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Friends of Library to hold quilt show

All proceeds go toward the new library fund

This quilt, shown by Barb Grutter, will be raffled off at the Cedar Springs Friends of the Library quilt show on March 19. Get your tickets at the library.

This quilt, shown by Barb Grutter, will be raffled off at the Cedar Springs Friends of the Library quilt show on March 19. Get your tickets at the library.

At the January 26th meeting of the CS Friends of the Library, Friend’s member Barb Grutter, of Garden Path Quilts, unveiled the gorgeous quilt that will be raffled off for the upcoming Friends Annual Quilt Show fundraiser on Saturday, March 19, 10am-4pm.

According to Friends President Louise King, the pieced blocks were made by several women throughout the community and Barb Grutter appliqued  the center design by hand. Louise put together the border applique by machine.

If anyone would like to display their quilts at the quilt show, they can get a form from the Cedar Springs Public Library, Luv2Quilt on 14 mile Road or from Barb Grutter, email (barb@gardenpathquilts.com). There is a registration fee of $10 for the first quilt and $5 for each additional up to 3 quilts. They are also accepting quilts for a separate antique quilts category. There will be prizes awarded for first, second and third place Viewers Choice, and first place Viewers Choice for the antique quilts. Quilt owners should not submit quilts that have been in the show previously.

The event also hosts a silent auction, vendors with craft-related merchandise, prizes, a quilting garage sale, and a raffle for a chance to win the donated quilt. Raffle tickets (1 ticket for $1 or 6 for $5) are on sale now at the Cedar Springs Library. There is a $2 admission fee to the show.

All proceeds from the show will go toward the new library fund.

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National birdfeeding month: Great Backyard Bird Count

 

It’s time again for the Great Backyard Bird Count. This photo of a male northern cardinal was taken in 2013 by Michele Black of Ohio.

It’s time again for the Great Backyard Bird Count. This photo of a male northern cardinal was taken in 2013 by Michele Black of Ohio.

Look for El Niño surprises during the Great Backyard Bird Count 

With the El Niño weather phenomenon warming Pacific waters to temperatures matching the highest ever recorded, participants in the 2016 Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), may be in for a few surprises. The 19th annual GBBC is taking place worldwide February 12 through 15. Information gathered and reported online at birdcount.org will help scientists track changes in bird distribution, some of which may be traced to El Niño storms and unusual weather patterns.

“The most recent big El Niño took place during the winter of 1997-98,” says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Marshall Iliff, a leader of the eBird program, which collects worldwide bird counts year-round and also provides the backbone for the GBBC. “The GBBC was launched in February 1998 and was pretty small at first. This will be the first time we’ll have tens of thousands of people doing the count during a whopper El Niño.”

“We’ve seen huge storms in western North America plus an unusually mild and snow-free winter in much of the Northeast,” notes Audubon chief scientist Gary Langham. “And we’re seeing birds showing up in unusual places, such as a Great Kiskadee in South Dakota, as well as unseasonal records like Orchard Oriole and Chestnut-sided Warbler in the Northeast. We’re curious to see what other odd sightings might be recorded by volunteers during this year’s count.”

Though rarities and out-of-range species are exciting, it’s important to keep track of more common birds, too. Many species around the world are in steep decline and tracking changes in distribution and numbers over time is vital to determine if conservation measures are needed. Everyone can play a role.

“Citizen-science projects like the Great Backyard Bird Count are springing up all over the world,” says Jon McCracken, national program manager at Bird Studies Canada. “More and more, scientists are relying on observations from the public to help them gather data at a scale they could never achieve before. The GBBC is a great way to get your feet wet: you can count birds for as little as 15 minutes on one day or watch for many hours each day at multiple locations—you choose your level of involvement.”

Learn more about how to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count at birdcount.org. The GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada.

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Heart Month

 

The number one killer can strike anyone of any age

By Mary Kuhlman, Michigan News Connection

February is American Heart Month. Many women will wear red to work on Friday, February 5, to call attention to women’s risk of heart disease and stroke.

February is American Heart Month. Many women will wear red to work on Friday, February 5, to call attention to women’s risk of heart disease and stroke.

Michiganders are reminded to keep hearts on their minds as February begins, and not just the Valentine kind. It’s American Heart Month, an annual observance to bring awareness to cardiovascular disease, the nation’s number one killer.

Anna Pitt of Hemlock says she’s lucky to be alive after suffering what’s known as a “widow maker” heart attack, which comes on suddenly. She was getting her son on the school bus when she collapsed.

“They told me at that time I had no pulse,” says Pitt. “They used the defibrillator on me in the driveway, and also three times on the way to the hospital. Now, they said if my son hadn’t done CPR I wouldn’t be here.”

Pitt explains that she had had no symptoms, and with good cholesterol and blood pressure would have never imagined she would be the victim of a heart attack. And because it can save a life, her advice for Michiganders during American Heart Month is to get certified in CPR.

According to the American Heart Association, one-in-three women will die of heart disease, about 46 women in Michigan each day.

Stacy Sawyer, senior director of communications with the American Heart Association in Michigan, says while family history can play a large role in a person’s chance of developing heart disease, there are other risk factors that can be controlled such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity and smoking. But she adds heart disease can affect anyone of any age.

“Even newborns who are born with congenital heart defects to the elderly,” says Sawyer. “We have survivors who are just in their 20s. So heart disease is something that everyone of every age needs to be aware of and be proactive against it.”

Sawyer recommends everyone knows their numbers, their weight, cholesterol and blood pressure, and speak to their doctor about ways to reduce their risk of heart disease.

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Winter Comes to Michigan

Rediscovered film a blast from the past


Scenes of winter fun from the “Winter Comes to Michigan” film. Elaborate toboggan runs and outdoor public skating rinks were popular winter pastimes once reliable winter travel made it possible for Michiganders to get out and enjoy them. (MDOT photos)

Scenes of winter fun from the “Winter Comes to Michigan” film. Elaborate toboggan runs and outdoor public skating rinks were popular winter pastimes once reliable winter travel made it possible for Michiganders to get out and enjoy them. (MDOT photos)

toboggan run

toboggan run

from MDOT

After spending decades in a basement in the eastern Upper Peninsula, a 1930s-era newsreel from the Michigan State Highway Department has resurfaced to remind us of the challenges—and the fun—of winters past.

The film, “Winter Comes to Michigan,” created by the precursor agency to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), gives us a black-and-white window to the era when Murray Van Wagoner, a future Michigan governor, ran the department from 1933-1940.

A scene from Suicide Hill ski jump in Ishpeming from the “Winter Comes to Michigan” film. (MDOT photos)

A scene from Suicide Hill ski jump in Ishpeming from the “Winter Comes to Michigan” film. (MDOT photos)

The film was one of several reels found by sisters Nancy and Barbara Sleeper of Newberry. They discovered them in their mother’s basement and wanted to preserve them as part of their family heritage.

“Our grandfather, Sanborn Sleeper, was the superintendent of the Luce County Road Commission from 1928 until sometime around World War II,” Nancy Sleeper said. She believes he acquired the films during that period.

Sanborn Sleeper was instrumental in bringing the Snogo, an early snow blower, to Michigan, Nancy said. Some of the reels featured film of the Snogo equipment being tested near Newberry.

“We saw the ‘Winter Comes to Michigan’ film and thought, gee, this is some great footage of those old-time busy highways,” Nancy said. “They were so interesting, we couldn’t see just holding onto them.”

So the Sleeper family donated the original reels to MDOT. They’ve now been digitized, restored and uploaded to the department’s YouTube channel at  https://youtu.be/NH20lpFu_3Q

The film’s “man against nature” theme focuses on the challenge—as real today as it was then—of keeping roads open during Michigan’s harsh winters.

“Winter maintenance is a gigantic task for heroic men and efficient machines,” says the film’s foreword. “It is a public service fraught with grave responsibilities. OUR HIGHWAYS MUST BE KEPT OPEN!”

Winter travel before modern highways was not an easy ride. The season was something to be survived, not enjoyed.

“Yes, winter is a season of unusual beauty,” intones the narrator. “Only a brief score of years ago, however, the idyll of winter brought only the sad realization of a long season of isolation.”

Modern highways and winter snow removal equipment changed all that. With the advent of reliable winter maintenance, the film suggests, the state’s growing highway system opened up winter as a playground for sports, recreation and tourism.

The film shows residents enjoying outdoor winter fun at locations such as Ishpeming’s Suicide Hill ski jump, fledgling downhill ski areas, outdoor public ice skating rinks and an elaborate toboggan run. Filmmaker and author Bill Jamerson, whose documentaries have explored winter sports and other aspects of state history for Michigan Public Television, said many of the film locations were probably in the U.P., while the toboggan run scene was probably filmed at a winter sports park in Grayling.

Most of these winter parks started in the late 1920s, Jamerson said. His “Winter Wonderland” documentary looked at the golden age of winter recreation from the 1930s through the 1960s, made possible via better automobiles and snow removal equipment.

“Winter driving was hazardous, so this film goes a long way in showing that progress had been made,” Jamerson said. “Remember, up until WWII, snow trains brought people up to the Grayling winter sports park from Detroit. So, rail was considered the safe option for most people. Trains were also bringing people from Chicago and Milwaukee up into Iron Mountain.”

Transportation, even in this period before the Mackinac Bridge, helped boost the state’s winter tourism by allowing safe and reliable winter travel. It also may have helped end this golden age. When air travel became routine, more and more Midwesterners headed to the higher slopes and newer resorts in the west.

“I think an important thing these films do is remind us who we are,” Jamerson said. “For example, there once was a day when skating rinks were overflowing with families. It could happen again!”

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Sheriff’s office warns of extortion attempts

 

The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office has seen a new and creative way for criminals to extort money from unsuspecting victims and the frequency seems to be increasing. Extortion has been occurring for many years, but as times and technology change, so do the efforts of those who wish to take advantage of others. Recently, the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office has seen a new trend in these cases in our area. Deputies have received reports of attempted extortion via social media.

A typical social media extortion case begins with an individual accepting a Facebook friend request from a stranger. Through that exchange, the suspect begins to learn personal information about the victim. Victims are tricked into divulging compromising information, pictures, or video. The threat typically includes posting the compromising items on the victim’s Facebook timeline or the victim’s friend’s timeline unless money is paid. It is often difficult to determine the true identity of the suspect, which makes these cases difficult to pursue and prosecute.

The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office encourages everyone to be cautious when accepting social media friend requests. We recommend only accepting requests from people you personally know. Having frank discussions with children in one’s home over safe use of the Internet is also strongly suggested.

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Voter registration deadline nearing for March presidential primary

 

Registration deadline is Monday, February 8

N-Voter-registration-webSecretary of State Ruth Johnson reminds residents that they have until Monday, Feb. 8 to register to vote in the March 8 presidential primary election.

“Each vote is equally important, and so I encourage everyone who is not yet registered to vote to do so,” said Johnson, Michigan’s chief election officer. “Voting is one of the foundations of our democracy so I urge you to participate.”

The polls will be open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

To register, applicants must be at least 18 years old by Election Day and be U.S. citizens. Applicants must also be residents of Michigan and of the city or township in which they wish to register.

Voters may register by mail, at their county, city or township clerk’s office or by visiting any Secretary of State office. The mail-in form is available at www.Michigan.gov/elections. First-time voters who register by mail must vote in person in their first election, unless they hand-deliver the application to their local clerk, are 60 years old or older, are disabled or are eligible to vote under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

To check their registration status, residents may visit the Michigan Voter Information Center at www.Michigan.gov/vote, where they also can view their sample ballot. Residents can also find information there on absentee voting, how to use voting equipment and how to contact their local clerk. In addition, they will find a map to their local polling place.

The presidential primary is open to all registered voters. Michigan does not require voters to register as a member or supporter of a political party so voters can choose to participate in either the Democratic or Republican party primary. When voters request an absentee ballot or arrive at the polls and fill out their application to vote, they must indicate in which party’s primary they wish to vote. They will then receive a ballot listing candidates for that party. Some communities will have additional special local election items on the ballot. Voters who wish only to vote in the special election may request a ballot that does not include presidential candidates.

Additional information regarding Michigan’s presidential primary can be found at www.Michigan.gov/elections.

Voters who qualify may choose to cast an absentee ballot. As a registered voter, you may obtain an absentee ballot if you are:

  • age 60 or older.
  • physically unable to attend the polls without the assistance of another.
  • expecting to be absent from the community in which you are registered for the entire time the polls will be open on Election Day.
  • in jail awaiting arraignment or trial.
  • unable to attend the polls due to religious reasons.
  • appointed to work as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct of residence.

Those who wish to receive their absentee ballot by mail must submit their application by 2 p.m. Saturday, March 5. Absentee ballots can be obtained in person anytime through 4 p.m. on Monday, March 7. Voters who request an absentee ballot in person on Monday, March 7 must fill out the ballot in the clerk’s office. Emergency absentee ballots are available under certain conditions through 4 p.m. on Election Day.

As a reminder, voters will be asked to provide identification when at the polls on Election Day. They will be asked to present valid photo ID, such as a Michigan driver’s license or identification card. Anyone who does not have an acceptable form of photo ID or failed to bring it with them to the polls can still vote. They will be required to sign a brief affidavit stating that they’re not in possession of photo ID. Their ballots will be included with all others and counted on Election Day.

Voters who don’t have a Michigan driver’s license or identification card can show the following forms of photo ID, as long as they are current:

  • Driver’s license or personal identification card issued by another state.
  • Federal or state government-issued photo identification.
  • U.S. passport.
  • Military identification card with photo.
  • Student identification with photo from a high school or an accredited institution of higher education, such as a college or university.
  • Tribal identification card with photo.

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Missing Form W-2? IRS can help

TAX-w2-web

Most people get their W-2 forms by the end of January. Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, shows your income and the taxes withheld from your pay for the year. You need it to file an accurate tax return.

If you haven’t received your form by mid-February, here’s what you should do:

• Contact your Employer. Ask your employer (or former employer) for a copy. Be sure they have your correct address.

• Call the IRS. If you are unable to get a copy from your employer, you may call the IRS at 800-829-1040 after Feb. 23. The IRS will send a letter to your employer on your behalf. You’ll need the following when you call:

**Your name, address, Social Security number and phone number;

**Your employer’s name, address and phone number;

**The dates you worked for the employer; and

**An estimate of your wages and federal income tax withheld in 2015. You can use your final pay stub for these amounts.

• File on Time. Your tax return is normally due on or before April 18, 2016. Use Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, if you don’t get your W-2 in time to file. Estimate your wages and taxes withheld as best as you can. If you can’t get it done by the due date, ask for an extra six months to file. Use Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to request more time. You can also e-file a request for more time. Do it for free with IRS Free File.

• Correct if Necessary. You may need to correct your tax return if you get your missing W-2 after you file. If the tax information on the W-2 is different from what you originally reported, you may need to file an amended tax return. Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return to make the change.

Note: Important 2015 Health Insurance Forms

Starting in 2016, most taxpayers will receive one or more forms relating to health care coverage they had during the previous year.

If you enrolled in 2015 coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you should get Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement by early February.

If you were enrolled in other health coverage for 2015, you should receive a Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, or Form 1095-C, Employer Provided Health insurance Offer and Coverage by the end of March. You should contact the issuer of the form – the Marketplace, your coverage provider or your employer – if you think you should have gotten a form but did not get it.

If you are expecting to receive a Form 1095-A, you should wait to file your 2015 income tax return until you receive that form. However, it is not necessary to wait for Forms 1095-B or 1095-C in order to file.

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.

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Phone scams continue to be a serious threat

 

WASHINGTON—Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a major threat to taxpayers, headlining the annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams for the 2016 filing season, the Internal Revenue Service announced this week.

The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season.

“Taxpayers across the nation face a deluge of these aggressive phone scams. Don’t be fooled by callers pretending to be from the IRS in an attempt to steal your money,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We continue to say if you are surprised to be hearing from us, then you’re not hearing from us.”

“There are many variations. The caller may threaten you with arrest or court action to trick you into making a payment,” Koskinen added. “Some schemes may say you’re entitled to a huge refund. These all add up to trouble. Some simple tips can help protect you.”

The Dirty Dozen is compiled annually by the IRS and lists a variety of common scams taxpayers may encounter any time during the year. Many of these con games peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns or hire someone to do so.

This January, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) announced they have received reports of roughly 896,000 contacts since October 2013 and have become aware of over 5,000 victims who have collectively paid over $26.5 million as a result of the scam.

“The IRS continues working to warn taxpayers about phone scams and other schemes,” Koskinen said. “We especially want to thank the law-enforcement community, tax professionals, consumer advocates, the states, other government agencies and particularly the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for helping us in this battle against these persistent phone scams.”

Protect Yourself

Scammers make unsolicited calls claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,” or via a phishing email.

Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the license of their victim if they don’t get the money.

Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.

Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam.

The IRS will never:

Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.

Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.

Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:

If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:

Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.

Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.

Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax:

Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you.

Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. Tax scams can happen any time of year, not just at tax time. For more, visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” on IRS.gov.

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.

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Red Hawk bowlers place at tournaments

Dugan Conely received a medal for 5th place.

Dugan Conely received a medal for 5th place.

Trevor Ruark received a medal for 3rd place.

Trevor Ruark received a medal for 3rd place.

Saturday, January 23, the Cedar Springs boys bowling team bowled at the East Kentwood tournament, with over 26 teams at the tournament, cedar springs boys finished 5th. They honored the top four individual high games, Trevor Ruark received a medal for 3rd place with his high game of a 267.

Saturday, January 30, the boys bowled at the Rockford tournament, with 16 boys teams the top 8 qualify to move on, Cedar springs placed 5th and went up against South Christian and lost. At this tournament they honored the top 8 individuals for total of their two games. Dugan Conely received a medal for 5th place. He bowled a 245 and 216 for a total of 461.

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Allendale Conference Tri and Shelby

S-Wrestling-Varsity-Shelby-651

By Barbra Chong

Cedar Springs High School Wrestling had a successful evening at Allendale’s Conference Tri Meet last Wednesday, January 27. The Red Hawks went undefeated, starting off against Forest Hills Eastern 57-9, and ending with West Catholic, 60-12.

The team is currently in first place with a 4-0 record in the OK Bronze Conference.

At our Junior Varsity level, 125 lb Aaron Smith and 130 lb Anthony Brew went undefeated. 140 lb Gonzalo Baladia and 171 lb Billy Hammer each scored a victory. On the Varsity level 112 lb Logan Hull, 125 lb Jordan Ringler, 130 lb Jordan Andrus, 135 lb Jesse Empie, 140 lb Jacob Galinis, 145 lb Anthony Topolski, 152/160 lb Nate Patin, 160/171 lb Gage Gardner, 171/189 lb Ryan Ringler and Heavy Weight Patrick Depiazza all went undefeated. 119 lb Patrick Fliearman and 152 lb Xavier Anderson also claimed a victory for the evening.

Saturday, January 30, the Red Hawks traveled to Shelby for their Team Challenge. The Varsity team is still missing a 103 lb wt class, causing a void and 6 point deficit each dual. With an impressive start to the day, the Red Hawks defeated Holt with a victory, 78-0; Grand Rapids Catholic Central gave us more of a challenge but the Red Hawks were on their game and came away with their second victory, 42-34. Keeping the momentum going, Hart was our next opponent and Cedar Springs continued the winning streak, 48-22. Shelby proved to be our toughest competitor but again the Red Hawks had their game faces on and remain undefeated, 36-30. The Championship round concluded our day against Mason County Central and the Red Hawks proved to be the best team performing with a final score, 52-22. Fourteen teams were attracted to the competition and Cedar Springs brought home the coveted Championship Title.

Individual records are as follows: 119/125 lb Jordan Ringler, 171/189 lb Ryan Ringler and Heavy Weight Patrick Depiazza went undefeated. 135/140 lb Jacob Galinis, 145 lb Anthony Topolski, 160 lb Gage Gardner and 171/189 lb Chris Shaffer claimed four wins each. 112 lb Logan Hull, 119/125 lb Patrick Fliearman, 130 lb Jordan Andrus and 135/140 Jesse Empie claimed three wins each.  152 lb Nate Patin  claimed two wins and 130 lb Anthony Brew, 215 lb TJ Brecken and 215 lb Cody McHenry claimed a victory as well. Freshmen, Anthony Brew made his Varsity debut and won his first match by fall. Freshmen, Ryan Ringler is still turning heads with his impressive performance over Senior Spencer Knizacky of Mason County Central, who is currently Division 4’s #1 Ranked Wrestler in the state of Michigan. Ringler won his match by regular decision 13-10.

“Senior Captain Ant Topolski stepped up his leadership game and told the boys, ‘if we can upset Catholic Central and get by these other teams we will be Champions and that would feel pretty good’ and so they did. Each dual twist and turned with unique matchups therefore each player was afforded an opportunity to test their skill. The boys proved they are a team and teamwork makes the dream work,” said Head Coach Nick Emery.

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