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Issue 1.52 |Thursday, May 14, 2009 | Turn it up a notch

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: Rolf Willers (left), CEO of SieMatic USA, and Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. chat at the recent grand opening of SieMatic's kitchen showroom in the Upper King Design District. Marcia Speer, SieMatic's director of market development, said the company believes the Lowcountry is part of "a market region with enormous growth potential. Upward of 80 million U.S. homes are more than 40 years old, and most still have their original kitchens. Our decision to place a SieMatic showroom in downtown Charleston is based on our confidence that we can translate the need for new kitchens into a desire for SieMatic Kitchen Interior Design. We believe this great city deserves a great kitchen!" (Photo provided.)

:: Connecting nonprofits and businesses


:: Garden's first is from the last

:: Send us your thoughts

:: Five for tuna time

:: Chamber awards, tea time, more


___:: CALENDAR: The best of this week ... and next
___:: REVIEW: Send us your recommendations
___:: HISTORY: Joggling boards
___:: QUOTE: Sting on risks and rewards
___:: BOOKSHELF: Interesting reading
___:: SPOTLIGHT: Meet one of our underwriters


ABOUT US is a new online twice-weekly publication that offers insightful community comment and good news on events. It cuts through the information clutter to offer insight and news on the best of what's happening locally. More | Reader testimonials


New venture will connect nonprofits, businesses along coast
Pluff Mud Connect
Special to

MAY 14, 2009 -- There's an unnoticed group of people running loose in the Lowcountry. They are everywhere: in grocery stores, at nonprofit organizations, in service businesses, and on bridges and highways throughout the community.


Unlike many who are dejected and downhearted about the state of the economy, they haven't hunkered down to wait for difficult times to pass; they just aren't "Chicken Little" or "glass-half-empty" kind of folks. Instead, these quiet entrepreneurs view "challenges" as opportunities, and they are using this time of economic uncertainty to reassess, streamline, innovate and implement new approaches. Not surprisingly, many of the winning new approaches have a common theme: a local focus, forging community connections, and staying solvent -- even thriving -- during difficult economic times.

Pluff Mud Connect is one example of these innovative new concepts in the Lowcountry. The web-based service, which officially launches tomorrow, matches local businesses with nonprofit organizations throughout eight counties in coastal South Carolina. Registration is free for nonprofits.

Nonprofits "win" because they can easily search for qualified local experts in categories such as board and staff recruitment, fundraising, marketing and more. Even better, nonprofits can fill out a simple online form and receive competitive bids for services from local businesses with just the touch of a button.

Service providers and consultants pay a small annual fee to enroll. Sole proprietors, small businesses and larger companies "win" by building detailed service profiles and putting their qualifications directly in front of local nonprofits. They also win by receiving business opportunities via e-mail, directly from nonprofits that need their services.

The community "wins" by having a strengthened network between local businesses and local nonprofits, but that's not all. Pluff Mud Connect is also setting aside a portion of the enrollment fees to create a new funding stream for small projects between enrolled consultants and registered nonprofits. With such a clear value proposition, more than 25 nonprofits and more than 20 local businesses have enrolled before launch, based just on word-of-mouth referrals.


Pluff Mud Connect will hold a launch mixer tonight from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Plum Elements, 161½ King St., downtown, and owner Laura Deaton says all are welcome. Learn more at Pluff Mud Connect.

While Pluff Mud Connect is focused on the nonprofit sector, there are several other recent examples of winning ideas that are building local connections. Earlier this year, Touchpoint Communications owner Colleen Troy created Brand-Aide, a social business venture designed to match local businesses with unemployed marketing and public-relations professionals. Not only does it help keep the local marketing professionals solvent during difficult times, but it provides top-notch talent to small businesses and other organizations that might not otherwise be able to afford it.

Lowcountry Local First is another great new organization, with a focus on uniting local retail, manufacturing and agricultural businesses to encourage consumers to buy and sell locally and support businesses that reinvest in Lowcountry communities.

So, if you're having a "Chicken Little" kind of day, take a deep breath, go for a walk or go shopping. Chances are that you'll be brushing shoulders at the lunch counter or standing in line with someone who is turning brick walls into blue skies. Perhaps you've already got a great new idea yourself. If so, don't wait to act on it. Now is the time to reassess, streamline, innovate and implement new approaches. Embrace the challenges, search for those opportunities and you'll be amazed at what you find. At the same time, join the ranks of the folks who are taking the "nay" out of "nay-sayer" and finding ways to spread the word about these new approaches. The Lowcountry benefits from them, and so do you.

Laura Deaton is the founder of Full Glass Consulting, and her team is launching the new Pluff Mud Connect service. Learn more at

The last in the veggie alphabet is first to appear in garden
By ANN THRASH, editor

MAY 14, 2009 -- So far, so good with my fledgling vegetable-gardening efforts. Nothing's ready to pick yet, but we wait and water and hope.


We started out with a modest assortment of transplants: four tomatoes, two eggplants and two yellow crookneck squash. They all seemed to take off right away, much to my delight - and so, in a moment of unbridled enthusiasm, we bought more: a third squash plant, two cucumber plants and six zucchini plants. That's right - six zucchinis. And, yes, I did get a little carried away.

My husband and I tried to shoehorn all the newcomers into the raised bed he had built, but there was no way -- so the bed is now flanked by some very large pots that held our tomato plants last year, back when we were honing our skills on container gardening.

My guess is that the first vegetables we'll actually be able to harvest and eat are the zucchini -- and that's fine with me. Thanks to a recipe my mother clipped out of a magazine about 35 years ago, I've always loved zucchini. Here's our longtime family favorite recipe for zucchini pie - kind of a quiche-like dish with zucchini, eggs, mozzarella cheese, lots of herbs and a crust made of crescent roll dough. I believe it was a Pillsbury crescent roll ad that gave us the recipe. The one change I made over the years was to substitute fresh herbs for dried herbs.

Zucchini Pie

4-6 tablespoons butter
4 cups thinly sliced zucchini
1 cup chopped onion
1 medium clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 large eggs, beaten
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (8-ounce) can crescent dinner rolls
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, melt the butter and cook the zucchini, onions and garlic for about 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned and the zucchini is softened. Stir in the parsley, basil, oregano, salt and pepper; cook 5 minutes more, then remove the pan from the heat.

In a mixing bowl, combine the beaten eggs and mozzarella, then stir them into the warm zucchini mixture. Set aside.

Separate the eight crescent rolls into triangles. Arrange them in the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 10-inch pie plate; pinch the seams together to seal the rolls into a solid crust. Spread the Dijon mustard over the crust, then pour in the zucchini mixture. Bake the pie for 18-20 minutes; if needed, cover the edges of the crust with foil to keep them from getting too brown. Remove the pie from the oven and let it stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Makes 6 servings, great for lunch or a light supper with a salad or some sliced fresh tomatoes.

Ann Thrash is editor of She can be reached at:

Got a comment? Send it along

Our policy: We encourage readers to submit feedback or letters to the editor. Send your thoughts to editor Ann Thrash. We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity. One submission allowed per month. Make sure to include your name and phone number. Submission of a comment grants permission to us to reprint. Please keep your comment to 200 words or less.


The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter is Horne/Guest, a local employee benefits consulting firm that's home to Charleston's best workforce engineers. Horne/Guest is poised to fill this demand by offering greater flexibility, service and expertise. Innovative employee benefit plan design ideas, state-of-the-art employee benefit plan communication techniques and up-to-date compliance information is what makes us unique. Horne/Guest is sensitive to every opportunity in which we can help our clients improve their employee benefit plans. To learn more about Horne/Guest and its Applied Wisdom Advantage™ , visit the company online at:

To learn more about all of our underwriters and nonprofit partners, click here.

Local companies honored with 1773 Chamber Awards

The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce honored 12 local businesses and industries on Wednesday with the organization's 1773 Chamber Awards. The honor, named for the year in which the chamber was established, goes to companies that reflect the organization's vision, mission and core values of leadership, relevance, integrity, diversity and innovation.

Winners in each category will vie for the 1773 Chamber of the Year Award, which will be presented at the annual meeting on June 26.

The 12 categories and winners are:

Communications, Comcast Cable;
Construction/Real Estate, The Beach Company;
Educational Services, Drayton Hall;
Finance/Insurance, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of South Carolina;
Health Care, Roper St. Francis Health Care;
Hospitality/Tourism, Holiday Inn Express;
Manufacturing/Processing, Low Country Case and Millwork Inc.;
Professional, Dunhill Staffing Systems of Charleston;
Public/Non-Profit, Center for Women;
Retail/Wholesale Trade, Pierre Deux;
Scientific/Technical Services, Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Center Atlantic;
Transportation/Warehousing, Mediterranean Shipping Company.

Cooking demo to introduce annual teas at downtown church

A special cooking demonstration by the chefs from Caviar & Bananas will kick off the annual Afternoon Teas at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church at 403 King St. downtown. The cooking demo will be offered in two seatings, 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., on May 21. Guests at the event will also be able to enjoy tearoom fare and shop at a gift boutique.

Tickets are $25 per person and are available at the center, online at or by calling 579-0420.

From May 22 through May 31, afternoon tea will be served at the church daily, featuring finger sandwiches, scones, homemade desserts and beverages. Live entertainment, a boutique, a Charleston Artist Guild exhibition and tours of the history sanctuary will also be offered during tearoom hours, which are noon to 4 p.m. daily, except for Sunday, when teas begin at 12:30 p.m.

All the proceeds from these events benefit the church's Outreach Learning Center, which offers community programs including English as a Second Language, an emergency food pantry, respite care ministries, computer classes and other services for neighbors in need.

County recycling program, manager win two awards

Charleston County's Environmental Management Department (formerly the Solid Waste and Recycling Department) received the 2009 Most Successful Local Government Award at the Carolina Recycling Association's 19th annual awards ceremony. In addition, county recycling manager John Foster took home the Recycler of the Year award for the county's Neighborhood Initiative Program.

The county award is given annually to the local government that has the most successful recycling/waste reduction program in the state. Criteria include not only a successful and sustainable recycling program, but also innovation, education and professional leadership.

Foster was nominated for the Recycler of the Year award by his staff at the Charleston County Recycling Center because he exemplifies passion for recycling and dedication to his job and community. In 2004, he developed the volunteer-based Neighborhood Initiative Program. The program uses volunteers to put out a "Recycling Day" sign indicating the curbside pick-up day in their neighborhood. The sign helps remind residents when to put their recycling bins out at the curb.

The simple volunteer program has greatly increased recycling rates in Charleston County. There are a total of 234 volunteers, all of whom Foster has personally spoken with or recruited. Almost 100 new volunteers joined the program in 2008.

Charleston County also recently won the 2008 Most Outstanding County Waste Reduction/Recycling Program Award for a county with a population greater than 150,000 at the 14th Annual Recycle Guys Awards Program, which honors South Carolina's top recycling programs, projects and people.

Mount Pleasant named Tree City USA for 20th year in a row

The National Arbor Day Foundation has designated Mount Pleasant as a Tree City USA for the 20th consecutive year. "Tree City USA recognition from the National Arbor Day Foundation represents the long-standing commitment of our town to urban forestry," then-Mayor Harry M. Hallman Jr. said recently. He congratulated Site Planner Eddie Bernard for his commitment to the annual award and thanked Town Council for its dedication to community forestry.

"The trees planted today actually cool and serve to further improve the appearance of the town for years to come," Bernard said. "They increase property values, help clean the air and water, conserve energy, provide wildlife habitat and buffer our properties from high winds."

In order to retain Tree City USA status, the town had to meet four standards: It had to have a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program and an Arbor Day observance. Since originally receiving the Tree City USA designation, the town has planted more than 4,500 trees, mostly live oaks. Last year, the town beautified roundabouts on Porchers Bluff, Bowman and Muirhead roads with more than 38 trees and palms, including Sabel palmettos, live oaks, red cedars, devilwoods and yaupon hollies.

Staff members also planted more than 268 trees and palms in the north area of Mount Pleasant, at the Mount Pleasant Senior Center, on Wingo Way, at Kearns Park and at the Mount Pleasant welcome sign on I-526.

Food + Wine fest accepting 'signature charity' applications

The BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival has decided to accept applications from local charitable agencies that would like to be the festival's signature charity for the 2010 event.

Each year in the past, the festival has chosen a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization to be the main benefactor of the proceeds of the festival. The charity or charities are also highlighted in festival marketing and provided an opportunity for on-site exposure to reach thousands of attendees. For the upcoming fifth anniversary of the festival (March 4-7, 2010), festival organizers decided to open the process to nonprofits within the Charleston community that have a culinary connection or related projects and programs.

The chosen charity must assist the festival with marketing the event, provide volunteers and auction items for the event, and provide leadership, support and involvement for the event. Applications must be postmarked by July 8; faxed or e-mailed applications must be received by July 10. The festival's Charity/Auction Committee will evaluate each application and notify the organization of the outcome. If a group is selected as a finalist, a brief 15-minute presentation to the festival's Board of Directors and/or the committee will be arranged.

Applications are available online. Applications can be mailed to Charleston Wine + Food Festival, Attn: 2010 Signature Charity Application, P.O. Box 22823, Charleston, SC 29413; hand-delivered to 975 Morrison Drive, Suite C-1, Charleston; or faxed to 727-9996.

Send us your recommendations

HAVE A REVIEW? If you have a review of a book, movie, restaurant or local arts endeavor, please send no more than 150 words to editor Ann Thrash. Make sure to include your name and full contact information.

Joggling boards

Simple in design, a joggling board consists of one plank, or seat, supported by stands at each end. The plank length varies, sometimes extending as long as sixteen feet. Variations include joggling boards that have stands with curved bottoms resembling the rockers on a rocking chair. This allows the user to "joggle" both up and down and sway from side to side.

Made with just about any type of wood, fir and cypress are two of the more common varieties. Lauded for their ability to ease arthritic pain and other forms of bodily discomfort, joggling boards have also remained popular with romantic couples, mothers trying to soothe a fitful infant, and children intent on enjoying hours of play.

The joggling board is a tradition with a long history in South Carolina. While the origin of the joggling board has fallen into the murkiness of local legend, they were quite common on the coast by the 1880s. One of the more enduring creation stories involves the Kinloch and Huger families of Acton Plantation in Sumter County. In 1803, after the family patriarch was widowed, a sister moved to the plantation to care for the household. She suffered from severe rheumatism and the "first" joggling board was designed and built for her relief. The popularity of the joggling board spread quickly and, while they have generally been concentrated along the coast, they were also used in other parts of the state. Like the rocking chair, the joggling board has long been a fixture on porches in Pawleys Island, Georgetown, Charleston, and throughout the Lowcountry.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Saddler Taylor. To read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina, check out The South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used by permission.)


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Five for tuna time

Yellowfin tuna is one of the spring-season recommendations on the S.C. Aquarium's list of sustainable seafoods. Off the S.C. coast, yellowfin peak this month. Here are five facts about these popular fish from an aquarium fact sheet prepared for the local restaurant community:

  • Yellowfin are also called ahi tuna -- "ahi" meaning "fire" in Hawaiian.

  • Yellowfin are capable of trans-Atlantic migrations.

  • About 25 percent of the yellowfin tuna sold in the United States are caught by U.S. fisheries, including those in the Atlantic (15 percent), Gulf of Mexico (35 percent) and Pacific (50 percent).

  • The Atlantic yellowfin tuna stock is not overfished or experiencing overfishing, but is below the target population size.

  • Because yellowfin tuna are highly migratory and can cross international boundaries, they are managed at an international level by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). Domestically, the U.S. government implements ICCAT regulations through the Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan. Among the management regulations in the U.S. are permit requirements, bait and gear restrictions to reduce the incidental catch of protected species such as billfish and sea turtles, use of logbooks to track and report catch, and closed areas to prevent the harvest of sea turtles and juvenile swordfish.

Risk and reward


"A lot of people approach risk as if it's the enemy when it's really fortune's accomplice."

-- Singer/songwriter Gordon Sumner, a.k.a., Sting


Woodlands Wine Weekend: May 15-16, Woodlands Inn, 125 Parsons Road, Summerville. Master Sommelier Robert Bath, one of the world's most recognized wine experts, will lead a series of wine seminars throughout the weekend and join seminar participants for special wine dinners each evening. For a specific schedule, prices and details, call 1-800-774-9999 or go here online.

Summer Pier Kickoff Tournament: 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 16, Folly Beach Fishing Pier. Registration begins at 6 a.m. and takes place on-site only. Tournaments end at 4 p.m. and prizes will be awarded at 4:15 p.m. in the following categories: Adult Angler, Lady Angler, Youth Angler (12 and under), Senior Angler (60 and over), total weight of five fish, and King Mackerel. Open to ages 3 and older. Cost for King Mackerel contest: $12 Charleston County resident, $14 nonresident; for all other tournaments, $9 residents, $12 nonresidents, or $7 for ages 3-12. More info: 588-3474.

Listening to Your Business: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. May 16, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, 2750 Speissegger Drive, North Charleston; also offered June 20, same time. FastTracSC, a nonprofit coalition that promotes entrepreneurship and small business in South Carolina, will sponsor the workshop to help business owners learn how to evaluate their companies and put them on the path to success. Topics include setting a three-year plan, determining where you are now and translating your goals into action. Cost: $50. Registration: Mary Dickerson, 805-3089 or

(NEW) Gibbes Community Day: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 16, Gibbes Museum of Art, 135 Meeting St. Sponsored quarterly by the Junior League of Charleston. Free admission, art-making activities for kids, plus music and tours. More info online or at 722-2706.

Cultural Life in Antebellum Charleston: 1 p.m. May 16, Charleston County Main Library, 68 Calhoun St. Free talk hosted by Dr. Nic Butler, special-collections manager at library. International fans of the legendary Swedish operatic tenor Jussi Bjorling (1911-1960) are gathering in Charleston this year to celebrate Bjorling's legacy. Illustrated presentations by Butler and others will look at the musical life of antebellum Charleston and its connections to the operatic world of 19th-century Sweden.


Buoy Photos Exhibit: Through May 29, Charleston Center for Photography, 654 King St., Suite D, Charleston. "Red-Right-Returning: Buoys of the Ashley and Cooper," a free exhibit of photographs from Charleston photographer Jack Alterman, will be featured throughout May. In the photographs, Alterman combines the landscapes of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers with the colors that mark a mariner's course. A Spoleto Opening Reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 21. More info: 720-3105 or

"La Cage Aux Folles": Various dates in May, Footlight Players Theatre, 20 Queen St., Charleston. The Footlight Players bring to the Lowcountry this Broadway smash about love, family and acceptance in an untraditional setting, filled with outlandish costumes, extravagant dance numbers, and snazzy songs. Tickets: $30 adults, $27 seniors, $20 students. Show dates and times: 722-4487 or visit online.

Salute to the Military: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. May 19, 28 Bridgeside, Mount Pleasant. Reception presented by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce to show support for the local military and celebrate their contributions to the community and nation. Awards will be presented to active-duty personnel and reservists from each branch of the military. The U.S. Air Force Blue Aces Popular Music Ensemble will entertain. Cost: $75, or $45 for active/reserve military and/or military spouse. Registration.

(NEW) Nighttime at the Museum: 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. June 5, Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting St. Family event with museum staff bringing history to life in unusual ways. Kids might bump into a band of pirates, a unit of Revolutionary War soldiers, a Viking, George Washington or King Tut during the adventure. Curators and staff will be stationed throughout the dimly-lit galleries (bring your own flashlight) to share stories and tell tall tales. Event includes a light supper. Tickets: $10 member adults, $20 nonmember adults, $5 member children, $10 nonmember children, free for those younger than 3. Reservations available online or by phone, 722-2996, ext. 264.

Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival: 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 5 and noon to 8 p.m. June 6, Laing Middle School, 2213 Highway 17 North, Mount Pleasant. Gullah-Geechee skits, gospel groups, storytelling, folklore, music and dance performed by local entertainers. The largest showcase of diversified sweetgrass baskets in the Lowcountry will be displayed by local basket makers, along with handmade quilts, paintings and crafts. Kids' activities include jump castles, water slides, face painting, and arts and craft. Lowcountry foods will be provided by local restaurants and vendors. More info.


In this section, we offer a list of good reads that you might want to consider reading:

  • A Short History of a Small Place, T.R. Pearson
  • A Turn in the South, V.S. Naipaul
  • The Book of Marie, Terry Kay
  • Charleston Jazz, Jack McCray
  • Going Deep: 20 Classic Sports Stories, Gary Smith (review)
  • I'll Be Sober in the Morning: Great Comebacks, Putdowns, and Ripostes, Chris Lamb (List)
  • Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman, Merle Miller

  • Suggest a book to us


8/20: Yarian: New local music CD
Fisher: Uses of social media
Hall: Time for renovations
Morris: Dog days at Drayton
Lindbergh: Gifted school
Jackson: Insurance tips
VanBogart: Singles
Stewart: Get it clean
Rosenberg: Elect women
Nathan: Turtle release
Johnson: Online school
Thiers: Protect skin
Lee: Scoring supplies
Shockley: Company wellness
McKenzie: Park opening
Jones: Cheer on US rugby
McGahey: Young pros
Ridder: Dress for Success
Bender: Patriots Point
Gerardi: Furry Affair
Arnoldi: Reducing stress
Mathos: Field to Families
Moniz: Book burning event


8/20: Good, bad, spineless
Locals on Runway
Cookie contest
Vote on car tags
True confessions
New way of tithing?
Lookout for manatees
Big green bus here
New Mt. P. promo
WDAV at Spoleto
Protecting your computer
Thoughts on hurricanes
Special weekend at home
Zucchini pie
Charleston cookie contest
Age spots
Mt. P. Farmers Market
Charleston library honored
First vegetable garden
Markets, mushrooms
Feeding the need
Waddling in
Great Food + Wine Festival
Provocative poem
Seeking colorful birds
Grab-bag of thoughts
The candy map
Shem Creek park input
Controversy over fireworks
Talking about oysters
Help bald eagles thrive
Local man moves up in contest


8/17: RIP to old clunker
8/10: Lots to squeeze in
8/3: On flying Delta
7/27: Conspiracy theories
7/20: Protect carriage animals
7/13: Economic thaw here?
6/25: Sanford shouldn't resign
Lots of questions
Mosquitoes, water park
Think big
On public television
Shorten the session
A last supper
Legislature: do something
Spring is in the air
Mortgage discrimination
Carriage regs
Fun at the ballpark
Southern tour
Cultural appreciation
Hodges leaves great legacy
Being positive about economy
Remember rural areas
Looks at three books
What tourists see
PDAs, Phelps, layoffs
Whales vs. Dolphins
Dear Ellie ...
Lift hood on "reform" efforts
Truman book is great pleasure
Manning band is inspiring


8/20: You know you're from...
On the school menu
Wines for grilling
First Day Fest facts
Sales tax holiday
Twittering tips
Fall planting
5 for teens
7/20: Beach reads
Save the books
7/13: Hot plants
Staying cool
Old Exchange 5
Historic house
6/25: Mosquito list
6/22: Hot stuff
Five to bid on
Last of Spoleto
Fun in the sun
Out go the lights
5 on duck race

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