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IT Begins & IT Ends

By Patrick D. Burk

And so it begins and ends again.  When you think of it that is what happens in our lives.   Each and every day something begins, something else ends and we deal with more and more things that are in the middle.   I sometimes wonder if my life was a book how I would create the chapters and exactly how many of them there are exactly.... who knows.

This week I started Directing and Producing the 2008 Summer Youth Theater Show - JESUS CHRIST, SUPERSTAR.  It will be held this year at Batavia High School in August.  This is a real treat for me because once upon a time, I was Jesus in Superstar and it was an amazing experience.   My wife played Mary Magadeline in fact.  Now it comes full circle.  I am working with 70 plus young people to bring this classic to the stage.  I find that all truly amazing.  So that was this week's beginning. 

The ending was the successful vote for the propositions and the City of Batavia School Budget.  This was my friend Dick Stutzman's last budget, he retires in July.  Dick and I have been through a ton of budgets and we were successful with most all.  If the public knew all the work it took to put to together a $39 Million budget, you would understand.   We have succeeded here because of the due dilligence of Dick Stutzman, first as our Assistant to the Business Administrator, then as the Business Administrator and finally as our Superintendent of Schools.  Batavia City Schools have been so lucky to have this wonderful caring veteran working daily on the behalf of our students. One thing I can say about him is that he always participated, always was willing to learn and share and always worked hard for the children.  He cared for this district.  If you see him - pass along some thanks.

And now to the future.  A little vacation the end of this month, the end of the long Primary Season that will bring us our nominees and more late nights and trips to the south of Warsaw to relax and have fun...doing summer stuff.....which reminds me.... The average temperature for the month of May is like 65..... Have we hit that yet....????  Who knows...that is probably in another chapter.

 

 

 

 

News roundup: Investigators may have found cause of Byron blaze

By Philip Anselmo

From the Daily News (Wednesday):

• Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha told the Daily News that investigators "are looking at an electric stove as the possible cause" of the fire that charred an apartment complex in Byron early Monday morning, claiming the lives of a family of four.

• Batavia native Dan Burns got to tee off with "golf legend" Tom Watson in the Pro-Am for the Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Pittsford Tuesday. The tournament begins Thursday and runs through the weekend.

• Reporter Paul Mrozek writes: "The Genesee County Economic Development Center is spearheading a $1 million "life sciences" initiative that will pay students and teachers to attend college this summer." Teachers will take courses at the University of Buffalo in biology and bioinformatics. Students (aged 16-19) will attend courses at Genesee Community College in "career planning, cell biology and biotechnology." They can earn up to seven college credits and be paid about $7 per hour to attend the courses, according to the GCEDC. Teachers will be recruited from schools in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston, Monroe and Steuben counties. Interested students should call GCC at (585) 343-0055 for more information.

• University of Buffalo head football coach Turner Gill will be the guest speaker at the Iroquois Trail Council Boy Scouts of America BoyPower Dinner May 27 at Batavia Downs Race Track. The 7:00 o'clock dinner will be preceded by a "social gathering" from 5:45 to 6:45pm. Tickets for the event are $130 per person, $1,200 per table or $250 per couple. Call the Boy Scout office at (585) 343-0307 to reserve yours.

• Memorial Day observances Monday in Batavia:

  • Genesee County Park and Forest (Vietnam Veterans of America): 7:00am.
  • Williams Park on Pearl Street: 8:00am.
  • Batavia VA Medical Center at 220 Richmond Ave.: 8:30am.
  • United Memorial Medical Center on North Street: 9:00am.
  • Upton Monument at Main Street and Route 63: 9:30am.

A parade will start at the Aldi's parking lot at East Main Street and Route 33 and continue down East Main west to Main Street and Harvester Avenue. It will be followed by a ceremony at the Veterans Plot at 11:00am.

• Genesee Cancer Assistance's Festival of Hope will start at 5:30pm June 6 at Batavia Downs on Park Road. The group hopes to raise $50,000 this year. Call Patricia Arnold at (585) 345-0417 for more information.

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on BataviaNews.com.

Fancy yourself a forensic scientist?

By Philip Anselmo

I've been something of a nerd for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I was literally fascinated by rocks — minerals and crystals and gems, to be more specific, but you get the idea. Learning is one of the greatest gifts of our human race. A monkey may be able to learn sign language, but he can't discuss the Pythagorean Theorem. Your dog may roll over, but he can't sculpt a dog rolling over.

For all of you out there who share such passions for puzzling out mysteries and uncovering the hidden truths in things, you may be excited to know that Genesee Community College is hosting some summer workshops about forensic science, for teachers and for students.

The adult version:

Designed for middle and high school teachers, science coordinators, and principals, the workshop provides ideas for the development of course work that engages students and uses forensic science to foster problem solving, critical thinking, and laboratory skills in all science areas.

The hands-on workshop may include introduction to such topics as accident investigation, fingerprints and impressions, DNA techniques, forensic anthropology, and crime scene protocol.

For further information or to register for the workshop, contact Zane Bloom at (814) 720-0171 or by email at  zane_bloom (at) vwreducation (dot) com.

A children's version will be part of the Infotonics Technology Center Summer Science Camp from July 7-11. GCC will host two workshops related to the camp:

Crime Scene Investigators: The Case of the Calculating Copycat will run from July 7-11. Recommended for students entering grades 6-9, the course allows young forensic scientists to help solve the case of a missing teacher by developing vital evidence in a lab and presenting it to a jury of peers.

And,

Mission to Mars, will be held at Genesee July 14-18. In this session, recommended for students entering grades 5-8, participants must plan a spacecraft launch to the red planet, design a mission patch, and create and launch their own rockets.

A fee of $275 covers instruction, program materials, lunch, refreshments, and activities. A multiple camp discount, which applies to two or more campers per family or two camps per child, is available for a $25 per camp deduction.

Call (585) 389-5125 for more information, or send an e-mail to scicamp (at) naz (dot) edu.

News roundup: "Secret" meetings at City Hall?

By Philip Anselmo

Check out WBTA for these and other stories:

• Dan Fischer writes:

"Personnel problems continue to plague Batavia City Hall. The city council held a hasty secret meeting this morning to deal with, "a personnel matter," City Manager Jason Molino said today. He declined further comment.

The executive session was called for last night and took place at 7 this morning. Just barely within the required time frame. The meeting lasted a little less than an hour.

In the last six months, three key city hall department heads have either quit or retired."

• School budgets in every Genesee County district were approved yesterday. Elba had the closest vote (144 to 109).

• Investigation into the Byron blaze that claimed the lives of four family members continues. The apartment building where the fire broke out has been demolished, and a "makeshift memorial" has been erected by the roadside.

Batavia Lions Club Family Fishing Fiesta

By Tom Clark

 

Second Annual Family Fishing Fiesta

June 28th, Time: 9 AM -1 PM at Dewitt Recreational Area, Cedar Street Batavia..

Music by Bart and Kevin – Performance time TBA,

Build a kite with Pieces Art Gallery.

No Fishing License required.

FREE Event. Lions Club will be selling hotdogs and hamburgers.

 Sponsored by Batavia Lions Club with assistance from the Oakfield Lions Club.

City school budget passed

By Philip Anselmo

Batavians passed their $39.4 million city school budget tonight by a vote of 429 to 135. Also decided in the voting booths:

  • A proposition to renew the position of student representative on the Board of Education passed unanimously 446 to 88. School Board President Patrick Burk said the position comes up for renewal every two years or so, and that it was good to see such support from the community for it.
  • A $5.7 million capital project that will mean further technology upgrades for the school was approved by a lesser margin of 386 to 136.
  • Board of Education candidates Wayne Guenther and Steven Hyde were enthusiastically supported by voters. Guenther received 493 votes. Hyde pulled in 490. Both candidates ran unopposed. City school representatives said that there were some write-in votes, but no other candidate gained significant numbers. Burk said he is glad to have both men on the board.

See this post for more information about the budget.

All numbers were provided by Batavia City Schools.

Feelin' it: Behind the scenes at WGCC 90.7 FM

By Philip Anselmo

Long gone are my own days behind the microphone in a broadcast booth at a college radio station — I jocked for a couple years at RIT's underground rock station — but today I got to relive the delirium as I joined deejay Robyn at Genesee Community College. Robyn spins rock of all stripes (though mostly classic, she says) for WGCC 90.7 FM, where she doubles as the station's public relations director.

Her personality is perfect for radio: cheeky, garrulous and none too shy of the microphone's allure. It was no surprise, then, that she was also a perfect video tour guide to take us behind the scenes at the station and tell us a bit about herself, the music and what it takes to run a radio show.

Thank you to everyone at WGCC for letting me and my camera in your sacred space, no questions asked. Look forward to working with you all again.

News roundup: Batavia high school sports red hot

By Philip Anselmo

From the Daily News (Tuesday):

• Rich Baird stepped up at Monday's game versus Eastridge and threw a no-hitter to take his record to 4-0 for the season. The Blue Devils won that match 11-1 — the one run for Eastridge came when two errors and a walk loaded the bases and "a fielder's choice knocked in the run," writes reporter Brian Hillabush.

• Batavia senior Mike Spiotta won the Section 5 golf championship for 2008 with an even-par 72 at Stafford Country Club Monday. Hillabush writes: "Spiotta will lead a group of nine Section 5 golfers at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Tournament June 1 and 2 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course at Cornell University."

• Muckdogs General Manager David Wellenzohn is pleased with the team's opening day sales Saturday. Reporter Joanne Beck tallied "130 tickets and four season tickets, 13 coupon books and three ticket packs." Wellenzohn sat atop a scissor lift out front of the stadium from Friday to Saturday morning — a stunt likely intended to bring people down.

• The Daily News followed-up on news that city police Lt. Eugene Jankowski is out of the running for the police chief position — a story that broke at The Batavian yesterday. There was nothing new to the story to report. City Manager Jason Molino was unavailable for comment.

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on BataviaNews.com.

Gearing up for the Public Market

By Philip Anselmo

Batavia's Public Market is less than a month away and in need of a few more donations to help lock all the pieces into place. In particular, market director Don Burkel is looking for two picnic tables and a smallish outdoor shed. Also:

If you are an artist (painter, photographer, sculptor, etc.) or crafts person (cloth, jewelry, pottery, weaving, wood, etc.) that would like to sell your handmade products at the market please give us a call.

The market starts June 28 and runs through October 11, every Saturday from 9:00am to 2:00pm in the Center and School streets parking lot (across from O'Lacy's Irish Pub). You can expect fresh produce, baked goods, coffee, flowers, handmade jewelry and pottery, barbecue, Batavia-style pizza and more.

Call the Batavia Business Improvement District at (585) 344-0900 for more information.

Definetly an experiance

By Robyn Horn

 

    So I went to the station this morning(90.7) and started puttering around doing a bunch of things but not staying focused on task and .. The phone rang. It was Philip from TheBatavian. I have to tell ya at first I was pretty scared to think that someone was going to come watch me do my thing. At the same time I was intriqued by what was going to unfold because of it.

        What a good time! I laughed at the notion of a camera in my face and yet was drawn to the whole process. Hopefully you'll enjoy what ya see when you check it out.

I'll talk to ya laters....

Robyn

Oh yeah I almost forgot if you want to check out the station I was refering to earlier just click on this linky thingymajigger. Thanks.. me

www.wgcc-fm.com

Vote Today to Maintain High Quality in Batavia's Schools

By Patrick D. Burk

Here is hoping that you all get out and support your school districts today.  Across New York State it is School Voting Day with all district's putting  up Board Members, Budgets and Projects for Voter Approval.  I am looking forward to a very positive result.  I am convinced that the people in Genesee County really do support the education of our children.

In Batavia, two incumbent Board of Education Members are up for Re-Election.  Steve Hyde, who served one year on an unexpired term and Wayne Guenther who has served previously as well as the past three years, are both up for re-election.  Both are wonderful members who deserve your support.  They are thoughtful and they support kids.  They are two very fine members of this wonderful City of Batavia Board of Education that proves time and time again that they support the best of educational programs for all of our children.

We also need to carry the 60% threshold on the Technology Project.  This is on the ballot to enhance the District's current award winning technology program, increase security through technology and establish a wireless system that upgrades our current classroom capabilities.  This project will be paid with sources of revenue other than current tax revenue and state aid.  It also replaces the damaged work station at the Board of Education Office... with some help from our insurance company.

Also on the Ballot is the approval of the Student Representative on the Board of Education.  This is an important part of our local Board of Education and we have had some wonderful representatives on our Board.  It is my hope the Public will approve this once again. 

Last but certainly not least is the budget which reduces the taxes by 2% and maintains and in some cases enhances current programming.  I can tell you that it is a solid budget and well thought out.  I think it once again is very progressive in nature and insures that our positive educational system is maintained.  Your support is much appreciated.

Reminder that Pagent of Bands is this weekend in Batavia.  What a wonderful program for our city and our students.   Please also remember Ron Davies in your thoughts and prayers...what a wonderful teacher.... It saddens me to here of his passing as a result of a long fight with cancer.  My heartfelt sympathy to his family and his life partner.

 

 

Hanging out at Main Street Coffee

By Howard B. Owens

Every once in a while, some person or other stops in at Main Street Coffee asking for me and/or Philip.

We're here today.  Well, I am now.  Philip will be here later. 

I'll be here until heading out for lunch at an undetermined time, and back by 2 or 3 (depending on when I leave for lunch) and here until 5 or 5:30.

Stop by and say hello and I'll buy the coffee.

News roundup: Family confirmed dead in Byron blaze

By Philip Anselmo

Check out WBTA for these and other stories:

• Investigation into the fire that killed four at a Byron apartment complex Monday continues today. Fifty-one-year-old Sherri Reis is confirmed dead, along with her three children: Timothy Reis, 17; Emily Reis, 19; and Virginia Reis, 21.

• Polls are open at Batavia city schools from noon to 9:00pm today for the school budget and school board votes.

Video: Train pulling out of roundhouse in Batavia

By Howard B. Owens

Here's an interesting video that appeared on YouTube overnight -- of a train pulling out of a roundhouse in Batavia.

The description of the video reads:

S6 1044 emerges from the DLWR Enginehouse in Batavia. The five-stall roundhouse was closed up at or around 1956, when the New York Central moved their mainline south of the city; track was relaid into the building during the past winter (2007) by the hard-working GVT track department. So like the title says, it's no fire, it's just an ALCO.

A local church has also uploaded a "pastor appreciation" video.

Powers Rallies Supporters, Serves Community

By Daniel Jones

On Saturday Jon Powers, the endorsed Congressional Candidate in the 26th Congressional District (which includes all of Genesee County) came out to Batavia to rally supporters and meet voters to help spread his positive message of change and real leadership.

He arrived at Main Street Coffee to meet an enthusiastic and fired up group of supporters.  Jon and his field director, Sara Gordon, gave us a quick rundown on canvassing (door-knocking) and on how to engage voters and sent us out into the field.

(Powers and Field Director Sara Gordon at Main Street Coffee)

Powers, an Iraq war veteran, didn't just campaign though.  With his combat boots laced up he entered a neighborhood where he met up with Council President Charlie Mallow and Councilpeople Rosemary Christian and Sam Barone along with other community volunteers that were helping clean up a portion of the city and began helping out.  In his clean white polo shirt he grabbed a rake and began raking branches and helping move bags.  Many who came out were impressed with the young veteran and teacher.  Many were impressed with his style and attitude.  I had the pleasure of spending this time with Jon, it was remarkable to see how people seemed to swarm around him, listening to him talk about his plans and his vision for our district and our country.

(Powers chats with Councilwoman Rosemary Christian at a Neighborhood clean-up)

After that he was off to Warsaw to fire up more supporters to canvass for him in Wyoming County and then was back at Batavia for a night at the American Legion.

One thing's for sure, Jon Powers isn't afraid to do the hard work of making a difference for our district. 

Thats what's going to win him this race.

Batavia man faces multiple charges after reported scuffle with deputies

By Philip Anselmo

Genesee County Sheriff's deputies got into a tussle with a suspect Saturday night outside the man's home in Batavia. Fifty-six-year-old William G. Horner, of 8013 Bank Street Road, allegedly shoved and kicked deputies when they tried to arrest him around 8:30pm Saturday based on reports that Horner had chased someone with a knife earlier that night. Horner was charged with second-degree menacing, resisting arrest and two counts of second-degree harassment. He was sent to Ontario County Jail on $1,000 cash bail.

Acting Chief Jankowski doesn't expect to be appointed permanently to job

By Howard B. Owens

Lt. Eugene Jankowski, acting police chief in Batavia, told The Batavian this afternoon that he believes he is no longer a candidate for the vacant police chief's job.

"They've conducted the final four interviews without me," Jankowski said.  "I'd say I'm pretty much out of the running."

Jankowski said when he was told he didn't make the final four, he filed a written appeal, but since he hasn't been interviewed, he believes that appeal was rejected.

"It’s not over yet. Anything is possible. I’ll be in my position for several more weeks yet. I’m going to stay on and continue to work as I have been."

It's possible, he said, that none of the four remaining candidates will receive nor accept an offer, in which case he might still have a shot.

But it doesn't sound like he's holding his breath. 

He said he's sad that he didn't get the job, but he's proud of his 30 years of service to the city and vows to support whomever gets the job.

"I'm still very passionate about my profession, enjoy my job, enjoy helping people and plan to stay on for five or six more years, as long as I’m able, as long as I’m in good health I’d like to stay," Jankowski said.

From door to door: Canvassing for a Congressional candidate

By Philip Anselmo

"This past Saturday morning, the weather in Batavia was threatening ahead of approaching rain and the wind was already shaking the tree branches back and forth. It wasn't as chilly as it looked, but it might've dampened some peoples' spirits."

So begins the journal-style report by Russ Stresing, of Elba, about Saturday's rally in support of Congressional candidate Jon Powers. Stresing's narrative is posted in full at The Albany Project. He writes with an infectious enthusiasm about the invigorated volunteers, battling the chilly wet afternoon to drum up support for their candidate of choice.

There was understandable nervousness among several of the volunteers. For some of them, especially the college and high school students, this would be their first time going out to talk to people they've never met to enlist them in an effort that will likely affect their very future. Its intimidating enough for adults to go door to door in neighborhoods they're not familiar with, but its an even more daunting task for (let's face it) kids who may not even have sold greeting cards to raise money for band or 4H. But, they threw their lot in with the more experienced and outgoing volunteers with the confidence that what they were about to do mattered. Not only to them, but also to the very people they would be meeting on their trek up and down Batavia's streets.

Stresing's narrative is at its best when he gets down to the details you just won't find in a mainstream media report — such as, say, his description of Powers' attire.

The meeting was to have begun at 10:30, and with professional timing, Jon and his staff arrived at 10:10. Casually dressed, down to his well-worn desert combat boots, he greeted people individually, obviously delighted with and appreciative of their help. After expressing his gratitude, he got down to business and laid out the day's plan and attitude.

Stresing goes on to tell the story of the volunteers going door-to-door up and down Batavia streets, nervous, in the rain. It all has such a literary flair, I can't keep from quoting one last bit. For the rest, please check out his post.

Canvassing teams began returning to Main Street Coffee around 1:30, some beating the rains, others returning with wet clothes, but spirits undampened. It was an even more cheery group that gathered at base camp than started out the morning. ... And history shows, they'll keep following through. Nothing determines an American's sense of civil responsibility as much as starting early. And starting well.

A Veterans Outreach Center: Batiste in Batavia

By Philip Anselmo

Retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste spoke at the VA Medical Center Saturday during the two-day veterans celebration this past weekend. The Daily News was there to cover the event. "The rest of the people of Batavia should be here," Batiste told the crowd of about 150 people. "We're in a war." Reporter Tom Rivers writes:

Batiste said the country has failed to mobilize, to rally its citizens, behind the war in Iraq, where 4,079 Americans have died since March 2003.

[He] called on the community to support the veterans and their families by insisting on speedy processing of vet claims, and fully-funded health care, including services for post traumatic stress disorder, which affects 30 percent of soldiers.

Batiste urged the Genesee County community to create a Veterans Outreach Center, similar to one in Rochester that links veterans to agencies for support.

The volunteer-run outreach centers can serve the veterans better than government, with its layers of bureaucracy, Batiste said.

When I read that, I thought of the Genesee County Veterans Service Agency, run by Hal Kreter. Hal's been especially busy these days as the liaison between the other area veterans groups, along with planning Memorial Day services. Nevertheless, he spared a few minutes to sit down with me about two weeks ago to tell me a bit about what the agency does for its local veterans. While it does not offer the more personal assistance a veteran could get from an outreach center, Hal stressed, the agency does help make the bureaucracy a little less intimidating.

"We handle the files," he says. "We file claims to the Department of Veterans Affairs for compensation and insurance... We're basically going over the benefits for veterans. An outreach center is a place where veterans can go and talk to people, associate with them."

I told Hal that Batavia already seemed to have many resources available to veterans to help ease the transition from military to civilian life and to engage them throughout their life back home: his own agency, the VA Medical Center (including its PTSD clinic), the American Legion, the VFW. True, he said, and all of those groups are "great at what they do," but an oureach center would provide that added service that veterans could really use, another place they could go to find people there for them, even if just to talk.

Support the City Schools

By Patrick D. Burk

Another quick reminder.....School Budget Votes and School Board Members Voting is tomorrow in the City of Batavia.   Board Seats held by Wayne Guenther and Steve Hyde are up for Re-Election, there is no challengers.  Steve and Wayne have both done the office of Board of Education Member proud.  I hope the community comes out to support them. 

We also have the budget, which cuts the current tax rate by 2% or more and allows for the expansion of curriculum and the continuance of our award winning technology programs.  Batavia City School District is getting top grades for being one of the BEST SCHOOL DISTRICTS in Western New York.  All of our buildings (BHS, BMS & 3 Elementaries) recieved passing grades of distinction from New York State.  In short we are doing a fine job with the education process while realigning and reducing the tax burden on local residents and businesses. 

Also on the ballot is the approval of the 5+ Million Technology Budget that will add to the Security of all buildings as well as update current technology to include wireless and other outlets.  This will allow more students on computers at the same time and result in a better adaption of technology in the classroom.  Now here is the glitch....this has to pass by New York State Law by 60%.  I  have no clue why Small City School Building Projects need the 60% threshold while others only need 1 vote more in favor...but the fact is, we do.

With all that being said....please come out and support the Batavia City School's Budget, its Board of Education Members and the Technology Project.  It is the least we can do for our kids.  We appreciate your support.

 

Top Items on Batavia's List

TAKE NOTICE THAT The Town of Elba is requesting Bids for the 2024 Cemetery Mowing season, with extra clean-up and trimming of trees/bushes. This will include three (3) cemeteries, Pine Hill Cemetery on Chapel Street, Maple Lawn Cemetery on Maple Avenue and Springvale Cemetery on Edgerton Road. Bids are for a 1-year contract and the successful bidder must provide their own $500,000.00 Liability Insurance certificate. A complete list of specifications/properties can be obtained by contacting the Town Clerk’s Office at (585)757-2762, ext. 10. Sealed bids should be clearly marked “Elba Cemetery Mowing Bids” and submitted no later than 4:00 p.m., Thursday, March 7, 2024 at the Town Clerk’s Office, 7133 Oak Orchard Road, Elba, NY 14058. Bids will be opened at 1:00 p.m. at the Town of Elba Town Hall on Monday, March 11, 2024. The Town Board reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids that do not comply with their specifications. By Order of the Town Board, Trisha Werth Town Clerk
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Part -Time Children's Library Clerk Position available at the Haxton Memorial Public Library Application is available on the library website: haxtonlibrary.org Or apply at 3 North Pearl Street , Oakfield. Any questions please call 948-9900
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Crossroads House is a comfort care home for the dying. We are a non-for-profit organization that provides its services free of charge. We run on a supportive community and selfless volunteers. With out both of those we would not be able to serve our community. If you have a caregiver's heart and 2 to 4 hours a week, we would love for you to become a part of our Crossroads House family! No experience required, we will train you and provide mentors and experienced volunteers to guide you. Please go to Crossroadshouse.com to apply, click on volunteer tab to complete application or email Ashleymanuel@crossroadshouse.com
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