Wyoming Marijuana News

Seven years after resurrecting the historic Forks restaurant and general store in Livermore, owner Scott Jennings is putting it on the market. 

Jennings, who also owns Cheba Hut and The Still Whiskey Steaks in Old Town, said he needs to focus on expanding Cheba Hut nationally.

The Forks — the deli and restaurant — “are functioning very well,” he said. “I don’t have to sell it but if I find a good fit, I will. If I can’t find a good fit, I wouldn’t sell.” Price is negotiable, he said. 

“Things are going great there, and there are great people working there,” he said. 

Jennings bought the Forks in 2011 from Wayne and Phyllis Schrader for about $160,000 and reopened the general store before adding a deli and eventually the upstairs restaurant and bar.

All three have been popular with travelers along U.S. Highway 287 between Ted’s Place north of Fort Collins and Laramie, Wyoming, as well as local residents who wanted to get a quick bite, watch the Broncos games or pick up milk or toilet paper but didn’t want to drive to Fort Collins or north to Red Feather Lakes.

“There’s a great opportunity up there,” Jennings said. “I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the place. It’s a piece of history … it was around before we were a state, and I want it to live on.”

Located at “the fork” at U.S. Highway 287 and County Road 74E — also known as Red Feather Lakes Road — the store has often been used as a navigational and directional tool by locals. Heading to Red Feather Lakes? Take a left at The Forks. Heading to Virginia Dale or Wyoming? Keep driving past the Forks.

The original Forks Hotel and Café opened for business in March 1875 as a frontier hotel and stage stop. The building was destroyed by fire in December 1985 but was rebuilt on the same site.

Before Jennings stepped in, The Forks, about 25 miles northwest of Fort Collins, had been empty since April 2010 when the Lafayette couple who reopened it in late 2009 defaulted on the lease. It suffered from lack of inventory and sporadic hours. 

Jennings announced in September he planned to take Cheba Hut, the marijuana-themed toasted sub franchise national. He said the time was right given “the green bubble”: the increasing support for legalized medical and recreational marijuana.

The company did more than $25 million in sales last year and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Jennings sold the two Fort Collins Cheba Huts in 2014 but recently bought them back and formed a partnership with franchisees Marc Torres and Dave Timmons, who owned the Fort Collins and Greeley locations.

Currently, about 60 percent of Cheba Huts are run by franchisees. That ratio will shift to 50-50 this year, said Jennings, who from now on plans to open only company stores.

Cheba Hut opened its largest stores in Longmont and Las Vegas last year. Jennings moved Cheba Hut’s national offices from Arizona to 1305 Duff Drive, No. 7, in Fort Collins more than three years ago. He has lived in Fort Collins since 2003, when he opened the city’s first Cheba Hut at Laurel Street and College Avenue, where it remains today.

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3 arrested after heroin found during stop

CHEYENNE — Three people were arrested last week and later charged with drug crimes after a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper found nearly two pounds of heroin at a traffic stop.

Loveless D. Naylor, 40, of South Bend, Indiana; Yazenia M. Diaz, 38, of Mishawaka, Indiana; and David I. Gibson, 46, of Chicago were arrested at about 12:34 p.m. Thursday on Interstate 25 just south of Cheyenne.

Court documents state that Naylor was driving a white Chevrolet Impala. The car was traveling 88 mph in a 75 mph zone.

The trooper pulled the car over, and when Diaz went into the trunk to get her ID, the trooper smelled raw marijuana.

The trooper found small amounts of marijuana in the car. But when he pulled up the carpet of the trunk, he found a black bag containing a Ziploc bag of a powdered substance, according to court documents.

Tests from the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation’s crime lab revealed that the substance in the bag was heroin, with amounts of fentanyl, weighing 1.92 pounds.

Gibson and Diaz told DCI agents they left Chicago for Las Vegas to pick up Naylor, according to court documents.

All three were charged with conspiracy to deliver heroin. Gibson and Naylor are also facing felony possession charges and possession with intent to deliver heroin. Naylor was also charged with driving under suspension and speeding.

BLM investigates horse deaths

LANDER — The Bureau of Land Management is investigating the suspicious deaths of several wild horses found on federally protected public land south of U.S. Highway 287 in the Red Desert.

It is offering a reward of $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the horses’ deaths.

Five dead horses have been discovered since Nov. 5. Three were found between Nov. 5-7 — one on Green Mountain and two near Three Forks/Atlantic City Road in the Pickett Lake area. Two others were found mid-January on the same road south of Crooks Mountain.

All five horses were shot, the BLM said.

‘Fight the Blight’ a national finalist

CHEYENNE — Cheyenne’s effort to get people working in downtown’s vacant and half-empty buildings again got a major vote of confidence Wednesday morning.

The Bloomberg Mayor’s Challenge, a contest that asked cities nationwide to propose innovative solutions to their biggest problems, announced that Cheyenne’s “Fight the Blight”-inspired proposal was among the top 35 submissions in this year’s competition.

The city’s idea to speed up revitalization by matching owners of empty buildings with local entrepreneurs in need of work space rose to the top of more than 320 submissions. Other finalists included neighbors like Denver and Fort Collins, Colorado, as well as coastal hubs like Boston and Los Angeles, which particularly impressed Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr.

“I think (this) is really going to shine a spotlight on our community,” she said at a press conference at the Cheyenne Depot. “And we’re in really good company with our friends on the Front Range. This shows that we can compete with the best of them.”

UW board OKs preschool outreach

LARAMIE — The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees has approved a proposal that could improve access to and quality of preschool education across Wyoming.

The proposal approved Wednesday establishes the Wyoming Early Childhood Outreach Network, which will seek to provide in-the-field experiences for UW students preparing to be preschool teachers, while offering a degree pathway for teachers already serving across Wyoming.

The effort will cost about $400,000 but will be paid for with money from private foundation grants.

Tricia Johnson is a UW associate professor of early childhood education.

Johnson says a central focus of the network will be rural communities and the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Johnson says the network will send early childhood education students to teach around the state as they complete coursework online.

— From Wyoming Newspaper Exchange newspapers and The Associated Press

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HAZLETON

Man arrested for threats, assaults

A Hazleton man threatened to kill someone Feb. 14, allegedly holding a knife in his hand after banging at a man’s door and breaking it.

Richard T. Henry, 38, faces terroristic threats, simple assault, harassment and criminal mischief and was released on $10,000 unsecured bail Feb. 15 by Magisterial District Judge Rick Cronauer, Wilkes-Barre.

The victim told police Henry came to his residence, 170 S. Wyoming St., around midnight and kicked the door, breaking the molding around it, arrest papers state. He was also standing in the hallway holding a knife, stating he would kill the victim, according to court papers.

Fearing for his safety, the victim punched Henry, who fled but was found a short while after walking on South Wyoming Street and heading toward the victim’s home, police wrote.

Drugs allegedly found inside vehicle

Arrest papers say Hazleton police recently filed charges against a city man after drugs were found inside his vehicle during a July 6 traffic stop.

Jansel L. Batista, 28, faces possession of a controlled substance, use or possession of drug paraphernalia and three summary violations. The charges were filed Dec. 18 and issued via summons, which he accepted Feb. 13.

Batista was stopped after failing to stop at a stop sign at West Second and Alter streets, according to court papers. He didn’t have a valid license or insurance on the vehicle and officers found 10 bags of fentanyl and a small amount of marijuana, police said.

Motorist in crash suspected of DUI

A Hazleton man who fled a Nov. 6 crash site was drunk, according to arrest papers.

Juan J. Jimenez, 26, was charged by Hazleton police with two counts driving under the influence and three summary violations including failure to stop and give information.

The charges were filed against him Dec. 29 and issued via summons, which he accepted Feb. 13.

Police responded to a hit-and-run crash in the area of East Diamond Avenue and North Wyoming Street at 4:43 a.m. Nov. 6 and found a Honda CR-V legally parked and unattended against the south-side sidewalk of East Diamond Avenue with major damage to the driver’s side, arrest papers state.

The offending vehicle, a Honda Accord, was found parked in the middle of Hanover Court, south of West Ninth Street, with major front-end damage and Jimenez standing outside it, police wrote. His blood-alcohol content was listed at 0.250 percent, court papers state.

Store incident leads to charges

A Dec. 12 incident at a Hazleton store led to a Hazle Twp. man facing charges.

Michael Schumacher, 23, of Milnesville, was charged by city police with use or possession of drug paraphernalia, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness. The charges were filed against him Jan. 19 and issued via summons, which he accepted Feb. 13.

Arrest papers state Schumacher began yelling at a woman accompanying him inside Rite Aid, 1000 N. Church St., at 5:48 p.m. and then ran out of the store and re-entered, yelling and swearing.

He had heroin and a syringe in his pockets and was taken to a hospital for evaluation, police wrote.

Woman accused

of SNAP fraud

A Hazleton woman took benefits she wasn’t entitled to, court papers say.

Aracelis Nieves, 50, was charged with fraud obtaining assistance by the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General. The charge was filed against her Dec. 29 and she was released on her own recognizance Feb. 13 by Magisterial District Judge Joseph Zola, Hazleton.

Nieves received $1,395 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits while employed from August 2016 through June 2017, according to arrest papers.

WEST HAZLETON

Three nabbed following fight

Three people were cited after West Hazleton police responded to a reported fight Feb. 11.

Police said they received multiple reports of a group of people fighting around 7 a.m. in the area of East Broad and Third streets, near the police station.

When officers responded they encountered Vernon Rayshaun Arnold, 25, Hazleton; Jocelyn Eryka Lockridge, 23, West Hazleton; and Giovanni Summers 22, Hazleton, and cited each of them for disorderly conduct after witnesses reported the trio were screaming and causing a disturbance, police said.

Hazleton police assisted.

Man found inside suspected stolen car

A man faces charges after police found him in a vehicle which happened to be stolen, court papers say.

Fernando Gutierrez-Ucles, 44, Hazleton, was charged with receiving stolen property and two summary violations by West Hazleton police and was released on $15,000 unsecured bail set Feb. 15 by Magisterial District Judge Joseph Spagnuolo Jr., Plains Twp.

Arrest papers state police stopped Gutierrez-Ucles around 10 p.m. Feb. 14 while he was eastbound on Cranberry Avenue after finding that a registration plate on the Chevrolet Malibu he was driving was registered to another car.

When an officer searched for a history on the vehicle itself, they found it was reported stolen by the Philadelphia Police Department and Gutierrez-Ucles told them he didn’t have documents for the vehicle, stating he bought it in Philadelphia and didn’t receive any, court papers state.

Wanted woman found at traffic stop

West Hazleton police said they found a woman who was wanted when they stopped a vehicle for equipment violations Jan. 2.

Cali A. Gould, 24, Hazleton, was wanted at the time by the Luzerne County Sheriff’s Department, court papers state. She fled the vehicle when an officer stopped it in the area of Puff N’ Stuff, 13 N. Fourth St., and ignored police commands to stop running away until the use of a stun gun was threatened, court papers state. An officer said he found heroin and a syringe in her possession.

Gould was charged with flight to avoid apprehension, possession of a controlled substance and use or possession of drug paraphernalia by West Hazleton police. The charges were filed against her Jan. 22 and bail was set at $3,000 on Feb. 17 by Magisterial District Judge Joseph Spagnuolo, Plains Twp.

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The Teton County man who was charged with three counts of felony possession in August 2017 was sentenced to five years of supervised probation Tuesday in Teton County District Court.

The sentencing comes about a month after Kevin McNamara, 29, was kicked out of his drug treatment group.

“In class I tried to use my positive attitude to joke around and make friends,” McNamara told the court. “There was joking going on in my class, and it was not appropriate.”

McNamara’s attorney, Dick Mulligan, said his client was kicked out of treatment because of a bad attitude but has been cooperative with probation and parole.

Under a plea agreement McNamara pleaded guilty to possession of LSD and the state of Wyoming dropped charges of possession of ecstasy and THC.

“I still feel like Mr. McNamara is being offered an exceptionally generous plea agreement,” Ninth District Judge Timothy Day said.

McNamara was supposed to be sentenced Jan. 16, but because he was suspended from Grand Teton Counseling, Day continued the hearing.

“He was quoted that he doesn’t have a problem,” Day said from the bench. “Yet he’s at a party in Teton Village that was so boisterous that the neighbors called police.”

Teton County deputies were issued a search warrant at 2:10 a.m. Aug. 21 and found a felony amount of drugs in McNamara’s room, according to court documents.

“He’s not 18. He’s 29,” Day said. “He’s not a high school dropout. He’s a college graduate. What the heck is going on?”

But with no criminal history and a low risk of recidivism rating from probation and parole, McNamara was a candidate for probation.

“Look, you’re not the kind of person who needs to go to prison,” Day told McNamara. “That would ruin your life. But you can’t be out there ruining your own life and others by using dangerous drugs and hosting parties and thinking everything is good. It isn’t good.”

McNamara wasn’t inside his house when deputies found the drugs, records state. But he later turned himself in to police.

According to documents, officers found a small plastic jar with a cloudy white crystal substance, 0.76 grams of LSD, 18.7 grams of ecstasy, a 1.5 milligram Lorazepam pill, marijuana residue, 10 vials of THC vape oils, paraphernalia and manufacturing accessories in a bedroom.

In another bedroom deputies found 0.13 grams of LSD, 0.055 grams of an unknown brown substance, 2.625 grams of an unknown cloudy white substance, 3.55 grams of purple wax, 12.195 grams of leafy marijuana, 1.74 grams of oil bud marijuana, an electric bong, pipes with residue and a vape pen.

McNamara assured the court that he hasn’t consumed alcohol or drugs since his arrest.

“I have removed myself from those situations,” he said. “I’ve made a new group of friends through work.”

Day told McNamara he hopes he looks back some day and realizes the plea agreement was one of the best things to happen to him.

“You have a chance now to get serious about this and turn it around,” Day said. “I don’t want to believe that you were nothing but a disguised drug dealer.”

McNamara said the sober life has been good for him.

“I’ve been exercising a lot and going to sleep a lot earlier,” he said. “I just wish I wasn’t here right now. I have fully accepted the weight of my actions, and I’m looking forward to making a positive change for the future.”

If McNamara successfully completes five years of supervised probation without any violations, the felony LSD charge won’t show up on his record.

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WARSAW — A corrections officer has been indicted and charged with taking money to smuggle drugs to inmates at Wyoming Correctional Facility, including an inmate who made national news when he was involved in the fatal stabbing of a cerebral palsy group home worker in Buffalo.

William Fannan, 37, of Orchard Park is charged with third-degree receiving a bribe, first-degree promoting prison contraband, official misconduct and fifth-degree conspiracy in a Wyoming County grand jury indictment.

The first two counts are class D felonies punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Assistant District Attorney Vincent Hemming said Fannan accepted a bribe to smuggle K2 to two inmates at Wyoming.

“He was given money by a person on the outside,” Hemming said. “This is a dangerous drug, about 30,000 times more powerful than marijuana.”

K2, sometimes called synthetic marijuana, has become a major concern at correctional facilities, with an increasing number of inmates being found with the drug.

The inmates, William Bryant and Quincy Nolley, who have since been transferred from Wyoming, were charged with first-degree promoting prison contraband and fifth-degree conspiracy.

Nolley also was charged with third-degree bribery for arranging the payment to Fannan.

All three entered not guilty plea to the indictment. Fannan was ordered to Wyoming County Jail. Judge Michael Mohun set bail at $40,000.

Nolley, 45, is serving a 15-to-40-year prison term for attempted murder and first-degree robbery.

He was 19 when he and two other men robbed the United Cerebral Palsy group home in Buffalo on April 18, 1992. One of the men worked at the home.

Nolley was convicted of beating a worker with a tire iron. A co-worker who came to her defense, Michael Miskell, 29, was fatally stabbed.

Nolley, who is mentally disabled, pleaded guilty to reduced charges in exchange for his testimony against the other two men, both where were convicted.

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Police say Lovily Johnson told officers that she had been “just too busy.”

Johnson, a 23-year-old from Wyoming, Michigan, allegedly left her 6-month-old child Noah unattended in a car seat for days last July, according to WZZM. Police say the room she left the boy in didn’t have air conditioning.

On July 17, the mother didn’t change her baby’s diaper but fed him with a bottle, according to the Detroit Free Press. She then went on to smoke weed with friends that day, police say.

She allegedly ignored Noah for the entirety of July 18 as she spent part of the day — and that whole night — out of the apartment. “She doesn’t check on him, doesn’t hear him crying, doesn’t feed him,” Wyoming police Detective Robert Meredith testified in court this month, according to MLive.

Johnson returned to her apartment the morning of July 19, police told the Free Press, and then smoked more marijuana and ran some errands before tending to her son.

That’s when she realized Noah wasn’t responsive, MLive reported. But she didn’t call 911, instead calling Harry Woods, who is described as a father figure to the mother, police say.

When they arrived to the hospital, court records indicate that “Noah’s body was in advanced stages of decomposition.”

“His stomach was obviously bloated, his eyes were glossy, and he was emitting a strong, foul odor,” the Free Press reported court documents saying. “Noah had blood on his genitals and buttocks.’’

Kent County Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Cohle testified this week in Johnson’s ongoing court case, saying that “this child had gone several days without a diaper change with a wet diaper in contact with the skin.”

“(Noah) should have been about 27 inches in length and he should have weighed about 17 pounds,” he added, according to WOODTV. “His actual length was 24 1/2 inches and he weighed 12 pounds.”

She was arrested in July and faces charges of first-degree child abuse and felony murder, the Free Press reported. It was 90.5 degrees when officers entered her apartment where Noah had been allegedly neglected.

Jonathan Schildgen, Johnson’s defense attorney, argued that his client is mentally ill — but is still competent to stand trial, according to WZZM. She remains in jail without bond while her 2-year-old daughter is under state custody.

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CHEYENNE – Three people were arrested Thursday and later charged with drug crimes after a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper found nearly two pounds of heroin at a traffic stop.

Loveless D. Naylor, 40, of South Bend, Indiana, Yazenia M. Diaz, 38, of Mishawaka, Indiana, and David I. Gibson, 46, of Chicago, were arrested at about 12:34 p.m. Thursday on Interstate 25 just south of Cheyenne.

Court documents state that Naylor was driving a white Chevrolet Impala. The car was traveling 88 mph in a 75 mph zone.

The trooper pulled the car over and Diaz went into the trunk to get her ID.

“I was able to detect a strong odor of raw marijuana coming from within the trunk,” the trooper wrote in his report.

The trooper found small amounts of marijuana in the car. But when he pulled up the carpet of the trunk, he found a black bag containing a Ziploc bag of a powdered substance, according to court documents.

Tests from the DCI lab revealed that the substance in the bag was heroin with amounts of fentanyl weighing 1.92 pounds.  

He also found a Beretta 9 mm pistol, the court documents state.

All of the suspects were interviewed by agents from the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.

Gibson and Diaz told agents that they left Chicago for Las Vegas to pick up Naylor, according to court documents.

All three were charged with conspiracy to deliver heroin. Gibson and Naylor are also facing felony possession charges and possession with intent to deliver heroin. Naylor was also charged with driving under suspension and speeding.

All three suspects made their initial appearances Tuesday in Laramie County Circuit Court. Preliminary hearings were scheduled for Feb. 26.

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February 21, 2018

Wyoming citizens are divided on the prospect of transferring federal public lands to states, with 43 percent saying they support such a move and 41 saying they oppose, according to a new survey by the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center (WYSAC) at the University of Wyoming.

At the same time, 76 percent of Wyoming citizens say they oppose states selling significant holdings of public lands to reduce budget deficits, while 55 percent say the state of Wyoming could do a better job of managing lands within the state’s borders than the federal government does.

The statewide survey was conducted Feb. 16-19, yielding 694 responses from Wyoming citizens. The margin of error for the distribution of responses on any individual survey question is plus or minus four percentage points. Men and women from all age groups are represented, and all counties in Wyoming are proportionally represented in the survey sample. The final survey data have been weighted to reflect the actual population distribution in Wyoming on these key demographic characteristics.

Survey participants were asked questions about a wide variety of issues currently facing the state, including some that are being debated by the Wyoming Legislature.

Other key findings:

— Citizens are divided in their support for a bill that would set felony amounts for drinkable pot and for edible marijuana products, with 33 percent saying they support this and 37 percent saying they oppose.

— A majority (70 percent) of citizens say they oppose jail time for people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana.

— A majority of citizens (71 percent) say they support an increase of the cigarette tax from 60 cents per pack to $1.60 per pack.

— A majority of citizens (64 percent) say they support increasing the maximum profit to the state from alcohol liquor sales from the Wyoming Liquor Division from 17.6 percent to 20.6 percent.

— A majority of citizens (53 percent) say they support the imposition of a 4 percent statewide lodging tax.

— A majority of citizens (83 percent) say they support a bill seeking to strengthen stalking laws in Wyoming by broadening the definition of the act and increasing prison time for those convicted of the crime.

— A majority of citizens (62 percent) say they support a bill that changes the definition of when a person is considered to act in self-defense from “held a reasonable fear” of death or serious injury to “good-faith belief” of death or serious injury.

Complete survey results, including results for additional questions not presented here, are available at https://wysac.uwyo.edu/wysac/2018LegislativeSurvey.pdf.

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. A Mishawaka woman and a South Bend man were among three people arrested for possession of heroin in Wyoming.

The three were stopped for speeding on Interstate 80 last week near Cheyenne. Police reportedly later discovered two pounds of heroin in the car.

After police initiated the traffic stop, they reportedly smelled cannabis coming from the car. When authorities checked the vehicle, they came across marijuana, the heroin and a 9 mm pistol.

Loveless Daniel Naylor, of South Bend, and Yazenia Marie Diaz, of Mishawaka, were two of the people arrested. David Isaiah Gibson, of Chicago, also was in the car.

According to WNDU’s sister station KGWN, the three face charges of possession with intent to deliver, felony possession of heroin and conspiracy to deliver heroin. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 26.

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Yazenia Marie Diaz/David Isaiah Gibson/Loveless Daniel Naylor – Laramie County Sheriff’s Office

Three people are facing felony drug charges after a Cheyenne-area trooper found nearly two pounds of heroin in their car.

According to an affidavit, 40-year-old Loveless Daniel Naylor, of South Bend, Indiana, was pulled over for doing 88 mph in a 75 mph zone near Roundtop Road on Feb. 15.

The traffic stop revealed Naylor was driving on a suspended license.

While identifying Naylor’s passengers — 38-year-old Yazenia Marie Diaz, of Mishawaka, Indiana, and 46-year-old David Isaiah Gibson, of Chicago, Illinois — the trooper detected “a strong odor of raw marijuana coming from within the trunk.”

The trooper searched the car and found misdemeanor amounts of suspected marijuana and 872.9 grams of heroin. A loaded Beretta 9mm pistol was also located “behind the carpet” in the trunk.

Interviews revealed both Diaz and Gibson had left Chicago, Illinois to pick up Naylor in Las Vegas, Nevada. Gibson said he was paid $1,500 to pick up Naylor and that he knew Naylor to sell drugs in the South Bend, Indiana area.

It was also determined that the three have extensive criminal histories, including possession of controlled substances and murder.

All three have been charged with conspiracy to deliver heroin. Gibson and Naylor are also facing possession with intent to deliver heroin and felony possession of heroin charges.

Gibson and Naylor’s bonds were set at $50,000 cash, while Diaz’s was set at $5,000 cash. Their preliminary hearings are scheduled for Feb. 26 at 3 p.m.

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