Reston, VA

Morning Notes

Reston Association Board Election Ends Tomorrow — Voting in Reston Association’s Board of Directors election will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 2. There are four candidates seeking two at-large seats, along with one person running for the South Lakes District seat. Reston Now ran profiles of the at-large candidates earlier this year. [RA]

Major Development Coming to Innovation Center Station — Developers are planning to bring 4 million square feet of development to the Innovation Center Metro station. The latest proposal focuses on Loudoun County but was made possible by the sale of the Center for Innovative Technology campus in Herndon [Washington Business Journal]

Virginia Adopts First State Voting Rights Act in U.S. — “Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday approved the Voting Rights Act of Virginia, which aims to eliminate voter suppression and intimidation in the state.” [CNN/WTOP]

South Lakes Students Install Public Art at Lake Thoreau — Students on the South Lakes High School STEAM Team finished installing their Part and Parcel art exhibit at Lake Thoreau earlier this week. The work took nearly 17 months to put together and was developed through a partnership between Reston Association and Public Art Reston. [@SeahawkBoosters/Twitter]

FEMA to Help with COVID-19-related Funeral Costs — “Beginning in early April, residents may apply to FEMA for financial assistance to help cover funeral costs incurred by COVID-19-related deaths. This assistance will be available to all residents…who incurred expenses after Jan. 20, 2020, for a death attributed to the virus.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

Leidos Wins Multimillion-Dollar Navy Contract — The Reston-based contractor Leidos has been awarded a contract with an estimated value of $149.2 million to provide engineering, technical, and management services for the U.S. Navy’s Naval Array Technical Support Center. [PR Newswire]

Photo by Ray Copson

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Voting Underway for Reston Association Election — Members of RA can now cast their ballots for the 2021 board race. Voting will remain open until April 2 at 5 p.m. [RA]

Large Metal Object Found in Lake Audubon — A contractor plans to remove debris from Lake Audubon as soon as possible. A barge crew and diver are expected to retrieve and dispose of the metal object later this week. [RA]

Transportation to Vaccine Appointments Offered in Fairfax County — The county’s Department of Neighborhood and Community Services has subsidized a taxi voucher program for seniors and other residents seeking to receive a vaccine. Other community organizations are also offering transportation services. [Reston Patch]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Voting in the 2021 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 1 through April 2. This week, we will begin posting profiles on each of the candidates. The complete election schedule is available online.

Featured here is Vincent Dory who is running against three other people for one of two at-large seats. The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. With the exception of minor formatting edits, profiles are published in unedited form. Each candidate had an opportunity to answer the same questions in their own words.

How long have you lived in Reston? What brought you here?

I have lived in Reston for two years. I decided to set my roots down here because of the unique design and architectural philosophy that governs the design of this place and for the great location in regards to jobs in the area.

What inspired you to run for the board? 

I was inspired to run for the board out of my great appreciation for Reston’s history and design, desire to serve a greater community, and because of the fact that I am a self-driven person. The local activism in regards to the preservation of Reston’s green spaces has also inspired me to run.

What are three of the biggest concerns you have for Reston?

As a board member, I will have three primary goals that I will push for.
First, I will work to protect our community’s green spaces with absolute commitment and with all available resources. Our trees and open spaces are a vital part of Reston’s identity that also provide our community with numerous benefits. The RA should use its platform and influence to protect these assets from over development and liaison with outside entities to assist in this whenever possible.
Next, I believe the RA should focus on improving and repairing current amenities rather than acquiring new ones. In light of the economic problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for repairs and upgrades for our pools and tennis courts, the need for maintenance with our dams, and the currently good state of the RA’s finances; now is the time for prudence and caution with the RA’s amenities, and with its finances.

Finally, I would be an important asset in the work to ensure reston.org‘s current redesign is the best possible for our member’s usage. I am a professional software developer, which gives me knowledge in being able to assist the Association with any technology issues. I also have certifications in cloud computing, which our IT infrastructure recently transferred to. All of this will be valuable for making our technology the best it can be in this time of transition.

What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?

I hope to accomplish the aforementioned goals, and help govern the RA in a measured, effective manner.

How will your personal or professional experience help you in your role with RA?

In addition to my aforementioned skills with technology, I also was the president of my fraternity during university. I am also active in many local political and activist organizations in my spare time. This all gives me experience in managing organizations effectively, dealing with and utilizing personnel to their best abilities, and having a smooth management of finances and assets. You can find more about me at my website, vincentdory.com.

Photo via Reston Association

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Voting in the 2021 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 1 through April 2. This week, we will begin posting profiles on each of the candidates. The complete election schedule is available online.

Featured here is Sarah Selvaraj-Dsouza who is running against three other people for one of two at-large seats. The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. With the exception of minor formatting edits, profiles are published in unedited form. Each candidate had an opportunity to answer the same questions in their own words.

How long have you lived in Reston? What brought you here?

I have been fortunate to call Reston my home for the past 13 years. What brought me here was fate, but what has kept me here is a love and appreciation for Reston and its many wonderful offerings, the nature, the amenities, the attractions, and most of all the people who make our community so vibrant and unique.

When I came to Reston, I brought with me a business degree, ideas, and dreams. In 2013, I launched a small business in Northern Virginia. The Reston community helped me realize this dream. Ceramic classes and studio offerings at the Reston Community Center were an intricate part of my growth. I spent countless hours with the amazing instructors there, playing with clay. And as a mom, I have thoroughly enjoyed all that Reston has to offer from museums, art galleries, trails, parks, lakes, even a zoo, kids classes, ice-skating, pools, tennis courts, shopping, and so much more.

Each of our stories on what brought us to Reston and what keeps us here is unique and what makes this area an amazing place to live work and play. I want to hear about your story. Visit me on SARAH4RESTON.com so we can get to know each other and chat, I would love to talk, text, email or simply good ol’fashioned meet for coffee.

What inspired you to run for the board? (Note: If you are currently on the board or have held a previous position on the board, emphasize why you are running again). 

This year on the board, I championed several initiatives including:

  • resisting substantial increases to our dues,
  • offering pool pass discounts and refunds to members whose enjoyment of our facilities had been impacted by COVID
  • encouraging RA to take a very public stance in support of our golf courses
  • insisting on greater transparency from the association, board, and staff
  • improving cluster communications
  • advocating for an IT committee to help RA staff with strategy and oversight to protect members’ data and address several technology concerns that have plagued us over the years.

But Reston we’ve got a lot more work to do.

I am committed to ensuring RA’s primary focus is our membership – YOU.

Please vote for me to represent you for a full 3-year term so together we can see Reston flourish. Please visit me at Sarah4Reston.com for more info.

What are three of the biggest concerns you have for Reston?

  • Affordability – From affordable housing to affordable RA assessments, affordability is KEY to all of us. We need to ensure our assessments are affordable. Being a mom and a small business owner I know every dollar spent towards an assessment is a dollar not spent on my family or my business.

  • Density and Redevelopment – RA must be an advocate for Restonians on Land Use issues. We need a strong board that can effectively represent us to the county on plans that conflict with our members’ best interests. New development must be part of RA. Many of these developments tout RA’s wonderful offerings like our amenities, lakes, and trails to entice new owners but are not members of RA and do not contribute to the upkeep.

  • Climate Change – The urgency of climate change cannot be ignored. Reston under the RA Environmental Advisory Committee(EAC)’s leadership is working towards being a leader on this front. We can and must do more. This year as liaison to the EAC I advocated for more visibility and input from this amazing group of volunteers on RA operations that impact the environment. I invite you to learn about and take the biophilic pledge with me and to visit Reston Today’s informative video.

These are big issues and need lots of conversations with the community and voices to find the right solutions for Reston. I want to start/continue these conversations. If you would like to join in, visit SARAH4RESTON.com

What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?

I had the honor to serve as one of your At-Large Representatives on the board this year. I am asking for your vote again because I want to continue to advocate for fiscal responsibility, transparency, two-way communications, and action-oriented leadership.

  • Greater Fiscal Responsibility: I believe smart money management does not mean raising assessments or pay cuts for hard-working RA staff. Smart money management means the efficient and effective use of available resources, including the knowledge and experience of the RA Fiscal Committee. It also means exploring the possibility of public/private partnerships and other non-assessment revenue streams to meet membership needs.

  • Greater Transparency and Communication: The RA Board must be committed to transparency and empowering the membership through meaningful engagement. We can achieve this by disseminating necessary documents and reports sufficiently prior to board/committee meetings to allow member participation and comment.

  • Action-Oriented Leadership: I will use my skill set as a successful business owner for creative problem-solving, where consensus building, communication, and firm deadlines will be key. I will encourage implementing action items in a timely manner.

5. How will your personal or professional experience help you in your role with RA?

Making a small business grow and prosper over the last eight years has required the ability to adapt and innovate especially to survive 2020. Those skills would benefit the RA board and our community.

Diversity, innovation, and adaptation have been an integral part of my life. I grew up in India, completed my engineering degree in Singapore, obtained my MBA in Bristol, England, and moved to Reston 13 years ago to start my family.

I love that our Reston community is much more than shared zip codes. When COVID hit and the struggle for civil rights and justice came to the forefront, I founded RESTONSTRONG and organized more than 5000 neighbors for community action including a peaceful demonstration and no-contact donation pods. I serve on the GMU School of Music Board, foster for LostDogRescue.org, and now help my 5th grade Terraset Tiger with distance-learning.

Most importantly, as a homeowner, a business owner, and a mom, I know the value RA brings to our community and lives, and I am also keenly aware of the strain we can face when assessments are raised or prices for programs and amenities become more expensive. I will ensure our money is spent wisely, I will champion accountability and transparency, and I will use my experience and passion for our community to implement creative solutions.

Photo via Reston Association

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Voting in the 2021 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 1 through April 2. This week, we will begin posting profiles on each of the candidates. The complete election schedule is available online.

Featured here is John Farrell who is running against three other people for one of two at-large seats. The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. With the exception of minor formatting edits, profiles are published in unedited form. Each candidate had an opportunity to answer the same questions in their own words. 

How long have you lived in Reston? What brought you here?

My family had the good fortune to move Reston in 1984. My 4 kids went to Terraset, Hughes and South Lakes Schools. They went to RA camps, learned to swim at RA pools and played ball on RA fields.  Our cluster has been home to many kinds of families of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.  That diversity has enriched all of us and truly makes Reston a unique and amazing place to live, work and play.

My passion for Reston actually began many years before I moved here. In 1965, like other 12 year olds, I was fascinated by coverage of the Gemini V mission sponsored by Gulf Oil.  Gulf’s ads featured Reston, a planned Virginia community.  In the midst of the Massive Resistance era, Gulf touted Reston’s housing for all socio-economic levels throughout a family’s lifecycle and the absence of racial covenants. Those ads set my life’s course: to study urban government in college and zoning and planning in law school.

Getting to raise my four children in Reston has been the fulfillment of a vision formed 55 years ago.

What inspired you to run for the board? 

I love all that Reston offers it members. Our amenities are one of the top reasons we are a nationally recognized place to live, work and play.  There is a cost and as we welcome new neighbors and as facilities age, upkeep costs will increase as well.  When I heard from RA leadership that it had not even asked the developers of the new apartments around the Metro station to join RA to help fund the upkeep of our trails, parks, lakes and ball fields that their tenants will use, it was clear the RA needs change. When I later found out that RA had not made a written demand to receive part of the recreational contributions made by those developers, it was clear that RA needed someone to advocate for its membership.

The bookshelves of the RA offices groan with one study after another, yet there is little action, advocacy or accountability by RA leadership.  It’s time for RA to take action. It’s time for RA to vigorously advocate for its members interests. It’s time for accountability by RA leadership to its members.

What are three of the biggest concerns you have for Reston?

My overriding concern is to insure that we retain what’s best about Reston and that it prospers for the next generation. Some of my specific means of advancing that intention are to:

  1. Permanently preserve both golf courses;
  2. Promptly reopen Lake Thoreau pool as efficiently as possible and advocate that all RA facilities are open during their intended season; and
  3. Strongly advocate for the new apartment owners near the Metro stations to pay RA assessments to help pay to maintain our trails, open space and ball fields that their tenants will use.It’s only fair and will hold down our RA assessments
  4. What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?

First and foremost, I want to be your advocate.  There’s a lot to love about Reston and there’s a lot that we can do together to make living, working and playing here even better.

Here are a few of my ideas:

  • Advocate for some the $25 million in recreational facility contributions from the developers of Reston’s new residential projects to be used for RA facilities and that all of it be spent in Reston;
  • Do our part to protect our environment by adopting a clear plan to convert RA’s fleet to electric vehicles;
  • Require all commercial properties to comply with RA’s covenants that protect our property values;
  • Increase transparency and encourage member engagement by avoiding executive sessions and revising RA’s committee structure to improve members’ understanding of RA functions;
  • Create a RA website that provides easily accessible information and two-way communication for all RA members at reasonable cost;
  • Insist that RA engage knowledgeable people to securely protect its members personal data; and
  • Preserving Reston’s legacy of inclusion of all social-economic groups at all stages of a family’s life-cycle.

How will your personal or professional experience help you in your role with RA?

  • I’ve spent my professional career advocating for homeowners and homeowners associations and I can use what I’ve learned to strengthen RA.
  • As an attorney specializing in zoning and wetlands law, I understand the regulatory challenges to preserving our unique community.
  • As President of the Fairfax Girls Softball League, I worked with others to successfully lobby the County Board of Supervisors to spend $100,000 per year for 10 years to bring the softball facilities up to the same quality as the baseball facilities.
  • As National President for the 40,000-member Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation, I managed a large volunteer membership organization.
  • As President of Colonial Oaks cluster, for the last 6 years, I’ve successfully dealt with the many issues facing RA clusters and learned the strengths and weaknesses of the RA covenant process.
  • I’ve spent the last 20 years protecting the right to vote in Fairfax.

I hope you’ll agree that all of that is experience you can trust.

Find out more by visiting farrell4reston.com.

Photo via Reston Association

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Session on Reston Association Election Set for This Week — Reston Association’s elections committee will hold an election information session on Thursday, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. The session will take place will Zoom. [RA]

Reston Company Taps New Vice Presidents — Reston-based federal contractor Amyx Inc. announced last week it has hired Christopher Ziniti as vice president of defense and promoted Roman Dzialo to vice president of strategic programs. [Virginia Business]

Community Meeting on Reston Historic Resources Survey — ‘draft of an Historic Resources Survey of Reston has been completed and is available for community review and input. Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn is hosting a virtual community meeting Jan. 5, 2021 at 7 p.m. to provide residents with the opportunity to ask questions and provide comments on the draft survey, following a presentation by the consultant hired by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.[Fairfax County Government]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Reston Association is surveying its members to determine preferences on receiving electronic ballots, which would require members to provide email addresses to RA and candidates running for the Board of Directors.

The two-question survey, which was released yesterday, asks members if they wish to receive electronic elections ballots and if they want to receive campaign emails directly from candidates without opting in.

In the past, RA has required members to opt-in for electronic ballots. Paper ballots are mailed to members who do not opt-in.

An increasing number of members have found online voting to be more convenient than mailing their ballots. Voting electronically helps increase participation in the annual board election, which is held throughout the month of March,” RA wrote in a statement.

The survey is intended to be an informal gauge to determine members’ preferences.

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Reston Association’s Board of Directors will select new its new officers at an online meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) at 6:30 p.m.

Newly elected members Robert Petrine, Sarah Selvaraj-Dsouza and Mike Collins recently won seats on the board, as well as incumbent Caren Anton.

The board will select a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer for the coming year.

Here’s more from Reston Association on the process:

The selection process involves board members submitting nominations and then nominees making brief statements about their qualifications to serve as an officer. Then the board will vote. A simple majority of the nine-member board is required for a director to be chosen for an officer’s position.

The board will also select committee assignments for entities like the fiscal committee and the environmental advisory committee.

A virtual meeting is also planned on May 21 at 6:30. p.m. RA’s Design Review Board will hold a virtual meeting on May 27 at 6 p.m.

Details on how to log-in are available online.

Photo via RA/Facebook

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At an annual meeting held online yesterday (Thursday), Reston Association announced the results of its board election.

Robert Petrine won the at-large seat for a three-year term while Sarah Selvaraj-Dsouza won the at-large seat for a one-year term. Current board member Caren Anton retained her three-year position for the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District seat and Mike Collins won the seat for apartment owners, which also has a three-year term.

Ed Abbott, chair of the elections committee, said that a 10 percent quorum to make the results official was met in the election this year. Overall, turnout was around 16 percent for all races.

Despite technical challenges on the first few days of voting, Abbott said he was confident about the integrity of the election results. Some RA members received ballots with names of other members.

A breakdown of voter turnout for each position is below:

  • At-large (one-year): 18 percent
  • At large (three-year): 18 percent
  • Hunters Woods/Dogwood: 14.5 percent
  • Apartment Owners Representative: 33 percent

The new board will select officers this month. The elections committee will evaluate the election and provide recommendations on how to improve the voting process to the board in the coming months.

The meeting was held virtually via Zoom and included live comments from RA members. Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn, who spoke at the meeting, said he was impressed by the set up of the event.

Photo via YouTube

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Reston Association Reschedules Annual Meeting — The organization has rescheduled its annual meeting from April 14 to April 30 at p.m. The meeting will be held online. Election results will also be announced at the meeting. [Reston Association]

Roundup of Town of Herndon Restaurants and Grocery Stores — Town officials have put together a roundup of local grocery store hours, as well as restaurants that are offering delivery and take out. [Town of Herndon]

Surge of Cases Expected in Late April through May — “It could still be weeks before the worst of the coronavirus crisis hits Virginia. State officials are preparing for a surge in the number of people who test positive between late April and late May, Gov. Ralph Northam said Wednesday that analysis of the latest models shows Northam told residents he was planning for the worst and hoping for the best.” [NBC 4]

FCPS Superintendent Writes to Class of 2020 — Superintendent Scott Braband said that the state superintended plans to provide “maximum flexibility for graduation requirements.” “Even if you were not passing all of your required courses, I want you to know that there is still time for you to graduate this June.  Your teachers will ensure you have access to what you need to be able to complete your coursework through distance learning,” Brabrand wrote. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Friday Morning Notes

Metro Services Limited to 26 Bus Routes — Metro is only running a core network of 26 bus routes and twice-hourly rail service only for the region’s “essential travel needs.” [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Local Unemployment Resources Available — Job seekers and employers in N. Virginia can access Virginia Career Works Centers, which offer a system of employment of training services through on-stop resource centers. Although the centers are closed, webinars, career coaching, and local labor market information is available. [Fairfax County Government]

Local Fire Station Demolished — Station 25 on Wiehle Avenue was officially demolished on Tuesday, making way for an upgraded facility that’s expected to open in May 2021. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Reminder: Voting Underway for Reston Association Election — The last day to cast a vote for the annual Board of Directors’ election is April 3, 2020 at 5 p.m. [Reston Association]

Photo via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

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When 81 Reston Association members cast online ballots for the current board election on the first day of voting on Monday, they voted with incorrect ballots linked to other members.

The technical error prompted Intelliscan, RA’s independent election agent, to toss the ballots out and fix the issue.

“Intelliscan has since corrected the error and come up with a comprehensive plan to address those individuals who voted with an erroneous ballot,” said Mike Leone, RA’s spokesman.

Due to the botched ballots, Intelliscan has created a special log-in to verify the credentials of the 2,500 members who plan to vote online. Members must call Intelliscan to verify their credentials, after which the company will send a new voter link with the correct ballot to cast a vote. The company is also sending paper ballots to all members as a “safeguard.”

Both corrective actions are being administered at no additional cost to RA. The issue only impacted online ballots.

An alert to inform members of the technical error and apologize for the mixup has been sent to affected members. The email includes a link for members to cast their votes online.

“This process will ensure that RA members impacted will not be able to double vote,” Leone wrote.  RA says that the issue was a one-time error that has been resolved and will not impact the remainder of the elections.

Intelliscan said the issue was a technical error, as described by RA below:

Intelliscan received the Member file from RA to send out the pre-election email blast to collect any “bounce backs” from Members that had opted-in.  Voter codes were then populated.  Intelliscan realized after the pre-election email blast had been sent, that the corresponding addresses were incorrect for some Members and requested a corrected file from RA.  Additional Members where added and voters codes were repopulated within the Membership file.  Additionally, Intelliscan kept a separate “notify table” which held the names of Members that were sent the pre-election email blast.  Unfortunately, the codes in the “notify table” were not updated by Intelliscan to the correct voter codes prior to the second “kick-off” email blast.  Once RA realized that the emailed Members’ voter codes were incorrect, the association contacted Intelliscan and the voting website was taken down by Intelliscan. 

This is not the first time RA board elections have had hiccups. Last year, technical issues caused roughly 2,800 paper ballots to be returns as undeliverable. Intelliscan resent the ballots to the correct addresses and moved to extend the voting period.

Anyone with questions about the issue can contact Intelliscan by calling 252-560-8079 or emailing Michelle McRoy at [email protected].

Image via Reston Association

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Voting Underway for Reston Association Election — The last day to vote is April 3 for RA’s 2020 election for the Board of Directors. Voting information is available online. [Reston Association]

Charges Pending for Home Burglary — A burglary was reported on the 1600 block of Hiddenbrook Drive on Feb. 29 at around 3:44 a.m. The homeowners said they were awakened by the sound of knocking on their front door. Two juveniles were located a short distance away. Charges are pending. [Fairfax County Police Department]

South Lakes Girls Finish Second — “Senior Hannah Waller finished her final season on the South Lakes High School girls indoor track team as a state champion, finishing first in the 55 meters with a winning time of 6.95. This effort helped to lift the South Lakes girls indoor track team to its third consecutive second place finish Feb. 28-29, at the 6A State Championships, at the Boo Williams Sportsplex.” [Reston Patch]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Monday Morning Notes

Reston Man Charged with Aldie Assault — “A man was arrested in Aldie Thursday morning after allegedly assaulting a coworker at the workplace, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies responded to the 41000 block of Collaboration Drive around 8:06 a.m. for reports of the incident.” [Loudoun Times-Mirror]

Surviving Tax Season — The county offers several resources on how to navigate rules and filing procedures. The Board of Supervisors is also hosting a series of free tax relief workshops through the county. [Fairfax County Government]

Endorsements for Reston Association Board Election — The Coalition for a Planned Reston endorsed Bob Petrine, a candidate for an at-large seat of three years, and Sarah Selvaraj-Dsouza, a candidate for an at-large seat for one year. [Reston 20/20]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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