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Sunday, June 6, 2021
RV park owner tosses in the towel. “Campgrounds are changing, sometimes shockingly”
Andy Zipser, the straight-talking former owner of the Walnuts Hills RV Park in Staunton, Virginia, has sold the business. In this article he explains why he sold, and how the campground business has changed since he bought the park eight years ago. Read this for a better understanding of what will almost certainly be ahead for RVers. Your comments are welcome. This is fascinating reading.
Harvest Hosts buys Boondockers Welcome
Boondockers Welcome, a nine-year-old membership program with 2,900 hosts who open their driveways and other property for up to five days to stays in RVs, is joining forces with Harvest Hosts. Harvest Hosts is a network of more than 2,400 farms, wineries, breweries, museums and golf courses that welcome free RV stays of a day or two by its members on their properties. The service has experienced a rapid expansion in the last few years under the leadership of CEO Joel Holland. Learn more.
New chain of RV parks coming, will offer “deluxe camping”
RV owners in the U.S who are in search of a little more luxury and TLC may soon have more options. Camp Collective is a new concept in camping systems that was announced in early May…. The Camp Collective RV park concept is a bit different. [T]he brand will be known for its extremely high levels of hospitality and services available to RVers. Learn more.
KOA website now searches multiple campgrounds for open sites
Kampgrounds of America Inc. just added a new feature to its popular KOA.com website that KOA leaders claim will make it easier for campers to find a campsite at its 520 locations in North America. Read more.
Memorial day numbers from KOA and Jellystone; new records reached
Memorial Day weekend camping last year was largely a lost cause throughout North America, as the COVID-19 pandemic limited campgrounds’ abilities to welcome guests. The good news (if you’re a campground owner) is that things looked much brighter last weekend at parks throughout the U.S. Kampgrounds of America Inc. reported that check-ins at its 520 locations were up 80% over last year, and (even more impressive) up 14% over the company’s record Memorial Day weekend pre-pandemic performance in 2019. Learn more.
Used car prices soar, up 16.8 percent. Sell now, buy later
According to iSeeCars’ newest study, used car prices in April increased an unparalleled 16.8 percent, or $3,926, over last year in the wake of the microchip shortage. In typical years, used car prices remain relatively consistent: 2019 had a 0.2 percent reduction over 2018, and 2020 had just a 0.1 percent increase over 2019. Continue reading.
Did you read this article from our May 30 issue? You should.
→ The future of RVing as many know it is doomed
This week’s podcast Episode #10
Host Scott Linden is back with another dose of RV news, information and entertainment. Listen to it on the official RV Travel Podcast page, where you can learn about the topics and guests. A podcast is like a talk-radio program that you can listen to whenever you wish.
Today’s RV review…
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel looks at Bigfoot RV’s 25B25RQ Travel Trailer. The trailers are four-season, and fans of the company attest to how well-built they are. They also rave about the buying experience. Find out what else Tony likes about these trailers (which is a lot!) here.
• Minimaliste Tiny House: Sequoia
Last week’s reviews:
• 2021 Surveyor Legend 203RKLE Travel Trailer • 2021 Airstream Caravel 22FB Travel Trailer • 2021 nuCamp T@B CS-S Teardrop Hybrid • 2021 Winnebago Voyage 3538BR Travel Trailer • Scout Olympic Truck Camper
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
That was the RV week that was
May 30 – June 5, 2021
Authorities in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, say a woman who fell out of a motorhome and onto Interstate 44 is doing well. While the coach was cruising the freeway, the unnamed passenger responded to a call of nature, lost her footing, and fell against the door. The door flew open, and the woman tumbled out onto the highway. One news report put it this way: “The woman had some road rash but other than that appeared to be fine.” No word on the psychological well-being of the motorhome driver.
Grand Canyon National Park rangers expected Memorial Day weekend would be “a big one,” but they may not have anticipated some of the fallout. Over the holiday, emergency dispatchers took about 200 “need help” calls from park visitors. With unseasonably high temperatures above 100, a lot of hikers were caught off guard. Two dozen visitors had to be rescued, and 14 helicopter missions were flown to deal with them. “Common themes throughout the weekend included hikers under-prepared for the hot, dry weather and difficulty of the hikes, overly-ambitious hiking plans, and drugs and alcohol consumption,” park officials said on Facebook. The post added, “Rangers implore visitors to plan ahead for the trip.”
A spectacular fuel tanker versus motorhome wreck in Utah has lead to a “duh” comment from law enforcement, but little else. Last Monday the fuel tanker interrupted a motorhome driver’s day when it imbedded itself in the side of the rig. It all happened on U.S. 40 near Strawberry Reservoir – east of Provo. Other than mentioning only one minor injury from the accident, a tweet from the Utah Highway Patrol stated the obvious. “Be sure to give yourself more time/distance when driving a bigger vehicle or pulling a trailer.” There’s more we’d like to know. Like, did the tanker driver get out of his rig in the motorhome’s bedroom?
If you own an RV, you must be well-off. That’s the conclusion that at least one reporter drew from statistics recently published by the RV Industry Association (RVIA). The association’s survey says the “typical” RV buyer has an annual income of $90,700 – only 13% of Americans make that kind of money. How much does the “typical” RV buyer spend for the new rig? $75,000. If you’re buying an RV, it’s most likely that you’re a millennial – or just a shade older, with the median buyer’s age pegged at 41. And what about COVID-19? Though much ballyhooed as a reason for buying an RV, only 16% of survey respondents said that the virus or restrictions associated with it figured into the purchase.
A man with an alleged penchant for bad driving was at it again in Ohio. Wednesday, police in Green, Ohio, were called to a “suspicious person” sighting. An officer spotted a Class C motorhome “peeling out” with slide-out deployed, TV antenna raised, and power cord dragging behind. Says a local FOX affiliate, “This tipped the deputy off to something suspicious.” A full-blown chase followed, with multiple police vehicles in pursuit. The driver kept going even after the successful deployment of stop-strips. Before bogging down in a residential yard (while the homeowner leaped out of the way), the motorhome had collided with a variety of private and police units. The suspect, Randy Schiffbauer, (24) leaped from the rig and tried to run. A K-9 police dog put a stop to his escape. Ohio authorities were already familiar with Schiffbauer. They allege that two years ago he hijacked a front-end loader and sped off through the streets of Akron.
Utah’s ever-popular Zion National Park will probably become even more popular now. The International Dark Sky Association has certified Zion as an International Dark Sky Park, recognizing the “exceptional quality” of the park’s night skies and for the opportunities stargazers are given through park interpretive programs. Monday will mark the first day of a week-long ranger-led activities program. You don’t even need to be in the park to take advantage of it. Several social media pages will have activities, including Facebook and Instagram.
Ever felt harassed by someone flying a drone in a quiet place? The condition of frayed nerves from such an experience is illustrated at Huntington Beach, California’s Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. Drone-flying over the reserve is illegal, but somebody buzzed over the nesting grounds of the elegant tern there in May. It then crashed in a wetland, frightening nesting terns, apparently thinking they were under attack by a predator. Now some 3,000 tern eggs have been abandoned by the ground-laying seabirds. Fish and Wildlife department officials say scofflaw behavior at the reserve is a real problem. The deadly drone is one thing, but department officials say more and more visitors are thoughtlessly letting their dogs run off-leash, creating other wildlife problems.
Advice to newbie RVers in hurricane country, courtesy of the Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, emergency services agency. On Tuesday it reminded everyone that Hurricane Season 2021 has officially begun. Said Emergency Services Director Dick Gremillion, “Mobile home – if it’s strapped down properly – can take a little bit more wind. But travel trailers are not rated for wind at all. So, we would recommend, even in a tropical storm probably, if you’re living in a travel trailer – you need to find another place to stay.” Hurricane coming? Forget the straps. Start your engine and go.
Back in school, you were likely taught that giant Sequoia trees can easily survive wildfire. That teaching has been put to the test – and apparently found wanting. Last year’s Castle Fire which roared through California’s Sequoia National Park killed somewhere between 7,500 and 10,000 of the giant sentinels. This is a huge loss, representing some 10 to 14 percent of the entire world population of the species. The cause of the fire, according to the report, is linked to both climate change and earlier fire suppression efforts. The numbers come from a draft National Park Service report which has not yet been peer-reviewed nor released to the public. A California newspaper, the Visalia Times-Delta, got the report and released the information this week.
If you’re a third-party RV rental company, connecting customers with RV owners, how would you increase your customer base? Lure tent-campers in by offering them a $250 credit if they strike their tent, roll it up, and donate it to charity. RVshare, a rental platform, says anyone donating a “gently used” tent to Gear Forward, a group that helps newbies get started camping, can apply the $250 credit toward any one of the thousands of rentals that RVshare promotes on its platform.
While provincial officials in Ontario, Canada, have lifted the stay-at-home order, RV park owners have yet to catch a break. Officials say RV parks and campgrounds won’t be allowed to host overnight campers for at least another couple of weeks. It’s a different story for seasonal renters, who were allowed back into parks in mid-April. The whole thing is frustrating to both RVers and campground owners who wonder just when they’ll be able to make some plans – and some money.
Some government officials in Scotland have an idea that might play well in the states. Landowners in the Scottish Highlands are being asked to open up their lands as a “pitch” or camping area for RVers. The Highland Council admits the burgeoning popularity of RVing is making things tough for rural communities, which have few places for motorhomers and “caravanners” to overnight. Open your land, charge a fee! “The Scottish Government’s ongoing commitment to a temporary relaxation of planning controls allows Highland Council to consider temporary use of appropriate locations for overnight stops in motorhomes without formal planning permission,” says Tourism Committee Chairman Gordon Adam. Source: The Press and Journal, U.K.
When Tesla drivers on Arizona’s Interstate 10 near the California border need a quick charge, they’ll pull into Quartzsite’s Carl’s Jr. fast-food joint. Now instead of looking for a Famous Star, Tesla drivers may start looking for a Famous T restaurant. ‘Lectric car maker, Tesla, has applied for using its “T” logo and “Tesla” as logotypes in connection with the fast-food industry. No great surprise, since Tesla’s founder, Elon Musk, has been making noises about wanting to make burgers for years. In 2018 he tweeted about, “old-school drive-in, roller skates & rock restaurant at one of the new Tesla Supercharger locations in LA.” You may soon be able to Super Size It while you Super Charge It.
Alarmed by high incidents of excessive speeding by drivers, North Carolina’s highway patrol conducted an unannounced speed enforcement crackdown just before Memorial Day. Results? Some 190 drivers at 86 miles per hour and above, of them 31 blasting down the road at 95 or above. All this on Interstate 485 in a section posted for 70 mph. Troopers may be disappointed to hear that the rest of the justice system apparently doesn’t have such a concern: An investigation has revealed that in North Carolina, less than 5% of speeders clocked at 20 miles-or-more above the limit are convicted as charged. Another 3% got convicted of other charges, and others even had their charges thrown out.
Persistence by an RV park developer paid off, overcoming the usual litany of local objections. Last Thursday, Greig, New York, planning board members spent several hours considering a proposed 18-acre campground. Back in December, local citizens blasted the plan based on the park’s proximity to local residents, the noise that might come with it, and possible criminal activities. While the board did hear those objections, they were apparently more concerned with other issues. Voting 4-to-1 to approve, the commission attached conditions to the build. Campfire rings will be required at each campsite; generators may not be used; and outdoor lighting must be directed downward and not at neighboring properties. The new project will be built in three phases, with the last one to be done in 2024.
Some citizens of Nanaimo, B.C., are already doing it – illegally. Now city officials are thinking about making it legal. The illegal activity is that of living in RVs inside the city limits, outside of RV parks. City staff suggested allowing folks to live in RVs away from parks could pose problems. But at least one councilor thought residential lots might be the ticket considering a housing shortage, due to the high cost of homes in the area. He noted suitable utilities would need to be used. Turns out the councilor in question, Don Bonner, lived in an RV for several months, giving him a hands-on experience unlike that of many politicians. After the May 31 discussion at a public meeting, the matter will get more consideration in the future.
A move to provide more camping opportunities for family and friends groups is underway in Larimer County, Colorado. Back in 2017, officials approved the construction of a new public campground on a six-acre patch of ground on Carter Lake, west of Loveland. The unusual concept divides 15 RV or tenting sites up among three “pods.” The aim is to make it possible for large groups to be able to camp together. Sky View Campground is a nearly $2 million project, and ground breaking fired off last Wednesday. The aim is to have the facility operating next year.
The corn may be as high as an elephant’s eye – and camping reservations are up there, too. Iowa, the Hawkeye State, is reporting that folks who want to reserve a state park campsite on a weekend in June or July have vain hopes. The state has 4,500 campsites in the system, and weekends are booked already; mid-week slots are getting tough. You can reserve a state park campsite three months in advance. As of the end of May, some parks reported they had three-fourths of their site-days fully booked.
Can’t stand the heat? Get out of the motel business. Martin and Gina Pické fell in love with the RV lifestyle and traveled throughout the West. They thought they wanted to have their own RV park, so in 2015 they bought a small motel with a handful of RV spots in Merrill, Oregon. They dubbed their place the Wild Goose Lodge. Turned out it was a bit too wild – the hours required to keep things going left little time for themselves. The Pickés sold out the motel, and have now bought up the Base Camp RV Resort in Lakeview, Oregon. They’re doing some refurb, and installing 50-amp utilities, and the Base Camp is now re-dubbed Wild Goose Meadows RV Park. They’re also looking forward to a little more time for themselves – evidently RVers are an easier lot than motel guests.
No water at the lake? We reported in the Sunday Newsletter issue 1001, that Dickinson County, Michigan’s, Lake Antoine Park has been shut down for lack of drinking water. At the time it wasn’t clear just what the problem was, and only vague estimates of when the campground might reopen were projected. Now commissioners have issued a $17,000 contract to a plumbing company to drop new lines and risers to 44 campsites. The county is suggesting a reopening of the park in six weeks, but there’s a potential glitch: The supplier of polyethylene pipe for the job says there’s a shortage of the stuff which could affect delivery.
If you’re gonna build an RV park, you’re gonna pay the piper. That seems to be the story for Cornwall, Ontario, city commissioners. A council member proposed turning a 31-acre city-owned site into a 190-site campground, including some full-hookup RV spots. When city staff reported back with cost figures, things got a little chillier. The cost to build the park, says the report, is a mere $5 million. But on the bright side, it estimated the city could rake in $22,000 a year in revenue from site fees. Whoops! That’s only if the city didn’t need to borrow the money to build. Financing the build would mean the city would lose $291,000 a year when taking into account debt service. A committee will study the matter.
The county fairgrounds in Norman, Oklahoma, have proved to be so popular, county officials are nearly doubling the number of RV sites. The aim is to have 60 full-hookup sites in short order. Water and sewer work is complete, and electric work should be completed by summer’s end. RVers who visit Oklahoma must have deep pockets. According to one county official, RVers contribute mightily to the local economy when they visit. “A conservative estimation,” in this official’s opinion, is that $75 is spent on food and drink, $35 on retail purchases, and $25 on entertainment – this on a daily basis.
Pilot Rock, Oregon, population 1,502 apparently has a big problem. Last Tuesday, city councilors met and heard information that indicates “several recreational vehicles” are being used as “dwellings” in the city. What to do? Councilors heard a proposal for a new law that would make “living and sleeping” in an RV verboten. One exemption, an RV could be used as a “guest accommodation” for up to 14 days. One objection to the plan was registered: A local couple said that the husband must use a CPAP machine to assist his breathing while sleeping. They said when there are power outages, he must take refuge in his rig to sleep.
How often do you camp more than 100 yards from the nearest other camper?
Respond here and see how others have responded.
We recently asked our readers what they would prefer most for a snack — candy or cheese. They favored one significantly more than the other. Can you guess which one? Click here to find out.
I am a seed with three letters in my name. Take away the last two and I still sound the same. What am I?
Thanks to Chuck Bonelli for submitting! Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
Stolen RV Report
Let’s help find this for its owner and help put the crooks in the slammer.
Police have told the heartbroken owner they should just file an insurance claim. Let’s see if there’s any help we can provide. Stolen some time after March 21, but probably before April 30. Taken from Longhorn State Storage in Crowley, Texas. The owners dropped the rig off, and found an empty parking space on their return. Police say the secure video footage only goes back to April 30, and without a specific date of theft, there’s not much they can do. A 2016 Winnebago Micro Minnie, 2106FBS model. It’s a pretty distinctive color, so maybe somebody will spot it. If you do, contact the Tarrant County Sheriff regarding case 2021-06094. Phone them at (817) 884-3099.
Pickup truck news
According to our recent survey, about 80 percent of RVtravel.com readers own at least one pickup truck. Recognizing that, we’ll provide the latest news highlights about the vehicles here each week.
New Ford Maverick? Yep, the reveal is set for June 8!
Does the name “Maverick” strike a chord with you? You may have learned to drive in a Maverick back in the good ol’ days! Well, here’s a surprise! It was announced early last week that Ford Motor Company is coming out with a small size pickup truck. They’ve named it (wait for it) the Maverick. Continue reading.
Anyone want a 1930 milk truck? The REO speed wagon could still rock
Pity this poor milk truck. It may be the only one in existence. But no one seems to want the more than 90-year-old bespoke beast made for the Milkhouse Creamery in Berwick, Pennsylvania, in 1930. It was apparently one of three unusually designed milk trucks made by REO Motor Car Company. Defunct since the mid-1950s, the manufacturer made cars, trucks and buses. Its haulers mostly transported milk. Read more.
The price of a used Chevy Silverado 1500 has increased by nearly 30 percent in the past 12 months, according to a recent study conducted by auto research firm iSeeCars. Researchers there conducted an analysis of more than 1.2 million used car sales that occurred in April 2021 and found that used car prices have increased 16.8 percent, or $3,926, compared to the same period the previous year. The study found that the average transaction price for a used Chevy Silverado 1500 truck increased by $7,960, or 27.1 percent, to $37,324.
Is this your RV?
If it’s yours and you can prove it to us (send a photo for comparison), tell us here by 9 p.m. Pacific time today, June 6, 2021. If it’s yours you’ll win a $25 Amazon gift certificate.
If this isn’t your RV, send us a photo of your RV (if you haven’t already) for a chance to win in future issues.
Last week one reader claimed their $25 Amazon gift card: Gregg Brown of El Paso, Texas.
We’ll have another photo in tomorrow’s RV Daily Tips newsletter (sign up to receive an email alert so you don’t miss the issue or those that follow). Some of these photos are submitted by readers while others were taken by our editors and writers on their travels around the USA.
A landslide has shut down a Montana campground in the Lolo National Forest. Lakeside Campground will likely be closed for a month after a landslide rolled over an access road in a construction area. Those with reservations for the Group Campsite #3 will still be able to access their site with the assistance of the campground host, but general public camping is inaccessible.
A new RV park could soon come to Gaylord, Michigan. Officials in Gaylord are excited with the prospect, but they’ll need to do a little bargaining first. The 20-acre site is technically located in the nearby Bagley Township, but the park needs to hook into the Gaylord utility system. If the two governments can work out a deal, the new park will devote 15 acres to RV accommodations. The balance would be set aside for small retail support businesses. The plan is to have the new park open by next summer.
A shifting set of jack-stands is blamed for the death of an Ohio man. Responders were called to a Lake Township, Ohio, residence last Wednesday. Brian Collins (33) was working under a motorhome when the jacks reportedly shifted, dropping the coach on him, killing him at the scene. Sadly, this is not the first report of RVers or others being crushed by rigs. If you’re not sure of what you’re doing or the safety of your equipment – hire the job out.
Alberta’s Canyon Ski Resort has a plan to make a bit more money: Build a big RV park on 56 acres on a corner of the resort to make a few bucks in the summer months. Some 200+ RV sites and 50+ tent sites along with shower houses are in the plans. Proponents say it’s possible that the campground might give some of their seasonal workers year-round employment. The plan has been passed along to Red Deer County’s Municipal Planning Commission for their consideration.
The shortage of RVs for sale in Washington state suffered yet another setback. Police say a semi-truck driver near Grand Mound, Washington, nodded off on north-bound Interstate 5. His rig kept going – off the freeway and into an RV dealership sales lot. The truck rolled and “took out” one of the dealer’s rigs. All that excitement on Wednesday.
The U.S. Forest Service wants to turn over maintenance and operation of some 30 campgrounds and recreation sites in Wyoming’s Bighorn National Forest. Ranger districts include Tongue, Powder River, and Medicine Wheel. Applications from prospective concessionaires close August 30.
Anyone, state resident or not, can fish without a license today in Colorado as part of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s annual Free Fishing Weekend. So go catch yourself a trout or bass and cook it up for dinner. Bon Appetit!
Walmart is adjusting some of the policies and processes it put in place during the last 15 months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning this weekend, the discounter’s store hours will expand from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (unless otherwise mandated by store or local government). And beginning July 3, most of Walmart’s pharmacies and vision centers will resume pre-COVID operating hours.
Campground and RV Park News
Developments in places where we stay across the USA
Janet Groene reports each week on developments at RV parks and campgrounds across the USA and Canada. There’s a lot of good information here that you can use to plan your travels. Read the current installment of “Campground and RV Park News” here.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• Thor recalls some Class B motorhomes for electrical short danger
• Triple E recalls RVs for fire risk
• KZRV recalls some trailers: water heater fire hazard
• Newmar recalls some Dutch Star and Mountain Air motorhomes for fire risk
• Ford recalls some F-150 trucks. Drivers could lose steering control
• Forest River recalls some Columbus 5th wheel trailers. Possible brake failure
• Keystone recalls some 2017-2021 5th wheels: Frame rails could buckle
• Big recall on 2012-2021 Ram trucks. Wheels could fall off
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• RV park owner discusses reality of electric vehicles and charging stations in parks and what it means to RVers
• Why saying “Black” matters: A reflection on last week’s article
• Campground Crowding: “I empathize with those who didn’t get to camp the way we did”
• Pros and cons of the big three brands of EMS surge protectors
• Bird nest blues: It’s illegal to move a bird’s nest – even if it’s on your RV!
• Does tire over-inflation cause so-called “blowouts”?
• Boondocking critters: Unwelcome guests like the RV life too!
• Why we wander: New column reminisces on road trip culture and why it’s still so important
• Finding the “perfect” RV requires a shift in perspective
• You can prevent RV-caused wildfires
• Shameful vandalism, trash, human waste at all-time high in recreation areas
• A bright gadget review: Luci Core lights come in handy all around the RV
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of May 31, 2021:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.03 [Calif.: $4.06]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up $1.05
Diesel: $3.26 [Calif.: $4.06]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Up 87 cents.
Sign up for an email reminder for our weekday RV Daily Tips Newsletter, published every Monday through Friday. You won’t want to miss it!
Upcoming RV shows
Most of the RV shows so far in 2021 have been canceled. We will restart our show directory feature here as shows begin again. In the meantime, see the frequently updated schedule here.
Smoked Salmon Dip
by Marilyn Davidson from San Diego, CA
Love salmon? Then you’ll adore this smoky dip! It is jam-packed with flavor… a terrific, unexpected app for your next get-together.
We want this! Get the recipe here.
Did you miss yesterday’s recipe, Crock Pot Cheeseburger Mac? Get it here.
Other recipes featured in this week’s Daily Tips Newsletters:
• Apricot Barbeque Sauce for Grilling • Salmon Club Sandwich With Dill Caper Aioli • Crunchy Cheddar & Onion Chicken Breast • Southwest Breakfast Frittata Quesadilla • Bacon-Wrapped Cream Cheese
And, be sure to check out our three more Recipes of the Day in most issues of our newsletters. Be warned: These may make you very hungry!
See the recipes here (and don’t miss the video).
Brain teaser answer:
The day after visiting a county fair, my wife was in agony. “You know you’re past your prime,” she said, “when you hurt all over and all you rode was the massage chair.”
The Perfect Scam Podcast
Every Sunday we present a podcast from AARP about scams and how crooks are stealing your money, often via telemarketing. Their efforts are often most successful with people 65 years and older who fall victim to the scammer’s sophisticated techniques. Here is this week’s episode.
Today in History
RV Travel staff
Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. • Editor: Emily Woodbury • Sunday edition editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris • Managing editor: Diane McGovern.
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