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Here's a few more items that came across the transom while I was on my annual Hiding Out in Wyoming and Montana trip:
* Residents of Onyx have filed paperwork with the city under the Tenants Opportunity to Purchase Act and are investigating options to buy the building themselves, after news came a few weeks back that the building is under contract to be sold for $82.5 million. If the city accepts the filing, the tenants' group would then have 120 days to come up with a competing offer. See the tenants' press release for why the group is pursuing this, including its hope that buying the building, which opened in 2009, will "reverse problems which plagued the area for years - poor housing conditions, rent increases, and attempts by developers to force residents out of the District." (If they succeed, I guess I'll have to stop using my standard joke about tenants looking in the sofa cushions for millions of dollars in spare change to buy their buildings.)
* DC Water has leased 16,450 square feet of office space on the 7th floor of 80 M Street through 2019 (GlobeSt.com). With or without telescopes for spying on the Main Pumping Station a few blocks to the south?
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is having an Urban Design Framework Plan prepared, to "examine the quality of the public realm in the BID and develop strategies for a comprehensive framework and public investment plan in the right-of-way." They've also commissioned a Retail Analysis Study "that will provide forecasts on future retail demand and absorption possibilities." Because if there's one thing a neighborhood can never have enough of, it's studies and analyses. (BID newsletter)
* The Earth Conservation Corps is offering "bird of prey demonstrations" on Friday nights through Sept. 28 at Diamond Teague Park, from 5:30-7:30pm. (via e-mail, no link!)
* Another rumination on Near Southeast's development timeline, at GGWash. As I've said many times--of course things were happening in Near Southeast before the ballpark (I wouldn't have started this blog in 2003 otherwise). But to not recognize that the ballpark sped up *plans* considerably is to not have watched the 18-month landrush in 2004 and 2005 after the ballpark's location was announced, when so many little lots between 1st and South Capitol south of the freeway were snapped up by the big guns. And to say that the ballpark didn't drive development right after it opened is to neglect the worldwide financial market near-collapse, and the years needed to recover from that. But I bet there's a lot of retailers and developers looking at the Nats this year and rueing that they didn't make their move already.
* So, in line with all that, check out nine years ago today, windshield edition.
* Cat with Natitude, Guga edition. (I don't think I'll tell him about the bird of prey demonstrations.)
 

I mentioned a few weeks ago that it would be happening soon, and indeed, L Street through Canal Park at 2nd Street SE is now open, with the sidewalk on the south side of the street available for pedestrians.
With this access available, K Street has now been temporarily closed to complete its streetscape. Since the park is still on schedule to open in November, it's likely that K Street will reopen by then.
I'd post pictures of the new vistas on L, but I can't stand any more cloudy-day shots of that location (such as this one from my visit inside the fences in late July), so it'll have to wait for the sun to come out.

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More posts: Canal Park
 

In a newsletter released last week, the Marine Corps announced that a recent relaxation of the Department of Defense's force protection requirements means that the never-ending quest for space for a new Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQ) can now be based on the need for a 66-foot standoff distance between any new building and nearby parking/roads instead of the 82-foot standoff that the Marines had been trying to work with up to now.
This means less land would be needed for both the new BEQ and additional support facilities, though the total amount is dependent on what exactly the Marines end up building. A joint eight-story BEQ and support facilities would need approximately 1.6 acres of land, while separating the two needs could mean something closer to two acres if a five-story BEQ is built.
While this is important news from a neighborhood/urban design standpoint, it also impacts the amount of land the Marines may need to, ahem, "acquire" in order to build the BEQ. Early in the search process, it had been hoped that a public-private development partnership could be arranged so that the Marines would not have to take land by eminent domain, but it was announced in April that "federal land acquisition will be unavoidable as a result of recent unforeseen changes in policy and a less favorable funding outlook." And, because of the requirement that the new BEQ and support facilities be within 2,000 feet of the main post at 8th and I, various blocks south of the freeway on and near Lower Barracks Row have long been the sites the Marines have been eyeing as possibilities.
At that time, the Marines said that the EIS would evaluate the two blocks along the east side of 8th between Virginia and Potomac Avenues (Squares 929/930) along with the old Exxon site at 11th and M (Square 976). It was also said that the existing "Annex site" at 7th and Virginia was ruled out for the 100,000 square feet of housing but that it could be used for the needed 60,000 square feet of support space, but one does wonder whether the setback requirement change can return the Annex site back into the mix.
As also announced back in April, the Marines will be preparing an Environmental Impact Statement to both evaluate potential locations for the new BEQ complex as well as the reuse of the current Building 20 barracks on I Street SE. It had been hoped that the formal Notice of Intent for the EIS would have been happening about now, but the new newsletter says this will be delayed until winter. There will then be the attendant public meetings and whatnot.
If you're joining this story late, feel free to read my many posts from the past two years on the evolving BEQ site search, because I really can't bear to try to summarize it all AGAIN. You can also browse the official project web site for lots of materials from the process.
(via WBJ)
 

The Washington Business Journal reported on Friday that the city has put 300,000 square feet of "combined lot development rights" that it controls near Nationals Park up for bid, and that the likely target is the new Square 701 project that would bring a combined office/hotel/residential/retail project to the block along 1st Street SE where Nats Parking Lot F currently resides.
A few months back I detailed the plans for the site as described in zoning filings:
* a 224,500-square-foot office building at the corner of 1st and M;
* a 180-unit hotel just to the south of the office building, separated by a 30-foot-courtyard;
* a 292-unit residential project south of the hotel in two buildings, both parallel to 1st Street, with a courtyard between them and a glass bridge connecting them; and
* 43,000 square feet of retail, 36,000 sf of which will be in the office/hotel/residential buildings (called the "Main Parcel"), while the remaining 7,000 sf will be in a separate two-story retail-only building at the corner of 1st and N (on the "South Parcel"), with a design "inspired by the industrial character of the existing neighborhood."
The zoning hearing for this project--technically a Capitol Gateway Overlay District Review--has now been scheduled for October 1. (And hey, look at that, the hearing announcement mentions the applicant is also seeking approval "for the use of Combined Lot Development rights ['CLDs'].") The project will also likely come before ANC 6D at its September meeting. You can see some early renderings here, though I understand there have been some changes to the design since these were filed with the Zoning Commission.
(Note that WBJ lists the likely CLDs buyer as Willco, the developers who controlled the block for many years, but that the zoning filings on the project list Grosvenor as the Owner/Developer and McCaffery Interests as Development/Construction Management Services Consultants. Plus, "Ballpark Square LLC and SCD Acquisitions LLC" is described as the "contract purchaser" of the 81,000-square-foot lot. But no deals have shown up in land records just yet.)
And, commiserations to DC United Fans who saw "Buzzard Point" in the initial reporting on this story and immediately began dreaming of the team's new stadium....
 

Things will be a bit quiet around these here parts for the next few weeks, because I am pretty much incapable of doing any work in early August unless absolutely necessary. (I think it comes from being a youngster with an early August birthday, with all the attendant celebrating in multiple locations while on family trips before school started back up.)
If there's big news, I'll pop up, but otherwise I'm going to enjoy the time off. Feel free to yack in the comments about whatever neighborhood-related news or issues strike your fancy.
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More posts: JDLand stuff
 

The DC Board of Elections updates daily the lineup of residents looking to run to election to the bajillion single member districts (SMDs) that make up the city's Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs), so it doesn't take much for me to tell you that two more potential candidates are now in the mix for the two single member districts that will begin covering Near Southeast in 2012, bringing the tally to four as of this evening:
* Damon Patton, a resident of 909 New Jersey, has picked up petitions for a run in ANC 6D02, the new cross-SouthCap ANC (in dark green in the map at right).
* Florence Johnson Copeland, a resident of the Capper Seniors building on 5th Street, picked up petitions to run today in ANC 6D07 (in dark blue).
* Ed Kaminski of Velocity had picked up his petitions early on to run in 6D02, and he has now gotten his 25 signatures to move forward with his candidacy.
* 6D07 Incumbent David Garber also picked up his petitions, and while he is not listed as having returned them, I would hazard a guess he'll get that done by the Aug. 8 deadline.
No sighting on the list yet of 6D02's incumbent, Cara Shockley, from Southwest.
The rest of ANC 6D, over in Southwest, is also looking pretty quiet with a week to go, with only one incumbent potentially being challenged, with Grace Daughtridge looking to run against Roger Moffatt in 6D05. Current commissioners Ron McBee, Andy Litsky, and Rhonda Hamilton are so far unopposed, while only one person is listed for 6D01, and it isn't incumbent Bob Craycraft, it's Ron Williams, Jr. And of these folks, only Moffatt has returned his petitions.
Anyone else going to run? Time's a wastin'!
More information on the races, how to sign up, qualifications, etc., in this post.
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More posts: ANC News, politics
 

It may still be a number of months before Bluejacket Brewery opens on the eastern end of the Boilermaker Shops in the Yards, but that's not stopping owner Greg Engert and brewer Megan Parisi from getting a head start on the beers that will be offered at the new restaurant. So, tomorrow (Wednesday, Aug. 1) at 6 pm, Bluejacket's first five beers will be unveiled in an event at sibling ChurchKey.
If you go to the ChurchKey web site and then click on Events (come on, people, direct links!), you'll see hints about the lineup, which are mainly "mashups" created in collaboration with other breweries around the US, but also includes Sidewalk Saison, Bluejacket's first solo brew. (via WaPo)
It's expected that Bluejacket itself will open in early 2013.
UPDATE: At the risk of not being 1 billion percent accurate, I'll draw attention to the fact that two of the beers have already been "released" (Snack Attack and the Black Berliner Techno Weiss) and three are new, with Sidewalk Saison being the only one that is completely Bluejacket's own creation. But since ChurchKey also bills the event on its own web site as "World Premier: Bluejacket 5 Drafts Unveiled," you can just pick which part of "Premier" and "Unveiled" you'd like to focus on.
UPDATE II: More on the brews from WCP/Young & Hungry.
 

A few weeks back I posted a bunch of photos of the progress on Canal Park, all taken by shoving my camera lens up against the cyclone fences and doing the best I could. The park's poobahs have since taken pity on me, and on Monday gave me my first chance to get inside the construction site. Alas, almost as soon as I got there, the sunny day turned into a cloudy day, and so the photos don't exactly pop off the screen. But, as I've said before, sometimes you have to take photos with the weather you have, not with the weather you wish you'd have.
The entire gallery is here, and also includes some shots from up above the park site, from when the sun was still out. (Yes, I'm bitter. If you want to see exactly what sort of impact sun vs. no-sun has on photos, I point you to my newly updated gallery of before-and-afters from L Street on the east side of the park. Bleccch.)
Some items of note I learned during this walkaround:
* (Left) The block of L Street SE within the park's footprint will be permanently reopening to traffic before too long. But at about the same time, K Street will close within the park so that it can receive the same traffic-calming streetscape seen on L. I asked about pedestrian space along L during K's closure, and they will be looking at it.
* (Middle) The interior build-out has begun of the Park Tavern restaurant inside the main pavilion. It's expected to open when the park does, which still seems to be on-schedule for November.
* (Right) The black refrigeration tubing for the hockey ice rink is being installed, so that when it's unseasonably warm in January, people can still skate and not swim. And if you look at the enlarged photo and wonder why the staircase seems to have two different sized steps, it's because the ones on the right will have wooden slats added to them for a "bleachers" feel for sitting and watching the skating/fountain-frolicking.
Photos from this visit have also been added to my main Canal Park project page, if you're looking for more detail beyond what's in today's gallery.
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More posts: Canal Park, photos
 

After a dull and uneventful series in Milwaukee, the Nats are coming back to the neighborhood for a five-day, six-game home stand at Nats Park. It starts Tuesday at 7:05 pm against the Phillies, and I'm just throwing out a guess that there might not be quite the vast flotilla of buses headed down I-95 for this three-game series that we saw a few times last year.
Then, starting Thursday, Aug. 2, there's four games against the Marlins, including a Friday, Aug. 3 single-admission doubleheader to make up the April 22 rainout. One ticket gets you into the 4:05 pm game and the 7:05 pm game, giving you more baseball in one sitting than really should be allowed by law.
And Sunday, Aug. 5 is Michael Morse Bobblehead Day, for the first 15,000 fans through the Center Field Gate.
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More posts: Nationals Park
 

Today on the MPD-1D mailing list, police provided some detail on the robbery that happened on at around 10 pm July 25th, originally reported by MPD as having happened in the 100 block of I Street SE. It turns out it was actually on New Jersey Avenue under the freeway, and police gave this capsule: "The complainant reported that while walking at the location he was approached by three individuals, one of who produced a weapon, and robbed of his property. The suspects were last seen running through Garfield Park. The suspects were described as 3 black males in the teens, slim build."
(If you haven't scrolled down the main JDLand page in a while, don't forget about the Crime Reports feed and map, which comes directly from MPD data.)
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More posts: crime, New Jersey Ave.
 

Sending the old trash transfer station building on New Jersey Avenue to the big trash transfer station in the sky that's been almost as anticipated among residents as the departure of the school buses from the Canal Park site a few years back, and action over the past few days seems to indicate that the end is almost upon us.
The glass blocks came out of the large window areas last week, and some big chunks came out of the building's north side this morning, though then the work came to a halt. But even if it's not gone within the next 24 hours, clearly the clock is finally ticking, as you can see in the photo at right (see enlarged version).
If you're already feeling nostalgic for the structure, my photos of the building's interior and exterior taken a few weeks ago could ease your pain.
 

This is a little bit out-of-boundaries, but people who drive into Near Southeast (and Capitol Hill, and Southwest, etc.) may find it of note. Signage first hinted at it earlier this week, and now WTOP reports (and DDOT confirms via e-mail) that on Monday afternoon, July 30, the new ramp will open from southbound DC-295 to inbound I-695, i.e., the 11th Street Bridges' freeway span that feeds into the Southeast/Southwest Freeway. WTOP quotes DDOT deputy chief engineer Ravindra Ganvir as saying, "This piece has been missing for about 50 years. We're very excited about it."
WTOP got a sneak preview, and made it from Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue in Northeast to 6th Street SW in about 10 minutes, while another driver at the same time going the old way, via Pennsylvania Avenue, needed 19 minutes.
Of greater interest might be the next big piece of the reconstruction: the new ramp from the outbound freeway bridge to go northbound on DC-295, negating the need for either the ghastly left turn on Pennsylvania Avenue or wandering through Capitol Hill to get on DC-295 at RFK.
UPDATE: The second I posted this entry, I got an e-mail from DDOT with this announcement of the public event opening the span at 10:30 Monday morning, and this flyer explaining the new traffic movements.
UPDATE II: Here's the post about the opening on the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative web site, in case you don't believe me.
UPDATE, 7/30: Aaaand, it's open.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges
 

A glaring hole in my "project page" lineup is being filled today, as I am at last unveiling an ultra-exciting Virginia Avenue Tunnel Expansion page. (Um, yay?)
It's still just an overview at this point, since there is no design yet chosen and therefore all of the specifics that residents and neighbors are clamoring for about construction impacts and possible potential post-construction improvements to the street and its surroundings aren't yet available.
But I figured it was time to at least prepare for the inevitable before-and-afters with current photos from along the tunnel's 10-block footprint, plus it makes the current "concept designs" being reviewed by the EIS more easily accessible. And it also just finally gives me a page to point people to. (As with yesterday's development map refreshing, this has only been on my To Do list for a couple of years. I've been busy. And lazy. Lazy and busy.)
There's been no new announcements since the last EIS meeting in May; at that time, it was expected that a draft EIS would come out this fall, with a final decision in spring 2013. (Though other EIS schedules I've seen in the past have experienced some slippage, so we'll see how the tunnel's goes.)
 

After about three years of mostly closing my eyes and trying to pretend it didn't desperately need an overhaul, today I am finally posting an updated design to my full Neighborhood Development Map. Just hover your mouse above the map for quick thumbnails on completed, underway, and proposed projects, and then click to be taken to project pages for additional details. There's also the "tabs" above the map for directory-type listings of the projects, if you're more list oriented rather than visually oriented.
If you haven't come across this map, which used to be on the home page until a redesign a few years back, it's probably because you haven't clicked on the "Project Directory" link on the black menubar atop the home page, or on the "View Full Map" link at the upper right of the "Highlights" home page map, or on the "Near SE Development Map" link at the very top of the side menubar on any interior page.
(I will probably add the nice hover effect to the smaller "highlights" map on the home page at some point, but maybe not today.)
I have one other thing I'm working on that will be coming soon--a page that's been sorely needed for a couple of years for a certain high-interest proposed project. Perhaps tomorrow....
 

Readers are reporting that, on schedule, the new Bank of America branch in the ground floor of 55 M Street opened today. The BoA web site also now lists it as well, though it doesn't include the lobby hours yet. It's still called the "Waterfront" branch, since this is technically a move of the branch that was at 4th and M SW for many years, in the old Waterside Mall/new Waterfront development.
This is also the first retail tenant in 55 M, the building right on top of the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station.
If I were a good blogger, I'd run over there and get a photo, but, given that this is the fourth bank to open in the neighborhood, my Financial Services Excitement Meter is not exactly exploding off the charts. (UPDATE: But the Twitterverse comes through and makes up for my malaise.)
 

* Canal Park's new web site launched today, and it indicates that they're still aiming for a November opening for the park, the ice rink, and the restaurant.
* The I Street McDonalds is going to be getting a makeover, judging by a recently approved building permit.
* Current 6D07 commissioner David Garber has picked up petitions to run for reelection. So far he and Ed Kaminski are the only potential candidates for the two single member districts that cover Near Southeast.
And, in this weekend's events:
* Tonight's Front Flick at Tingey Plaza is The DaVinci Code.
* The Nats are about to start their 12:35 pm Matinee as I type this on Thursday, then they'll play host to the Braves Friday-Sunday. This time around there's a Saturday 1:05/7:05 doubleheader, which includes the second NatsLive concert, with the Wallflowers. (Tickets for each game sold separately, and you need a ticket to the 7:05 pm game in order to see the Wallflowers.) It's a pretty big-time series against Atlanta, so expect big crowds.
* The Fairgrounds has its South on South Capitol Southern Rock festival on Friday and the Capitol GrooveFest on Saturday
* The Yards Park has Jah Works playing reggae for its Friday Evening Concert, then the Taste of Belgium beer/food/music event on Saturday.
 

On Monday night, the Zoning Commission voted 4-0-1 to approve DCHA's request for a second two-year time extension on the PUD deadlines to build the Capper Community Center on the now-empty lot on 5th Street SE between K and L. With this vote, building permits would need to be filed by July 1, 2014, with construction needing to be underway by July 1, 2015, provided another extension isn't someday requested and granted.
The extension received votes of support from both ANC 6B and ANC 6D, and a letter from a steering committee of Capper public housing residents also expressed support. Commissioner Peter May, referencing the "contentious" discussions in the past regarding this project and his own unhappiness about seeing it delayed, said it was "reassuring to know that key members of the community are supportive," otherwise he would be "similiarly unhappy." But he did vote in favor of the extension, as did Chairman Anthony Hood and commissioners Marcie Cohen and Michael Turnbull. (The commission's fifth seat is currently empty, with vice chair Konrad Schlater's recent decampment for a new job in Chicago.)
Included the paperwork provided to the Zoning Commission is a letter from DC Housing Authority executive director Adrianne Todman detailing the various high-finance moves over the past few years that have helped the overall Capper redevelopment move forward but that haven't trickled down to fund the community center. The letter says that the Housing Authority anticipates a $55 million bond issuance within the next year that will pay off the previous $29 million Bond Anticipation Notes and provide enough proceeds to continue the infrastructure work around Capper "and to construct the community center, which we estimate will cost $7.6 million." These moves require legislation, so we'll be able to cast an eye toward the DC council this fall to see if things are progressing as anticipated.
Also in that letter is this tidbit: "Lastly, DCHA is working with and soliciting a potential anchor tenant that will operate the community center and also contribute funding for the construction of the community center." Very interesting....
If you want to know still more about the history of plans for a new community center on this site (the old one was demolished in 2007), I point you to this pile of posts.
Comments (10)
 

It's summer, and I'm trying to be on a Word Diet, so lots of links, but short and sweet:
* This week's Front Flick, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, tonight at Tingey Plaza.
* Another installment of Truckeroo on Friday.
* One potential candidate for Near Southeast's two ANC single member districts has already picked up nominating petitions: Ed Kaminski, who lives in 6D02.
* Washington Examiner is hot on the Hood. Times two. Shorter version: more people coming (like Nats fans). More stuff coming. But you knew this already.
* Miniature golfing in Canal Park, in a manner of speaking.
* Reunion of Arthur Capper residents last week at Garfield Park.
* There's now lane restrictions on M Street SE between 7th and 11th for the next, oh, 27 months or so, thanks to the DC Water Clean Rivers Project. (This is also why Water Street east of 12th Street is closed.) The work along M got off to a bit of a rough start last month when contractors took over the pocket park at 8th and Potomac without using a particularly light touch.
* Nats Park in the mix for the 2015 MLB All-Star game, but lots of other cities want it, too.
* Across the way: new DC United investors "should boost quest for stadium" at Buzzard Point.
* At least SOME major media organizations know how to credit scoops. {Said while glaring at WashBizJ, though not PhilBizJ}
* Folks at 909 New Jersey, and also 1980s DC nightclubbers, might like this WaPo photo. Especially when compared to this. (The railroad tracks are probably not missed.)
 

I wasn't at Monday night's ANC 6D meeting, but commissioner David Garber tweeted the news that the commission voted to support the liquor license for Kruba Thai and Sushi, which apparently is now hoping to open in August in the southwest corner of the ground floor of the Foundry Lofts at the Yards. It will have "tons of outdoor seating facing Yards Park," given its location directly across from the Lumber Shed. This is another slippage of the opening date, but work does appear to be ongoing in the space, and movement on a liquor license application is good to see.
Kruba is another offering from the same people running Teak Wood Thai and Sushi and Regent Thai near Dupont Circle and Galae Thai & Sushi in Alexandria.
 

Presidential election not exciting enough for you? Lack of a mayor's race got you down? Need a bigger fix than just a council chair contest? Then you're in luck, because there will be Advisory Neighborhood Commission elections this November, as there are every two years.
The process kicks off Monday (July 9), when interested candidates can pick up nominating petitions at the DC Board of Elections. If candidates-to-be can round up signatures by Aug. 8 of at least 25 registered voters in the single member districts (SMDs) they wish to represent, and survive through the petition challenge period Aug. 11-20, they'll be on the ballot on Nov. 6. Candidates must be registered voters themselves and have lived in the SMD since June 9.
The biggest change for this go-round is there will now be two SMDs covering Near Southeast, necessitated by the swelling of the neighborhood's population well past the legislated SMD size of 2,000 plus or minus five percent. The map at right matches the final boundaries as signed into law, at least for Near Southeast (it shows what Tommy Wells submitted to the council to be the 6D SMD boundaries).
The changes? SMD 6D07 (shown in purple blue), the current Near Southeast district represented by David Garber that has long covered most everything east of South Capitol and south of the the freeway to 11th Street, has a big chunk taken out of it along South Capitol Street South of I and north of Potomac. That part of the neighborhood will now be in SMD 6D02 (dark green), currently represented by Southwest resident Cara Shockley, and it also includes areas of Southwest north of M Street and west of South Capitol. (The folks who live on or east of 7th Street SE north of M continue to be represented by ANC 6B04.)
So, If you live in Jefferson/Axiom, Onyx, Capitol Quarter, or the Foundry Lofts, or plan on moving into the Park Chelsea or any new buildings at the Yards or Florida Rock over the next 10 years, you are still in 6D07.
Residents of 909 New Jersey, Capitol Hill Tower, Velocity, and any buildings that might pop up in the blocks north of Nationals Park by 2022 will be voting in 6D02.
If you're looking to run and you pick up nominating petitions, feel free to drop me a line to let me know. And I imagine I will write about the races from time to time.
 
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