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Read the stories from the latest issue:

The lure of casting a line

By CPC | September 1, 2023
lady fishing in turquoise water

Lynda Bess has always loved hiking the mountain trails of Colorado. A native and longtime resident of The Village at Castle Pines, Bess, her husband and three kids never hesitated to get away when they had the chance. Hiking was always her soul soother, a way to challenge herself physically while calming whatever was on…

Successful risks and overcoming fear

By CPC | September 1, 2023
family outside

“There is reward on the other side of risks you take,” said Milan Klusacek – and he would know.   Klusacek is currently the creative director at cyber security company Red Canary, mentoring and coaching their creative team.  Previously he did social media for the Broncos.  To get this far, he took many risks along…

From the Caribbean to Colorado

By CPC | September 1, 2023
family posing at top of mountain

Renel and Enon (Ron) Straker hail from the West Indies’ Caribbean island of Grenada but call Colorado home today.  The couple met while they were both employed with the Sandals resort in their home country: she, a butler helping couples fulfill romantic vacations, and he, a chef.  Ron changed jobs, going to the Hilton Hotels…

Bus driver’s reflections amid shortage

By CPC | September 1, 2023
older man stands in front of bus

Les Lilly’s typical workday includes driving bus routes in western Douglas County for the Douglas County School District (DCSD). “I drive out in the rural parts of the county,” said Lilly.   “I also make some stops in town for the middle schools and high schools to accommodate capacity issues, because as you know, we’ve…

A coat of ginger swirl

By CPC | September 1, 2023
photo of cat in sink

Born to a Colorado barn cat, Athena’s days on the farm were limited when Kiersten Lockwood and her family learned of orange kittens being given away.  Shortly after their visit to the farm, the Lockwoods found themselves home with a tabby kitten and Athena with a new family, bed and food. Athena carries a strong…

The Buntains: early is as early does

By CPC | September 1, 2023
black and white photo of old school house

Young people of the 21st century seem to be marrying later and fretting more, enjoying the lack of early responsibilities prior to taking on life-altering commitments.  A good plan if you’ve got money or accommodating parents.  Not so with Sedalian Thomas Buntain.  He served in the Civil War as early as 17, marrying his bride…

Adventures in the great outdoors

By CPC | September 1, 2023
book cover

As the air begins to cool with the sharpness of fall, it is a wonderful time to get outside for an adventure.  This month’s book recommendations go beyond Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods or Cheryl Strayed’s Wild to discover explorations into the untamed world around us. Desert Solitaire:…

September Modern Manners

By CPC | September 1, 2023

Dear Readers, It’s that time of the year!  Are you making plans to head to the hills for the fall colors and the annual changing of the leaves?  Let’s take a minute to review the rules of the road. We’ll start with the rules for descending the mountain:  Drive down the mountain in low gear…

A sanctuary for unwanted farm animals

By CPC | September 1, 2023

About 18 miles southwest of Castle Pines, sits The Random Ranch (TRR), a beautiful place for animals of all kinds to live out their remaining years in glorious form.  Amy Bennett founded TRR 12 years ago.  This working farm was not intended to be an animal sanctuary, but it accidentally became one. Animals end up…

Semi-retired and enjoying life

By CPC | September 1, 2023
man outside with his dogs

On Paul Edmondson’s last day as a teacher, all of the kids at Heritage Elementary School lined the halls and clapped to see him off in style. Paul spent 27 years as a teacher –17 of them in Douglas County School District (DCSD) – teaching third through sixth grade.  Now that he and his wife,…

Deer Clover Way … for the second time

By CPC | September 1, 2023
couple outside on their deck

Not many can say they have lived in Castle Pines twice and that all of their children and grandchildren live here.  Cindy and Stew Larsen can. “Stew retired in 2018 and we moved back to Castle Pines, just four houses down the street from the home we left in 2007,” stated Cindy. Married 51 years…

Magnificent meatless Monday

By CPC | September 1, 2023
photo of veggies in bowl

One of my children is something of a vegetarian.  He’s not opposed to eating meat, but he likes lots of vegetarian dishes, and in a nod to his preferences, I’ve been cooking “meatless on Monday” for a few years now.  Most of the time, the dishes are simple (bean and cheese burritos and pasta primavera…

XDrive Classic scores big again in 2024

By CPC | September 1, 2023
view of golfers standing in x pattern

On Monday, July 31, a sold-out crowd teed up for the 9th annual XDrive Classic Golf Tournament at The Club at Pradera in Parker.  The event raises awareness for Fragile X Syndrome, a leading cause of autism, and raises money for The Joshua School (TJS) and Treeline Pass (TLP).  These two impactful organizations help children…

National Honey Month: how sweet it is

By CPC | September 1, 2023
beekeeper with the bee hive

September is National Honey Month, so celebrate by honoring all things honey, which begins with appreciating the hard-working honeybee.  The average honeybee will make only one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime, so it takes hundreds of bees traveling many miles to make a single jar. It is a long journey to get…

An apple a day…

By CPC | September 1, 2023
apples in apple fields

Apples are delicious on their own, but their versatility makes them one of the most consumed fruits in the world.  Cider, juice, sauce, crisps and pie made with apples all come to mind for their sweetness, but this hardy fruit works well in salads, sandwiches and chicken dinners, too.  Here are some fun facts about…

Better-for-you energy bars and bites

By CPC | September 1, 2023
photo of energy bars on tray

Energy bars are great for a grab-and-go breakfast or snack but the store-bought ones are often filled with sugar and unhealthy oils and additives.  Creating energy bars at home means they are filled with the nutritious and delicious ingredients of one’s choice! Search online for recipes for homemade bars with tempting combinations such as blueberry…

Summer Super Bowl recap

By CPC | September 1, 2023
team photo of youths and coaches

Castle Pines Athletics NFL FLAG Football wrapped up the summer season with a Super Bowl.  The fall season is in full swing with more teams than ever before participating in three age groups from kindergarten to sixth grade.  The 2024 spring season will include seventh and eighth graders.  For more information, visit   By…

School District authorizes mill levy override and bond for November ballot

By CPC | September 1, 2023
logo for school district

The Board of Education (BOE) of Douglas County School District (DCSD) has authorized a Mill Levy Override (MLO) and bond for the ballot this November. At the August 8 meeting, the BOE voted unanimously for a $66 million MLO and $484 million bond to pay for an increase to teachers’ salaries and to maintain School…

Braver Angels to host town hall for school board candidates

By CPC | September 1, 2023

Braver Angels is hosting a town hall for the three Douglas County School District (DCSD) Board candidate seats up for election this November.  The event will be on September 28 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the DCSD Legacy Campus, 10035 S. Peoria Street (former Wildlife Experience). The format will allow candidates to make…

Rock Canyon High School library steps into the times

By CPC | September 1, 2023
group of ladies holding charity check

Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) staff and students noticed a few changes in the Library Media Center (LMC) when school began last month.  Modern improvements, interactive events, games and a cafe were added to make the old library a modern and welcoming space. The LMC staff decided last year to make some updates.  Jennifer Chiu,…

Ivy League-bound student athlete making the most of it

By CPC | September 1, 2023
young man in suit and tie in front of rock wall

Jacob Pacheco will begin his collegiate career at the University of Pennsylvania this fall, joining the school’s lacrosse team.  Pacheco is undecided on a major, but has been accepted into the prestigious Wharton School of Business. “The University of Pennsylvania has always been a dream school of mine,” said Pacheco. “And when they came recruiting…

Back to school Rebels

By CPC | September 1, 2023
kids lined up in front of school

Celebrating a new school year, Executive Director of Schools at American Academy (AA) Steve Colella, along with the AA administration team, Douglas County law enforcement and town representatives, gave all first- through eighth-grade AA Rebels a warm welcome and greeting to the first day of school August 21.  Students wore new shoes, backpacks and big…

Lots of new at BRE in ‘23

By CPC | September 1, 2023
group of kids and teachers in school gym

Buffalo Ridge Elementary (BRE) has many new faces in the halls and classrooms this school year.  Every grade has at least one new teacher.  Kindergarten, first and fourth grades each added an additional class and teacher bringing class sizes down respectively in those grades. The new classroom teachers for kindergarten are Rachel Hildreth and Kathy…


By CPC | September 1, 2023

Brewability forges new paths while serving great food Everyone wants to visit a restaurant where they feel comfortable and welcomed, and the vast community of people with varying disabilities is no different. Enter Brewability, a downtown Englewood establishment that is not only designed to cater to people with different needs, but is run almost entirely…

September Crossword Puzzle

By CPC | September 1, 2023

This crossword brought to you by Tammy Lopez with Allstate. 720-733-1331 – Across 1. Ultra-glitzy, as ‘70s rock 5. To blemish 8. Mountain nymph 13. International money 14. Apple center 15. One way to fall in love 16. Surprise attack 17. Archaeological site 18. Vantage point 19. Equines: Long-eared 22. Not all who wander are this 23.…

Highest, oldest and solo: scuba diver aims to break record

By CPC | July 27, 2023
man hiking in mountains

Scuba diver David Moore has an adventurous spirit and has been training to put a high-altitude scuba diving record on the books this summer.  After turning 57 in July, Moore aims to be the oldest diver to conquer Pacific Tarn, the lake with the highest elevation in the United States, and the first to dive…

Got yard debris?

By CPC | July 27, 2023
cars and dirt

  Removing shrubs, tree limbs and brush from your property helps to mitigate the spread of wildfires.  The good news for Douglas County residents is that the County offers two locations for citizens to dispose of excess debris/slash at no cost until October 28. Douglas County’s seasonal slash-mulch site is located at 1400 Caprice Drive…

City of Castle Pines outreach

By CPC | July 27, 2023

The Castle Pines City Council and staff are holding three outreach events in August – two in-person open houses and a live telephone town hall option.  Under discussion will be City activities, including possible ballot measures for the November election, current road work projects and upcoming commercial development.  Also, the City would like to hear…

Work underway on gateway monuments, car wash

By CPC | July 27, 2023
mock up monument

Any resident or visitor to the City of Castle Pines has surely noticed construction activity on the north side of Castle Pines Parkway, just west of I-25. Castle Pines is in the process of installing gateway signage at the city’s main entrances “to improve both navigation and a sense of place throughout the community,” according…

Pino’s new owner and chef

By CPC | July 27, 2023
two men in front of restuarant

Jim Collin’s book Good to Great speaks of transitioning a business from good to great by having “disciplined people, disciplined thought, and disciplined action.”  The first step to greatness according to Collins is “first who, then what?” – which starts with leadership. Pino’s Italian Kitchen & Bar has a new owner and manager, Dimas Asevedo,…

Chamber hires government affairs and public relations director

By CPC | July 27, 2023
woman posing in front of white background

In July, the Castle Pines Chamber of Commerce welcomed Pam Swift as the newest member of the team.  Swift’s title is public relations and government affairs director. In this role, Swift will help with member relations, marketing and events, as well as social media tasks while also serving as the liaison to the City of…

Farewell to a community leader

By CPC | July 27, 2023
couple with wine

The position at the Castle Pines Chamber of Commerce that Pam Swift (article here) is transitioning into was vacated by familiar resident and community leader, Melissa Coudeyras. Coudeyras and her husband, James, moved to Dayton, Ohio this summer to be closer to their sons:  Alex who lives in Ann Arbor and works in IT at…

Retirement after 27 years at the helm

By CPC | July 27, 2023
group of people on beach

On August 4, longtime resident of The Village Pam Schenck-Kelly is retiring from her 27-year career as senior general manager of Park Meadows Retail Resort.  She has held the role since the mall opened its doors in the summer of 1996. “Park Meadows has been the crown jewel of my career – much due to…

Good days, bad days and last days: A dog sanctuary

By CPC | July 27, 2023
three people pose for photo

Not far from Castle Pines lies Pepper’s Senior Dog Sanctuary, a 50-acre oasis in Roxborough Park which houses a new, veterinarian-approved sanctuary for senior/special needs dogs.  All dogs at Pepper’s come from a rescue or a shelter and most have been considered unadoptable.  Due to their age or medical condition, these canines were in danger…

The Art of discipline

By CPC | July 27, 2023
man standing in front of mountain range

It is not often an individual with exceptional leadership skills takes that gift into the art world.  Brian Hubbell is a disciplined, creative force using his skills to both create art and teach others how to hone their own artistic talents. Hubbell has a background in finance, but decided to make a career and location…

Growing your mind to grow your faith

By CPC | July 27, 2023
large group of people

What if you could go to Douglas County Libraries (DCL) – Castle Pines to not only grow your mind, but also your faith? The Precept Ministries (PM) women’s bible study group mission is to support the growth of one’s faith not as a standalone practice, but one of community build-up.  PM’s mission is for participants…

A veteran, businessman and working on retirement

By CPC | July 27, 2023
man standing against brick wall

From the small town of Venus, Texas, to the corners of Asia, and finally, to the heart of Colorado, John Martin’s story is one of relentless service, adventure and respectable work ethic.  A retired businessman, father and veteran, Martin has lived a life marked by commitment and change. Born in 1944, Martin was one of…

Former swimmer shines …

By CPC | July 27, 2023
woman standing with white background

… as civil engineer and IRONMAN enthusiast Back in the day, Chiara Robinson spent plenty of time roaming the great outdoors with her younger brothers and HOA1 neighborhood friends.  The Castle Pines Storm swim team, organized in part by her family, was the place she found her love of swimming, and her brothers, Cai and…

The Castle Pines Connection Crossword

By CPC | July 27, 2023
crossword puzzle blank

This crossword brought to you by Tammy Lopez with Allstate. 720-733-1331 – Across 1. Head honcho 5. Be quiet! 8. Larger than an alpaca 13. City in Yemen 14. Made a gift of 15. A type of column 16. 1960 Olympics site 17. Off yonder 18. Ballot caster 19. A common tree in Douglas…

Dynamic duo

By CPC | July 27, 2023
family holding their dogs up

Joy and Franklin are much more than littermates.  They are forever friends, the dynamic duo, the wonder twins and are “indescribable and special beyond words,” shared owner Rebecca Deal. Joy and Franklin are English bulldogs.  Turning 4 years old this July, they joined the Deal family at 4 months old, and each day they have…

All dressed up and a place to go

By CPC | July 27, 2023
mother and child dress up in costume

Denver Fan Expo 2023 The Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver was abuzz as the FAN EXPO Denver (Expo) 2023 came to town.  The Expo offered attendees the opportunity to interact with celebrities, authors and cosplayers from around the country with autograph sessions, Q&A panels, artwork and the chance to buy movie and comic memorabilia…

Castle Pines “Swifties”

By CPC | July 27, 2023

Courtesy photos Castle Pines residents show up to support Taylor Swift’s visit to Denver on July 14 and 15, 2023.

Join 100 women who care on August 7

By CPC | July 27, 2023
logo for charity

Suzanne Wexler has put her stamp on Douglas County and Colorado as a leading champion of help and hope.  She originally hails from New York but lived in Chicago for 22 years where she raised her family, was the director of a homeless shelter, a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), and huge supporter of the…

An evening in the garden

By CPC | July 27, 2023

The Village Castle Pines Garden Club hosted its first Wine in the Garden party of the summer on June 28 at the beautiful home of Deni and Gerry Schwartzel.  After postponing the event due to poor weather, a record 113 attendees brought a wonderful variety of delicious appetizers and wine to share. To learn more…

Books for back to school

By CPC | July 27, 2023
image of book cover for Educated

As kids head back to school next week, parents look forward to the school-year routine.  This month’s book recommendations are about the effects of education, being in school or the connections formed during the formative schooling years.  Drop the kids off at school and pick up a good book. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover…

August 2023 Crossword Answers

By CPC | July 27, 2023
crossword puzzle solution

The Connection has received requests to feature a crossword puzzle in the paper monthly, so we are giving it a try. We did not want to make it too difficult, and serious cruciverbalists – people skillful in creating or solving crossword puzzles – may find it too easy, but we are experimenting for the next…

Beer, bloodletting and a mysterious disappearance

By CPC | July 27, 2023
old photo of a man's portrait

We all have life stories, hardships among them.  That of the early Seidensticker family of Lake Gulch was a whopper… George was born in early 1800 in Bavaria, Germany’s Catholic state.  His first wife Marie died young, having first delivered Eduard and then little Marie into their world.  Though bereaved, George, as much out of…

Open air, luxury concert venue coming to Colorado Springs

By CPC | July 27, 2023
rendering of theater

Live music lovers rejoice.  The Sunset Amphitheater (The Sunset) is opening in Colorado Springs in the spring of 2024.  With a seating capacity of 8,000, the venue will be able to host concerts, plays and events that formerly eluded the city, and will have a mountain backdrop with a view of Pikes Peak. “Designed by…

An anniversary that was twice as nice

By CPC | July 27, 2023
couple standing in front of ocean

Jon and Tera Radloff celebrated 20 years of marriage in June – two times on two different June 14ths. The story began when the couple planned a trip to New Zealand, Tahiti and Bora Bora to commemorate the anniversary. The first stop was in Auckland on June 14, the Radloff’s anniversary.  They enjoyed touring and…

We all scream for … cottage cheese?

By CPC | July 27, 2023
three bowls of ice cream

Here we are again, the dog days.  This is the time of year when I crave all the summer foods – things that are crunchy, creamy and above all cool.  In the summer, I love ice cream above all other foods, and if it were healthy, I’d eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Alas,…

New park and disc golf celebration

By CPC | July 27, 2023
disc golf out in field

Residents and city and county officials are gearing up for the unveiling of a new, 35-acre park east of I-25. A grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for 4 p.m. on August 3 at Pronghorn Park and Disc Golf Course, northeast of Hess Road/Castle Pines Parkway and Cross Canyon Trail, a quarter mile east…

Aloe vera: more than décor

By CPC | July 27, 2023
close up of aloe vera plant

The healthful plant compounds in aloe vera are contained within each leaf, which has a water-filled tissue or gel that many people associate with aloe vera products.  The gel contains powerful antioxidants that inhibit the growth of certain bacteria that can cause infections, which is why it has been popular for treating skin wounds and…

August Thoroughly Modern Manners

By CPC | July 27, 2023

Ask Mrs. Abramovitz Dear Readers, Isn’t someone you know always dieting?  Intermittent fasting, Keto, Paleo and the controversial and very popular drugs in the class of semaglutides (Wegovy, Ozempic, Rybelsus) seem to be among the current trends. If used correctly, they can result in significant weight loss. So, what do you say when speaking to…

What is in your energy drink?

By CPC | July 27, 2023
various kinds of energy drink cans on shelves

The popularity of energy drinks and energy shots has spiked significantly since 2020 and sales in the U.S. are nearly $12 billion.  People are relying on the stimulants in energy drinks to boost their energy and alertness in the morning, much like having a cup of coffee, but people are also sipping them later in…

Teens looking for work opportunities

By CPC | July 27, 2023
illustration of group of teenagers

Are you a teenager age 13-18 looking to babysit, pet sit, tutor, mow lawns, shovel snow, or offer a unique service to Castle Pines?  We are currently updating our free resource listing to include in the upcoming September issue. This listing will be published periodically in the newspaper, and for safety and security reasons, will…

Free meals for all DCSD students

By CPC | July 27, 2023
logo for school district

Douglas County School District (DCSD), like all major school districts and most small/rural districts in Colorado, will offer free breakfasts and lunches to all students beginning this school year through a new statewide program approved by Colorado voters. “The decision was made to participate in Healthy School Meals for All as it would benefit our…

Park adventures

By CPC | July 27, 2023
group of students outside of a van

The DCS Montessori activities van stayed busy during the summer Parks Adventures camp.  Campers loaded up in the van to visit and play at nearby parks that included Coyote Ridge, The Retreat, Elk Ridge, Bison, O’Brian, Rhyolite and Paintbrush Parks. Each day was open to new opportunities and possibilities.  There were no scheduled games or…

Driving to Disneyland, connecting along the way

By CPC | July 27, 2023
girls posing for photo

  Summertime and road trips go hand in hand.  Remember all those miles logged and hours passed playing games or dozing off?  Summer seems somehow fuller when you hit the highway by jumping into a car, SUV or, in this case, two chartered buses. For the past 14 years, Youth for Christ Campus Life (Campus…

National Parks pass for fourth graders

By CPC | July 27, 2023
logo for every kid outdoors

In 2015, President Barack Obama announced the Every Kid in a Park (EKP) program which provides all fourth-grade students with a free National Park pass for one year.  The program was launched to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS). All fourth-grade students are eligible for the free pass beginning September…

AA drama students perform over summer

By CPC | July 27, 2023

  American Academy Performing Arts (AAPA) is a program of extracurricular instruction, activities and experiences to supplement and challenge students to excel in the performing arts.  As part of the American Academy (AA) curriculum,  AAPA gives drama students the opportunity to develop confidence and poise on stage.  AAPA is open to all three American Academy…

Cutting-edge cancer treatment center coming to Castle Pines

By CPC | July 1, 2023

The City of Castle Pines is poised to become the home of a 20,000-square-foot specialized medical facility that uses an emerging therapy to more effectively treat a multitude of cancers. On May 23, Castle Pines City Council gave final approval for a purchase agreement to sell City-owned property at the southwest corner of Castle Pines…

Construction underway in business district

By CPC | July 1, 2023
logo for service street

Construction got underway in early June on the last developable pad in the Shoppes at Castle Pines business plaza. Dirt is being moved and fencing has been placed around the future site of Service Street, a vehicle maintenance business that specializes in oil changes, wheel alignments, brake repairs, emissions testing and other services.  The project…

Castle Pines pickleball courts open

By CPC | July 1, 2023
photo of pickleball courts

… at Coyote Ridge Park   Five new pickleball courts are now open at Coyote Ridge Park in the City of Castle Pines.  The City is still waiting on signage for the courts before an official opening in scheduled, but locals have already begun playing on them. Construction of the courts was started by the…

Sign up for emergency alerts

By CPC | July 1, 2023
code red graphic

…in Douglas County     When emergencies happen, communicating fast, reliable information can be vital in saving lives, solving crimes and mitigating damage.  Residents in Douglas County can register for CodeRED alerts from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and all other Douglas County agencies.  This system allows for mass notifications to areas where emergencies are…

Breaking Blue: Coroner’s Office

By CPC | July 1, 2023
photo of man standing next to coroners office

  Alumni from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Citizens Academy program were invited to a presentation by Douglas County Coroner Raeann Brown and given a private tour of the Coroner’s Office (CO).  Being reunited and seeing fellow classmates after graduation was fun, and Deputy Brian McKnight put together an intriguing class about a topic many…

Chroming and car surfing

By CPC | July 1, 2023
photo of cops view of kids car surfing

…the latest in dangerous teen trends   Recent reports from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) warn about a couple of the deadliest new trends for Colorado youth – chroming (and its several variations) and car surfing. CHROMING: Chroming is not new but is now trending on social media under this different name.  Popularly known…

Celebrating Independence Day

By CPC | July 1, 2023
photo of flag in wind with clouds

…in Douglas County If you are staying in town for the July 4th holiday, there are plenty of activities in Douglas County to celebrate America’s birthday. Most events listed are free and open to the public, but some require registration, so check websites for specific details. Castle Pines While the City of Castle Pines does…

Strong Foundation, strong community

By CPC | July 1, 2023
photo of group of people

Douglas County is known for its incredible communities, world class outdoor amenities and amazing residents. One of the notable characteristics of those who call Douglas County home is their desire to make our future better through philanthropy.  Your community partner in philanthropy is Douglas County Community Foundation (DCCF). In recent years, DCCF experienced an organizational…

Shawn Cummings is lionhearted

By CPC | July 1, 2023
graphic for behind the badge

  Shawn Cummings has the heart of a public servant.  It is this drive and personal fulfillment that helped Cummings get where he is today.  Cummings grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he cherished time with family and friends and developed a love of board and card games, a hobby he still enjoys. After…

Bliss Bouquet Bar

By CPC | July 1, 2023
photo of flower bouquet on table

Blooming people’s purpose In 2005, Professor Jeannette Haviland-Jones of Rutgers University published a scientific finding that flowers are an environmental approach to positive emotions.  Empirically speaking, flowers have power.  Lindsey Davidson Marrone tapped into this flower power and in 2019 started her floral design business, Bliss Bouquet Bar (BBB) from her home in the Estates…

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