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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

View Poll Results: Do you regularly commute via cycle?
Yes 32 55.17%
No 7 12.07%
When the weather is good 6 10.34%
All the time! 23 39.66%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 58. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-23-06, 03:23 PM   #1
BlueBettaLady
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I need help for educational purpose

I am a speech communication student at Northeast State University in Blountville Tennessee. This semester I am taking an argumentation and debate class. One requirement of the class is a policy speech. This speech implements a new policy or augments an existing policy.

My topic is cycle commuters in relation to the clean air act as it relates to hybrid cars. For purchasing a “hybrid” vehicle, individuals may claim a portion of the cost because it is “healthy” to the environment. I believe that individuals who commute via bicycle should be able to receive a tax credit similar in value for updating equipment required to commuting via cycle. This may be rain gear, panniers, lighting equipment, helmets, perhaps even a bicycle itself.

My reason is because our society consistently complains about oil dependency, gas mileage and the positive effects of “green” fuels. Well, besides the occasional methane gas produced from too much beans the night before, cycling is as “green” as it gets. <<Smile>>


I have research data per say “statistical” numbers regarding emissions; cost differential, census information with rough numbers of cyclist commuters in the United States. What I need is information on a more connotative level. I need information that college students can identify with and say – ok this is why I should care…even if I am not doing it myself.

No identifying information will be used; no names will be given without permission. If you would like to share “personal” information (such as a story regarding your experience with cycling, or an opinion upon the issue) IF and only IF you give me permission to use your first name AND state of residence will I mention any information.

I welcome any and all information, comments, criticism upon this topic. If you have any questions please contact me directly at BlueBettaLady@yahoo.com.


Thank you for time time.

Teresa
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Old 09-23-06, 03:38 PM   #2
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This sounds like a good topic. I wonder if you would find people more willing to participate in either the Commuting subforum or the Living Carfree subforum.
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Old 09-23-06, 03:38 PM   #3
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Great idea !
Realisticly, a lot of us own cars that we choose not to use but
still pay the high official type maintanance costs on. Tags,
insurance, inspection etc. I put 125 miles a week on my bike
and about 1500 miles a year on my car. We should be reimbursed
for not adding to a number of negative societal issues related to cars.
Our senators, representatives etc are getting their vehicles for free
based on the taxes we have to pay so its only fair we get a break on
our needs. Likewise for realtors or business people who can write off
the expense of an irresponsible vehicle like an SUV. We should be
allowed the same considerations for doing something responsible.
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Old 09-23-06, 04:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=-
Great idea !
Realisticly, a lot of us own cars that we choose not to use but
still pay the high official type maintanance costs on. Tags,
insurance, inspection etc. I put 125 miles a week on my bike
and about 1500 miles a year on my car. We should be reimbursed
for not adding to a number of negative societal issues related to cars.
Our senators, representatives etc are getting their vehicles for free
based on the taxes we have to pay so its only fair we get a break on
our needs. Likewise for realtors or business people who can write off
the expense of an irresponsible vehicle like an SUV. We should be
allowed the same considerations for doing something responsible.
Agreed as well! I couldn't say it better myself!
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Old 09-23-06, 04:39 PM   #5
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I have to explain my vote in the poll, I said no, although I have bike commuted, not on a regular basis, at least not this past year, I have the wrong kind of bike for it, although this winter I will be converting to a commuter bike, and will be doing more, so the same poll a year from now, might result in a yes.
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Old 09-23-06, 05:00 PM   #6
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I also have to vote no for now - living next to campus makes it a short walk. Next year it'll probably be a several mile commute, and I plan on biking it regardless of weather.
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Old 09-23-06, 07:35 PM   #7
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I do think this is a great idea. But it needs to be made to the people who matter in politics. What we can do here is to make it better know, and promote it by lobbying for it.

The bicycle is the most efficient means of transport for humans in terms of energy expended on the planet. Yet, there is a lot of "hype" in the "zoom-zoom" of cars, and on TV commercials. How is it that we let cars have TV time to the tune of 4-6 commercials per hour, and then do nothing when we hear the statistics that cars take 40,000 lives a year? What if we were to say that, in addition to tax breaks, we needed the automobile industry to promote healthy lifestyles in their commercials? What if, instead of promoting the sexiness of cars (they aren't, you know) we said that for each 6 car commercials, a bicycle commercial promoting them for commuting and short trips was necessary, funded by the car companies? It's kinda like the legislation that was introduced concerning tobacco companies, where as a payback to society, they had to do something about smoking; here we have an industry which kills a whole lot of us a year, and we ask nothing but that we get gas prices down.

So I think tax breaks are just part of the picture. There is now a link of driving (commute) time with heart disease, if I remember correctly. It is my opinion that more needs to be done to promote, in our national media, healthy lifestyles, including bicycling.

John
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Old 09-23-06, 07:51 PM   #8
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Every year I fill out a survey that is sent to my employer from a local organization that collects statistics about how people commute to work, whether they carpool, drive alone, take the bus, ride a bike. There are all kinds of questions about whether there are safe places to lock my bike (there are), showers (yes), how comfortable I feel riding in traffic (very) etc.

I suspect that my employer gets some brownie points, if not tax credits, for my bicycle commuting. There's something wrong with this picture if you ask me. They have done nothing to encourage bike commuting. The bike parking is safe because the location is safe. The showers are there because we have a gym.

Not that I need any money or tax credits. I enjoy the ride. But the CEO and president are married to each other and one drives a lexus and the other drives a porsche and they both live closer to the office than I do, and of all the people who work there I only ever see another bike parked there once a month or less, so why is it they get credit for what I do again?

Show me the money!
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Old 09-23-06, 10:35 PM   #9
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I think a more apt comparison would be with the transportation fringe benefit plan which allows employees to pay with pre-tax dollars certain commuting expenses. Current federal law allows up to $105/month for mass transit and vanpool expenses. There are current bills before Congress (and have been for several years) to extend this tax break to bicycle commuters.

Oh - and so drivers don't feel put upon and mistreated - the same law gives them up to $205/month for parking so they can continue driving alone to work. Such are they ways of Washington.

Now when it comes to using tax money as the lever to social change (which pretty much sums up our entire tax policy) it seems wisest to use it (since it is finite) where the least nets the most savings.

So encouraging people to continue driving by subsidizing parking is not only not effective it is just dumb. A complete waste there.

Subsidizing people to buy new hybrid cars isn't a winner in my eyes either. There is a horrible environmental cost in the manufacture of any car so artificially stimulating more of them seems to be going in the wrong direction. And in any event, last time I checked all the roads were gridlocked at rush hour as it was so how does replacing a gasoline burning car with a hybrid help that?

The auto commuting public is very vocal in demanding that billions of dollars in tax money be spent to build them ever more roads. Roads which they promptly fill with ever more cars. So spending tax dollars to encourage buying even more automobiles doesn't look like it would save anything.

Here in Washington many people use the transportation fringe benefit to pay commuting costs on Metro. Hey - that's great! Now we are getting people off the road. Except - just like the highways our Metro system is at/over capacity. We're now scrambling to add hundreds of new rail cars to the system to carry the extra passengers at a cost of (tax money) hundred's of millions of dollars. Billions more are going to be spent to extend Metro to Dulles airport. I don't see any "savings" coming from there anytime soon.

But the lowly bike. It's inexpensive - anyone can afford one. I'd roughly guess that the environmental impact of manufacturing a 20 lb. bike is 100 times less than that of making a 2000 lb. automobile. And autos have to be made in huge expensive plants located hundred's if not thousands of miles away and then be inefficiently transported for sale. Bikes, on the other hand, are much more compact and thus more efficient to ship. And, if it came down to it, bikes could easily be manufactured locally in the equivalent of a handy man's workshop.

Bikes can readily use the existing secondary road network. Maybe, in places, some special facilities would have to be created for them. But I'd wager that the cost of just 1 mile of super highway would greatly exceed ALL the costs of needed new bike facilities for a given city.

Unlike cars and trucks bikes don't tear up our roads either. So those facilities that are used by bikes only are much less expensive to construct (since they don't have to withstand the abuse of automobiles) and they are going to last a really long time.

Nobody riding in an automobile or crammed in a subway car improves their health much. And there is a heath crisis in this country that is costing us billions. We all need to get a little more exercise - one answer - the bike.

So, in summary, if I only have a few tax dollars to spend and want to get the most bang for my buck then one great answer is do everything possible to promote biking. I think the potential return from investing in its promotion far outweighs any of the other commuting alternatives.
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Old 09-24-06, 12:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueBettaLady
I am a speech communication student at Northeast State University in Blountville Tennessee. This semester I am taking an argumentation and debate class. One requirement of the class is a policy speech. This speech implements a new policy or augments an existing policy.

My topic is cycle commuters in relation to the clean air act as it relates to hybrid cars. For purchasing a “hybrid” vehicle, individuals may claim a portion of the cost because it is “healthy” to the environment. I believe that individuals who commute via bicycle should be able to receive a tax credit similar in value for updating equipment required to commuting via cycle. This may be rain gear, panniers, lighting equipment, helmets, perhaps even a bicycle itself.

My reason is because our society consistently complains about oil dependency, gas mileage and the positive effects of “green” fuels. Well, besides the occasional methane gas produced from too much beans the night before, cycling is as “green” as it gets. <<Smile>>


I have research data per say “statistical” numbers regarding emissions; cost differential, census information with rough numbers of cyclist commuters in the United States. What I need is information on a more connotative level. I need information that college students can identify with and say – ok this is why I should care…even if I am not doing it myself.

No identifying information will be used; no names will be given without permission. If you would like to share “personal” information (such as a story regarding your experience with cycling, or an opinion upon the issue) IF and only IF you give me permission to use your first name AND state of residence will I mention any information.

I welcome any and all information, comments, criticism upon this topic. If you have any questions please contact me directly at BlueBettaLady@yahoo.com.


Thank you for time time.

Teresa

The only "green" vehicle I know is walking. Cycling is third after running. You can say all you want about the "energy-efficient" cars, they still rely on some sort of oil (crude or electric--which relies on oil to power the electric) so if you want to have the ultimate "green" machine, the human body is just that. We, as a people, have become so dependent on getting in the car and traveling to our destination that we haven't had time to realize where that "energy" comes from. And, it's been going on for at least 30 years. I remember when I was a kid, cars were something you rode in to go a long way. I rode my bike--as well as others--to do everything as a kid. I'm 40 years old now and I still ride my bike to do most everything. I've had my own family tell me to buy a car. I've owned cars--the best, actually, and I loved to go fast--my '72 Lemans would give me the title to any other. I think what we need to do, as cyclists, is to try to overhaul the media. That is, make them aware, more and more, of the pluses of cycling. Not just the health benefits, but the ease of congestion on the rush-hour road, the less dependency on foriegn oil, the less crashes between two 4,000 pound metal boxes. The ease of riding to and from work without having to worry about gas price. It's not the price that that we have to worry about. It's why we don't just get up and walk that we have to worry about.
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Old 09-24-06, 05:51 AM   #11
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I am car-lite. We are a one car family. I'm not anti-car, just pro-bike, but there is no such thing as a "green" car. Never will be. Some are just less wasteful than others and bicycles are, by far, less wasteful than any kind of motor vehicle.

My name is Charles and I live in Wakulla County, Florida. You have my permission to use that.

I am what I consider to be a utility cyclist. I almost never ride just to go for a ride. When I'm riding I have a destination and purpose in mind.

In addition to bicycle commuting to work, I also ride to do my hobbies; golf, hunting, fishing, canoeing/kayaking, etc.

Here are some representative photos of the three bikes and two trailers that I primarily use. You can use these potos if you wish.

My road bike and hybrid with flatbed trailer loaded for wade fishing.


The flatbed trailer hooked up to the road bike.


My primary boat and tow vehicle. This photo was taken last November. The canoe is loaded for bass fishing, jump shooting ducks and squirrel hunting.


With this set up I have the advantage of packing up the trailer and taking it and my tow vehicle with me if I want to take out somewhere else.


This is my set up for solo trips. When I take the family, I take the car. It just makes things much easier to get the wife and two kids there with a second canoe and all related gear, or a second canoe and a kayak.

By setting up my life this way, it saves us all the money related to owning a second car. Also by using a bike as my primary means of transportation, and by my work, it can cost me as little as nothing, on a per trip basis, to enjoy any of these hobbies. By extension this also equals free groceries when I am successful hunting and fishing, which is usually. On the ocassion that I come home with nothing in the cooler, that trip cost nothing but my time, which isn't wasted as I got another day on the bike and in the woods, on one of the local rivers, or on the bay.

I would like to see a tax incentive for bicycling. On a bike I don't contribute to traffic congestion, road wear, dependence on foreign oil, air, water or noise pollution, the chronic obesity problem and related outrageous medical care costs, etc. I think a tax incentive would increase the popularity of cycling and reinforce bicycles as viable transportation.

I also must admit to finding humor in, and getting a private laugh out of, passing a gas station when there's a large pick-up or SUV towing a large boat powered by hundreds of horsepower parked at the fuel pumps. There is a difference between going fishing to catch fish and going fishing to boat ride and burn gas.

The microcosm of it all is that I am physically fit and can see and watch the butterfly, rather than watch it smash on my windshield.

Last edited by CommuterRun; 09-24-06 at 06:10 AM.
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Old 09-24-06, 07:17 AM   #12
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One thing I like to point out is that while I rely on my bike as my primary source of transportation per the census I am a telecommuter and not a cyclist. A lot of telecommuters I know use their bikes to replace a lot of car trips or said another way rather then being a two car household they are a one car household.

One figure that impresses me for the environment is that by replacing a car with a bike saves 5 TONS of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year. Other stats that impress me are motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 2-15 year olds and heart disease (inactivity) is the leading cause of death for 35 and older. Directly or indirectly cars kill.
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Old 09-25-06, 04:56 PM   #13
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Let me try and tell you where I am at with my project. I am taking the Engery Act of 2005 (which the principle is good....but the bill has flaws in my opinion) and showing why the act should include cyclists. Now the Engery Act itself gives a credit of 2,600 dollars down to 250 dollars. Furthermore, it gives companies who utlize hybrid vehicles a huge tax break.

Now let's toss a wrench into this. "If" you buy a bicycle to commute with - should a percentage of the purchase be given a tax consideration because even though bicycles require "some" oil; it nothing in comparision to say even the wheel bearing grease on one wheel in any car.

And in terms of companies; in major cities around the world; bicycle carriers are widely accepted as the fastest mode of transportation (places such as New York City). Under current policy, companies who use cyclists rather than hybrids for such deliveries are not rewarded for their efforts to save the enviroment.

I realize it is actually the higher government who needs to understand the issue, however my class is a college level class (I am a returning college student at 37), and a great portion of the students may someday be in polital careers. That is the obvious unknown.

Right now I am attempting to put my power point together (and I will send it to anyone interested).

I myself cycle where I can. I appreciate the freedom cycling gives me. I adore the fresh air and space around me. I find it totally people's reactions to cycling hillarious as well. My 5 year old actively cycles and she is going to begine safety training to ride to school with adult supervison.

here is information I have found in my research about employers who support all different forms of alternate transportation. Before my research I was unaware that Best Buy equips ALL stores to be cyclists friend for their guests and employees (showers, lockers and bike racks).

http://www.bwc.gov/

Charles, if you don't mind I would like to use one of two of your pictures (with you permission of course) and I will gladly send a copy of the powerpont presentation.

Also, does anyone know where I can get some animated gifs of jpegs of bicycles?
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Old 09-25-06, 05:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueBettaLady
...even though bicycles require "some" oil; it nothing in comparision to say even the wheel bearing grease on one wheel in any car.
Are you sure you want to get into the whole chain lube discussion?
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Old 09-25-06, 05:48 PM   #15
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Chain Lube

I know there is a plethora of points on chain lube. However, since I have 8 to ten minutes to present my case I have to to a case level somewhere....It's one of those type things.
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Old 09-25-06, 06:12 PM   #16
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Charles, if you don't mind I would like to use one of two of your pictures (with you permission of course) and I will gladly send a copy of the powerpont presentation.
Sure, go for it, that's why I posted them.
It's your show, but I'd use at least one of the bicycle/canoe photos to show how bikes can be for more than just riding around or back-and-forth to work.
Yeah, a copy of your powerpoint would be appreciated. Thanks. Can you send it PM?
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Old 09-27-06, 03:34 AM   #17
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The tax deduction/credit idea comes up pretty much every Congress, but I think it's just for publicity. No member of Congress takes it seriously.

As to lube, I figure I go through about 4-8 oz a year. Taking the high figure, that's 1/16 of a gallon. I estimate that I ride about 3000-4000 miles a year. So that means I get somewhere between 48,000 to 64,000 miles per gallon. Show me a hybrid that can do that!

Edit: I commute 5-8 miles each way year-round. In the winter, I use studded tires. I sold my car to buy my bike and the other equipment. My wife still has a "beater" car, but my bike is probably worth more.

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Old 09-27-06, 11:38 AM   #18
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By providing a hybrid tax credit, our government uses my tax money to subsidize a product from an automaker. I'm not necessarily against that idea -- it does result in cleaner air, etc. -- but I wonder if a better solution would be to widen the gas guzzler tax to include more vehicles, and use that money to improve public transit and bike/ped facilities.

A tax credit on a bike, say, 10%, would still be under a measly 100 bucks for most people (compared with the thousands for a hybrid driver). In principle, I would like to be rewarded financially for my cycling, but because it's so cheap to begin with, there's not much the government could do in terms of tax credits to incent people like me. If I were a newbie, I'd be more likely to get into cycling if the government ponied up for more off-street bike paths, driver and cyclist education campaigns, better integration with public transit, PSAs, etc.
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Old 09-27-06, 11:43 AM   #19
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Oh, and if you don't mind, I bet a lot of people would like to see your PPT. Sounds intriguing. Maybe remove your identifying information and stick it in a Yahoo briefcase, and post a linky when it's done?
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Old 09-27-06, 11:44 AM   #20
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I use a bicycle for all transportation, except for bus for trips to other cities. I'm not so interested in being rewarded for my "efforts" because it isn't really an effort at all for me--just an amusement.

However, I think that automobile users should be required to pay for all of the expenses they incur, which are currently subsidized by governments, insurance costs, and society as a whole. There should be a carbon tax that pays for the 20 pounds of green house gas that cars emit in each mile of travel. There should be a surcharge for the health detriments of autos--kids with asthma, traffic accidents, disease caused by sedentary lifestyles, etc. Car owners should have to pay a hefty fee to dispose of their cars when their useul life is over. And they should have to pay for the ugly sprawl that is visual pollution to us all.

If people had to pay the true costs of their transportaion choices, more would use public tranit and bicycles.
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Old 09-27-06, 12:01 PM   #21
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The Energy Act is not concerned with helping the environment - it is a set of targeted tax breaks for some lucky people and companies. The bulk of my transportation is via Bicycle - I commute to/from work on a bike 5 days a week, 15 miles each way. No hint of tax support for that - nor should there be.

I do own an automobile, one which I believe is more environmentally friendly than the hybrid vehicles which are given preference in the bill. Not only is the type of vehicle that I drive not encouraged by the act, but it is illegal in several states (the car is a Volkswagen Jetta Diesel - I get 48mpg on a Biodiesel blend fuel so I am contributing very little in the way of net greenhouse gasses)

If the government wants to encourage more environmentally sensitive modes of transportation, the first thing that they should do is to stop heavily subsidising the unfriendly modes of transport - tax fuel at a rate high enough to fully pay for our road infrastructure and the indirect costs of fossil fuels and alternative modes of transport will become far more popular overnight.
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Old 09-27-06, 01:53 PM   #22
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I own a small truck... in fact, I drove it today... but I try to commute to work 3-4 times a week on my old steel road bike. I love it!
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Old 09-27-06, 02:03 PM   #23
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I commute year round using bike with mass transit. I haven't owned a car now for 3 years with no plans to buy another. I am not really anti car I just don't see the worth in all the money you spend just to be able to drive. Most of the time on my commute I get to work faster than the people who drive.
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Old 10-05-06, 12:13 PM   #24
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I did my speech today....I recieved 99 out of 100 possible points
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Old 10-05-06, 01:13 PM   #25
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I did my speech today....I recieved 99 out of 100 possible points
Right on girl!!!!!
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