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October 4, 2011

    I n   t h i s   i s s u e . . .
  • GRI 300 Starts Wednesday, November 2
  • Red Cross Blood Drive Thursday, October 13
  • Congratulations to the 2012 BoD
  • Annual Association Awards
  • PGCAR Committees Kick Off a New Year
  • 2012 Dues Renewals
        - Third Installment Due Oct 31
  • Important Vote on NFIP Today;
        FHA/GSE Mortgage Limits Expire
  • 2011 NAR Conference
  • Columbus Day Holiday
    Homeownership Matters
  • Buy Suitland Initiative
  • Free October Training Available
  • Fannie Mae Offer Expires October 31:
        3.5% Buyer Incentives Plus $1200 Agent Bonus
  • Amazing Homebuyer Incentives
    The Industry Insider
  • Updated Contracts, Lease & Addendum Alert
  • Market Sen$e: Fed Actions Trigger Lower
        Mortgage Rates
  • August Existing-Home Sales Rise
  • Changes in Earnest Money Deposit Management
  • Sales Coach: Opportunity in Everyday
  • DC and MD CEU
  • Code of Ethics: Case #17-13
  • REALTORS® FCU - $50 Cash Back in October
  • Free MRIS Hand-On Training at PGCAR
  • HUGE SentriLock Lockbox Sale
  • DC Salesperson License Renewals
    GRI 300 Starts Wednesday, November 2
    Sign up for the entire, 25.5 CE Series here!

    Need a few make-up classes?
    Sign up for individual classes by clicking class titles below.
    Earn Your GRI by taking GRI Series 100, 200 and 300 in any order!

      red arrow Module 301: Environmental / Health Issues Affecting Real Estate - Wed, Nov 2
      red arrow Module 302: Taxes - Mon, Nov 7
      red arrow Module 303: Ethics & Mediation and Arbitration - Thurs, Nov 10
      red arrow Module 304: Legislative Update & Smart Growth and Land Planning - Wed, Nov 16
      red arrow Module 305: Real Estate Technology & Trends - Thurs, Nov 17

    Red Cross Blood Drive
    Next Thursday, October 13, 9 am - 3 pm

    Come give the gift of life!

    At the PGCAR Office
    anytime from 9 am to 3 pm next Thursday.

    Invite family and friends. . . challenge your entire office to come!


    Congratulations to the 2012 PGCAR Officers and Directors

    Congratulations to the 2011 - 2012 PGCAR Board of Directors who were sworn in at the Installation Luncheon on Thursday, September 22. We also congratulate our 2010 - 2011 Board of Directors and Committee volunteers on a successful year! Thank you to everyone who participated in voting and the Installation.
    The 2011 - 2012 Board of Directors
    President: Alease Bowles, RE/MAX Specialists
    President-Elect: Anthony Williams, Long & Foster Real Estate
    Secretary: John Lesniewski, RE/MAX United Real Estate
    Past President: Joanne Darling, Darling Real Estate Company
    Directors: Cheryl Abrams, RE/MAX Specialists
    John Allen, SellState Dominion Realty
    Patricia Dowtin, Long & Foster Real Estate
    Yolanda Muckle, Long & Foster Real Estate
    Lorence "Chuck" Ottley, SellState Dominion Realty
    Veera Phillips, Keller Williams Preferred Properties
    Willie M. Rhone, Weichert REALTORS®
    Chris Richardson, RE/MAX Professionals

    We also presented our Annual Association Awards at the Installation.

    Congratulations to:

    2011 REALTOR® of the Year:   Joanne Darling,
    Darling Real Estate Company
    2011 Affiliate of the Year:   Kelli Baxter,
    EmKay Title Solutions, LLC
    2011 Distinguished Sales Associate Award:   Linda Simpson,
    Weichert REALTORS®
    2011 Distinguished Service Award:   Michael F. Cerrito,
    Cerrito Realty, LLC


    PGCAR Committees Kick Off a New Year

    For most of the PGCAR committees, it's not too late to join for the new membership year and our 2012 Committees beginning this month. ALL PGCAR REALTOR® and Affiliate members are encouraged to volunteer for a committee best fitting their interests. Click here to sign up >

    2012 Dues Renewals Were Due October 1!
    Primary REALTORS®: Paying by Installment?
    Third Installment is Due Monday, October 31

    Use our fast and secure Online Dues Payment!
    Whether making one complete payment, or paying by installment, paying online is easy, secure, and supplies you with a receipt.

    Renew as Easy as 1-2-3:

    1. Click here
    2. Log in
    3. Renew online and receive receipt !

    2011 dues are payable no later than Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 in order to prevent late charges. Primary REALTOR® members may pay their 2012 dues in installments. Remaining installment payments are due as follows:

    Installment 3: Due October 31 $156.25
    Installment 4: Due November 30 $156.25

    Please note: If dues payments are not made online, they may not be reflected in your private, online History portal.


    call for action

    call for action Congress extended flood insurance only until today, October 4, when the House will vote on a longer extension to November 18 that the Senate approved September 26th. If the House approves the longer extension, which is not certain, the Senate will still need to pass the 5-year reform bill (H.R. 1309) and resolve any differences with the House before this latest extension ends. Now is not the time to let up. Now that we are closer than ever, we need everyone to respond to the Call for Action to push the 5-year bill over the finish line.

    Without the NFIP, there would no longer be access to affordable insurance to protect against flooding, the most pervasive and extensive natural disaster in the U.S.

    As fellow REALTOR® Kevin Sears reminds us in his video message, the only way that a home owner can acquire a federally backed mortgage in over 21,000 communities is through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). There is virtually no private insurance market and standard home owner policies do not cover flood damage. Housing markets in many areas will come to a complete standstill unless this program gets reauthorized. Banks will not lend without a policy in place and the program cannot issue a flood policy without renewing the Congressional authority. This is why we need you to send a letter to Congress urging them to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program.

    Without this insurance program more of the burden for the cleanup from a flood falls to tax payers in the form of federal post-disaster assistance. More hurricanes are already on the horizon and forecasts predict this to continue to be a busy storm season. Combined with record rainfall and snow melt, flood disasters have also been declared all across the Midwest. We can expect to see more of the same just about everywhere. This program must be in place to help keep already fragile markets moving on the eastern seaboard and beyond.

    It is with urgency that we ask you to send a letter to your Senators today asking that they reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, for the long-term, quickly.

    FHA / GSE Loan Limits
    Status: EXPIRED on Friday, September 30

    As of Friday, FHA and GSE loan limits decreased from $729,750 to $625,500 in Prince George's County. NAR will continue to work with Congress to attempt to restore the higher limits as quickly as possible.

    Meanwhile, if you have not asked your Congress members to act on this, please do so now.
    Urge Congress to take action to extend FHA / GSE Loan Limits >

    Mortgage Interest Deduction
    Status: Elimination or Reduction Still Under Consideration

    Any changes to the mortgage interest deduction now or in the future could threaten recent progress toward stabilizing the housing market, critically erode home prices and values, destroy middle-class wealth accumulation and hurt economic growth, according to NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. Yun challenged recent proposals calling for changes to the tax code, stating that it's a misplaced argument to say the MID was a cause of the housing market bubble and is suddenly part of the deficit problem, when it's been part of the federal tax code for more than 100 years.

    Furthermore, reducing or eliminating the MID is a de facto tax increase on homeowners, who already pay 80 to 90 percent of U.S. federal income tax. Yun said the share could rise to 95 percent if the MID is eliminated.

    Read more >


    2011 NAR Conference & Expo
    November 11 - 14 in Anaheim, California

    Seize the Day

    2011 NAR Conference Choose from 100 education sessions, visit 400 industry vendors, and network with 18,000 members and guests from the U.S. and around the globe. You'll also enjoy the Entrepreneurial Excellence Sessions and special events such as the Diana Ross concert, a 5K run/walk, and more. Oh yes, and the beautiful sunny weather of Anaheim too!

    Details and Registration >


    New Buy Suitland Initiative
    Program Open to Household Incomes up to 120% AMI

    Up to 5% of Home Purchase Price to First-Time Homebuyers
    Up to 7% for Local Civic Employees

    REALTOR Safety Month Suitland is home to the Suitland Federal Center employing over 12,000 and a Metro station, is slated for a 22-acre mixed-use development project, and now has its own First-Time Homebuyers Program. The Buy Suitland Initiative will award 0% interest grants to households who have not owned a home within the last 3 years, and are buying a home as their principal residence.

    Homebuyers can receive these 0% grants for buying:

    • Foreclosure and Short Sale properties
    • In 7 Census Tracks: 8018.02, 8019.02, 8020.01, 8020.02, 8021.05, 8024.05, 8024.06
    • Where Appraisal vs Contract Price = 1% Discount
      Similar to the first NSP Program, the sale price of property under contract must be at a 1% discount of the most recent appraised value.

    Additional Homebuyer Qualifications:
    • Qualifying Households May Earn Up to 120% of the Area Median Income (AMI)
    • Borrower's Minimum Cash Contribution

      Purchaser's Income Level
      (as % Area Median Income)
      Minimum Purchaser's
      Required Cash Contribution
      At or below 80% $1,000 or 50% of liquid assets over $3,000 whichever is greater.
      80% - 120% $1,500 or 50% of liquid assets over $3,000 whichever is greater.

    Buy Suitland Grant Amounts:
    Maximum 0% Interest Grant Amount Applicant Qualifications
    5% of the purchase price of home An applicant with household income between 80 - 120% of the area median income.
    7% of the purchase price of home An applicant currently employed at the Suitland Federal Center, Police Office, Firefighter, Nurse or Teacher.
    35% of the purchase price of home or $40,000
    Whichever is greater, as needed, to meet the
    45% Debt-to-income requirements
    An applicant with a combined household income of 50% or below the area median income.

    Find more details at > and the County's new Buy Suitland website.


    Free October Training Available

    The following training dates are available for REALTORS® and Lenders:
    - My HOME Program -
    October 6, 2011 10:00 a.m. 1400 McCormick Drive, Suite 308
    Largo, MD 20774
    October 6, 2011 2:00 p.m. 1400 McCormick Drive, Suite 308
    Largo, MD 20774
    RSVP at:
    Program details at: and
    - Maryland Mortgage Program -
    October 12 , 2011 8:30 a.m. 100 Community Place,
    Crownsville, MD 21032
    First Floor Conference Room
    RSVP details at:
    Program details at: and
    - Buy Suitland Program -
    October 21, 2011 10:00 a.m. 1400 McCormick Drive, Suite 308
    Largo, MD 20774
    October 21, 2011 2:00 p.m. 1400 McCormick Drive, Suite 308
    Largo, MD 20774
    RSVP at:
    Program details at: and

    1. Fannie Mae 3.5% + Agent Bonus Ends October 31 - homebuyers purchasing a property as their primary residence can also receive up to 3.5% in closing cost assistance. Eligible sales must close by October 31, 2011. A $1,200 selling agent bonus is also available! Complete details >

    2. Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLB Atlanta) - 2 new programs - The first offers up to $15,000 towards a foreclosure purchase. The second offers up to $7,500 to homebuyers earning up to 80% AMI and buying within NSP targeted areas in MD or DC. These two programs do NOT require you to be a first-time homebuyer.
      Consumer information page >   Details & webinars for REALTORS® >

    3. My HOME Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance - up to 5% of Home Sale Price Offered to County Homebuyers who have not owned a home within the last 3 years. $2.2 million in total funds is now available.
      Consumer information page >   Details (in Members Only, updated July 21) >

    4. American Dream Downpayment Assistance (ADDI) - up to $10,000 to County Homebuyers who have not owned a home within the last 3 years. Details >

    5. The Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) offered through the state's Community Development Administration (CDA) has announced 2 loan products for distressed properties. All MMP products have low, fixed interest rates and some offer matching funds. These 2 new products will assist in revitalizing communities burdened with foreclosed and rundown properties.

      The Acquisition / Rehabilitation Mortgage Program helps purchase a single-family home as a primary residence and obtain funds for needed repairs and renovations.

      The Homeward Bound Program offers eligible buyers of foreclosed or short sale property a lower rate mortgage.

      Program Details >   Training Details >

    Most of these programs can be used in combination. Information on these and other homebuyer savings are available at Sales agents - please study up and stay familiar with current homebuyer incentives, and send links to your contacts from these public information pages. For more My HOME program details, members can login to Members Only.


    Updated Contracts & Addendum are Now Available - Effective Immediately

    The Maryland Residential and Unimproved Land Contracts of Sale, the Single Family Dwelling Lease and a Addendum have been updated. The updates include legislative changes which went into effect this Saturday, October 1. Please destroy all older versions of these forms and begin using the new forms immediately. The new forms are dated 10/2011.

    Please visit PGCAR Members Only and MAR Members Only to download the latest forms.

    The MAR Exclusive Right to Sell Listing Agreement has also been revised. This form can be obtained from MAR by returning the Request Brokerage Agreement Form.


    Market Sen$e: Fed Actions Trigger Record Low Fixed Rate Mortgage Averages

    Interest rate averages have fallen to another record low for 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac Vice President and Chief Economist observed, "Fixed mortgage rates fell to all-time record lows this week following the Federal Reserve's announcement of its Maturity Extension Program and additional purchases of mortgage-backed securities. Interest rates for ARMs, however, were nearly unchanged as the Federal Reserve plans to sell $400 billion in short-term Treasury securities, which serve as benchmarks for many ARMs.

    Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending September 29, 2011:

    • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.01 percent, down from 4.09 percent a week ago.
    • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.28 percent, down from 3.29 percent.
    • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 3.02 percent, the same as last week.
    • The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.83 percent, up from 2.82 percent.

    Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >>

    August Home Sales Shows Large Improvement from 2010, Yet Mixed Message

    There's amazing improvements from August 2010 to August 2011, decreases from July to August 2011, yet not above the expected monthly swings. The overall trend is good yet the monthly decrease raises a question - How many potential homebuyers are "on the fence" waiting credit approvals or Federal government decisions?

    Single family sales snapshot for August 2011:

    • 964 new contracts, -4.7% from July, +10.7% from Aug 2010, first time under 1000 new contracts within a month since February 2011.
    • 647 new settlements, -2.4% from July, +20.9% from Aug 2010.
    Condo sales snapshot for August 2011:
    • 120 new contracts, +8.1% from July, +42.9% from Aug 2010.
    • 72 new settlements, -6.5% from July, +30.5% Year-to-Date over 2010.
    Visit for detailed statistics.
    Like us on to see September home sales statistics when they are released this week.


    August Existing-Home Sales Rise Despite Storms, Economic Headwinds

    Existing-home sales increased in August, even with ongoing tight credit and appraisal problems, and regional disruptions created by Hurricane Irene.

    Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 7.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.03 million in August from an upwardly revised 4.67 million in July, and are 18.6 percent higher than the 4.24 million unit level in August 2010.

    Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there are some positive market fundamentals. "Some of the improvement in August may result from sales that were delayed in preceding months, but favorable affordability conditions and rising rents are underlying motivations," he said. "Investors were more active in absorbing foreclosed properties. In addition to bargain hunting, some investors are in the market to hedge against higher inflation."

    First-time buyers purchased 32% of homes in August. Investors accounted for 22% of purchase activity in August.

    Distressed homes - foreclosures and short sales typically sold at deep discounts - accounted for 31% of August sales. Total housing inventory at the end of August fell 3.0 percent to 3.58 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.5-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 9.5-month supply in July.

    Complete article >

    By: Alvin C. Monshower, Jr., Esq.
    Monshower, Miller & Magrogan, LLP

    General Legal Counsel for the Maryland Association of REALTORS®

    URGENT: Changes in Earnest Money Deposit Management
    Effective Immediately

    In August 2010, the Maryland Real Estate Commission announced a new advisory regarding the return of earnest money deposits by real estate brokers in residential real estate transactions where the property is located in a Homeowners Association or is a condominium.

    Specifically, the Commission advised that a real estate broker may return the earnest money deposit to the buyer without a written release of deposit agreement signed by the seller and the buyer in those instances where a buyer timely rescinds the Contract of Sale, in writing, based upon the receipt of the required disclosures from the seller and/or the condominium or Homeowners Association ("HOA").

    However, with the enactment of House Bill 1109 during the 2011 Session of the Maryland Legislature, this has now changed effective October 1, 2011.

    Pursuant to House Bill 1109, the Maryland Legislature amended the Condominium Act with respect to the initial and resale of condominium units as well as the Disclosure/Disclaimer Act and the Maryland Homeowners Association Act to provide that any earnest money deposits held by a licensed real estate broker shall comply with the requirements of Section 17-505 of the Maryland Real Estate Brokers Act. In other words, in a residential transaction where the property being conveyed is located within a condominium, or within a homeowners association, or is subject to the Maryland Residential Property Disclosure/Disclaimer Act, a broker may not distribute the earnest money deposit in the absence of proper written instructions from the seller and the buyer directing the disposition of the deposit monies or the broker, in the broker's good faith, intends to disburse the deposit monies to the seller or the buyer, by written notice to both parties, pursuant to the requirements of Section 17-505(b)(1) of the Maryland Real Estate Brokers Act.

    Accordingly, the provisions of House Bill 1109 supercede the informal interpretation of the Maryland Real Estate Commission as communicated in 2010.

    Accordingly, please ensure that this information is shared with all other agents in your office, in order to ensure that deposit monies are not distributed without written instructions from the seller and buyer as required by the new law, effective immediately as of October 1, 2011.

    The current MAR Residential Contract of Sale, dated 10/11 reflects this change.


    Sales Coach: Opportunity in Everyday Encounters

    Have you ever stood in line at your local coffee shop and thought about striking up a conversation with the person in front of you, but then decided against it? Who knows? This person might be considering buying or selling a house. You may learn a valuable life tip from them.

    Learn to love meeting new people. People today are starved for connection with others - not just online, but in the physical world.

    Read tips on "random networking" and turning everyday encounters into real business leads >


    Earn All MD and DC Required CEU at PGCAR

    All classes are held at PGCAR offices, just off the Route 202 / Landover Road exit of I-495. Find our NEW association office at 9200 Basil Court, Suite 400, Largo, MD 20774. There's plenty of parking.

    Wednesday, October 19
    MD Legislative Update
    3.0 MD Required Legislative Update CEU;
    3.0 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    MD Fair Housing
    1.5 MD Required Fair Housing CEU;
    1.5 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

    Thursday, October 20
    Buyer Beware - Foreclosed & Neglected Properties
    3.0 Elective CEU
    Vimal Kapoor 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Tuesday, October 25
    3.0 MD Elective CEU;
    3.0 DC Elective CEU
    Larry Hudson 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    Environmental Issues/Chesapeake Bay
    1.5 MD Elective CEU
    Larry Hudson 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

    Wednesday, October 26
    MD Code of Ethics
    3.0 MD Required Ethics CEU;
    3.0 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    MREC Agency-Residential
    3 MD Required or elective CEU
    Don Martin 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    Starting Wednesday, November 2
    GRI 300 Series - Full Series of 5 Classes
    MD CEU - 25.5 hours total:
    13.5 hrs Legislative Update and 12 hrs Elective CE
    - 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

    Friday, November 4
    Short Sales
    3.0 MD Elective CEU
    Jill Michaels 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Complete CEU Schedule >>


    Case #17-13:
    Arbitration Involving a REALTOR® Selling her Own Property

    REALTOR® B was a real estate broker and property manager who, in addition to managing property for others, frequently bought and sold income property for her own account. Needing capital for another project, REALTOR® B decided to sell a three-flat building in which she had a strong equity position and which she thought would move quickly, given the current market conditions. To maximize market exposure, she listed the property with her firm and entered information regarding the listing into the MLS. She put a sign in front of the property indicating that it was for sale "by owner." Her ads in the local newspapers indicated that the seller was a "broker-owner."

    REALTOR® A, who lived near the building, saw the "for sale" sign and called REALTOR® B. Introducing himself as a broker and as a REALTOR®, REALTOR® A asked what the asking price was and whether REALTOR® B was interested in listing her property. REALTOR® B did not indicate that she had listed her own property nor did she disclose that she was a broker or a REALTOR®. She did indicate that she would pay a commission to REALTOR® A if he procured a purchaser for the property but added that she preferred not to enter into an exclusive relationship with any broker and didn't want to put anything into writing.

    REALTOR® A thought the property might interest Dr. X, REALTOR® A's chiropractor, and contacted him. Dr. X was in fact interested and, after several visits to the property, made an offer to purchase which was subsequently accepted by REALTOR® B.

    At the closing, REALTOR® A learned several things, among them, that REALTOR® B, the seller, was also a REALTOR® and, more importantly, that REALTOR® B had instructed that only half of the previously agreed on commission was to be disbursed to REALTOR® A. When REALTOR® A protested the shortfall, REALTOR® B responded that her property was highly desirable, had "practically sold itself," and, in any event, REALTOR® A had expended minimal efforts in bringing about the quick sale. REALTOR® A disagreed with REALTOR® B's reasoning and, after appeals to REALTOR® B's sense of fairness went unheeded, filed an arbitration request with the Board of REALTORS®. Faced with the request to arbitrate, REALTOR® B declined, referring to Article 17 of the Code of Ethics and noting that it relates to disputes between REALTORS® ". . . arising out of their relationship as REALTORS® . . ." whereas she had been the seller.

    REALTOR® B's refusal to arbitrate was referred to the Board of Directors for their consideration.

    Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 17, how do you think the Board of Directors ruled?

    Find out here >>


    Save BIG with REALTORS® Federal Credit Union
    - Plus Receive $50 Back for October Auto Loans

    Are you, or someone in your family, paying too much interest on your car or home loan? REALTORS® FCU offers auto loan rates and 30-year fixed rate mortgages.

    • Auto Loans - Refer a friend or family member, or close on an auto loan yourself, between now and October 31, 2011 (includes refinance loans) and receive an extra $50 cash and an incredibly low interest rate. APR is currently 4.25%.
    • Home Mortgages - Fixed and adjustable rate mortgages of various terms are all offered at competitive rates, and with zero points! Current 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.00%.
    Apply for home or auto loans online at


    Did You Know?
    You Can Attend Free MRIS Hand-On Training at PGCAR

    PGCAR hosts free MRIS hands-on training sessions each month. The October sessions are:

    Tuesday, October 18, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    Maximize Your Productivity with MRIS

    Tuesday, October 18, 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    Matrix Tips and Tricks

    Visit for details and registration. Advance registration with MRIS is required.


    Extended through December 31, 2011

    PGCAR is pleased to announce a special sale on SentriLock Lockboxes for PGCAR Members.
    Between NOW and DECEMBER 31, 2011, lockboxes will be sold as follows:

    1 - 9 Lockboxes
    10 - 19 Lockboxes
    20 - 29 Lockboxes
    30 Lockboxes or more
      $65 each + tax
    $60 each + tax
    $55 each + tax
    $50 each + tax


    DC Salesperson Licenses - Expired August 31

    Please remember that it is unlawful to practice real estate in the District of Columbia without a current DC real estate license. If you missed the August 31 deadline, you may still renew with a late fee; however, you may NOT conduct real estate activities in DC until doing so. Click here for the DCREC license renewal website.

    The PGCAR office will be closed next Monday, October 10th for Columbus Day.
    Have a safe and happy holiday.

    Prince George's County Association of REALTORS®
    8300 Corporate Drive, Suite 100  :  Landover, MD 20785
    Phone 301-306-7900  :  Fax 301-306-8273  :  :  ©2011 PGCAR

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