Lingering At The Table
It seems that Ive joined the ranks of those with middle-aged spread. I start every day telling myself that this is unhealthy, unsightly and ridiculous, and that I wont indulge in sweets and fats today. But, by bedtime Ive sinned again with a piece of cake, a slice of pie, a couple cookies whatever is within reach. And, unfortunately, all the cooking and baking that went on this past week leading up to the reunion left much to offer as temptation. Even worse was the fact that there were many leftovers.
As guests began to leave I started packing goody bags. One left with banana bread, others took assortments of cookies. Some of the pineapple upside down cake left the premises, but too much of that stayed behind. After piecing it off bite by bite for a couple days, I froze the rest. And lounging temptingly in my freezer is a five-quart tub of ice cream. It seemed that no one was into ice cream that day except me. And how I love that generic ice cream. So far Ive managed to put it out of my mind.
But despite all the remaining goodies to tempt me, it was a great party and a day we will long remember. Family came from six states (mostly out west), and many parts of Pennsylvania. There were new in-laws I had never met, as well as boyfriends who were pierced and be-jeweled, but very polite and friendly. The teenagers played croquette with the little kids and kept them happy.
I had dug out old family snapshots and albums that got circulated after dinner and prompted many stories. The cameras clicked all through the afternoon, and I imagine fifty years from now the generation promoting that reunion will linger over these photos trying to figure out who goes with whom. It is a good reminder that every photo should be labeled in some manner. How soon we forget.
The only other times we got this much family together were for funerals where the atmosphere was much more subdued. There were several yard sales in town that day and people kept slipping away to check them out. This was especially true of those who had married into the family.
Another interesting phenomenon was that neither I, nor any of my siblings were with our original spouses. They had all died. And no one was re-married at the moment, although some had significant others with them. My deceased brothers children were all here and that was especially nice.
Perhaps one thing that made this get-together a miracle, with so many people traveling from many parts of the country, was the fact that several years ago, like many families when the parents get old, we were hardly speaking to each other. Differences of opinion on how and where infirm parents should live, what happens to their property, who makes the decisions all that led to major differences. But we eventually rose above it and came together as this laughing, loving, eating family. And I thank God for that.
FRIENDSVILLE: A meeting of the gentlemen of St. Francis Xavier's parish was called on Sunday last to decide whether the old church should be repaired, or a new one built. A committee who had been appointed to examine the condition of the old church building reported it to be in need of much repairing and finally a new church was decided upon. AND: The new flagstone walk which has recently been laid in the boro is a much needed improvement.
ELK LAKE: W. J. Young has on his farm a huge apple tree that was known to be bearing fruit in 1816. Four feet from the ground the trunk measures six feet five inches in circumference, while the longest limb spreads a distance of thirty-eight feet. Although so very old it still yields fruit of fine quality. This is undoubtedly the oldest bearing tree in the county.
MONTROSE: The two new store rooms in the Maxey and Bissell block have been rented to Carlson & Berry, of Owego, a well known piano company, and D. L. Robinove, who will conduct a dry goods store. Albert Smith is Carlson & Berry's agent here and he will act as manager, occupying the room adjacent to Barney's harness shop. Mr. Robinove locates in the other.
HALLSTEAD: Barney Phillips, an Erie employee living here, was killed late Friday night at Susquehanna through the bursting of a cylinder head of an engine. Mr. Phillips was crossing in front of an engine when the engineer started up. The cylinder burst and portions of the flying steel struck him in the head and body, killing him instantly. He was about 45 years of age and is survived by a wife and several children. A son of the deceased was crushed under the cars near Scranton a few weeks ago. The remains were taken to Hallstead on Saturday for interment.
SUSQUEHANNA: At a meeting of the Susquehanna Library Association held Saturday evening, the following named officers were elected to serve for year ending Sept. 1, 1905; Pres., O. H. Simmons; vice pres., M. Terwilliger; treas., A. H. Falkenbury; sec'y, Mrs. C. R. Peck; Librarian, Mrs. M. Boynton.
SILVER LAKE: The Hill reunion was held at the home of C. Southworth, Friday, Sept. 9. There were 50 descendents of Ansel Hill present, and a very pleasant time reported. There had been, during the year, 3 births, 1 marriage and no deaths. AND: The death of Bert Kane resulting from an attack of appendicitis, occurred at the home of his father, Patrick R. Kane, at 5 o'clock Tuesday morning, Sept. 13th. Besides his parents he is survived by one sister and four brothers, all of who were present at his death-bed. Bert was a favorite with all and much sympathy is expressed for the family in this their great bereavement. The funeral was held from St. Augustine's church on Thursday morning.
HARFORD: There was a bee at the M.E. church on Thursday to repair sheds, cut wood and fix up in general for winter; dinner was served at J. A. Sophia's. AND: The Northeastern Telephone Company has bought out the Harford and Kingsley line and is extending a branch line down Tingley street.
LENOXVILLE: Schools have all begun in Lenox with the following teachers: Glenwood, Nettie Crandall; Titus, Lou Lamberton; Loomis Lake, Maggie Maher; West Lenox, Katherine Maher; Pease, Blanche Hoppe; Wright, Deborah Davis; Howard, Mrs. Ralph Archibald; Gunn Hill, Marion Snyder; Wilson, Ruth Ross; Rought, Veda Sherman; Green Grove, Fred Pickering; Lenoxville, Mrs. W. S. Robinson. AND: Aunt Dorothy Doud, an aged resident of the village, is very poorly.
JACKSON: Rev. B. R. Hanton officiated at the funeral of Mr. [Hiram] Williams last Thursday. The deceased was nearly 84 years old and had worked in the Susquehanna shops till nearly 81 years old.
FAIRDALE: Supervisor McKeeby had a narrow escape on Thursday while using the road worker on the new road to Fair Hill. Getting near the lower side, the machine turned over and in the act of jumping he caught his foot and was thrown, cutting his leg, spraining an ankle and bruising his side.
LITTLE MEADOWS: Michael Crimins and wife gave a very nice party Wednesday evening, Aug. 31, in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Crimins, of Texas. All report a fine time. Those from out of town were: William Crimins, of Scranton; Ed Crimins and daughter, of Binghamton; Misses Juliette Matthews, of Binghamton; Maggie Matthews and Anna Kane, of Lestershire; Will Gilroy, Art Hoover and Will Murphy, of Lestershire.
BROOKLYN: Professors H. L. Fairchild and E.S.P. Hine made a trip to Elk Mountain in the interest of science, Wednesday of last week. AND: Harold and Clarence Gere have returned to their respective schools, the former to Keuka Lake Academy and the latter to Perkiomen Academy.
CLIFFORD: An incident in Clifford involving a drunk and very abused young man by the postmaster of Clifford, was reported in another paper, chastising the postmaster and sympathizing with the young man. However, the follow-up is reported that this poor, much abused victim, came to the stoop of the store and postoffice beastly drunk and planted himself near the entrance with his nether habiliment in such a condition that he was not decent to be seen upon the street. Uncle Sam does not allow his mail depositories to be obstructed by any nuisances and he was promptly ordered away. He refused to go and was pushed away. He came back and was kicked away. He attempted to come back and was knocked away. This was in presence of others and incidentally and in part in presence of the landlord across the way, who gave him some rough but good advice, to go home and stay there. The next morning said victim approached and entered the store saying to the merchant and postmaster who battered him so the night before, "Allie, you done me a good job last night and it was just what I deserved. Now I am going to straighten up." Report says he has been to church twice since. Now we say to this poor, troubled father, and much-abused victim, if they wish to know the sentiment of the good people of Clifford, it is "to push this thing along."
HEART LAKE: W. H. Wall, of the Lakeside House, reports that his house has been full of guests through the past few weeks and the fishing [is] good.
Visit our web site at www.susqcohistsoc.org for back issues of "100 Years."
A deadline well missed
Remember the controversy that was caused in the county by Gov. Ed Rendells Home Town Streets/Safe Routes to School Program? Commissioner Jeff Loomis climbed all over Commissioners Roberta Kelly and Mary Ann Warren for their refusal to immediately jump on his band wagon and support county-sponsored applications for some of that grant money.
Mr. Loomis envisioned a generous grant and said that Bill Collins of Simone, Jaffee and Collins Landscape Architecture Inc. of Berwyn advised him that the county could apply for a $1 million. One half of the grant would be used for improvements around the county courthouse complex in Montrose, while the remaining one-half million would be divided between Montrose and New Milford Borough to improve street lighting, sidewalks and parks.
Commissioners Kelly and Warren expressed some concern because they were not privy to initial discussions on the Loomis Plan but were expected to rubber stamp it at a public meeting. The bottom line is that the grant application did not get filed by the August 1 deadline and it is just as well that it didnt. I have since been told that more than likely the application would have been rejected as proposed and the county would have wasted about five grand in preparation fees.
So add one to the plus side of Mrs. Kelly for flagging the project and to Mrs. Warren for supporting her.
By the way, Dan Accurti, PENNDOTs program manager, told me that the state received 278 applications by the August 1 deadline and that they will accept a few more if the proper people in Harrisburg are advised that a late app is coming. Mr. Accurti suggested that it would be much better if applications for grants are filed separately by the municipalities rather than in a jointure with other towns or with the county.
Union Contracts Approved
Despite some rumors to the contrary, three union contracts were recently approved by county employees in court appointed, court related, and residual positions.
No word on what the new contracts provides by way of increased wages or additional benefits, if any, but it must have been satisfactory. Of 60 employees that voted on the contracts, there were only five negative votes.
Jack McGrail, who was recently re-elected recording secretary/business agent, for Teamsters Local 29 that represents the county employees, said negotiations with Children and Youth Services and the Probation Department are moving forward. He said new contracts could be approved before the old ones expire in December.
By the way, a little side note about the county contracts that I found interesting. Jack tells me the contracts include "me too" clauses. He said that anything that might be given to the non-union employees over and above what the union contracts might include must also be given to the union employees.
Regarding the recently created position of maintenance foreman to replace the assistant supervisors slot, Mr. McGrail tells me that will be a union position if the person hired has limited authority and no right to hire, fire or discipline.
About that foreman
The position of assistant maintenance supervisor in the county has been vacant for over a year and the maintenance department seems to be functioning pretty well without it. Supervisor Scott Wayman and his crew are getting the job done.
So why all of a sudden does the maintenance department need a foreman? There are only eight or nine employees in the department. From here it certainly would appear that Mr. Wayman is capable of supervising a staff of that size without needing help from an assistant.
I am told that if Mr. Wayman is away there is no responsible person left in charge. Poppycock! That crew has been working together for a number of years. I am sure they have the entire routine down pat by this time. The entire concept smacks of just another political maneuver.
Sesquicentennial Books Are Here; Positively Last Chance To Buy
Barnes-Kasson Hospital Fall Ball October 2 In conjunction with the Barnes-Kasson Hospitals 100th birthday, the County Transcript will publish a special edition in its honor on September 22. Also the Barnes-Kasson Hospital is promoting a gala Fall Ball, October 2, at the Historical Starrucca House. Music will be furnished by "Brother John," a well known band group that has been entertaining music lovers and dancers in this area for years. Dinner is at 7 p.m. Need tickets? Call Lillian Klym at the hospital, extension 247 or Tina Hall, extension 225. (Note: Well-wishers, congratulatory ads, etc., must be in the County Transcript office by September 15. Call 8533134 or 18003727051.)
I Couldnt Believe My Ears During the GOP convention in NYC, as I turned on the TV, Senator John McCain was at the podium. He was extolling "this man" to the high heaven. He called him a powerful leader and said that his vision and resolutions would make the world a better place to live. He praised the "man" for invading Iraq and said it was the right thing to do. Even though we didnt find weapons of mass destruction we captured Saddam who, no doubt, would of made them in the future. At first I was bewildered with all the $1.98 words he was using to describe the "man." All the while I thought the senator was talking about God! No way. He was talking about Mr. Bush. How can anybody use superlative words to describe a "man" that has cost us hundreds of lives, with thousands hurt or maimed for life. And how about many GOPers lying about John Kerrys war record, when the Navy upheld all of Kerrys heroics. Talk about "hitting low," especially to a war veteran! Can they (the GOP) get any lower? (McCain, Giuliana, and the rest of the GOPs can say what they want, "Invading Iraq was a big mistake and not necessary," as we now all know.)
Worst Election Ever Coming Up One candidate is praised to the "high heaven" while the other is being belittled as a "do nothing." The Bush clan is ridiculing Kerrys war record, and his Purple Hearts. Thats "pretty personal," when you stop and think that the two GOP candidates did not serve in any conflict. They, (the GOP) said that Kerry voted against the 85 billion dollars they wanted for Iraq. He voted against it because all he wanted to know was "where is all this money going and what for?" Some are knocking Kerrys religion. Doesnt Bush have a religion? Does Cheney have a religion? To each his own when it comes to religion. Lets stick to what each candidate can do for his country, and not what each candidate can do to the other. When a veteran is attacked for his war record, by his opponents (who never served) is really "hitting below the belt."
Cousin vs. Cousin on Gridiron Not very often will you see cousin vs. cousin on the football field. It most likely could be seen on the baseball field. But Saturday, September 4, pitted the Carbondale Chargers against the Susquehanna Sabers where two cousins opposed one another; Ernie Taylor, a Junior, playing in the backfield for the Sabers and Zach Lasavage in the backfield for Carbondale. Both young gridders are the nephews of Carbondale coach John Lasavage, who starred for the Chargers when he was in school. Coach Lasavage is the brother of Ernie Taylors mother, Mrs. Dave (Michelle) Taylor, of Thompson. Both young athletes did well for their teams, with Zach racking up a bunch of yards in their 40 to 7 win.
NEW STUDENT Rejected At High School At around 9 a.m., September 3, 2004, a "new student" tried to enroll at our Susquehanna High School, but could not penetrate one of the back doors leading into the basement of the school. Upon investigation and checking one of the surveillance cameras, it was discovered that the "student" was a small black bear, pounding on the door. Disappointed that he could not register for school, he wandered away. But, due to the fact that several bear have been seen in the school and Turnpike Terrace area, one or another will be back. (My thanks to Officer Phil McDonald for the information.)
BANG! Goes Our S.S. Increase The United States government has billions of dollars in their "cash registers" to give themselves raises, help other countries (which is OK to survive) but when it comes to helping their own people, its a big problem. It seems like we are on the bottom of the list. Next year, Medicare premiums will increase $11.60 a month, the largest in its 40 year history. Hospital costs will also increase. We are supposed to get tax breaks. What tax breaks? They dont amount to .... ! Why not use that little tax-break money, put it into Social Security, Medicare and other health programs, which will help us more than raising the cost of our health care. The little tax money that is returned to us is a joke. Put it where it will help the needy.
A Boston Rooter, Real Happy A day after (my) Yankees took a drubbing of 22-0 from Cleveland, my friend and neighbor, a Boston and Cardinal fan by the name of Bob Wilder, politely called me to make sure I read the morning paper in regard to the beating. "Yes," I said, "I saw most of the game." Before I hung up, I could hear Mr. Wilder laughing a happy laugh. (Remember, Bob, the season is not over yet.)
Hazleton Bowler In Record Book Wilkes-Barre Arthur Gardner, age 46, bowled his way into the record book for continuous bowling on Sunday, September 30, 2004, with an aching back, tired eyes and other ailments after bowling 55 hours and 20 minutes, which included 177 games for a total of 23,393 downed pins. He beat the old record by four minutes. Gardner, a 210 average bowler, managed to average 132 for the 177 games. He was taken to a hospital right after his feat. By the way, Gardner used both arms to bowl the record.
Bryant A Free Man "What Else?" Not wanting to brag (!) but for weeks this column has said that Kobe Bryant will not go to jail and will not be found guilty. On September 1, prosecutors dropped the rape charge against Bryant. The woman who accused Bryant would not testify against him. So, the judge threw the case out forever.
Anonymous Letter Received We dont usually comment on "unsigned" letters, but this has to deal with the Veterans Service Board in the Shops Plaza. The letter asks, "Will the Service board ever be opened to add any missed names?" My answer: "I have no idea." You can contact the officers of the Susquehanna American Legion. They may be able to help you.
Purdue Spoils JRBs "Parade" Sunday, September 5, 2004 was kind of a sad day for the John R. Benson family of Turnpike Street. John one of the Stinky Motorcycle group and his family and friends gathered on their front lawn, banners and all for Syracuse to beat Purdue. Prior to the game it seemed like a "big day" ahead for the Benson. With daughter, Jamie, a senior at Syracuse, home for day, they were ready to watch Syracuse mutilate Purdue. But when the final whistle blew, Purdue gave the Syracusans a 51 to zero beating. (On Monday, passing the Benson house, their Syracuse flag was flying at half mast.) Better luck next time, John and maybe you should stick to the "Stinky Boys."
151 Win Streak Stopped De La Salle High School, of Concord, Calif., had its 151 football game winning streak stopped by Bellevue High School, of Seattle, 39 to 20. The 151 win streak was the longest in the United States.
Several years ago, a robbery occurred at a local convenience store in Susquehanna County. There were four defendants involved in the crime. One of the defendants was an employee of the convenience store who provided the information necessary to plan the robbery. Two defendants actually entered the store wearing ski masks, one of which carried a handgun that was used to threaten the clerk and force him into the bathroom while the robbery was carried out. Finally there was the get-away driver, who waited in the car while the robbery was conducted. As a result of good police work, all of the defendants were arrested and convicted of robbery.
Under a certain statutory provision, whenever a firearm is used in connection with a robbery, the court must sentence the defendant to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years incarceration in a state correctional facility. At the time of the conviction of the get-away driver, there was some ambiguity in the law as to how the mandatory minimum sentence applied to co-conspirators that did not actually enter the establishment during the commission of the robbery. Essentially, there appeared to be a distinction that required actual use of the firearm or being a co-conspirator that physically saw the firearm being used in the commission of the robbery. Because the get-away driver had not entered the convenience store, he argued that the mandatory minimum sentence did not apply to him because he never saw the firearm used in the commission of the robbery. On the other hand, I argued that a get-away driver, who knew that a firearm will be used in the robbery, should not be treated less harshly simply because he or she remained in the car. After considering the applicable case law, and the arguments of counsel, the court determined that the mandatory minimum sentence did not apply, but still sentenced the get away driver to a incarceration in a state correctional facility for a period of 2 years to 4 years.
After the sentencing, I informed the defense counsel that I would not appeal the sentence, unless the defendant appealed his sentence. The defendant did appeal, and the District Attorneys Office filed a cross-appeal challenging the requirement that a get-away driver physically see the firearm used in the commission of the robbery in order for the imposition of the 5 year mandatory minimum sentence. In the course of the appeal, I argued that each member of a conspiracy should be treated equally provided there was proof that each member had knowledge that a firearm was being used in connection with the robbery. The Pennsylvania Superior Court agreed and held that, where it was established that a get-away driver (or other member of a conspiracy to commit a robbery) knows that a firearm will be used in commission of the robbery, then the get-away driver is subject to the same mandatory minimum sentence as the gun-wielding co-conspirator.
In the end, the case was remanded to Susquehanna County for a new sentence of 5 years to 10 years incarceration in a state correctional facility. Because the defendant appealed his initial sentence, he ended up more than doubling his period of incarceration. Further, as a result, a case from Susquehanna County helped establish a uniform rule for sentencing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania a get-away driver gets the same sentence as each co-conspirator in the robbery provided the co-conspirators understood that a firearm was going to be used in the robbery.
Please submit any questions, concerns, or comments to Susquehanna County District Attorneys Office, P.O. Box 218, Montrose, Pennsylvania 18801.
Dear EarthTalk: Is there a connection between environmental toxins and breast cancer?
Ben Ward, Virginia Beach, VA
More than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the United States, and 20 percent are likely to die from it. Breast cancers among women have climbed steadily in the U.S. and other industrialized nations since the 1940s. More than half of women diagnosed with breast cancer do not have any of the known or traditional risk factors such as family history, hormonal factors or a fatty diet, and researchers suspect that widespread exposure to environmental toxins is triggering the surge.
Strong evidence linking chemicals to breast cancer include studies showing that lifetime chemical exposure to naturally produced estrogens (female hormones produced by the ovaries and other adrenal glands) increases the risk of breast cancer. New evidence also suggests that exposure to compounds that mimic these natural estrogens, such as hormone replacement therapy and oral contraceptives, also increases risk.
Other compounds found to increase breast cancer risk include: polyvinyl chloride, a plastic commonly used in vinyl siding, shower curtains and other products; the gasoline component benzene; and some pesticides and herbicides. Also strongly linked are organic solvents used in manufacturing processes, hydrocarbons produced by the combustion of gasoline and heating oil, and synthetic chemicals like dioxin, a byproduct of the paper bleaching process. Many compounds long ago phased out of use in the U.S. including DES, a drug taken by pregnant women to prevent miscarriage, the notorious pesticide DDT, and PCBs used in manufacturing still persist in the environment and can also trigger the disease.
When New York health researchers noticed that breast cancer cases were increasing at alarming rates on Long Island during the 1980s and 1990s, they commissioned the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project to find out if exposure to some prevalent toxins including DDT and PCBs was to blame. Surprisingly, researchers found little evidence to support a definitive connection. However, the study did suggest that these chemicals were linked to enlarged tumor size, meaning that although they may not cause breast cancer, they may contribute to how fast the cancer grows.
Without many direct links between breast cancer and specific contaminants, regulation is unlikely, so women should take precautions on an individual basis. Exercising more, increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, lowering alcohol intake and quitting smoking are good first steps. Avoiding exposure to contaminants at home or on the job will also help. Meanwhile, environmental groups like the Breast Cancer Fund and Breast Cancer Action are advocating for more Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of chemicals and pressing chemical makers to voluntarily limit the production of certain suspect substances.
CONTACTS: National Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project, http://epi.grants.cancer.gov/LIBCSP/; Breast Cancer Fund, (415) 346-8223, www.breastcancerfund.org; Breast Cancer Action, (415) 243-9301, www.bcaction.org; U.S. Food and Drug Administration, www.fda.gov.
Dear EarthTalk: Ive heard that tankless water heaters are more energy efficient than traditional water heaters. How do they work?
Felipe Gomez, Flagstaff, AZ
In a conventional water heater, 30 to 60 gallons of water sit in the tank, constantly being heated and re-heated, even when no hot water is in use. The heat from the tank keeps dissipating into the air, creating "standby heat loss." This constant energy waste adds up, and can constitute 10 to 20 percent of a households heating costs.
Unlike traditional water heaters, tankless water heaters (also known as demand or instantaneous water heaters) heat the water only as it is used, thus eliminating standby heat loss and minimizing energy usage. Cold water travels through a pipe to the unit, where it passes over a gas or electric heating element in a thin enclosure. This exposes a lot of the waters surface to the heating element, thus enabling it to heat up quickly. The element only operates when the hot water faucet is turned on. These heaters are also small and thus space saving, and can be attached to a wall or put under the sink or in a closet.
First put into widespread use in Japan and Europe, tankless water heaters began appearing in the U.S. about 25 years ago. While they do cost more than double the price of conventional water heaters top-of-the line, high-capacity residential tankless models sell for up to $1,000 a typical tankless unit lasts more than 20 years, compared to the 10-year life expectancy of a conventional water heater, according to the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office of the U.S. Department of Energy. Also, consumers can quickly make up the difference through energy savings.
While a constant supply of hot water is available through a tankless system, the flow rate may be somewhat limited, depending upon the needs of your household. Typically, a tankless water heater provides a flow of two to four gallons per minute. As with many tank heaters, simultaneous use of hot water appliances can affect the flow rate. Water-hungry appliances like dishwashers and washing machines may need to be operated at separate times. Alternatively, a second water heater can be installed at a high-demand location. Gas-fired heaters tend to have higher flow rates and are less expensive than electric models. Leading tankless water heater manufacturers include Bosch, PowerStar and Ariston, and the units are available at most big appliance and home superstores as well as through Controlled Energy Corporation, Tankless Water Heaters Direct, and several others.
CONTACT: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office, (800) DOE-3732, www.eere.energy.gov/consumerinfo/factsheets/bc1.html; Controlled Energy Corporation, (800) 503-5028, www.controlledenergy.com; Tankless Water Heaters Direct, (802) 583-2726, www.tanklesswaterheatersdirect.com.
GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; or submit your question at: www.emagazine.com, or e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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