December 14, 2015

Blizzard Bowl editions now available

We promised two versions of our Big Picture special edition from the St. Joseph-Ogden - Unity postseason football game last month. Early . . . really early this morning the SJO edition hit the PhotoNews Media online magazine rack. Both editions are 48 pages featuring athletes, fans and coaches from the November 21, 2015 semifinal game that would send a member of the Okaw Valley Conference to the Class 3A title game six days later after Thanksgiving.

Both editions are packed with action capturing the essence of a game, the emotional moments and far less than ideal conditions for a high school playoff football game by two well-coached teams. Players and coaches, fans who were that day will remember this day forever, and with good reason. As of this post, it was both coldest, snowiest day so far this fall/winter season.

Here are the covers and a few pages from each edition. Click on the cover for the edition you want to see the entire issue. When you reach the magazine rack, look for the button that says, "Preview". Click it and see what the Big Picture is all about; B-I-G photos that bring back the moments the captured.


The St. Joseph-Ogden edition

This is the cover for the St. Joseph-Ogden version of the Blizzard Bowl Big Picture special edition. Click on the photo to see the entire issue. Here are more pages from this edition.




The Unity edition

Click cover to see the entire edition and look for the preview button.




Best kept secret

One of the best kept secrets about our special editions is you can order your copy of this Big Picture magazine with your favorite photo from inside on the cover.  For small upcharge, we'll move things around a bit inside and move the photo to the cover to create a personalized copy for your scrapbook, coffee table or collection of memorabilia from this season. Check out this limited edition we created featuring Zach Spencer on the cover. See the entire issue here.





November 23, 2015

Ssshhh! Big Picture Sneak Peak

Regardless if you were at Saturday's semifinal football game between St. Joseph-Ogden and Unity or not, you will want to check out this commemorative Big Picture special edition. With more than 40 high-quality sports photographs from the game between the two storied high school football programs, this upcoming magazine issue features Rocket fans and their team punching their ticket to the Illinois High School Association's Class 3A title game at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

The Big Picture is exactly what sounds like; a magazine loaded front to back with B-I-G photographs, some so big they take up two full pages. Featuring our favorite pictures from the game, we even went all nostalgic and what not creating eight retro look photos that look pretty darn awesome, too.   

Excited about Friday's release of the Unity Rocket issue, below is a sneak peak at the cover and two of the pages. A second version featuring players from St. Joseph-Ogden will follow a few days later.
 











Check back this Friday for information view the entire issue online or to order your copy.

September 28, 2015

Great Kiermaier catch

Eight days ago we did a blog post featuring photos of Tampa Bay Rays' Kevin Kiermaier from his collegiate baseball career playing for Parkland College. This morning, our editor happened to find this video of the former Cobra star making this unbelievable catch over the wall robbing Orioles' Manny Machado of much needed home run at Camden Yards.


September 9, 2015

Attacking referees is not tolerable

The Illinois High School Association released a statement yesterday regarding an incident in Texas where two high school football players intentionally hit, one helmet first, an official working their game in San Antonio, TX.

The play captured by video and posted to YouTube below shows two football players from John Jay High School plowing into back judge Robert Watts. Several news outlets report that the action was in retaliation for two teammates that were ejected earlier from the game on two separate plays.


It is not the first time an incident like this has happened in the Lone Star state. Back 2008, another video clip, unearthed Sports Day HS, shows a similar attack on a high school football referee.


"The video of a player maliciously taking a running start to level an unsuspecting official followed by a second player piling on have rightfully been played endlessly on TV and social media," said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. "Obviously these are actions that are not tolerable in any walk of society, but they represent an even more dangerous perspective on how we as a society view and treat the individuals who govern our games."

Texas, like Illinois, is one of 23 states that under the law that treats an assault on a game official as a criminal offense. The two students and an assistant coach have reportedly been disciplined by the school district while local law enforcement investigates the incident. The victim has retained legal counsel while the results are awaited by all sides involved in the violent act.

The IHSA response came after a photo from a parent depicting a referee and a coach's son from Monticello was forwarded to the Anderson. The photo was shot by Ann Wildman, mother of the Sages' starting quarterback.

"The photo from Monticello is a great representation of who IHSA officials are at their core," he said in the statement. "They are members of communities, who officiate to remain connected to the games that they often played and coached. They love the game and enjoy being around it. They sacrifice time away from family and friends to give back, and most find more value in the comradery than the modest game check they receive."


Setting a precedent that will haunt us down the road


by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator



If you take a job for the government then you should abide by the rules of the job. If you don't agree with the rules then you should resign.

When the government as in Kim Davis' case makes allowances for her to exercise her religious convictions then that "seems" to be a good thing. After all we are a country of religious opinions across the board and we don't want to violate people's religious convictions.

However, if you work for Caesar then you have to follow Caesar's rules.

Here is something from the Bible, Mark chapter 12:13: "Then they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Him in order to trap him in a statement. (This is referring to Jesus).

They came and said to Him, "Teacher, we know that you are truthful and defer to no one; for you are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not? "Shall we pay or shall we not pay?" But he, knowing their hypocrisy said to them, "Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius to look at. They brought one. He said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?

And they said to him, "Caesar's. And, Jesus said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at him." (Mark 12: 13 - 17).

I don't think anyone should have to do something if they have moral or religious objections. However, if you are taking money from Caesar aka the government then there are some expectations. Actually, I've never worked a job that did not have expectations, guidelines and requirements, whether I liked them or not.

Personally, I would not officiate a wedding ceremony for a gay couple. This doesn't mean that I am opposed to equal rights. I am for equal rights and the equal rights of gay people. However, I don't personally support gay marriage.

On the other hand, if I worked as a justice of the peace or in a governmental capacity I would feel like I had three choices: Perform the ceremony, resign or let someone else carry out the function. Essentially this is what U.S. District Judge David Bunning has agreed to do for Kim Davis in allowing her deputies to grant the licenses.

Kim Davis has made her point. She has adamantly taken her stand for Christ.

In no way has she backed down from what she says she believes. She has called attention to the importance of religious beliefs and Christian convictions. If she now tries to circumvent the clerk's office from granting licenses she has gone too far and should resign. People from Asia, India and the Middle East are flooding this country. Eventually these people will begin to hold public office. They too have religious opinions and they aren't all Christian views.

Setting a precedent for not having to obey the law today will come back to haunt us down the road.


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Glenn Mollette is the author of American Issues: Every American Has An Opinion. He is also the author of other books including Fitness Is A Mind Game, The Adventures of Russell Walter and Spiritual Chocolate: Inspirational Delights for the Heart. You can hear him each Sunday night on XM radio 131 at 8 EST. Follow Glenn Mollette on Facebook here.

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DISCLAIMER: This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of PhotoNews Media. We welcome comments and views from our readers. 
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September 3, 2015

Play semi-pro hoops this winter

Don't miss your chance to play for the 2015 MPBA CHAMPIONS, Champaign Swarm Professional Basketball!! MPBA player combine/officials clinic registration is now open!!

Posted by Champaign Swarm Professional Basketball on Thursday, September 3, 2015

Time to reacqaint ourselves with the sixth commandment


by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

I had never heard of Chicago suburb Fox Lake police officer Joe Gliniewicz. Recently, three men murdered him. Sadly, I now know about what a great man, and police officer he was.

Could this be a good time to reinstate the sixth commandment? You might know it better as "Thou Shalt Not Kill," or "Thou Shalt Not Murder," "You Should Not Kill." The sixth commandment appears in a series of commandments remembered by some today as The Ten Commandments. These commandments can be found in the Old Testament of the Bible. Donald Trump was recently asked if he liked the Old Testament or New Testament the best and he replied that he liked it all affirming the Bible as his favorite book. I doubt if the majority of Americans can tell you for sure about where to find The Ten Commandments. Some would simply affirm them as being important while others would not.

Not every American may know that The Ten Commandments come from the Old Testament of the Bible.

Honestly, most Americans may not care. I am old enough to remember when The Ten Commandments were a big deal everywhere. We had them in some of our classrooms where I grew up. I used to see them posted in state and federal buildings. Actually, I was speaking in a small Nevada town two years ago and The Ten Commandments were posted in front of the courthouse. I would tell you the name but I don't want someone fussing and fuming at those good people for keeping The Ten Commandments up front and public. Actually there are still several state and county buildings where you can find The Ten Commandments posted or engraved even in granite.

The Ten Commandments has never kept this nation from doing anything wrong. People went right on killing; stealing, disrespecting their parents and doing all sorts of stuff that The Ten Commandments forbid us from doing.

I totally understand separation of church and state. I don't want to see something from the Koran on my local court or state house. However, I think this would be a good time to bring back the sixth commandment. We don't even have to refer to it as the sixth commandment. Let's just simply start re-posting in our elementary, junior high and senior high schools these three words, "Do Not Kill." Or, "Do Not Murder."

The minds of little children are very impressionable and teachable. My father put the fear of God into me when it came to smoking. From the time I was a young child he successfully made me afraid of smoking or drinking alcohol. This kind of teaching and impressing is harder when children become teenagers. Teenagers start becoming smarter than their parents so they think.

I realize hanging "Do Not Kill" on every wall and home in America will not eliminate the murder of black people, white people, Hispanics or police officers. However, how could it hurt?

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Glenn Mollette is the author of American Issues: Every American Has An Opinion. He is also the author of other books including Fitness Is A Mind Game, The Adventures of Russell Walter and Spiritual Chocolate: Inspirational Delights for the Heart.

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DISCLAIMER: This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of PhotoNews Media. We welcome comments and views from our readers. Click here to learn how to submit your commentary, opinion, letter to the editor or response to this piece.

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August 30, 2015

Five video clips from SJO's season opener

#6 ranked St. Joseph-Ogden's tussled with Winnebago in their season opener to 28-20 victory. Here are a few clips from Saturday's road game, including one of three plays where Spartans' Eli Oltean connects on a touchdown pass with Jake Pence. The last two clips are post-game interviews featuring SJO head coach Dick Duval and Pence.


SJO vs Winnebago : Clip 1
Eli Oltean runs the ball in for a touchdown but it was called back after a holding call. Video clip courtesy Clark Brooks from iphotonews.com.
Posted by St. Joseph-Ogden Football on Sunday, August 30, 2015



Touchdown! Spartans!!
Jake Pence catches a pass from quarterback Eli Oltean for an SJO touchdown. #NoRegrets Video courtesy of Clark Brooks from iphotonews.com.
Posted by St. Joseph-Ogden Football on Sunday, August 30, 2015



Shane Skinner Attacks and Celebrates
Spartan nose-guard Shane Skinner celebrates a second half stop. Video clip courtesy Clark Brooks from iphotonews.com.
Posted by St. Joseph-Ogden Football on Sunday, August 30, 2015



Jake Pence after the Winnebago game
Senior Jake Pence talks about his opening game performance on the road at Winnebago. Pence had one interception, 107 yards and three TDs. #NoRegrets
Posted by St. Joseph-Ogden Football on Sunday, August 30, 2015



Dick Duval After Winnebago Game
St. Joseph-Ogden head football coach Dick Duval discusses what his Spartans need to work on after their season opening victory over Winnebago. Video clip courtesy iphotonews.com.
Posted by St. Joseph-Ogden Football on Sunday, August 30, 2015





July 31, 2015

Illinois' political class needs to make changes


by Jared Labell, Guest Commentator


Taxpayers need Illinois’ political class to properly address the current budget impasse by enacting meaningful reforms. But if the bureaucrats in Springfield insist on upholding the status quo, which has brought the state to financial ruin, then a continued budget deadlock is preferable to higher taxes, new state income and sales taxes, more debt, and increased spending.


Jared Labell
Illinois’ state pension systems total nearly $200 billion in unfunded liabilities and the whole racket is inevitably unsustainable, as we discuss in Part I of TUA’s budget analyses. The politicians have shown for years that they cannot be trusted to manage other peoples’ money, let alone their savings for retirement, nor should this be the role of government. Each day that passes without transitioning new government employees from the current defined benefit plans to 401(k)-styled defined contribution plans is another lost opportunity to manage this ever-growing economic catastrophe. Not only would this change shield taxpayers from great financial risk, but it enables government employees to better manage their finances for their retirement needs and allows portability as they save for their own retirement.

Spending reform must be made a priority, as is clear in Part II of TUA’s budget series. The proposed level of appropriations for all state funds in fiscal year 2016 tops $60 billion. As TUA president Jim Tobin put it, “The political class and some media outlets frame the budget crisis as an issue of revenue, but that’s just not the case. The problem with Illinois’ budget is the result of years of profligate spending by the General Assembly and a series of governors who encouraged it.

The budget appropriations game is one that is played by both members of the Illinois General Assembly and the governor. Even though Gov. Rauner has put forth a serious effort to make cuts to the bloated Illinois budget, in the Part III of TUA’s budget analyses, we point out that more than $15 billion in spending remains constant from fiscal year 2015’s actual appropriation totals compared to Gov. Rauner’s 2016 proposed appropriations. The time has come for more budget cuts.

The Illinois State Police are the Praetorian Guard for the political class and are inessential. Sweeping cuts to the superfluous Illinois State Police force would save taxpayers untold billions in expected salaries, benefits, and pension costs, as outlined in Part IV of TUA’s budget series.

Although there appears to be a growing bipartisan consensus in Springfield to cut loose the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCEO) from the clutches of the state government, it’s hard for politicians to give up on old habits. So they are only proposing to turn some of its functions into ‘public-private partnerships,’ instead of abolishing the agency altogether. Part V of TUA’s budget overview encourages the complete privatization of this department’s operations, rightfully leaving the economic prosperity of Illinois and its businesses to the market, not the whims of bureaucrats. The government should not be in the business of doling out corporate welfare or subsidizing politically connected firms with our tax dollars as Illinois faces such grave financial difficulties.

The state of Illinois has been without an operating budget for nearly a month, and the sky has not fallen. The members of the Illinois General Assembly and Gov. Rauner can work together to protect taxpayers from further economic calamity, or the political gridlock should persist. The government cannot expect Illinoisans to continue to send their tax dollars to Springfield if the political class is intent on fiddling while Rome burns, all the while using taxpayers’ hard-earned money as kindling.

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To read Taxpayers United of America’s complete series of Illinois state budget analyses, visit taxpayersunited.org

July 30, 2015

Teacher Central

This video clip was uploaded to YouTube a few days ago and is both funny and entertaining. In fact, we think it is pure genius. How cool would the teaching profession be if their were shows like this and society valued - in terms of dollars and lots of cents - the women and men who mold us in our youth to help us become who we are today?


April 3, 2015

Christians can never go wrong by loving others


by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator



Christians around the world celebrate Holy week, Good Friday and Easter. This is the Christian holiday. Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.

Intimidated, scared, crazy followers of Jesus were filled with courage and new hope as they saw and touched Jesus after his resurrection. Those young frightened men suddenly became world changers and were willing to die for what they had experienced. The hope they promoted and wrote about is still impacting billions of people on the planet today who follow Christ and the Bible.
Jesus never discriminated. He reached out to a woman, about to be stoned because of adultery, and saved her life. He reached out to a despised tax collector, lepers and drank a little wine with a celebrating wedding party. Jesus embraced people and that was one of the reasons many hated him.

Christians never go wrong by loving and embracing others. This is all part of being a Christian and celebrating Easter. On the same token people should respect other's beliefs. If one does not want to eat pork then we should respect that. If someone prefers the Catholic Church over the Baptist Church then let it be.

Since America is being tolerant and recognizing LGBT people, they need to be tolerant in return. Life is a two-way street. It's not all for one. I am totally opposed to discrimination and believe in equal rights for all. However, no one is going to ask a Muslim tee shirt designer to design a tee shirt that depicts Mohammed in a negative way.

A Priest should never be asked to perform a wedding ceremony of two men or two women, as I believe most priests would object. A photographer is placed into a somewhat intimate position with his or her subject and should not be expected to take pictures if the photographer opposes. Simply understand and go somewhere else.

LGBT individuals should have the same civil rights as everyone else. However, the civil rights of one group should not eclipse the civil rights of another group simply because their views are not the same.

Christians should also have the same civil rights as everyone else. No one in this country should have to live in fear of the other. An Indiana pizza shop shutting down because of a young girl's opinion about catering pizza to a gay wedding is just crazy.

Easter is about victory and celebration. Jesus came out of the grave. Christians came out of hiding and there were courage and boldness. This is not the time for Christians or any law-abiding person to live behind closed doors in fear and trembling.

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Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author of American Issues, Every American Has An Opinion and ten other books. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group, organization or this publication.
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DISCLAIMER: This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of PhotoNews Media. We welcome comments and views from our readers.

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February 11, 2015

Abraham Lincoln oversaw an unnecessary war


by Jared Labell, Guest Commentator



As Republicans gather for their annual dinner celebrations honoring the birth of the sixteenth president of these United States, it would serve the public well to reassess the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, a politician who still commands overwhelming bipartisan praise two-hundred and six years after his birth. More notably, today's birthday celebrations take place just prior to the one-hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Civil War - an unnecessary war that Lincoln oversaw, resulting in the deaths of 850,000 of his countrymen. His quest for Union has had long-lasting implications for the succeeding centuries and its affects are still felt today.



Detailed in the book Colonization After Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement, co-authored by Phil Magness of George Mason University and Sebastian Page of Oxford University, there is an aspect of "Honest" Abe's political maneuvering that is seriously understated by just about everyone on the political spectrum: Lincoln was a longtime proponent of colonizing freed black slaves abroad, previous to and during the war, and up until his assassination.
Colonization, the policy of resettling African American slaves as free individuals in lands outside of the country, was one of many approaches actually pursued by the Lincoln Administration to resolve the problem of slavery. Some advocates of colonization supported such measures of voluntary or forced emigration due to their own notions of white supremacism; while others were well-intentioned, but flawed abolitionists who believed that only the removal of this long oppressed subset of the population could resolve the slavery question and stabilize the country. Different plans for colonization at times considered locations in Central America and the West Indies for establishing colonies of freedmen.

Besides the authors' exhaustive study of the extensive and nuanced politics of colonization and Lincoln's proposals, Magness additionally notes that Lincoln most likely began his interest in colonization policy by the 1840s, following in the footsteps of his political mentor, Henry Clay. Lincoln was part of the Illinois state colonization society and by 1856 he also joined its national contingent, the American Colonization Society, as evidenced by Lincoln's subscription and payment of membership dues to the organization.

It is quite clear that the reverence for a martyred politician has taken precedence over historical facts, but further inquiry and study of history will assist in redefining political discourse. We are still living with the ramifications of substantial violations of the Constitution from a century and half prior, but perhaps learning our history will better prepare our future.

In years past, Taxpayer Education Foundation (TEF) has published commentary regarding various aspects of the Lincoln Administration and the 1861-1865 War Between the States, including: Rain on the Lincoln Parade, parts I and II; Illinois and Lincoln Set the Bar for Political Sleaze, parts I and II; Lincoln's Unpopular War, parts I and II; and Lincoln Brutalized the Country and Shredded the Constitution.

These commentaries cover a range of topics; from motivations and supposed justifications for the war, to the shrewd machinations of the early Chicago Political Machine that helped Lincoln obtain the nomination in 1860, as well as examining notable opposition to the war and the numerous instances that the Constitution was violated in pursuit of forcibly maintaining the Union.

The nearly forgotten story of Abraham Lincoln's long held interest in colonization is yet another development in the ongoing discussion of his administration and the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States. Although Lincoln was among the more tolerant of the colonization enthusiasts, this policy cannot be assessed in a vacuum, as Lincoln simultaneously allowed four loyal slave states - Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri - to remain in the Union alongside chattel slavery.

Lincoln continued to send escaped slaves back to their masters in the South and instituted conscription for the first time in America, merely another form of slavery. All of these considerations underline the fact that Lincoln's priority was not liberating individuals, as often claimed. The preservation of the State was held sacred above all else, including the liberty of the enslaved, the conscripted, and that of the hundreds of thousands who would be sacrificed for Lincoln's quest to preserve the Union.

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DISCLAIMER: This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of PhotoNews Media. We welcome comments and views from our readers.
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Crazy people should never have guns


by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator


Crazy people should never have guns, knives or anything that could potentially harm another. A crazy person will find a way to inflict injury or cause death.

Eddie Ray Routh who murdered American hero Chris Kyle and Kyle's friend Chad Littlefield at a firing range proves my point again.

This is one of the tragedies of the year. Two intelligent, knowledgeable men, one who had survived horrific Middle East combat situations, were snuffed out of this life by a crazy man like Routh.

About an hour and a half into the drive, Chris Kyle was sitting in the driver's seat and he sent a text to Chad Littlefield who was sitting right next to him. He texts, "This dude is straight-up nuts," according to defense attorney Tim Moore from the Texas trial that is occurring. Moore said, "Chad Littlefield texts Chris Kyle back, "He's right behind me Watch my six,"(military lingo for watch my back). From this we have some insight into what Kris Kyle was thinking at the time.

According to Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash, Routh used two guns and shot Kyle five times in the back and side and once in the side of the head, using a 45-caliber pistol. He then shot Littlefield with a 9 mm pistol, four times in the back, once in the hand, once in the face and once in the head. A different 45-caliber pistol with all it's rounds fired was found on the ground near Kyle's head, " Kyle had shot all the bullets in his gun when he was shot in the back," said Nash, referring to the fact Kyle had just fired at a target.

I own guns. I believe in the right to bear arms. I would shoot anyone trying to break into my house and harm my family. However, I do not want to be around crazy people with guns. Guns are never bad. People holding the guns make them either safe or deadly.

Do not try to rehabilitate a sick person by handing that person a gun or a knife or anything that might give them a window of opportunity to hurt themselves, you or anyone else. Mentally sick people can be helped many ways but giving them guns, knives or bombs is never the answer.

I saw the movie American Sniper. I believe Kris Kyle is a hero. I believe his death is a tragedy. The sad end of his life reminds us that we cannot help everybody. Some people can only be helped by medical professionals over a long period of time and then not always.

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Glenn Mollette is the author of American Issues: Every American Has An Opinion. He is also the author of other books including Fitness Is A Mind Game, The Adventures of Russell Walter and Spiritual Chocolate: Inspirational Delights for the Heart. You can hear him each Sunday night on XM radio 131 at 8 EST. Follow Glenn Mollette on Facebook here.

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DISCLAIMER: This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of PhotoNews Media. We welcome comments and views from our readers. Click here to learn how to submit your commentary, opinion, letter to the editor or response to this piece.

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