hunters are reminded of the requirement for blaze orange on ground blinds on DNR lands during any Gun Deer Season (please see page 9 of the 2011 Wisconsin Small Game Hunting Regulations for more information). Ground blinds on DNR lands left unattended must also have the owner's name and address or DNR Customer ID# attached near the door opening. Ground blinds may not be left out overnight. Please note that these ground blind rules do not apply to ground blinds being used for hunting waterfowl or to blinds built only out of natural vegetation found on the DNR property.

Grouse and turkey hunters should also note that during any gun or muzzleloader deer season, including the Oct. 8-9 youth deer hunt, antlerless hunts, and CWD hunts (see the 2011 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations for season dates), blaze orange clothing is required. A hat, if worn, must be at least 50 percent blaze orange.

Grouse hunters are encouraged to "Be HIP!" if they also plan to pursue woodcock, mourning doves or other migratory game birds

Upland hunters that may harvest woodcock are reminded that the season does not begin until Sept 24, a week after grouse opens, and that they must meet the federal requirement to be registered with the Harvest Information Program (HIP) before hunting these and other migratory game birds. Registration is free and is available through all license vendors as well as online; hunters will only need to answer a few short questions. Though not a requirement for hunting ruffed grouse, federal rules do require that hunters use a plugged shotgun limited to holding three shells when hunting migratory game birds such as woodcock. These are both important points to remember even if you may only harvest woodcock opportunistically. To learn more about HIP, visit http://dnr.wi.gov and search for "Harvest Information Program."

Fall Wild Turkey & Ruffed Grouse Season Dates & Reminders

2011 Fall Wild Turkey Season Dates:

Sept. 17 through Nov. 17

2011 Fall Wild Turkey Extended Season Dates for Zones 1-5 ONLY:

**Pending final approval by the Legislature. Please check http://dnr.wi.gov for updates**

Nov. 28 through Dec. 31

2011 Ruffed Grouse Season Dates:

Zone A: Sept. 17 through Jan. 31, 2012

Zone B: Oct. 15 through Dec. 8

More information is available on the Wisconsin wild turkey, ruffed grouse, and harvest information program pages on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Scott Walter, Upland Wildlife Ecologist: (608) 267-7861 or Sharon Fandel, Assistant Upland Wildlife Ecologist: (608) 261-8458 Bob Manwell, Office of Communication: (608) 264-9248

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Turkey and grouse hunting have special safety concerns

MADISON -- Hunters need to keep safety in mind when hunting turkey and grouse.

"There's something very special about turkey and grouse hunting," says Tim Lawhern, administrator for the State Department of Natural Resources' Division of Enforcement & Science. "And with the enthusiasm that goes along with this type of hunting, we should all be mindful of making sure we return home safe and sound at the end of each hunt."

Here are some things Lawhern says hunters need to keep in mind when going afield after ruffed grouse and fall turkey:

Lawhern suggests that hunters also consider wearing some type of eye protection. A good pair of clear or light-colored safety glasses can go a long way toward avoiding injury to eyes and sight.

Grouse and turkey hunters also need to be aware that there might be other hunters afield at the same time in pursuit of other types of game. Bow hunters may be perched in tree stands and other turkey hunters may be under a tree. Most of them will be wearing full camouflage and will therefore be very hard to see.

"Famed conservationist Aldo Leopold once wrote, 'There are two kinds of hunting: ordinary hunting, and ruffed grouse hunting,'" Lawhern says. "Don't let careless hunting practices spoil this special tradition."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Lawhern - (608) 264-6133

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Regular season Canada goose hunt opens Sept.16

Early Canada goose season closes Sept. 15; youth waterfowl hunt Sept. 17-18

MADISON - Wisconsin's regular Canada goose hunting season in the Exterior and Horicon zones opens Friday Sept. 16. That weekend also includes the two-day youth waterfowl hunt on Sept 17 and 18. The regular Canada goose season targets migratory geese that move through Wisconsin. An early Canada goose season that targets locally breeding giant Canada geese closes on Sept. 15.

This is the final year of a 5 year trial period in which the Exterior Canada goose zone will have a stable season length of 85 days and a two bird daily bag limit. Hunters should also note that the former Collins zone has been eliminated as a result of shifts in Canada goose migration and hunting pressure and is now part of the Exterior Zone.

Exterior Zone Canada goose seasons

The goose season is closed during the duck season split in the south zone (Oct. 10-14) and Mississippi River subzone (Oct 3- 14).

Horicon zone Canada goose seasons

The Horicon zone Canada goose season has two time periods.

Hunters who applied for the Horicon zone will receive 6 harvest tags. The daily bag limit is two Canada geese.

Youth waterfowl hunt

This year's Youth Waterfowl hunt will be held Sept. 17-18. Regular season bag limits and hunting hours apply. This special hunt offers youth age 12-15 (or those 10 or over hunting under the new mentored hunting law) the opportunity to learn skills from an adult without the pressure encountered during the regular season.

Participants are reminded that they need to be HIP registered (free of charge) and that for hunting geese they must possess a goose tag for the zone in which they wish to hunt. In Wisconsin, 82 percent of waterfowl hunters have introduced someone new to the sport and are encouraged to continue mentoring with this great opportunity to introduce a son, daughter, relative, or neighbor to the tradition of waterfowl hunting.

Additional information on waterfowl in Wisconsin, special youth hunts and mentored hunting is available on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: James Christopoulos, Assistant Migratory Game Bird Ecologist (608) 261-6458 or go to

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Preliminary results of summer game bird brood surveys

MADISON - Annual brood sightings of upland game birds is one measure the Wisconsin wildlife officials use to both to monitor population trends and to give hunters another bit of information for decisions they'll make during fall hunting activities. Brood production surveys for pheasants, ruffed grouse, and wild turkey are conducted by Department of Natural Resources employees and the public during the months of June, July and August. Biologists stress however that these reports are preliminary and could change.

The Summer Wildlife Inquiry (SWI) questionnaire was sent to approximately 5,000 rural landowners throughout the state in mid August asking if they had any game birds on their property. Rural landowners in Wisconsin's primary turkey range were also sent report cards for reporting turkey broods seen during this time period.

DNR and federal field employees report the type and number of game bird young seen during their normal working duties during a 10-week period from mid-June through mid-August. In addition, the general public contributed information again this year, via the online Game Bird Brood Survey, which allowed them to report the type and size of game bird broods they may have seen during the same 10-week period.

"Brood rearing conditions have a great impact on nesting and rearing success," says Brian Dhuey, DNR wildlife surveys coordinator. "Weather during the early part of June is most critical for turkey, pheasant and grouse populations, as this is when recently hatched chicks are most susceptible to hypothermia if they get wet."

Weather in Wisconsin during the months of June, July and August was two to three degrees warmer than average, with precipitation near normal in the north and 3 to 4 inches below normal for the southern half of the state. Parts of northern Wisconsin had a large rainfall event on the June 18 and 19, with some areas receiving 2 inches of rain. Temperatures were normal to above during this same period.

"It's possible that some brood losses occurred during this rain event," Dhuey said. "Spring phenology was delayed in much of the state prior to the brood rearing season and may have affected nesting and/or brooding efforts. The late spring may have also affected the availability of insects once broods hatched."

Ruffed Grouse

The number of rural landowners reporting ruffed grouse on their property was down 2 percent from last year and 31 percent below the long-term mean. DNR personnel reported a downturn in grouse production, with a 15 percent decline in the number of broods seen per hour from 2010 levels. The number of ruffed grouse broods seen per hour was down in both the central (-32 percent) and northern (-8 percent) regions, with only the southwestern region showing an increase (+25 percent). Brood size, as reported by DNR personnel, was up slightly with 4.2 young per brood reported in 2011, from 4.0 reported in 2010. The size of grouse broods observed by the public on the online Game Bird Brood Survey was 5.1, identical to that reported last year.

"This spring's grouse drumming survey showed an upturn of 38 percent in the number of breeding grouse in the state in 2011. Even though our brood count data are down somewhat, it appears that Wisconsin is still at or near the current grouse cycle high," Dhuey said.

Pheasant

The number of rural landowners reporting pheasants on their property was down 12 percent from last year and 20 percent below the long-term mean. The number of pheasant broods seen per hour by DNR field personnel fell 16 percent from 2010 levels, although brood size was up slightly. DNR field personnel reported 4.5 young per brood in 2011 as compared with 4.3 in 2010. The size of pheasant broods observed by the public on the online Game Bird Brood Survey was 5.6, also slightly higher than the 5.3 poults per brood observed last year.

"The Spring Breeding Pheasant survey showed a decline in breeding pheasants of 30 percent. The downturn in pheasant numbers suggested by both the spring surveys and brood count data in part likely reflects the impacts of harsh weather conditions during the past several winters," Dhuey added. "More problematic long-term, however, is the deteriorating habitat base in Wisconsin. With high corn and soybean prices, many acres previously in grassland cover have been converted to row crops. For example, we've lost more than 300,000 acres of Conservation Reserve Program enrollments state-wide in the last 15 years. We'll not likely see a significant rebound in pheasant numbers until we find a way to replace these acres on the landscape."

Turkey

The number of rural landowners reporting turkeys on their land was down 1 percent from 2010 levels, but still remained 29 percent above the long term mean. Rural landowners reporting turkey broods reported that 42 percent of the hens had a brood and that broods averaged 3.9 poults. In 2010 34 percent of the hens had broods and the average brood size was 4.1 poults. DNR field personnel reported that the number of turkey broods observed declined by 29 percent compared to 2010 levels. The average size of broods observed by DNR personnel was 4.5, the same as last year. Participants in the online Game Bird Brood Survey reported 4.7 young per brood, higher than the 3.9 observed last year. "Turkey brood production seems to have dropped off a bit from previous year's losses and is below the long term average."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Dhuey (608) 221-6342 or Scott Walter (608) 267-7861

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2008-2010 habitat projects pay off for trout anglers this fall

MADISON -- Anglers enjoying the last month of Wisconsin's inland trout season will find even better fishing opportunities this fall thanks to habitat improvement projects completed on dozens of streams in recent years by state fish crews and partners, state fisheries officials say.

A report detailing projects funded largely by the sale of inland trout stamps is now available online: Expenditures of Inland Water Trout Stamp Revenues, Fiscal Years 2008-2010. (pdf)

A project on Elk Creek in western Chippewa County provides a great example of how anglers will benefit this fall, says Heath Benike, Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist for Chippewa and Eau Claire counties.

"We stabilized and re-sloped highly erodible stream banks and installed a series of rock plunge pools and bank cover structures," Benike says. "Fish surveys this past summer revealed that the brown trout fishery was near 2,000 fish per mile with a solid number of fish in the 10- to 14- inch range with some bigger fish present."

The project is just upstream from Chippewa County Highway X. Anglers also will find a new parking lot on the east side of Elk Creek near the start of the habitat restoration project, Benike says.

Anglers will see benefits on Pine Creek in southeast Pierce County. Recent acquisition and restoration of about 1 mile of the picturesque creek has helped boost brook trout populations to 7,000 to 8,000 brook trout per mile with an occasional large brown trout, according to Marty Engel, fisheries biologist stationed in Baldwin.

And anglers fishing Rowan Creek east of Poynette will benefit from a DNR project to enhance 1,500 feet of stream where habitat work had been completed 25 years ago. Several bank structures were reset and some new structures and weirs installed to improve the deepwater habitat. "This section of the stream already had good size structure of trout but the project will make it more fishable for anglers, as well as increase the habitat for trout," says David Rowe, fisheries supervisor in Poynette.

DNR Fisheries Director Mike Staggs says these examples and others in the report "document what's been a great success story -- the partnership between the users that pay fees and the DNR, counties, federal agencies, Trout Unlimited and other fishing clubs who improve the habitat.

"There are clear and demonstrable benefits to fishing as a result of these projects. And if anything, this report understates all of the work that is going on to improve trout fishing in Wisconsin," Staggs says. He notes that the report captures only work funded primarily through trout stamp sales and conducted by the DNR with partners.

The federal Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and many county governments and fishing organizations also undertake their own projects, often in partnership with DNR. One example is Trout Unlimited's Driftless Area Restoration Effort, which seeks to tap a variety of sources of funding to restore trout habitat in the driftless region including Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois.

Wisconsin created the inland waters trout stamp program in 1977 to provide more funding for improving and restoring habitat than the $140,000 typically available before the program started.

With an increase to $10 for the stamp starting in 2006, revenues from trout stamp sales have climbed to $1.5 million annually. General license fishing fees were also tapped for the habitat work: an average of $411,812 per year from 2008 through 2010. Donations from fishing clubs and from individuals also help pay for the work.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Staggs - (608) 267-0796) or Steve Hewett - (608) 267-7501

Trout stamp fast facts

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DNR releases study on silica emissions

MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has released a study describing what is currently known about the sources, emissions and health effects from exposure to crystalline and amorphous forms of silica.

Studies generally do not indicate the existence of any wide-spread significant concern about airborne crystalline silica exposures to individuals not living near an identified source. Many states address silica by using control of particulate matter as a surrogate for reducing silica emissions.

"Silica emissions in Wisconsin have been controlled to a great extent through existing state particulate matter regulations for 40 years," said Bill Bauman, acting DNR air bureau director. "The DNR is confident that consistent implementation and compliance with existing particulate matter regulations will reduce silica emissions."

While silica emissions are commonly associated with mining, emissions can be generated from a variety of sources including agriculture, wind blown soil and various commercial products. Despite this fact, the DNR is actively engaged with the mining community to provide more specific guidance regarding compliance with existing air regulations. Truck traffic associated with the sand industry, a common issue of concern for many local residents, is predominantly local zoning issues.

The study was sent to the Natural Resources Board and the department has planned a briefing for the October board meeting.

The full Silica Study (pdf; 676kb) report, including an executive summary, is available on the air management pages of the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill Baumann - (608) 267-7542

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Wisconsin to update Beaver Management Plan

MADISON - Trappers, anglers, wildlife watchers and public works managers have a chance to review Wisconsin's current beaver management plan and provide input in updating that plan at a series of open house style meetings across the state in September.

"This is an effort to gather information and public comments as we work to update Wisconsin's beaver management plan," said John Olson, furbearer ecologist for the state Department of Natural Resources. "We what to hear how citizens view beaver, beaver management and those issues and concerns important to them involving beaver, such as damage control, wild rice management, wetland ecosystems, water quality, trout, roads, disease, forest impacts and agriculture."

Open houses will begin at 6:30 p.m. with short presentations beginning at 7 p.m. on the current beaver management plan, beaver populations and trends and beaver impacts on environments and humans. Following the presentations there will be an opportunities to question biologists, researchers and managers. Attendees will also be asked to complete a short survey regarding beaver management in Wisconsin.

The open house meetings will be held:

Webinar

In addition to the open houses, a "webinar," which is a conference viewable on a computer linked to the World Wide Web, on the beaver management plan update is also scheduled for October 22, beginning at 2 p.m. People with Internet access will be able to log onto the webinar through [tinyurl.com/wibeaver] (exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: John Olson (715) 685-2934; Shawn Rossler (608) 261-6452

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Wisconsin to participate in World Water Monitoring Day

MADISON - World Water Monitoring Day is Sept. 18, 2011, and will potentially be marked by hundreds of Wisconsin schoolchildren and citizens testing water quality on their favorite Wisconsin lakes and streams.

Wold Water Monitoring Day
Schoolchildren from around Wisconsin will participate in Wold Water Monitoring Day.
WDNR Photo

Wisconsin boasts some of the nation's most abundant water resources -- 15,081 inland lakes, 44,000 miles of streams and rivers, part of two Great Lakes and 260 miles of the mighty Mississippi River, 5.3 million acres of wetlands, and enough groundwater to cover the state to a depth of 100 feet!

And its citizens lead the way in helping state natural resource managers keep track of this watery wealth, including:

More than 1,000 volunteers monitor lakes across Wisconsin for through the Citizen Lake Monitoring Network.

More than 300 citizens test local streams, including 60 teachers who engage their students, through the Wisconsin Action Volunteers program.

More than 171 educators in 2010 received hands-on lessons about aquatic resources from DNR educators certified to present the Project Wet curriculum; these educators in turn estimated they'd reach 36,600 students with the lessons.

"Wisconsin's lucky to have so many citizens helping keep track of what's going on in our waters," says Ken Johnson, who leads water programs for the Department of Natural Resources. "World Water Monitoring Day shines a spotlight on the importance of monitoring and the people who do it."

Through WAV and Clean Lakes Monitoring Network, DNR and UWEX supply citizens with the training and equipment to conduct the monitoring. Volunteers feed their information into databases.

The water quality information volunteers collect is used in many ways, says Kris Stepenuck, who coordinates the Water Action Volunteers program for DNR and UWEX. Uses range from feeding into Wisconsin's required report to Congress on the condition of its waters, to helping determine whether a particular lake or river needs to be considered for inclusion on the state's "impaired" waters list, to inclusion in various state and national studies assessing water quality.

More water education news, including free posters

A series of water monitoring lesson plans developed for World Water Monitoring Day [www.worldwatermonitoringday.org] (exit DNR) by that organization and Project WET staff are now available online.

Wisconsin Project Wet staff will be busy this year getting certified in the updated Project Wet curriculum and in turn sharing that with teachers and other facilitators. Educators interested in becoming certified to train others to use Project WET can contact Amalia Baldwin at (608) 264-8930 or amalia.baldwin@wisconsin.gov for more information.

Wisconsin Project Wet staff just completed the third in their series of posters on Wisconsin's great waters. The Lake Superior poster is now available free and features information about the people, plants and animals that depend on the lake and its watershed, all of the land that drains into Lake Superior and its tributaries. Other posters are on the Upper Mississippi River and Lake Michigan.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT: Project WET, Amalia Baldwin (608) 264-8930; Citizen Lake Monitoring Network, Jennifer Filbert (608) 264-8533; Water Action Volunteers (608) 264-8948

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September Natural Resources monthly web page updated

MADISON - Watch live streaming video of Wisconsin's whooping cranes, find a gateway to many fun fall events and activities online, and get free posters and an iPhone app to help you navigate the trails at the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest.

"Natural Resources Monthly" on the Department of Natural Resources website, helps connects users to seasonal outdoors activities, opportunities, and resources.

The web page encourages users to explore, protect, restore and learn from home. Whether it's finding 50 places to fish within 60 miles of Milwaukee, following the Crane Cam at the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County, or learning how you can collect and sell tree seeds to DNR's nurseries, you'll find it here.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Lisa Gaumnitz (608) 264-8942

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 06, 2011




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