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Vacating Road To Park Service Would Hurt Fishermen

Vacating Road to Park Service Would Hurt Fishermen
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, April 4, 2019

DINGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township officials call it the "road to nowhere" and its name -- Doodle Hollow 
Road -- befits its identity.
It runs through National Park property that includes a body of water nearby that is visited by some fishermen, a 
hidden secret except for residents and outsiders in the know. It is not a through intersection.
But township officials are at the point where they want to decide what to do about the road -- to keep it or to 
dedicate it to the National Park Service as part of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
"They own the land. We just own the road," said township Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson, who 
said he wonders whether the township should turn over the road that it has maintained to DEWA.
The issue that has been discussed at prior meetings got renewed focus during the workshop prior to last week's 
general meeting when the supervisors announced they had received a correspondence from DEWA saying it 
wants to close the road to vehicles during the summer from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.
"It's all about the concerns of the 'nature people,'" said Supervisor Jane Neufeld, who later said, "It's worth 
considering that they (DEWA) would take it."
"They (DEWA) say they want to keep the road open at other times of the year for fishing," said Neufeld, but she 
and her fellow supervisors pointed out that summer can be a very active time for fishing.
Another concern by DEWA, they said, is garbage dropped on the land along that road and closing it might deter that recurrence, particularly during busier summer months.
But resident Steve McBride expressed a concern. "If we (vacate) the road, they (DEWA) will close it 
(completely)," he said.
"Why would you want to deny our residents access," posed township Solicitor Thomas Farley. "Closing that area 
off to a transient group (of visitors) presents a catastrophic injustice."
Discussion will continue toward a final decision at upcoming meetings, the supervisors said.
At the meeting, the board accepted the annual budget report from the township volunteer fire company. "We're in 
great shape. We're holding our own," said Ed Hammond, president of the fire company, afterward. "We budget 
accordingly and we're transparent," said Fire Chief Sean Hughes.
Hughes said the company last year began budgeting toward replacing timeworn equipment. That was a concern 
expressed by neighboring Lehman Township during the Bushkill Volunteer Fire Company's report presented at the Board of Supervisors meeting last week.
Also at the Delaware Township meeting, the board appointed Steve Tarquini to the township's Recreation 
Commission. With that appointment, Henderson and Neufeld agreed to let fellow Supervisor Rick Koehler vacate 
his role as a temporary member of the commission until someone was appointed for a full term.
The supervisors unanimously agreed to accept the fiscal year 2018 audit performed by Krk Summa & Co. LLP. They also agreed to publish and advertise the township's Concise Financial Statement on the modified cash basis by the accounting service for 2018.
The board agreed to purchase two truckloads of clay for its ballfields along Wilson Hill Road from Dingmans Ferry Stone, costing $55 a ton at a maximum payout of $2,700. .. Supervisors also agreed to accept tar and chip 
resurfacing estimates for five roads, including Emory, Nichecronk, Mary Stuart, Johnny Bee and 
Juniper/Resers/Pocono Circle. "It's not a bid but a preparation for putting it out to bid," clarified Neufeld.
The board approved Music in Akenac Park on July 6 and Aug. 31 from 5-9 p.m. ... It also agreed to the request by the Dingmans Ferry-Delaware Township Historical Society to hold meetings at the municipal hall on the third 
Thursday of each month from April through December, starting at 6 p.m.
The board during the workshop cited comments from township Emergency Manager George Beodeker as 
"accurate and to the point" to the American Red Cross Poconos chapter's assessment of the Delaware Township municipal hall as an emergency shelter. Supervisors had withdrawn the building designation as a full emergency shelter because it does not have showers for long term stays, they said. But Beodeker said the building can be used for an evacuation stating point, a warming center and a charging center (for residents' mobile electronic devices). "Why sign an agreement for what we don't have," Beodeker said.
Also during the workshop, supervisors talked about installing gates at the upper, western end of by-roads such as Wilson hill Road that connect Milford Road/State Route 2001 to Route 209. Those gates would be closed during storms when the National Park Service closes gates it has already installed at the lower end of those roads at Route 209.
PA American Water Project Manager Gary Vebulko talked during the workshop about phases of expanding 
services, including into Wild Acres private community. "We're getting closer to acquiring that system," Vebulko 
said. He could not specify when that would happen at Wild Acres when asked by the supervisors about it, except 
to say "maybe the latter part of the year."
Supervisors announced that the township's annual Easter Egg Hunt takes place 1-4 p.m. on April 13 at Akenac 
Park. 
During public comment, Nancy Janiec read a letter she and Cathi Hewston submitted to the Delaware Township 
Volunteer Ambulance Corps talking about how they are rescinding their application to the new DTVAC leadership for returning as members and volunteers of the corps.
"We appreciate your taking the time for meet with (us) on March 4 to discuss our offer of volunteering and the 
discussion that took place. At that meeting, there were three main concerns mentioned:
"First, our concern for DTVAC's financial situation and the lack of ambulance coverage for Delaware Township due to the financial situation the company is in. To help alleviate this financial situation, it was suggested that DTVAC take a direct hire approach. In doing this, DTVAC would stand to save a substantial sum of money (Note: Rather than going through a placement agency as it does) and that could help toward the reorganization of DTVAC since they would have more money available for direct hire employees, thus more coverage.
"Second, it was requested that proceeds collected from the ambulance calls, that volunteers run, go to BLS 
operating expenses of DTVAC only, not to the outside contracted employee payroll. The idea would be to try to 
save DTVAC assets before they are lost to sale or forfeiture due to the irreversible financial situation of the 
organization at present.
"Third is a request that one of us become a member of the Board of Directors, which would be a better adherence to the by-laws description of Second Lieutenant by putting a certified first responder in that position."
The letter goes on to conclude:
"You have claimed that all of these requests are unreasonable.
"Unfortunately, we will have to rescind our applications for membership and volunteering. Neither one of us are 
willing to volunteer under the present management and organization of a DTVAC that seems uninterested or 
incapable of making any changes that might contribute to bettering our ambulance service, how it is run and 
managed, and its sustainability in the future.
"However, should DTVAC reorganize and return to volunteers or combination of volunteer and direct hire, we will definitely reconsider our position and reapply."

District Judge Reports to Delaware Twp Board

District Judge Reports to Delaware Twp Board
by Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, March 21, 2019

DINGMANS FERRY -- Cases of domestic violence and truancy have remained steady in recent years in 
Delaware, Lehman and Porter townships, Pike County Magisterial Court Judge Paul Menditto said in a presentation to 
Delaware Township Board of Supervisors during their workshop last week.
In fact, cases for Menditto's District Court 60-3-04 have actually declined a bit for Delaware Township, which 
means lower fund disbursements from collections.
Menditto pointed out in a four-page pamphlet on the "state of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Magisterial 
District Court 60-3-04" that the yield to the township from fund disbursements from collections declined from 
$3,164.59 in 2017 to $2,263.75 in 2018.

"It shows that Delaware Township has less crime," Menditto said. He later said, "I notice the State Police, since I've started (as judge in 2015) are spending more time in southern Pike County."
The report also indicated that Lehman Township's fund disbursements increased by about $100 from $7,638.45 in 2017 to $7,731.06 last year. Porter's slipped slightly over the past two years, from $327.40 to $292.53.
Fund disbursements from Menditto's court to Pike County have risen about 25 percent from $40,762.77 in 2017 to $50,362.69 last year. Disbursements to the commonwealth slipped slightly from $137,744.19 in 2017 to 
$137,475.30 last year.
Menditto's district also covers part of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
Menditto went on to explain the different duties executed by his court, located at 213 Silver Lake Road in 
Dingmans Ferry.
"We're more than a traffic court," said Menditto, who said his rulings includes local ordinance violations, issuing of subpoenas and protections from abuse orders and for victims from sexual violence or intimidation and handling cases of truancy.
"I'm very proud of that," said Menditto, who said truancy is regarded as a crime in Pennsylvania.
A special program he adapted from Monroe County District Court Judge Michael Muth has helped stabilize cases of truancy. The districts by both judges cover some households whose children attend the East Stroudsburg Area School District and the program calls for the judge to meet with parents of the children and school administrators where children are in danger of being truant.
Menditto said truancy has dropped from 74 citations in his first year on the bench in 2015 to 34 in 2016, 35 in 
2017 and 32 last year.
"Parents and children are not getting citations and (therefore) getting into the system and they (students in danger of truancy) are back in school," Menditto said.
Menditto's duties also include jurisdiction on cases up to $12,000 including tort and contract actions, ordinance 
violations and civil fines, and hearing landlord/tenant actions up to $12,000 that determine possession of property. He also swears in officials with Oaths of Office and presides over weddings.
"I've done many marriages," Menditto said emphatically. "The Boy Scouts (in an Eagle Scout project) built a 
pagoda behind the (court) building so we can do it outdoors when the weather is nice."
Mendito said, when asked, that he has not had any cases of sex trafficking brought to his court, which has 
become a concern in neighboring Monroe County. "There are cases of child pornography and molestation but (the numbers of) those cases seems to be steady." 
Technology in documenting court action is current, he said. "Pennsylvania leads the nation in the way we use 
technology to make the courts accessible and efficient," the report reads. "Our innovative programs provide 
opportunities for dramatic differences in people's lives and are often proving to be cost-savers as well."
Also at the meeting, the board unanimous approved contracts to low bidder Wayco for the Doolan Road project for $212,848.84 and the stretch of Park Road from the entrance of Wild Acres to Milford Road/State Route 2001 for $353,732.54. Both projects will be reimbursed by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation grants.
The board authorized township engineer Boucher & James to prepare an analysis of replacing or repairing the 
municipal building roof, which board Chairman John Henderson said has been leaking. Township Administrator 
Krista Premore said an engineering analysis in 2013 indicated the roof has a 10-year lifespan. Band-air repairs 
done a couple of years ago were expected to cover five years.
Also approved was an upgrade and three-year contract renewal with PenTelaData for Internet services.
During the workshop session before the regular meeting, Predmore said she and township Emergency 
Management Coordinator George Beodeker were expected to meet with officials of the American Red Cross 
Poconos chapter on Wednesday this week to discuss the agreement for the municipal building as a Red Cross 
shelter. Predmore said the township pulled the building from the Red Cross list because there are no showers and the question of whether there would be enough volunteers to run the building as a full shelter. Instead, Predmore said they're recommending to the Red Cross it be used as a warming center.
Also at the regular meeting, Dennis Lee was appointed to the township Recreation Committee. The board also 
approved advertising for part-time lifeguards and season gate-keepers for Akenac Park for the summer season as well as a season park manager for a 35-hour work week. Also approved was use of municipal ballfields by the Matthew Ohlemann Memorial Softball League on Sundays from May 5 to Sept. 29.
Resident Nancy Janiec talked during the public comment period about her efforts to help the Delaware Township 
Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
"I met with the ambulance corps, made numerous suggestions and offered numerous services but I've gotten no 
response," said Janiec, a former ambulance corps volunteer. "Now is the time to move forward to pursue 
(ambulance) coverage for our residents."
"We're moving as fast as we can (on this)," Henderson said. "There are a lot of people involved."

Board Rescinds Check For Ambulance Repairs

Board Rescinds Check for Ambulance Repairs
by Wayne Witkowski

Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, March 7, 2019

DINGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township Ambulance Corps' tenuous financial situation became a little more strained for the time being when the township Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed at the start of last week's regular meeting to rescind a $4,500 payment to a Milford truck and auto repair shop for one of its ambulances.
The decision came after an executive session at the start of the evening's schedule that included some discussion with ambulance corps Lieutenant Carl Will. At the previous meeting, Will had informed the board that the ambulance corps is $33,000 behind on payments, largely because of a shortage of billable calls.
"We're rescinding payment of $4,500 to Ray's (Truck and Auto Repair) for repairs on an ambulance due to the supervisors' request to have additional information," said board Chairman John Henderson. "We generally try to help out but we cannot do that until we get that information."
The board also is examining alternatives to its strapped ambulance service that operates on a limited schedule.
"Given what's going on, the supervisors will take a look at another ambulance service to suply to Derlaware Township," Henderson said.
Henderson said he relied on ambulance service for his medical problem he had some months ago that needed transportation to the hospital and he recently got a $1,000 bill for it. He said fellow Supervisor Rick Koehler also needed ambulance service for his wife recenty.
"My drive was quick. I waited only 10 minutes," Henderson said, but addded, We've been working with Commonwealth and are still working on it for BLS (Basic Life Support) services (Commonwealth also was reported as having dropped its offer to also cover Advanced Life Support Services.). We're taking trhree steps forward and two steps back. It's not just a Delaware Township situation but also a county and state one, even nationwide."
The board also announced a bond received from the developer of the Delaware Plaza project. Farley said the bond is for more than $4 million. The project, a shopping center anchored by a Weis Markets store, is expected to break ground this spring and be completed some time next year, as announced in a recent Pike County Council of Governments meeting.
The board also tabled awarding a contract for extensive work on the entire length of Doolan Road and a stretch of Park Road from the entrance of Wild Acres to Milford Road/State Route 2001. Two bids were unsealed by township Solicitor Thomas Farley, with Leeward Construction the low bidder at $212,840.80, but the board wants the bids examined further by Farley before going to vote.
A $646,00 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Tranmsporation will go toward that project.
Repairs for the bridges at Childs Park and Log & Twig Road also were discussed in the workshop prior tro the regular meeting. Supervisors also said they will pursue filing a letter on behalf of the township and Dingman Township to PennDOT for sorely needed repair work on Route 739 between Log Tavern Road and Milford Road/State Route 2001.
The board also agreed for township engineer Boucher and James to obtain permits for replacing the fishing dock at Akenac Park. "We have every intention of moving forward on that for this spring," said township Administrator Krista Predmore.
Also at the regular meeting, the board unanimously approved a $2,365.04 workl order from Ray's Truck and Auto Repair for township truck No. 3, mainly replacing a worn clutch. It also approved $1,312.50 to purchase a replacement motor and bearing assembly for the township's municipal building heating system from John Coda & Son Supply Inc. of Sparrow Bush, N.Y.
The board approved a series of requests from Rebecca Gray of the township Recreation Committee, including purchasing supplies for the committee's Easter event next month at Akenac Park not to exceed $750. It also agreed to list two movie nights on the calendar for Akenac Park for July 27 and Aug. 10. They will be held in conjunction with movie nights to be held by Dingmann Township on July 20 and Aug. 17. Koehler, who is a member of the Rec Committee, said the two townships can share the expense, one purchasing a movie and the other the movie sequel, which Koehler said "can draw (many) people from both townships."
The committee also approved changes in the Rec Committee's meeting dates from March 12 to March 14 and from April 9 to April 11 at the township Emergency Management Building. Koehler said applicants are encouraged to fill vacancies on the committee.
Predmore said during the workshop that she is in the process of geting cost figures for a Hazardous Waste Collection Day for the township. "Nobody else does it," she said.

Supervisors Issue Statement on Ambulance Problems

Supervisors Issue Statement on Ambulance Problems

By Wayne Witkowski

DINGMANS FERRY -- The Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps has been on life support with a fragile budget and a shortage of volunteers as the Board of Supervisors is taking a firm stand on the issue.

The board issued a lengthy statement at the start of its latest meeting last week that ushered in some emotionally charged responses from many of the large gathering that came to hear about the issue.

The statement is a response to the public outcry for the supervisors to take action for a local emergency service that has shrunken drastically in its mission to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the community.

Part of the statement reads: "We have been part of a multi-municipality group seeking to have ALS (Advanced Life Support) in a reasonable way. ... We want to help move our ambulance service toward greater reliability without increasing risk of less response to our 911 calls."

The statement says the ambulance corps has faced a "continual struggle - both financially and regarding personnel" but that, when "asking a lot of questions, many remain unanswered."

"We cannot tell DTVAC what to do. As best we can -- and according to our current laws and regulations -- we want to ensure services are provided, including appropriate levels of financial and administrative help. We have money set aside in a budget. Importantly, we have the responsibility to do more than hand over money. ...

"In any decisions we make, we want to do our best for all of our residents. We hold having emergency responder services and those who work to give them in the highest regard. Our responsibility is not to issue a blank check without us insuring that our taxpayer money is going to better the situation and move things toward something that will be sustainable."

Carl Will, newly installed ambulance corps lieutenant, met with the supervisors in an executive session before they presented their prepared statement and opened a forum to discuss residents' concerns. Will pointed out that the number of volunteers who are vital to complementing paid ALS-trained professionals has dwindled to five.

Former ambulance corps captain Mary Lou Corbett who attended the meeting said beforehand that the shortage of volunteers led her to step down in the fall.

"It's tough when you get uy in the middle of the night with an emergency call coming through and no driver is available," said Corbett, who has been succeeded by Kyle Wright.

Will said in his presentation he could not present budget specifics but they would be supplied to the township by the corps soon. "It's do-able," he said after the meeting.

"We've asked the questions for seven or eight years and still need answers," said township Solicitor Thomas Farley. "Do we want to help the ambulance? Absolutely. But it also has to help itself."

Will also disputed a statement as "incorrect" given to the supervisors in late November by Wright about reduced hour schedules. He said the current service schedule includes Monday evening only, Tuesday and Wednesday during daytime and evening hours and on Thursday for 24 hours. Will said service on Friday is "on and off" and that Saturday and Sunday has only night time service. Despite the shortage of personnel, Will said that schedule he stated would be honored.

A public meeting was held at the ambulance corps building on Park Avenue on Tuesday this week to further explain and discuss specifics with ambulance corps personnel.

Township Administrator Krista Predmore explained after the supervisors meeting that the Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps had a total budget of $60,950 for 2018 and a $55,000 line item contribution for 2018. There also is a $55,000 line item contribution for 2019.

Out of that 2018 funding, the ambulance corps received $11,260 in funding requested from the township. It included $9,300 for fuel for its three ambulances, which is beyond the township's $5,200 budget projection. The corps also requested and received $1,300 for workmen's compensation, $170 for cell phone service and $490 for a state of emergency reimbursement for damages suffered and services performed during severe winter storms last March.

The ambulance corps has not requested funding for ambulance repairs since the $28,805 it received in 2017 for transmission and other engine repairs.

Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson told the gathering, "We give them money when they justify it and not when they can't." But Henderson later said, "We see a pattern coming out with their new directors. It's a start."

The board at the meeting approved seven fundraising events that included a plant sale and a holiday wreath sale and selling lottery calendars. Another passed motion approved township workers' assistance in dropping off and picking up chairs and tables for fundraising chicken barbecue and pig roast events as well as traffic control assistance for those events.

Township Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker and resident Liz Forrest both spoke about the need for accountability for the ambulance corps. Without that, Beodeker said with emotion, "you get what you deserve."

Clare Bennett, president of the Birchwood Lakes Community Association, stressed to Will the need for reliable around-the-lock services and challenged the limited schedule.

Supervisor Jane Neufeld said she had served in the past with the ambulance corps and said, "The system is being stressed and not finding a solution quickly." But she assured residents that there is no need to express panic on social media platforms and public discourse because they will receive timely ambulance services elsewhere from emergency center dispatches if Delaware Township's ambulance corps is unavailable for a service call.

"Our residents need to understand that if you call 911 and if it's not coming up for Delaware Township (ambulance corps), Dingman Township, Hemlock Farms, Westfall can respond. They are trained to get you the help you need. ... That hasn't changed." 

 Also at the meeting, the board approved $3,500 to renew Lake Akenac lake management services with Aquatic Environment Consultants Inc. .. Electronic recycling days were approved for April 6 and Oct. 5 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. .. The board approved advertising for vacancies on the Planning Commission, Zoning Hearing Board and the Recreation Committee.

The board approved Predmore and Vince Flatt to attend Probably Cause Training for CDL Supervisory Personnel and CMV/CDL Records Management for March 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lehman Township Municipal Building, with a total cost of $140.

Met-Ed Preparing for Winter Storm Harper

FirstEnergy Utilities Prepare for Severe Winter Weather This Weekend


Akron, Ohio – FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) utility personnel are prepared to respond to outages caused by heavy snow, freezing rain and ice, and high winds forecast for the eastern U.S. this weekend.


Company meteorologists are monitoring Winter Storm Harper, a complex storm system that will affect FirstEnergy’s service areas in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey. While some snow is forecast for later today, Harper’s severe weather is expected to hit the region on Saturday and Sunday. Some FirstEnergy areas could see more than 24 inches of snow, while others could experience freezing rain and significant ice accumulations along with high winds. In addition, heavy rains could cause flooding in parts of West Virginia and Maryland.


All of FirstEnergy’s electric utilities are implementing storm response plans, which include making arrangements to bring in additional line, substation and forestry personnel, and additional dispatchers and analysts at regional dispatch offices, as required, based on the severity of the weather. In addition, the company has been in contact with electrical contractors and electric industry mutual assistance organizations about the possibility of securing additional resources to assist with storm restoration efforts.
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“We are monitoring the weather conditions closely and will deploy resources to the areas that could get hit the hardest,” said Sam Belcher, senior vice president of FirstEnergy and president of FirstEnergy Utilities. “The goal of our planning efforts is to safely speed the outage restoration process and minimize any inconvenience our customers experience due to the weather.”


FirstEnergy utilities include: Jersey Central Power & Light in New Jersey; Metropolitan Edison Company (Met-Ed), Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec), Pennsylvania Power (Penn Power), and West Penn Power in Pennsylvania; Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison in Ohio; Mon Power in West Virginia; and Potomac Edison in Maryland and West Virginia.


Customers who are without power are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage or click the “Report Outage” link on www.firstenergycorp.com. In the event of severe weather, customers should immediately report downed wires to their utility or their local police or fire department. Customers should never go near a downed power line, even if they think it is no longer carrying electricity. Extra caution should be exercised in areas where downed wires may be tangled in downed tree branches or other debris.
For updated information on the company’s current outages, FirstEnergy’s storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages.


Customers are encouraged to prepare for the possibility of outages caused by severe winter weather:
• Keep electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops and tablet computers fully charged to be ready for any emergencies.
• Keep a flashlight, portable radio and extra batteries handy in the event a power interruption occurs. Tune to a local station for current storm information.
• Never use a portable generator inside the house or a closed garage in the event of a power outage. Ensure the proper generator is selected and installed by a qualified
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electrician. When operating a generator, the power coming into the home should always be disconnected. Otherwise, power from the generator could be sent back onto the utility lines, creating a hazardous situation for utility workers. • Gather extra blankets or a sleeping bag for each person. Do not use gas stoves, kerosene heaters or other open-flame heat sources to prevent deadly carbon monoxide gas from building up in your home.
• If you have a water well and pump, keep an emergency supply of bottled water and/or fill your bathtub with fresh water.
• Stock an emergency supply of convenience foods that do not require cooking.
• Mobile phones can be charged in your vehicle using a car charger when the power is out. If you have a smart phone, this will ensure you have access to online information sources.
FirstEnergy customers also can subscribe to email and text message alert notifications to receive weather alerts in advance of major storms, and updates on scheduled or extended power outages. Customers can also use two-way text messaging to report outages, request updates on restoration efforts, and make other inquiries about their electric accounts. More information about these communications tools is available online at www.firstenergycorp.com/connect.


FirstEnergy is dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company’s transmission subsidiaries operate more than 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.

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