Wednesday, June 27, 2018

• Various and Sundry Things Vol 4

If you're signed up for city emails, and you read them, then you've already read about the road improvement projects going on.

Below is the direct wording from the email with pics I took today.

The City of Wildomar is under contract with Hardy & Harper, Inc. to construct CIP0048 Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Improvement Project.

The work was scheduled to begin on June 18, 2018, and construction is anticipated to be completed by July 20, 2018. 

• Clinton Keith Rd – Completed
The ragged road in front of The Barn, near the corner of Clinton Keith and Palomar heading westbound got a fresh pave job. Photo by Wildomar Rap
• Grand Ave – Completed
It starts at the intersection of McVicar and Central and continues south in large swaths.
Photo by Wildomar Rap
No more broken asphalt in this area.
Photo by Wildomar Rap
This area remains as it was.
Photo by Wildomar Rap
• Inland Valley Rd – Clinton Keith Rd to Prielipp Rd (Night work June 26-June 28, 2018 7PM – 5AM)
All the bad areas of Inland Valley Road were fixed with this repaving project.
Photo by Wildomar Rap
• Bundy Canyon Rd – Oak Circle Rd to The Farm Rd (Day Time July 2- July 3, 2018 8:30AM to 3:30PM). There is no road closure proposed with the project. The project will close one lane at a time and use a flagging operation to direct traffic through the construction zone. 

The project construction is funded by SB1 – The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (new gas tax). 

Construction of this nature creates a hazardous environment for those construction personnel and for persons not related to the construction. Please use extreme caution when traveling on the various streets during construction. We place a high priority on public safety and ask your help and cooperation with these issues.

If you have any questions or concerns you may contact Hardy & Harper, Inc at (714) 444-1851 or the City of Wildomar at (951) 677-7751.

WR NOTE: There was no mention of when the lines would be repainted on either Clinton Keith or Grand Ave.

Wildomar Rap opinion time:
The above is good, solid communication from the city. Now let's up the game and have it archived in the form of a city newsletter/blog (with in house photos too). 

And instead of sending out the emails when the work is done on three of the four items (it was dated yesterday), how about before the first paving job starts?
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Does $67,648.34 of grant money (one time) really have an "approximate value" of $200K per month?

Something that flew under my radar came from the May city council agenda, on the consent calendar (which is the place that agenda items go that are not intended to get council or public comment) was the rebranding of Baxter Road.

I emailed all five council members about this. Just looking for some basic info as to when the public was going to start to see some movement on the transition.

Hi [insert council member name here],

I didn't see the consent calendar item in May about the funding for sign changes regarding Wildomar Trail and branding of the water tower. I've always liked the idea and am glad to see it happening. I want to write a blog about it, sharing what's coming, and if you can add any details (when it's supposed to happen) that would be helpful.



Kudos to Councilmember Tim Walker for being the first to respond, and then followed up the next day too.

"Yes we’ve been working on that for a while. Wrcog is helping cities with branding and they kick in some funding for these types of projects. I can’t remember which meeting it was but we have passed all this. That’s also who paid for the new City sings [sic] on the building."

I asked if he had an idea when it would begin and he replied, 

"We are still waiting on Caltrans they have to do their share first. It’s going to [be] some time for them."

Bridgette Moore also responded. She reminded me that the info was on page 512 of the agenda packet, and that the "project must be completed by November 15, 2018"
From west to east, then south the road names will be going from Central, Baxter, Porras, George and Shopping Center to Wildomar Trail.
The roadway name change first was brought up by Mayor Ben Benoit at the May 13, 2015 city council meeting, he was mayor that year too. (video at the bottom of the blog)
This graphic was first scene in the May 2015 blog covering the city council meeting.
I'm all for the idea of having one of our off ramps, and key thoroughfares, named after the city. The part that gets lost on me is the need to attach a questionable value to the name change; a value that can't be redeemed at any bank. 

Back in 2015 I had a public comment about this, I suggested that if the "approximate value" of such rebranding really was going to be $100K per month, then we should sell the naming rights to Coca-Cola and make $1.2M per year.

It was funny to watch the head shaking at my comment by staff (it's subtle but it's there), suggesting that I wasn't quoting their own agenda packet verbatim. 
Now, the May 2018 agenda claims that wrapping the water tower is also valued at $100K per month. Preposterous! 
If this is too small to read on your device, here is a link to the agenda item. Go to page 520.

Still, you can clearly read the claimed value of the tower wrapping... I think this project is a good idea, especially since the costs are being covered by another agency. It just doesn't need eyebrow raising claims attached to it in the process.
If those numbers are supposed to be real, how in the world is it that a struggling city like Wildomar hasn't looked into getting some of that back by way of selling the naming rights?

Because that suggestion is equally as preposterous... offsetting penalties, play goes over. 
Or just continue to repeat the same rhetoric, you choose.
Once we get past the silliness of the claimed value of rebranding, it's a good idea. 
Location of the water tower in question, decked out in a Wildomar Rap wrap. I don't get how in the same paragraph the claim of $5000 a month and $100,000 a month are made. Must be new math.
This should have been trumpeted in the lead up to the May 2018 city council meeting. This is a win for the city. Why was this put on the consent calendar where the likelihood was that it would get no recognition? Which is what happened.

This is another reason why I'm running for city council. Things like this need to be part of the full agenda and discussed in public. Worst case scenario, the city council meeting lasts another 9 to 14 minutes. 

Why should it be blogger guy that is getting this info to the residents of Wildomar, weeks after the fact, instead of the city itself?
The election is still four and a half months away, but it's never too early to discover what the candidate stands for. Click this link to visit the website.
Below is the video of the May 2015 agenda item. It's like a little time capsule that takes you back to the old council chambers. Understand that much of that item is NOT part of the rebranding. Item 3.3 from that meeting was also dealing with updating street signs too, which isn't happening now.

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Easy Pickin's?

It was disclosed to me that The Corporate Room was sent a letter by the city saying they aren't allowed to have the marketplace event anymore.

Credit does go to Councilmember Bridgette Moore for at least trying to intercede when at the last city council meeting she asked for an ordinance that would allow for such events during the Future Agenda items.

I guess you got your answer... 

This probably isn't a fair juxtaposition, but what everyday people in town see is that there is time to chase away a quality event in its nascency, while the homeless encampments remain for another day.

"Ouch, that's not fair," some of you are saying.

Ok, you got me, I have to agree that comparing the ordinances for events like Wildomar Marketplace to ordinances dealing with homeless encampments is like comparing hamburgers to rollie pollie bugs (yes, I just said "rollie pollie"). 

Homeless issues are bigger than cities and regions, and seem to have no real workable answers with the way the state (and the courts) are dictating things be done (or not be done, as the case may be).

But comparing the ordinances that would allow something like the Wildomar Marketplace with ordinances banning trucks on Palomar, that are circumventing the codes day after day, and year after year... is definitely a Granny Smith v. MacIntosh moment if ever there was one.
My guess is that these guys have been there longer than Wildomar has been a city. I don't blame code enforcement, they need an ordinance with teeth in it before they can actually do anything about it. 
Let's hope that the city kicks it into high gear when it comes to allowing such events as Wildomar Marketplace in the future.
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The windows of my soul I throw Wide open to the sun.
– John Greenleaf Whittier 

Wildomar Rap neither throws, nor tosses nor hurls any windows... not even if they come equipped with the Vista operating system.

This blog was produced for viewing on a desktop or a laptop. Though it's been optimized for smartphones, the formatting can look odd on a smartphone or if you get this delivered through email (such as missing video links). Link to proper format.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

• Action Taken Against Crime Committed By Homeless

The city of Lake Elsinore is acting against the growing problem of homeless encampments. 

Below is the press release issued by the RSO of LE.

Press Release - Trespassing Enforcement
City of Lake Elsinore Police
On June 23, 2018, in an ongoing effort to reduce chronic trespassing and crimes associated with members of the homeless community, as well as to provide assistance to those in need, Lake Elsinore Police and Code Enforcement officers, along with Mayor Natasha Johnson, conducted a trespass enforcement operation in and around areas of the city most affected by these crimes. 

A total of 17 homeless camps were visited, resulting in 33 people being arrested and transported to the Riverside County's Cois Byrd Detention Center. 

The arrests were made for the following crimes:
2 drug related charges
8 arrest warrant services
19 trespassing charges
2 vehicles impounded
In addition, 2 people were connected with services to assist with chemical dependency. 15 people were provided information for services to assist with home placement, of which 2 accepted. Due in part to the success of the sweep, and its positive impact on public safety and the overall quality of life of those who live in the community, further sweeps will be conducted in the future if needed.

Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff's CrimeTips online form.


This story was reported on KFI's Wake Up Call program, Monday, June 25th in the five o'clock hour

I'm certain that the city government of Wildomar is very concerned about the issues that homeless encampments have brought to the area. The thing is, we the people, have no idea what's being done. 

Please tell us how long until we can send out our Wildomar police (which is the same group out of the Lake Elsinore station) to do similar work here. We are all very interested in how things stand in this regard.
Visit the website to learn more
It would sure be nice if the city would finally pull the trigger on getting Wildomar its own social media presence, and one that will update the people on a regular basis on issues that deal with public safety such as this, and also more routine items that we care about too.

Until such time, consider emailing the city council members. Just remember to NEVER CC when writing to city hall. If you want responses, spell it out and send individual emails. 

District 1) Ben Benoit, Mayor   
District 5) Marsha Swanson, Mayor Pro-Tem
District 4) Bridgette Moore
District 2) Dustin Nigg
District 3) Tim Walker
This is from the city website, but I made the numbers about 100 times bigger than what they have over there. I also didn't see an interactive map that would allow you to enter your address if you weren't sure which district you're in, or if the map is too small to read properly.
You can also try calling city hall and asking staff when such an ordinance is going to be put into effect: 951-677-7751
Just skip the answering machine mishmash and attempt to talk to a real person if someone answers. 

•     •     •     •     •
I took the following photos on Friday, June 15th. 

Location: the no man's land just north of Clinton Keith and just west of Hidden Springs Rd where ARCO is.
A ton of garbage is out of general view, hidden by the overgrowth.
If you've ever wondered where that stairway went, this assortment of junk was on the first landing.
This guy passed me on the road as I was heading to the corner of Clinton Keith and Hidden Springs. About five minutes later he was down at the bottom about to enter the encampment.
This collection of stolen shopping carts were about 100 yards away from me as I used a telephoto lens.

Friday, June 22, 2018

• Little Free Library in Windsong Park?

Looks like Wildomar is about to get its third Little Free Library. The location is slated for Windsong Park. This endeavor is being headed up by Natalia and the Rupp family.

There is a GoFundMe page seeking to raise the $700 necessary to install one at the site.
Link to GoFundMe page.

"We have been given approval by The City of Wildomar to place our first community Little Free Library at the Windsong Community Park in Wildomar, CA. Our hope is to have the Little Free Library installed before the start of this school year to ensure students have access to books for school and home."
A look at the Little Free Library on Wanki.
"We believe that this Little Free Library gives us an amazing opportunity to provide books to our community."

"We believe all kids should have an adequate amount of reading material in their home."

"We believe all kids have an innate desire to read and be strong readers."

"We believe we can bring excitement and joy to kids' lives by providing books through our libraries and community events."

"We can ALL be great influences in kid's lives. Let's stop making excuses and instead start making a path to provide access to quality books.
Kids love books.
"Do you want to make a lasting impression on community literacy and access to books? Then please consider donating!"

"We are in need of donations to purchase and install the new library. We also would like to purchase a wagon that can pull large book loads for community events.
What a great opportunity to donate to the community, and get a little recognition for your business at the same time.

It can't be too difficult to find seven businesses in Wildomar wanting to be part of this project... right?
Wildomar's first Little Free Library, located at DeJong's Dairy.
"Sponsor plaques will be attached to the library post with a donation of $100 or greater." 

"This plaque will have the family name, business name or individual name printed on it and attached to the front of the library post to show the community."
Another great location for a Free Little Library would be the new gateway park at Malaga and Mission Trail. Instead of a resident doing all the work, how about a local service organization this time?

Either the Boy or Girl Scouts, Rotary, Caring Hearts, Elks, Wildomar Historical Society... I wonder if any of the above are interested in such a thing?
Price Breakdown of Supplies:

    •  Double Door Gable Wood Library from  $ 349.00

    •  Library Post with Topper from $ 65.00
    •  QUIKRETE 50-lb Fast Setting Concrete Mix from Lowes $ 4.97 x 2 = 10.00
    •  Heavy Duty Collapsible Utility Wagon from $99

"The Little Free Library will receive book donations from schools, residents, and organizations to supply the public with books at no cost. This location will be stewarded by my family and I to ensure it is well kept and clean.

To read about the other Free Little Libraries in town, be sure to click on the key words at the bottom of the blog.

Click to visit campaign website.
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The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.
– Ursula K. Le Guin (novelist)

The unread Wildomar Rap blog post will save half the population the cost of a case of Tums. 

This blog was produced for viewing on a desktop or a laptop. Though it's been optimized for smartphones, the formatting can look odd on a smartphone or if you get this delivered through email (such as missing video links). Link to proper format.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

• City Council Meeting Topic: Cervera Greenbelt

Originally this was going to be in the blog covering the June 2018 City Council meeting, but I got too deep into this topic and thought it better in a separate blog.

This is going to be long winded, wonky and boring so feel free to skip this one if you'd rather read about ribbon cuttings and ice cream socials. ☺ 

2.2 Community Service Area
Item 2.2 dealt with the Cervera Greenbelt and though it really only directly affects a portion of the population in Wildomar, the city's approach to it is telling.

There were two public comments on this issue. One from Kenny Mayes, the other from Wildomar City Council candidate from the affected area, Joseph Morabito (gotta love that use of the third person).

Both wanted some answers.

Let me wrap this item up for you in a nutshell best I can.

Back in the late 1980's Windsong Valley was carved out of an alfalfa field, and the dream of building endless tracts of homes (with no amenities to support them) came to life. 
An old tract map of Windsong Valley before it was built.
The story is that there were plans on making the series of developments into one huge HOA, but the original four developers went BK and it never happened. 

Once the developers no longer needed a nice lush greenbelt leading into Windsong Valley to sucker price-weary Orange Countinians, or San Diegans to Wildomar, they abandoned it, and it became an even bigger eyesore than it is today. 
A 2015 look at the entrance to Windsong Valley from google maps.
The story continues that the homeowners approached the county and asked them to take over the maintenance (not sure what that looked like in practicality), and levy a tax to pay for it. (so far so good)
What the grass looks like today... and this is a portion of the greener part of it at the corners.
Things were on cruise control for years and then the magic combo of Wildomar becoming a city and the Great Recession joining the party, made other plans.
From the agenda packet. Notice the cost of the administration and the total take.

Toss in the drought and that's the perfect storm to watch a couple of easy to maintain strips of grass turn into the joke they are today... all the while, still having a fund of $22,000 being filled with taxpayer dollars year after year.
I'd almost forgotten what it used to look like.
Same basic area as of June 2018.
If the greenbelt had stayed green, no one would have ever questioned it, but to be given even one excuse why the condition of that greenbelt is acceptable isn't acceptable.(and that's the takeaway a person gets when dealing with the city machine) 

How did all this come to a head?

It started back with that awesome snowstorm we had back at the end of 2014. 
Ah, the memories...
That brought down a heavy branch from one of the trees and it broke a rail in the southwest fence. A local resident put in a request for the city to fix it. After many back and forth emails with the city, it was forgotten by the resident for quite awhile (more than a year). 
This photo was taken March 21st, 2018, but now it's fixed; it only took 3 years. Imagine had the city just done this to start, rather than arguing with a taxpayer about it, none of this bullcrap would have taken up so much of the staff's time. 
The resident then revived the email thread and got more of the same run around that he'd gotten the year before about who's responsibility the fence was. 

I get it, we all get it, Wildomar is a new city, and there are a lot of deals that the city inherited from the county, some clearer deals than others. Tough titty, do the job you're paid to do. 

The backside of the Lutheran High School is seen beyond the trees.
The only thing green there today is an assortment of weeds.
At this point, the resident felt he had two options. Either let the matter go for another year, or ask Kenny Mayes what he thought of it.

If you've read my blog very long, you've seen me hammer Mr. Mayes time and again over some of his rants... and he's given it right back to me. A veritable Dodger/Giant style lovefest (or, for you east coast transplants, Yankee/Red Sox rivalry... of sorts). 
Blogger Slap Fight
Ken, sometimes Kenny (but never Kenneth to me) and I have gone around and around since I first met him in 2013. We can have good conversations one minute, then can't stand the sight of each other the next. He has thick skin and doesn't seem to take things personally. It sure would be great if that were the case for all players involved here. 
(To whom it may concern, yes, that was a shot over your bow)
That said, he does dedicate a lot of his time for the betterment of the community —in the way that he sees fit, though many others (including me most of the time) don't concur with his conclusions.

He's generally a stickler for rules, and if he comes across something that points to rules not being adhered to, no matter how picayune, he jumps into action. 
This is near where the sidewalk begins.
(Note) The trees on the right side of the image were removed a year or two ago.

In the last two to three weeks they started on some repairs to the rail fence.
He took the task of digging around in old county records, trying to find out who's responsibility CSA 103, particular to the Cervera greenbelt in Windsong Valley, and even more in particular the white rail fences... since at one point the city staffers were saying they belonged to the adjacent property owners (empty fields) and not the CSA.

Are you still with me? Hang on, we're nearly there...

With all his digging around, not being able to find any solid paperwork to support the $20 yearly levy, aka CSA 103, he started suggesting that the entire tax was illegal, and that he'd like to see all the back payments returned to those that paid it.

This is where Kenny and I part ways. He's willing to take an extraordinary leap here, and I'm not willing to even look in that direction. 

But guess who did react to such ballyhoo?
The city administors.

Someone, somewhere, somehow blinked at Kenny's bluff and they called the county and told them not to assess the residents of Windsong Valley the customary $20 they had been paying for at least 20 years. 

Let me get this straight, the residents of Windsong Valley have been paying this since its inception and because some fossilized paperwork couldn't be found the decision was made to forgo the assessment?
It's recycled water, and we're paying $500 a month for that? Insane!
Now, though the complete paperwork still hasn't been found yet, it's ok to put the assessment back on? 

I know this is small potatoes in the eyes of the city, but was this just an executive decision to give 1100 homeowners a $20 gift, or did the city council at least get a chance to weigh in on it first? If so, even with my brown-noser status with the council, no one made a peep about it around me... and I'm directly affected by it.

In my public comment I restated questions I had during May's city council meeting. 
   •  When it comes to CSA 103 and the Cervera Greenbelt, what is it that we are paying for?
   •  When was the last time this work was sent out to bid?
   •  Why are we paying that much? And please explain "administrator" and why that line is getting 25%.

Answer to question number two is: It's never been put up for bid.
Answer to number three was real fun to hear from the assistant city manager:  "20 to 25% is not too often (interrupted himself), in fact often times it's 30 to 35% for assessments for administration, that's what it is."
Watch the one minute video to hear it as the rest of us did, and how he referred to part of the assessment as "peanuts".

Fun Fact: after the meeting Ken Mayes wondered about York's casual declaration that "often time it's 30 to 35% for administration" and went digging around in county records. His find dates back to the same time frame as Windsong Valley being included in CSA 103.

If you want to peruse the info yourself, it's titled FORMATION, ALTERATION AND OPERATION OF COUNTY SERVICE AREAS, and here's the link

If you skip down to page 4, here is what it says on the subject: 
Administrative Fee and Services.
CSAs will be assessed annually for expenses incurred in administering the CSA, including the costs of any losses occurring within the CSA or establishment of a reserve for such losses. A basic charge for administration shall be charged to each CSA, depending on administrative complexity. The standard percentage rates to be applied against new revenue earned by the CSA are as follows:
        6.0% Street Lighting
         8.5% Street Sweeping or CSA 152 (NPDES)
       10.0%  Road/Fire or Combined Services (without employees)
        15.0% Combined Services (with employees) 
A screen grab from the county's website.
York then addressed the cost of giving the greenbelt some proper attention:
We've looked into what it would cost to remove all of that, replace it, it's about a $25,000 price tag. We have not jumped on that, nor have we brought it to you as a decision packet. Primarily because we're in a deficit [with CSA 103]. So we'll be asking the city to find another source to actually offset that.

—Assistant City Manager Dan York (9:20 mark in the video below)

Imagine if the city had just kept charging the same tax that they always had, there wouldn't be a deficit, and the money would be there to take care of the issue... anyone over at Suite 201 want a mulligan here?

Councilmember Marsha Swanson spoke on the issue. 

She talked about the history of Windsong, and that city staff has spent a lot of hours chasing down paperwork. She then suggested that Windsong Valley, nearly 30 years after the fact, could form an HOA.
"We know when and how it happened (CSA 103), and we have almost every document to show that it did happen, but that's why the confusion. There's no HOA, and it's not too late to form one. You guys could form one right now. You have your CC&Rs, you can elect officers for your HOA, you could decide what you wanted to charge to enforce those CC&Rs. [...] But this city has done it's best, and is still working on trying to get these documents from Riverside County."
All due respect to my friend Marsha Swanson, but it seems that you haven't been in this neighborhood lately. There are two types of people that live here. Those that care about the look of their homes, and those that don't

Those that don't are nearly half, if not even more than half, and they'd never volunteer to be part of a group that is going to charge them a monthly (or yearly) fee, so that they can then get cited for leaving their trash cans out a day too long, or failing to paint that badly weathered trim on their house, or having a front yard that even a dog won't pee on.

Also, no one outside of Ken Mayes, cares about the missing documents. The only thing we care about is how bad that greenbelt has become. 
I'm not impressed with the landscapers, nor am I impressed with the on record attitudes of most in the city about it. This is inexcusable. Notice bits of trash against the fence. They've been there since the dinosaurs used to roam the hills here. 
This isn't about the documents proving that CSA 103 is legit or not. 

It's about a very bad job done, while taking taxpayer money, and then charging 25% for administration, while dissing the very people that pay the tax and vote in Wildomar's District 3.

Councilmember Bridgette Moore addressed this item. She pointed out that the original CSA 103 was formed back in the 1970's and that Wildomar has been a city for only 10 years. 

Awesome, now tell me why the grass is dead, and the city is charging a 25% cover charge to do a severely substandard job? 
(Pro Tip: no one cares about the missing documents everyone is preoccupied with)
How many more years will this be allowed to look like this?
Then she continued down the path of excusing bad work by saying they actually spend more than they take in on it. She mentioned spending $93,000 on one item alone (presumably when they cleared away the clogged drains that lead to Windsong Park a couple of years ago). 

I don't have the stats at my fingertips, but that was because the maintenance that should be done yearly (or more frequently based on how they did such maintenance in San Clemente — keeping the storm drains clear) wasn't done for a very long time, creating a near emergency that cost $93,000 to clean up.

The one thing I didn't hear from the council about the Cervera greenbelt is how bad it looks, and that they will no longer be tolerating it.. Or that they will certainly be sending this out to bid, so that someone eager to do the work will start doing a good job with it. That is something that wasn't said or even hinted at. 

This is a clear example of why Windsong Valley needs to elect a council representative that lives in the neighborhood.

Those of us that live in tract housing comprise close to 80% of District 3. Watch the video, and ask yourself if Windsong Valley was being represented during that Agenda Item.

As a matter of record, our elected representative, Tim Walker, didn't even weigh in on the matter. Watch the video, it's almost stunning how disinterested he appears to be.

I've been warned that speaking in such stark tones won't win me any friends at city hall. Sorry, that's not something I'm interested in if it also means I have to accept shoddy work and put my seal of approval on it. 

I'm here to get a job done, and that job isn't currently getting done to my satisfaction. If that means people start turning the cold shoulder to me... I'm ready for it.

•                •                •

How stubbornly we cling to the past, to yesterday, to the known, the tried and the true. And then suddenly what we have treasured so highly appears to us as only an illusion, and the bubble bursts. And we've moved away from yesterday into today, where we are already preparing to resist tomorrow.
– EG Marshall

Wildomar Rap can be just as stubbornly-clingy as the next guy, but welcomes all those that can burst bubbles of illusion. Because the truth should always triumph over fantasy.

This blog was produced for viewing on a desktop or a laptop. Though it's been optimized for smartphones, the formatting can look odd on a smartphone or if you get this delivered through email (such as missing video links). Link to proper format.

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