Veterans have medical needs

I’m sure many of you Geauga residents recall receiving a post card in the mail last year, at taxpayer expense no doubt, from U.S. Rep. David Joyce extolling veterans and men and women in blue who serve as police and fire officers.  He stated how much he supports them and appreciates their efforts.  But, does he really?

Last July the police and fire pension fund of Ohio decided they would no longer cover the cost of health care (Medicare Part A) for retirees who were eligible for Medicare at age 65. Many of these folks were not allowed to pay into Medicare when employed as fire or police officers but were required to pay into the police and fire pension fund instead. So these retirees, several hundred in Ohio, have to pay the full brunt of Medicare Part A at the tune of over $8,000 per year, from their meager pension checks.  In essence these police and fire retirees are being treated as second class citizens.

Rep. Joyce’s office has been called innumerable times and asked  to correct this inequity.   Personally, I called more than a dozen times myself.   The only response from any one in his office has been from one staff member who stated that Mr. Joyce will likely offer support (no guarantees) if someone else presents a bill to correct this situation.  Perhaps he has been just too busy dialing for dollars from lobbyists.  Not exactly leadership is it.  At the very least retirees should be able to buy the credits they need to qualify for Medicare A as virtually all other citizens can. 

Perhaps Mr. Joyce would just as soon do away with Medicare as many of his colleagues in the Congress and the Senate would wish.  Perhaps we are the ones who should do away with Mr. Joyce as a representative and get someone who walks the walk and not just talks a good talk.  

John G. Augustine

Parkman Township

Solid leadership in Orange schools

During the pandemic, Orange City School District Superintendent Lynn Campbell and the Orange Board of Education, led by President Beth Wilson-Fish, have faced challenges the likes of which none of their predecessors have ever faced.

The recent decision to delay transitioning into the hybrid model has been met with protests at the district administration building and negative comments online.

On Monday, Dr. Campbell came out to speak with people who were protesting outside the Board of Education office. He certainly didn’t have to take time out of his busy day, but as he said in a recent email to the district, he respects their passion. Rather than being thankful for the opportunity to talk to him, a few of these protesters were rude to him and would not let him answer their questions.

 While we may not agree with each and every decision that has been made, Dr. Campbell and the board are doing all they can to make the best decisions for entire Orange school community. There is no one size fits all answer. Each and every family in the district and each and every staff member has their own unique set of circumstances. Until there is a vaccine or treatment which allow the school to open up business as normal, there is nothing they can do to satisfy all stakeholders.  

Our actions during this pandemic not only affect our immediate family, but our entire community.

 We are all faced with difficult decisions when it comes to evaluating our family’s physical, educational and emotional health. There are no easy solutions. Dr. Campbell and the board are doing all they can to keep their stakeholders stay safe. I’m glad to be in a district that takes my children’s welfare seriously.

Scott A. Bilsky

Pepper Pike

Mueri will fight for people

Hillary O’Connor Mueri is running for Congress to represent the people in the 14th Congressional District. She is a war veteran who, as a Navy pilot, flew twelve combat missions to protect our ground troops in Iraq. Courage is an extremely important attribute for a member of Congress. During her tour of duty in Iraq, Mueri showed great courage as she risked her life every time she took to the air.

Her opponent has wilted against the administration’s court battle to invalidate the Affordable Care Act. He has been silent about the administration’s total incompetence in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic and its abysmal failure to provide much needed relief to millions of suffering Americans.

Hillary O’Connor Mueri will fight for working people, she will fight to bring access to healthcare for all Americans, and she will represent us with courage and integrity. In short, she will do us proud.

James Ciocia

Twinsburg

Ad misrepresents candidate

The recent attack ad against Betsy Rader by the RSCC is simply out of bounds and untrue, and thus we feel the need to speak up. Ms. Rader has always supported women. This negative ad is a futile attempt to misrepresent a career spent supporting working women. We will not fall for their efforts to malign a champion and ally of women, and we urge others to see through their malicious efforts as well.

We know Ms. Rader through our mutual involvement in the CMBA’s Women in Law Section. She has continuously worked to advocate on behalf of women in the legal profession, including mentoring and training women that are new to the field. She is a frequent presenter at the

Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s International Women’s Day celebration as well as a noted speaker and author on topics related to workplace discrimination and harassment.

During her time as the chairperson of the Women in Law Section, Ms. Rader consistently and fervently promoted the section’s motto, “We rise by lifting each other.” She lives this motto, not just by lifting women in the legal profession, but through her professional efforts. She helps women who have been victims of sexual discrimination and harassment. She is a voice for those that often cannot find their own voice.

Although we are current and past leaders of the Women in Law Section of the CMBA, the opinions expressed in this letter are entirely ours, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the CMBA or its members. The CMBA does not endorse any candidates for public office.

Christina M. Bushnell

Catherine Donnelly

Kami Brauer

Cleveland

Who is packing courts?

OK, let’s talk packing the courts.  While the Republicans are making a fuss over a lack of stated Democratic intentions in this regard let’s be clear:  The Dems hold neither the Senate nor the White House at the present time.  Which makes this a moot issue. I guess that the Dems could take the Republican approach and say, “We will not pack the court and if we do,” as Lindsey Graham has said, “you can use my words against me.”

Or say we will not pack the court and, to quote Mitch McConnell, “The American people (should) have a voice in this momentous decision.” Or how about this, “We will not pack the court and,” in the words of the famous flip-flopper Rob Portman, “we should let the people decide.”   then, if the Dems win, well, what the heck, just do it as if “of course we should do it.”

These three senators (and others) flat out flip-flopped as if what they said previously was in another life. But what is packing the courts?  Is it refusing to even allow lower court nominees to be voted upon for four full years (Hello, Mitch!) all the while hoping that a Republican nominee wins the next presidential election? And then rushing through every nominee, even if they are not qualified? Or is it refusing to give a hearing and vote for a well-qualified nominee to the Supreme Court because it occurs in an election year (let alone within 30 days as we are seeing now)? Then taking the opposite stance when the nominee is from your own party.

So, what is and who has been packing the courts? Seems like it’s the Republicans, not the Democrats we need to worry about.

Bob Brown

Chagrin Falls

Woodmere project vital to valley

I am in my third year of a four-year term as mayor of the Village of Woodmere. I am a journalist by profession, not a politician. As village CEO, my goal is to oversee signature plans and advance projects for the greater good. The Village of Woodmere Chagrin Valley Gateway Pedestrian Trail, more commonly known as the Brainard Sidewalk is one such project.

In November of 2019, I engaged McCaulley & Company to write a grant application to the state of Ohio and Cuyahoga County to fund a walkway, moving pedestrian traffic, safely in Woodmere.

Our task was to compete in a highly competitive process with the goal of securing funding for the project at no cost to the Village of Woodmere or its residents.

McCaulley & Company were able to secure two grants to the tune of $265,000, more than enough to fund the walkway project with an anticipated price tag of $230,000. The supplementary benefit would be to connect Woodmere’s proposed sidewalk to the existing trail entering the community from Orange Village.

The primary objective was to allow pedestrians and patrons to travel safely to stores on Chagrin Boulevard and to shops at Pinecrest and Lander Circle. Unfortunately, the dream for this signature project became a nightmare when four Woodmere Village Council members questioned the scope of the project.

Contract proposals provided by the state, assurances from the village engineer, recommendations from the utilities committee and the planning and zoning commission, even a resolution from Orange Village could not convince Woodmere Council members to vote in favor of the project. The measure failed 3-to-4 at the October monthly meeting. Our team of engineers, legal department and consultants, were forthcoming, thorough, and true to the mission.

I thank Pepper Pike Mayor Richard Bain, Orange Village Mayor Kathy Mulcahy, state Sen. Kenny Yuko; state Rep. Kent Smith and Juanita Brent; Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown and county Executive Armond Budish who believed in Woodmere.

Special thanks to Woodmere Village council members Tennyson Adams, Nakeshia Nickerson and Vivian Walker who understood the value of the walkway to our residents and the surrounding areas.

Oct. 14, our vision to bring connectivity throughout the district reached an unanticipated roadblock; consequently, a single vote thwarted progress. Perhaps, emergency reconsideration might salvage the legislation, so in the spring of 2021, everyone can actually realize what this connecting pathway could mean, not only to the Village of Woodmere but to the entire Chagrin Valley.

Mayor Benjamin I. Holbert, III

Village of Woodmere  

Vote for issues

I’m not voting for Donald Trump.

I’m voting for the First Amendment and freedom of speech. 

I’m voting for the Second Amendment and my right to defend my life and my family. 

I’m voting for the next Supreme Court Justice(s) to protect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. 

I’m voting for the continued growth of my retirement 401k and the stock market. 

I’m voting for a return of our troops from foreign countries and the end of America’s involvement in foreign conflicts. 

I’m voting for the Electoral College and the republic we live in to keep Mobocracy and the Tyranny of the Majority out of America. 

I’m voting for police to be respected once again and to ensure law and order.  

I’m voting for the continued appointment of federal judges who respect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. 

I’m voting for jobs to remain in America and not be outsourced all over again to China, Mexico and other foreign countries.

I’m voting for secure borders and legal immigration. 

I’m voting for the military and the veterans who fought for this country to give the American people their freedoms. 

I’m voting for the unborn babies that have a right to live. 

I’m voting for continued peace progress in the middle east. 

I’m voting to fight against human/child trafficking. 

I’m voting for freedom of religion. 

I’m voting for the American flag. 

I’m voting for the right to speak my opinion and not be censored, attacked or assaulted.

I’m voting for my grandchildren to ensure their freedoms and their future. 

I’m not just voting for one person, I’m voting for the future of my entire country and all of our people. 

Do you fully know for whom or what you are voting? You should.

James R. MacNeal

Burton

Support Joe Biden

Here’s Donald Trump’s solution to the Social Security problem.

A mask-less young man at Trump’s rally put Trump’s COVID-19 policy very well. “The quicker we all get it, the sooner we will be done with it.”

The dire result of this policy is that even the most optimistic models predict it will result in more than one million new deaths. It will mostly be older people. One million fewer people for whom we need to provide Social Security. Problem solved.

On Nov. 3 we can discard this murderous plan (no plan) by electing Joe Biden.

Richard L. Hansler

Pepper Pike

Brunner for Ohio Supreme Court

Jennifer Brunner is a terrific candidate for the Ohio Supreme Court. She has extensive experience as Ohio Secretary of State, as a judge, and in public service as election observer, as educator and as driving force to improve poverty service programs.

She is running because justice for everyone matters. She will strengthen the rule of law and protect your right to vote.

On the other hand, her incumbent opponent, Justice Judith French, has typically ruled against Ohio workers, utility customers and the disadvantaged, and decidedly for big business and other special interests. Her record does not justify re-election. Here are a few choice examples of Ohio Supreme Court opinions she has written or joined:

• Raised the level of wrongful intent with which an employer must act in causing injury to an employer in order for an employee to recover damages, thus making such recovery virtually impossible.

• Eviscerated employee privacy by permitting an employer to force an employee to undergo urine drug test under direct observation. Three dissenting justices expressed outrage.

• Refused to allow whistleblower protection for employee who reported water pollution violations.

• Refused to order school board to consider plaintiff to be a regular nonteaching school employee and thus refused to require the school board to offer him a contract, even though he worked for ten years performing the same tasks and same hours as regular custodians.

• Refused to allow consideration of defendant’s ability to pay when deciding whether defendants must pay court costs. The dissent said that the majority “fails to see what is right under its nose – that to achieve the statute’s purpose, a trial court’s consideration of the defendant’s ability to pay is required.”

• Limited damages for a clergyman who was charged with raping a 15-year old girl to $500,000 under Ohio’s tort reform statute, instead of allowing damages of more than $3 million as approved by a lower court.

• Approved the shutdown of Toledo’s only abortion clinic because it did not have a transfer agreement with a nearby hospital. Chief Justice O’Connor dissented because the revocation placed an undue burden on a woman’s right to an abortion. • Struck down municipal ordinances restricting oil and gas drilling on the grounds that they were preempted by Ohio’s oil and gas wells statute.

• Allowed utility to keep hundreds of millions of dollars in charges to ratepayers that were found by the court to be unlawful.

• Allowed a public utility to recover $55 million from Ohio ratepayers for environmental remediation of old manufactured gas plants that had not been in service for decades.

As you can see, Justice French has little regard for everyday Ohioans.

Mark Hennessey

Pepper Pike

Support Chagrin schools levy

This spring marks my 20th year as an educator in the Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School District. In addition to teaching first grade I am also a Responsive Classroom Certified Teacher. In this role I help to develop classroom environments with  engaging academics and developmentally responsive teaching.

 From my first day in the district, I have felt supported in many ways with the guidance of a mentor teacher as well as a collaborative working environment. As I compared my teaching experience in Chagrin to the district from which I came, I realized it’s the people who make the difference.  

Students, teachers, parents, volunteers, community members and administrators are invested and care deeply about our schools.  Year after year, I continue to be amazed by the power of collaboration between our community and the school district for the betterment of our students.  Three years ago, I was thrilled to be a part of a group of teachers invited to attend a weeklong program at Teachers College at Columbia University. Thanks to grants from our support organizations, we became trained in a writing program which is currently being implemented in grades K-8.  This support has sparked positive change in the way we teach our students to write.

Six years ago, my husband and I relocated our family to Chagrin Falls. We wanted our young girls to grow up in a community that values kindness, community and our public schools.  As a Chagrin teacher, I knew our district had the resources to help our daughters reach their potential as students.  We also want the taxes we pay to support the Chagrin Falls schools as families before us have done for our children.  

 I have never been more proud to work and live in Chagrin than last March when we suddenly found ourselves teaching and learning from home. My daughters’ teachers immediately rallied, taught themselves how to Zoom and maintained instructional rigor.  While the world was shutting down around my girls, their teachers provided a connection to their peers and a feeling of hope.  The support and stability of their teachers was invaluable!

The mindful planning by our administrators and teachers has made our transition back to learning in August, via a hybrid model or virtual academy, safe and successful.  The partnership of parents working together with teachers has made our first month together simply joyful!  

 I am just one teacher with one perspective, but as I see it, that is the beauty of Chagrin. Every teacher has his or her own perspective and passions which are respected and encouraged. I worry that if our operating levy fails, we may be forced to eliminate some of the resources that makes Chagrin Falls schools so incredible. By voting yes for the upcoming 3.85-mill levy you are helping teachers to inspire students to find their own passions. I urge you to stay #cfevsCONNECTED. I urge you to join me in voting yes for Issue 67 in Cuyahoga County and Issue 20 in Geauga County.  

Stephanie Malley

Chagrin Falls

Trump made good on promises

My mother always said, “Actions speak louder than words.” The Democrats want you to think that this election is only about words. They don’t like Donald Trump’s words. They say his is not presidential. Words don’t define Donald Trump, actions define him.

In 2016 some of the promises Donald Trump made were to grow our economy, develop opportunity zones for cities with large minority populations, bring our troops home, close the border, appoint conservative judges, reduce taxes, reduce red tape, end international treaties that harm the United States, get NATO partners to pay their fair share. Those were his words.

Here is a list of just some of his actions as president: In the past four years Donald Trump has built miles of border wall and passed the First Step Act. He put two and soon to be three constitutional justices on the Supreme Court. Donald Trump reduced taxes and onerous regulations which grew an economy and saw an average $5,000 a year rise in blue collar salaries and lowest unemployment rate for women and minorities in 40 years. He ordered the killing of terrorists Al Bagdahdi, and Solemani and destroyed ISIS. He negotiated and passed the USMCA trade deal with Canada and Mexico. His policies of lowering corporate taxes have helped to bring manufacturing back to the United States and allowed a rise in small businesses and opportunity zones. All of this was done under the pressures of the Mueller probe and endless impeachment attempts.

In the past, Joe Biden has said he would get rid of fracking, and now he said he would not. He said he was against “court packing,” now he won’t tell us if he will approve this if elected and that the American people do not deserve to know what he would do. He has said China is not a threat to the United States and that the fact that China is becoming a major economic competitor is a good thing, now he wants to bring back manufacturing he sent to China.

As a senator, he was instrumental in passing criminal justice legislation that incarcerated more minorities than ever before. Joe Biden helped develop and pass the Affordable Care Act. At the start of this pandemic, Joe Biden called President Trump xenophobic for shutting down flights from China, he was having rallies in mid-February, now he says President Trump has not done enough. The challenges we have faced in 2020 require a person of action not words. Donald Trump has demonstrated he is that person.

Elsie Tarczy

Chagrin Falls

Event supported veterans

I’m writing in response to a letter to the editor from Kathryn Malmquist in last week’s edition entitled “Invasion inappropriate use of park.” The piece is regarding the use of Geauga Park District’s Maple Highlands Trail for a Jeep event organized to support our armed forces veterans. The event was organized by Middlefield Burton Rotary.

In her letter, Ms. Malmquist asks who made the decision to suddenly change the rules for the Maple Highland Trail for a Jeep Rally? The answer is, I did. Neither the Geauga Park Commissioners nor Judge Timothy Grendell had anything to do with the decision. The rally only occupied the trail for less than 30 minutes with two bikers yielding to the Jeeps. Furthermore, the trail was designed to handle vehicle traffic in order to accommodate maintenance and emergency vehicles. No damage was done to the trail. The trail was closed to the public prior to the event.

Our county rotarians have a long-standing history of supporting worthy civic causes. Through this event, they raised $8,000 for veteran’s services. As the executive director of Geauga Park District and a veteran of the United States Air Force, I found this endeavor to be worthy of support. I firmly believe the vast majority of Geauga County residents will agree. The price paid by our armed services veterans, particularly our combat veterans, allow us to enjoy parks like the Maple Highlands Trail. Without the selfless sacrifice of our veterans, these parks may not exist.

In closing, many in the silent majority continue to use and enjoy our parks in a variety of ways. You have expressed your appreciation for making your Geauga parks more accessible to your family and friends. Geauga Park District is not on the ballot on Nov. 3. However, on behalf of veterans across Geauga County, I humbly ask you to express your values and freedoms at the polls. My hope is the same values that represent positive change at Geauga Park District will be represented in your vote on Nov. 3.

John Oros

Geauga Park District director

Mayor’s criticism unfounded

Pepper Pike Mayor Richard Bain’s accusation that it was Beech Brook’s failure to effectively manage the sale of its property by not working with the city to achieve zoning language they could support is erroneous and appears to be an effort to reframe, confuse and, most of all, deflect from the city’s own failures. Before entering the contract with Axiom, we did work with the mayor and city officials to make sure that this proposal, from among several different proposals, was aligned with the city’s vision. Beech Brook was assured that it was. The city has had 20 months of a process with the proposed developer and multiple drafts of developer’s draft ordinances, site plans and traffic studies. They failed to come up with rezoning language they would support, and the city did not advance the public process to consider proposals, objecting to public meetings by electronic means. When it became apparent to the developer that they had no timely path to proceed, Axiom felt forced to go the initiative route to get the issue on the ballot. 

Beech Brook, as the seller, was not a part of the rezoning process and never intended to be. The future vision for the development of the property was that of the purchaser and the mayor. For Mayor Bain to suggest now that Beech Brook could or should have helped with writing zoning code is misplaced blame. We don’t write zoning code. We don’t develop property. We provide behavioral health services.

It was never our job to determine how this land should be used, post-sale, or to promote the developer’s project, as the mayor now claims. Our focus has always been on our mission of helping vulnerable children and families and on ensuring Beech Brook’s financial viability for many years to come.

We have made no attempt to confuse the voters by not removing Issue 34 from the ballot. If there is confusion, it can be blamed on the city and the Say No to Rezoning group that focused on Axiom’s proposal for a mixed-use development. The vote was never about a specific development; it is about zoning change that would still give the city the ability to approve any proposed project for the property. Whether by petitioner initiative or advancing city legislation, the rezoning must be submitted to a vote.

Some in the community continue to portray Beech Brook as greedy because we want to maximize the value of our property – as any reasonable property owner would. 

Finally, some people, most notably the Say No to Rezoning group, want to see our property become a park. As we have said before, despite all of the words and campaigns, no donor groups, park districts or other organizations interested in purchasing this private property at a fair market price, alone or in collaboration with the city, have ever presented a purchase proposal.

Thomas P. Royer

Beech Brook president and CEO

Trump’s record

Wow, where to start? We have 4 percent of the world population’s COVID-19 deaths. Total disregard for science.

Donald Trump is a climate denier and has the worst environmental record of any president. Now about healthcare, he is doing everything to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and constantly is telling us wait a few weeks (four years) and he will unveil the “best” healthcare plan ever. Tax cuts for the rich and now the country is trillions in debt, which is all we will hear about for the next few years.

The economy that he inherited from Obama as China recovers from COVID-19 we flounder. The Constitution be damned.

Emolument breach’s and disregard for rule of law. There are many more examples of how far this man has taken us backwards and downwards.

Joe Biden is also a problem and definitely some of his policies, yet he is not a liar, racist, misogynistic, self-centered, Q-anon supporter, thrice married or a four-time bankrupt man.

Give me Joe and then at least we have a chance. 

Stephen Mayes

Bainbridge

Rader stands up for women

As an attorney, I have been fighting for the rights of Ohio employees since 1984. I have known Betsy Rader for several years.

From her time in law school, and throughout her career, Betsy has worked to protect women from discrimination, abuse and sexual harassment. When Betsy was in-house counsel for an employer, she did what responsible corporate counsel should do. She instituted policies and training to prove a safe and non-discriminatory work place and to protect employees from sexual harassment. Where there were complaints, she worked to resolve them with a fair result for victims. In recent years, her law practice has focused on representation of survivors of discrimination,including sexual harassment, and training companies to comply with sexual harassment laws.

It is ironic that Betsy Rader’s political opponents bring up a 1995 court decision to imply that Betsy turned her back on women who had complained of sexual harassment two years before Betsy was hired as the company attorney. The judge found that there were no complaints of discrimination since then, and that the company was making efforts to eliminate unlawful discrimination in the workplace. That is- the truth is the opposite of the claims in the attack ad.

Then, and now, Betsy Rader stands up for women and for the rights of working people.

Nancy Grim

Franklin Township

Jefferson wisdom

“Should things go wrong at any time, the people will set them to rights by the peaceable exercise of their elective rights.” Thomas Jefferson to Wilson Cary Nicholas, April 13, 1806.

From “In the Hands of the People,” by Jon Meacham.

Ray Rosenberger

Bainbridge

Citizens need updated information

Issue 34 is one sentence that begins, “Shall the zoning code and map of the City of Pepper Pike be amended to enact a new Chapter 1271 creating the Willey Creek Mixed-Use Overlay District…” A key point and decision for the voters is that the proposed Chapter 1271 sets the legal requirements and boundaries for any development plan that is ever submitted. The majority of city officials have agreed that Chapter 1271, written by Axiom who is no longer a player, and is being voted on is not adequate and does not protect the city’s interests.

George Smerigan, the city planner, at the request of Mayor Richard Bain, wrote a summary report dated July 11, 2020 of the proposed Chapter 1271 language where he highlighted the inadequacies of Chapter 1271. Based on that report, the Mayor is quoted on July 23, 2020 in the Chagrin Valley Times as saying, “I cannot support the ballot initiative as it is written because the way it is written does not adequately protect the city’s interests.” (Why has the Mayor not clearly and concisely conveyed in any emails to residents the crucial message that the issue will hurt the city and that he does not support it?)

During the Sept. 23 Pepper Pike City Council meeting, a majority of council members agreed with Mr. Smerigan’s report because they were also very concerned with the inadequacy of the language of Chapter 1271 and went on record to say they were voting no on Issue 34 and encouraged residents to vote no on Issue 34 as well, as it is not in the best interests of the city. (Why has the mayor not clearly and concisely conveyed in any emails to residents the crucial message that the issue will hurt the city and that council does not support it?)

Why did it take Mayor Bain two and a half weeks of numerous requests from residents to issue a clarification email that Issue 34 is still live? Unfortunately, many mail-in ballots have already been submitted to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections without clarification from the mayor.

Why, after repeated requests from residents, has them mayor chosen not to update the City website, as of October 13, 2020? The site still contains Axiom’s undated, outdated proposals and no clarification that Issue 34 remains live.

The expectation and request to the mayor is, please clarify your opinion and recommendation on Issue 34 in an email/hard mail to all residents rather than leaving it to the residents to rely on newspaper articles only. The citizens expect and require the mayor to supply updated information on all issues that have a significant impact on the residents, not just The Taste of Pepper Pike, Ice Cream Socials and Movies in the Park.

Manny and Judi Naft

Pepper Pike

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