Friday, 19 July 2024


Dr. Lorraine Prisbrey, a dentist at Lakeside Health Center, explains the course of treatment to Autum Martinez. Courtesy photo.



LAKEPORT – As the failing economy increases the number of families that cannot afford adequate dental services for their children, so does the importance of community caring.

On Feb. 6, in honor of National Give Kids a Smile Day, dentists Lorraine Prisbrey and John Jenkins from Lakeside Health Center, along with dental assisting staff, provided care to 21 children.

Dental services included exams, x-rays, cleanings, oral hygiene instruction, fluoride varnish treatments, sealants, fillings and extractions.

The effort was undertaken in partnership with Lake County Office of Education's Healthy Start Program and Marta Fuller of Lake County Public Health and First 5 Lake Oral Health Project.

As part of Healthy Start’s ongoing mission to promote the health of Lake County’s children, staffer Missy Hill identified Lake County kids with significant oral health needs and who do not have dental coverage.

Often, these are children from working families whose income makes them ineligible for public insurance programs.

Marcie and Anthony Martinez were among the many families who brought in their children for treatment: Autum (12) and Damion (8) received exams, x-rays cleanings and sealants. Autum got two fillings.

According to their dad, “I am a skilled construction worker, and I’ve always been able to provide for my family. But when I lost my work, I lost my health insurance. Even though my kids qualify for Healthy Families insurance, most local dentists aren’t willing to accept it. They tell me that the program doesn’t cover the actual costs of the care. I very grateful that Lakeside Health Center was willing to help out my kids.”

Children Now, a leading nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to assuring all children have the opportunity to achieve their full potential, estimates that over 1.7 million California children do not have dental insurance.

A one-day event like Give Kids A Smile Day isn’t a cure-all for such a large-scale problem, but it is a wake-up call about the need of local children for basic oral care.

However, a meaningful volunteer service like that offered by Lakeside Health Center does not create a meaningful health care system that helps children get the dental care they so desperately need. Without the commitment and knowledge of Healthy Start staff, the voluntary contribution of Dr. Prisbrey and Jenkins and their staff, such an effort would not have been possible.

Established in 1999, Lakeside Health Center is one of three nonprofit health facilities operated by Mendocino Community Health Clinic Inc. As a federally qualified health center, it is governed by its community.

If you are interested in participating through its Board of Directors, please contact Kathy MacDougall at 707-462-4511.

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Pieces of glass and pottery were unearthed as part of the cultural resource investigation at Rabbit Hill in Middletown. Photo courtesy of the Lake County Land Trust.

MIDDLETOWN – A recent cultural resource investigation, as part of a land management plan at Rabbit Hill in Middletown, identified one historic archaeological site and several isolated historic features.

Conducted by Dr. John and Cheyanne Parker of Archeological Research in Lucerne, the findings help Lake County Land Trust directors preserve the site and determine best public activities at the park.

The study concludes that, as a Land Trust property, Rabbit Hill teaches us about the natural world, but it also contains important information about the history of Middletown.

As part of the study, Dr. Parker, a registered professional archaeologist, and Cheyanne, with 12 years archaeological field and lab experience, conducted a field inspection of Rabbit Hill.

“Historic records provide information about major events and prominent citizens in Middletown’s past, but no record of daily life for Middletown residents exists during the time a stage came through town once a week,” John Parker said.

Items found in the historic archaeological site suggest general household refuse from the late 1800s, including pieces of ceramic ware, glass bottles, a soldered milk can, and a brass kerosene lamp reservoir.

A concrete cistern reinforced with scrap pieces of farm equipment, suggesting late 1800 or early 1900 construction, was most likely the remains of a water tank that would have allowed gravity flow of water down slope to a residence.

Corrugated roofing material, perhaps remains of a kid’s fort, and a sheep shear stamped with “Keiser Made in the USA” were also found.

Though no structure remains of Huke and Skee Hamann’s residence, the area is marked by concrete on rocks and embedded telephone pole sections. One rock had a concrete base where a commemorative plaque was placed. Local lore says that three embedded rail pieces once supported a lighted cross atop Rabbit Hill.

Remains of a stone lavatory, constructed in 1950s, is slightly downhill from where the Hamanns lived.




A stone bathroom on the Rabbit Hill property. Photo courtesy of the Lake County Land Trust.



Little remains of their residence that is of historic or scientific value; however, Rabbit Hill itself is significant due to the association with the Hamanns.

The Hamanns lived on Rabbit Hill between the 1950s and 1970s. They used their land’s magnetic attraction as a way to introduce Middletown’s youth to the natural world and the concept of living with, not on, the earth.

The couple left Rabbit Hill to Sonoma County’s Madrone Audubon Society, which later deeded the property to Lake County’s Land Trust for protection.

The Lake County Land Trust is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of Lake County’s unique natural habitats and open spaces.

In addition to Rabbit Hill, the group owns and operates the Rodman Slough Preserve at 6350 Westlake Road, Upper Lake.

For more information about Lake County Land Trust, go to . Follow the land trust on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

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LAKEPORT – About 30 members of the Scotts Valley Pomo plan to hold an event in downtown Lakeport on Friday in an effort to rally support for a proposal to bring a planned casino for the tribe to Lake County.

Les Miller, a tribal member and former Scotts Valley chairman, said the group will gather at the Courthouse Museum on Main Street from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Their goal is to gather backing for a proposal to purchase Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa – which closed last November – and open a casino there, said Miller.

The resort was reported to be under a sales contract late last year, but resort officials have not returned repeated calls seeking an update on the situation.

For several years the Scotts Valley tribe – which has no trust land – has been working to get approval for its Sugar Bowl Casino plan in north Richmond, where tribal officials say they have ancestral ties.

The plan calls for a 225,000-square-foot facility with 2,000 gaming machines and 50 gaming tables, which the tribe's Web site said will create thousands of jobs.

But some tribal members, like Miller, would rather see the casino here, in the tribe's home area.

They're also hoping to see jobs created in Lake County, where Miller said the community is hurting. He said so far they're receiving broad-based support from community and business leaders who have heard about their plans.

“This is not just a tribal issue anymore, it's a community issue,” Miller said.

However, the current tribal government isn't supporting the plan.

“We're not going to be able to respond immediately,” said Bennett Wright, tribal administrator for the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians, adding that the tribal government would issue a full response next week.

Wright said that certain members of the tribe like Miller have opposed the tribal government before, and that there is nothing factual about their statements.

In turn, Miller said he and other tribal members who have disagreed with the tribal leadership have been intimidated and threatened with disenrollment, and that internal disagreements have deepened over the last 10 years, as the casino plans have been under way.

Miller and his family also have attempted in recent years to vote out Tribal Chair Don Arnold from office and have disputed the results of recent elections.

At the rally Miller said community members will be able to sign a letter asking US Sen. Dianne Feinstein to take action to limit off-reservation casinos. Miller said it would “open up the floodgates” if Scotts Valley's goal for a Richmond casino were allowed to move forward.

However, those plans appear to have hit some significant obstacles.

Last September, the National Indian Gaming Commission issued a decision disapproving a gaming management contract between the tribe and Richmond Gaming Ltd. – which is the group of investors backing the project and the entity which also owns the land for the proposed casino facility.

The reasons for the decision included the commission's finding that Richmond Gaming provided false information about the partners and their financial interests.

“The actions of Richmond are quite serious,” stated then-National Indian Gaming Commission Chairman Philip N. Hogen in a September letter, a copy of which was obtained by Lake County News.

Hogen explained that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act – or IGRA – “specifically identifies protecting tribes from organized crime and corrupting influences and ensuring that tribes are the primary beneficiary of the gaming as the objectives of IGRA.”

Hogen also faulted Richmond for not answering his questions. He had requested a list of all persons and entities with a financial interest in, or management responsibility for, the contract, which Richmond failed to provide. Many of those names are redacted in the letter available through public records sources.

Miller alleged that the tribal council “were just basically selling the farm to these investors,” and that the plan unraveled.

Richmond Gaming later appealed, and in December the National Indian Gaming Commission and Richmond Gaming – represented by Florida investor Alan H. Ginsburg, a real estate mogul who a San Francisco Weekly article from 2004 identified as also being involved in the Lower Lake Rancheria-Koi Nation's plans for a Bay Area casino – signed a settlement agreement.

In that agreement, Richmond Gaming agreed that it wasn't in compliance with National Indian Gaming Commission regulations regarding submission of management agreements, and as part of the settlement Richmond Gaming withdrew its appeal and the commission withdrew its letter disapproving the management agreement.

Richmond must form a new entity to take over its responsibilities. That company must then resubmit the previous management agreement or submit a new one by the end of May.

If Richmond fails to follow the terms of the settlement, Scotts Valley will have the chance to purchase from the company the casino land at the appraised value, the agreement states. If the company fails to sell the land in that circumstance, Hogen's previous letter voiding the contract will become the agency's final action.

Miller said members of the tribe who want a casino in Lake County know that they're in for a battle.

He said Lake County is where he was raised, and that's where the tribe's efforts should be focused.

“I'm not going to sell my history,” Miller said.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .



In recent columns I've compared wines to celebrities, and when it comes to describing Malbec Wallace Shawn best embodies the wine.

What, you’re surprised? You didn’t think all grapes are supermodels and square-jawed leading men,

did you? Inconceivable! Sometimes a grape isn’t sexy!

Most people would recognize Wallace Shawn as Vizzini, the egotistical but somehow loveable criminal “mastermind” from the movie “The Princess Bride” who says the overused but unforgettable catch phrase, “INCONCEIVABLE!” But besides being an actor, he’s a comic, playwright and political activist.

The Malbec grape is tannic, thin-skinned, very susceptible to diseases and frost, and has a tendency to “shatter” (without going into huge detail, it means to not produce well for numerous reasons).

Malbec vines are the proverbial 98 pound weakling of the vineyard, which is kind of amusing since it produces a grape with 300 pound flavor. It’s similar in this regard to Wallace Shawn, who in real life is only 5 feet, 2 inches tall, yet he produces characters that are larger than life.

The fact is, Malbec just isn’t a statuesque, buff, sexy grape. Some winemakers may disagree, just like some women might consider Wallace Shawn a hunk of beefcake, but he was once described as “one of the worst and unsightliest actors in this city.”

In 1956 a hard frost killed off 75 percent of all of the Malbec vines in Bordeaux France, Malbec’s homeland. As if to say “You’re more trouble than you are worth,” most of the acreage wasn’t replanted with Malbec but with the more hearty and currently marketable Merlot vines.

Malbec is considered to be one of Bordeaux’s “noble grapes” yet, due to its finicky nature, it has lost favor with winegrowers and is dying a slow death in France. It’s not as if they ever really loved the

grape to begin with, since “Mal Bec” means “bad beak” or “bad mouth” in French.

An annoyingly talkative person is also called “mal bec.” Wallace Shawn, with his whiny kind of voice, could be called a “mal bec.”

The true origin of the name for the vine isn’t known. Usually this wine is inexpensive or used for blending. Argentina, however, has developed a love for Malbec and is planting it and producing it

with a passion. It has become so popular in Argentina that 70 percent of the world’s Malbecs are now produced in Argentina. Because Argentina is flooding the market with their Malbec you can usually find them for between $7 and $14 in your local mega-market.

Wallace Shawn won’t become the next Dirty Harry or John McClain, but put him in an ensemble cast and he’ll steal the show. So much so that all you have to do is say “Inconceivable!” and everyone instantly knows who you are speaking of. There is even a Grand Negas Zek impersonation on YouTube for all of the Star Trek fans.

Wallace Shawn, like Malbec, commands attention. I’m a big Wallace Shawn fan, but if you were to tell me he would be replacing Stallone in the next Rambo movie I’d call you crazy.

Same thing if you told me that Brassfield Estate’s Malbec was voted to be the winner of the 2009 People’s Choice “Best Red Wine of High Valley”… It was?! OK, I’ll admit at times I may be incorrect … so maybe Wallace Shawn as Rambo could work. I guess I’ll have to suffer a little schadenfreude from the Malbec winemakers.

Wallace Shawn is fantastically talented and adds depth, humor and personality to everything that he is a part of. Malbec is the same way. There are good 100-percent Malbec wines, but it does its best work in a blend.

A straight Malbec wine isn’t a leisurely, sit-around-and-drink-on-the-back-deck kind of wine, it needs to be paired with food, and is especially good with rare red meat. Malbec is an “in your face” red wine that slaps your tongue around to make sure it gets its point across.

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like heavy tannins in wine, and I don’t like the whininess in Wallace Shawn’s voice. But those tannins and that voice are both the claims to fame for each of them. It is what makes them unique and marketable, just as they are.

Flavor descriptors you can find in Malbec are anise (black licorice), blackberries, black cherry, cassis (currants), citrus, coffee, damson (a tart variety of plum grown for making jams and jellies, the term is

mainly used by wine snobs trying to sound condescending), figs, flowers, lavender, mint, mocha, oak, pepper, plum, roses, sage, yogurt and, my favorite – that I have never heard to describe any other wine

before – fleshiness. Someone needs to explain that one to me.

If you want to start sounding like a pretentious wine snob you can start by embellishing on descriptors, so instead of saying, “It tastes like figs and coffee,” say, “Reminiscent of grilled figs and espresso.”

Try compounding flavors like “blackberry jam,” or bring up obscure references that give no information that the general public can use, such as “Flavor of damson,” or “the taste of purple after it rains.” While researching Malbec I found many of these snobbish descriptors. Again … “fleshiness”?

Malbec’s color is often described as dense, so dense that Malbec is even called the “Black wine.” Many of Wallace Shawn’s plays and characters can be described as dense, dark, and deep. I can’t think of

any of them that can be described as shallow or flighty; well maybe Rex the tyrannosaurus in “Toy Story.”

Malbec can be intense, so intense that often when winemakers consider putting 2 percent Malbec into a Cabernet Sauvignon they end up just adding 1.5 percent instead. Wallace Shawn can also be considered to be intense, being very politically opinionated in his personal and professional life.

This intensity is what makes Malbec such a great blender. Alone it can be an acquired taste but still an outstanding wine, especially if served with a meal. Blended it can add depth and complexity to an

ensemble cast. Either way the idea that you won’t like Malbec in some form is inconceivable!

Lake County Malbec

Blackstone Winery (Lake County Grapes, Sonoma winery)

Brassfield Estate Winery (Best Red Wine of High Valley AVA, Peoples Choice Awards)

Dusinberre’s 100 percent (new branding)

Ceago Vinegarden

Steele Wines Writers Block (10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 5 percent Cabernet Franc, 5 percent Merlot)

Ledson Winery and Vineyard (Lake County Grapes, Sonoma winery)

McDermaid Family Vineyards (8 percent Petite Verdot)

Moore Family Winery (SOLD OUT)

Zina Hyde Cunningham (Lake County Grapes, Boonville winery)

Ross A. Christensen is an award-winning gardener and gourmet cook. He is the author of "Sushi A to Z, The Ultimate Guide" and is currently working on a new book. He has been a public speaker for many years and enjoys being involved in the community. Follow him on Twitter, .

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LAKEPORT – Local job seekers and businesses are invited to upcoming sessions on opportunities for subsidized employment and training programs.

Lake One-Stop Inc., Lake County Department of Social Services and Arbor Education will present information on the programs during two separate sessions – one designed for employers and another specifically for job seekers.

The employers' session will take place at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, at the Lake One-Stop's Lakeport office, located at 55 First St.

Employers will learn what services are available and understand their liabilities for unemployment insurance and worker’s compensation when utilizing Department of Social Services and Lake One-Stop’s work experience programs.

The workshop for job seekers will take place at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 3, also at the One-Stop's Lakeport office.

Prospective employees can learn about services such as resume writing workshops, computer literacy labs, paid work experience and on-the-job-training.

Space is limited. To serve a seat, call 707-262-3400.

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LAKEPORT – A small gathering held Friday in downtown Lakeport sought to rally community members' support for bringing new jobs to Lake County through a new Indian casino.

Nearly two dozen people, some of them members of the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo, along with members from other Pomo tribes around the lake, gathered in front of Courthouse Museum on Main Street.

They collected signatures to send to US Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and Congressman Mike Thompson, requesting there be a stop to off-reservation casinos.

Les Miller, one of the organizers, said they want to see a casino not in Richmond, where the tribe has been proposing to build a large facility, but here in Lake County.

They've proposed that their tribe look at Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa. Tribal officials haven't formally responded to the idea.

“We are not from Richmond,” Miller said Friday. “We will not move to Richmond.”

Miller and other tribal members spoke over a loud speaker and coaxed people to come over and support their plan.

“The situation is drastic out here in California, you feel me?” said Joe Thomas, a young Pomo. He later carried a sign along the perimeter of the park, which some drivers honked at as they drove by.

The rally drew support from other local natives, including Gary Thomas, whose wife is a Scotts Valley tribal member.

The Thomases had been living in Hayward but decided to come back to Lake County, where Gary Thomas and 24 of his family members were disenrolled from the Elem Colony in 2006. Now, he said his wife's tribe is facing turmoil over the casino question.

“No one wants to hear us,” he said about the concerns over disenrollment and injustices by tribal governments.

Raeven Shepherd, who has many family members who belong to Robinson Rancheria, told Lake County News stories of violent confrontations between her family and that tribe's leadership.

“I support positive outcomes and nothing good is happening because the people sitting in office are messing a lot of things up,” she said of tribal leadership.

As the rally took place during the lunch hour, County Administrative Officer Kelly Cox and Public Services Director Kim Clymire stopped to listen to the speakers, and they met and chatted with Miller.

Miller, who later continued speaking on the microphone, called the Richmond casino plan a “scam,” and said the tribes can't continue to keep secrets about their plans.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

NICE – An investigation into the burglary last November of the US Forest Service's Upper Lake Ranger Station resulted in the recovery of a large amount of federal property and several arrests at a Nice residence on Thursday.

Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said the burglary investigation by the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit and the U.S. Forest Service recovered $47,000 in Forest Service property taken during the Nov. 27 burglary at the ranger station compound, located on Elk Mountain Road.

On Thursday, authorities served a search warrant at the Manzanita Drive home of 50-year-old Thomas Glenn Meyer, according to Bauman's report.

Bauman said investigators allegedly discovered several items of government property believed to have been stolen from the ranger station.

The Mendocino National Forest reported in December that the items stolen included several laptop computers, a desktop computer, an assortment of electronic equipment, and wildland firefighting equipment and gear, as Lake County News has reported.

Some of the ranger station's buildings also were ransacked and damaged, according to forest officials.

Also allegedly found at Meyer's home was a large amount of narcotics paraphernalia, which Bauman said deputies seized during the search.

Meyer and two other people at the home were all suspected to be under the influence of a controlled substance at the time of the warrant service and all three were arrested for various charges, Bauman said.

Meyer was booked for felony charges of possession of stolen property and possession of a controlled substance. Bauman said Meyer also was charged with misdemeanor being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He is held on $10,000 bail.

The other two subjects arrested at the scene were 43-year-old Cathi Larae Larson and 33-year-old Angel Dusty Spring, both of Lakeport.

Larson was booked on misdemeanor charges of being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of narcotics paraphernalia with a $3,500 bail. Spring was booked for misdemeanor being under the influence of a controlled substance with a $3,000 bail, Bauman reported.

Bauman said the investigation into the November burglary continues and other arrests are anticipated.

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SPRING VALLEY – Residents in parts of the Spring Valley community are being directed to boil their water temporarily due to a water main break.

Lake County Special Districts issued the order on Friday.

The order explained that due to a recent water main break near the Wolf Creek bridge, the California Department of Health Services is advising residents of Meadow Creek Road and Chalk Mountain Way to use boiled tap water or bottled water for drinking and cooking purposes as a safety precaution.

This only affects properties that could not be valved off from the water main break area, Special Districts reported.

Failure to follow the boil water advisory could result in stomach and intestinal illness, the agency cautioned.

All tap water used for drinking or cooking should be boiled rapidly for at least one minute, which Special Districts said is the preferred method to assure that the water is safe to drink.

An alternative method of purification for residents that do not have gas or electricity available is to use fresh liquid household bleach (Clorox, Purex, etc.). To do so, add eight drops (or 1/4 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of clear water or 16 drops (1/2 teaspoon) per gallon of cloudy water, mix thoroughly, and allow to stand 30 minutes before using.

A chlorine-like taste and odor will result from this purification procedure and is an indication that adequate disinfection has taken place.

Water purification tablets may also be used by following the manufacturers’ instructions.

Emergency water treatment and testing are being conducted by Special Districts staff and an independent laboratory to resolve this water quality emergency.

Special Districts will notify residents as soon as the water is safe to drink.

For more information call Lake County Special Districts, 707-263-0119.

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SONOMA COUNTY – This week, Sonoma State University came under new scrutiny when federal and Sonoma County officials served a search warrant at the university's administrative offices.

Sonoma County District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua said that on Thursday investigators from U. S. Department of Health and Human Services/Office of the Inspector General, Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation served the search warrant in conjunction with a joint investigation into allegations of the misuse of federal grant monies.

“We are working closely with local state and federal authorities to determine whether there was misappropriation of federal funds,” Passalacqua said in a written statement.

Passalacqua reported that the case was initiated based on a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services resulting from an internal Sonoma State University audit of California Institute on Human Services (CIHS).

CIHS, created in 1979, was a department at Sonoma State University and was in charge of obtaining federal and state grants at Sonoma State University.

The case remains under investigation by a joint federal and state task force of investigators as they continue to analyze the voluminous amounts of documents associated with the alleged misappropriation of as many as 20 separate state and federal grant funding sources administered by Sonoma State.

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CLEARLAKE – Local veterans are encouraged to attend a special outreach event planned for this coming Sunday, Feb. 21.

Staff from the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center will host the veterans outreach event from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Elks Lodge, located at 6039 Crawford Ave. in Clearlake.

Veterans will have the opportunity to learn about and enroll for VA health care benefits, and learn about the new Clearlake community-based outpatient clinic that is scheduled to open this fall at 15145 Lakeshore Drive, as Lake County News has reported.

In late 2008 the VA announced that it would open the Clearlake clinic, which was the focus of more than a decade of lobbying by local and federal officials. It is one of 31 such clinics set to be open in 16 states.

The San Francisco VA Medical Center will manage and staff the Clearlake facility, officials previously reported. It will offer general health care and some other procedures for which local veterans previously were required to travel out-of-county.

On Sunday representatives also will be on hand to talk about VA volunteer opportunities.

Attendees will have the opportunity to tour VA’s new Mobile Veterans Center, a mobile counseling center that travels the state providing PTSD counseling and other outreach services to rural veterans.

In addition to the veterans outreach, a barbecue will be provided by DAV Chapter 83 Clearlake.

For more information about the outreach event, contact Jim McDermott, voluntary service specialist, 415-221-4810, Extension 2144.

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Upcoming Calendar

07.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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07.23.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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07.27.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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08.03.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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08.06.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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08.10.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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