Tag Archive for Jairo Martinez

Not guilty plea in DUI hit-and-run death of Andrew Jelmert in Griffith Park, and LA Times endorses Cedillo opponent in CD1

No surprise here.

Thirty-seven-year old Jairo Martinez pled not guilty for the alleged drunken, hit-and-run death of Andrew Jelmert in Griffith Park last month.

Martinez was charged with felony counts of murder and hit-and-run driving resulting in death, as well as a misdemeanor charge of driving with a suspended or revoked license following a previous DUI conviction.

He reportedly ran away on foot after killing Jelmert, who was participating in a training ride for next month’s 545-mile AIDS/LifeCycle Ride.

Martinez remains behind bars on $2 million bail.

The murder count stems from receiving a Watson notice after his previous DUI conviction, which states that he could be charged with murder if he kills someone while driving drunk anytime in the future.

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There might be hope for LA’s 1st Council District after all.

Current CD1 Councilmember “Roadkill” Gil Cedillo has apparently made it his life’s work to throttle traffic safety projects that pose the slightest risk of inconveniencing motorists or annoying local business owners.

Like the fully funded and shovel-ready lane reduction on deadly North Figueroa he halted as one of his first acts upon taking office, after holding a series of sham public meetings with predetermined outcomes. And despite vowing to support the project when he was begging for our votes.

An act he followed up by actively blocking bike lanes in the district he runs like a fiefdom, going so far as trying — and thankfully, failing — to have every bike lane in CD1 removed from the city’s mobility plan.

Yesterday, though, the Los Angeles Times took the rare step of endorsing the opponent of a sitting councilmember, selecting progressive policy advocate and community organizer Eunisses Hernandez over Cedillo.

Here’s the salient part of the endorsement for our purposes.

The council member (Cedillo) has also been a barrier to building bike infrastructure and street projects designed to make it safer and easier for people to travel without a car. Council District 1 has some of L.A.’s most deadly streets, yet he voted against the city’s Mobility Plan to make the car-dominated streets safer and more inviting for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit. He blocked bike lanes, including directing city staff to remove bike lanes from the widened Spring Street bridge.

Hernandez, on the other hand, has made transportation and street safety top priorities within her larger environmental justice and climate change agenda. She said she would launch community reviews of the most dangerous intersections, and advocate for bike lanes, bus benches and shelters, redesigned streets and pedestrian plazas, so it’s easier for people to get around without cars.

Cedillo was in serious danger of losing last time around when the community rallied around challenger Josef Bray-Ali — until Cedillo’s campaign leaked a handful of intemperate, ill-advised and offensive comments Bray-Ali had posted to various websites.

It will be interesting to see what Cedillo comes up with this time to attack his opponent. Let’s hope Hernandez has a few less skeletons in her closest.

Because people in CD1 are dying for a less regressive representative.

Too often, literally.

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A KABC-7 remote broadcast captures an attempted bike theft in the background on live TV.

I love LA! Live ABC7 story about Chappelle; watch the background. from LosAngeles

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Yet another reminder to register your bike today.

And yes, it’s free, for life.

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Bicycles. Good as gold for more than 125 years.

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A partially paralyzed filmmaker offers a short video calling for greater trail access for e-mountain bikes.

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Okay, I’m impressed.

Even if it would be easier to just pick it up and walk up.

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Local

Vice talks with Silver Lake resident Eric Brightwell, who has been living carfree in Los Angeles ever since his broke down 11 years ago, leading to the unexpected discovery that he doesn’t need one here.

Metro will hold a public meeting on the 18th to discuss the agency’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which funds a return to pre-pandemic levels of service.

A Santa Clarita kid was lucky to escape without injuries when a hit-and-run driver ran him down as he rode his bike in a parking lot. Although the local paper seems to have missed that part about a bike in their own story. Thanks to Joe Linton for the heads-up.

 

State 

Seal Beach police announced a crackdown on drivers who threaten the safety of bike riders and pedestrians ths month through speeding, failing to yield to pedestrians or bicyclists, illegal turns and running red lights or stop signs. Although nothing says they won’t ticket you for the same violations, so ride to the letter of the law while you’re in the city.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A man was killed in Encinitas when he got out of his car to pick a flower on the other side of the road, and was stuck by another driver.

Seriously? A San Diego TV station says someone was taken to the hospital following a collision between a driver and a bike rider, but they aren’t sure which one was injured. Yet somehow, the Union-Tribune was able to figure it out.

Katy Perry is still one of us, going for a Mother’s Day bike ride on the beach somewhere in California with her 20-month old daughter and fiancé Orlando Bloom.

 

National

Planning Magazine writes in praise of the humble sidewalk, calling it the best infrastructure investment communities can make.

Money Inc. considers the most important things to wear mountain bikingI’d say pants, but that’s just me.

A Mt. Hood ski area is banning bikes this summer, after paying out a $10.5 million settlement when a mountain biker was paralyzed hitting a signpost placed directly next to a double black-diamond trail.

Denver bike riders are putting up signs around the city to remember the victims of traffic violence, and remind drivers of the risk they pose to others on the road around them.

Speaking of Denver, the city’s recently enacted, first-in-the-nation ebike rebate program is already driving an increase in ebike sales at local bike shops.

Frustrated with the city’s inaction, a small group of Chicago bike riders conducted their own DIY traffic study at an intersection where a bike rider was killed, catching drivers running red lights and driving at pedestrians in the crosswalk, as well as threatening the study volunteers.

A Pittsburgh driver pled guilty to ten charges, including vehicular homicide and DUI, for killing a man riding a bike while the driver was high on heroin.

Once again, a faulty ebike battery has torched a bike shop, this time in New York.

Writing for New York Streetsblog, a 20-year transportation engineer calls for responsive countermeasures to curb traffic violence, and “reach the very small percentage of dangerous drivers who can’t be stopped otherwise.” Although most of us might call it a large percentage.

A Delaware beach town installs sharrows in a misguided attempt to protect bicyclists, apparently unaware that studies show sharrows are worse than nothing. Although they do help drivers improve their aim at us.

WaPo offers an introduction to gravel biking.

 

International

Nova Scotia gets its first bicycle traffic signal, which halts right turning traffic so bikes can cross the intersection.

A delivery rider from Brazil is on trial for killing a 16-year old boy in Dublin, Ireland, in a confrontation with another man over the theft of a second delivery rider’s bicycle. And yes, that’s every bit as confusing as it sounds.

A British paper talks with the motorists who helped bring a couple of road racing drivers to justice for killing a man riding a bicycle, who had the misfortune of being in their way.

 

Competitive Cycling

British pro Tom Pidcock won Sunday’s mountain bike World Cup race in Albstadt, Germany by a wheelie big margin, popping a wheel as he crossed the finish line. Sorry.

  

Finally…

Live out your bike mechanic dreams, without leaving your sofa. When you can’t decide whether to ride a bike or a kick scooter.

And maybe the Dutch one hit wonders were a lot cooler than we thought.

Correction: Two-hit wonders. Thanks to Opus for the catch.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Murder & DUI charges in Griffith Park crash, petition to ban cars from park, and NCs sign on to Healthy Streets LA

Make that murder, instead.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the charges against Jairo Martinez, the man arrested for killing 77-year old AIDS/LifeCycle rider Andrew Jelmert in Griffith Park on Saturday, have been upgraded to murder, rather than vehicular homicide.

The paper hints at the reason here.

In addition to murder, prosecutors charged Martinez, 37, with fatal hit-and-run and driving with a suspended or revoked license after being convicted of driving under the influence. He was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

If Martinez was convicted of DUI in California, he would have been required to sign a Watson notice acknowledging that he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while driving under the influence anytime in the future.

And kill someone, he did.

Allegedly.

It’s clear from the charges that losing his license didn’t stop Martinez from driving, or from getting behind the wheel after drinking.

California has to do more to keep people like him from continuing to drive after losing their license. Let alone continuing to drive drunk.

Interlock devices that check a driver’s blood alcohol level before the ignition will engage is a start.

But it would be far more effective to impound a driver’s car for the full duration of any drivers license suspension. Or force them to sell their car if their license is revoked.

Because as the charges against Martinez demonstrate, just taking away someone’s license doesn’t stop them from driving.

Or from killing someone.

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Meanwhile, traffic safety nonprofit SAFE, or Streets Are For Everyone, has started a petition to begin phasing out cars from Griffith Park, with the exception of park rangers and shuttle buses.

Griffith Park is the largest park in the United States which still allows private cars. It is a haven for the community and a popular destination for cyclists, runners, walkers, and families with young children – getting out for some physical activity and get-togethers. Yet the few bike lanes that exist do not have barriers separating riders from cars. The posted speed limit is 25 MPH, but many drivers go 40 – 60 MPH using Griffith Park as a way to avoid the crowded 5 freeway.

And yes, I signed it. I hope you will, too.

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Twenty-eight down, 71 to go, as over a quarter of Los Angeles’ neighborhood councils have signed on to the Healthy Streets LA ballot measure, which would require the city to build out the already approve mobility plan as streets get resurfaced.

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The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is hosting the second in their series of Bike Salons tonight.

The LACBC is also looking for volunteers as they resume the Operation Firefly light giveaway program.

The other news isn’t so welcome, as the organization has cancelled their formerly annual River Ride for the third consecutive year, while hinting at an event later this year to “celebrate the joy of bicycling.”

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As we mentioned yesterday, the Bike League — aka the League of American Bicyclists — is out with their latest ranking of the country’s most bike-friendly states.

Massachusetts overtook Washington for the top spot for the first time, while California came in at a seemingly overly optimistic 4th. New York finished 13th in the ranking, although the state got an F grade in the Traffic Laws and Practices category.

And lowly Wyoming claimed the lanterne rouge as the nation’s most bike-unfriendly state.

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Sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

A Charlotte NC Uber and Lyft driver is out of work after a “gang” of teenage bike riders chased him down and beat him up, stealing his phone, wallet, car keys and car, after he got out of his car when he “clipped” one of the wheelie-popping riders at a red light.

A salesperson at a Belgian car dealership dumped a bucket of water onto a bike rider who spit on the featured cars as he rode by every day.

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Local

The Los Angeles Times has followed my lead, and endorsed Kenneth Mejia for city controller, with an honorable mention for longtime city budget analyst and financial officer Stephanie Clements; termed-out career politician Paul Koretz, not so much.

Pasadena is hosting a community meeting next Thursday to discuss the proposed Craig Avenue Greenway, a 1.1-mile bicycle boulevard between Orange Grove Boulevard to Del Mar Boulevard.

Whittier is planning to add a nearly three-mile extension to the popular 4.6-mile Greenway Trail rail-to-trail path.

 

State 

Calbike invites you to take part in this year’s Climate Ride fundraiser stage ride.

No bias here. A San Diego TV station actually says California’s requirement that carmakers replace cars that run on gas with other cars that run on batteries is a prime example of the mythical war on cars.

San Diego sheriff’s deputies are on the lookout for a van driver who followed a 16-year old boy on his bike, and tried to lure him inside the van.

Caltrans District 8 is asking for public input on a draft Active Transportation Plan for the High Desert and the Inland Empire area.

After a Hayward girl’s stolen bike was found stripped and trashed, kindhearted sheriff’s deputies worked with a local bike shop to get it cleaned up and repaired before they returned it to her.

It’s open season on mountain bikers in the Oakland Hills, as gangs of thieves are robbing people for their bikes in a crime spree dating back to last year.

San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney has won a seat in the California Assembly in special runoff election; Haney is credited with the rapid expansion of protected bike lanes in the city’s SoMa district.

 

National

Bicycling offers advice on how to extend the life of your bike tires. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you. 

A Chicago bike rider won nearly $300,000 in damages after he was grievously injured when he struck the base of a broken bike lane bollard.

Boston’s Bikes Not Bombs organization is using bikes as a tool for social change.

They get it. A DC website says Vision Zero is meaningless unless we can get more drivers off the roads.

A longtime Florida bike shop was burned when an unattended ebike battery caught on fire while being charged, after they had sent the customer’s battery out to be rebuilt.

 

International

A Montreal website remembers the city’s Bicycle Bob, who fought to make bicycling seem like a normal urban activity, while encouraging the city to develop infrastructure necessary to support it.

The UK has seen a massive 40% jump in bike thefts in just the last three years.

Tossing a bike onto a London train track to watch it explode is not one of the recommended uses.

A British father calls for giving police the power to immediately suspend the license of drugged drivers, after his six-year old son was stuck by a driver who had already been stopped twice for DUI.

Current Santa Barbara resident and former spare heir Harry, Duke of Sussex, is reportedly “having a blast” riding his bike and whistling while attending the Invictus Games in the Netherlands.

Thank a massive volcano on a remote South Pacific island for the modern bike you ride.

 

Competitive Cycling

If you want to watch the oldest of the five Monuments here in the US this Sunday, you’ll need a subscription to the GCN+ streaming service; otherwise, you’re SOL for the 108th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

The Redlands Classic stage race is back after a two-year Covid-imposed absence, with a time trial course last used 26 years ago.

A former Tokyo Olympian offers an insiders view of the L39ion of Los Angeles training camp.

 

Finally…

Bike bridge, pedestrian path and coyote crossing. If you’re going to ride your bike naked on Easter morning, at least get a damn tan first.

And now you, too, can buy a bike for the same price I paid for my last car.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Vehicular homicide arrest in fatal Griffith Park crash, and man missing riding bike in Long Beach found dead of natural causes

Let’s start with Saturday’s senseless death of 77-year old Andrew Jelmert.

According to a story by the LA Times’ Rachel Uranga, Jelmert was killed by a speeding, possibly drunk, driver as he rode on Griffith Park’s Crystal Springs Drive.

Jelmert was run down from behind as he neared the finish line of a training ride for this year’s AIDS/LifeCycle Ride, which would have been his seventh time completing the weeklong San Francisco to Los Angeles fundraising ride.

He had already raised over $20,000 for the ride, which could now be lost along with his life.

Thirty-seven-year old Jairo Martinez was attempting to pass another car when he slammed into Martinez with enough force to shatter the windshield of his BMW, as well as Jelmert’s bike. The impact scattered bits of the bike across the hillside, where they were later found by Jelmert’s husband.

The only blessing is that in all probability, Jelmert literally never knew what hit him.

Martinez was arrested by sheriff’s deputies shortly after the crash, after he attempted to run away on foot. At last report, he was being held on suspicion of vehicular homicide, with more charges likely to follow pending results of his blood tests.

Meanwhile, KNBC-4 reports on the installation of Jelmert’s ghost bike Monday night.

Uranga succinctly captures the problem bike riders face riding in the park/freeway bypass.

Griffith Park, which occupies more than 4,000 acres of rolling hills, is popular with cyclists who whiz down its tree-lined roads, often crossing over from the nearby L.A. River bike path.

But the few bike lanes that exist do not have barriers separating riders from cars, according to the L.A. Department of Transportation.

Crystal Springs Drive parallels the 5 Freeway and is sometimes used as a cut-through during traffic jams. The posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour, but many drivers go significantly faster.

Too often, drivers come off the 5 and 134 Freeways, and continue through the park at freeway speeds.

I’ve had the crap scared out of me by speeding drivers using the wide shoulder to pass slower cars on the right, while I was riding on it.

It’s also not far from where Damien Kevitt was infamously run down by a hit-and-run driver while riding on Zoo Drive, and dragged underneath the driver’s van onto the 5 Freeway, losing his leg in the process. And nearly his life.

The simple fact is, cars don’t belong in parks.

We should all demand — not ask — that city leaders move immediately to block the offramp leading into the park, as the first step in banning cars entirely from Griffith Park.

Let the park flourish as just that — a park, not a high-speed sewer for overly aggressive drivers.

Because the simple fact is, parks are for people, not cars.

And tragedies like this will inevitably keep happening if we don’t.

Photo from the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Facebook page.

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Sad news from Long Beach, where Manuel Abotye was found dead at a local hospital after disappearing while riding his bike last month.

The 73-year old man from a small village in Mexico’s Sinaloa state was in Long Beach visiting his sister when he suffered shortness of breath, and died 30 minutes after being transported to the emergency room.

However, he went unidentified for weeks because he had left his ID at home, and was considered missing until his body was discovered on Saturday.

Yet another reminder to always carry ID when you ride.

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Jim Lyle forwards a Nextdoor notice about a Palos Verdes resident targeting people on bicycles.

The male owner of this green truck has been accelerating towards people riding bikes on the street as though he’s intending to hit them with his car. And, I don’t mean the part of the street where cars belong. I mean the parking area near the gutter not in the way of vehicle traffic. He’s done this to me twice, once so close I was sure he was going to hit me. He swerves away before contact. Be aware of this truck if you ride…I don’t know his name or or know him personally. I learned from a neighbor who saw him accerlerate towards me this morning that he’s known for unsafe, aggressive behavior (I wasn’t given other examples). This info has been given to the sherrif’s department as well.

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It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from longtime bike advocate, neighborhood council member and Bicycle Advisory Committee member Glenn Bailey, who forwards photos of Waste Management trash bins illegally blocking the heavily used bike lane on Reseda Blvd in Northridge.

He’s filed a complaint with the city’s Bureau of Sanitation, so hopefully he’ll get a response soon.

Or better yet, actually get action to keep it from happening again.

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Curses, Spectrum!

Because their service outage knocked me offline yesterday, we missed marking Bicycle Day, commemorating the 79th anniversary of the day LSD inventor Albert Hoffman discovered its psychedelic effects for the time.

Hoffman famously dropped a few tabs and attempted to ride his bike home, experiencing the first trip on a bike trip.

And inspiring both the best and worst music of the 60s.

Read the first link on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you. 

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She gets it.

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Catch up on the latest Bike Talk, as they catch up on Calbike’s recent Bike Summit.

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Join Sunset For All and the LACBC as they explore the corridor while promoting local businesses and plans for protected bike lanes on Sunset Blvd.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

Texas authorities are looking for the driver of a white jeep caught on camera swearing at a bike rider, who responds by flipping the bird; the driver then makes a U-turn and veers onto the wrong side of the road to threaten the rider, nearly sideswiping him.

Also from Texas, the owner of a car customization business is catching well-deserved flack after posting video of a pickup driver rolling coal at an unsuspecting bike rider, then claiming to be just “vaguely aware” of the video he himself posted, while suggesting that someone’s personal actions shouldn’t reflect on the business they work for. Or own, evidently.

A British bus driver avoided a fine for a punishment pass because the cops didn’t use the right form for their prosecution notice.

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Local

Metro and Metrolink will both offer free rides on Friday for Earth Day, including free Metro Bike rides.

A new poll shows Los Angeles voters want real action to address air pollution and extreme heat caused by climate change. Let’s hope our elected officials are listening, and actually do something for a change. Like building out the mobility plan and the transportation portion of the mayor’s Green New Deal. 

Los Angeles received a $5 million grant from Congress to build a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge at the Pacoima Wash to provide safer access to the planned El Dorado Park.

Streets For All calls on everyone to reach out to the Metro Board today and next Thursday to help get Eagle Rock’s Beautiful Boulevard plan for the NoHo to Pasadena bus rapid transit line over the finish line.

Pomona has opened a beautiful new two-way curb-protected bike lane on Valley Boulevard.

The popular 626 Golden Streets open streets event returns to South Pasadena, San Gabriel and Alhambra on May 1st.

 

State 

Something doesn’t add up. Just days after we learned that California is the nation’s sixth most dangerous state for bicycle riders on a per-capita basis, the Bike League ranks the late, great Golden State as the 4th most bicycle-friendly state in the US. Evidently, to paraphrase Mark Twain, it’s a great place to ride. If you live.

The CHP and Santa Barbara sheriff’s deputies are looking for the driver of a purple Toyota Scion, who fled the scene after running down a 20-year old man riding his bike near Santa Maria, leaving the victim with major injuries.

 

National

No, bicycles don’t cause traffic congestion or slow down your commute.

Consumer Reports offers advice on how to shop for a new kid’s bike.

A Utah woman is suing Seattle ebike maker Rad Power Bikes, claiming a loose stem on the bike she assembled caused her to crash, since the instructions didn’t tell her to check the tightness of the stem.

Speaking of Utah, a cute video captures an eight-year old Utah boy teaching his four-year old little sister how to ride a bike for the first time.

A Colorado judge dropped the murder case against Barry Morphew, whose wife disappeared without a trace after leaving for a Mother’s Day bike ride two years ago. However, it was dismissed without prejudice, allowing prosecutors to refile when and if they have a better case.

New York commits $11 million to sweeping streets and bike lanes.

 

International

Lebanese commuters are taking to their bikes in increasing numbers, driven — so to speak — by the a fuel crisis aggravated by the war in Ukraine.

More proof that bike lanes increase property values, as rental units close to London’s cycle superhighways draw a 20% premium over similar units elsewhere.

Five-time British Olympic champ Bradley Wiggins revealed that his struggles with depression stem, at least in part, from being sexually groomed by his cycling coach when he was just 13 years old.

Justice delayed, as a Malaysian appeals court has stayed the six-year prison sentence given to the woman who killed eight teenage bike riders after plowing through the group of kids riding modified bikes.

 

Competitive Cycling

Italian world champ Elisa Balsamo was disqualified from Saturday’s Paris-Roubaix Femme, after getting a little too much assistance from the team car in returning to the peloton after suffering a flat.

VeloNews offers a photo essay from last weekend’s Paris-Roubaix, aka The Hell of the North; Cycling Tips does, too.

Once again, a bike race spectator has taken down a competitor, as a fan applauding on the side of the roadway caught the handlebars of Belgian pro Yves Lampaert during Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix.

 

Finally…

Maybe that jersey pocket isn’t necessary after all. That feeling when your 1950’s style ebike offers a very illegal 40 mph.

And maybe put the helmet on before you try riding off on the bike you just stole.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

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