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April 14, 2021 - 3:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pets, animals, pembroke, news, crime, notify.

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A dog breeder in Pembroke who is accused of neglecting and abusing 15 animals on her Akron Road property is prepared to negotiate the future of the animals with Genesee County officials, her attorney told Justice Donald O'Connor today during her appearance in Town Court.

Lori Ann Adolf, 47, is charged with 26 counts of torturing or injuring animals and failure to provide proper sustenance along with one count of endangering a child.

Today, in her first court appearance, she entered a not guilty plea.

Her attorney, Michael Guarino, said that of the 13 dogs and two cats that were taken into the care of the Genesee County Animal Shelter, three of the dogs are the property of other people and Adolf is ready to sign over seven of the dogs to the shelter so they can be put up for adoption. 

She would like to keep three dogs and two cats.

"The situation was not the way she intended it," Guarino said. "She's now receiving mental health care."

He said his client would like a chance to prove to the county that she can improve her situation and take proper care of her animals.

She has no prior record of animal neglect or abuse and no other criminal record.

The animals have been in county care for four months now and sources say are now in good health.  When The Batavian visited the shelter last month, the dogs we observed seemed in good spirits.

Assistant District Attorney Kaitlynn Schmidt said she and she and Guarino will discuss the disposition of the animals between now and Adolf's next court appearance at 2 p.m., May 5.  She said what becomes of the animals will be part of a plea agreement negotiation.  She told O'Connor that the prosecution has made no plea offer and this point and has made no commitment on the county will agree to regarding the animals.

O'Connor also signed a no offensive conduct order of protection in regard to the minor who was apparently Adolf's house while these animals were allegedly being mistreated.

Previously: Pembroke woman arrested after deputy allegedly finds 13 dogs, two cats in deplorable conditions

April 14, 2021 - 12:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

New guidance from the NYS Department of Health instructs school districts to set rules for social distancing based on transmission metrics for COVID-19. But with the state and CDC providing data that can seem contradictory, area superintendents are trying to come up with the best approach to educate students while following state requirements.

By and large, the superintendents seem to be relying on one statement in the 23-page document that gives local school boards latitude to make local decisions.

"Ultimately, the school/district’s decision to move to shorter physical distances will come down to a local community’s risk tolerance based on its unique circumstances," the guidelines state.

That is certainly the approach Superintendent Anibal Soler is taking with Batavia city schools, which are scheduled to go back to full-time in-class learning on Monday.

This week, he sought the Board of Education's approval to continue with the reopening plan, which the board agreed to do.

Soler pointed out that with 131 new cases in the past week (as of Monday), Genesee County is in the state's Red Zone for transmission rate. The state says our testing positivity rate is 6 percent and the CDC says it is 3 percent, both numbers below the threshold that would require 6 feet social distancing in all circumstances.

At 6 feet in all circumstances, Batavia's reopening plan would be difficult to pull off. The district is relying on allowing students in certain situations, such as sitting in classrooms, to be able to mask up and be within 3 feet of each other.

The guidance affects both districts like Batavia that are moving back to full-time in-class learning and those that have already made the transition or started the academic year with in-person attendance.

Mary Kate Hoffman, superintendent in Pavilion, informed her board of the new guidance at Monday's board meeting. Currently, Pavilion schools are five days per week for elementary school and in-person five days a week with in-person classes for sixth through 12th grades, with Wednesday being a fully remote day for the middle and high school.

The policy to this point has been to require masks only when people can't maintain 6 feet of social distancing. The new guidance requires students, teachers, and staff to wear masks at all times. Hoffman said the district will make that policy change.

Elba is open five days a week for in-person learning after starting with a hybrid model in September and gradually moved to full-time, in-class learning. 

"Our approach and plan have worked to keep kids and staff safe," said Superintendent Ned Dale.

Pembroke has been in session with students on campus full-time since the start of the school year. Superintendent Matthew Calderon said the new guidance will not change much for the district.

"We added classroom sections to spread students out 6 feet apart and installed 1,500 desk shields," Calderon said. "We're not inclined to change from 6 feet to 3 feet, and despite the CDC backing off the need to use desks shields (which in part I believe they did due to the great cost incurred by schools, which was hindering many from opening), we will probably continue to use them as well."

"The new guidance states that if schools are going to reduce physical distancing to less than 6 feet between students, decisions must be made with input from parents, community members, teachers, staff, and local departments of health," Calderon added.

"We will carefully review the updated guidance and tweak our plan as needed, but as mentioned, I don't think we need to change anything, and we would like to maintain our plan as is. The initial response from our local DOH in that regard was positive. Nonetheless, we have an upcoming meeting with the local DOH and will certainly adjust our plan if needed."

Merritt Holly, superintendent in Le Roy, which went back to on-campus full-time learning on April 6, said he is seeking clarification on some of the requirements in the new guidance but is maintain the current plan for now.

"It won't complicate anything until I get clarification," Holly said. "When will that clarification come in? I am not sure yet."

Superintendents indicated they are working with Public Health Director Paul Pettit to ensure their education plans are in compliance with guidelines and that Pettit has been helpful and responsive. The new guidance doesn't require the districts to file modified plans with the state but to publish them on their websites and gives local health departments the tasks of ensuring compliance.

We attempted to reach Pettit for comment but have not yet heard back from him.

To read the state's guidelines, click here (PDF).

April 14, 2021 - 9:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, news, schools, education.

Teachers at Batavia High School, looking to pursue relevant topics in fresh ways have proposed three new courses that were approved by the city school's Board of Education on Monday night.

The courses, two in Social Studies and one in English will only go forward if students show sufficient interest in taking the elective classes.

The courses are:

  • Sports and Race Relations through Digital Media, which will explore pivotal moments in American History in an effort to understand how they contribute to modern laws, policies, systems and culture. 
  • Law and Justice in America I and II will provide students an overview of the various areas of Civil and Criminal Law in our American legal system, along with time to discuss contemporary issues pertaining to justice in America. 
  • 1960s Literature, Lyrics and Culture will examine influences between our current times and the '60s. 

Superintendent Anibal Soler told the board it's important to recognize that these are teacher-driven initiatives and Molly Corey, director of curriculum and instruction, said, "Teachers are passionate because they were eager to see some changes in the courses they teach."

She added, "What we’re looking to do is provide more choice and some relative and timely topics.”

Existing teachers will lead the classes. There is no need to hire additional staff. They don't replace core classes.

Trustee Shawna Murphy, herself a teacher at Genesee Community College, said, "That’s what teachers are constantly doing, coming up with new ways at teaching concepts and making it relevant and easier to understand and, you know, ‘why does this matter to you as a student.’ I think that’s the fun part of being a teacher."

April 14, 2021 - 8:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once re gistered you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears 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.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
April 13, 2021 - 9:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.
Video Sponsor

For National Poetry Month, Griffen Della Penna, the voice of the Muckdogs, reads "365" by Jack Buck.

April 13, 2021 - 4:59pm

Michael Tomaszewski, the former local funeral home owner accused of misusing his client's deposit money and improperly disposing of human remains, entered a guilty plea this afternoon to felony charges that could send him to prison for up to seven years.

The plea offer included no promise of a sentence of lesser than the statutory time in prison of two and a third to seven years for his guilty plea to grand larceny, scheme to defraud, offering a false instrument for filing, and untimely burial.

The sentences for each count will run concurrently under the terms of the plea.  

Prior to Tomaszewki's last court appearance, he disclosed, through his attorney Thomas Burns, to the Sheriff's Office that the remains of another body could be found in his former funeral home. A human body was recovered.

As a result of that investigation, he is expected to be charged with another misdemeanor charge of untimely burial. Under terms of the plea deal, he is expected to plead guilty to that charge and any sentence on that charge would run concurrently to the charges disposed of in today's hearing.

Sentencing for the 40-year-old Batavia resident is scheduled for July 13 at 1:30 p.m.

Tomaszewski was arrested last summer and accused of taking money from clients who had made prearrangement deposits. He misappropriated as much as $15,000 from some clients.

Clients may have suffered a cumulative loss of more than $525,000. 

At his sentencing on July 13, Tomaszewski, under terms of the deal, must agree to make restitution in the amount specified by the prosecution.  

Assistant District Attorney Kaitlynn Schmit told Judge Charles Zambito today that she couldn't provide the exact amount of restitution because Tomaszewski has already paid some people back and there needs to be further research into exactly how much he owes his victims.

Burns said he and Schmit had reached an agreement to delay sentencing by four weeks over the standard time between a plea and sentencing to allow more time to arrive at the final restitution figure.

In a bankruptcy filing last year, which is still pending, Tomaszewski listed $1,094,346 in assets against $3,242,390 in liabilities. 

UPDATE 5:05 p.m.: The Sheriff's Office has released the arrest report on the additional charge against Tomaszewski, duty to bury. According to the Sheriff's Office, after being notified by Burns of the body, a body of a deceased person who had died Sept. 10, 2019, was recovered at the former funeral home. The body was removed and buried. Tomaszewski was issued an appearance ticket on the charge.

April 13, 2021 - 3:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Dianna Spiotta, music, arts, entertainment, batavia, news.

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Batavia native Deanna Spiotta moved to Nashville, Tenn., in 2013 to try and make it as a recording artist but found, she said, that she was unprepared for the music business and felt alone in trying to navigate it.

But that experience didn't diminish her drive nor dampen the dream of making music her career.

She returned to Western New York in 2015 and started renewing and building connections locally and as a result, this week released her first EP, "The In Between," a collection of six songs she wrote and arranged.

It was produced by Dave Drago in Macedon. Spiotta sings and plays guitar and piano on the tracks. She is joined by Drago on bass, electric guitar, and backing vocals, Alex Northup on keyboards, and Javi Torres on drums.

"It is my hope to share this music with our community and that it will resonate with people and help them feel through difficult emotions," Spiotta said.

This is Spiotta's debut release. She said it was tough making connections in Nashville without any professional recordings under her belt. She hopes the EP is a step toward realizing her dream of writing and performing music for a living.

Her influences include, she said, The Beatles, Shawn Colvin, Miranda Lambert, and Leslie Odom Jr.

She provided a Spotify link to music that inspired and influenced her.

"I'm also inspired by Motown, which makes sense as The Beatles and Shawn Colvin were heavily influenced by Motown artists and Black artists who founded rock 'n' roll and country music," she said.

"Miranda Lambert was very influential to me at the beginning of my career about 10 years ago, and now I find myself growing from her style to create my own. Leslie Odom Jr.'s album, Mr, serves as a big inspiration to me.

"Our sounds don't sound anything alike, but I love that he fuses many different styles, genres and sounds to make something unique. I find it fascinating to fuse all of the musical experiences in my life into my own unique sound."

Her EP is available on Apple Music, Spotify, and her own website, DeannaSpiotta.com.

Photos by Taylor Rambo Photography. All rights reserved. Used with permission of Deanna Spiotta.

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April 12, 2021 - 11:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, sports, basketball, notify.

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Tom Redband, head coach of Elba's Lady Lancers, which is coming off its fifth straight championship season, announced today that he and his assistant, Marci Redband, also his wife, are stepping down from their coaching positions.

The announcement:

Marci and I would like to announce that we are stepping down from the position of Head Coach/Assistant Coach of the Elba girls basketball program. While this is a very difficult decision due to our love and passion for Elba basketball, we have put a lot of thought into it, and Marci and I know that personally and as a family it is time and the right decision.

Marci and I are so appreciative of the opportunity we were given to lead these wonderful young women. We will cherish these times forever and want to thank all of the supporters from the bottom of our hearts for the positivity and trust. In due time, I look forward to personally thank each one of you. The people we have met and grown relationships with never would have occurred without this opportunity to coach this awesome team, it’s been wonderful.

Marci and I are looking forward to being positive and supportive of the new coach and all the young Lady Lancers we have worked with and will miss dearly. We will be cheering each one of you on and will always be here for you. We will be continuing our basketball training camps, so we won’t be too far away.

When I was given the opportunity to teach business at Elba as my first full-time teaching job and to coach the Lady Lancers, I knew Elba was special, but I didn’t know Elba was next-level special. Well, I know now, and it’s one of a kind. It’s so special and the kids mean so much to us, that of all places, I chose a smelly locker room to propose to Marci. We hope we served the kids and community with class, it was certainly our pleasure. In closing, Marci and I are Lancers for life, and that makes us proud.

For Elba, the past two seasons ended in wins but also disappointments. With a team led by Byrnn Walczak, Taylor Augello, Maddie Muehlig, and Leah Bezon, the Lancers had legitimate chances in each of the past two seasons to win state championships. The team was deprived of that opportunity by a global pandemic. Those four players all graduate this year.

Elba has a long history of basketball success. Tom Redband replaced Tom Nowak, who over 26 seasons amassed 587 wins, 10 sectional titles, and in 2012 a State Championship.

A new head coach has not yet been named.

Photo: File photo of Tom Redband in 2013.

April 12, 2021 - 5:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron, video, fire services, Byron Fire Department.
Video Sponsor

Laura Platt was just settling into defrosting a freezer on July 7 when the alarm came in: somebody had a serious cut.

The Byron Volunteer Fire Department EMT grabbed her gear, making sure she had a tourniquet and plenty of gauze and was on scene about a minute later.

Somebody who provided first-aid to a man who suffered a large cut in his arm from a chainsaw had done a good job of slowing the bleeding by using a bungee cord as a makeshift tourniquet.

William Hallinan, trauma program manager of UR Medical Center, said some first responders think that would be enough but Platt, through training and experience, knew better. She applied a medical tourniquet. That stopped the bleeding and at a minimum saved the victim from losing his arm and probably saved his life.

For her efforts, Pratt was honored Saturday at the Byron Fire Hall by her department and UR Medical Center.

To become a volunteer in your community, visit ReadyGenesee.com.

April 12, 2021 - 2:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in poetry, video, byron hoot.
Video Sponsor

Byron Hoot is not a Batavia resident but over the years he's become a significant part of our local literary climate, attending local literary events and the annual John Gardner Society reading of the famous author's work at the Pok-A-Dot each October.

He's reading one of his own poems, "The Discomfort of Healing."

April is National Poetry Month.

April 12, 2021 - 11:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in volleyball, sports, Le Roy.

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Le Roy's volleyball team celebrated Senior Night on Friday both with a congratulatory celebration for the class of 2021 but also with a three-set victory over Haverling, 25-24, 25-10, 25-22.

The Knights are 7-0 on the season with three regular-season matches to go.

Seniors feted were:

  • Delcina Cassidy
  • Jillian Curtis
  • Delaney Ingles
  • Jamie Staba
  • Abbie Woodworth

Photos by Tim McArdle.

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April 12, 2021 - 8:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once re gistered you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears 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.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
April 11, 2021 - 5:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, bergen.

A one-vehicle accident is reported in the area of 6369 W. Sweden Road, Bergen.

The initial call reported a person was trapped and Mercy Flight was put on ground standby.

A chief on scene reports the occupant is out of the vehicle and walking around and Mercy Flight can stand down.

Bergen fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

All units can respond nonemergency.

April 10, 2021 - 10:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, accident, news.

A rollover ATV accident is reported in the area of 2835 Lockport Road, Oakfield.

Two people involved. One possible serious injury.

Oakfield fire and Mercy EMS dispatched. Dispatchers checking on the availability of Mercy Flight.

UPDATE 10:21 p.m.: Mercy Flight requested to the scene. Mercy Flight out of Buffalo on a ground standby. 

UPDATE 10:25 p.m.:  Elba Fire Police requested for traffic control, to shut down Lockport Road. 

UPDATE 10:31 p.m.: Mercy Flight has landed. 

UPDATE 10:44 p.m.: Mercy Flight in the air, en route to ECMC. 

UPDATE 12:10 a.m.: Oakfield is back in service. Elba can reopen Lockport Road.

April 9, 2021 - 2:05pm
Video Sponsor

For National Poetry Month, we asked several local school superintendents to read a poem for us. The first submission comes from Matthew Calderon, superintendent of Pembroke Central schools. He's reading "Sick" by Shel Silverstein.

April 9, 2021 - 12:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, football, sports.

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The Alexander Trojans moved to 3-1 with a 35-6 win at Attica over Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen.

The Trojans ran for 325 yards on 46 carries, preferring a ground attack on a windy night. Nick Kramer gained 132 yards on 15 carries. Brayden Woods ran for 69 yards on 11 carries. Devin Dean ran for 52 yards. Jay Morrison gained 39 yards on the ground and added 40 yards receiving.

Defensively, Maverick Bump had an interception and returned it 72 yards to inside the Cal-Mum 10-yard line. Gavin Smith-Crandall had a fumble recovery. Devin Dean led the Trojans with six tackles. Clayton Bezon and Nick Kramer each had five tackles.  

The Trojans play Notre Dame at Van Detta Stadium next Thursday night.

Top photo: TE Mark Poles-Harrison (81) battling for the ball in the air with Brayden Woods (5).

Photos by Philip Casper. Game info provided by Coach Tim Sawyer.

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Nick Kramer (3) handing off to Brayden Woods (5) before he crossed into the end zone. 

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Quarterback Kyle Wade (4) surveys the field with Running Back Jake Cappotelli (25) at his side.

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Kyle Wade (4) looking for a pass downfield while on the move.

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Nick Kramer (3) on the move before running out of bounds just before the goal line, the Trojans would go on to score on their next play.

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Fullback Devin Dean (24) getting the hand off.

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Nick Kramer (3) taking down Jake Cappotelli (25) stopping the run.

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Nick Kramer (3) attempting to hurdle the pile.

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Colin Crane (6) on the run, Christian Haller (21) setting the block.

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Senior, Colin Crane (6) crossing the plane after an impressive drive to score the final points for Alexander, leading to a Trojans win over the Raiders, 35-6.

April 9, 2021 - 11:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, elba, sports, football.

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Oakfield-Alabama/Elba lost to Bolivar-Richmond on Thursday evening, 14-8.

No stats provided.

Photos by Kristin Smith. For more photos, click here.

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April 9, 2021 - 11:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once re gistered you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears 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.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
April 8, 2021 - 10:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in poetry, Batavia Players, video.
Video Sponsor

"Dirty Face" by Shel Silverstein read by Avelynn William for National Poetry Month.

April 8, 2021 - 5:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Aldi, batavia, news, notify.

img_3762aldi.jpg

A mechanical failure of a refrigeration unit apparently caused a carbon dioxide leak at the Aidi Food Market in Batavia this afternoon.

The leak led to the evacuation of every business in the structure, from the Job Bureau on the east to the Five Star Bank on the west.

Chief Stefano Napolitano did not have an estimated time for when the buildings can be reoccupied. Firefighters are using fans for ventilation, or "positive pressure" to push air through the buildings, as the chief put it, to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. The goal is to get it down to 400 parts per million, which is a satisfactory ambiant level, the chief said.

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