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September 21, 2016 - 3:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pets, animals, crime, batavia, news.

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Lily, who likes to chase bubbles, has her life on the line.

In May, Judge Durin Rogers declared Lily a vicious dog and ordered her destroyed within 30 days.

Lily has had a stay of execution, so to speak, as volunteers and others have taken up Lily's cause, and the cause of her previous owner, Duty Caswell, to try and save her life.

Caswell has already surrendered ownership of Lily, and the Kramer Foundation, which specializes in rehabilitating dogs deemed vicious, has written to Rogers and confirmed an interest in obtaining Lily.

Lily's fate may rest on a hearing in City Court tomorrow (Thursday) on an appeal of Caswell's conviction of harboring a vicious dog.

The appeal was written by Public Defender Jerry Ader who stepped in after Caswell's conviction.

Ader's appeal rests on two primary points:

  • Caswell was not represented by counsel. He was not granted assigned counsel and did not hire his own attorney.
  • Caswell was convicted under Batavia's Municipal Law. A case in 2010 overturned a similar conviction because that local law, in Nassau County, was deemed void by conflicting with state law. Under state law, Lily would not be considered a candidate for euthanasia. 

Lily was taken into Animal Control custody on March 7 after she bit a 13-year-old boy on Hutchins Place while keeping a frightened woman pinned down as she screamed and Lily circled her.

At Caswell's hearing, the prosecution called three witnesses and Caswell produced no witnesses or testimony on his behalf. Rogers issued his decision after a short recess.

At some point, K-9 Deputy Chris Erion was called in to evaluate Lily. Lily bit him.

Erion confirmed he was bitten (his duty pants have a small tear, but he wasn't hurt) and said that Lily, with her current behavior, wouldn't be a good candidate as a family dog or a police dog. 

Volunteers with Volunteers for Animals believe that with proper training and socialization, she is redeemable. She is high energy and can't be trusted unsupervised, but they said she's fine when given a job to do, such as chase bubbles.

"Having a young, high-strung dog is difficult for anybody," said one volunteer. "Give her something to do and she's fine."

Another person at the shelter said, "With proper exercise and mental stimulation she is fine."

Erion, among others, said it was later learned that Lily may have given birth to a puppy prior to the March 7 incident, and her puppy was taken away from her. That would typically cause behavioral issues, both folks at the shelter and Erion said.

The hearing is tomorrow at 1:15 p.m.

File photo from March 7. The gentleman with Lily is a friend of Caswell's.

September 21, 2016 - 1:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant, batavia, news.

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It's taken 26 years for sludge to build up to about a three-foot depth in one of the processing ponds at the Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant, but that buildup has reduced the pond's capacity by about 50 percent, so it's time to have it removed.

A removal project is now underway that costs about $1.3 million and is being conducted by contractors who specialize in sludge removal.

The process involves pumping the water-logged sludge out of the pond, screening it for large objects -- shoes, bottles, rocks -- and then sending it through one of two centrifuges, which use gravitational force and a polymer to separate the sludge from the water. The water is pumped back into the pond and the sludge is sent up a conveyor belt and dumped into a truck before it is hauled to a landfill.

Initially, the original estimate for the project was eight weeks, but a second centrifuge was added and now the contractor is processing a truckful of sludge every 90 minutes, to fill at least eight trucks a day, reducing the project timeframe to about four weeks.

Jim Ficarella, superintendent of water & wastewater for the City of Batavia, provided a tour of the project yesterday.

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The water that has been squeezed from the sludge just before being piped back to the pond.

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There will be about 2,100 dry tons of sludge removed from the pond.

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One of the two centrifuges being used.

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The pipelines that draw sludge from the pond and return water to the pond.

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The screening process for removing large items that have inadvertently fallen into the pond.

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The pond with sludge that has floated to the surface and been pushed by the wind to the eastern shoreline.

Ficarella said they know they won't get 100 percent of the sludge out of the pond, but they'll get most of it.

This pond is the second stage of the process. By this point, the wastewater has been at the plant for about three months. The whole process, which includes passing the wastewater through several ponds and a series of wetlands ponds, takes about a year. The clean water is pumped into Tonawanda Creek. 

See our previous story: Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant, one of city's hidden treasures

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The plant remains a birder's paradise, with birders traveling, literally, from all over the world, to visit the plant.

September 21, 2016 - 12:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, news, Stafford, trees.

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Driving back from Bergen this morning, I saw a beautiful clear blue sky and one of my favorite trees on Route 33, Stafford.

September 21, 2016 - 8:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, accidents, bergen.

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An accident with injuries and possible entrapment is reported on South Lake Road (Route 19) and Maple Avenue, Bergen.

Bergen fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE(S) (By Billie) 8:44 a.m.: Mercy Flight in Batavia is on ground standby. Two vehicles and three people involved. One male in a truck is unresponsive, hunched over the wheel, and having difficulty breathing. He is the most seriously injured. Another male has facial cuts and abrasions. Another subject has no apparent injuries.

UPDATE 8:51 a.m.: Le Roy fire rescue is called to provide mutual aid to Bergen. Mercy Flight is summoned along with additional fire police. The landing zone will be the church parking lot across from just south of the accident site.

UPDATE 8:58 a.m.: Route 19 is to be shut down "completely."

UPDATE 9:02 a.m.: Mercy Flight has an ETA of less than a minute.

UPDATE 9:23 a.m.: Mercy Flight is airborne and headed to Strong Memorial Hospital.

UPDATE 9:40 a.m.: A pickup truck was eastbound on Maple Avenue when the driver apparently blew through a stop sign and was T-boned by a small plumbing company van traveling on Route 19. Both vehicles left the roadway as a result of the collision and the pickup truck struck a large tree in the front yard of a residence. A car occupied by a doctor, a nurse and possibly a combat medic happened to be driving by in the immediate aftermath. The car stopped and the occupants provided emergency medical aid until first responders arrived. The pickup truck driver was deemed in serious condition at the time he was airlifted to Strong. A first responder said if he makes it, he'll have the medical assistance provided by the passersby largely to thank for it. The driver and passenger in the plumbing van were taken to Strong by ground ambulance with minor injuries; in fact, the driver was walking around at the scene.

UPDATE 9:57 a.m.: One lane is open on Route 19 and fire police are alternating the traffic flow.

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September 20, 2016 - 7:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, news, batavia, Mane Attraction.

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Mary-Clare Stokes gets a strike of blue hair weaved into her own as part of Spirit Week at Genesee Community College and to honor the college's 50th anniversary.  Kassandra Bowen, of The Mane Attraction Salon & Spa, is performing the weave. Staff from Mane Attraction were in the Student Union this afternoon to provide the weaves to any students who wanted them. It was all Stokes' idea.

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September 20, 2016 - 4:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in aquifer, batavia, DeWitt Recreation Area, news.

All summer, we've watched the water level drop at the lakes off Cedar Street, including DeWitt Recreation Area, where a land bridge that probably hasn't been seen since the 1970s re-emerged as WNY has suffered through a rare drought.

Yesterday, County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens told county legislators that the level has been dropping about a third of a foot every two weeks, but this afternoon we learned that trend may be reversing.

Jim Ficarella, superintendent of water & wastewater for the City of Batavia, said he took a new measurement of the aquifer this morning and found it has risen more than a third since his previous measurement.

The aquifer not only supplies some of the city's water, it also replenishes the lakes.

The aquifer level and the lake levels have dropped pretty much in unison, Ficarella said, but there may be a lag in replenishing the lakes as the aquifer comes back.

Of course, it will take more rain, and in the winter, more snow, for the levels to recover to pre-drought levels.

Meanwhile, the city and county have an ample water supply from the Monroe County Water Authority.

September 20, 2016 - 11:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

A caller reports a fight just breaking up on Highland Park, Batavia.

Eight to nine people were reportedly involved.

There is a report of a possible injury.

Police are responding.

One person who ran from the scene has been identified by a witness.

UPDATE 11:18 a.m.: Police transmissions have gone encrypted.

September 20, 2016 - 11:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in County Highway Dept., news, DeWitt Recreation Area.
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As part of his department review before the Public Service Committee on Monday, County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens said the water level in the lake at DeWitt Recreation Area is at a historic low, at least in the time that it's been part of a park, because of the ongoing drought. Hens said he's heard rumors, and received media inquiries, about a nearby production plant drawing more water from the aquifer, causing water levels to drop. He said that's not true. The aquifer is lower because of the drought, which means the lake isn't getting fed as much water. It has nothing to do with any unusually high usage by the plant or the city. The water level continues to drop about a third of a foot every two weeks, Hens said.

 

Highlights from the department review presented yesterday by Tim Hens, county highway superintendent, to the Legislature's Public Service Committee:

  • When Hens started in 1998, County Highway had 45 employees. Now there are 27 doing more work. "We're definitely way more efficient," Hens said. "Still, we could use another body or two."
  • The county received no federal aid this past year for bridge and culvert replacement and repair, Hens said. He said the county continues to fall behind on maintenance needs. There were five culverts replaced in 2016. "We're trying to chase down more grants," he said. 
  • Shannon Morley, Genesee County conservation education programs coordinator, is doing a great job of creating programs that get people out to the park, Hens said. A recent meteor shower event attracted 90 people out to Genesee County Park & Forest. About 80 percent of her salary is paid for by two grants totaling $36,000.
  • The sewer and water connections for the new bathrooms at DeWitt Recreation Area are completed. Now the county is waiting on National Grid to complete electrical hookups and then the interior can be completed. Ideally, the work will be done by winter, because ideally, it will be a good winter for ice skating and the county can install and get up and running with the ice-skating rink donated by the Town of Oakfield. Hens said several people have stepped forward and volunteered to help run and maintain the rink, including Cedar Street Sales and Rentals, which has offered to "sort of adopt" the rink. There's just some liability issues to work out, Hens said. 
  • Bids will go out soon for stone restoration work at the County Jail/Genesee Justice building. 
  • The airport continues to be cash-flow positive for the county, Hens said. Jet fuel sales continue to rise, in part because the county keeps its prices lower than competitors. The strong cash flow will help the county more quickly pay down the bond debt for the new terminal and hangar. Next up for construction work at the Genesee County Airport is demolition of the old terminal building. Grants have already been secured for that project. Plans are in the works for two more 10-bay hangars. Each of those should generate about $30,000 a month in lease payments. The county has about $600,000 in state grants for the $900,000 project.
September 20, 2016 - 9:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, news, emergency communications.

When the county implemented a new, all-digital emergency communication system two years ago, it wasn't long before first responders in Le Roy discovered there were dead spots in their community.

There were also buildings in Le Roy that the radio signals wouldn't penetrate.

Consultants were consulted and they did their studies and came to the conclusion that Le Roy needed its own repeater transmission tower.

The county has reached an agreement with the Town of Le Roy to obtain an easement on town property on Asbury Road to build a new communications tower.

 Steven Sharpe, director of Emergency Communications, said the new tower should solve Le Roy's reception problems.

The tower, the seventh in the $11-million system, is covered as part of a $3 million state grant for improvements to the system.

Construction should begin this fall, with testing to start in the spring or summer. It must be operational by December 2017.

September 20, 2016 - 8:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

UPDATE: We've made a couple of upgrades to the Deal of the Day program.

  • If registered and logged in below, you will see a line for Member Services followed by a link for "My Account."
  • Click on the "My Account" link and you will see how you're registered with your name and address. You can now edit your contact information as well as change your password. Click the "make changes" button to make changes.
  • On this page, you can also see a list of all the available Deal of the Day offers with the date of your last purchase, if any, and the date you are eligible to purchase the same item again (see if you can "catch 'em all").

NOTE: Today is the last day to register, if you haven't already, using the link below, for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the Wine Walk.

Reminders of how the new Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
September 19, 2016 - 10:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in walmart, batavia, news.

A caller at Walmart reports a suspicious condition -- a man attempted to purchase numerous iPads from the store.

Apparently, the purchase did not go through for some reason.

The man left in a gray Chevy Tahoe with Georgia plates.

A deputy is responding.

UPDATE 11:08 a.m.: The Tahoe is a rental.

September 19, 2016 - 10:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Le Roy, news.

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Special teams play put Le Roy on the road to victory with two quick scores in the first quarter in a game that was unique in a couple of ways.

First, it was a home game played on the road. Second, it was played on a Sunday.

Regardless of the strange circumstances, the Le Roy team displayed vintage Oatkan Knights' dominance as it cruised to a 52-7 victory over Wellsville.

The game was played in Perry because Le Roy's home field won't be ready for players and fans after a major upgrade until this coming Friday's homecoming game, and the game was delayed until Sunday because of a massive thunderstorm that passed through Wyoming County right at game time Saturday night.

The game started early, about 10 minutes before the scheduled 3 p.m. time, and Le Roy scored before the official kickoff time when Jason Doemling scampered 39 yards on a punt return.

Later in the first quarter, Le Roy scored its second touchdown, to take a 14-0 lead, when Josh Laurie blocked a field goal attempt and returned it 75 yards.

Wellsville never again mounted a serious offensive challenge, until the team scored late in the fourth quarter when the game was already out of reach.

Laurie had quite the game. Besides the blocked field goal, he had two interceptions. He rushed for 96 yards on seven carries and scored two TDs in the process. He also was 7-13 passing for 148 yards and a TD.

Nate Flint also had an impact, going 85 yards on 11 carries with a TD. Dom Filio carried the ball nine times for 54 yards and two TDs. Luke Stella added 61 yards on six rushes.

Pass catchers included Reece Tresco, two for 87 yards, Filio, three for 34 yards and a TD, and Ryan Boyce, two for 27 yards.

Luke Hogle had five tackles and a sack, Canyon Roster, five tackles and Cole Biggins, five tackles.

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To purchase prints, click here.

September 19, 2016 - 9:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

UPDATE: We've made a couple of upgrades to the Deal of the Day program.

  • If registered and logged in below, you will see a line for Member Services followed by a link for "My Account."
  • Click on the "My Account" link and you will see how you're registered with your name and address.  You can now edit your contact information as well as change your password.  Click the "make changes" button to make changes.
  • On this page, you can also see a list of all the available Deal of the Day offers with the date of your last purchase, if any, and the date you are eligible to purchase the same item again.

NOTE: Today is the last day to register, if you haven't already, using the link below, for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the Wine Walk.

Reminders of how the new Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
September 18, 2016 - 10:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the new Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
September 17, 2016 - 11:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, elba.

Peggy Zambito felt blessed that she, her daughter and her two young grandchildren walked away without any serious injuries from an accident on Transit Road in Elba a week ago.

This evening, she said she felt a sense of closure now that a person has been located, arrested and charged in the terrifying accident.

Jose Francisco Ortega-Hernandez, 46, of Transit Road, Elba, has been charged with: aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd; leaving the scene of a property damage accident; no insurance; unsecured license plate; uninspected motor vehicle; unregistered motor vehicle; failure to yield at a stop sign; inadequate brakes, and failure to report a motor-vehicle accident with more than $1,000 in damage.

Following his arrest today, he was arraigned in Town of Batavia court and jailed on $2,500 bail.

He is also being held on an immigration warrant for past driving offenses.

According to accounts Zambito shared exclusively with The Batavian earlier this week, she was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her daughter Mercy Caparco, and her two grandchildren, Maggie, 5, and Molly, 2, when they saw a red SUV flying toward the North Byron and Transit Road intersection. There was no way to avoid the vehicle, Zambito said, and, she said, the other driver couldn't have stopped in time, even if he had tried.

The SUV slammed broadside into the Ford Explorer the family was in and caused it to roll over several times.

It was only by the grace of God and the safety features of the Explorer that the two women and two children walked away without any serious injuries, Zambito said. 

She hoped that publication of the story and photos from the accident would help lead to the arrest of the suspect.

The Sheriff's Office press release does not state how the suspect was located.

ICE Supervisory of Deportation Officer A. Castro assisted the Sheriff's Office in the investigation.

September 17, 2016 - 3:53pm

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It was on a Saturday in September 10 years ago that I first drove into Batavia.

I returned to that event today to sort of mark the anniversary.

It was through a calendar item in the Gardener's Journal 10 years ago that I saw something about a Master Gardeners' Gala at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in a placed called Batavia.

"Batavia can't be too far of a drive," I thought, while sitting in my hotel room in Fairport.  

I made the drive, and it was a bit more of a drive than I expected, but eventually, I found Batavia, and I found it charming.

I came out here looking for information on growing roses in Western New York (we were getting ready to move from Bakersfield, Calif.) and left charmed by this little city.

Little did I know then, that within two years, I would be starting an online news site for Genesee County and eventually moving here myself. But Billie and I are quite happy with that turn of events.

Thank you all for supporting our experiment in online-only news and embracing and accepting us as you have.

And yes, I've found it possible to quite successfully grow roses in Western New York.

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September 17, 2016 - 3:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Godfrey's Pond, Stafford, outdoors, sports.

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The folks at Godfrey's Pond hosted an open house today, called Hunting and Fishing Days.

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September 17, 2016 - 3:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee ARC, elba, sports, 5K, news.

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Eric Boyce had the best time for the men.

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Kim Mills had the best time for the women (she also had the best women's time in the GLOW Corporate Cup).

September 17, 2016 - 9:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, football, Notre Dame, pembroke, news.

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Through three quarters of football, Pembroke battled Notre Dame to a draw, but when Jake Weatherwax dashed into the end zone from six yards out with five minutes left in the game, the Dragons were unable to answer and fell to 1-2 on the season, 34-27.

It was Notre Dame's first win of the season.

The Dragons and Irish were pretty evenly matched throughout the contest, with each team averaging 5.8 yards per play on offense and only being a minute apart on time of possession for the game.

Weatherwax finished with 187 yards rushing on 29 attempts (he scored four times) and Pembroke's Zach von Kramer had 187 yards on the ground on 27 attempts, and he had two TDs. 

Pembroke's Reid Miano had 13 completions on 29 attempts for 209 yards and two TDs.

Notre Dame's Brendan Klotzbach was 8-19 in the air for 126 yards. He was intercepted once.

"Pembroke’s a great team," said Notre Dame Head Coach Rick Mancuso. "They’re very well coached and they have a couple of great athletes on that team. We knew we would have our hands full. Their quarterback threw the ball fantastic and Von Kramer is just a phenomenal running back. We had our hands full. There’s no doubt."

Von Kramer also caught a TD pass and gained 74 yards on three receptions.

Mancuso thought it was a great win for his team, which struggled a bit through the first two games of the season.

"I think we're getting better each week," Mancuso said. "We're not there yet, obviously, but I think the kids had a great week of practice."

Mancuso was impressed with the game Weatherwax had.

"Jake did a fantastic job," Mancuso said. "He's a gritty, hard runner. He makes great cuts. He reads the blocks. I thought he did a terrific job."

Defensively, Notre Dame played tough, but the team still has some holes to plug.

"Defensively, we brought it," Mancuso said. "We really worked hard this week on staying diligent to our plan and working hard and I thought the kids stuck with it. I thought they did a very nice job of executing."

Caleb Wolcott had 10 tackles and a sack. Brad Misiak had 10 tackles.

"We’ve got a lot to work on," Mancuso said. "I mean, they put up 27 points. I’m not ecstatic about that, but those are things we need to clean up and each week we’ll get better."

For the Dragons on defense, von Kramer had 12 tackles.

Four Notre Dame receivers had two catches each -- Ryan Moffatt, Nico Zambito, Misiak and Jordon Weatherwax. Moffatt gained 45 yards and Zambito gained 42.

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To purchase prints, click here.

September 17, 2016 - 7:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in John Kennedy School, schools, education, batavia, news.

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John Kennedy School hosted its annual Community Night on Friday evening.

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