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It’s a Wrap! A Look Back at the Wet and Wild 5th Edition of the Caribbean Multihull Challenge Race and Rally

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - With a record-setting number of participants and a whole new element added to the festivities—a dedicated cruising rally run in conjunction with the racing regatta that’s been the hallmark of the event—the fifth running of the annual Caribbean Multihull Challenge Race and Rally, which took place from February 3-5, was an unqualified success. As the CMC continues to grow and evolve, it’s an ideal time to look back at what transpired this year and ahead to the next edition, scheduled to take place next February 2-4, 2024.

The Racing: Principal race officer Rein Korteknie needed perfect Caribbean trade-wind conditions to pull off what amounted to a Triple Crown of offshore contests, the CMC Trifecta of point-to-point races for the CSA 1 class, and the weather gods fully cooperated. Looking at the weekend forecast, he decided to run the shortest race of the three on the windiest day, and scheduled the CMC 27 Mile Around Island Circle Race sponsored by Amstel Bright for Sunday’s finale. With that date established, he then sent the fleet on the Around Saba Dash sponsored by the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau on Friday and the Caribbean 60 Mile Multihull Sprint, a power reach around St. Barth’s sponsored by FKG Rigging, for Saturday.

All three races were won in dominating fashion by Greg Slyngstad’s 53-foot Fujin, making its third appearance in the CMC, which in so doing also captured the CSA 1 class. The half-dozen entrants in the division included two intriguing CMC newcomers, the Gunboat 60, Cui Bono, and the classic Lock Crowhter-designed trimaran Oceans Tribute, which sailed all the way from New Zealand to sail in the CMC. Neither, however, could better the series that was sailed by another CMC veteran, Anthony McVeigh’s well-sailed catamaran 2 2 Tango, which placed second in CSA 1.

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Race Competitor CMC V: 2 2 Tango. Photo Credit Laurens Morel / Salty Colours.

The growing Diam 24 class of one-design 24-foot trimarans continued to grow, as evidenced by Pierre Altier of Cry Baby earning the title of Most Worthy Performer for the regatta, an award presented to the boat that registers the most convincing victory in the event’s most competitive class. Both Slyngstad and Altier also took home new Swiss dive watches from Oris, repeat sponsor of the CMC.

“The Diam 24 fleet was very exciting, I’m hoping for more Diam 24s in the future,” said CMC director of marketing Steve Burzon, a member of the event’s original founders and steering committee. “We still need to get some more high-level race boats to come beat Fujin! My plan is to pursue those competitors by continuing to attend boat shows like Cannes and the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland. I’m very bullish on the racing part of the event.”

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Race Competitor CMC V: Diam 24 Merlin. Photo Credit Laurens Morel / Salty Colours.

The Rally: With a dozen boats in the fleet in what was the CMC’s inaugural running of its new Rally for cruising catamarans and trimarans, the total CMC entry list topped 30 boats for the first time. And the Rally, which was run in three legs with overnight stops in Anse Marcel and Anguilla, proved to be a huge hit for organizers and participants alike. Balance Catamarans, a brand of high-performance cruising cats from South Africa, led the way with a half-dozen entries, which Burzon sees as a blueprint for future growth in the Rally fleet. “The deal with Balance was incredible, and it’s something we want to offer to other brands going forward,” he said. “They got incredible parties, live music, dancing, photos, organized games and sailing, all for the price of their entry. I really want to get other brands like HH Catamarans, Lagoon, Fountaine Pajot and others involved. They bring the boats and their customers, we put on the event. My plan is to organize the Rally for as many cruising sailors and even bareboat charterers as possible.”

The Sponsors: Burzon said, “We welcomed back our repeating sponsors like Oris Swiss Watches, Fope Fine Italian Jewelry, Ballerina Jewelers, as well as the companies that sponsored our CMC Trifecta and many others. But I have to say the backing of the St. Maarten Tourist Board really made the difference. They gave us a lot of support. They said to use their money for marketing, which is exactly what we did. It allowed us to promote St. Maarten as the epicenter for multihull sailing, which is exactly what we are. There’s a long history of great multihull sailing here on the island, and the CMC exists to honor that history and continue to build on it.”

The Future: Now ensconced on the Caribbean racing calendar as the premier event for multihulls throughout the islands, with five years of success behind them, the CMC organizing team and sponsors are poised to take that solid foundation and continue to offer innovative and exciting racing and cruising in the years ahead. The future? It’s bright indeed.

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Rally Participant CMC V: Sami Malu. Photo Credit Laurens Morel / Salty Colours.

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Ordained for This! A new Book by Nerissa Golden Makes Amazon’s Best Sellers List

SINT MAARTEN/MONTSERRAT - Ordained for This!, a new inspirational book by author and entrepreneur Nerissa Golden has made the Amazon Best Sellers List.

The book, which was released on Friday, February 3, 2023, quickly climbed in the categories of Women’s Personal Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Growth Self-Help, and 90-Minute Self-Help Short Reads. On Monday morning, it sat at #3, #4, and #8 respectively in each category.

Ordained for This! guides women to a new understanding of how to see themselves the way God sees us. Through the Old Testament story of the Widow of Zarephath, Nerissa shares why women don’t need to be their own hero and how understanding the special place we occupy in God's heart and plan releases us to live fulfilled, protected, provided for and on purpose.

“Heroes are only needed to rescue you in a crisis. If our entire mindset is built around surviving from one crisis to the next we are missing all of the goodness that is ours to have and the peace of mind and blessings that would allow us to make a big impact for our families and community,” shared Golden, who is the mother of four. “This was the book I needed to write, first to remind myself to not go back to that life. Second, I believe this story will encourage other women to make the shift as well. It is available as a free download on all US platforms or under one pound in most other countries.”

Sonja Smith, Librarian at the Montserrat Public Library called the book “Powerful! Insightful! Humorous! These are just some of the words that came to mind when I read the book. This was a really easy read, but to get the essence of the book, it will have to be read over and over again.”

This is the second book by Golden which has made the Amazon Best Sellers list for the top 100 books. Her 2021 entrepreneurship guide Start, Grow, Thrive: Build a Business to Last debuted in the top 10 on its release.

Golden is the CEO of Goldenmedia LLC, a media and business strategy firm based in Montserrat. The author of more than 10 books, she is passionate about empowering women and Caribbean people to pursue entrepreneurship and to live fulfilled and impactful lives.

Get the Free eBook for Apple and other devices at https://books2read.com/u/49VkXd , and for Amazon Kindle - https://amzn.to/3DIlhIb

Learn more about Ordained for This and other books from the author at nerissagolden.com.

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Cover of Ordained for This!

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Beyond Kultura Kicks off “Chella & The Weird Woman” Video Storybook

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Beyond Kultura Events (BKE) Foundation, TVCARIB, Divergences (Tashira Richardson) and Fraenseen Fowler have kicked off the production of animated-video storybook “Chella & The Weird Woman”, based on the children’s book by BKE founder and author Loekie Morales.

The new animated storybook – the fourth in BKE’s video-storybook series – is based on Morales’s “Chella & The Weird Woman”, published in English, Dutch, and Spanish in 2017. In this story, a little girl is being lured by a very strange woman. This triller book features the illustrations of artist Penka Petcova.

Read aloud by the voice over winner and certified story reader Fraenseen Fowler and produced by freelance video editor Tashira Richardson, the new production will bring Chella, her siblings, Welita and The Weird Woman, to life.

The “Chella & The Weird Woman” video storybook is to be ready for TV broadcast in English with Papiamentu subtitling in the Dutch Caribbean as of April 2023. The video will also be available online at www.tvcarib.com and www.beyondkultura.com

This project is made possible with the financial support of the Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund Caribbean.

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WIB Says Welcome to the Royal Family

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Members of the Royal Family, His Majesty King Willem Alexander, Her Majesty Queen Maxima and Her Royal Highness Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange, are visiting Sint Maarten on a two-day visit from Monday, February 6 to Tuesday, February 7.  

While on Sint Maarten, the Royal Family and the State Secretary for Kingdom Relations and Digitalisation, Alexandra van Huffelen will be accompanied by His Excellency, the Governor of Sint Maarten, Ajamu Baly, who is host of the visit.

WIB WELCOME ROYAL FAMILY

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HUHCF conducts Graduation Ceremony for its Adult Literacy Program

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Hearts United Holistic Care Foundation (HUHCF), held its graduation ceremony for students who participated actively and completed the foundational aspects of the Adult Literacy Program on Monday, January 31st, 2023. During this delightful event, eighteen students received certificates and awards in various categories and levels.

This program was sponsored by Resources for Community Resilience (R4CR), as a pilot project. It was conducted from June 2022 and continued until the 31st of January 2023. Due to the resounding success of the project, preparations are now being made to resume classes in March 2023.

The graduation ceremony was held at the Senior Citizen Recreational Foundation Hall in Hope Estate. Attendees included representatives of Resources for Community Resilience (R4CR), Board & Volunteers of Hearts United Holistic Care Foundation (HUHCF), Graduating as well as potential students, along with their family members and friends.

Words of inspiration and keynote speeches were given by the representative of R4CR Mr. Steve Duzanson, Executive Director of HUHCF, Mrs Donna Morrison Wilson, President of HUHCF, Mrs Rosanna Ageday Franklyn, Ms Maria Chemont and Mr. Early Charlemayne. In response, a few students shared their experiences, as well as gave the assurances of continuing the journey.

Certificates were presented for participation, attendance, most improved, outstanding performances, and the various levels in the program. Heartfelt gratitude and thanks to our sponsor R4CR for making this project and graduation a success, the teachers, project coordinator, administrator and support staff helped to make the execution a rewarding one.

The evenings ceremony culminated with a sumptuous dinner.

For more information, contact us on (telephone 1 721 523-0901 / 554-0407 / 522-5621

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or follow us on Facebook & IG. We are located on E.C. Richardson Street #3, Philipsburg. http://www.facebook.com/heartsunitedcare

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The Royal Family Visit to Aruba

ARUBA (ORANJESTAD) - On Monday morning, January 30 the King and Queen and the Princess of Orange arrived in Oranjestad, where a welcome ceremony took place on Wilhelmina Square. Following a meeting with Governor Alfsonso Boekhoudt, the royal party walked to the parliament to speak with party leaders. They then walked to the Cocolishi building, which houses Aruba’s cabinet. There they had lunch with the prime minister and ministers. On the way they interacted with members of the public and saw performances by a local learning orchestra and youth choir.

In the afternoon the royal party continued to San Nicolas, a town with an artistic vibe. At Filomena College secondary school they attended a performance about Boy Ecury, an Aruban-Dutch resistance hero. This took place next to a mural dedicated to him. Other colourful murals, created by local and international artists during Aruba Art Fair, were highlighted during a walk through the town. The royal party paid a brief visit to the Museum of Industry and watched street performances by young people, featuring breakdance, spoken word and a carnival show.

In the morning of Tuesday, January 31, the King and Queen and the Princess of Orange visited Arikok National Park. This protected area covers 20% of Aruba. The royal party went on a hike in the park, met the makers of a nature documentary about the six islands and discussed nature conservation and management with junior rangers at the Center of Cultivation. The royal party then continued on to Royal Aruba Aloe, a company founded in 1890, where they spoke with staff and saw how the company cultivates aloe vera and uses it in making skincare products.

In the afternoon the royal party visited the University of Aruba. They attended part of a lecture on Caribbean law and spoke with students. The King and Princess of Orange then visited the Soccer Academy at Compleho Deportivo Frans Figaroa, which provides training for talented young people in collaboration with the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB). Queen Máxima paid a field visit to a vegetable farmer who attends a business academy run by credit provider Qredits.

In the evening the Bon Bini Festival took place at Fort Zoutman. Following a walk around Plaza Padú, where there was music and a presentation of local products, the royal party watched an exploratory show on Aruban culture and history, with Caribbean music and dance.

The King and Queen and the Princess of Orange will sail from Aruba to Curaçao on patrol ship HNLMS Holland, which is stationed in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom, on Wednesday February 1. On board they will discuss the Ministry of Defence’s operations in the Caribbean region, followed by a tour of the vessel and demonstrations.

The Defence organisation works to keep all parts of the Kingdom safe. Military units stationed in the region fulfil three key tasks: to protect the Kingdom’s territorial integrity, to promote and maintain the international legal order, and to support the local authorities. For example, they carry out operations to counter drug smuggling, provide assistance in sea rescues and provide emergency relief after hurricanes.

Upon arrival in Willemstad’s St. Anna Bay on Wednesday, February 1, the royal party will be greeted by Governor Lucille George-Wout. This will be followed by a welcome ceremony marking the start of their visit to Curaçao.

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Courtesy RVD

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Courtesy RVD

ROYAL ARU aruba7 Mischa Schoemaker

Courtesy Mischa Schoemaker

 

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CIBC FIRSTCARIBBEAN NAMED “BEST DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION BANK 2022”

SINT MAARTEN/BARBADOS – “Bank hailed for its great strides in offering digital banking, e-products and services” - CIBC FirstCaribbean has copped another prestigious award for the great strides the regional bank has made in the digital banking space.

In naming the bank “Best Digital Transformation Bank 2022”, The European, a London based global financial publication, said the decision was based on the “bank’s efforts and strides made in digital banking, e-products, internet banking services, and the corporate banking products and made based on a set of global standards as well as the opinion of a select panel of reputable analysts.”

It added that “CIBC FirstCaribbean has rendered the latest digital banking solutions allowing customers to perform their banking transactions seamlessly and securely meaning that people can do their banking where, when, and how they want, it also ensures that they give customers new ways to better understand their finances and data in such a way that adds values to their lives.”

The bank’s Executive Director, Retail and Business Banking Deepa Boucaud expressed delight at the latest award noting that it was “testimony to the hard work and commitment to client-excellence on a bank-wide level”.

She said the bank was committed to its digital transformation journey ensuring that clients have at their fingertips all of the products and services to make their banking, personalised and easy.

“We will continue to lead the way with modern, innovative products and services that simplifies the everyday banking experience for our clients by providing them with new digital capabilities across all our service delivery channels,” Mrs. Boucaud said.

“Digital is the future of banking, and we are continuously enhancing our digital channels to provide innovative solutions to meet your unique and changing banking needs,” she added.  

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C&W Communications sponsors CANTO’s AGM in Suriname

SINT MAARTEN/SURINAME - C&W Communications is the Platinum Sponsor of CANTO’s 39th Annual General Meeting, themed “Fostering a Resilient Datasphere for all”. After a 2-year hiatus, the AGM will be hosted in person from February 5th – 7th at the Torarica Hotel, Paramaribo, Suriname.

Headlining with a Keynote Address will be C&W Business’ Kamla Hamilton, Senior Product Manager, Security Solutions on the topic “Becoming Cyber Secure: Risks and Opportunities in Today’s Digital World”.

Kamla is an ICT professional who has established a track record of developing and executing innovative customer solutions that drive digital transformation. With a focus on raising awareness of cyber security and its role in improving the region’s security posture, as part of the product management team, she continues to build a portfolio of managed security services designed to mitigate cyber risk.

C&W Business will also host a panel discussion on the “Power of Transformation with MutliCloud Solutions”.

The Opening Ceremony of the event will be hosted under the auspices of the Honourable Chandrikapersad "Chan" Santokhi, President of Suriname who is slated to deliver the Feature Address.

Other topics to be delivered during the 3-day event include Fair Share towards Regional Digital Transformation; Digital Transformation of Telcos to enable Business Success; E-Commerce Fraud and Risk Management; Accelerating Digital Transformation to Maximize opportunities; US Caribbean ICT Trade Opportunities; Knowledge Sharing and Best practices in FTTH; Human collaboration on cybersecurity in the age of A.I; Top 10 ICT trends worldwide in 2023; among others.

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Ambulance workers complete operational and maintenance training

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Personnel of the Sint Maarten Ambulance Department have successfully completed a five-day training course to familiarize themselves with the four (4) brand new ambulance vehicles that were delivered in late December 2022.

Conducted by ambulance manufacturer REV Group and Zoll, the training sessions focused on the use and maintenance of the ambulances and their operating systems. It also included a “train-the-trainer" component to enable local ambulance workers to provide these operational and maintenance training courses in the future.

At a combined cost of approximately US $1.2 million, the new ambulances were procured through the Sint Maarten Trust Fund, which is financed by the Government of the Netherlands, managed by the World Bank, and implemented by the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) on behalf of the Government of Sint Maarten.

Since 2018, the Sint Maarten Trust Fund has invested in equipment for Sint Maarten’s firefighters and ambulance workers, as well as in repair work to the Philipsburg and Simpson Bay police stations and Fire and Ambulance building to fix damage caused by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. Together, these investments amount to some US $6.3 million.

The four new ambulances were custom designed to successfully operate in Sint Maarten’s tropical maritime climate and effortlessly traverse its mountainous topography. As such, the selected vehicle model was chosen for its narrow-body frame, efficient fuel consumption, and four-wheel drive capabilities, making the ambulances ideally suited to climb steep hills and maneuver on cramped, unpaved streets. Additionally, the chassis underbody has been coated to minimize corrosion from salt spray.

Most importantly, the ambulances come fully stocked with medical equipment and supplies to handle life-threatening emergencies. All four ambulances have been outfitted with defibrillators and automated cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) devices to assist patients in cardiac arrest, as well as vascular access kits and piped oxygen systems to support critical care en route to the Emergency Room (ER). The vehicles also have various onboard trauma kits to provide vital first response for serious injuries such as burns, motor vehicle accidents, and gunshot wounds, among others.

Before the new ambulances arrived, the Ambulance Department’s existing fleet comprised of four ambulances, all of which are nearing the end of their lifespan. Through the Trust Fund, the NRPB bought spare parts for the older vehicles to keep them operational during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Sint Maarten is in the process of selecting two of the old ambulances for retirement. The other two will remain in use and will bolster the contingent of new ambulances, bringing the total number of working ambulances at the disposal of the Ambulance Department to six (6).

“As Government, we are dedicated to the forward motion of these projects that focus on building resilience for Sint Maarten. While the ambulances may have taken quite some time to get here, it’s good to see them here coupled with the expert training our frontliners have received. We are now better prepared to deal with disasters. The process of rolling this project is still in the works, but we are steadily on the way to ensuring that the entire sector is properly outfitted, the frontliners are trained, and their facilities and equipment adequately maintained to ensure continued progress,” said Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs.

Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA) Omar Ottley said: “The enhancement of our public health has been and will remain a priority for me. I have heard the complaints of the community concerning the lack of ambulances and, as of today, this complaint should no longer be. We have also put out a tender for an in-house mechanic to ensure the maintenance of the ambulances. The safety of the workers and their ability to get to and from a scene have been a concern of the Ministry from the onset. I would like to thank everyone involved for making this possible, the ambulance staff, the Ministry of VSA and the NRPB.”

Ambulance Chief Cylred Richardson said that the Ambulance Department has made history by securing these four brand-new fully equipped ambulances, especially at a time when sourcing ambulances and its related equipment face numerous challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are proud of this much needed and important investment in the bolstering of emergency medical care and response on Sint Maarten. My team is anxious to serve the community of Sint Maarten in these state-of-the-art ambulances,” he said.

“Through the Trust Fund and on behalf of government, the NRPB continues to provide necessary equipment to support Sint Maarten’s first responders and build the country’s resilience to future natural disasters. I am glad to see these ambulances delivered to the men and women of the Ambulance Department, whose dedication and hard work has been exemplary and is a symbol of our innate resilience,” said NRPB Director Claret Connor.

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The four new ambulances in front of the Fire and Ambulance Building in Cay Hill.  

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Ambulance Department personnel placing their hands on one of the new ambulances as all four are being blessed by Pastor James Irish.

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FREE SPAY AND NEUTER CAMPAIGN COMING MARCH 27 TO 31

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Did you know 1 dog pair can breed and result in 67,000 dogs over the course of 7 years?    

In order to lessen the starvation, suffering, and misery of stray animals, 4 Leaf Rover, a non-profit group based in the USA and focused on providing free medical care for stray dogs and cats in the Caribbean, will be conducting a free spay and neuter campaign from March 27 to March 31 with the goal in mind to spay and neuter 300 dogs and cats for free.  

A temporary pop-up clinic located adjacent to St. Maarten Veterinary Clinic in Cay Hill will be constructed for this mission which has been led by Dr. Edward Lee, an American physician who attended AUC medical school from 1999-2001 and a homeowner on French St. Martin.   

The four local veterinarians on the Dutch side Dr. Virginie de Ceuster of Animal Care Center, Dr. Glen Romney of Animal Hospital of St. Maarten, Dr. Garry Swanston of St. Maarten Veterinary Clinic and Dr. Ruth Wright of The Island Vet, will be providing local support and equipment for this mission.  

In addition, several St. Maarten-based animal welfare activists and organizations such Animal Welfare Foundation, Animal Defenders and SXM PAWS along with local businesses such as AUC School of Medicine, Belair Beach Hotel (by offering free lodging for all 11 volunteers of 4 Leaf Rover) Domino's Pizza St. Maarten and St. Maarten Yacht Club Bar & Restaurant (which will offer free daily breakfast for the volunteers) will be also assisting in this mission.  

Volunteers will be finding, collecting, and bringing stray dogs and cats located on both Dutch and French sides for spay and neuter surgeries.   Free rewards will be offered to owners who bring their pets in for spay/neuter surgery such as free collars, leashes, shampoos, and pizza.   

Hundreds of dogs and cats ended up homeless after Hurricane Irma swept through the island back in 2017.    During the COVID pandemic, many pets were dumped by owners who could no longer afford or to feed them. 

When dogs and cats are allowed to roam, the exponential rate of breeding of dogs and cats inevitably results in misery and starvation as well the lack of acute medical care for the animals.   Animals that are not spayed and neutered are less likely to get into fights, to become infected with contagious diseases, and to roam while dangerously unattended and some get hit by vehicles.    

Moreover, sterilization also helps prevent deadly forms of cancer and diseases of the reproductive system.   Spayed cats are less likely to get infected with Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) which can cause cancer.   In addition, Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumour, a deadly and painful disease, can be prevented in sterilized dogs.  

In order to book spay and neuter surgeries for adopted pets, owners will need to send an email to Macy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..   Owners will be asked to drop off their pets at either 630am or 1200pm for morning or afternoon surgery times.      

To learn more about this free spay-neuter campaign, please go to: https://www.facebook.com/events/557454553065944/

 

 

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