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United Way of Southwest Minnesota
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Walmart is a strong supporter of the United Way of Southwest Minnesota. Employees at Walmart Store #1722 in Marshall contributed $1,344.00 through pay
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In 2014, 936 children were able to practice their school readiness skills with a ‘Wild About Kindergarten’ bag. These bags are given to ev
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An important part of United Way of Southwest Minnesota’s work is the annual review of local not-for-profit programs that seek affiliation and gr
Read more...
 
The United Way of Southwest Minnesota’s 2015 Community Impact Grant Application forms are available at www.unitedwayswmn.org (Your United Way ta
Read more...
 
This article is the third in a four part series focusing on the Imagination Library Program. The final article will demonstrate additional ways the pr
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March 2, 2015
Walmart Supports United Way of Southwest Minnesota

2015C.Walmart.pngWalmart is a strong supporter of the United Way of Southwest Minnesota. Employees at Walmart Store #1722 in Marshall contributed $1,344.00 through payroll contributions and Walmart made an additional investment of $1,344.00 for a total campaign of $2,688.00.

 

Walmart Store #1722 and the United Way of Southwest Minnesota celebrated the store’s 2014-15 campaign with a check presentation photo and then kicked off the 2015-16 campaign! Walmart employees can contribute to the campaign at any time throughout the year, but they are highlighting United Way and the Associate in Critical Need Trust, along with nine other non-profit options, from February 23rd-March 18th.

 

The United Way of Southwest Minnesota is proud to have Walmart among its supporters. Thank you for your investment and for LIVING UNITED.


February 27, 2015
Imagination Library Bags Being Distributed

In 2014, 936 children were able to practice their school readiness skills with a ‘Wild About Kindergarten’ bag. These bags are given to every child who attends Kindergarten Round-Up in the UWSWMN service area. Last spring, bags were sent to 25 area schools. In each kindergarten bag students receive a book, a dry erase board with dry erase marker, notepad, crayons, scissor, glue stick, shape and cutting worksheets, alphabet/number matching cards and modeling clay. Resources for parents are also included in the bag. The goal is to encourage children and parents/caregivers to work on school readiness skills over the spring and summer in preparation for kindergarten in the fall.

 

The United Way of Southwest Minnesota is currently packing and distributing bags for the upcoming school year and Kindergarten Round Up sessions. This year nearly 1,000 bags will be distributed.

 

Special thanks to the Grace First Parish Youth Group, from Grace First Parish Church in Russell, MN who recently spent time packing some of the bags. THANK YOU to this great group!


February 23, 2015
Community Impact Grant Applications Available

The United Way of Southwest Minnesota’s 2015 Community Impact Grant Application forms are available at www.unitedwayswmn.org (Your United Way tab – Community Impact Grants section). All grant applications must address at least one of the United Way of Southwest Minnesota (UWSWMN) priority areas and strategies as set forth in the Goals for the Common Good. Programs must be delivered in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and/or portions of Cottonwood, Lac qui Parle, Nobles, and Redwood counties. See the detailed listed of communities and zip codes covered by UWSWMN in the grant section of our website.

 

The grant application deadline is Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 5:00 PM. Delivery of the application is the responsibility of the applicant organization(s).  Extensions will not be granted.  Late or incomplete applications will not be considered for United Way of Southwest Minnesota funding. All grant applications will be reviewed by a team of community volunteers who will make recommendations on funding to the United Way of Southwest Minnesota board of directors.  Grant funding comes from local donations given to United Way of Southwest Minnesota during its recent fund-raising campaign.

 

One more workshop will be held at the United Way office to review the priorities in the Goals for the Common Good and grant applications for new applicants or for those with questions about the grant application process. These workshops are not mandatory, but are intended to be helpful for applicants. RSVP by calling 507-929-2273 or via email at unitedway@unitedwayswmn.org.

 

  • Thursday, March 12th, 4:00PM

 

United Way of Southwest Minnesota is an autonomous, local organization working to create long lasting community change through the building blocks of education, income (financial stability), health, safety & well-being, and hunger in the UWSWMN service area.

 


February 23, 2015
Community Investment Process

An important part of United Way of Southwest Minnesota’s work is the annual review of local not-for-profit programs that seek affiliation and grant funding from United Way. It’s an exciting process to be a part of…affecting change in our community both now and into the future. Volunteers involved in the process also find that this is an excellent way to learn more about the needs throughout our area.  Dollars raised locally are re-invested back into communities served by the United Way of SW MN. Our organization serves Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine, and portions of Cottonwood, Lac qui Parle, Nobles, and Redwood counties.

 

How does it all work you might ask?  Teams of volunteers undergo orientation and are assigned to review a group of organizations providing services/programming by impact area. Last year almost sixty volunteers representing sixteen communities in our service area were placed on seven different teams that reviewed thirty-five community impact grant applications.

 

Funds that were raised during the recent annual United Way campaign are invested back into services that benefit people in the areas of Education, Income, Health, Hunger and Safety& Well-being. Volunteers work together to conduct site visits of applicants, review program goals and anticipated results and then make their recommendations to the United Way of Southwest Minnesota Board of Directors for final approval. Funding recommendations are purely community driven with United Way staff receiving no vote in the process.    

 

This method is an assurance to donors of the annual campaign that each donation is used as wisely as possible, where it does the most good and that it makes a difference for the people of our area. Volunteers involved in the process represent the donors who have made a contribution to the United Way of SW MN and do their due diligence to invest the dollars back into our community wisely.  This is an important way for our United Way to assure local community impact. Volunteers generally spend up to 8 hours (usually in hour-long blocks) over 5-6 weeks of time from mid-April through the end of May conducting the reviews and preparing recommendations. Applicants are scored using a matrix evaluation during the process. Each applicant receives a copy of their evaluation from the panel that reviewed them during final notification of full, partial, or no funding. Many applicants report value in the feedback received for future planning.

 

Volunteer orientation will be held April 15th and grant applicant reviews will take place April 16th-May 31st. Community recommendations will be presented to the UWSWMN Board on June 15th and funding decisions will be announced June 16th-19th, 2015.

 

For more information on the work of the United Way of Southwest Minnesota visit our website at www.UnitedWaySWMN.org or give us a call at 507-929-2273. 


February 13, 2015
Additional Community Uses for Imagination Library Books

This article is the fourth in a four part series focusing on the Imagination Library Program. Previous articles highlighted the global and local impact, history of the program and featured a local Imagination Library family.

 

A common question asked of staff at the United Way of Southwest Minnesota (UWSWMN) is "what happens if an Imagination Library book is undeliverable?" If we receive information from the post office or receive the book back we try to contact the guardian of the child to find out why the book was undeliverable. Sometimes we find out that a family has moved to another part of our service area and we update the address, or maybe the address was misread and just needs to be retried. Other times it is because a family has moved outside our service area or we cannot get in touch with a guardian to find out what has changed. If a family moves outside of our service area and that region has a local Imagination Library (IL) sponsor, we are able to transfer the family to that particular program. However, not all parts of the country have a local affiliate. If a family has moved and their books come back to our office or a child misses a few months of books we offer to hold books at our office for the family to pick-up. We are often asked to forward the books, but unfortunately the books cannot be forwarded due to being mailed bulk or book rate. If we are unable to reach a particular family our office is left with those books.

 

We use several avenues to get those books back in the hands of children in our community. All identifying information (child’s name, address, etc.) is removed prior to any type of community distribution from our office. One way we distribute the books is during our summer reading program, Wild About Reading. Each daycare provider who attends Wild About Reading receives a bag of books and some reading activity calendars. Daycare providers have been appreciative of receiving books because daycare providers are not eligible, per Dolly Parton Imagination Program guidelines, to register their daycare (note, a provider can register for their own child) for the program.

 

Books are also used to help local communities keep their Little Free Library or Little Red bookshelves stocked.  The City of Lynd, The Micawber Club of Walnut Grove (club focus is on community service, fundraising and volunteerism) and Marshall Park Side Innovative Learning Center have received books for their Little Free Libraries. Additionally, in collaboration with New Horizon Crisis Nursery, eleven Little Red Bookshelves in Marshall have also received IL books. If your community has a similar program and is in need of books, contact the UWSWMN at unitedway@unitedwayswmn.org for more information.

 

Another neat way IL books are being used is by six Occupational Therapists (OTs) who work for the Southwest/West Central Service Cooperative and are placed in area school districts. The OTs started planning goals and sessions around some of the IL books that the kids in their care were already familiar with because of having received them through the program at home.  Occupational Therapists, Carrie Kesteloot and Tami Hellewell, explained that “In therapy we read the book together and have the children physically act out the book.  When acting out the book the children bring the book to life.  Some of the areas that we focus on when acting out the book are visual motor, visual scanning, visual tracking, body awareness, attention to detail, handwriting, balance and dexterity.  One of the reasons why we choose imagination library books was because our own children would continually asked us to read these same books to them at home so we knew they would be popular and appealing to other children.  The second reason was most of the kids already have these books in their homes and will continue to ask their parents to read to them and work on therapy skills at home. “

 

While not every book is able to be received by its intended owner please know UWSWMN makes sure that each book returned finds a great home and makes its way into the hands of area children.

 

The United Way of Southwest Minnesota continues its commitment to early literacy and school readiness. For more information on how to sponsor a child or to join the SuccessBy6 committee, please visit www.UnitedWaySWMN.org


February 13, 2015
250000th Imagination Library Book Recipient

This article is the third in a four part series focusing on the Imagination Library Program. The final article will demonstrate additional ways the program is benefiting the region. Previous articles highlighted the global and local impact and history of the program. 

Alix Carlson of Iona, MN is one of the 2,400 children who receive Imagination Library (IL) books monthly, sponsored by United Way of Southwest Minnesota (UWSWMN) and is the recipient of the 250,000th Imagination Library book! Alix is 9 months old and has been receiving books since she was one month old. To participate in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library through the United Way of Southwest Minnesota sponsorship, the child(ren) must live in one of the following school districts (note that private and charter schools are also included):  Canby, Clarkfield, Dawson/Boyd, Echo, Fulda, Ivanhoe, Lake Benton, Lakeview, Lincoln HI, Lynd, Marshall, Milroy, Minneota, Murray County Central, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton, Tracy Area, Westbrook-Walnut Grove and Yellow Medicine East.

Alix’s parents, Isaac and Michelle, registered her for Imagination Library because they believe it is important to read to children, starting as infants. They have three other children who were also enrolled in Imagination Library; they are excited to get new books for Alix. Isaac commented that the Llama Llama books have become family favorites and receiving a few through IL has encouraged them to seek out more Llama Llama books for their family.

The Carlson’s believe they are reading more books to their children because of the Imagination Library program. Michelle said “Imagination Library is a great program to build a home library. Buying books can get really expensive and it’s nice to have good quality books.”   Because of IL they have more access to great books, their children enjoy the stories and time spent with Mom and Dad and they recognize that reading is an easy and simple way to help prepare Alix and their other kids for success in school. Michelle commented that the kids love being read to so much that at bedtime after she reads a few books she hears “one more, one more please” and one more turns into six or seven. “It’s hard to stop reading!” Even though Alix is less than a year old it is clear how much she enjoys books.

 

Michelle said she was thankful for learning about IL when she was pregnant with her first child in 2007. Because she recognizes the benefits of reading to children and preparing them to be successful in school she has shared information about IL with others in her community and family. She was excited to share her families IL experience with her sister who then enrolled her son. Alix was enrolled in Imagination Library immediately after she was born, while still in the hospital. Many area hospitals recognize the importance of reading to your child from the very first days of life and offer to help parents enroll their child in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program by having the registration form in the packet of information that all new parents receive. Two surveys conducted by UWSWMN show hospitals to be the most popular place to enroll a child in IL. In 2007 parents reported that 49% registered their child for IL while in the hospital and that grew to 60% among new parents in 2014.  This is a positive growth trend which benefits the child tremendously because the sooner babies begin hearing words and stories and seeing pictures the more likely they will be successful in school.

 

While many parents enroll their child in Imagination Library at the hospital it is not the only place or time you can enroll in the program. Parents or guardians can enroll their child (or children) under age five online at www.imaginationlibrary.com  at any time or by printing out the registration form at http://www.unitedwayswmn.org/Registration.php  and mailing it to the United Way of Southwest Minnesota office at  PO Box 41, Marshall, MN 56258. To receive a paper registration form by mail call us at 507-929-2273. Many area libraries, preschools, head starts, HR departments, and other human services organizations also pass out and assist families with the simple registration form. There is no cost to families to participate.

 

The United Way of Southwest Minnesota continues its commitment to early literacy and school readiness. For more information on how to sponsor a child or to join the SuccessBy6 committee, please visit www.UnitedWaySWMN.org. The program costs approximately $30.00 per child per year. Costs are covered by donations made to United Way of Southwest Minnesota by individuals and business donors, service clubs and organizations, and grants the United Way writes to other funders. Contributions are accepted on an ongoing basis to support the program and can be sent to UWSWMN-IL, PO Box 41, Marshall, MN 56258 or at www.UnitedWaySWMN.org


February 10, 2015
2014-15 Campaign Results Announced by United Way of Southwest Minnesota

United Way of Southwest Minnesota (UWSWMN) reports a total of $550,001.15 was raised during the 2014-15 fund-raising campaign in this area.  Dollars raised will stay local to benefit people living in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and portions of Cottonwood, Lac qui Parle, Nobles and Redwood counties. In 2014-15, UWSWMN is granting dollars to more than 30 community partner programs and delivering on a dozen UWSWMN initiatives furthering the network of human services and volunteerism in the region.  That equates to helping more than 39,000 local people.

 

Ben Alcorn, Campaign Chair said, “United Way of Southwest Minnesota’s mission is to Unite People and Resources to Improve Lives and Strengthen Communities in Southwest Minnesota. Gifts to the United Way stay right here, and when magnified by the gifts of others, have the power to make lasting impact. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the 2014-15 effort.”

 

2015C.550001TY.png“We all win when a child succeeds in school; when families are financially stable and when people are in good health. United Way of Southwest Minnesota is committed to long term community impact. Over the last ten years, we are proud that UWSWMN has been able to invest more than $4 million dollars throughout our region through grants, programming and partnerships. The dollars raised in the annual campaign make a significant difference across southwest Minnesota,” said Marcy Heemeyer, Executive Director.  “Our sincere appreciation goes out to everyone who generously invests in the future of this area financially or through the gift of volunteer hours. Southwest Minnesota is a great place to call home.”

 

Funds that have been raised will go to work in local programs that focus on the basic building blocks of education, income (financial stability), health, hunger and safety & well-being.  United Way of Southwest Minnesota will continue to work collaboratively with community partners to address important issues like increasing school readiness for young children. To make a contribution, please visit www.UnitedWaySWMN.org. Donations can also be mailed to UWSWMN, PO Box 41, Marshall, MN 56258.

 

Preparations are now underway for the community investment work that will occur during the next few months.  Community volunteers and United Way board members will work hard to carry out plans and to review community programs to make sure that all donated funds are used as wisely as possible.

 

Application forms for Community Impact Grants are currently available on the United Way of Southwest Minnesota website, www.UnitedWaySWMN.org and are due by 5PM on Wednesday, April 1, 2015. People interested in volunteering to help with the citizen review process of these grant applications should call 507-929-2273 or email unitedway@unitedwayswmn.org for more information.

 

United Way of Southwest Minnesota is an autonomous, local organization working to create long lasting community change through the building blocks of education, income (financial stability), health, safety & well-being, and hunger in the UWSWMN service area.


February 9, 2015
Duke Energy Renewables Invests in united Way of Southwest Minnesota

2015C.DukeEn.pngDuke Energy Renewables is a strong supporter of the United Way of Southwest Minnesota. Employees contributed $1,526.08 through payroll pledges/donations and Duke Energy made an additional investment of $785.50 for a total campaign of $2,311.58.  Duke Energy Renewables-Canby ran their first United Way campaign last year and was named the 2013-14 recipient of the Rising Star Award for their efforts. Duke Energy employees also hosted and updated the Canby campaign thermometer for this year’s campaign.

 

The United Way of Southwest Minnesota is proud to the have Duke Energy Renewables among its supporters. Thank you for your investment and for LIVING UNITED.

 

Front Row (L to R): Adam Olson Jeremy Krug, Roxie Fliss, Amber Pesek, Jody Vernlund, Missy Hulzebos, and Deb VanDerostyne

Back Row (L to R): Justin Miller, Josh Anderson, Steve Scott, Branden Salzer, and Forrest Murphy.


February 9, 2015
Sanford Canby Invests in United Way of Southwest Minnesota

Sanford Canby Medical Center employees are strong supporters of the United Way of Southwest Minnesota. Employees contributed $2,919.80 through payroll 2015C.SanfordC.pngpledges/donations/special events. The United Way of Southwest Minnesota is proud to have the Sanford Canby team among its supporters. Thank you for your investment and for LIVING UNITED. The Sanford Canby team of Ambassadors were the 2012-13 recipients of the Rising Star Award for their campaign efforts.

 

Front Row: Carrie Cleveland, Julie Pederson, and Marcy Heemeyer (UW)

 

Back: Tamara Pommer and Julie Swedzinski

 

Not Pictured: Adriane Heiden


February 9, 2015
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Graduation Held February 7th

The first 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten graduation party was held on Saturday, February 7th at the Marshall-Lyon County Library for those who had completed the program. Mayor Bob Byrnes handed out diplomas and Buster the Magic Clown performed following the ceremony.

 

The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program encourages parents to read aloud at least 1000 books with their children before they enter Kindergarten. Children, when registered at a participating library, receive a canvas library bag with artwork on one side and a list of participating libraries on the other side, a reading folder with a reading log, program information and frequently asked questions. Children receive incentive prizes throughout the 1000 book journey and upon completion of the program a graduation party.

 

1000B.Grad.pngThe United Way of Southwest Minnesota announced its partnership with 15 area libraries last winter to bring the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Program to our region. Three of the area libraries, Fulda, Slayton, and Westbrook, already had successful programs so the United Way offered additional support/materials to those existing locations while initiating the start up in the 12 remaining locations. Participating libraries include: Fulda, Westbrook, Slayton, Marshall – Lyon County, Balaton, Cottonwood, Clarkfield, Tyler, Tracy, Minneota, Ivanhoe, Canby, Dawson, Granite Falls and Lake Benton.

 

Any child from birth until kindergarten can sign up. Registration is ongoing at each respective library. It will take from a few months to a few years, depending on how many books you read at a time. Developing literacy skills begins at birth and continues throughout the toddler and pre-school years. The best way to ensure a child has the skills necessary to learn to read is having someone read aloud to them. Four year old preschooler, Ryelle Tuszynski, of Tyler, MN was the first documented graduate of the program since United Way’s launch.

 

For more information on 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten call 507-929-2273, visit the United Way website at www.UnitedWaySWMN.org or contact your local library.

 

Pictured: Gwen Sturrock, Marshall-Lyon County Library Board President; Mayor Bob Byrnes; MaryBeth Sinclair, Children’s Librarian; and 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten graduates.


February 4, 2015
Community Investment Volunteers Sought

United Way of Southwest Minnesota needs volunteers to help review local non-profit organizations that apply for Community Impact Grants this spring. Volunteers will work together in teams to conduct site visits and look at applicant programs’ plans and goals, metrics and results, and financial management.  These reviews result in recommendations for funding to the United Way Board of Directors. 

 

Funds that were raised during the recent annual United Way campaign are invested back into services that benefit people in the areas of Education, Income (financial stability), Health, Hunger and Safety and Well-being.  Volunteers who live in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and portions of Cottonwood, Lac qui Parle, Nobles, and Redwood counties are strongly encouraged to participate.

 

The time-limited work will cover approximately 5-6 weeks of time during April and May.  Volunteers will be expected to spend up to 8 hours (usually in hour-long components) conducting the reviews and preparing recommendations.  An orientation session will be conducted prior to the review work and is scheduled for Wednesday, April 15, 2015 from 4:15PM-5:15PM at the Marshall Area YMCA.  

 

People who are interested in learning more about this volunteer opportunity should contact the United Way at 507-929-2273, email unitedway@unitedwayswmn.org or stop by the office at 109 S. 5th Street, Marshall.

 

United Way of Southwest Minnesota is an autonomous, local organization working to create long lasting community change through the building blocks of education, income (financial stability), health, safety & well-being, and hunger in the United Way of Southwest Minnesota service area.

 

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February 4, 2015
Western Printing Invests in United Way of Southwest Minnesota

Western Printing is a supporter of the United Way of Southwest Minnesota. Employees contributed $250.00 through donations/special events in their very first 2015C.WesternPrinting.pngUnited Way workplace campaign! In addition, Western Printing made an additional investment of $250.00 for a total campaign of $500.00.

 

The United Way of Southwest Minnesota (UWSWMN) is proud to have Western Printing among its supporters. Thank you for your investment and for LIVING UNITED.                            

 

Pictured (L to R): Jennifer Frana, Dorothy Krogen, Heidi Henkelman, Lauren Beukelman and Judy Werpy


February 2, 2015
United Way of Southwest Minnesota 2015 Grant Application Now Available

The United Way of Southwest Minnesota’s 2015 Community Impact Grant Application forms are now available at www.unitedwayswmn.org (Your United Way tab – Community Impact Grants section). All grant applications must address at least one of the United Way of Southwest Minnesota (UWSWMN) priority areas and strategies as set forth in the Goals for the Common Good. Programs must be delivered in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and/or portions of Cottonwood, Lac qui Parle, Nobles, and Redwood counties. See the detailed listed of communities and zip codes covered by UWSWMN in the grant section of our website.

 

The grant application deadline is Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 5:00 PM. Delivery of the application is the responsibility of the applicant organization(s).  Extensions will not be granted.  Late or incomplete applications will not be considered for United Way of Southwest Minnesota funding. All grant applications will be reviewed by a team of community volunteers who will make recommendations on funding to the United Way of Southwest Minnesota board of directors.  Grant funding comes from local donations given to United Way of Southwest Minnesota during its recent fund-raising campaign.

 

Workshops will be held at the United Way office to review the priorities in the Goals for the Common Good and grant applications for new applicants or for those with questions about the grant application process. These workshops are not mandatory, but are intended to be helpful for applicants. RSVP by calling 507-929-2273 or via email at unitedway@unitedwayswmn.org.

 

  • Friday, February 20th, 1:00PM
  • Thursday, March 12th, 4:00PM

 

United Way of Southwest Minnesota is an autonomous, local organization working to create long lasting community change through the building blocks of education, income (financial stability), health, safety & well-being, and hunger in the UWSWMN service area.

 


January 30, 2015
Shopko Invests in United Way of Southwest Minnesota

2015C.Shopko.pngShopko Stores, Inc.  is a strong supporter of the United Way of Southwest Minnesota. Employees contributed $1,946.00 through payroll pledges/donations and Shopko Stores, Inc. made an additional investment of $531.98 for a total campaign of $2,477.98.

 

The United Way of Southwest Minnesota is proud to have Shopko among its supporters. Thank you for your investment and for LIVING UNITED.

 

Pictured (L to R): Katie Siedschlag, Christian Linville Olzog, Sandy Enemark, Stephanie Klemm, Rachel Kinny, and Stacey Weets. 


January 29, 2015
KMHL Broadcasting Company Invests in United Way of Southwest Minnesota

KMHL Broadcasting Company is a strong supporter of the United Way of Southwest Minnesota. Employees contributed $1, 448.00 through payroll 2015C.KMHL.pngpledges/donations and KMHL Broadcasting made an additional investment of $1,500.00 for a total campaign of $2,948.00.

 

The United Way of Southwest Minnesota is proud to have KMHL Broadcasting Company among its supporters. Thank you for your investment and for LIVING UNITED.

 

Pictured (L to R): Anthony Rohlik,  Shar Fenske, Val Braun, and JT Thordson




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