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HOLIDAY LIGHTNING. Members of the Funk Dumplin's braved chilly weather Sunday to perform great jazz riffs of holiday classics during Sunday's Chanukah in the Square at Marion Square in Charleston. The two-hour event was filled with family, friends, hot latkes, pretzels, music, games and more. Photo by Andy Brack.






   

 

Top children's books for the Christmas season

BY LEIGH SABINE, contributing editor
Special to Charleston Currents
| permalink

DEC. 22, 2014 -- The days and weeks before Christmas build with growing anticipation in our children.

Each year, I try to find ways to deepen my children's understanding of their faith and the intent behind our family Christmas traditions. Picture books, stories and chapter books have been gifted to us over the years and have become cherished keepsakes during the days of Advent.

Here are 25 favorite Christmas books from Pluff Mud Kids to help create your own tradition:

  1. The Christmas Book, by Dick Bruna. Handed down in our family from British relations, this picture book is a simple story to introduce toddlers and preschoolers to the birth of Jesus. Introduces key vocabulary such as shepherd, Bethlehem, frankincense and myrrh.

  2. Usborne Lift-the-flap Nativity. This Scholastic story of the birth of Jesus presents an interactive read aloud.

  3. The Carpenter's Gift, by David Rubel. A beautifully illustrated story of the Rockefeller Center Tree highlighting the tradition of the Christmas tree.

  4. A Houseful of Christmas, by Barbara Joosse. The story of one lovable Granny who shelters her family from an unexpected Christmas snow storm.

  5. Bear Stays Up For Christmas, by Karma Wilson. A PMK favorite for many years. This is an unbeatable price for a hardcover book that will be reread each year and passed along to the next generation.

  6. The Polar Express. Chris Van Allsburg's masterpiece of Christmas adventure highlighting the magic of Christmas for those who truly believe.

  7. Christmas Farm. by Mary Lyn Ray. Ever wonder about the process that brings a traditional Christmas tree from farm to living room? This is the book we're sharing with friends this year as it is such an important lesson to grasp for those who bring live trees into their homes to decorate.

  8. A Christmas Carol, with fresh illustrations by Brett Helquist that enliven Charles Dickens' classic tale.

  9. Song of the Stars, by Sally Lloyd-Jones. A charming depiction of the story of Christmas told through the eyes of the animals honoring the arrival of "Heaven's Son." The epic illustrations make this a perfect gift.

  10. The Twelve Days of Christmas. Hilary Knight's illustrations make each page something to savor as you read aloud with your children.

  11. The Crazy Christmas Angel Mystery, by Beverly Lewis. Featuring "The Cul-De-Sac Kids", this chapter book for grade school kids is perfect to cuddle up with on a cold night.

  12. Richard Scarry's Christmas Mice. Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers with mice hidden in every picture.

  13. A Christmas Memory, by Truman Capote. A longer story for older children to appreciate this classic tale of Christmas memories.

  14. The Christmas Blizzard, by Helen Ketteman. A lighthearted look at Christmas with hilarious illustrations starring Santa Claus.

  15. A Wind In The Willows Christmas. This is a longer story for older children, perfect for a winter day at home. Michael Hague's warm illustration's make it a favorite.

  16. Winter Trees, by Carole Gerber. This is the ideal book to read aloud before you choose a Christmas tree. Helps children learn to identify seven types of trees in a winter forest.

  17. The Littlest Christmas Tree, by R.A. Herman. Even the smallest of trees finds a perfect home in this ideal short bedtime story.

  18. The Biggest Christmas Tree Ever. Steven Kroll's adorable mice return in this tale of the search for the perfect Christmas tree.

  19. The Mitten, by Jan Brett. A favorite story for decades, this story is one to keep and pass along.

  20. The Berenstain Bears and The Joy of Giving. An inexpensive book with a powerful message. A preschool favorite we still read every year to highlight the real reason for the season.

  21. A Wish To Be A Christmas Tree, by Colleen Monroe. Gorgeous pictures and a rich story make a great combination in this new classic.

  22. I'll Be Home For Christmas, by Holly Hobbie. Preschool favorites Toot and Puddle have an adventure while they await the arrival of Christmas.

  23. The Twelve Days of Christmas, as illustrated by Jade Fang. Told with Animotion picture inserts that bring this story to life while adhering to the classic lines.

  24. Who Is Coming To Our House? This is such a sweet story of the arrival of the baby Jesus - a great story for older children to read to younger siblings.

  25. God Gave Us Christmas. A little cub wonders "Who invented Christmas?" You will love how simply this book outlines the story of the reason for celebrating Christmas.

    Writer Leigh Sabine of Mount Pleasant offers a monthly look at fun activities for Lowcountry kids. It's based on her great blog, PluffMudKids. Check it out.

Heed the lessons of the Stinney ruling

BY ANDY BRACK
Editor and Publisher | permalink

DEC. 22, 2014 -- There's a learning moment for South Carolina lawmakers in the case of George Stinney Jr., the 14-year-old Clarendon County boy railroaded to execution in 1944.

A Beaufort County judge on Dec. 16 vacated the murder conviction of the young African American teen-ager. In April 1944, just a month after being arrested for the deaths of two white girls, an all-white jury spent 10 minutes deliberating after a two-hour trial before convicting Stinney. His court-appointed defense lawyer mostly stood by, filing no appeals or requests for a stay of execution. In June, less than three months after the murders, the state electrocuted Stinney, the youngest person executed in the country in the last century.

It was another lowlight of the Jim Crow South. Stinney's family fled Clarendon County, just like others did a few years later after black parents filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn "separate but equal" education. That case, first filed in 1947, was the foundation of the landmark Brown v. Board decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that ended segregated schools.

Circuit Judge Carmen T. Mullen vacated the Stinney conviction based on a 600-year-old legal remedy of common law that is so rarely used that many have never heard of it. The extraordinary remedy, called a writ of coram nobis, was applicable because of fundamental due process errors that aren't generally found in modern cases. In the Stinney case, for example, the writ was used because the conviction "was obtained by unfair or unlawful methods and no other corrective judicial remedy is available." (Read Judge Mullen's ruling.)

Anyone worrying that inmates incarcerated today in jails and state prisons will flood courts using this due process writ shouldn't get hot and bothered. It won't apply because there are lots of other judicial remedies available.

But what should be instructive to citizens and especially state lawmakers is that South Carolina has finally recognized that it did something very wrong 70 years ago as America was focused on the D-Day invasion of France in World War II. This week's ruling won't bring back George Stinney Jr. It won't erase the fact that the teen's family never saw him alive again after he was arrested in March 1944 -- not while he sat afraid in jail, not during the trial and not as he waited to die.

The ruling, however, does accomplish two things. First, it provides some solace and closure to family members who are still alive. And second, it shows how South Carolina can face its past and admit a wrong.

The South Carolina General Assembly can lead the way. There are dozens of problems in this state that are legacies of Jim Crow days that have never been effectively battled. It's time to right those wrongs, once and for all. It's time to do more than just what businesses and special interests want. It's time to provide good opportunities for the downtrodden, the "least of these" as described in the Book of Matthew.

Wondering where to focus? Just look the state's high poverty rate, challenged education system and high incarceration rate (13th highest in the country at 473 prisoners per 100,000 people in 2011).

"Overt racism of 70 years ago in treatment of George Stinney unfortunately lingers today in institutions," said Victoria Middleton, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina. "We continue to see more children of color bear the brunt of harsh school discipline practices and juvenile sentencing."

It's uncomfortable for many to talk about race and the enduring effects of racism. But from a policy perspective, it's time to move forward and look at institutional racial disparities across the Palmetto State. And for that, state lawmakers should lead the way.

"Education is the one area where the legislature can have the most immediate impact -- to commit dollars to right a 100-year-old wrong," said the Rev. Joseph Darby, a presiding elder with the AME church and longtime Charleston civil rights activist.

Our state's leaders need to broaden their policy focus beyond partisan politics. They need to think beyond labels and hot-button issues. Now is the time to absorb the big picture and then focus on proactive ways to shed the legacies of the past.

Andy Brack is editor and publisher of Charleston Currents and Statehouse Report. If you have a funny quip about a politician, send it along so we can share it. You can reach Brack at: publisher@charlestoncurrents.com.

FEEDBACK

Buy American

To the editor:

I just read the strong plug you gave to buying local. There is another group, obviously related, called AMERICAN MADE MATTERS.

It would benefit local businesses to know about it. Perhaps a one-line sequel in the next newsletter would be appropriate. Interested parties would go to www.americanmadematters.com for details.

THANKS and HaTpy Holidays!

-- Archie Burkel, Hat Ladies of Charleston, James Island, S.C.

Raise fees on mopeds, trailers

To the editor:

I read your article in West Of having to do with our roads. You offer some suggestions on how to fix our roads, among them raising our gas tax, registration fees, sales tax, etc.

I have a great idea. Why not have all mopeds and trailers be registered and insured? I'm sure this would raise more funds than we need to get our roads fixed. After all, they use our roads and don't contribute to their upkeep.

-- Frank Giovannone, Charleston, S.C.

Editor's note: Mr. Giovannone is correct that this would raise needed revenue, but not to the scale that's needed because of years of underinvestment. If there are 100,000 mopeds and trailers and each are taxed $100, the state would reap $10 million. But as we've discussed, the state needs an extra $1.5 billion a year to keep up with maintenance and needs.

If you have an opinion on something we've offered or on a subject related to the Lowcountry, please send your letters of 150 words or less to: editor@charlestoncurrents.com. Please include your name, address and phone number for verification purposes. We look forward to hearing from you!
SPOTLIGHT

catherine e. lafond, p.a.

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. In today's issue, we shine our spotlight on catherine e. lafond, p.a.. Attorneys Catherine E. LaFond and Ashley Andrews and their competent team offer compassion and broad experience in helping clients with real estate closings, estate planning, and securing veterans' benefits and other long-term care benefits.

Located at 544 Savannah Highway near Folly Road, catherine e lafond, p.a., is convenient for appointments with helpful staff members who can help you and your family craft wills and trusts, weave comfortably through the maze of estate and elder law planning options, and close real estate loans for refinancing or purchases.

  • To learn more, contact catherine e. lafond, p.a., at 843.762.3554. Visit online at LaFondLaw.com.

Gibbes Museum gets $150,000 foundation grant

perma
link

The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation donated $150,000 to the Gibbes Museum of Art to support the installation of the museum's miniature portrait collection in its renovated building.

"We are thrilled to receive this grant from the Donnelley Foundation for the installation and preservation of the miniature collection," said Gibbes Museum of Art Executive Director, Angela Mack. " The first-ever American miniatures were painted in Charleston, and today the Gibbes is home to one of the most prestigious American portrait miniature collections in the country."

A major highlight of the newly renovated museum will be a dedicated gallery space featuring the nationally-acclaimed collection of portrait miniatures. With more than 600 miniature portraits, the Gibbes' collection is the third largest in the United States and ranks in quality among those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yale University Art Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

New state-of-the-art display cases featuring accessible open storage drawers will allow visitors to experience, up-close, nearly three hundred portrait miniatures by some of America's most significant painters while simultaneously providing custom microclimates to preserve this sensitive collection.

Also in the news:

  • Parade of Boats winners. "Pawsitive Latitude," a 65-foot sailboat from Waxhaw, N.C., and captained by Brian Clark, won the best-in-show award in the 2014 Charleston Parade of Boats, officials announced last week.

    Thousands of spectators, including hundreds at the first-ever viewing party by the Rotary Club of Charleston, lined the Cooper and Ashley rivers to watch the captains and crews with their colorful sailboats and powerboats. At the club's party, member Catherine Jones of Charleston won a $36,000 Sea Fox Viper power boat.

    Other sailboat winners were "Manta," aka "Yahooo" (second place) a 45-foot Charleston boat captained by Rusty Day, and "Naut On Call" (third place), a 38-foot Hanahan vessel captained by Eddie Evans. In the power category, first place went to "Carolina Sunrise," a 28-foot boat from Whittier, N.C., captained by Jeff and Jenny Kegler; second place went to "Nauti Time," 23 feet, of Summerville, captained by Brian James; and third place went to "Goombay," 24 feet, of Folly Beach, captained by James Rawl.

  • Free books for young kids in 29407. Parents and caregivers of children 4 years old and younger who live in West Ashley's 29407 zip code can now receive free books by mail by enrolling in a program by Begin With Books, the Charleston County affiliate of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. The program provides free, age- and developmentally-appropriate books by mail to help families discover the world of reading. The volunteer organization currently mails books to more than 2,000 children monthly throughout Charleston County.

    Enrollment forms are available at www.beginwithbooks.org, via email at beginwithbooks@gmail.com and, after January 7, at the West Ashley and St. Andrew's branches of Charleston County Public Library. More info.

South Carolina's rivers

Part 2 of 2

The Savannah River system forms the western boundary of South Carolina and drains water from portions of North Carolina and Georgia as well as South Carolina. Rivers that help to form it are the Chattooga, Tugaloo, and Keowee. The Savannah River empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Savannah, Georgia. Like the Santee, the Savannah River system has been dammed in several places, forming massive man-made lakes. The Savannah is the only river system in South Carolina in which large ships can travel upstream for any distance.

The third river system in South Carolina is the Pee Dee, which is the only system in the state left undammed. Rivers that form the Pee Dee system include the Great Pee Dee, Little Pee Dee, Waccamaw, Black, and Lynches. Two smaller rivers, the Sampit and Pocotaligo, are also part of the Pee Dee system, which enters the Atlantic Ocean at Winyah Bay in Georgetown.

Some of the most beautiful rivers in the state are those that begin on the coastal plain. Because they move slowly over the low relief of the coastal plain to the Atlantic, they do not transport large amounts of sediment. As a result, they are clearer than the rivers that cross the Piedmont. Tannic acid in the organic matter found in these rivers gives them a dark cast, and so they are known as "black rivers." The North and South Forks of the Edisto River begin in the Sandhills in Lexington and Aiken Counties and end at the Atlantic at Edisto Island. Edisto is the largest of the black rivers in South Carolina and one of the most pristine. Several state parks have been built along its banks to accommodate recreational uses. Other black rivers include the Waccamaw, Black, Pocotaligo, Salkahatchie, Combahee, Coosawhatchie, Ashley, Cooper, and Ashepoo.

Other rivers of importance in South Carolina include those relatively small mountain streams that provide the scenic beauty of rapids and waterfalls. South Carolina has a favorable climate with sufficient rainfall and a high relief, which has endowed it with natural waterfalls in the upstate. There are more than fifty waterfalls in the state, primarily in the Blue Ridge and upper Piedmont in Oconee, Greenville, and Pickens Counties. The spectacular Whitewater Falls in Oconee County has the highest series of falls in eastern North America. Many of the falls have been protected through the establishment of state and county parks.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Carolyn H. Murphy. To read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina, check out The South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used by permission.)

BROADUS

Where's this harp?


Hmmm ... we wonder if the column might be a clue to where you can see this harp in downtown Charleston.
Send your guess AND your hometown to: editor@charlestoncurrents.com.

Several people guessed the capitals, or topmost parts of columns, were part of the historic Dock Street theatre in downtown Charleston. Hats off to: Chris Brooks of Mount Pleasant, Charles Boyd of Hanahan, Margaret Blackmer of Meggett, Archie Burkel of James Island, Stephen Yetman of North Charleston, and Jane Riley and Richard Sidebottom of Charleston. Photo by Michael Kaynard, KaynardPhotography.com.

More photos: If you want to see a neat photo of the rural South, sign up to receive photo emails at: www.BetterSouth.org. And tell your friends too!


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Issue 7.08 | Monday, Dec. 22, 2014
Track Santa via Google!

FOCUS
Top children's books for Christmas

BRACK
Heed lessons of Stinney ruling

GOOD NEWS
Big grant for Gibbes, more

HISTORY
South Carolina's rivers

SPOTLIGHT

catherine e. lafond, p.a.

FEEDBACK

Buy American, higher tax

BROADUS
Nobody named the dog

THE LIST
Number three nationally

QUOTE
On patience

CALENDAR

This week ... and next

search | subscribe | send feedback

THE LIST

Third best light show!

Charleston's own Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island County Park is the third Best Public Lights Display in the United State, according to a panel of experts and readers of USA Today in the 10Best Readers' Choice Award contest!

According to the site, "visitors enjoy a driving tour of more than 700 displays and 2 million lights. The event also offers the chance to park the car and see lights up close on a holiday train, ride a Victorian carousel, sample treats from Santa's Sweet Shoppe and admire seasonally-themed sand sculptures and gingerbread houses."

1. Festival of Lights, Mission Inn Hotel and Spa, Riverside, Calif.

2. Nights of Lights, St. Augustine, Fla.

3. Holiday Festival of Lights, James Island, S.C.

4. Holiday Lights Show, Coeur d'Alene Resort, Idaho.

5. Fantasy in Lights, Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Ga.

QUOTE

On patience

"You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance."

-- Franklin P. Jones

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NEW ON THE CALENDAR

(NEW) Free legal clinic, 6 p.m., Jan. 15. A free clinic on family law issues will be held at Dorchester Road Regional Library in North Charleston. More.

(NEW) Reflecting on Dr. King: The CSO Gospel Choir and CSO Spiritual Ensemble will bring the life of legendary civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to life during two Reflection Tribute Performances on Jan. 17, 2015. There will be a 3 p.m. matinee, followed by a 7 p.m. performance at the Cathedral of Praise, 3790 Ashley Phosphate Road, North Charleston. The event, in collaboration with the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, is free, but requires a ticket, which can be picked up at the arts department in North Charleston, the main library or Cathedral of Praise.

(NEW) Genealogy, 6 p.m., Jan. 22. The Charleston County Public Library will offer "Uncovering Untold Stories: African American Genealogy for Beginners and Skeptics," at the Main Library in Charleston. More.

(NEW) Healthy eating, 2 p.m., Jan. 24. You can learn more about healthy eating for the new year at a one-hour presentation at the Mount Pleasant Regional Library. More.

DON'T MISS THESE EVENTS EITHER

Medal of Honor Bowl: 2:30 p.m., Jan. 10, 2015, at Johnson Hagood Stadium, The Citadel, Charleston. You can support the second-annual event by purchasing a ticket for just $15 and, if you show up, you'll have a chance to win a brand new Mercedes sedan. Read more from our recent story.
Learn more online at: MOHBowl.com.

Storytelling contest. The Charleston County Public Library will host a free three-day workshop featuring the internationally-renowned Center for Digital Storytelling to help people learn to use today's technology to preserve stories. The Jan. 22-24 workshop will include scriptwriting, image preparation, voiceover recording and editing. Because of limited space, individuals or pairs who want to enter have to submit a video or written essay on why they want to participate. Applications are due by Dec. 31. Learn more here.

ONGOING

Bird walks: 8:30 a.m. to noon, every Wednesday and Saturday. This is the time of year that a great variety of migrating birds fly through the Lowcountry so what better time to take part in one of the regular early morning bird walks at Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel. Pre-registration is suggested. Cost is $5. Walks also are conducted on James Island and Folly Beach.Learn more online.

FOCUS ARCHIVES

12/22: Sabine: Christmas books
12/15: Frazier: Christmas at Magnolia
12/8: McQueeney: MOH Bowl
12/1: Arnoldi: Girl entrepreneurs

11/24: Skardon, Quenga: signupSC
11/17: Cannon: Downtown schools
11/10: Lesesne: More Wi-Fi in parks
11/3: Denaux: One80 Place

10/27: Reynolds: Festival of Lights
10/20: Sabine: Halloween favorites
10/13: Charleston Jazz Jam
10/6: Nuovo Cinema Italiano

9/29: Smith: West Ashley
9/22: Haynes: Hurricane Hugo
9/15: ECCO's 25th
9/8: Riley on responsibilities
9/1: Sabine: RiverDogs' photo essay

8/25: Friedman, Moredock: New station
8/18: No pets, kids in hot cars
8/11: Ruff: County's greenbelt plan
8/4: Holling: Watkins's book

7/28: Fordham: Literacy program
7/21: Troy: Dolphin's new owner
7/14: Waronsky: Message focus
7/7: Devaney: Winning poster prize
7/1: Dodge: Take 5 campaign

6/16: Pritchard: Anti-cruelty effort
6/9: Wentworth: Palmetto Poem
6/2: Mullins: Play on bishop's murder

DOUG BOSTICK:
CIVIL WAR HISTORY

12/15: Tulifinny Crossroads
11/17: Battle of Honey Hill
10/13: Yellow fever epidemic
9/8: The "Immortal 600"
8/11: The inhuman threat
7/14: Nearly impregnable
6/9: Prisoners to Charleston
5/12: Change of command
4/14: Charleston capture?
2/10: Attack of the Hunley
1/27/14: Bleak conditions

ANDY BRACK

12/22: Stinney ruling
12/15: Restore confidence
12/8: Win a boat for holidays
12/1: Travel tips from Fla. weekend

11/24: Promise zones
11/17: Gerrymandered districts
11/10: Lesson on governing
11/3: Ballot box won't fix board

10/27: On the work ethic
10/20: Find the liberal
10/13: New station needed
10/6: Sheheen uses flag

9/29: On panhandling
9/22: Why we vote on Tuesdays
9/15: Watkins offers romp on Trace
9/8: DaPore on putting people first
9/1: On finding column topics

8/25: End of 2nd Reconstruction
8/18: Humor and politics
8/11: Gov's race interesting
8/4: Letters to a camper

7/28: Writer says S.C. like Africa
7/21: Problem with chamber
7/14: On being fair
7/7: Do more on civil rights
7/1: Great trip to Wyoming

6/16: All about chiggers
6/9: Hollywood drama at capitol
6/2: D is for dysfunctional

LAFOND, McQUAGE:
ON SENIORS

12/1: Being more open in helping
10/6: Honoring aging
8/4: There's an app for that
6/2: It takes a virtual village
5/19: Common IRA traps to avoid
4/7: Medication check-up
3/3: Read your deed
2/3/2014: Driving and being older

12/2: On the Personal Property Memo
11/4: Your time: great gift for seniors
10/7: Let's celebrate aging
9/3: Medicaid and your future
8/5: More on estates, wills
7/1: Estate planning myths
6/3: Pensions for wartime vets
5/6: Revocable Living Trusts
3/4: Resources to help seniors cope
2/4: On life estates
1/7: Next step in health care

KYRA MORRIS: MONEY

11/24: Community investments
10/27: Silicon Harbor
9/29: On personal happiness
8/25: S.C. Inland Port
7/28: Your digital assets
7/1: Tax credits, deductions
5/26: Social Security conversation
4/29: Community ag/fisheries
3/24: Let's invest in Charleston
2/24: Getting beyond jitters
1/27/14: Financial independence

12/23: And now there is hope
12/2: The "thanks" of Thanksgiving
10/28: Impact of rising bond market
9/30: What happens when rates rise

LEIGH SABINE:
PLUFF MUD KIDS

12/22: Christmas books for kids
11/17: Holiday fun for all
10/20: Sabine: Halloween favorites
9/15: Great run/walks for family
8/18: Edisto day trip
7/21: Great reading places
6/16: Picking berries, making jam
5/26: Art and music for kids
4/21: ArtFields for kids
3/17: Spring break ideas in S.C.
2/17: Four great outings for limited times
1/20: Upstate wonders

12/16: More holiday fun
11/18: Winter activities to do
10/14: Four ways to preserve history
9/16: It's harvest time
8/19: Kids giving back

7/15: Childrens' museums
6/17: Interactive adventures
5/20: Birds, bees, butterflies
4/15: Signs of spring abound
3/18: Great local parks
2/18: What's new in Charleston is old
1/21: Blaze a trail in 2013
12/10: Great holiday adventure

PALMETTO POEM

12/1: Foley: Shine on
11/3: Harris: Accidentals
10/6: Meyers: back from the woods ...
9/1: Hagerty: Twinzilla Wormhole
8/4: Lamkin: A rose for my mother
7/7: Amaker: Out of breath
6/9: Wentworth: Path to the Beach

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