Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Ad Hoc Infrastructure Committee

November 7, 2001

Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744


                                                                   1
  
                  
             7             BE IT REMEMBERED that heretofore on the 

             8    7TH day of NOVEMBER, 2001, there came on to be 

             9    heard matters under the regulatory authority of 

            10    the Parks and Wildlife  Commission of Texas, in 

            11    the commission hearing room of the Texas Parks and 

            12    Wildlife Headquarters complex, Austin, Travis 

            13    County, Texas, beginning at 4:10 p.m., to wit:

            14    

            15    
                  
            16    
                  APPEARANCES:
            17    THE PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION:
                  AD HOC INFRASTRUCTURE COMMITTEE:
            18    Chair:   John Avila, Jr., Fort Worth, Texas
                           Katharine Armstrong Idsal, San Antonio, Texas
            19             Ernest Angelo, Jr., Midland, Texas
                           Carol E. Dinkins, Houston, Texas
            20             Alvin L. Henry, Houston, Texas
                           Mark E. Watson, Jr., San Antonio, Texas
            21             Philip Montgomery, Dallas, Texas
                           Donato D. Ramos, Laredo, Texas
            22             Joseph Fitzsimons, San Antonio, Texas
                  
            23    THE PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT:
                           Andrew H. Sansom, Executive Director, and 
            24    other personnel of the Parks and Wildlife 
                  Department.
            25    





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             1                     NOVEMBER 7, 2001

             2                         *-*-*-*-*

             3          AD HOC INFRASTRUCTURE COMMITTEE MEETING

             4                         *-*-*-*-*

             5                  CHAIRMAN AVILA:  I now convene the 

             6    meeting of the Ad Hoc Infrastructure Committee, 

             7    November 7, 2001, at 10 after 4:00. 

             8                  The first order of business is the 

             9    approval of the committee minutes from our 

            10    previous meeting.  I need a motion. 

            11                  COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  So moved.

            12                  CHAIRMAN AVILA:  Second? 

            13                  COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Second. 

            14                  CHAIRMAN AVILA:  They are approved.  

            15    Andy, are there chairman's charges? 

            16          AGENDA ITEM NO. 1:  BRIEFING - CHAIRMAN'S 

            17          CHARGES.

            18                  MR. SANSOM:  Yes, sir.  Thanks to a 

            19    lot of work from a lot of people, I think 

            20    particularly Chairman Idsal, Mr. Nash, former 

            21    Chairman Nash, and Lydia Saldana, as you know, 

            22    Proposition 8 passed.  And so the principal issue 

            23    in your charges will be to prepare for and execute 

            24    the upcoming bond issue.  Passed overwhelmingly.  

            25    And 35 million of that has already been certified 





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                                                                   3

             1    and should be available to us by September 1. 

             2                  CHAIRMAN AVILA:  Great.  Scott, 

             3    you'll give us an update? 

             4          AGENDA ITEM NO. 2:  BRIEFING - CAPITAL 

             5          PROJECTS UPDATE.

             6                  MR. BORUFF:  Mr. Chair and members, 

             7    I'm Scott Boruff, director of the infrastructure 

             8    division.  And while I am going to discuss the 

             9    proposition 8, I'm going to hold that to the very 

            10    end, but I will make the rest of this very brief. 

            11                  I did want to just very briefly kind 

            12    of give a little bit of history here, particularly 

            13    for the new commissioners, about our history with 

            14    the bond programs here at the agency. 

            15                  First of all, as you may or may not 

            16    know, prior to the middle of the 1990s, it was 

            17    really a fairly unpredictable capital revenue -- 

            18    or capital program for repairs here at the agency.  

            19    And in light of that, we really kind of fell 

            20    behind dramatically in terms of keeping up with 

            21    the facilities that we had, and we kind of got 

            22    into a crisis phase. 

            23                  In 1996, there was an infrastructure 

            24    task force established, and that task force 

            25    identified $75 million of backlog needs which we 





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             1    needed in order to bring ourselves kind of up to 

             2    par.  The 75th Legislature authorized $60 million 

             3    in revenue bonds to address those needs.  And you 

             4    can see in the slide how we initially proposed to 

             5    spend that $60 million.  75 percent of it was 

             6    going to be for water and wastewater system 

             7    upgrades, 20 percent for facility repairs, and 5 

             8    percent for ADA.

             9                  I'd like to report that we, in 

            10    January, got the last of that $60 million.  We are 

            11    on schedule.  That money will be spent as it was 

            12    supposed to be spent.  We have changed those 

            13    percentages slightly.  We actually will have about 

            14    55 percent of the money will have been spent on 

            15    water and wastewater.  About 40 percent will have 

            16    been spent on facility repairs.  And 5 percent 

            17    will have been spent on ADA. 

            18                  The next slide, which I'm going to 

            19    show you, is a slide that those of you that have 

            20    been here have probably seen a lot.  This was the 

            21    slide that we used in the Legislature last year to 

            22    demonstrate the kinds of needs that we have on an 

            23    ongoing basis. 

            24                  The upper triangle you see there 

            25    represents the $75 million which was identified in 





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             1    backlog needs.  The blue part of it is the $60 

             2    million which we were given in the 75th 

             3    Legislature, which left us with a $15 million 

             4    balance to bring us to conclusion with that 

             5    particular analysis, which was concluded in 1996, 

             6    remember. 

             7                  Of course, since 1996, we have five 

             8    more years under our belt.  In the meantime, we've 

             9    been piling on additional critical repair needs.  

            10    We went to the Legislature and tried to convince 

            11    them that we needed anywhere between eight to ten, 

            12    maybe up to $15 million.  And we don't have a good 

            13    handle on that yet. 

            14                  I will share with you, by the next 

            15    legislative session early next year, our facility 

            16    management system will be in place.  It will have 

            17    in it every component of every facility in the 

            18    system, and it will be tagged to industry 

            19    standards which will allow us then to identify 

            20    life cycles for everything from roofs to 

            21    wastewater systems to roads to pipes to you name 

            22    it. 

            23                  So that in the next session, we 

            24    won't be guessing -- and we're pretty good at 

            25    guessing, but it's not very good to go downtown 





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             1    and guess.  So next session, we're going to be 

             2    able to have some hard numbers. 

             3                  But this slide represents the fact 

             4    that in addition to that $75 million, we think we 

             5    need between 10 and 15 million dollars a year to 

             6    keep from getting in the same position somewhere 

             7    down the road. 

             8                  In addition, back in the 75th 

             9    Legislature, we were authorized $3 million a year 

            10    for minor maintenance, which, of course, helps 

            11    prevent us from falling into the major maintenance 

            12    category.  So that's an ongoing predictable 

            13    source. 

            14                  My preference, and I think every in 

            15    the agency, we would also then in the next 

            16    legislative session or two come up with some more 

            17    predictable capital funds over the long-term so 

            18    that we don't have to keep going back and asking 

            19    for these huge bond issues in order to get our 

            20    business done.  I know I would sleep a lot better 

            21    not having to go through what we have gone through 

            22    in the last few weeks in hoping that we get the 

            23    money. 

            24                  Having said that, that's kind of the 

            25    history.  And I would also like to share with you 





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             1    our philosophy in infrastructure.  We really have 

             2    kind of anchored our approach, particularly in the 

             3    last two or three years, to three major components 

             4    of the philosophy, if you will. 

             5                  The first, I don't have a slide up 

             6    there for, but it's a strong commitment on our 

             7    part to make sure that in infrastructure we are 

             8    very tied into the mission of this agency; and 

             9    that is to protect and manage cultural and natural 

            10    resources.  So we have a very dedicated staff of 

            11    men and women that are very committed to doing 

            12    infrastructure in a way that does not impact the 

            13    resource negatively. 

            14                  You know, we see it as our role, 

            15    really, to set the stage for the other resource 

            16    divisions in this agency so that they can go out 

            17    there and do the job they need to do in terms of 

            18    outreach and education and in terms of resource 

            19    conservation. 

            20                  The second component of the 

            21    philosophy is a commitment to sustainable design, 

            22    our green building.  And that's what this slide 

            23    reflects.  Sustainable design is an effort on our 

            24    part to incorporate national standards as 

            25    established by the United States green building 





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                                                                   8

             1    council. 

             2                  This is an organization based in 

             3    Washington, and it has an established 

             4    certification criteria called "LEAD 

             5    certification."  And LEAD stands for leadership 

             6    and energy and environmental design.  It's based 

             7    on accepted energy and environmental principles, 

             8    strikes a balance between known, effective 

             9    practices, and emerging concepts. 

            10                  The real idea here is to evaluate 

            11    environmental performance over the entire life 

            12    cycle of the building or a project, so that we're 

            13    looking at all kinds of opportunities to build 

            14    sustainable projects.

            15                  One of the things we're most proud 

            16    of, I guess, in our division is that the 

            17    headquarters building in Lake Somerville, as I 

            18    discussed in the last briefing a couple of 

            19    sessions ago, burned down.  And it was our first 

            20    effort to design internally a building which would 

            21    meet these LEAD certification guidelines. 

            22                  And I'm proud to report that at this 

            23    point, the LEAD certification process really has 

            24    several different levels of accomplishment.  The 

            25    top level is called a platinum, gold, silver, and 





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             1    bronze, I think is the last one.  Anyway, the 

             2    bottom line is, we're only a few points away from 

             3    platinum.  If we can manage a platinum 

             4    certification on this, there are only two other 

             5    projects in the entire United States that have 

             6    reached that level of sustainable design. 

             7                  And I might mention that many of the 

             8    very reputable architectural firms around the 

             9    state have never reached a gold rating, and we 

            10    will certainly reach a gold rating on this. 

            11                  So just as kind of a kudo for my 

            12    staff, you know, I wanted y'all to be aware that 

            13    we have folks here that can do design just as well 

            14    as anybody in the state.  And we're very proud of 

            15    the fact that we're going to be able to put 

            16    buildings on the ground that are sensible and meet 

            17    the needs of this agency in terms of its vision 

            18    and its mission in the future.

            19                  The other cornerstone that we use in 

            20    the infrastructure division is accessibility.  

            21    Accessibility is something you're probably all 

            22    aware of relative to ADA.  However, there are new 

            23    guidelines coming out in the next couple of years 

            24    that will add to the requirements relative to ADA; 

            25    in particular, "accessibility in the great 





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             1    outdoors." 

             2                  And there are two new components 

             3    that will be coming to fruition soon.  The first 

             4    is "accessibility guidelines relative to 

             5    recreation facilities."  And the second is 

             6    "guidelines relative to outdoor developed areas."  

             7    And I'm going to skip over this just a little bit 

             8    in the interest of time. 

             9                  One of the things that we're going 

            10    to be looking at, for example, under the new 

            11    guidelines for recreational facilities is on 

            12    fishing piers and platforms.  These guidelines 

            13    require us to have accessible routes that connect 

            14    the floating fishing piers and platforms to the 

            15    areas where people will park, so that there has to 

            16    be a way to get to these floating fishing piers. 

            17                  The new guidelines will require that 

            18    25 percent of the railings will be no higher than 

            19    32 inches.  There has to be protective edging at 

            20    least 50 millimeters above the surface of the 

            21    ramps.  There has to be additional maneuvering 

            22    space on fishing piers and platforms, which will 

            23    allow people to go out and actually fish off of 

            24    platforms safely and with some enjoyment. 

            25                  The second component, as I 





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             1    mentioned, are the outdoor developed areas 

             2    guidelines.  These are such things as recreational 

             3    access to routes and trails.  Other things are 

             4    affected, such as camping facilities, trailer 

             5    spaces, tent pads, shelters, fixed picnic tables, 

             6    fire rings, cooking surfaces, grills, and 

             7    utilities.  We're ahead of the curve here. 

             8                  We've been looking at these things.  

             9    And, for example, in the World Birding Center, we 

            10    have at this point designed in two miles of 

            11    universal access trail at the headquarters site in 

            12    Benson.  Not only will they be wheelchair 

            13    accessible, there will be opportunities for other 

            14    folks with other disabilities; for example, folks 

            15    that are blind will be able to access these 

            16    trails.  There will be signage that's in Braille, 

            17    those kind of things.  2.3 miles of universal 

            18    access trails have been designed in at Brownsville 

            19    to form a loop all the way back to the center.  

            20    And a one-mile universal access trail is in the 

            21    plans at Weslaco.  In addition, at Benson, there's 

            22    going to be a canopy walk that travels through 

            23    dense woodlands with fortified distinct viewing 

            24    platforms that will accommodate folks in 

            25    wheelchairs and with other disabilities.





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             1                  With that background, I'd like to 

             2    just give you a real brief update on some of the 

             3    projects that we're doing.  Of course, the World 

             4    Birding Center is one of our busiest projects 

             5    right now.  I brought in a small model here.  I 

             6    encourage you, if you have an opportunity, to take 

             7    a peek at this as you walk past this.  I won't 

             8    take the time right now since we are running late 

             9    today. 

            10                  But we are well along the path to 

            11    completion of this project.  We just recently 

            12    finished the schematic design phase.  We have 

            13    approval from all the communities.  The 

            14    interpretive planning has already started at 

            15    Benson for the display -- for the displays that 

            16    are going to be there.  The force account crew 

            17    will be on-site next week.  Madame Chair will be 

            18    there along with everyone else.  I think we've 

            19    invited everyone to come down. 

            20                  But we plan on having a media event 

            21    down there next Friday, where we can actually 

            22    launch the project.  We're going to start with 

            23    some demolition there, some bathroom sites, and a 

            24    boat dock that is obsolete that we need to get out 

            25    of the way.  We will begin late in the year, 





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             1    probably around the end of December, construction 

             2    on some hawk towers admission.  And then early 

             3    next year, we'll begin developing trails and 

             4    boardwalks at all three sites with construction 

             5    slated to be started in the middle of next year.

             6                  The Texas Rivers Center is also 

             7    something we take a lot of pride in.  This is a 

             8    partnership with Southwest Texas State and the 

             9    Corps of Engineers.  The interpretive -- the 

            10    initial interpretive planning phase is already 

            11    started.  Phase I will include the restoration of 

            12    the Inn at San Marcos, as well as some upgrade of 

            13    the infrastructure to accommodate phase II, which 

            14    will probably start in about a year once the Corps 

            15    of Engineers has gone in and done the demolition 

            16    of the structure.  That's part of the 

            17    collaborative arrangement we have with the Corps 

            18    of Engineers in order to save significant dollars. 

            19                  They're going to be doing a project 

            20    there to upgrade the dam, to preserve that lake.  

            21    And at the same time, at no cost to us, I might 

            22    add, they're going to come in and do the 

            23    demolition for us, which saves us about a quarter 

            24    of a million dollars.  It's just another example 

            25    of, I think, a collaborative innovative approach 





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             1    with multiple different agencies involved that are 

             2    going to bring that thing to fruition.

             3                  Possum Kingdom Fish Hatchery, this 

             4    was our first designed build project which we 

             5    launched last year.  Phase I, which is a million 

             6    and a half dollar improvement to the hatchery was 

             7    completed in March of this year.  The second phase 

             8    is to be started in January to replace much of the 

             9    infrastructure. 

            10                  And I'm not going to tell you the 

            11    rest of this stuff because it's fish stuff that I 

            12    don't really understand too well myself.  But, 

            13    essentially, we're upgrading the facility there.  

            14                  I'm going to jump forward.  Austin 

            15    Woods is a very exciting project.  This project -- 

            16    the draft master plan is completed.  We will be 

            17    tomorrow presenting the draft master plan to the 

            18    mitigation bank review team for their review 

            19    hoping for approval from them.  This project will 

            20    also include a 30 to 40 foot off-the-ground 

            21    400-foot-long canopy boardwalk through the top of 

            22    the trees, which will allow folks to move through 

            23    the top of the trees and see this habitat.  And 

            24    it's very unique bottom land hardwood habitat. 

            25                  There will also be 2.5 miles of 





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             1    barrier free -- if you remember my -- a moment 

             2    ago, this is one of our commitments, a 

             3    barrier-free interpretive trail which will allow 

             4    all kinds of folks with different kinds of 

             5    disabilities to move through this unique habitat 

             6    and enjoy this.  There will also be a four and a 

             7    half mile interpreted loop including -- that will 

             8    connect four different types of viewing 

             9    structures, including a couple of 50-foot-tall 

            10    observation towers, which will allow folks to 

            11    observe different kinds of birds and other 

            12    wildlife from up high.

            13                  National Museum of the Pacific War, 

            14    formally known as the Admiral Nimitz Museum.  I 

            15    hope you're all aware that next month, in about a 

            16    month, December 6th through the 8th, there's going 

            17    to be the "Remember Pearl Harbor" commemorative 

            18    ceremony there.  There will be about three to five 

            19    hundred survivors from throughout the country, 

            20    folks that were actually Pearl Harbor.  And 

            21    there's some exciting stuff right now.  We're 

            22    videotaping a lot of those survivors and getting 

            23    their accounts on tape so that so that our 

            24    children in the future will be able to enjoy those 

            25    stories about what happened there. 





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             1                  The outdoor exhibits are going to 

             2    emphasize the creation of a true-to-life 

             3    environment that makes guests feel like they just 

             4    stepped from the past into World War II.  They 

             5    will be able to step aboard the scene of a hangar 

             6    deck from the aircraft carrier USS SAN JACINTO 

             7    which will be faithfully reproduced. 

             8                  The PT boat base, the PT boat, as 

             9    you know, was recently moved over there.  We're 

            10    almost through with that building.  Visitors will 

            11    be able to come up to approach the South Pacific 

            12    Forward Base where PT boat is preparing a sortie 

            13    mission.  So this is going to be a very 

            14    interactive project with the public, and we're 

            15    very excited about it.

            16                  Last but not least is our combined 

            17    excitement about proposition 8.  And I guess 

            18    before I start this piece of the presentation, I'd 

            19    like to take a moment just to thank all of you, 

            20    present commissioners and past, for having taken 

            21    the time to make this thing happen for us, as well 

            22    as you, Andy, and all the staff here; particularly 

            23    Lydia and her staff have really gone the extra 

            24    mile to make this happen for us.  And this has 

            25    given us a bright future.  And I think will 





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             1    prevent us from getting into the same kind of 

             2    backlog experience that we were in six or seven 

             3    years ago.

             4                  The nice thing about proposition 8 

             5    is there's a little bit of development money along 

             6    with money that is earmarked for major repairs.  

             7    And as you can see, that falls out roughly 32 

             8    million in park development -- and I'm going to go 

             9    over what that is in just a moment -- and about 69 

            10    or 70 million dollars which we'll be able to use, 

            11    to some extent, at our discretion to continue the 

            12    major repair process that we've had going to for 

            13    the last five years. 

            14                  Well, I thought I had another slide.  

            15    Let me run through these.  The line items, the 

            16    projects, what we're going to be doing, some 

            17    development, the first one is the San Jacinto 

            18    battleground.  And this bond will give us $12.1 

            19    million for major repairs at San Jacinto.  This 

            20    includes a restoring of battlefield to its 

            21    historical levels and providing interpretation of 

            22    the battle that went on at San Jacinto. 

            23                  The second major project it will 

            24    support is the battleship TEXAS.  It's given us 12 

            25    and half million dollars for dry dock and berth 





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             1    repairs of the battleship TEXAS, which are sorely 

             2    needed. 

             3                  Third, and one of my favorites, is 

             4    the Sheldon Lake State Park, $2.6 million will be 

             5    allocated to build the Sheldon Lake Environmental 

             6    Educational Center, which will be primarily 

             7    utilized to offer hands-on education for inner 

             8    city school children.  This is, of course, a 

             9    former fish hatchery.  And we're excited about 

            10    having some funds to move that project forward. 

            11                  The fourth is the National Museum of 

            12    the Pacific War, an additional $1.1 million to the 

            13    Nimitz Hotel and the ball room theater.  And last 

            14    but not least is the Levi Jordan Plantation, which 

            15    we will have $4.1 million to create a new 

            16    historical site there, which will interpret the 

            17    African-American heritage of the State of Texas.  

            18    The University of Houston has recovered almost 

            19    600,000 artifacts at this site to date, so this is 

            20    pretty exciting. 

            21                  And with that, I'll conclude and 

            22    answer any questions. 

            23                  CHAIRMAN AVILA:  Any questions?  

            24    Well done, Scott.  And just from my fellow 

            25    commissioners, when we get ready to spend the 





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             1    dollars, we will be putting together what 

             2    qualified, how it got there, what the level of 

             3    repair was and this new system that we -- was that 

             4    Carter Burgess that did that for us? 

             5                  MR. BORUFF:  Yes, sir.  They helped 

             6    us start that project.  I will say that our 

             7    facility management team, which is only three 

             8    folks, have done an incredible job of tailoring 

             9    that system to meet the needs of this agency.

            10                  CHAIRMAN AVILA:  So we're a pretty 

            11    good in-house construction company.

            12                  MR. BORUFF:  I'm very proud of where 

            13    we are right now.  I will tell that you that that 

            14    Somerville project, just for your information 

            15    because I know as we move into the session, you'll 

            16    get these, we did that project, in my opinion, at 

            17    somewhere around $200,000 less expensively than we 

            18    would have if we had stepped out into the private 

            19    sector.  And yet we're going to get a gold or 

            20    platinum something from the leader of green 

            21    building advocacy group in the United States.

            22                  CHAIRMAN AVILA:  There's no other 

            23    business, so this includes our infrastructure, 

            24    Madam Chairman. 

            25                  CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  That concludes the 





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             1    infrastructure committee.  And next we will begin 

             2    with the Education and Outreach Committee.

             3                         *-*-*-*-*

             4                   (MEETING ADJOURNED.)

             5                         *-*-*-*-*

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             1                 REPORTER'S CERTIFICATE

             2    STATE OF TEXAS   )

             3    COUNTY OF TRAVIS )

             4             I, MELODY RENEE DeYOUNG, a Certified 

             5    Court Reporter in and for the State of Texas, do 

             6    hereby certify that the above and foregoing 20 

             7    pages constitute a full, true and correct 

             8    transcript of the minutes of the Texas Parks & 

             9    Wildlife Commission on NOVEMBER 7, 2001, in the 

            10    commission hearing room of the Texas Parks & 

            11    Wildlife Headquarters Complex, Austin, Travis 

            12    County, Texas.

            13             I FURTHER CERTIFY that a stenographic 

            14    record was made by me at the time of the public 

            15    meeting and said stenographic notes were 

            16    thereafter reduced to computerized transcription 

            17    under my supervision and control.

            18             WITNESS MY HAND this the 9th day of 

            19    January, 2002. 

            20    
                  
            21                                                     
                           MELODY RENEE DeYOUNG, RPR, CSR NO. 3226
            22             Expiration Date:  12-31-02
                           3101 Bee Caves Road
            23             Centre II, Suite 220
                           Austin, Texas  78746
            24             (512) 328-5557
                  
            25    







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