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Dick Ellis Blog:
WHO SUPPORTS A WOLF GOAL OF 350 OR LESS IN WISCONSIN? Thirty-six Wisconsin County Boards have passed resolutions supporting a wolf goal of 350 (7) or 350 or less (26), 100 or less (1), 80 or less (1), or 50 or less (1).  The votes: Barron, Burnett, Vilas, Taylor, Florence, Forest, Iron, Jackson, Lincoln, Marinette, Oconto, Oneida, Price, Shawano, Waushara, Waupaca, Grant all passed unanimously, Adams, 16 for, 2 ag...
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Not surprisingly, this week's headline has been the cold weather. In all likelihood you noted some very active feeders, fluffed up birds huddled out of the wind and in the sun, and probably at least a few birds with ice-dappled feathers. No doubt it was a trying time for some species, including at least a few reports of compromised or dead birds.

Overall, however, most birds are well equipped to deal with the conditions provided adequate roost sites and food sources are available. Some species grow more downy body feathers during the winter months, while most puff up for insulation and tuck in their heads and feet. Specialized blood flow keeps their legs and feet cold to keep warmth near the core and minimize heat loss. Many seek conifers and other dense cover, and cavity dwellers like chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers roost in crevices and holes at night, often with other avian companions. Smaller birds eat voraciously to keep up with energy demands, while larger birds that better retain heat become less active to conserve warmth. Many birds use internal muscle contractions, i.e. shiver, to generate heat, while chickadees go a step further by undergoing regulated hypothermia, reducing energy needs and loss by allowing their body temperature to drop by as much as 22 degrees at night!

How can you help? Keep your feeders full of fatty foods like sunflower seeds, suet, nuts, and "bark butter" as well as mealworms and chopped dried fruits. Provide shelter in the form of brush piles, discarded Christmas trees, and native conifers and shrubs. For night roosts, leave standing snags and put up bird boxes lined with dried grasses or wood chips (but not sawdust, which holds moisture if wet). Learn more about helping our feathered friends through these cold winter days at Good birding! - Ryan Brady, conservation biologist, Ashland

A common sight in extreme cold is birds with spectacles of ice, a phenomenon similar to ice forming on your eyelashes or mustache. The ice is not indicative of a bird's condition and typically fades during daytime activities. Northern Cardinal photo by Jeff Bahls at -21 degrees F. - Photo credit: DNR
A common sight in extreme cold is birds with spectacles of ice, a phenomenon similar to ice forming on your eyelashes or mustache. The ice is not indicative of a bird's condition and typically fades during daytime activities. Northern Cardinal photo by Jeff Bahls at -21 degrees F.Photo credit: Jeff Bahls



Upcoming featured events at Wisconsin recreational properties

The polar vortex is supposed to move on just in time for the weekend and were hoping Mother Nature holds off on any freezing rains so scheduled candlelight events can go on this weekend. The MacKenzie center has a candlelight snowshoe hike Friday, the Black River, Flambeau River and Northern Kettle Moraine forests and Copper Culture, Mirror Lake, Peninsula parks have events Saturday night. There are also learn to ski programs at Brule River Saturday and Mirror Lake Sunday.  Perrot is holding its Winterfest Saturday with horse-drawn sleigh rides, dog sledding demo, kickski demo and much more. Check the DNR website or Twitter feed for cancellations or contact properties directly to confirm events will be held as scheduled.
Click on the links below for highlighted programs this weekend or click on Get Outdoors," for a complete listing of events.
Friday, February 1, 2019

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Sunday, February 3, 2019

For all events search Get Outdoors



Upcoming State Natural Area Workday


Feb 2, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. - Blue River Sand Barrens, Join the new volunteer effort to care for Blue River Sand Barrens State Natural Area! We are teaming up with The Friends of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway (FLOW) to care for this site. Blue River Sands is known for its dry prairie (including cactus) and globally rare oak barrens. DNR crews have been working to clear brush and conduct burns. Volunteers will continue this effort by cutting and burning (if there is snow) brush. This will benefit understory plants.

Feb 8, 9 a.m.-noon - Ridgeway Pine Relict - Ridgeway is known for its scenic pine relicts that have northern plant species. Help care for this site by removing invasive plants and encouraging native plants at our second Friday workdays. Activities during winter focus on brush cutting, treating, and burning.

No skills needed you will be trained onsite.Check the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program page of the DNR website for details. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane



Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - t has been a difficult week for travel and recreation with temperatures reaching 30 degrees below zero and wind chills from 30-50 below. Fortunately, this weekend looks to be "hot" in comparison to a polar vortex. With forecasted temps in the upper 20s to low 30s (above zero), getting outside and doing anything will be a welcomed relief. Cold blowing conditions have covered the AfterHours Ski Trail with drift snow. The skate lanes were groomed Jan. 25 and track reset on the entire trail system. The trails are grooming nicely and are in very good condition. There is still a 5-inch base and about 11 inches of snow on the ground. Grooming for the weekend is scheduled for Thursday and Friday. Temperatures this weekend will be mild and comfortable for skiing activities. Conditions for skiing are very good! Also check Skinny Ski: On Feb. 2 there will be a learn to ski day at the Afterhours Ski Trail. The event starts at 12:30 p.m. at the Ski Trail Trailhead. Free cross country ski lessons for both children and adults in both the classic and skate styles will be offered. Ski rental equipment will be available until 3 p.m., but only for those who pre-register and are present to check out equipment at noon. The cost for rental skis, boots, and poles is $5 for youths 12 and younger and $15 for others. Pre-register by 7 PM January 31. Call Bob Cragin, 218-348-5200 or Phil Anderson, 715-372-5004 to register. For each person renting ski equipment, provide name, whether classic or skate-style equipment is desired, shoe size, whether the shoe size is a child or adult size, and sex, age, and approximate weight and height. Please also leave your name and telephone number. Check these links for trail condition reports on the local snowmobile trails. Douglas County: or call 715-378-4528 or Bayfield County: - Matt Leischer, ranger

Ice-covered Little Manitou Falls - Photo credit: DNR
Ice-covered Little Manitou FallsPhoto credit: DNR

Pattison State Park - A snowy start to the week led to bitterly cold temperatures. Pattison State Park received 2 inches of snow early in the week followed by extreme cold temperatures and wind chills of 40-50 below zero. Please take precautions when visiting the park during these extreme weather events. The ski trails were groomed and tracked last week, but because of equipment issues, full track depth was not achieved. - Gervase Thompson, ranger

Ashland DNR Service Center area

Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area - The MECCA cross-country ski trails were groomed and tracked Friday, Jan. 25. The trail came out excellent with good deep tracks and a super fast hard deck. - Brett Bockhop, parks and recreation specialist

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Crex Meadows State Wildlife - Wildlife activity is still low in the Grantsburg area. This may be due to below zero temperatures, snow, and wind. Tuesday and Wednesday this week, the "real-feel" temperatures could be more than 40 degrees BELOW zero. Some mammals have been seen moving around the area, including deer, wolves, red fox, and grey squirrel. Bird highlights this week include golden eagle, pine siskin, red-bellied woodpecker and sharp-tailed grouse. - Lauren Finch, wildlife educator

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Flambeau River State Forest - The Flambeau Hills Ski Trail is 15 miles long with loops and trail links. We have approximately 6 inches of snow depth and the trail has been rolled but tracks have not been set. There has been some skiers using the trail and the State Forest is preparing for Saturday's event. Saturday February 2nd is the Flambeau River State Forest 27th Annual Candlelight Ski Event. This is a very beautiful family and friend orientated event. The FRSF staff are excited to show off our trails and feed the visitors. There is more information at the bottom of this report. Snowmobile trails are open and groomed with at least 6 inches of snow. The lakes are ice covered with 18 to 20 inches of ice. Folks are placing their buckets, ice shanty's and ice tents in strategic positions and heaters are a desired commodity out on the ice with the frigid temperatures we are experiencing. They have been fishing for walleye on Connors Lake and crappies on Lake of the Pine with some success. Mason and Evergreen Lakes are being fished for crappie, walleye and perch. Always a favorite, Flambeau staff have seen some ruffed grouse as we work the forest. Grouse are feeding on dormant flower buds or catkins of trees such as the aspens, birches, cherries, and ironwood. The weather forecast for the weekend calls for Friday to be partly sunny with a high near 13 and a low of 7. Saturday, partly sunny with a high of 34 and a low of 21. Sunday, has a slight chance of snow showers, mostly cloudy, with a high of 31 and a low of 15 with snow showers likely Sunday night. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate



Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

The Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw has been working in the Bay since Saturday, Jan. 26, with three freighters scheduled to arrive in the Fox River over the weekend and early this week. Because of ice breaking activity and high winds in the forecast, anglers should be extremely cautious of shifting ice.

Oconto County - The Oconto River breakwater and harbor had very high fishing pressure over the weekend. Anglers had luck in past days catching whitefish. A small number of shanties were present at Oconto Park 2 but reports are of mainly small perch being caught. Fishing pressure was very low at the mouth of Peshtigo River area; no anglers reported on site. The Sixth Street slip had a few anglers fishing the Menominee River as well as two vehicles out on the ice. Anglers report catching a mixed bag here. Some keeper size perch, smaller northerns, a few smelt, and small walleyes were all reported. - Alex Keiler-Klein and Ben Ewoldt, fisheries technicians, Peshtigo & Green Bay

Brown County - Many anglers were recorded at both Fox Point Landing and Voyageur Park on the Fox River. One party reported catching a small handful of walleyes, while other parties didn't catch anything at all. Most anglers used jigging raps and jigs with minnows. Ice was reported to be 9-12 inches thick. Most anglers reported that they arrived at 6 a.m. over the weekend, with most of the parking spaces full despite below zero wind chills. Longtail area fishing pressure was low; only a small handful of parties were ice fishing. Permanent shanties were pulled via 4-wheeler further out on the ice. Reports of a few keeper perch caught and a few northerns caught on tip-ups. Fishing pressure was extremely high at Little Tail area at Hook Road with reports of perch, walleye and northern pike being caught in recent weeks. A makeshift parking area was created on the ice near the curved part of the road. Fishing pressure was extremely high at the Little Tail area at Sunset Beach Road over the weekend, with some success catching yellow perch and northern pike.. - Alex Keiler-Klein and Ben Ewoldt, fisheries technicians, Peshtigo & Green Bay

Door County - Most folks were coming in from the northern part of Little Sturgeon Bay with reports of small perch in 20 feet of water with the occasional whitefish. Ice was reported to be 8-10 inches. More whitefish were reported in 24 feet of water in 12 inches of ice off of wax worms and jigging techniques. There was a good catch on whitefish at Lime Kiln Road. Most folks were out in 12 feet of water and reported 6 inches of ice early this week. Good luck was had using wax worms and jigging raps. Shanties were observed fairly far out on Sand Bay. Early this week flat even ice on Riley's Bay was reported to be around 7-8 inches though 2 inches were reported in some spaces. Not too much luck was had for perch. Folks tried out in 18-40 feet of water with little to no luck on whitefish using wax worms and jigging raps. Anglers were out at the mouth of the bay, which early this week still included a large amount of chopped up ice and uneven ground. Ice was reported to be 14-20 inches thick. There was a medium catch rate on whitefish on wax worms on golden flys or soft plastics. Perch anglers coming in from the middle of Little Sturgeon Bay did well early this week. Most were in 12-14 feet of water and reported around a foot or more of ice. Good luck was had using wax worms or minnows on little jigs. Whitefish anglers were out in 24-25 feet of water north of Squaw island and had better luck with wax worms on small stick baits. Many folks were seen pulling out shacks at Potawatomi State Park as snow had piled on from the previous days. There was a high catch rate for yellow perch in 12-15 feet of water in Sawyer Harbor. Ice was reported to be 8-9 inches. Good luck was had using wax worms or rosy red minnows. Anglers in front of the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club reported the ice to be 10-12 inches in 6 feet of water. Most reported plenty of small northern pike showing up on the cams. The same was reported for pike near the docks of the yacht club. Good luck was had using golden shiners. Folks continue to do well out of Sherwood Point with whitefish in 73-74 feet of water. Good luck was had using slider rigs with minnow heads. Off Oak Avenue folks were out in 65-75 feet of water and doing well with whitefish. Many were catching their limit. 9-11 inches of ice was reported. Less luck was had in 30-40 feet of water. Whitefish anglers did well this week off High Cliff Park Road out in 72-73 feet of water using wax worms. Parking was tight. The catch rate remained high through the weekend with ice at 10-12 inches. - Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Oconto County - All snowmobile trails are open in Oconto County. Cross-country ski trails in the Machickanee Forest and Northern Oconto County are open. The tubing hill in Oconto Falls may also open this weekend. Fishing has been slow on the inland lakes in Oconto County. A Few crappies have been caught on Kelly Lake. - Paul Hartrick, conservation warden, Oconto Falls

Green Bay DNR Service Center area

Manitowoc County - The county received a lot of light fluffy snow over this past week. Manitowoc County Snowmobile Trails are now open. Please use caution when on the trails as conditions will change on the trails due to drifting snow. Before you head out do a safety check of your machine, make sure it is runny well, pack an emergency bag, and make sure your registration and trail passes are up to date. You can check trail conditions 24 hours a day by calling 920-758-7669. Cross-country Ski trails are groomed at Point Beach State Forest and are in great shape. If you don't have skis you can hike on specific hiking trails, a reminder cross-country ski trails are for skiing only. With a warm up in sight for the weekend I encourage you all to take advantage of it and enjoy the great outdoors! - Alyssa R Neff-Miller, conservation warden, Mishicot

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Newport State Park - Winter Strom Beth blessed us with about 8 inches of new snow this past week. There was a base of about 6-8 inches, so trails are in great shape. As of today, cross country ski trails have been groomed and tracked. Conditions are great. Be aware however, that temperatures are going to plummet tonight into tomorrow, with frigid, record breaking conditions expected until the end of the week. Wildlife has been hunkered down during the snowstorm, but birds are reappearing at area feeders. Chickadees, nuthatches and all kinds of woodpeckers are regular visitors. Turkeys are coming around in small flocks. Evening Grosbeaks have come back to platform feeders after being MIA during the storm. Europe Lake at the north end of the park has a thick layer of ice and is welcoming those who want to ice fish. Time to enjoy all that winter has to offer but give it a few days for the Polar Vortex to pass. - Beth Bartoli, naturalist

Peninsula State Park - Some of the cross-country ski trails were groomed on Jan. 29 and were in good condition. Not all the trails have been groomed. - Jessica Doell, visitor services associate

Potawatomi State Park - Cross-country ski trails were groomed and tracked on Jan. 23 after about 8 inches of light fluffy snow. Trails are in good condition. - Erin Brownstender, property manager

Whitefish Dunes State Park - The park received about 6 inches of dry, fluffy snow on Tuesday and another 2-3 on Wednesday and Thursday. This is the first snow of the winter that could be groomed for cross-country skiing. Icy base, so pole plants are shallow. Most of the trails have deep tracks. Shallow areas under trees. Ski trails are in excellent overall shape, The new snowshoe trail from the Red Pine Lot was groomed today. Come out and try it. - Erin Dembski, ranger

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - It was 25-degrees below zero without wind chill Wednesday morning. might be even slightly colder Thursday. No ice fishing update as you would have to be insane to go out. We did get 9-plus inches of fluffy snow, but 30 mph winds have blown it around so that many open areas are bare or near bare and trail conditions. Will be nice to exit the deep freeze. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

Waushara County - It has been cold and breezy, but the end is in sight. Slightly warmer weather returns this weekend, which should allow folks the opportunity to get out and enjoy the snow that preceded the cold snap. As of today Tuesday, the snowmobile trails in Waushara County were open, but are in poor condition. Please check Waushara County's Snowmobile hotline or website for up to date information on trail closures. The ice is firming up as well and spots that have had issues have gotten better. Nothing is 100 percent so please go slow and check local bait shops for up to date information. Local fisheries are taking place over the next couple of weeks as well so look for those and enjoy good times and a good reason to get out and fish. - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma

Hartman Creek State Park - The park received approximately 7 inches of snow earlier this week. Cross-country ski trails were groomed Tuesday, Jan. 29. The Pope Lake Trail System is in fair to good condition with tracks set. The Oakridge Trail System is in fair condition and was also tracked on. - Jarrod Kehring, property manager

Oshkosh DNR Service Center area

High Cliff State Park - The park received 8 inches of snow on Jan. 28. Due to the dangerously cold weather, the ski trails will not be groomed until the cold weather lifts. - Jay Vosters, ranger



Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Kohler-Andrae State Park - Cross-country ski trails have 2 to 3 inches of packed snow with roughly a foot of fluffy snow on top. Due to cold weather trail is not groomed, we expect to groom and set track when temperatures rise. - Cody Las, ranger

Waukesha DNR Service Center area

Kettle Moraine State Forest, Southern Unit - The forest received 6 inches of moderate/dry snow fell on the evening of Jan. 27-28 on top of a 2 inch base. Some light freezing drizzle occurred early Jan. 28. Cross-country ski trails were groomed for skate and classic cross skiing on Tuesday, Jan. 29. The trails were triple packed to a 4 inch base, with good to excellent track laid. Some soft spots remain. Nordic and McMiller trails were in good condition but will not be groomed again until temperatures increase to safe levels Friday. Roy Kenast, ranger

Plymouth DNR Service Center area

Kettle Moraine State Forest, Northern Unit - Despite the extreme cold visitors have been still enjoying Northern Unit this week. We saw dozens of snowmobilers on the trails this past week. On Monday most of the forest receive 6-12 inches of dry snow. Not ideal for packing trails but enough to improve cross-country skiing, fat tire bike riding, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. Our snowshoe trails at Greenbush and New Fane are also the year-round mountain bike trails and are utilized by fat-tire bikers this time of year. They have been popular choices for folks looking to get outside and get a good workout during this unusually cold weather. These trails are tucked deeper into the woods, so they are further protected from the wind, making your experience more enjoyable than some of our wider trail systems. Please be sure to dress warm. Snowmobilers have been rejoicing in our 60 miles of snowmobile trail. Close to home but big enough to feel like being "up north." Please check Travel Wisconsin's Snow Report for the most recent snowmobile trail conditions. This Saturday Feb. 2 the Friends of KMNU will host its annual Candlelight Ski/Hike at the Zillmer trailhead and this weekend's warmer forecast will sure make it a treat! This event starts at the parking lot and follows the shorter Brown loop. It finishes with a campfire, snacks, and warm drinks at the heated shelter building. A park sticker is necessary and many attendees take advantage of this early opportunity to get their yearly sticker. We hope to see you there! - James Enigl, park ranger

Cross-country ski trails were groomed and tracked Jan. 29. There is about a 6-7 inch base. Conditions are very good to excellent at Zillmer trails and good at the Greenbush trails, but the snow is a bit soft and slow. Some drifting over the trails in places. No plans to do any grooming until bitter cold temps subside. - Reagan Arndt, ranger

Point Beach State Forest - Point Beach received 12 inches of dry fluffy snow on Monday. The Ridges Trail was packed and tracks Tuesday. Expect soft conditions until it firms up. Also some debris from the high winds. The Red Pine trail was packed but not groomed. Trail will be groomed on Friday. - Guy Willman, property manager



South Central Region

Dodgeville DNR Service Center area

Blue Mound State Park - All cross-country ski trails were groomed and tracked and are in excellent condition. Skate skiing allowed in campground and picnic loops only. - Kevin Swenson, park manager

Governor Dodge State Park - Cross-country ski trails were packed on Jan. 28 and were in good condition with a snow base of 4-6 inches. Expect blowing and drifting this week.

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Columbia County - There's finally good snow conditions across the county but unfortunately for humans and wildlife alike, the snow is being accompanied by bitter cold. Much of the snow cover is light and fluffy allowing animals such as deer and turkey to easily dig through it to get to food sources on the ground. If you have bird feeders, make sure to keep them clear and free of snow and to have them filled for these sub-zero temps. Snowmobile trails are open across the county. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette

Governor Nelson State park - The cross-country ski trails are in good condition and were groomed and tracked on Monday, Jan. 28. Conditions are expected to deteriorate over the next few days due to forecasted high winds causing snow drifting. Given cold temperatures, trails will likely not be groomed again until Friday. - Rene Lee, property manager

Lake Kegonsa State Park -The cross-country ski trails are in good condition and were groomed and tracked on Monday, Jan. 2h. Conditions are expected to deteriorate over the next few days due to forecasted high winds causing snow drifting. Given forecasted extreme cold temperatures, trails will likely not be groomed again until Friday, Feb. 1. - Sarah Bolser, park manager

Mirror Lake State Park -The park received approximately 10 inches of snow. Cross-country ski trails were tracked and groomed Jan. 30 and were in good to excellent condition. Skate lanes are very good shape, track was set and there is some snow that drifted into the tracks in some areas, but still decent. - Steven Rodenkirch, conservation biologist



West Central Region

Baldwin DNR Service Center area

Kinnickinnic State Park - Cross-country ski trails were groomed Jan. 28 but are in poor condition. Track is set on the Green, Yellow, Purple and Orange trails. The track is marginal with many thin and lumpy areas. The Red, Blue and Brown trails have been packed and are open to foot traffic. - Eric Klumb, ranger

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Perrot State Park - We received about 7 inches of snow overnight. The cross-country ski trails are being packed and plans are to groom and track the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 29. A winter map is available at the office and nature center which lists the ski trails, their difficulty, and distance. Hiking, snowshoeing and pets are not allowed on the groomed cross-country ski trails. The hiking trails finally have plenty of snow to strap on a pair of snowshoes. If you would like to rent a pair, please call the office to arrange a time to meet with staff. If you are planning to hike, snowshoe or are bringing your pet, please stay off the groomed cross-country ski trails. We have a winter map available at the park office and nature center that shows the many trails that are open to hiking, snowshoeing and pets. You can enjoy the views from both Brady's Bluff and Perrot Ridge or enjoy the Riverview trail along the Trempealeau and Mississippi rivers. Woodpeckers, tufted titmouse, chickadees, and nuthatches are so much easier to see with the snow lighting up the woods. Squirrels are struggling to get over the piles of snow along the roads. Having snow is also new to the deer but they are still able to dig down to find food and hopefully some tasty acorns. Much of Trempealeau Bay does have ice but the fluctuating temperatures and current keep the ice thin and everchanging. - Lois Larson, park manager

Wildcat Mountain State Park - Cross-country ski trails were groomed for skate and classic cross-country skiing and were tracked on Monday, Jan. 28 and were in excellent condition. There is a 2-4 inch base, with some drifting. - Jayne Collins, ranger

Black River Falls DNR Service Center area

Black River State Forest - Cross-country ski trails were packed and tracked on January 28 and 29 after we received 8-10 inches of new snow. Our Candlelight ski, hike and snowshoe event will be held Saturday, Feb. 2 from 6-9 p.m. at the Smrekar parking lot, weather and temperatures permitting.- Emily Alf, visitor services associate

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Lake Wissota State Park - The park didn't receive as much snow as other parts of the state in the last couple weeks. We did, however, receive several inches of light fluffy snow. Our trails have been packed but it didn't compact to much of a base. We are awaiting more snow until we groom the trails. The cold weather has reduced people and animal activity in the park but will likely increase with forecasted warmer weather is on its way. Species of birds seen or heard include: crows, black capped chickadees, phoebes, northern juncos, pileated woodpeckers, and barred owls.- Nathan Fries, ranger

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - Cross-country ski trails were packed and tracked for cross country skiing on Wednesday, Jan. 23. Trail base is only 1-2 inches. - Heather Wolf, park manager

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Last Revised: Thursday, January 31, 2019
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