February 26, 2010
Once again I find myself penning an op-ed about our much embattled/much praised District Attorney, Leigh Patterson. I have found myself at odds with her, over the years, as when I attempted to provide evidence against several public officials which she refused to even consider taking to the Grand Jury. In fact, instead, she took a steps to threaten me on official letterhead, for impugning the integrity of public officials, completely ignoring the precepts of both the United Sates Constitutionâ€™s First Amendment Right to Free Speech including the right of citizens to â€średress their governmentâ€ť. She wholly ignored Georgia Code for defamation, which she threatened could be brought against me for my criticisms of former, (now disgraced and forced to resign) Floyd County Comptroller Al Leonard, and former, (Now disgraced and forced to resign) Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation Executive Director/Mario Armas affiliate Bob Saylors.
In fact, during that whole scenario from five or six years ago, Leigh Patterson sat down with me after I read her the riot act about the First Amendment and the Georgia Code on Defamation, telling me that a) she had just come through Marcus Dixon case, and was fearful of getting embroiled in yet another political lightening rod of a case, and that b) she had such great respect for Jerry ____, a RFPRA Board member, who was a â€śShrinerâ€ť and supported Bob Saylors.
But Leigh Patterson violated her oath of office twice in that conversation, which says that a District Attorney shall prosecute without Fear or Favor. However â€“ I believe that Patterson has grown up quite a bit since then, as a DA, and is no longer afraid of tough cases.
I have also been highly critical of Pattersonâ€™s several try attempts to go after a small business owner, Gordon Lee, who accidentally, while trying to participate in a community event, gave out a free comic book on Halloween, which depicted a nude in a historically accurate event in Art History.
And all of my regular readers know I have been her strong critic in the prosecution of, and reneging of a Plea Deal on and seeking of what even Floyd County Superior Court Judge Jack Niedrach qualifies as a â€śvery harsh sentenceâ€ť , against Lorrain Lemming, which is even worlds and decades harsher that what Michele Reynolds got for conspiring to murder her late husband.
All this in case in which Patterson and her entire office should have recused themselves, given that Patterson had recently, at the time, represented Lorraine Lemming as a lawyer in the private practice with local attorney Ron Patton. It smacked of Conflict of Interest from the git-go, and I believe that Patterson only reneged on the Plead Deal her office had offered Lemming because of undue influence and pressure from the sitting judge, at the time, in the case, Tami Coslton.
But, I as my most recent article about Patterson revealed, I think she did Floyd County proud in last summerâ€™s much publicized, nationally scrutinized Sam Parker murder trial.
Patterson is certainly an Enigma.
So it is with this Harper-Reynolds case, and more specifically, with her response to criticisms from a former Rome News-Tribune Op-ed Editorialist, of herself and her teams efforts in the murder case, that I find myself singing her praises, AGAIN.
Most who are involved with law enforcement, prosecution, and indeed legal practice, all of which DA Patterson is deeply involved with, Pierre Noth is clueless when it comes to actual law.
As Patterson responded, so much more articulately than I am gifted to do, to an op-ed by Pierre Noth in the Rome News Tribine, Pierre Noth does not have even â€śa rudimentarty understanding ofâ€ť â€¦law in general is how I took it and shall leave it.
In the interest of disclosure, I will say now that Pierre Noth has written several op-eds about me and this website, and cases I am involved in, and I am stunned each time I read his swill, that he does not grasp the most basic concepts of Free Speech, the First Amendment and exactly what defamations entails from a legal standpoint.
I, too, like Leigh Patterson, have been incredulous that as opinion, Noth spews opinion as fact, and generally in support of some major financial supporter of his former paper, or some other prominent person of figure whom he pants after like a dog licking at his masterâ€™s heels.
Noth could not, in my opinion, come up with an original and factually supported opinion on his own, if his long fingernails where threatened by a manicurist.
Noth has in fact, accused this reporter of never substantiating her reports, when in fact , I back up my news articles extensive interviews, AND PUBLIC RECORD, which is considered by Georgia Law to be the highest form of truth.
But Patterson hit it out of the park in her responses to Pierre Nothâ€™s February 7, 2010 op-ed about the Harper-Reynolds case, and I would suggest that all readers who have not read Nothâ€™s editorial and Pattersonâ€™s later response, also printed by the RN-T, should go to the links at the bottom of this op-ed, and read for themselves.
In the meantime, I am quoting from Pattersonâ€™s response, which can only be appreciated fully by reading the entire response:
1.When addressing Nothâ€™s criticisms about why her office sought the death penalty for both suspects, and then allowed a Plea Deal from of them, Patterson penned this in the Rome News Tribune:
â€śAt the time this crime was committed, life without parole was a sentencing option only if the death penalty was sought. If we had failed to file a notice of intent to seek death, Harper would have been eligible for parole one day. You should consider the reaction of the â€śinnocent secondary victimsâ€ť to their fatherâ€™s murderer maybe one day knocking on their front door. We did.â€ť
â€śAlso, if the death penalty had been sought against one defendant and not the other for the same crime, it would have created huge arguments for both defendants to use against the State in the motion hearings, not to mention the fact that I venture you would be the first to complain about the lack of consistency in how defendants are treated.â€ť
â€śAnd finally, if you donâ€™t like living in what you describe as the â€śhang â€™em high, eye for an eye belt,â€ť I have some advice for you. As the late great Lewis Grizzard used to say: â€śDelta is ready when you are.â€ť
Continuing, in a resounding and clarion call about Nothâ€™s failings in any aspect of understanding the law, Patterson wrote:
â€śIt is clear from your statements that you have not even a rudimentary understanding of the Unified Appeal â€” a process instituted by the Georgia Supreme Court to ensure fairness in a death penalty proceeding. The Unified Appeal requires the Supreme Courtâ€™s review of any and all matters that are certified by the Superior Court for pre-trial review at the request of either side. The Unified Appeal is long and cumbersome, but I venture to guess if we went any faster, you would be at the head of the line screaming that a defendant was being railroaded due to â€śjustice being too swift.â€ť
2. In her response to Nothâ€™s criticisms about a Grand Jury pool member issue which arose, and had to be addressed by the Supreme Court, causing charges to have to be presented and re-filed by her office, Patterson once again pointed out Nothâ€™s complete inability to recognize or comprehend the actual law by which she and others MUST abide:
â€śThe Office of the District Attorney cannot by law be involved in the forming, selection, or maintenance of the traverse and grand jury lists. This is the responsibility of the Jury Commissioners, who meet in secret and are appointed by the Superior Court, and the Jury Management Office. Before this particular case, the notices for jury duty that were mailed out by Floyd County were never a problem until a fluke happened where a father and son with the same name and the same address were placed on the same jury list, which by the way, is randomly selected by a computer program. To make sure this issue does not occur again, the Office of Jury Management now has every jurorâ€™s birth date printed on their jury summons. Had you bothered to attend even one hearing on this issue or attempted to verify the facts, it would be apparent to even you that this is not an uncrossed T, an undotted I, or a â€śwhoopsie.â€ť
3. In her answer about keeping both Harper and Reynolds in jail for the last 5 ˝ years, prior to the Plea Deals, Patterson could have added â€śYou Moronâ€ť, but she chose not to. I think most readers certainly editorialized as much in their minds when they read:
â€śBoth defendants had bond hearings â€” Michelle Reynolds had two â€” and the standard the Court has to consider in deciding whether or not a bond is granted is not whether someone is a â€śhomicidal maniac or suicidal.â€ť By law, O.C.G.A. §17-6-1, the judge has several factors to consider:
â€śA court shall be authorized to release a person on bail if the court finds that the person:
(1) Poses no significant risk of fleeing from the jurisdiction of the court or failing to appear in court when required; (2) Poses no significant threat or danger to any person, to the community, or to any property in the community; (3) Poses no significant risk of committing any felony pending trial; and (4) Poses no significant risk of intimidating witnesses or otherwise obstructing the administration of justice.â€ť
Both defendants were represented at their bond hearings by two attorneys (required by the Unified Appeal), and arguments were presented to the Court regarding electronic monitors and house arrest. The State presented evidence that both defendants were a flight risk and entered letters and e-mails into evidence to support this argument. The State also argued both presented a risk of intimidating witnesses and obstructing justice and the Court found these factors were also present and denied bond.
Since you simply adore to play the â€śwhat ifâ€ť game, letâ€™s indulge ourselves. What if the Court had allowed both defendants out on bond and they took the children of either marriage and fled to Portland, Oregon, as they wrote they intended to do in jail letters intercepted by the Floyd County Sheriffâ€™s Office? Scott Harper was closely monitored and even moved to different jails due to his escape plans that were periodically discovered by law enforcement, but we will deal with that later in this column. What a field day the press would have had if these defendants had fled or harmed the children or any other witnesses involved in the trial because the State had agreed to an electronic monitor or house arrest or the Court had granted these requests made by the defense. And my goodness, the noise we all would have heard about how much money it would cost to extradite a defendant from another state and how all that money could have been saved if only the Court had denied bond.
4. In Nothâ€™s outrageous accusations of â€śspyingâ€ť, Patterson wrote:
â€śYou opine the Sheriff â€śspied on the defendants with nary a qualm.â€ť The State law is crystal clear that a defendant has no expectation of privacy while being housed in a jail. And surprise, that is federal law, too! The telephones at the jail are posted with signs notifying inmates their calls are recorded and there is a recording that plays over the phones to notify the parties the call is subject to being recorded. If an inmate still chooses to talk after being made aware of this, whose problem is this? But I guess you are okay with inmates using the jail phones to threaten witnesses so they will not testify, encouraging others to destroy evidence, or telling witnesses to change their testimony â€” because all of these things happen every day in phone calls from the Floyd County Jail made by those you refer to as the unconvicted. Perhaps in your world, we should place them all on ankle monitors and let them make these threats in person and destroy the evidence themselves.
Without the ability to intercept mail, monitor phone calls, or search jail cells, the Sheriffâ€™s Office might easily have missed the multiple escape plans hatched by Scott Harper. But they didnâ€™t miss because they were watchful, vigilant, and did the job the taxpayers expected them to do.
The Sheriff also did not use inmates to spy on ether defendant. The Floyd County Police were approached by several inmates who had information on both defendants because they were housed in the same cell block.
No one recruited them â€” they came forward and volunteered. And no one cut them a lesser sentence for their cooperation, either.
5. Patterson hits the penultimate of her Letter to Pierre Noth in the Rome News Tribune with one of my favorite quotes:
â€śIt is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.â€ť
INDEED, Ms. Patterson.
Finally, in a brief, but oh so sweet reference to the title of Nothâ€™s op-ed in which he TRIED, lamely, to bring her down, Patterson concludes her letter with:
â€śThese are the many issues you should consider before the next â€śbig column.â€ť
Pierre Nothâ€™s Op-ed: http://www.rn-t.com/view/full_story/5784700/article-Many-issues-to-consider-before-the-next-big-trial?
Leigh Pattersonâ€™s Response: http://www.rn-t.com/view/full_story/6386212/article-DA-disputes-columnist%E2%80%99s-assumptions-about-Harper-Reynolds-murder-trial?
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Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Balsa wood structures engineered to withstand great weight, and multiple attacks by weight induced shock waves, - Tales from the Greek Poetic Tradition set to modern vernacular and culture - Problem solving demonstrated through drama, without the allowance of direct instruction - Earth friendly structures designed to move with minimal impact on the environment. Sound like MENSA sponsored projects for intellectual giants of M.I.T., Harvard and Cal Tech?
Perhaps. But these particular challenges were those presented to the various teams of school age children from all over the world who participate in Odyssey of the Mind, the 26 year old brain child of Dr. C. Samuel Micklus, Professor Emeritus at Rowan University in New Jersey. In 1978, 28 New Jersey schools participated in the very first creative problem-solving competition ever. According to the website, “Dr. Sam” and his son, Sammy, still develop all problems for the program.
Odyssey of the Mind is a competitive program with twist. Participants are encouraged to put forth their best effort AS WELL as to learn from, encourage, and support the efforts of their opponents. Competition is geared to CREATIVITY, an often overlooked element in the growth and development of many students. Teams and individuals are rewarded more for how they apply their knowledge, skills and talents, and not for coming up with a single â€śrightâ€ť answer. According to the Odyssey of the Mind website, www.odysseyofthemind.com there isn’t one right answer to a problem.
As most successful scientists, detectives, business persons, world leaders and educators know, there is more than one way to skin most cats, and each way is celebrated by the judges of Odyssey of the Mind.
In Odyssey of the Mind, students learn to work in teams so they learn cooperation and respect for the ideas of others. Through evaluating ideas and making their own decisions at each stage of the project, WITHOUT intervention by adults, students learn to develop decisions making skills, which develops self-confidence and self-esteem. Students are also required to work within a budget, (this year between $125-$145).
Teams, comprised of five to seven students, can come from schools or community organizations such as the Y.M.C.A. Each team chooses one of five competitive problems to solve, ranging from those requiring arts or performance skills to skills more technical in nature.
While each team is supervised by an adult, no adult is allowed direct participation in the problem solving. All costumes, set design, problem design/script must be wholly conceived and built by the students themselves. The teams are chosen in the fall of a school year, and the students meet throughout the year to choose a problem and strategize. Skills needed at various stages of the problem set can be taught and demonstrated by an adult, for instance, how to use a drill to apply hinges to a component of the set structure, but the demonstrated component cannot be a part of the final structure. That MUST be performed and accomplished by the student.
Competition in the United States begins in school systems and regions generally along the lines of other sports, and after elimination at those levels, advances to State Competition.
Once a Team advances to and wins either First or Second Place at State competition, they are automatically entered in World Competition, where they compete with teams from countries around the world, including Canada, China, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Poland, Singapore, and Uzbekistan.
Various elements go into the judging of the competition, including their long-term problem solution, as well as “spontaneous” problem solving, the details of which are revealed at the various levels of competitions, requiring only a few minutes for the brainstorming of problem solutions.
RomeNewsByWatson.com was privileged to keep up with the efforts of one team from the Chatham County Public School System, touching base with the various stages of development since last November, that of the Division I, (grades 3-5) of the Charles Ellis Montessori Magnet School. Team members are Soraya Rose, (5th Grade), Vilda Gonzalez, (5th Grade), Devin Berrigan, (5th Grade), Ben Jones, (5th Grade), Cassidy Little, (4th Grade), Sydney Veitinger, (4th Grade), Avery Meyer, (3rd Grade).
This team, which won First Place at State competition at Columbus State University this past weekend, chose the Problem 2 Challenge, â€śTeach yer Creatureâ€ť, (Below). These amazing children decided to present their dramatization in mime. The silent action, set to a simple musical score written and performed over the last six months by fifth graders Soraya Rose and Vilda Gonzalez, was based on a circus theme.
The creature they based their problem on was a Penguin, made up of black licorice mounted on the base of a remote controlled toy monster truck. The costumes, designed and sewn by fifth grader Vilda Gonzalez and fourth grader Sydney Veitinger, defined a ring master, two jesters, an acrobat, a stilt walker, fire breather, and the Penguin Trainer.
The set backdrop was a big top, and included a performance curtain made of cinnamon candy disk wrappers. This is significant because teams are awarded extra points for using trash and recyclable elements in their set. During other performances we saw quite an array of amazing techniques for recycling, including a duck-billed platypus made of shredded grocery bags, and an impressive stone wall made of the spray painted bottoms of milk jugs.
The students of Georgia stunned and amazed most of the adults who have never witnessed or participated in this competition. The judges who have participated before, however, have come to anticipate surprise, never underestimating the creativity of children who are allowed to dream on their own.
In order to ensure that no team has cheated by receiving help from adults, the group of judges for that particular Problem Category, descend upon the student team for about ten minutes, grilling them with hard hitting questions about how the team arrived at design ideas, or how they built the set, and when and how they arrived at their particular concept. The questions are driven, and the answers can only be answered by those students who obviously worked on the problems without adult help. Generally, as I listened to some of the questions and answers by various teams of different problems and different age categories, I learned that each team had one or two failures along the way. In many cases, teams have had to go back to the drawing board a number of times after learning that their particular answer to a design problem will not work, or needs major tweaking.
Those teams which exhibit particular creativity, whether they place or not, are eligible for the highest prize called the Ranatra Fusca Award.
During the genesis of the Odyssey of the Mind competition, one of the technical challenges had been to design a vehicle which could skim across the surface of the water. The vehicle which won that year was built around and looked like a water skimming insect, whose scientific name is the Latin term, Ranatra Fusca.
The design was so clever, so creative, that Dr. Micklus began awarding, at the state level, an annual Ranatra Fusca award.
In addition to the First Place award for State, The Division I team from the Chatham County Charles Ellis Montessori Magnet School also won this coveted award, whose interpretation of the problem, according to the judges, was â€śImpactfulâ€ť, and the performance, â€śWorthy of Broadwayâ€ť.
These are children, whose imaginations are allowed to run free.
However, I did note two troubling trends at this weekendâ€™s competition.
First, quite a few presentations by lower, middle and even high school, used biting sarcasm in their scripts. Often I heard a mean spirited sort of humor, not particularly witty, just mean. It is the sort of humor I often encounter when my grandchildren are visiting and watching Nickelodeon and Disney Channel children shows, both cartoon and live action. Frequently, I require them to turn the junk off, when the story line is a constant barrage of sarcasm and low humor. Many writers for childrenâ€™s entertainment are not bright enough to write scripts which really entertain and challenge young minds with real humor. Sarcasm is the lowest form of humor, and is often the last resort of bitter, negative, jaded minds.
We need to demand more for our children.
Secondly, I noticed that while we saw schools represented from almost every area of the state, both from the public and private sector, there were no schools represented from Northwest Georgia, outside of the Atlanta Metro area, and this troubled me greatly.
It is my sincere hope that teachers in this part of Georgia will begin to encourage their children to branch out into creative efforts of the arts and engineering, and not just scholastic endeavors of memorized trivia. After all, those students who are encouraged to participate in creative problem solving today, will be those best suited to solve the challenges of a global concerns in engineering, science and the arts tomorrow.
For those students, teachers and parents who wish to learn more about this international competition, log on to www.odysseyofthemind.com/ We are also printing this yearâ€™s problems below, so that you may get a feel for what challenges the children are up against from year to year.
And, congratulations to the many participants and winners from the State of Georgia. We wish you all good luck at the World Competition at the University of Iowa next month. And thank you to Team Charles Ellis, for allowing me access to the marvelously creative personalities of your Division I and II Teams.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competition on the local, state, and World level. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and from about 25 other countries participate in the program
Problem 1: Earth Trek
Divisions I, II, III , & IV
This problem requires teams to design and build a small vehicle that will visit four locations. The locations will be different places within one or more team-determined environments. Each time the vehicle leaves a location it will look different in appearance, and after leaving one of the locations it will appear to be a group of vehicles that are traveling together. The team’s performance will incorporate the visits to the locations, the environments, and the changes in appearance of the vehicle.
Problem 2: Teach Yer Creature
Divisions I, II, & III
Teams will create a humorous performance about a mechanical creature that acts like a real mammal or bird and learns lessons. The creature will act like the real animal by performing tasks the way it would, including traveling, eating, and turning its head. It will be taught two lessons by a Creature Teacher and will “accidentally” learn a behavior by observing others. During the performance the creature will surprise the audience by demonstrating the “accidental” behavior it learned
Problem 3: The Lost Labor of Heracles
Divisions I, II, III & IV
Teams will create and present an original performance about the ancient Greek hero Heracles. In Greek Mythology, King Eurytheus ordered Heracles to perform 12 labors. The team will reenact Heracles performing one of the 12 labors, as well as a Lost Labor–a team-created thirteenth labor forgotten in history. The performance will also include a god or goddess from Greek Mythology, an original mythological creature that plays a role in the Lost Labor, and the team’s version of why the Lost Labor was forgotten in history.
Problem 4: Shock Waves
Divisions I, II, III & IV
The problem is to design and build a structure out of balsa wood and glue that will balance and support as much weight as possible while absorbing shockwaves. The team will test its structure by placing weights onto it. During specific intervals the team will place one or two spacers on the top weight and will then place a weight on them. The team will remove the spacers so the top weight falls onto the stack causing a shockwave. The team will add weight until its structure breaks or time ends. The team will also create and use an original method to place its structure onto the tester and will incorporate the testing of the structure into a performance.
Problem 5: Superstition
Divisions I, II, III & IV
The problem is to create and present a performance that includes two documented superstitions, an original superstition created by the team, and the events that caused the original superstition to come to be. The performance will also include a funny narrator, a costume that is worn by two or more team members at the same time, and a stage set. During the performance the same stage set items will be used to change from one setting to another.
Primary: Candy Factory
Grades K-2 (Not competitive).
In this problem teams will create and present a performance about a Candy Maker and her/his factory. The twist is that the primary ingredient for each type of candy has to be something that is healthy. The team will create a setting that looks like the inside of its candy factory and have five samples of candies. During the performance the Candy Maker will present the candies to customers and explain how each is made.
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January 6, 2009
Rome Area Council for the Arts is proud to host Rome’s own William H. Boling as its 2009 Featured Southern Artist.
The exhibit, Gathering Signs: Recent Photography by Bill Boling, will be on display February 2-28, 2009, at the RACA Gallery, 248 Broad Street. Gallery hours are 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Tuesday-Friday, and by appointment. Admission to the gallery is free of charge. For more information, contact RACA at (706) 295-ARTS.
The opening reception with the artist will be Thursday, February 5th, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at the Rome Area Council for the Arts Gallery on Broad Street. There will also be an artist talk at 7:00 p.m., at the reception.
Mr. Boling’s work will also be featured at Rome Area Council for the Arts annual fundraiser, The Art of Chocolate: Chocolate, Sunday, February 22 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at the Forrest Ballroom.
Bill Boling is a native of Rome, Georgia where he practiced law for 20 years at the firm of Shaw, Maddox, Graham, Monk and Boling before becoming General Counsel at the Medical College of Georgia Health System in Augusta, Georgia.
Bill is currently a partner at the Atlanta office of Epstein Becker and Green, a national firm specializing in health care law.
Boling studied drawing and painting at Georgia Highland College, Georgia State University and at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Rennes, France. In 2005 at the invitation of Stephen Shore, Boling began a program of photography study and exploration through a special Masters program offered by Bard College. He is also the founder and publisher of Fall Line Arts Press, a small press that was started in Augusta, Georgia.
William Boling’s work explores the lyrical documentation of the vernacular landscape and his relationship to the ephemeral artifacts and situations that arise. His Peel project and book was a collaboration with the Window Gallery of the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Because They Come That Way, a response to artist Jasper Johns’ work, was exhibited in Columbia and Allendale, South Carolina. The installation, Photographs from O’Connor Country, was a notable part of the Responding to Home
exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia in Atlanta in 2007, with the
exhibition opening in September 2008 at the Appleton Museum of Art in Ocala, Florida.
His work is in private and public art collections throughout the United States, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Emory University, Bard College, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia and outside of the United States, including the Window Gallery at the University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
In 2008 Boling’s You Ain’t Wrong online project was included in Unmonumental: Montage Online curated by Lauren Cornell and, Marisa Olson for the final phase of Unmonumental, the inaugural exhibition at The New Museum in New York and then exhibited at the Hagedorn Foundation Gallery in Atlanta.
A non-profit organization, Rome Area Council for the Arts is funded by the City of Rome, private and corporate contributions, and Georgia Council for the Arts, through appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly. The Council is a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.
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