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Desperately seeking workers in the oil patch (North Dakota has no workers)
Fedgazette ^ | April 2012 | Phil Davies

Posted on 06/25/2012 1:03:38 PM PDT by Titus-Maximus

The Quick Take: Rapid oil and gas development in the “oil patch” of western North Dakota and northeastern Montana has created huge demand for workers—not just in the oilfields, but also in a range of non-oil industries. But so far, the supply of labor—from within and outside the region—has responded slowly to demand. In recent years, job openings have soared and unemployment has dropped to very low levels—below 3 percent in a number of counties.

The Bakken oil play is drawing job seekers from other Ninth District states and the rest of the country, but they’re not coming in sufficient numbers to keep up with continued job growth. There are several obstacles to the flow of labor into the oil patch, among them low unemployment in eastern North Dakota, the area’s frigid winters and—most important—a scarcity of housing.

The region faces an awkward period of adjustment, but labor conditions are likely to loosen within a few years as rising wages and improved living conditions for migrants increase the workforce.

Rick Tofte doesn’t try to hire workers for his Williston, N.D., construction business anymore. They’re difficult to find, and even harder to keep—starting wages at oilfield service firms in the area far exceed what he can pay for the services of carpenters, roofers and electricians. The 30-year-old firm has a full slate of building projects, including upscale housing and facilities for expanding oilfield companies. Yet Tofte Brothers Construction employs only six people; as the oil boom has taken hold in the region, Tofte and his brother Terry have increasingly relied on subcontractors to do most of their work

“We have changed our structure in how we [operate],” Rick Tofte said. “We used to do it all ourselves; now we sub[contract] out 75 percent of it, just because we can’t find the employees.”


TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events; US: North Dakota
KEYWORDS: anwr; bakken; energy; frackingbakken; keystonexl; northdakota; oil; opec
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They cannot get enough workers in North Dakota, average oil worker making $76K.

The unemployment rate is 1% in North Dakota and 8.2% in the rest of the nation.

Here's something for the government to do.... Maybe the government could figure this out, instead of creating socialistic giveaways, they could make it easier for the unemployed to come to the oil patch and work. Transport, housing, etc.

1 posted on 06/25/2012 1:03:49 PM PDT by Titus-Maximus
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To: Titus-Maximus
I wouldn't move to North Freaking Dakota for a million a year.

Might as well move to Antarctica.

2 posted on 06/25/2012 1:06:54 PM PDT by TexasFreeper2009 (Obama lied .. the economy died.)
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To: Titus-Maximus

Hubby is up there grading pads for drilling rigs and making tons more money every day than he made when we lived in California. Plus he gets to use the same heavy equipment we would have had to replace back in California (air regulations) and no one cares. He’s making around $1800 a day before expenses and can’t believe that he has no competition.


3 posted on 06/25/2012 1:07:13 PM PDT by MeganC (No way in Hell am I voting for Mitt Romney. Not now, not ever. Deal with it.)
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To: Titus-Maximus

Tying to talk my 22 year old nephew into going out there. He’s got his welding certification and he could learn everything he would ever need to know there.


4 posted on 06/25/2012 1:07:34 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Titus-Maximus
The government (Federal) is doing all it can to find a way to solve the problem. If they succeed, we'll all be unemployed.

The free market is working; the transition just takes time. What they didn't mention is that rents and housing costs have skyrocketed ($2,000.00+/mo for a two bedroom apartment), and the hardest part is finding a place to stay if you're just coming into town.

5 posted on 06/25/2012 1:08:30 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: TexasFreeper2009

North Dakota is actually pretty nice in the summer time and this last winter was really mild.


6 posted on 06/25/2012 1:10:13 PM PDT by MeganC (No way in Hell am I voting for Mitt Romney. Not now, not ever. Deal with it.)
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To: Titus-Maximus

While ND surely can’t be living in the Fred Flintstone age, and has heard of the computer, it’s also true that looking for an IT presence on, say, Dice.com turns up virtually nothing there. Surely it can’t be ALL roughnecks can it?

Living there can be kind of rough now. The demand has sucked housing availability dry. Folks are living in trailers in Wal-Mart parking lots.

Still, ND could stand to nationally advertise more... imho. You should get a bonus for bringing your own trailer, too.


7 posted on 06/25/2012 1:10:54 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew)
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To: Titus-Maximus

My next-driveway neighbor is out there now, driving a water truck. The money is apparently great, and he says it’s the easiest work he’s ever had (he was a logger and a home builder before this, so that’s not as extravagant a statement as it might sound). He only gets home to his family once a month, so there’s a downside.


8 posted on 06/25/2012 1:14:45 PM PDT by Hunton Peck (The patient is bleeding to death! Apply more leeches!)
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To: Titus-Maximus
My sister moved to Minot from Florida: she's a nurse and the place she works set up housing; they're desperate for people up there. Yeah, the weather sucks up there, but the pay is much higher.

The thing that puzzles me about ND isn't that my sister went there. What puzzles me is why more people aren't going there. If you are unemployed, is it better to get a small weekly unemployment check in Pennsylvania or wherever, or get a $1,500 weekly check in ND, where you can also build up your skills?

9 posted on 06/25/2012 1:15:55 PM PDT by Koblenz (The Dem Platform, condensed: 1. Tax and Spend. 2. Cut and Run. 3. Man on Man)
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To: TexasFreeper2009

Tempting, though today. My thermometer here in central Texas says 104......


10 posted on 06/25/2012 1:16:07 PM PDT by Quickgun (Second Amendment. The only one you can put your hands on.)
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To: Koblenz

They aren’t advertising much, and living conditions are pretty darn spartan right now. Still, other booms like the California gold rush didn’t seem to have much problem creating housing. Boom towns went up seemingly overnight. Some scouts in the actual area would be helpful.


11 posted on 06/25/2012 1:17:59 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew)
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To: Titus-Maximus

I learned all about Williston ND and Bakken a couple years ago when my car broke down.

Really good people in the area...but things are expensive up there now because of ol’ supply and demand....not much supply lots of demand

The area is booming because of oil. My tow truck driver told me it is so hard for any business to keep an employee...because they will get an offer quickly that pays more

I like the area as it is more like the Rockies than the Midwest. The biggest drawback in the area is lack of housing and accomodations....they have to find some way to handle that

Always good to hear a part of the USA doing well, even if it is not my area


12 posted on 06/25/2012 1:19:51 PM PDT by SeminoleCounty (When I said "close the borders", I did not mean the bookstore chain)
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To: Koblenz
What puzzles me is why more people aren't going there

A lot of Americans, brainwashed by 50 years of liberal media, have lost one of the qualities that made America great: ambition.

13 posted on 06/25/2012 1:19:51 PM PDT by nascarnation
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To: Titus-Maximus
I just cannot imagine why they are having trouble finding workers...

If only South Texas and North Dakota could figure out a productive 6 months /6 months work schedule...

14 posted on 06/25/2012 1:20:48 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Titus-Maximus

Once upon a time, it was possible to colonize an area with just a small camper pulled behind a medium-duty vehicle, large sedan or pickup truck, where there was some sort of hook-up for utilities and community amenities present. Whole temporary cities could be set up this way, virtually overnight, until more permanent facilities could be built out. The small camper itself became a valuable asset, in that it could be sold to the next prospective colonizer, who arrived with little more than the clothes on his back, basic tools, and a small stake, much like prospectors in the early days of mining strikes.

It is uncomfortable and a lot like a frontier town, but that was how America was once able to expand and grow.

Aren’t there a bunch of FEMA trailers sitting somewhere in a huge lot? Seems like they never can get them in place for any kind of natural disaster, how about utilizing them for a “bootstrap” boost to the economy? Put an unused asset to work, for a basic clearance price, and let the people mobilize, like the huge dispersal of former military goods after WW II, where so much military surplus went to create the new postwar industrial base.


15 posted on 06/25/2012 1:21:42 PM PDT by alloysteel (Fear and intimidation work. At least on the short term.)
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To: Titus-Maximus

Did a job at the Mandan N.D. refinery in 1991 during winter time.

I have been shivering ever since.


16 posted on 06/25/2012 1:25:16 PM PDT by 353FMG
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To: alloysteel
Aren’t there a bunch of FEMA trailers sitting somewhere in a huge lot?

IIRC the FedGov decided the pressboard inside was emitting too much of formaldehyde.

They never heard of opening the windows, apparently.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23168160/ns/us_news-life/t/cdc-tests-confirm-fema-trailers-are-toxic/#.T-jJJ_X7Txg

17 posted on 06/25/2012 1:25:39 PM PDT by nascarnation
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To: alloysteel

Trying to keep a trailer built for the Gulf Coast to not Freeze the Pipes during a North Dakota winter would be a tough job.

The FEMA trailer I bought has uninsulated tanks and piping hanging exposed beneath the trailer.


18 posted on 06/25/2012 1:26:00 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: TexasFreeper2009

I wouldn’t move to North Freaking Dakota for a million a year.”

hmmmmm....I’d consider it.


19 posted on 06/25/2012 1:28:46 PM PDT by ConservativeDude
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To: thackney

easy...summers in Texas, winters in ND....


20 posted on 06/25/2012 1:30:47 PM PDT by ConservativeDude
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To: TexasFreeper2009

Big difference. Last I heard, working in Antarctica doesn’t pay squat. The lowest pay I ever heard of.


21 posted on 06/25/2012 1:31:15 PM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult (Liberals make unrealistic demands on reality and reality doesn't oblige them.)
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To: TexasFreeper2009
I wouldn't move to North Freaking Dakota for a million a year. Might as well move to Antarctica.

Yeah, you and everyone on the government dole. Why pick up and move anywhere—let alone North Freaking Dakota!—for a few years to get a freaking JOB and EARN a freaking living when the government will pay the jobless to stay home and do nothing?

22 posted on 06/25/2012 1:34:10 PM PDT by newgeezer (It is [the people's] right and duty to be at all times armed. --Thomas Jefferson)
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To: thackney

That’s why God made Styrofoam and Great Stuff, just to solve that short-term problem. It doesn’t have to be pretty, or permanent, you just have to get through the winter, and do it all over again before next winter.


23 posted on 06/25/2012 1:35:07 PM PDT by alloysteel (Fear and intimidation work. At least on the short term.)
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To: Titus-Maximus

We had a visitor in our office a few weeks ago from Minot. She said McDonald’s is paying $25/hour for counter workers.


24 posted on 06/25/2012 1:41:07 PM PDT by NEMDF
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To: Titus-Maximus

I’ve been around the oilfield businesses all of my life and I can tell you that finding anyone who can pass the drug “piss test” or who has a clean criminal record is almost impossible to find.

The other problem is that our new generation does not want to perform manual labor.............PERIOD!


25 posted on 06/25/2012 1:42:26 PM PDT by DH (Once the tainted finger of government touches anything the rot begins)
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To: alloysteel

It is going to take more than insulation, it will take a heat source in that space.

Frost depth is typically 4 feet or more.


26 posted on 06/25/2012 1:43:16 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: TexasFreeper2009
I wouldn't move to North Freaking Dakota for a million a year.

I'll do it for a quarter of that. Just need some help with relocation.
27 posted on 06/25/2012 1:46:19 PM PDT by mmichaels1970
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To: thackney

A lot of the unemployed people will not go there for a job because it can be dirty and hard work. Most people want cushy high paying jobs.


28 posted on 06/25/2012 1:49:47 PM PDT by YukonGreen
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To: thackney

I know about deep frost, I lived in Wisconsin for some thirty years. A closed space needs only a 100-watt incandescent bulb to keep the pipes thawed, and there is something called a heat tape that does a most excellent job of keeping a length of pipe thawed in those few critical hours in the coldest of arctic blasts when there is nothing between you and the North Pole except a barbed wire fence. Electric “milk house” heaters are also pretty effective in still air. Heat rises in a closed space, cold does not. The secret is to prevent any heat loss by air exchange.


29 posted on 06/25/2012 1:53:12 PM PDT by alloysteel (Fear and intimidation work. At least on the short term.)
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No housing. Workers are living dormitory style with sometimes 6 to 8 men per bedroom. Living out of your truck won’t cut it when it is cold.

No women. Maybe 1 single woman for 100 men, and she ain’t pretty.

Discuss amongst yourselves.


30 posted on 06/25/2012 1:53:31 PM PDT by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
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To: YukonGreen

The same dirty and hard work is required for oil work in Texas Eagle Ford and Permian Basin. Both are booming with work.

While labor rates are up and short on people, they are nothing like North Dakota is seeing.

I still say the cold. We have far more drilling of the same type going on in Texas without the extreme conditions in North Dakota.


31 posted on 06/25/2012 1:54:25 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: TexasFreeper2009

The Oil Boom has turned Fort MacMurray, Alberta, Canada into a boom town of over 60,000 within just a few years, and it’s around 100 miles from the Arctic Circle.

North Dakota is a summer resort by comparison.


32 posted on 06/25/2012 1:56:33 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Titus-Maximus
They should tout the various recreational opportunities. Photobucket
33 posted on 06/25/2012 1:57:40 PM PDT by Ronald_Magnus
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To: Koblenz; HiTech RedNeck
I grew up in North Dakota. Most of us were friendly enough to outsiders, but didn't want too many of them moving in and ruining our way of life. We told them lots of self-depreciating jokes about 40 below keeping the riffraff out and about mosquitoes growing so large that they sometimes carried off small household pets.

I'm sure there are many of them looking at the current oil boom as something which will eventually pass and, in the meantime, would like to drag it on as long as possible to employ their kids and grandkids rather than outsiders.

34 posted on 06/25/2012 2:12:11 PM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: thackney; Koblenz; newgeezer

Sure, cold is a factor.

But would cold keep you from feeding your family, if you had few other options?

Laziness is a factor too, as Koblenz and newgeezer point out. Laziness will keep some men (and women) from feeding their families.

But you also have to consider the Bakken’s geographic isolation and the region’s ruralness. Williston, in the heart of the boom, had a population of what, about 12,000 prior to this boom, and was the fifth largest city in the state?

Billings, Montana, 300 miles to the west, has just over 100,000 people; Fargo, 400 to the east, is a bit larger, and beyond that you have to go to Minneapolis or Spokane to top 200,000.

The North Dakota countryside has emptied out over the years as the farms got bigger and the young hit the road. South Dakota is the same, as are the Canadian provinces to the north.

There just weren’t many people around when the boom hit, and there isn’t any housing for the ones who want to come now.


35 posted on 06/25/2012 2:30:07 PM PDT by Fightin Whitey
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To: Vigilanteman

Yet the Alaska gold rush brought its share of boom towns, in a place harsher than ND. Is something happening there to dampen that down? Capitalism eventually wins out if not hobbled sufficiently badly.


36 posted on 06/25/2012 2:31:27 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew)
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To: Fightin Whitey

Well really all they need to do is provide the land and say welcome Southrons, just bring your double wide trailers with.


37 posted on 06/25/2012 2:33:08 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew)
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To: TexasFreeper2009

There have been times the temperature here in ND has been higher than in TX - in the middle of winter! So there!


38 posted on 06/25/2012 2:33:36 PM PDT by dynoman (Objectivity is the essence of intelligence. - Marylin vos Savant)
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To: Titus-Maximus

http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/05/15/north-dakotas-oil-rich-bakken-region-boom-busts-and-trouble/


39 posted on 06/25/2012 2:36:43 PM PDT by Praxeologue
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To: Titus-Maximus

Why people wont go to North Dakota

Its cold there

No ‘hood and ‘homies’ to hang out with

Expect you to work....


40 posted on 06/25/2012 2:39:24 PM PDT by njslim (St)
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To: Koblenz

Having the housing for you is critical. You can spend a lot of money to get something to live in and they want big deposits up front.

The wages sound good but people need to factor in that a POS one bedroom may cost them 1500 a month and a lot of money for heat in the winter.


41 posted on 06/25/2012 2:41:52 PM PDT by KC Burke (Plain Conservative opinions and common sense correction for thirteen years.)
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To: ConservativeDude

Me to. I am already in MN so it’s not that much of a change.
Just drove through ND last week.

TONS of oil company trucks.

Had to spend the night (kids/wife tired) hotel rooms where north of 100 bucks a night.

I still have my class B CDL. I know I could drive a truck.

As someone else pointed out. Not much tech work (what I do now) up there.


42 posted on 06/25/2012 2:44:06 PM PDT by cableguymn (If your policies are pushing the economy in to headwinds.. TURN YOUR POLICY AROUND!)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Brother, there is a good many Southrons already there, and double-wides too, and all of ‘em plenty welcome.

But you have to have hook-ups, and some water and power, and some kind of roads or at least trails in and out, you know?

They are hustling in the Bakken to build the man-camps and the proper facilities for trailers and such. But this activity came on so strong and fast...I just drove from Idaho to the Bakken and back and you can see semi-trailers hauling pipe, other trucks hauling campers and trailers and heavy equipment, pickups (with oil patch bumperstickers) hauling young roughnecks and their gear (and sometimes, not often, their gals), and every other manner of drilling necessities and accessories mile after mile after mile.

They’re gettin’ ‘er done, and purty fast too...you keep sendin’ them lads a’ yourn north, hey?


43 posted on 06/25/2012 2:53:43 PM PDT by Fightin Whitey
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To: Kennard

Thanks for that story. No doubt “working girls” are going to be drawn in to separate those fat paychecks from some of the workers.


44 posted on 06/25/2012 3:08:36 PM PDT by Ronald_Magnus
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To: Titus-Maximus

Most RVs don’t have an option for R38 insulated walls or floors, otherwise they’d probably have a few more takers.


45 posted on 06/25/2012 3:19:01 PM PDT by TurboZamboni (Looting the future to bribe the present)
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To: Titus-Maximus
for the first time in my life, i really DO wish i was twenty years younger...
46 posted on 06/25/2012 3:21:28 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: MeganC

I lived on the East side of the state and one January it didn’t get above 0 degrees during the day for the whole month. When it started to get to about -5 degrees we got conditioned to think that is was actually quite warm out.


47 posted on 06/25/2012 3:25:39 PM PDT by Sawdring
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To: TexasFreeper2009
I wouldn't move to North Freaking Dakota for a million a year.

Seems like a good place for a young man without obligations. Go up there, stay a year, work lots of overtime, live frugally, leave with a nice nest-egg to start your own construction business or whatever.

Also would be a good place to go if you are a young woman looking for a husband. Competition would be slim.

48 posted on 06/25/2012 3:30:35 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (If I can't be persuasive, I at least hope to be fun.)
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To: TexasFreeper2009

The Permian Basin (west Texas) has the same employment situation as N. Dakota. But not as cold in the winter but a bunch hotter in the summer. V


49 posted on 06/25/2012 3:41:27 PM PDT by snoringbear (Government is the Pimp,)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks Titus-Maximus.


50 posted on 06/25/2012 3:46:29 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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