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N.H. Chestnut Tree May Rebirth Species
AP via physorg.com ^ | July 18, 2007 | Staff Reporter

Posted on 07/18/2007 6:39:48 AM PDT by Daffynition

-- A healthy American chestnut tree discovered on a New Hampshire farm may serve as the "mother tree" to bring back a species nearly wiped out by Asian blight.

The tree was found on a 125-acre parcel owned by Bill and Nancy Yates. Bill Yates remembers 60 years ago when American chestnuts lined the road near his home before the tree was all but wiped out on the Eastern seaboard. American Chestnut Foundation officials hope to use the tree as a way to bring the tree back to New Hampshire.

Leila Pinchot, the foundation's New England science coordinator, pollinated the 40-foot tree Monday using pollen from a Tennessee chestnut that has developed resistance to the blight.

The Asian blight, which first started infecting American chestnuts around 1904 in New York City, is a fungus that enters wounds in trees and grows in and under the bark until it has grown through the trunk, according to the foundation.

Scientists have crossed the Chinese chestnut, which is resistant to the fungus, with the American chestnut to produce blight-resistant trees. The process is a slow, but may eventually make chestnut a common species again, Pinchot said.

Pinchot put 80 small bags around blossoms on the Yates' tree 10 days ago. After pollinating the blossoms Monday, she retied the bags to prevent airborne pollen from fertilizing or blocking the fertilization of the blight-resistant pollen.

Sometime this fall, the tree should produce chestnuts that will be collected and planted in a Vermont orchard where they will be closely monitored, Pinchot said.

The foundation said eight trees have been pollinated this way and their nuts harvested over the past year. The goal is to cross-pollinate 20 trees in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Pinchot said the foundation also has been working with the state to plant the blight-resistant trees in state forests.

The foundation has just recently started a chapter in New Hampshire and Vermont.

Yates contacted the foundation after seeing an ad in a magazine.

"They were very interested because they said it was a pure American chestnut," Yates said.

Don Black, coordinator for forest resources for the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, said chestnuts once were one of the most valuable trees in the United States.

"They were good for firewood, furniture and houses because they don't rot, and they have an edible nut," he added. "It's a beautiful wood."

If the cross-pollination program works, the state will have chestnuts again, said Black.

"People have been waiting for something like this for a long time," he said.

Past efforts have not succeeded. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station launched vigorous programs soon after the blight was discovered. But the program failed to produce trees with strong resistance to blight that also retained the desirable traits of the American chestnut. The U.S. program was discontinued in 1960, according to the foundation.

The foundation has worked with the Connecticut agency, whose program continued.

Blight-resistant trees have been planted in orchards in Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts, Pinchot said.

"In the next couple of years we should have resistant nuts in New Hampshire," Pinchot said. "There are chestnut roads everywhere (in New England), and it shows how big a part of the landscape it was. It can be again."


TOPICS: Outdoors; Science
KEYWORDS: chestnuts; chestnuttree; immunity; trees

1 posted on 07/18/2007 6:39:49 AM PDT by Daffynition
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To: Daffynition

I won’t live long enough to see it, but it would be a great thing to have elms and chestnuts become common again.


2 posted on 07/18/2007 6:43:04 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Progressives like to keep doing the things that didn't work in the past.)
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To: ClearCase_guy
it would be a great thing to have elms and chestnuts become common again.

I agree.

3 posted on 07/18/2007 6:44:59 AM PDT by syriacus (If the US troops had remained in S. Korea in 1949, there would have been no Korean War (1950-53).)
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To: Daffynition

I have a vague recolection of a few Chestnut trees that grew in my hometown.


4 posted on 07/18/2007 6:45:10 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Greed is NOT a conservative ideal.)
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To: Daffynition
Leila Pinchot

Apropos surname for such an endeavor.

5 posted on 07/18/2007 6:53:25 AM PDT by Lil'freeper (You do not have the plug-in required to view this tagline.)
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To: ClearCase_guy
Amen. I have a special affection for great trees.


6 posted on 07/18/2007 6:53:42 AM PDT by Daffynition (The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.)
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To: Daffynition

I hope it works. I love trees, although I’m allergic to them. :)


7 posted on 07/18/2007 6:56:12 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: cripplecreek
Chestnut trees are worthy of saving. I cannot imagine a new republic built without them.

THE AMERICAN CHESTNUT

There was a time when the American chestnut was the very heart of our forests. Wild life of many kinds depended on its nuts, which often fell in such abundance as to carpet the floor of the forest. Rural folk depended on the nuts too (as did their livestock), for they were tasty and nutritious. And the American chestnut provided timber unrivalled in quality. Straight-grained and strong, easy to work and rot resistant, chestnut lumber went into everything from barn beams to furniture.

That time is gone. This tree, once the dominant species over much of our Eastern forests, was brought down by a disease. It was not a native disease but an exotic one, an accidentally imported fungus to which our trees had no resistance. From its point of introduction in New York City around the turn of the century, the Asian chestnut blight moved outward at a remarkable pace; fifty years later, all that remained of the species on which so much richness of life depended were millions of acres of dead but still standing stems.

But the time of the chestnut can return. Recent developments in genetics and plant pathology promise that this magnificent tree will again become part of our natural heritage. In 1983, responding to these developments, a group of prominent scientists established The American Chestnut Foundation.

THE AMERICAN CHESTNUT STORY

Not too long ago, the American chestnut was one of the most important trees of forested from Maine south to Georgia, from the Piedmont west to the Ohio valley. In the heart of its range only a few generations ago, a count of trees would have turned up one chestnut for every four oaks, birches, maples and other hardwoods. Many of the dry ridgetops of the central Appalachians were so thoroughly crowded with chestnut that, in early summer, when their canopies were filled with creamy-white flowers, the mountains appeared snow-capped.

And the trees could be giants. In virgin forests throughout their range, mature chestnuts averaged up to five feet in diameter and up to one hundred feet tall. Many specimens of eight to ten feet in diameter were recorded, and there were rumors of trees bigger still.

Native wildlife from birds to bears, squirrels to deer, depended on the tree's abundant crops of nutritious nuts. And chestnut was a central part of eastern rural economies. As winter came on, attics were often stacked to the rafters with flour bags full of the glossy, dark brown nuts. Spring houses and smokehouses were hung with hams and other products from livestock that had fattened on the harvest gleanings. And what wasn't consumed was sold. Chestnut was an important cash crop for many Appalachian families,. As the year-end holidays approached, nuts by the railroad car-full were shipped to New York and Philadelphia and other big cities where street vendors sold them fresh-roasted.

The tree was also one of the best for timber. It grew straight and often branch-free for up to fifty feet. Loggers tell of loading entire railroad cars with boards cut from just one tree. Straight-grained, lighter in weight than oak and more easily worked, chestnut was as rot resistant as redwood. It was used for virtually everything - telegraph poles. Railroad ties, paneling, fine furniture, musical instruments, even pulp and plywood.

Then the chestnut blight struck. First discovered in 1904 in New York City, the lethal fungus - Asian organism to which our native chestnuts had very little resistance - spread quickly. In its wake it left only dead and dying stems. By 1950, except for the shrublike spouts the species continually produces (and which also quickly become infected), the keystone species on some nine million acres of eastern forests had disappeared.

For decades plant pathologists and breeders tried to create a blight-resistant tree by crossing our own species with the resistant Chinese tree, but always with unsatisfactory results. Now, advances in our understanding of genetics have shown us where those early researchers went wrong. More importantly, we now know what path we must take to successfully breed an American chestnut with resistance to this deadly invader. We now know we can have this precious tree back. (American Chestnut Foundation.)

chestnut.acf.org


Submitted by Leonard Alderman of Burlington, CT USA
8 posted on 07/18/2007 7:00:32 AM PDT by Daffynition (The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.)
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To: Daffynition

Wonderful news!


9 posted on 07/18/2007 7:30:03 AM PDT by madison10
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To: Daffynition

Truly inspirational.


10 posted on 07/18/2007 8:14:09 AM PDT by IrishCatholic (No local communist or socialist party chapter? Join the Democrats, it's the same thing.)
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To: Daffynition
Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

Longfellow

11 posted on 07/18/2007 8:17:45 AM PDT by CholeraJoe (Ratzaz! There. I do give one about something.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

I have a friend that has a 30” diameter chestnut in his front yard. It has somehow escaped the fungus for about 30 years he has had the house. Perhaps there are no other chestnuts capable of spreading the blight in the local area.


12 posted on 07/18/2007 8:18:47 AM PDT by KC Burke (Men of intemperate minds can never be free...their passions forge their fetters.)
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To: Lil'freeper
Interesting that you should note that. From the CT Botanical Society.

This is a web photo of this incredible monster, the largest tree in CT. My photos of it aren't much better because the light was all wrong at that time of day when I was there.

Connecticut's Largest Tree, a sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) is named in memory of Gifford Pinchot. The tree is located on the east bank of the Farmington River in the Weatogue section of Simsbury. The late William Linke of New London, who began the Notable Trees Project, provides scale in this 1985 photograph by G. Dreyer.

A marker at the site reads:

THE PINCHOT SYCAMORE

CIRCUMFERENCE 23 FEET 7 INCHES

DEDICATED MAY 1 1965

IN MEMORY OF

GIFFORD PINCHOT

1865 - 1946

BORN IN SIMSBURY, CONNECTICUT, CO-FOUNDER OF

THE YALE SCHOOL OF FORESTRY, FIRST CHIEF OF

THE US FORESTRY SERVICE, CONSERVATION

ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT THEODORE ROOSEVELT,

GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA

RE-DEDICATED IN 1978

AS A GIFT TO THE TOWN OF SIMSBURY

BY CHARLES SCHNIER

THIS MARKER GIVEN BY SIMSBURY RESIDENTS

INTERESTED IN CONSERVATION


13 posted on 07/18/2007 9:31:54 AM PDT by Daffynition (The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

I want chestnuts back. My great-grandfather was a housebuilder and carpenter and his favorite wood was chestnut. In the sixties and seventies he still had access to “wormy chestnut” - the trees were dead and tunnelled a bit by wood borers but they did not rot.

I keep waiting and hoping for them to release nuts or tissue-culture saplings - I would plant them in a minute.

Mrs VS


14 posted on 07/18/2007 9:36:47 AM PDT by VeritatisSplendor
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To: CholeraJoe
Excellent! From one of my favorite poets ...Rainer Maria Rilke.


15 posted on 07/18/2007 9:38:15 AM PDT by Daffynition (The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.)
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To: KC Burke
Wow ... neat! Maybe it should be registered for the future. American Forests has a program to do that ... but understandably some landowners like to keep these things hush-hush.
16 posted on 07/18/2007 9:42:54 AM PDT by Daffynition (The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.)
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To: VeritatisSplendor
I know what you mean and I'm heartened that you care about such things. I've been in old homes where the floor planks are made of wide chestnut boards and they feel like they are made of iron.

The American Chestnut Foundation in Bennington VT expects to have limited quantities of a highly blight-resistant backcross chestnuts available for initial testing and research (though not available to the general public). Seeds are expected to be available for wider distribution in the following 5 to 15 years.

Currently, TACF members are able to purchase PURE, not resistant, and guaranteed to blight (see Q&A #2) American chestnut seeds and seedlings.

Once there were 4 billion trees. Then came the blight...

17 posted on 07/18/2007 9:50:31 AM PDT by Daffynition (The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.)
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To: madison10; IrishCatholic
Here is the National Register of Big Trees . Good stuff.
18 posted on 07/18/2007 9:59:00 AM PDT by Daffynition (The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.)
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To: KC Burke

How many different strains of chestnuts are there? I remember in the 70’s, there were two pretty healthy chestnut trees in a patch below the house... (West Tennessee)

Really sharp spikes on the hulls of the nuts, and really meaty brown kernals inside, about the size of 1/3 of a golf ball, I guess. I seem to remember my grandfather calling them “Horse Chestnuts”.


19 posted on 07/18/2007 10:08:20 AM PDT by HeadOn ("Socialism['s]...inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery." Winston Churchill)
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To: Daffynition
Dolly Parton ( somebody post some pictures) has been financing studies to bring back the American chestnut at her Dollywood entertainment park for a number of years.
20 posted on 07/18/2007 10:22:42 AM PDT by fella ( newspapers used habitually to poison the public opinion)
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To: HeadOn
From wikipedia:

Chestnut is a common name for several species of trees in the genus Castanea, in the Beech family Fagaceae.

Neither the horse chestnut (family Sapindaceae) nor the water chestnut (family Cyperaceae) is closely related to the chestnut, though both are so named for producing similar nuts. The name Castanea comes from an old Latin name for the sweet chestnut.

American Chestnuts are special and rare.

21 posted on 07/18/2007 10:36:01 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Progressives like to keep doing the things that didn't work in the past.)
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To: fella
Thank you for that unique info. Bill Owen American Chestnut Fund


22 posted on 07/18/2007 10:50:27 AM PDT by Daffynition (The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

Thanks! I suppose I’ll have to start using Wiki, although I’m not too sure about something I could edit myself....

Appreciate your reply.


23 posted on 07/18/2007 2:00:44 PM PDT by HeadOn ("Socialism['s]...inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery." Winston Churchill)
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To: Daffynition
This is great news.

My father's ancestors come from the level of the mountains where the chestnut trees grow, in Italy. All the men were all carpenters when they came here. Usually when all the immigrants from one town have the same profession, it's because the older immigrants teach the newer ones from their same town. In this case, it's because the sawmill was there (Serra San Bruno) and they all learned to make beautiful things out of the wood.

At Christmastime, I used to watch the old men taste the chestnuts, like they were sampling a fine wine. It's a mystery to me why we have no fabulous chestnut recipes in our family, though. Maybe the chestnuts were considered too marvelous and rare, since the trees bore only a short part of the year. Would you chop them up and make something else out of them?

24 posted on 07/18/2007 2:12:01 PM PDT by firebrand
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To: ClearCase_guy

I think there’s a foundation for the American elm — surviving trees apparently had some natural immunity to elm blight, and seeds / seedlings were available (this was ten or more years ago that I read this) for planting.

However, the way to keep elms healthy (and elms continue to germinate from seeds which have been sleeping in the soil, for example) is to keep them isolated from other elms. They tend to germinate and grow in clumps, so thin them out / cull them.


25 posted on 07/18/2007 11:59:01 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Wednesday, July 18, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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some little bit of info about chestnut and elm:

http://www.endangeredspecieshandbook.org/projects_saving.php

ah ha! Here it is.

http://www.libertyelm.com/about.htm

The Liberty elm is not a hybrid. ERI’s American Liberty elm is actually a group of six genetically different cultivars. All six look like classic, old fashioned American elms. “You have to look closely and know what you’re looking for to tell the difference among the six,” says Hansel. “To be sure which one you have, you really need DNA analysis.”

Genetic differences provide diversity. Having six cultivars in the series is insurance against all the elms being wiped out by any disease or problem, even one that might show up in the future. ERI mixes all six cultivars in its shipments.


26 posted on 07/19/2007 12:12:15 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Wednesday, July 18, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Daffynition

I work with similar organization called the American Chestnut Cooperators Foundation who have chosen not to seek blight resistance by crossing with the Asian variety. Our goal is to develop an All American blight resistant tree.

I administer a grove containing approximately 30 all American trees grown from seeds developed by crossing trees exhibiting blight resistance such as the one noted in New Hampshire.

I can very proudly report that I currently have 7 small trees grown from chestnuts produced on the trees in my grove.

Most of my trees exhibit aome blight resistance. I have one producing burrs that so far has no blight. It is 10 years old.

Here is our website: http://www.ppws.vt.edu/griffin/accf.html

I started my association with ACCF in 1990... saving Chestnut trees is slow work. I have 2 trees that are 17 years old


27 posted on 07/19/2007 8:44:16 AM PDT by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . Happiness is a down sleeping bag)
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To: metmom

thanks for bringing me to the thread. See my post above


28 posted on 07/19/2007 8:56:48 AM PDT by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . Happiness is a down sleeping bag)
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To: ClearCase_guy

.....American Chestnuts are special and rare.....

Special, but not as rare as you might think.

The blight kills the main stem but can not go underground. The root structure remains intact ans puts up shoots. The mountains of Western North Carolina, East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia host many many trees grown from the roots. Hikers in our mountains know that there are many locations with such growth. These trees generally are reinfected at around 10 years or so and the cycle resumes.

A program of the ACCF takes scions from All American Chestnut produced trees with blight resistance trees are grafted to these powerful old root structures.

I should note that the ACCF program is the work of Dr Gary Griffin at VA Tech and his counterpart in West Virginia.

Over the years, volenteer cooperators such as my self have planted many thoisand seeds and seedlings all across the species range.


29 posted on 07/19/2007 9:07:03 AM PDT by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . Happiness is a down sleeping bag)
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To: bert

Bless you for your diligent work. Future generations will thank you too. To work with a living legacy must be very gratifying.


30 posted on 07/19/2007 9:14:25 AM PDT by Daffynition (The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

It may happen sooner than we think.

If I read correctly elsewhere, just this spring, this foundation started planting the first generation of highly blight-resistant Chestnuts in some WV and KY reclaimed mine sites. The trees won’t be available to the public until 2015.

As far as elms, there are a handful of disease-resistant varieties out there that can be bought from a few nurseries today.


31 posted on 06/02/2008 11:17:43 AM PDT by RockinRight (Supreme Court Justice Fred Thompson. The next best place for Fred.)
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To: SunkenCiv

The difference with elms is that while Dutch Elm Disease is also destructive, it’s not quite as rampant as Chestnut Blight, to where it’s not all that unusual to see American Elms of large size here and there, but large American Chestnuts are VERY rare, some feel there are less than 100 large, healthy American Chestnuts left in North America.

I see 100 American Elms on my way to work each day. They WILL get DED and die eventually, but most of them live to be old enough to reproduce and therefore the species is a lot more common.

That said the resistant-elms could also prove to bring the species back to it’s fullest extent.


32 posted on 06/02/2008 11:22:38 AM PDT by RockinRight (Supreme Court Justice Fred Thompson. The next best place for Fred.)
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To: Daffynition
I have approximately 30 All American Chestnut trees growing in what is known as the Paty Grove.

I have 20 more at a second site

The trees are from similar crosses with old Chestnut trees that have escaped the blight. they are second and third generation crosses.I have 6 trees that produce nuts. One is blight free. The others exhibit some symptoms.

I work with The American Chestnut Cooperators Foundation. The scientists allow no Asian or European genes and are working with All American trees.

Here's the website http://ipm.ppws.vt.edu/griffin/accf.html

33 posted on 06/02/2008 11:36:07 AM PDT by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . The Bitcons will elect a Democrat by default)
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To: bert

Thank you for all you do in behalf of these grand trees!


34 posted on 06/02/2008 12:34:07 PM PDT by Daffynition
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To: RockinRight

As long as elms are kept isolated, they can grow to very large size, and there’s just not enough of them to spread the disease. Also, I’ve not seen an infected elm around here in years, so the disease may have died out.

Just yesterday I was admiring a nice one in the yard of one of my mother’s neighbors, and that house was built less than 40 years ago. There’s a very nice one on the back line of the mom’s property, probably in the area of 40 years old (if that), and I plan to clear out the much smaller, more recent, and more crowded specimens nearby. :’)

Some elms were naturally immune; they’ve been bred into a resistant native elm strain which at least used to be available from the foundation that did the work.


35 posted on 06/03/2008 12:42:11 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_________________________Profile updated Friday, May 30, 2008)
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To: RockinRight

As long as elms are kept isolated, they can grow to very large size, and there’s just not enough of them to spread the disease. Also, I’ve not seen an infected elm around here in years, so the disease may have died out.

Just yesterday I was admiring a nice one in the yard of one of my mother’s neighbors, and that house was built less than 40 years ago. There’s a very nice one on the back line of the mom’s property, probably in the area of 40 years old (if that), and I plan to clear out the much smaller, more recent, and more crowded specimens nearby. :’)

Some elms were naturally immune; they’ve been bred into a resistant native elm strain which at least used to be available from the foundation that did the work.

Thanks!


36 posted on 06/03/2008 12:42:39 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_________________________Profile updated Friday, May 30, 2008)
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