The Courier News

Gavin MacDougall Interview
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mural1The mural is composed using images of approximately 35 of MacDougall’s acrylic on canvas paintings. Twenty paintings of most importance to the composition were scanned on a large flatbed scanner (90” x 60” Fine Art Scanner) and other, secondary paintings, were photographed.

By Tiara Jade

Q: As a Centennial Alumni how did it feel to do the mural for the school?

A: It was a real thrill to be short listed to the semi-finals of the competition. It’s really fantastic. It’s a dream come true to see my artwork in a public place that will hopefully be there a long time for people to see.

mural2Q: How did it feel when you found out you won?

A: I was shocked. My wife said I shouldn’t say shocked because I earned it. I was confident that I had a good submission and a good idea. I was proud of what I submitted. I was on cloud 9.

Q: What was the concept for the mural?

A: The concept had three main elements to the mural. There’s a background that has signs and symbols that represent various levels of communication, instruction, and shadows that I’ve used in past paintings. They indicate the past and heritage we emerge from. The wisdom and knowledge that can be handed down that we can learn from. The figures are very generic and join hands to indicate the community that we create to rise above an individual trouble. When we come together we’ll rise high and share ideas and grow. It raises everyone to a higher level.

Q: What was the process you went through?

A: The imagery is all taken from acrylic on canvas paintings I’ve done in the last few years. In some cases it was the whole painting, and in some, just a few elements. They were manipulated by Photoshop to make the final image.

Q: How did you come up with the name “Dare to Achieve?”

A: As I’m working on it I think about the various elements and what they represent. It embodies a leap and being prepared to fail. You have to make yourself vulnerable in what you create and what you do. You have to step outside your comfort zone and dare to take risks. Stepping outside the boundaries of everyday routine is how you better yourself.

Q: How would you describe your style as an artist?

A: It’s largely representative. It becomes abstract in some cases since there’s always an element of abstraction. You don’t immediately know what it is, which I hope makes people wonder about it and think.

Q: A particular or favourite medium?

mural3A: I paint largely in acrylic. I also do oil paint and I draw, but I mainly work in acrylic.

Q: Are there any particular themes you like to pursue in your work?

A: Yes, communication (and) ideas that are embodied in the symbols of my paintings. There’s a far deeper meaning and they’re communicating in a language all their own, and it requires certain knowledge to read the symbols. It’s a language that allows for change when you see those symbols. There will be change in infrastructure and society. And again shadows that represent the past, the people before us, parents, or ancestors affect us in our own lives. Any action we do, no matter how big or small, has some effect on the work around us, the people and society we live in.

Q: Is there something or someone who inspires you?

A: My wife would be a big inspiration. She’s been very supportive of my work and me pursuing my dream. My wife and family help me believe in myself and keep at it. There are times you get discouraged, but if you have a strong support system it helps. There have been a few professors at Story Arts that have been very supportive of me as well.

Q: How would you describe an artist’s role in society?

A: Dreaming, thinking outside the box, taking time to daydream and imagine things that weren’t there before and examine things that are there. We reflect that to society and ideas for change. We inspire, and depict some of the beauty and positive energy around us. An artwork can also point out failings and try to give directions on how to change.

Q: Future plans?

A: I’m still working on the mural. I’m doing the final files for the mural; its large-scale and higher resolution scans of the paintings. I’m continuing to work on my painting as well, have things in galleries, that sort of thing.

Q: Any advice for current and upcoming fine arts students?

A: Believe in yourself and hold on to your dream. It’s a very important part of life. Pursue your dream and work on it. It may not immediately translate to money, but hold on and work on your dream and your passion. You’ll achieve it if you just set a goal.




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Dropping LBS.
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AWC Fitness Service Coordinator Josh Delgado, and Wellness Coach and Personal Trainer Michelle Murphy work to ensure students and faculty have the tools they need to achieve their fitness goals. Josh and Michelle have some great tips on how to tackle training goals after the holiday season.

  1. Create a meal plan
    Putting structure into your meals and routine provides a clearer understanding of your goals and how to achieve them. Thinking about events, parties or holiday dinners beforehand will help you track what you’re eating and just how much you’re indulging.
  2. Keep a food journal
    Michelle: “portion control is important and food journaling helps keep you accountable for how much you’re eating, giving you a mental check. Sometimes your plan is to indulge but you have to understand what that means tomorrow or next week whether it’s more physical activity to help keep that balance because balance is very important.”
  3. Everything in moderation
    Michelle and Josh both agree that “cheat meals” are physiologically healthy. “Having [a cheat meal] to satisfy you is good for all of us,” Josh believes. “Keeping in mind your mental happiness and emotional needs is always the bigger picture.”
  4. Keep your goals in mind
    It’s easy to fall behind on diet and exercise but having a clear picture of what you want to achieve, with a constant reminder, will help you in the long run. Michelle recommends putting your goals on your refrigerator to help keep your goals where you will see them. “Remind yourself why you’re going to keep yourself in check and why you want to keep those portions in control.”
  5. Listen to your body
    People will skip meals to prepare to feast on larger portions, which is harmful to your body in many different ways. Starving yourself for any reason can have extreme adverse effects to your everyday life, including losing the ability to know when your body is full, overeating, eating too fast and causing an imbalance to your hormones.
    Josh: “Eating isn’t just calories in and calories out. If the hunger hormones rise too much, it might play a role on how your body will metabolize the energy or burn fat afterwards.”
    Michelle: “Fasting before any dinner is not recommended because in the end you’ll do more harm than good.”
  6. Any amount of activity is healthy
    Finding ways to relax and stay active isn’t as hard as it might sound, even for those who don’t have the means to visit the gym. Pushing yourself to venture out to get your morning coffee or visiting holiday markets are a good way to get yourself out of the house and walking around. Michelle: “There’s physical activity and then there is exercise and the difference between the two is the purpose behind it. Just having a goal helps motivates you. Instead of thinking about being more active for the day, think, ‘I want to get 10,000 steps today’ and it will allow you to go that extra bit to reach your own goals.”
  7. Believe in yourself in your goals
    It’s easy to give up when you aren’t seeing the results immediately, but everything takes time and is a process.
    Michelle: “Getting in shape is never a linear process, and there will always be ups and downs and it’s how you react to the challenges that makes the difference. When you do fall off track, you need to accept it, acknowledge it and then move on, not beating yourself up about it otherwise you’re not doing yourself any favours. You’re going to be able to get through this and maintain it in the long run.”

With the proper motivation, any goals you may set out to achieve are possible. Having strong support systems like Josh and Michelle and the other  AWC personal trainers, can be helpful for anyone trying to get back on track with the overall quality of their life.

Free fitness consultations are being offered with the fitness coordinator and personal trainers. More information about session pricing or fitness classes can be found at the Athletics and Wellness Centre, or online at


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Centennial Talks Internet Bubbles
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Colts Success Continues
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By Kajan Thiruthanikasalam, Photos by Yvano Antonio courtesy Colts Marketing

Men’s Basketball

Talk about a bounce back start to the season for both the Centennial Colts women’s and men’s varsity basketball teams! The basketball program is on the come-up this season as both basketball teams have winning records heading into the start of the second semester.

The Colts men have enjoyed a scorching start to the season, with a 7-3 record. In a team with only four players returning from the previous season, the Colts coaching staff has done a remarkable job so far in integrating the rookies and transfer athletes seamlessly.

Co-captains, Marko Curic and Paul Walwyn, have been key in keeping the young Colts grounded and hungry. Curic leads the team in points (18.9), rebounds (9.1), and blocks (2.1) per game while Walwyn, also known as LC, has provided Centennial with a steadying influence and solid production with 13.9 ppg and 5.5 rpg. Josh Mcfarlene, a transfer student athlete from Seneca College, is making a statement in his first season in Centennial, leading the team in assists (7.4) and steals (3.6) per game.

Trevor Challenger is in his first year as the head coach of the Centennial men and has led the Colts to more wins in the first half of the season than last season alone (6-14). Assistant coaches Chris Stewart, John Clara, Javaughan Davis, and Yoosrie Salhia have also been instrumental in player development and making sure the team’s rebuild is going quicker than expected.

Bigger things are expected for the Colts men as they head into the second half of the season with Centennial set to host this year’s OCAA championship.

Women’s Basketball

Add the Colts women’s varsity basketball team to a list of Centennial teams that have enjoyed a remarkable turnaround from last season as they ended the first half with a 5-4 record, which is more than the amount of wins they had last season (4-10).

The entire coaching staff have returned from last season with Justin Bobb in his second year as head coach and Ryan McNeilly, Kadeja Hughes, and Tameka Blackwood as assistant coaches. Like the Centennial men, the Colts women has a new roster, with four players back from the previous season, and the coaching staff deserves a ton of credit for turning the team around quickly.   

Rookie forward Yasmeen Smith is a revelation for the Colts, averaging a double-double and leading the team in points and rebounds with 14.4 ppg and 11.3 rpg. Veteran forward Kayla Higgins currently leads the Centennial women in steals (3) and blocks (0.9) per game while sophomore guard Ana Casado paces the team in assists per game (3.1).

Although the team is losing its starting point guard (Casado) because of graduation, this resilient Colts team will not back down.

Visit for more coverage, upcoming games and results, and all Centennial Colts information.


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One Last Ride Into The Sunset
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By Kajan Thirthanikasalam

A closer look at Centennial point guard Ana Casado

Ana Casado sat on the bench, just hours before the final game of her collegiate career as a member of the Centennial Colts women’s basketball team, on Nov. 30, 2016.

The memories all came back to her in a flash, as the Colts’ starting point guard was ready to play one last game.

“It feels kind of weird,” Casado admitted, as she prepared for her game against the Durham Lords. “I had such a nice experience so I feel sad but I also feel excited because we’re playing against a good team.”

Casado, an international student from Spain, has completed the final semester of her two-year program in Project Management. Her inspiration behind joining the basketball team was through the Centennial website and her past experience in Spain.

“I came here as an exchange student for one semester and I saw that there was a basketball team on the Centennial website so I decided to try out,” Casado said. “I used to play in Spain.”

In the 2015-16 season, Casado was named to the OCAA All-Rookie Team despite the team only winning four games altogether.

However, this season, she has been a veteran influence on the rookies and has played a key role in the Colts starting off 5-3, heading into the final game of the semester.

“I was kind of uncomfortable last year; the language was kind of hard for me. This year, I’m more in my comfort zone,” Casado explained. “The team feels like a family to me and we’re trying to build together.” 

When Justin Bobb first got into contact with Casado, he said Casado told him in an email that she wanted to try out for the Centennial basketball team. The Colts coach, at first, was skeptical.

 “Ana told me she used to play basketball but hadn’t played in about two years,” Bobb said. “I had no idea what to expect from her.”

However, Bobb invited Casado to attend a workout and was stunned by what he saw from her.

“She was easily the best player in our gym even though she was rusty,” Bobb said.

Casado had high praise for Bobb, crediting him for helping her get used to the environment in Canada.

“He (Coach Bobb) helped me find a job,” Casado said. “He was always supportive of me since I came here.”

Casado expressed her happiness when she found out her parents were coming from Spain to watch her play one last time.

“It’s very exciting having my parents here watching my last game,” Casado said, clearly thrilled. “I haven’t seen my parents since April.”

One of the major improvements that Coach Bobb noticed in Casado this year compared to the past year was her willingness to take on more of a leadership role on the court, particularly by example.

“This year, she’s been more vocal, which is a good thing for us. She’s been encouraging; she’s been on her teammates when she needs to be,” Coach Bobb said. “But she’s always positive.”

Colts assistant coach Ryan McNeilly has also been witness to Casado’s growth on and off the court. McNeilly has noticed for this season, in particular, Casado’s acceptance of criticism.

“Ana’s definitely embraced more responsibility as one of the better players in the league,” McNeilly said. “She’s got calmer on the basketball court than she was last year. She’s grown in the way of her willingness of accepting criticism.”

As for off the court, McNeilly says it’s self-explanatory when it comes to Casado’s kindness.

“You probably wouldn’t find a genuine kinder hearted person than Ana,” McNeilly said. “She will give you the shirt off her back if she doesn’t have anything. She will always look to help teammates or anybody in general.”

Before the game against Durham, the staff here at Centennial decided to have a Seniors Night in tribute to Casado. The coaching staff presented her with a bouquet as a farewell gift as Casado got a standing ovation from the crowd and the opposing Lords.

Although the Colts fell short, losing 70-49, to the Durham Lords, Casado left it all out on the floor, with eight points, ten rebounds, and five assists.

As the days toward the end of first semester draw closer, Casado says she will miss the people she has met at Centennial and the environment just in general. 

About what she’d miss, in particular, Casado said sadly, 

“The teammates and the coaching staff, for sure. Along with the environment and the student life as well. It’s been an experience that I’ll never forget.”


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Indiegogo & Talkspace
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By: Mohamed Imane Chahdi

Crowdfunding is an alternative way to fund your project by drawing support from your close network and fan base. But does it actually work and how well? In this interview, Valerie Laurie, producer of the feature film “Drowning,” shares some insights on the film’s Indiegogo campaign.

What is your opinion about crowdfunding as a way to fund films?

Every single campaign is almost entirely dependent on personal networks – friends, family, colleagues, old high school teachers, whomever… but I’d say 99% of any campaign’s donations come exclusively from people who know you and want you to succeed. This is a way for them to support you in your dreams and for the most part, the warm fuzzies they get from helping you is what they’re “getting” out of the deal (no matter what perks you have).

The above being said, this means you can probably only play the crowdfunding “card” once. You will not get a second successful campaign from your network so you have to decide which film you are going to invest that kind of personal equity in. It makes the project very personal to you because you are accountable to everyone in your life for completing your film. This goes for everyone who is involved in your film as of crowdfund time – DOP, editor, actors, etc. It’s not just about the director and/or producers, but everyone whose personal contacts are drawn upon to contribute.

How was your experience with crowdfunding on your project?

My experience specifically was that it was super hard. Asking for money is the most demeaning thing. You’re not some famous star with fans (that) will totally give you two million dollars to make a movie. You’re not Zach Braff or Stephen Amell. You’re just you and you want to make your micro budget film. Hundreds or thousands of strangers are not going to discover your project and think it’s worth propelling to the stratosphere. Know that. Live it. Prepare yourself for how hard it’s going to be to keep up the enthusiasm and interaction with your networks over the length of the campaign. Have some big “donations” lined up right at the beginning. Maybe it’s “your” investment, or your parents are lovely and give you a cheque. Showing a strong start on that status bar is super important.
Does it change the way you relate to the project as a producer?

As timing goes, it becomes a tricky guessing game as to when you actually do your crowdfund. Too early in the development process and you don’t have enough people on board yet that could really bring in funds. Too late and you are muddling through to pre-production without having a clue how much money you have to work with. How do you plan or bring people on board if you have no idea what your financing looks like? It’s a chicken and egg thing for sure. Having your lead actor is probably the most important element, but absolutely everyone who is a part of your film will be contributing their networks and it’s important they know that expectation before signing on.

It doesn’t hurt for your story to have a built-in audience that could actually mean some attention from outside of your network. An audience could come from your star actor who has 30,000 Twitter followers or a theme or underlying social issue that could get the backing of any number of social justice groups. It’s one of the reasons documentaries do better from crowdfunds than fiction. Documentaries are often telling a story that the public needs or wants to hear, so it’s easier to get buy-in from strangers who don’t know you, but your topic is close to their hearts.

Do you think it’s a viable way to raise money for films in Canada?

Yes, it’s a viable way to raise some of your budget on the right kind of project. It will never be all of it. But it’ll be enough to get something off the ground – or through post (lots of films will run a campaign for finishing funds). It takes a tremendous amount of work and planning and hustling. You have to be realistic with the goal you set and make sure it’s achievable. $10,000 is about the norm, I think. We got to $11,000 and many people we’ve spoken to have been very impressed by that, though it doesn’t feel like that much knowing how much effort went into it! It’s also definitely not enough to make a feature!


By Nicole Royle

One of the biggest setbacks to counselling services is the time it demands. The sessions themselves average one hour, but a patient needs to take more time than that out of their schedules to accommodate travel time.

As a commuter school, Centennial is a representation of inconvenience negatively affecting counselling services. One of the reasons Centennial had to stop group therapy sessions was that students could not find the time in their class and work schedules to travel to campus for an hour-long therapy group. Organizations in the United States and Canada have come up with a proposed solution to the inconvenience of face-to-face therapy: online therapy. But does convenience mean benefit in this regard?

Following trends of online convenience, mental health aid is transforming. Talkspace, an American online therapy organization, is growing popular worldwide due to its convenience. The process, based mainly on instant messaging, is similar to that of acquiring a personal therapist from a practice. Immediately after signing up, the patient is sent an instant message by a Talkspace therapist asking for personal details and goals of therapy. Based on the patient’s answer, the initial therapist then uses the Talkspace database to match the patient with a suitable, permanent therapist, which is assigned after the patient pays for their desired subscription.

Once matched, a patient has unlimited instant messaging allowances, and the ability to send a message to their therapist directly after a thought, emotion or situation comes up. Talkspace saw a need for this instantaneity, feeling that waiting for a scheduled session and having to recall thoughts, emotions or situations leave something to be desired.

“I’m a therapist here in Chicago as well (as on Talkspace). While I do find this format a bit different, I do see it as extremely helpful,” said Matthew Lawson, a therapist with Talkspace. “I feel that I do just as much good online as I do in person.”

The price for Talkspace subscriptions are similar to that of paying for face-to-face counselling services. Depending on the subscription, Talkspace is not limited to instant messaging, known on their website as “Messaging Therapy.” According to a Talkspace therapist, for $172 USD per month, the patient will be allowed unlimited Messaging Therapy and one 30-minute video conference each month. For additional video calling, the patient must pay $49 USD per 30-minute call. Keep in mind these are American prices, and as most psychiatric therapy is not covered by OHIP, these prices would be converted to the Canadian dollar and likely fall heavily on the customer.

“The subscription plan we offer is priced in a way to make this service accessible to as many people as possible,” Lawson said.

While Lawson sees the benefits of Messaging Therapy, he said that mental health is an extremely personal issue and can really only be tended to by needs of each specific patient. It is possible that when it comes to matters of mental health, convenience is not the top priority.

Alexa Battler, a Centennial student, experienced the setback of finding the perfect therapy program two hours from the campus on which she spent most of her days. Every Tuesday, after four hours of classes at the Story Arts Campus, Battler would find herself rushing to travel from downtown Toronto to Whitby, taking a bus to the subway, then walking to the nearest GO train, which she would ride until getting off to use Durham Region buses to arrive at her therapist’s office.

“I would rush to leave class and end up overwhelmed by the same anxiety I was there to try and manage,” Battler said. “The steep cost of transit, travel delays, early or late buses at transfer points, everything was very precariously organized, and one small misstep meant I would miss something crucial to my wellbeing. But this program and my therapist were right for me, and that’s not something you give up on.”

Battler sees the process of finding a therapist with a trusting and comfortable connection not only difficult, but crucial. Battler is unsure of the degree of trust she can extend to someone she has never met in person and can only see for 30 minutes every month. Without trust and comfort, Battler can’t get everything possible from her therapy.

“I absolutely appreciate and often thought of the convenience that online therapy would bring while travelling to my own therapy, but I am a very interpersonal learner, and at the end of the day therapy is about learning,” said Battler. “I find the environment of a therapist’s office can also help shift me into the right mindset for a session. When I need to step away from the world and think about my mental health, I find it helps me to do so physically.”

Mental health aid is changing in ways to adapt to our extremely convenient, modern way of life. Online and Messaging Therapy is a concept initiated in the last decade and one that continues to evolve. While online has its obvious benefits, fitting perfectly into our new age society, some patients still feel they need live, human interaction. No matter how compelling, educated and helpful the words of a therapist are, hearing them directly from the mouth of an individual holds something that reading print from a screen can’t provide.

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Summer To Winter
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By Rachel Levitt

Don’t put your summer clothes into hibernation yet! No need to limit your fashion regime to jeans and sweaters this snowy season. Instead, turn your summer staples into cozy winter wear.

Sleeveless Dress

For a warmer winter day, grab some beige tights and throw a sleeveless dress over a long sleeved collared shirt. If you have leggings that match, substitute those for tights on colder days. If you want a more formal look, substitute a blazer for a collared shirt. For a more casual look, opt for a cropped sweater.

Mini Skirt & Top

Match leggings with a mini skirt to make your legs look great and keep them toasty warm. On top, wear a tank top with a collared button down shirt thrown over and tied in the front. You can also pair the tank top with any of the suggestions above in the spaghetti strap/belly top paragraph or wear a cropped sweater with the mini skirt instead.

Spaghetti Strap & Belly Tops

Layer up a spaghetti strap or belly top with jeans and a cute throw over. Cardigans and mini varsity sweaters pair great with spaghetti strap tops. Button down shirts (buttoned or unbuttoned) pair great with both. The button down with a spaghetti strap is more casual, but with a belly top is a bold party look. Word to the wise, if you’ll be inside don’t commit to wearing a sweatshirt or leather coat over either. You may get hot and these tiny tops may leave you cold without a cover.

Items To Hibernate

Shorts: You will freeze without anything under them and tights will most likely be too light to protect your legs. Perhaps someone cooler and more fashionable can pull this off, but a mere mortal such as myself can only suggest that the other mortals stick these in the closet for the season.

Sandals: You’d think I wouldn’t have to put this one on here, but my friend just told me she wore flip flops to go to Starbucks in the cold. This does happen.



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The Local Cafe Review
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By Tiara Jade, Photos courtesy Yvano Antonio

This fall Centennial College opened The Local Cafe and Restaurant in the Culinary Arts Centre at Progress Campus. The restaurant is run by students at the college, with meals being prepared and plated by the culinary students. They offer a market style lunch Monday- Friday, different dinner service options each day of the week, as well as a Saturday brunch buffet. The restaurant is open not only to students, but the public. With the goal of becoming “the local” restaurant in Scarborough. That’s where the name came from. We decided to make a trip down to Progress to give the food a try.

When I first walked in, I noticed that the place was quiet. Likely due to it being a cold evening, I definitely didn’t mind the silent dining experience. The café portion is the first thing you’ll see when entering the space. It was cute and reminded me of one of those little cafes downtown. Though I wasn’t able to try a drink, it seemed like a great place for students to grab a latte in between classes or enjoy a treat with a friend in their downtime. 

Next we were on to the restaurant. The student staff was friendly, and showed us to our table which was decorated with poinsettias for the holiday season. A very welcoming touch I might add. The menu consisted of a 3-course meal that included an appetizer, main course and dessert. There were a few choices for each, all of which seemed very good. Due to an unfortunate nut allergy, only one of us were able to try an appetizer; a soup. From what I was told, the flavours were great and the plating looked very appealing. 

We decided on the burger and the steak as our main course. Also to accompany our meal, was some house red wine. The main course was served with fresh cut fries and house ketchup that was very tasty. The food was filling, but we had to leave room for dessert; bread pudding with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Of all the things we tried, that had to be my absolute favourite. It was plated nicely and the flavours went well together. Now that was a dessert I’d have to get again.

With locally sourced ingredients, and a range of flavours, The Local is definitely worth checking out. The cozy space makes you forget you’re on campus and the chefs and culinary students have done a great job turning The Local into more than just a school cafe with their quality and presentation. Whether you want something quick between classes or a nice meal with friends, Centennial’s new food service takes a new spin on eating on campus.


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The Caribbean Project
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January Who’s Who
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