Travel and outdoors product reviews and trips



O'Brien County

NEWS (Cities & Towns Follow after the News)

The Quad Cities is located on the Mississippi River and is made up of the riverfront cities of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Moline, East Moline, and Rock Island in Illinois.

For more information contact the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau
1601 River Drive, Suite 110 | Moline, IL 61265
direct 309-736-6827 | toll-free 800-747-7800 ext. 827

The Merrill Hotel & Conference Center Named “#1 Best Hotel in Iowa” by U.S. News & World Report

What to See & Do

New Ferris Wheel at Q-C Ballpark

Modern Woodman Park, home to the River Bandits baseball team, in downtown Davenport, Iowa, has opened two new rides for its visitors. The new 110-foot Ferris wheel opened on May 24th for its inaugural ride. A ride on the Ferris wheel gives visitors a great aerial view of the Mississippi River, the stadium and the surrounding Quad Cities. “Space Camp” having just opened July 19th, is an electrically-powered, four-seat gyroscope that spins its four riders upside-down and around to give them the feeling of being weightless in space.

Explore the Quad Cities on a Segway or Bicycle

Explore the riverfront trails in the Quad Cities area on a guided Segway tour or rent a bicycle to go out on your own. IA Segway is Iowa's first and only guided Segway tours. The guided Segway tours take riders along the scenic Mississippi riverfront bike path learning about area history and landmarks.  The Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau has now started its ninth season of bicycle rentals. Bikes can be rented from the visitor centers in downtown Moline, Davenport, and Rock Island.

The Loop Riverfront Buses are Launched in the Quad Cities

Called The Loop, these bright orange retro-style buses snake along both sides of the Mississippi River year-round giving tourists and residents a way to hop from city to city and easily take advantage of the area’s many entertainment venues, attractions, and restaurants.  For more information, call 563-344-4110 or visit


Iowa's Next Great Adventure Awaits at the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World

Iowa, set in what is known as America’s Heartland, is known for its Midwestern charm, down-home values and warm hospitality. True to its outdoor traditions, Iowa is host to many wonderful opportunities and attractions. But for outdoor sports enthusiasts, their next adventure starts at the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World.

The 145,000-square foot Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, Iowa’s second, is located at the southeast corner of the I-80 and Hwy 65 by-pass. While you’ll find a huge selection of outdoor gear, Bass Pro Shops stores are also part museum, art gallery, antique store, aquarium, education, conservation and entertainment center. The entire store is a tribute to the vast diversity of the Iowa landscape, its history and the culture of its people and, like other Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World stores, takes on the flavor and atmosphere of the region in which it is located. Using more than 3,500 area artifacts, antiques, pictures, mounts and memorabilia, the store becomes a living museum of Iowa’s hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor legacies.

Hand-painted murals from renowned artists such as Robert Sopchick depict scenes of the Iowa countryside from the Middle Raccoon River with its scenic limestone rock outcroppings, to the wetlands area depicting waterfowl landing, and the vast agricultural fields edged by woods from which deer peer out. Tallgrass prairies and savanna, rolling hills and river valleys are all beautifully replicated by artists’ brushes--many reminiscent of Karl Bodmer’s style. State and record wildlife mounts are displayed alongside local period prints depicting early Iowans enjoying sporting adventures.
Massive log and rock work frame the Grand Entrance and protects visitors from inclement weather. Inside, rustic wood floors, antique pine wall finishes, and vaulted post and beam construction ceiling make up the front lobby which resembles an old hunting lodge. A fire crackles in the large stone fireplace complete with a handcrafted metal screen featuring a pheasant sitting on the metal rim of an old wagon wheel that is resting against a fence row. A two-story old ‘Western lodge hotel’ is above the Customer Service counter areas. Two giant oxen, essential in early Iowa agricultural efforts, along with an archway of antler sheds and horns complete the entryway.

Giant, exquisitely crafted outdoor themed chandeliers, made by Bass Pro Shops’ own artisans, hang throughout the store. Elk, deer, raccoon, rabbit, turkey, bobcat and bear tracks are imprinted in the concrete floor. Bear, deer, mountain lion and other wildlife in natural and action settings are set amidst boulders on top of the 30,000 gallon fresh water aquarium.

The multi-story waterfall cascades down rocks and into the aquarium which will be stocked with more than 400 fish native to the area including largemouth bass, white bass, brook trout, catfish, gar, walleye, crappie and smallmouth. Museum quality wildlife exhibits and dioramas are seen throughout the entire store. At any moment visitors could expect to come upon a covey of quail being flushed from grasslands or a sentinel of turkeys standing guard in a thicket. A feature diorama that begins on the right side of the clerestory and wraps around the aquarium depicts herds of buffalo and prong horn being chased across the prairies by wolves. Elsewhere in the store, visitors can walk ‘under a duck marsh’ and look up to see a fish-eye’s view of ducks diving and swimming on the surface. Various waterfowl, turkey and eagles may be seen flying and roosting throughout the clerestory.

Recognizing Iowa as one of the top producing trophy deer states in the nation, 10 of the magnificent trophy mounts from the King of Bucks exhibit will be on display at the Altoona Bass Pro Shops. The mounts include the Del Austin, Mel Johnson, and Mike Beatty among others. For more information on the mounts comprised in the awesome King of Bucks collection, please visit Other collections featured at the store include shoulder mounts of deer, caribou, elk and more from local sportsman Tom Gannon.

Bass Pro Shops’ dedication to detail is evident wherever you look as their own artisans work with local craftspeople to create a visual style unique to that store, including handcrafted ornate metal fire screen doors, iron railings, sconces and more. For example, over the men’s dressing room is a diorama featuring an old-fashioned barn raising. With a nod to Iowa’s Amish sector, it appears they are in the midst of ‘raising’ the skeletal framework of a two-story barn.

A company first, bowling like you’ve never seen it before, will be offered at the Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill. This 15,000 square-foot nautical-themed entity, located within the 145,000-square foot Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World store, features a truly unique atmosphere and design geared for family fun and dining. Offering an outside as well as an in-store entrance, visitors will approach a wooden ship-like desk to obtain shoes and a lane. Twelve lanes, divided into two separate areas of 6 lanes each, offer customers the chance to bowl ‘under the ocean.’ Dock wood lanes feature beautiful under-water scenery of sea turtles, sharks, stingrays and other saltwater species which will also glow in the dark during cosmic bowling. Hand-painted murals depicting oceanic life line the walls and fish, like a 16’ long giant squid, hang suspended from the ceiling.

A separate area off the bowling lanes contains a state-of-the art, upscale billiards room—the “Black Widow’s Parlor”—so named for the ‘Black Widow’ America’s billiards player Jeanette Lee. Resplendent in dark wood paneling and mullioned glass, the room also features a fireplace with its handcrafted screen displaying a black widow spider spinning its web. Two tournament pool tables are available and promises hours of fun for 'pool sharks'.

Casual family dining is available in the Grill which is capable of seating 90 in the main dining room and has additional seating for 48 in a separate area. Customers can select from a menu featuring a variety of appetizers, sandwiches, salads and burgers. A private room can host up to 36 and is the perfect spot for a private lunch or dinner, seminar or even a fun birthday party.

An island-theme bar area, which has seating for 20, offers visitors the experience of feeling like they are underwater exploring the skeletal remains of a sunken ship. Looking up, visitors can see the battered, barnacle and coral-encrusted wooden hull, an old rusted iron chain and the iron rail around the bow. A host of exotic fish swim in and around the wreck while Dorado and sharks, suspended from the ceiling, appear to swim overhead. The bar features a 750-gallon saltwater aquarium with scores of beautiful, tropical fish. It is elevated to provide views of the bowling action while serving up your favorite refreshment.

But the attention to detail doesn’t stop with store design and imagery elements. The same consideration is given to merchandise selection. Visitors will have the area’s largest array of freshwater rods, reels and fishing accessories to choose from, all hand-picked and specially selected for the area.

The White River Fly Shop, featuring antique and collectible fly fishing memorabilia, has a vast selection of the latest in fly fishing gear. Experts will continue the art of hand-tying flies on site and assist customers in making the perfect selection. The attention to detail continues to be evident in the hunting department where cabinets are adorned with hand-carved animals. Customers will find an equally impressive array of hunting clothing and gear. The archery department offers a bow set-up shop and a 25-yard archery range that is perfect for testing new bows or sharpening necessary archery skills.

More than a hunting and fishing store, visitors will also find items perfect for camping, hiking, outdoor cooking, bird watching or whatever your outdoor pleasures may be. A gift and nature center offers a variety of items from artwork to lamps, to bird feeders and furniture, to home decorating items and gifts for the holidays. Cooking accessories include cookbooks, spices, grills and jerky making items.

The store also features a General Store and a Fudge Shop. Visitors can hearken to an earlier day while they wander through the General Store--themed circa 1850’s--just like an old country store their great-grandparents probably shopped for their general goods. A large collection of foods and gift items are available for country, outdoor and lodge living as well as some of the best homemade fudge around.

A wide selection of men’s and women’s footwear and apparel, featuring popular brands including Columbia, North Face, Woolrich, Bob Timberlake, World Wide Sportsman and RedHead are also available.

A NASCAR® department offers racing clothing, caps and memorabilia for your favorite drivers. Three NASCAR® simulators, set against a back drop of a photo mural of the Iowa Speedway, offer ‘kids’ the experience of what it’s like to be behind the wheel of a race car. The simulators feature the credible interior of a race car and chassis.

Kids of all ages will enjoy the laser arcade outfitted with some 55 targets—themed as a farm, circa 1898, featuring a sod house, cornfield, scarecrow, outhouse, Conestoga wagon and wood stove. The farm has been taken over by ‘critters’ after humans deserted the scene. A series of strobe lights and wind effects will simulate a storm when a target is hit.

A front wall near the checkouts displays the logos of the national conservation groups Bass Pro Shops partners with. A company hallmark, their dedication to conservation is apparent through the many groups and organizations whose ongoing efforts and continuing outdoor education they support.

The marine and boat center displays a full range of boats from Tracker Marine--the world’s largest manufacturer of fishing boats. From big water boats to small fishing boats, canoeing and even kayaking, customers will find exactly what they need to have fun on the water with selections from Tracker, Nitro, Tahoe, Sun Tracker, Mako and more. And, another company first, the store features their first inside boat preparation area where customers can walk in and watch the boat they just purchased being prepped to be delivered. An on-site, state-of-the-art boat service center with 4 service bays will also be available for customers’ convenience for boat rigging.

Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World has hired associates from the Altoona and Des Moines area that have a passion for the outdoors so customers will be assured of getting local skilled, knowledgeable assistance with questions and selections. The store will also offer free Outdoor Skills Workshops for adults, kids and families that will help maximize outdoor fun by teaching new skills and improving existing ones.

For more information regarding Bass Pro Shops store locations, products or special events, please visit To request a free catalog call 1-800-BASS PRO.

Visit for more information.


What to See & Do

Capitol Theater

209 N 3rd St, Burlington

This 1937 Art Deco jewel, along with its reception and gallery annex reopened in June 2012. The 400 seat venue will host not only independent and classic films but also regional and nationally prominent artists. Whether you are visiting as a talented performer or a valued patron, we invite you to come “Experience the Magic” of the Capitol Theater.


What to See & Do

The Putnam New Science Center features more than 45 hands-on STEM learning stations

Flanked by contributors, students, dignitaries and board of trustees, Putnam President and CEO Kim Findlay today declared The Putnam’s new 10,000- square-foot Science Center open for business at a celebratory ribbon-cutting event. The ribbon cutting marked the cumulating effort of fundraising and planning to bring a renewed focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to the Quad Cities.

Using existing museum space, the center features more than 45 hands-on stations, creating a destination where families, school groups, and adults and can explore the wonders of science, engineering, and technology by doing rather than simply reading about a topic.

The Putnam partnered with numerous local, national and international institutions and companies to make the Science Center a reality. For example, Davenport-based Genesis Systems Group programmed the one-of-a-kind robotic arm featured at the entrance to the center. Roto, an international design and production firm, helped with the Putnam’s vision of repurposing existing museum space. Cobham created a thermodynamic station based on the products they create in the Quad Cities and sell worldwide.

The Putnam is also partnering with Davenport Schools to allow every sixth grader to experience the Center. Additionally, The Putnam will be working with Davenport West High School’s active learning classroom by offering a FabLab, a classroom that features high-tech equipment, 3D Printers, and Smart Boards that support active learning. The FabLab is connected visually to FabLabs throughout the world allowing users to connect with other users’ projects globally.

The new Science Center is comprised of a variety of stations dedicated to key aspects of STEM education. The "Innovation" section, for example, will showcase aerospace, robotics, architecture and structure, design and engineering, film and music. The "How Things Work" section immerses visitors in simple machines, electricity and magnets, and light and sound.

Interactive experiences include, among others:

· An “Arch Bridge” where visitors create their own arch bridge and feel the stability of this basic architectural shape by walking over the bridge they have built – without fasteners

· A “Pull Yourself Up” pulley station where visitors hoist their own bodies with the help of pulley systems that increase their mechanical advantage

· The “Tennis Ball Launcher,” which illustrates the power of pressure as tennis balls are launched into the rafters using propulsion

· An “Innovation Station” where visitors can see a 3D printer and use CAD software

· The “Bernoulli Blower,” where visitors balance balls in streams of moving air, illustrating the Bernoulli Principle

· A “Giant Lever” challenge, where visitors on two sides of a giant lever are challenged to a tug-of-war, each side attempting to pull the lever in their direction – and the smaller person can win

· The “Standing Wave Tube,” which helps visitors discover the three-dimensional nature of sound

· A “LaserTable” where visitors can visualize a laser beam and control its direction by arranging a series of mirrors.

· The 14’ by 18’ suspended “Hexagonal Wave,” a display in The Putnam’s Grand Lobby that brings mathematic calculations to life

“Throughout its 147-year history, The Putnam has been the place where you can go and discover your world,” said Steve Bahls, chairman of the Putnam Board of Trustees. “The Science Center is the next logical step and makes science, math and technology fun for everyone. Coupled with our other permanent exhibits and National Geographic Giant Screen Theater – the Putnam is always changing and relevant creating an optimum learning environment and a great travel destination for families from across the region.”

“We embrace everyone in the community, and we are looking forward to the community continuing to embrace The Putnam experience.” said Findlay.

For more information about the Science Center, visit or contact 563.324.1933. The museum is located at 1717 West 12th Street, Davenport, IA 52804.

What’s going on at The Putnam?
Movies – now playing
•  Titans of the Ice Age 3D, sponsored locally by Wells Fargo

•  GiantScreen/Coming-Soon/The-Earth-Wins

Movies – opening soon
•  Coming-Soon/Mysteries-of-the-Unseen-World, sponsored locally by ALCOA, The Putnam’s Discovery Packs are a great value and are available for visitors to combine aspects of their Putnam experience such as – Science Center, Museum and Movie admission; Science Center, Museum and Blockbuster Exhibit admission, etc.

•  Explorers and Explorers Jr. – Monthly STEM Clubs for young people
•  Summer Camps – Week-long, full-day and ∏-day; done-in-a-day including Engineering
Kids Day Camp
•  Themed weekends – opportunities for all ages in the Science Center, Museum, National
Geographic Giant Screen Theater and the FabLab

About The Putnam’s Science Center
The Putnam’s Science Center provides a fun, hands-on learning experience to Quad Citians of all ages. The 147-year old institution is located in Davenport, Iowa, and features a collection of dynamic hands-on exhibits, a Giant Screen Theater and ongoing interactive demonstrations, community events and educational programs. Opening to the public April 12, the Putnam’s new Science Center will house more than 45 hands-on, interactive learning stations dedicated to exploring science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) For more information, visit

To find out more about the Quad Cities and the many marvelous things to see and do, contact the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-747-7800 or visit their website at

The Quad Cities is located on the Mississippi River and is comprised of the riverfront cities of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Moline, East Moline and Rock Island in Illinois. The area is just a 2-1/2 hour drive from Des Moines, Iowa, and Chicago, Illinois. It is easily accessible via I-80, I-74, I-88 and several major state highways.

Freight House Complex

421 West River Drive, Davenport
Front Street Brewery has opened a new brew house and tasting room at the Freight House complex, in addition to their popular micro-brewery’s Davenport pub/restaurant location. Fresh Deli by Nostalgia Farms is the new other addition. The owners are committed to using as many local, fresh products as they can in their grilled items, casseroles, soups, and salads.,

Figge Art Museum Opens New Photography Exhibit

The Figge Art Museum, 225 W. 2nd St in downtown Davenport opened a new exhibit--- “Locating Place: Perceptions of Space in 20th Century Photography”. Spanning the entire twentieth century, the diverse selection of 55 photographs explores the intimate connection between people and places. Admission: $7 adults; $6 seniors, $4 youth. For more info, call 563-326-7804 or visit

Figge Art Museum Features New John Deere Gallery

The Figge Art Museum, 225 W. 2nd St in downtown Davenport is featuring the John Deere Collection loaned from Deere & Co.’s corporate art collection. These artworks will be on view for the general public for the first time with an exhibition of key pieces from the collection by such world famous artists as Grant Wood, Edward Curtis, Joan Miro, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Matazo Kayama. Admission: $7 adults; $6 seniors, $4 youth. For more information, call 563-326-7804 or visit

German American Heritage Center's New Exhibit Traces German Immigrant Influence on Education

German immigrants brought their ideas about education to the U.S. and this has impacted public education as we know it today. A new exhibit about this free school movement opened on April 1 at the German American Heritage Center, 712 W. 2nd St. in Davenport, Iowa. The German American Heritage Center is open 1-4 p.m. Tuesday–Sunday. Admission is $3 adults; $2 for ages 60 and up; $1 for ages 6-18. For more information, contact 563-322-8844 or

The Putnam Museum & IMAX Theatre

1717 W. 12th St. in Davenport current exhibit is about the science of ghost hunting. This interactive exhibit--the first of its kind--teaches critical thinking and allows the visitor to be a ghost hunter by trying the tools and equipment used by modern paranormal investigators. Admission charged. For more information, contact 563-324-1933 or

Putnam Museum & IMAX Theatre's New Interactive Exhibit

The Putnam Museum & IMAX Theatre, 1717 W. 12th St. in Davenport has a new interactive exhibit about the world’s deadliest predators—contemporary and prehistoric. Learn about their behavior and why people are so fascinated with them. Admission charged. For more information, contact 563-324-1933 or

Where to Eat

The Machine Shed Restaurant in Davenport, Iowa, was chosen as “The Best Breakfast in America” by the Travel Channel’s Food Paradise series.

The most popular breakfast dishes are "The Hired Man's Breakfast" and the "Farmer’s Daughter." The heartiest Breakfast is "The Hungry Man's Breakfast." The Hired Man’s breakfast features two cooked-to-order eggs, choice of meat, choice of hash brown casserole, home fries, or shredded hash browns and choice of toast, English muffin, biscuit and gravy, or buttermilk pancake. The Farmer’s Daughter breakfast features one cooked-to-order eggs, choice of meat, choice of hash brown casserole, home fries, or shredded hash browns and choice of toast, English muffin, biscuit and gravy, or buttermilk pancake. The Hungry Man’s breakfast features three cooked-to-order eggs, American fries, country sausage, thick-cut bacon, slice of ham, two buttermilk pancakes, choice of potato, and choice of toast, English muffin, biscuit and gravy, or buttermilk pancake.

Bringing food from the farm to the table, The Machine Shed restaurant, 7250 Northwest Boulevard (Exit 292, Northwest Boulevard, Interstate 80), in Davenport has always been dedicated to the American farmer. Since it opened in 1978, their dedication to the farmer means that they began by and continue to use only the best beef, pork, and poultry. They cook from scratch using fresh ingredients that continues to win numerous awards. 

For more information about The Machine Shed and their entire breakfast menu, visit Davenport, Iowa, was the original location. Currently, there are five other Machine Shed restaurants in the Midwest. The Machine Shed is part of Heart of America Restaurant and Inns. Located on the Mississippi River in the Midwest, the Quad Cities is comprised of Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa; Rock Island and Moline/East Moline, Illinois; and surrounding communities. For more information, visit


The Merrill Hotel & Conference Center Named “#1 Best Hotel in Iowa” by U.S. News & World Report

The Merrill Hotel & Conference Center, set on the banks of the picturesque Mississippi River in eastern Iowa, has been named the “#1 Best Hotel in Iowa” in the prestigious “2019 Best Hotels” rankings by U.S. News & World Report. Located in the heart of historic downtown Muscatine in the scenic riverfront area, the AAA Four Diamond-rated hotel was recognized for its luxurious accommodations, outstanding customer service, beautiful views overlooking the gently rolling Mississippi River, and ideal location walking distance of the riverside town’s array of shops, restaurants and attractions. Opened in March 2018, the distinctive luxury boutique hotel is Iowa’s only hotel to hold the acclaimed AAA Four Diamond rating and IACC (International Association of Conference Centers) accreditation.

U.S. News & World Report’s ninth annual “Best Hotels” rankings evaluated more than 30,000 luxury properties across 400-plus destinations in the United States, Europe, Bermuda, Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean. The methodology accounts for both expert and guest sentiment, the combination of which helps determine each hotel’s rank. The rankings may be viewed at

“Having opened just one year ago, this esteemed recognition spotlights the hotel’s exceptional setting, sophisticated amenities, and the outstanding customer service our hospitality professionals deliver to our guests each day,” said Rebecca Howe, president of Riverview Hotel Development LLC, the hotel’s ownership group. “This attention-to-detail truly sets our hotel and conference center apart.”

Situated adjacent to the city’s River Walk Park, The Merrill Hotel & Conference Center features 122 uniquely-styled and well-appointed guest rooms which include a Presidential Suite, Chairman’s Suite, Junior Suites, and have the flexibility of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom configurations. The hotel’s state-of-the-art conference center is located on the hotel’s top floor and features 16 meeting rooms with a total of 12,723 square feet of meeting space, which includes the 4,719-square-foot Grand Ballroom with floor-to-ceiling windows and a large outdoor balcony all overlooking the Mississippi River. Additional offerings at The Merrill include an indoor, heated saltwater pool; lounge with adjacent outdoor patio; a large fully-equipped fitness center; the full-service restaurant Maxwell’s; sundries shop; 24-hour business center; and concierge services.

The hotel is just 25 minutes from the Quad City area, and 30 minutes from Quad City International Airport (MLI) in Moline, Illinois. For information on the hotel, call (563) 263-2600 and visit The hotel is operated by Hostmark Hospitality Group and owned by Riverview Hotel Development LLC.

For more information contact General Manager Patrick Leonard at (563) 263-2600


O'Brien County Chapter Makes Iowa Pheasants Forever Country

Residents from O'Brien County have formed the newest chapter of Pheasants Forever (PF). The new chapter becomes Iowa's 105th and means all of the state's 99 counties are home to PF chapters. Iowa becomes the first state to claim such a distinction.

The O'Brien County Chapter of PF will focus efforts on improving O'Brien County wildlife habitat and connecting local youth to the outdoors. "There's a million habitat projects we can get started on right away, and youth programs have been long-lacking in the area and are definitely a main focus," said Eric Rodger, the chapter's newly-elected president. Rodger said he and his fellow members are extremely excited to finally be a part of Pheasants Forever in Iowa. "We've received a ton of support from other PF chapters," Rodger said. "They really want to see us succeed. It's great to be a part of a state network and a national network."

PF and its quail division, Quail Forever, are the only national conservation organizations that empower local chapters with the responsibility to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent. This local control allows members to see the fruits of their chapter efforts in their own communities, while belonging to a national organization with a voice on federal conservation policy in Washington, D.C.

The O'Brien County chapter gives local landowners the conservation resource they've been missing. "A lot of landowners in the area are looking for assistance, and now they have that resource to go through to get habitat projects started," Linquist said. After one meeting, the new chapter is well-represented, with members coming from all but one O'Brien County city. "Landowners, the communities, the businesses ˆ they're all behind the chapter," Linquist said.

For more information on the O'Brien County Chapter, contact Eric Rodger at (712)949-7030 or via e-mail at

If you are interested in joining a Pheasants Forever chapter in Iowa, please contact John Linquist at (712)754-3221 or via e-mail at

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