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Archive for: 2月, 2020

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MIDLAND – The success of the Toronto Blue Jays last season has helped energize Midland Minor Baseball. “Looking at the numbers, I would say that this year our registration numbers are way ahead of where they were in the past,” said executive member Doug Beckett. He gives some of the credit for the boost to the post-season run by the Blue Jays, who claimed the 2015 American League East title and came close to qualifying for the World Series. “I think their success has turned some of the local kids on to baseball, and that is reflected in the registration numbers,” said Beckett. In addition to in-person registration sessions in March, the association is continuing with online registration as the new season approaches. Currently, approximately 150 players are registered for house league play. There are also about 40 players signed up for select teams in the rookie ball, mosquito and peewee divisions. The T-ball program provides girls and boys with an introduction to baseball. They receive on-field coaching and supervision, while learning the game in a positive, fun-oriented environment. “In the past, we’ve had two teams at the tyke and two in the peewee divisions in the South Simcoe baseball association,” noted Beckett. “Last year, we also had a select team in the mosquito division.” The majority of Midland Minor Baseball games this season will be played at the baseball facility at Little Lake Park, but the bantam, midget and junior teams will play home games at Gord Dyment Field, located at Tiffin Park on William Street. Following an extensive 2015 renovation, the association will be able to use Mac McAllen Park for practice sessions this summer. After sitting out the 2015 season, the Midland Twins will return to the North Dufferin Baseball League this summer under the direction of manager/coach Scott Vout. “We have 14 players signed up to play junior baseball, so it is looking good,” said Beckett. Parents wishing to register their children for the 2016 season can still do so by visiting and then clicking on the link for online registrations.

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The city’s public works department is set to hand out three contracts, each worth more than $200,000. The tenders were recommend for approval at Monday night’s meeting of council committee. B&I’s Complete Truck Centre will deliver a 2016 tandem-axle cab and chassis truck for $248,505.08, including HST, to the city. That sum includes a trade-in from the city. In the 2016 budget, $225,000 was budgeted for the truck, out of the capital equipment reserve. The price, prior to net HST, is under budget at $223,768.52. The second bid received was for $264,554.47. Public works didn’t go with the low bid on its request for supply and placement of asphalt in 2016. The tender is being awarded to KJ Beamish Construction in Orillia at a cost of $276,228.50, nearly $125,000 more than the low bid. Alliston’s CPM Construction said it could provide the service for $157,070, but staff had reservations. In the report to council committee, staff said the low bid came from a company previously selected for the municipal operations centre structural tender, but that later informed the city it would not be carrying out the contract. The tender for supplying diesel fuel and unleaded gasoline products is worth more $287,386.73 for each of 2016 and 2017. The two-year contract, worth a total of nearly $575,000, was awarded to Bowman Fuels of Barrie. Five companies put in tender bids, with the remaining four all quoting the city prices of more than $300,000 each year for the services. The retrofit of the Commerce Road pumping station looks like it will come in significantly under budget. During the 2016 capital budget process, council approved the retrofit project to complete necessary improvements and repairs to the 40-year-old pumping station, located near Highway 11. Among the work to be done to the structure includes supply and installation of new pumps, valves and piping, upgrades to the electrical/control system, rebuilding the access hatch, installation of a new safety ladder and the decommissioning of the old underground pump chamber. Five tenders were received for the project. The low bid of $223,843.31, plus HST, from Robert B. Somerville Co. has been accepted. The tenders ranged from that low to $288,700. The project had a budget of $450,000, equating to a surplus of about $200,000. That money will be returned to the water and wastewater reserve. The project has received an environmental compliance approval from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. During the construction, pumping equipment will be required to be operational 24 hours a day, to maintain sewage flow. Despite the contractor’s requirement to minimize noise, some low-level noise may be audible. One thing contractors won’t have to worry about is contravening Orillia’s noise bylaw. Sound emission from construction equipment is prohibited between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. in residential areas. However, given the location of the pumping station on Commerce Road, no bylaw exemption is required. pbales@postmedia.com twitter.com/patrickbales 

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Long-time supporters of United Way Greater Simcoe County (UWGSC), RBC Royal Bank sponsored a staff fundraising position during its 2015 campaign, in addition to gathering a grand total of $43,304 in donations. Pictured here (from left) are RBC’s VP Commercial Frank Berdan, UWGSC’s Rosslyn Junke, RBC Dominion Securities Branch Manager David Fonseca and Regional VP Charlotte Wallis, Branch Manager David Holland, UWGSC CEO Dale Biddell and RBC Branch Manager Kim Humphrey.

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PENETANGUISHENE – Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton and his wife, Heather, dish out the food April 8 during a fundraising spaghetti supper for Gateway Centre for Learning. The sixth annual event, held at the Penetanguishene Memorial Community Centre, raised $2,000. Gateway’s mission is to help people in north Simcoe learn literacy and basic skills. READ MORE:

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Downtown Barrie tattoo parlour Unique Ink could be closed for business at the end of this month, and it appears its owners cannot do much to stop it. An Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) chairperson recently heard the cases for and against granting the shop owners an exception to a city bylaw needed to allow the business to move from Clapperton Street to Dunlop Street. READ MORE: She is expected to make a decision within the month because Unique Ink’s current lease runs out April 30. “We’re down to the waiting game. It’s very frustrating. It’s taken a bit of a toll on us,” said Unique Ink co-owner Andrew Batten. “If we don’t have a place to work, how am I going to feed my kids?” In Barrie, payday loan businesses and tattoo, body-piercing or pawn shops must be separated by at least 100 metres. Unique Ink’s new site would be next door to a Money Mart. The owners were granted an exception to the bylaw in November, but Barrie Downtown Neighbourhoods Association member Jack Garner appealed the decision to the OMB. Batten said the shop’s only option is to ask its current landlord if it can stay on a month-to-month basis if the space has not yet been rented. No matter the outcome of the appeal, Gardner said he will be satisfied with the process and has no plans to appeal if the decision is not in his favour. “These gentlemen want to rent a place. That’s all fine and well; all the power to them. But it’s against a bylaw in the City of Barrie,” he said. “There are people saying I’m a jerk. We’re all entitled to our opinion. I’m a firm believer in the bylaws of Barrie. It’s the right way to go to try to make our downtown economically and socially viable.”

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When Michael Smith departs P.E.I for Orillia, the nationally-renowned chef, TV personality and cookbook author will come bearing a boatload of briny deliciousness. “I’m bringing 1,000 oysters from Bay Fortune, Prince Edward Island,” the Food Network star said in a phone interview this week. Smith returns to Orillia April 15 and 16 for a weekend of interactive events presented by the Best Western Mariposa Inn and Conference Centre and the Grape and Olive Wine and Martini Bistro. The fund-raising initiative supports area food banks, and builds on a similar event held last year in partnership with the hotel’s executive chef, Derek Mayes, also a friend of Smith’s. “I think Derek and I both feel that because it worked so well last time, that we are diving a little deeper in this time,” he adds. That means plenty of hands-on, “immersive culinary events” where attendees are encouraged to get out of their seats and participate. “There is lots of fun things to do, lots of things to engage with,” Smith says. A Lake Country Weekend Culinary Pass provides entry to all events, starting with a Friday evening welcoming reception in the Mariposa Grand Ballroom featuring samplings of local chefs’ creations and Smith’s ‘shuck-your-own’ oyster bar. “It’s one of those things in life that looks complicated until somebody like me comes along and shares with you how simple it is,” he says. On the Saturday, Smith hosts a pancake breakfast, followed by a chef’s chat and interactive cooking class with lunch. The weekend culminates with an evening in the Hermitage Ballroom, and includes a cocktail reception meet and greet and interactive meal. “That is a sit-down dinner, 10 people at a table,” Smith says. “Every one of those people, at some point in the night, is going to have a job to do.” Smith, meanwhile, will lead a brigade of chefs in preparing the evening’s meal. “Every recipe that we prepare for the entire weekend is in one of my books,” he added. A weekend event pass is $325 per person, and tickets to the Saturday evening gala alone are $225. A portion of the proceeds will go to support the Sharing Place Food Bank, the Salvation Army, the Barrie Food Bank, and the Guesthouse. Attendees will receive a personalized cookbook. Tickets can be purchased in advance through the hotel’s guest services or by calling 705-325-9511.

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To understand the strife of First Nations in Canada, one has to walk in their shoes and create an understanding between natives and non-natives, according to Ontario’s first aboriginal lieutenant governor. "That’s what I’ve been doing with my books," said James Bartleman, a former foreign diplomat. "They’re designed to be read for the story they tell, but they’re also designed so people can look at the world from the view of a native person." Bartleman will be in Orillia to sign copies of his latest book Seasons of Hope at Manticore Books on Saturday, May 7, at 11 a.m. In the book, said Bartleman, he uses pictures and short stories from his early life to his travels abroad as a Canadian diplomat to coming to terms with depression and eventually going on to become the first aboriginal Lt. Gov. for Ontario. Seasons of Hope is composed of short stories describing encounters during Bartleman’s life, such as going to Mother Teresa’s funeral, meeting Gorbachev, the Dalai Lama and Fidel Castro. Bartleman, a member of the Chippewas Rama First Nation, understands well the adversity faced by First Nations across the country. But he found his way out of it, and he believes, so can others. Growing up close to what he described as the "village dump" in Port Carling in 1946, he found a trove of discarded comic books and learned to read them with his mother’s help. Eventually, he started going to the village library, "and then I started to do well at school, and that was my ticket out of poverty." Wanting to support the children of First Nations across Canada, said Bartleman, "I decided to look at my own experience of what got me out of a life of poverty — learning to read at an early age." This laid the foundation for the Lieutenant-Governor’s Book Program launched in 2005. All proceeds from his current and previous books also go toward the Lieutenant-Governor’s Book Program. "I came up with this idea because that’s what worked for me as a kid — learning to read, making friends and taking advantage of opportunities that came along," he said, adding that, "I was only able to do it all because I knew how to read. And with that, I was able to join the foreign service and become the Lt. Gov. of Ontario." The program helped stock libraries of First Nations community schools across Ontario, northern Quebec and Nunavut with a million and a half books. Those libraries, said Bartleman, still exist today. The success of this campaign led to the establishment of summer-reading camps run through Frontier College, a nation-wide, volunteer-based literacy organization based in Toronto, which administers literacy programs. "It was such a success that when I retired as Lt. Gov., Frontier College kept it going and took it across Canada," said Bartleman, adding that since its inception almost a decade ago, now there are about 300 counsellors going into northern First Nations communities benefiting some 7,000 kids. Another turning point in his life that supported the significance of literacy was his experience with depression, which he has suffered from for most of his life. "I fell into this depression when I was working for the prime minister," he elaborated, referring to his time served as foreign-policy advisor to PM Jean Chrétien from 1994 to 1998. After his doctor recommended he ease up on his tough work routine, Bartleman requested to be sent back to foreign service. But the real trigger came when he was beaten nearly to death in his hotel room while serving as the Canadian high commissioner in South Africa. "Part of my self-imposed therapy, to get out of my depression, was to start writing," said Bartleman explaining how he was able to nurse his shattered self-esteem and sense of identity, a loss, which brought back, what he believes, were suppressed feelings of identity issues from his childhood. A feeling of isolation and racism, still to this day, faced by First Nations across Canada, which makes them vulnerable to mental health issues, such as depression, said Bartleman, referring to the tragic event of 11 attempted suicides that took place this Saturday in Attawapiskat First Nation in Kenora District. "The situation is different in different areas. At Rama, it’s a very prosperous community," he said, in a phone interview. "But when you get up north, the effects of residential school systems are hardest up there. The family breakdown is much more severe. They were isolated for so long, and when the kids come out, they saw the racism and don’t feel wanted and feel like the ‘other’ in society — as if they’re not even fully human." "But writing was a wonderful therapy," he said, adding that, even though he adheres to his prescription medication, "when I started to write, I came to terms with a lot of things that I had lived with when I was in a life of poverty. But it didn’t mean I got rid of my depression, but I got it under control and it remains under control to this day." Bartleman will also be speaking at the Gravenhurst Opera House on Friday May, 6, as part of its 18th annual Author’s Night. For more details, visit http://www.gravenhurst.ca/en/opera/shows.asp. mshahid@postmedia.com twitter.com/chromartblog 

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MUSKOKA – Always known for her sweet tooth, Bev Link was once caught stealing candy from her teacher. Her punishment was a time out. In a straight jacket. In the dark, damp, cold basement. For two days. Link can’t remember if she received food, or if anyone checked on her. “I don’t think anyone did at all,” she said. The Huronia Regional Centre, first called the Orillia Asylum for Idiots, was the institution where Link lived for most of her childhood. From 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Link sewed in the mending room, labouring over cotton jumpsuits and straightjackets. Like all the children at Huronia, she was never paid for her work. If she made a mistake, staff slapped her sharply on the back of her head. Other times staff used brooms to beat the children. One time a broom handle came down so hard on Link’s back it broke her shoulder, or she might’ve broken it while trying to twist out of a straightjacket. At 75-years-old, Link finds it difficult to straighten out what abuse happened when and what came next, but that doesn’t mean she forgets. She remembers staff being particularly heavy handed with her because she is Native. “They’d called me Indian,” Link said. “I used to get pulled by the hair down the hall.” In her Bracebridge apartment, on a damp day that makes her shoulder ache, Link sits at her dining room table. It’s a new piece of furniture where she loves to serve home-cooked food and talk with friends. The walls are brightened with Native art. A dream catcher greets visitors when they walk through the front door. Beside Link is Betty Bond, 62, outspoken and headstrong. She rescues struggling wildlife, like the three baby racoons she’s caring for right now. She shows everyone pictures of them on her phone. Across the table is Mabel Lester, 78, quiet and sweet who, near the end of the conversation, turns back to her colourful puzzle. She lives with Link in the apartment, an arrangement that has worked for decades. All three women are survivors of Huronia. They’re family to one another. They’ve decided to speak out now, together, because they believe it’s important to document this part of Canadian history. “We were silenced through no fault of our own,” said Bond. “We have a voice now and our stories need to be on the record so it never happens again.” The Huronia Regional Centre closed in 2009, after more than 130 years of housing children, whose families, doctors and social workers claimed had developmental delays. As Link, Lester and Bond can attest to, that wasn’t always the case. “It was a dumping ground for Children’s Aid,” said Bond. “There were a lot of us in there that could’ve had chances, but were just plopped there and forgotten.” All three women spent their youngest years in foster care, going from home to home. “I was called a wild child,” Bond said. “I didn’t know anything, and just from being so low and not realizing what I was doing, I caused disruption in foster homes.” A social worker committed Bond to Huronia when she was nine and she stayed there for the next five and a half years. She never remembers being allowed outside, except for one time when staff brought her over to the on-site cemetery. “We were shown the gravesites and told if we weren’t good little girls, we’d end up in there,” she said. Link lived in Huronia for 11 years and Lester for 15. Both only remember seeing sunshine through barred windows. Lester said she’d often be put in what was called the “side room” – a square closet with padded walls. “We had to watch out because there were rats in there,” she said. Another time Lester was put in a straightjacket because she refused to go downstairs for breakfast. That time, however, she escaped. “There was a hole in the front and I just went umph,” she said, demonstrating how she ripped it off, still triumphant all these years later. “It went straight to the floor.” When Link, Lester and Bond were residents at Huronia in the 1960s and 70s, nearly 3,000 children were living there, reported the province. The towering brick building and out buildings (called cottages) were overcrowded, with dozens of children sleeping head to head on cots, dormitory style. They weren’t allowed any personal items, pictures, toys or treasures. Even their clothes belonged to the institution. “The children would get up in the morning and were handed T-shirts and pairs of pants. At the end of the day they’d give them back,” said Vernon, who worked as a personal support worker at Huronia briefly in the 1970s and then again in the 1990s. She witnessed systemic abuse, racism, neglect and discrimination. “I remember the young women there going for appointments with doctors,” she said. “They were being sterilized without knowing it, without giving their consent.” If the children weren’t toiling over hard labour or in the odd class, they’d spend their time in the “playroom” – a square cell with only hard wooden benches lining the walls. There were no toys. “Some kids would rock back and forth all day long because there was nothing to do,” said Link. When staff members were bored, they’d line children up, and force them to take off their underwear and parade around the playroom. “They’d make kids go down the hallway stark naked,” Link said. Or punch one another, or run back and forth, back and forth, to the amusement of staff, said Bond. Once a year a Christmas tree was brought into the playroom and presents were heaped underneath. Dignitaries would walk through and admire the apparent warmth of Huronia. Afterwards everything would disappear. The children never received any of the presents. “I don’t remember any happy events there,” Bond said. “I was so scared to go in the playroom I would sit there frozen. I didn’t want to be seen. We tried to hide, but we could never really hide.”   Another place for punishments was the “pipe room” – a narrow, dark, closet-sized space where children would be confined for 10 minutes, half an hour, or two hours. Nobody ever knew for certain how long his or her punishment would be. “The pipe room was hotter than hell,” said Bond. “There was a wooden door with scratch marks all over it, scratches from people trying to get out. “They didn’t just throw you in there. They locked you up with a big skeleton key.”  Like many Huronia residents, Link, Lester and Bond were eventually transferred to transition homes in Bracebridge and released from the institutional system in their 20s. They worked at the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital in housekeeping and laundry. That’s where Link and Lester stayed for close to 40 years, and Bond for 17. “They weren’t beaten by the system,” said their close friend and advocate Debbie Vernon. “Once they were free, all three led successful lives.” Now Vernon, along with Link, Lester and Bond, is part of the group Remember Every Name that works to raise awareness about what happened at Huronia and find justice for survivors. Vernon got to know the three women when she helped them sift through their documents and file claims as part of a class action suit in 2013. Ontario agreed on a $35-million settlement and formal apology, and promised to maintain the cemetery and create a registry of all those buried there. About 3,700 survivors were eligible to file a claim. “As premier, and on behalf of all the people of Ontario, I am sorry for your pain, for your losses, and for the impact that these experiences must have had on your faith in this province, and in your government. I am sorry for what you and your loved ones experienced, and for the pain you carry to this day,” said Premier Kathleen Wynne as part of the formal apology read in the legislature on Dec. 9, 2013. “And so we will protect the memory of all those who have suffered, help tell their stories and ensure that the lessons of this time are not lost.” In 2012 the women went back to Huronia and walked the empty grounds. The cemetery, where Bond was once told she would end up, is broken, incomplete. Some gravestones bear the names of children and adults who died at Huronia. Most just have numbers indicating the order the bodies were buried in. Too many are unmarked. “Some gravestones were dug out and used as stepping stones or sidewalks to dormitories,” said Bond. “They were never replaced like they should’ve been, but at least they weren’t thrown out.” This spring Remember Every Name raised concerns about an underground utility pipe that runs under the cemetery. They were worried it could have disturbed hundreds of graves when it was installed decades ago. In response, Infrastructure Ontario commissioned an archaeological firm, Timmins Martelle Heritage Consultants, to do a non-intrusive ground study and records search of the cemetary. It found the utility pipe was installed before the cemetery was built in 1934 and no graves were disturbed. “The utility pipe was installed along the boundary of the cemetery at that time avoiding pre-existing burials, and the utility pipe was intentionally avoided when new burials were done after 1934,” said Infrastructure Ontario in a news release May 6. The province plans to work with families and former residents over the next year to improve the cemetery. Some proposed projects include erecting an arched entranceway into the cemetery with a plaque or monument, creating a natural path through sections of the cemetery, establishing a garden area, and replacing the remaining numbered stones with named stones. Still undecided is what will become of the empty Huronia Regional Centre. The province is considering making it into an a plan that saddens and disturbs survivors, said Vernon. “Survivors want Huronia torn down because of what it symbolizes,” she said, “and what it symbolizes is a culture of fear and evil.” In Link’s apartment there’s a framed picture of the three women holding their settlement cheques. They have their arms wrapped around one another and big grins on their faces. They, with the help of Vernon, are healing together. “There are a lot of demons we have had to overcome to get where we are,” said Bond. “(Huronia) was a house of horrors, plain and simple.” Editor’s note: This story was updated on May 25 to include a response from Infrastructure Ontario regarding the cemetery and underground utility pipe.

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(SUBMITTED) – Barrie is one of the top cities featured in KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives 2016 report, a guide to international business locations costs. Released Wednesday, the report explores the most significant business cost factors in more than 100 cities and 10 countries around the world. “This is excellent news for Barrie. The people who live and work here know our city has a lot to offer and it’s encouraging to see that others are taking notice,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman. “To be ranked number one regionally in manufacturing and number four among all 111 featured cities confirms what many have already discovered – Barrie is a great place to do business.”  Highlights from KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives 2016 report: •\tBarrie ranks 5th among the 17 featured Canadian cities and 7th among all 111 featured cities.  •\tWithin the Northeast US/Central Canada region, Barrie ranks 2nd with costs lower than four other Canadian cities and all 17 US cities compared.  •\tWithin Canada, Barrie offers the lowest costs among the 17 cities compared for both industrial leasing and industrial facility construction. Barrie also enjoys the 2nd lowest property tax costs and 3rd lowest costs for transportation and office leasing.  •\tBarrie’s strongest results are in the manufacturing sector, where it ranks 2nd in Canada and the digital services sector where it ranks 3rd. In comparison, Barrie ranks 7th in R&D services and 8th in corporate services.  •\tWithin the manufacturing sector, Barrie ranks 1st in Canada for four of the 12 operations examined – advanced batteries, food processing, metal components and plastic products. Barrie ranks 4th among all 111 featured cities in the manufacturing sector.  For more information and to view KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives 2016 report, visit competitivealternatives.com.

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Arrole Lawrence vividly recalls his first encounter with healing. Just six at the time, Lawrence came to the aid of his mother following a back-aching day of work, the unhappy result of hours spent standing on a concrete floor. “I told her to turn around, put my hands on her back and probably 20 minutes later, no sign of pain,” Lawrence says during an interview at a downtown restaurant. The moment was the first of many to come, he adds while insisting that, even as a child, he arrived at it intuitively. “Between her and I, it was never disputed, but it was never spoken about with the father,” Lawrence says. “Too close minded.” Now 49, Lawrence is putting this “instinctual” ability to work for others in his role as a traditional Aboriginal healer. “I would say the best description that I could give you is somebody who has the ability to transform a situation, generally speaking, without the use of any pharmacological drug,” he says. “That’s the simplest description that I could give you.” The longer explanation is far more complex. Lawrence says he focuses on so-called ‘ancestral memory’ to address ailments and other challenges in the individuals he sees at Native reserves. It is our ancestors, he says, who carry unresolved or suppressed issues in the form negative energy, “and that will have an effect upon you.” That energy often manifests itself in the form of illness or unexplained feelings of unexplained anger, anxiety, jealousy, despair, and fear, he says. “These unresolved charges move to the next generation that moves to the next generation, who adds their piece,” Lawrence says. “It is only getting bigger.” Healing, then, is a process of letting go of, or clearing out that lingering negative energy. “You clear your ancestral energy first to see what was passed forward, then we would clear what you have stored as part of your experience as this life time,” he adds. Lawrence works mainly at health centres located on reserves, where residents with a variety of issues are seen by appointment. Non-natives, too, seek him out, meeting him at his Orillia home. Lawrence will explore his approach to healing in a series of talks at WindSpirit, located at 33 Mississaga St. E., on April 13 and 27, May 11 and 25. Lessons are $25 each and run from 7 p.m. to 9 pm. Students under 21 are $10 per lesson. For more information, call Dale at 705-325-0461.

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