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SBISD names superintendent finalist PDF Print E-mail
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Written by From Staff Reports   
Saturday, 22 November 2014 14:17

Sulphur Bluff Independent School District Board of Trustees named Dustin Carr the lone finalist for superintendent Thursday, Nov. 20.

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Concerts surge for holiday season PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jonathan Lance   
Saturday, 22 November 2014 14:11

East Texas is gearing up for a month of concerts for the holiday season. Here is a list of major stars and local talent that will be gracing the area the next few weeks: 

  • Crossroads Music Company has invited singer Kirby Brown, with opening act Ryan McKenzie, to perform this week. Brown is a Texas-born song-writer who will perform in the Chamber Listening Room at Sulphur Springs City Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 26 at 7:30 p.m.  

“It will probably be a blend of songs that will appear on my new record, songs that appeared on my debut album ‘Child of Calamity,’ some brand  new ones I just wrote and definitely a few from the archives that some of my hometown friends will know,” said Brown. 

Tickets are available for $10 in advance or $15 at the door at City Hall, located at 201 North Davis St. in downtown Sulphur Springs. For more information go to crossroadsmusiccompany.com/store or call 903-342-1854. 

  • Country music star Trace Adkins will be visiting the Greenville Municipal Auditorium on Friday, Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. for his Christmas Show. 

“The holidays are my favorite time of year. These shows aren’t just a straight up concert, they’re bigger and more exciting with a 12 piece ensemble,” said Adkins. 

Ticket prices are $44, $59 and $69 and may be purchased at the box office, showtimeatthegma.com  or by calling 877-987-6487.

  • The Northeast Texas Choral Society and Music Director Carol Allen are performing “Once Upon a Christmas,” also on Dec. 6-7 at the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center. 

One of the highlights of the evening will be the rendition of “Christmas Dreams.” Allen said the piece is  not only musically complex but will bring a tear to the eye of everyone in the audience.  

“If there is one song that deeply describes Christmas, it would be that song,” Allen said. “If you paid your $10 and came to concert and only heard that one song, you would walk out the door and say you spent the best $10 all Christmas season.” 

The concert will be Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. in the Civic Center. Tickets are $10 in advance for adults and $5 for children or $12 dollars at the door with a special $25 dollar family price. For $25, the family package includes two adult tickets and four children tickets. Allen encouraged everyone to bring as many children as they could for the performances. 

  • Sulphur Springs Independent School District will have their Strings Winter Concert at Sulphur Springs Middle School at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4.  The event will feature grades five through 12 playing holiday favorites. 
 
 
Symphony auction tonight on radio and channel 18 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jonathan Lance   
Saturday, 22 November 2014 14:07

It’s finally here. The annual Sulphur Springs Symphony League live auction will be broadcast on KSST radio and Channel 18 Saturday night with dozens of items to bid on throughout the evening. 

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Handicapable Rodeo rides in Friday at Civic Center PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jonathan Lance   
Thursday, 20 November 2014 14:51

On Friday morning, more than 300 special needs students from around East Texas will get to experience the cowboy life with the Handicapable Rodeo, sponsored by United Professional Rodeo Association. Organizations from around Hopkins County have pitched in to help sponsor the event and to make the day one to be remembered. 

“This weekend is the United Finals Rodeo 58th annual competition and on Friday, we are having the Handicapable Rodeo all morning,” said Hopkins County Rodeo Committee President Oscar Aguilar. “We talked to all the school districts in a 50-mile radius and invited their special needs classes to come to the Civic Center for a day at the rodeo.”

According to Aguilar, Dr. Tony Gene Smith of Hopkins County founded the Handicapable Rodeo and served on the board of directors for years. Aguilar thanked Smith for changing the lives of so many people. 

“He did the right thing by setting up this event for the children in our area. These kids have so much fun every year,” said Aguilar. “Now, many organizations in the city are pitching in to make this day possible.”

Aguilar said he enjoys seeing the children come every year to the rodeo. He has watched children grow up and tries to stay in touch with as many of the special need individuals as he can. 

"I know several people that ask about the rodeo every year want a new rodeo T-shirt. I always invite them to come on out because I know this event is something very special to them,” said Aguilar.  “This year we are having the Charles Sellers Roping Classic.”

The Handicapable Rodeo will hold a presentation in Charles Sellers’ honor for his years of support for the rodeo and his volunteer work with the roping event. Aguilar said that the Sellers family has donated this year to help the Handicapable Rodeo and to honor Charles legacy.

Sulphur Springs High School Key Club members are also pairing up with special needs children to help them see all the events. Sulphur Springs senior Grace Horton said that she has volunteered for the Handicapable Rodeo every year and it has changed her as much as it has been a joy for the children. 

“My freshman year, when I first volunteered, I was nervous to work with the kids,” said Horton. 

Horton said by the end of her first rodeo, she decided to volunteer every year because she learned so much about herself and loved working with the students. 

“In my sophomore year, I was assigned a kindergartener. He was one of my mom’s patients and I really wanted to work with him. When I got him, I knew he was not very verbal but that day he would not stop talking about how happy he was and how much fun he had on the hay ride,” said Horton.  “Once I got in there and I figured out what to do, it was an absolutely amazing experience. I have learned how to accomodate others but many times these student help you more than you could ever realize.” 

Students will arrive on Friday morning 8 a.m. at the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center and be paired with their Key Club partner.  Volunteers will pass out official UFR T-shirts, sponsored by Luminant, and the children will get to line up at their first event. The students will have all morning to experience hay rides, covered wagons, a mini-train, horseback riding, roping courses, face painting, petting zoo and other small games.  At noon, lunch will be provided by Pizza Inn, Grocery Supply Company and Oceanspray. Around 1:30 p.m. the children will load their buses to go back to school.was nervous to work with the kids,” said Horton. 

Horton said by the end of her first rodeo she volunteer every year because she learned so much about herself and loved working with the students. 

“In my sophomore year, I was assigned a kindergardener. He was one of my Mom’s patients and I really wanted to work with him. When I got him, I knew he was not very verbal but that day he would not stop talking about how happy he was and how much fun he had on the hay ride,” said Horton.  “Once I got in there I figured out what to do, it was an absolutely amazing experience. I have learned how to accomodate others but many times these student help you more than you could ever realize.” 

Students will arrive on Friday morning 8 a.m. at the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center and be paired with their Key Club partner.  Volunteers will pass out official UFR tee-shirt, sponsored by Luminant, and the children will get to line up at their first event. The students will have all morning to experience hay rides, covered wagons, a mini-train, horseback riding, roping courses, face painting, petting zoo and other small games.  At noon, lunch will be provided by Pizza Inn, Grocery Supply Company and Oceanspray. Around 1:30 p.m. the children we be loaded on their buses and send back to the schools. 

 
Travis principal retires early PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Faith Huffman   
Thursday, 20 November 2014 14:37

A long-time beloved educator has retired this week from Sulphur Springs Independent School District. Dr. Juan Harrison, principal at Travis Primary, turned in his notice of retirement a bit sooner than administrators expected.

Harrison “got an opportunity to work with his church” that required him to “take avantage of it” immediately, so he handed in his letter of retirement, SSISD Superintendent Michael Lamb said.

According to Lamb, Harrison had let administrators know well in advance his intention to retire in the near future, and even considered not coming back this school year. School officials thought they’d have a few more months to plan for a permanent replacement.

Lamb said the district will implement what will likely be a four-phase plan to fill the principal spot at the school.

The district will utilize staff who would visit the campus, only asking them to be there extra time, to finish out this week, and possibly the three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas break. For example, a counselor who normally visits there one day a week could be utilized an additional day or administrators or others who might visit the campus a day or two could be called on to fill in an extra day or two, or periodically until a more temporary replacement can be found.

“This week is easily workable. One person could do it for three weeks, or it could be three weeks and a semester,” said Lamb, noting the idea is to continue operations at the school in the least disruptive maner possible.

Who the temporary replacement will be will depend on who is available for those three weeks and possibly, ideally, through the spring semester, until the administrators can screen and interview 

applicants — most likely in the spring — to find a qualified candidate for the position.

“The goal is to find the right person so we can interview for it. We’ll do some calling and talking. We’ll try to maintain so we can go through a good interview process. We don’t won’t to find just anybody. We want a good pool,” Lamb said.

He noted that the temporary principal would most likely not be someone who is qualified for and would “try for the job.” 

“What we don’t want to do is not let someone do it temporarily, then have to turn around and say ,”No, thanks but you don’t get the job,’” Lamb explained. “Who we get to fill in will depend on availability.”

He said that also means current school personnel who might apply for the job would allow them to “stay active” instead of moving them from another “position of need” for a short time period, which could create another shortage.

“We are sad to see Juan Harrison go. We understand the quick turn around. He’s much loved. We wish him the best and thank him for his years of service. He’s a great guy. We are sad but certainly respect the decision he is making,” Lamb said.

Harrison has been an educator for 42 years, serving many decades with SSISD, including as principal at Houston and Austin Elementary schools, and most recently at Travis Primary School.

Parents of Travis students should be receiving a letter from the school district this week if they haven’t already notifying them of Harrison’s retirement, which is precipitating change in the prinicipal’s position.cants — most likely in the spring — to find a qualified candidate for the position.

“The goal is to find the right person so we can interview for it. We’ll do some calling and talking. We’ll try to maintain so we can go through a good interview process. We don’t won’t to find just anybody. We want a good pool,” Lamb said.

He noted that the temporary principal would most likely not be someone who is qualified for and would “try for the job.” 

“What we don’t want to do is not let someone do it temporarily, then have to turn around and say ,”No, thanks but you don’t get the job,’” Lamb explained. “Who we get to fill in will depend on availability.”

He said that also means current school personnel who might apply for the job would allow them to “stay active” instead of moving them from another “position of need” for a short time period, which could create another shortage.

“We are sad to see Juan Harrison go. We understand the quick turn around. He’s much loved. We wish him the best and thank him for his years of service. He’s a great guy. We are sad but certainly respect the decision he is making,” Lamb said.

Harrison has been an educator for 42 years, serving many decades with SSISD, including as principal at Houston and Austin Elementary schools, and most recently at Travis Primary School.

Parents of Travis students should be receiving a letter from the school district this week. if they haven’t already been notified of Harrison’s retirement.

 
Two J Ranch raises $28,000 for St. Jude hospital PDF Print E-mail
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Written by From Staff Reports   
Saturday, 22 November 2014 14:15

Saddle Up and Ride for St. Jude was a huge success, with $28,000 collected at the annual event held Nov. 9 at the Two J Ranch in Como. The auction itself raised about $10,000 to go toward the donation to the research hospital for children.

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Sulphur Bluff FFA Plans Show Clinic, Chili Cook-off and Feast PDF Print E-mail
Written by From Staff Reports   
Friday, 21 November 2014 16:09

Sulphur Bluff FFA Chapter is planning a full slate of activities Nov. 22 at the school, with a show clinic in the morning and a chili cook-off and feast that afternoon.

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Grand Jury returns 39 indictments PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Faith Huffman   
Thursday, 20 November 2014 14:41

A Hopkins County Grand Jury this month returned 39 indictments against 30 individuals, pushing the cases forward for further prosecution. Some implicate more than one individual as participating in the same offense and some individuals are named in more than one indictment.

The majority of the indictments signed during the Nov. 10 session were for drug offenses, with a burglary, stolen vehicles, felony drunk driving, organized criminal activity, and evading and hindering arrest charges in the mix too. 

Randall Hank Root and Kevin Ron Wooten Jr. were indicted for burglary of a habitation. They are alleged on Oct. 2 to have entered another man’s home without his permission to commit theft of two firearms, a pair of boots and a poker set.

Indicted for two separate charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle were Timothy Dale Kelly and Bradley Dean Couffer. Kelly is alleged to have taken another man’s automobile without the owner’s consent on Sept. 15. Couffer is alleged to have taken another man’s motorcycle on Oct. 7 without permission.

Dreda Renee Ford was indicted for hindering apprehension. Ford is accused of intentionally harboring or concealing a man to prevent his arrest, prosecution, conviction or punishment on a violation of probation charge on Oct. 7.

Indicted for felony driving while intoxicated, third or more offense, were Jerrel Donald Oliver and Bryan Keith Burkham. Oliver is alleged to have been driving drunk on Oct. 10; he was  convicted in 2006 and 2008 of offenses relating to he operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, the indictment alleges. Burkham is alleged to have been driving drunk on Oct. 12; he  was twice convicted in 2008 on offenses relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, the indictment alleges.

Patrick Dale Mollenhour was indicted for driving while intoxicated with a passenger younger than 15 years of age in the vehicle with him. The indictment alleges he was driving drunk with his 5-year-old in the vehicle with him on Sept. 18.

Nine individuals were indicted on two charges each, all except one for drug offenses.

Tyrone DaKeith McFarland was indicted for engaging in organized criminal activity and evading activity. McFarland is alleged on Sept. 21 to have collaborated to commit theft of cigarettes from another man’s property, then to have used a vehicle to flee from Sulphur Springs Police Officer Brian Shurtleff, who was attempting to arrest him.

Jimmy Don Smith and Heather Branch Carey were both indicted on two delivery of controlled substance charges each. They are alleged to have twice delivered less than one gram of methamphetamine on July 7 and on July 9.

John David McGee Jr. was also indicted for delivery of less than one gram of meth on July 9; a drug-free zone enhancement was added to his charge because the offense was alleged to have been committed within 1,000 feet of Sulphur Springs Independent School District Administration Building on Connally Street. McGee also was indicted for delivery of less than one gram of meth within 1,000 feet of Hopkins County Alternative Education Program school on Craig Street, a drug-free zone, on July 14.

Also indicted for delivery of a controlled substance on two separate occasions were Kendale Shawn Qualls and Steven Allen Bruce. Qualls is accused of delivering less than one gram of meth on Aug. 8 and delivering one gram or more but less than four grams of meth on Aug. 13; the latter charge includes a deadly weapon enhancement alleging he also used or exhibited a firearm during the commission of the controlled substance delivery. Bruce is alleged to have delivered one gram or more but less than four grams of the controlled substance morphine  on June 22 and on June 24; the latter charge includes a drug-free zone enhancement because the alleged offense is said to have occurred within 1,000 feet of Sulphur Springs Christian Daycare, a private youth center located on Bill Bradford Road.

Misty Leigh Evans and Anastasia Renee Ricker were both indicted for allegedly possessing on Aug. 22 less than one gram of meth and less than 28 grams of clonazepam without a prescription, within 1,000 feet of Sulphur Springs High School, adding a drug-free zone enhancement to both charges.

Also indicted on two possession of controlled substance charges in a drug-free zone was Donald Joseph Ballowe. He is accused on Aug. 3 to have been in possession of four grams or more but less than 20 grams of meth as well as 28 grams or more but less than 200 grams of hydrocodone, within 1,000 feet of Water Oak Elementary, a drug-free zone.

Others indicted on one controlled substance charge each included:

  •  James Arthur Baxley — possession of less than one gram of meth, within 1,000 feet of Sulphur Springs Christian Daycare, a drug-free zone, on Sept. 23;
  •  Timothy John Dillashaw  — possession of less than one gram meth, within 1,000 feet of Bright Star Christian School, a drug-free zone, on Aug. 31;
  •  Lauren Leighann Duckworth — possession with intent to deliver four grams or more but less than 200 grams of meth, within 1,000 feet of Doodblebug Day Care, a drug-free zone, Sept. 3;
  •  Taylor Maxlynn Fletcher — possession with intent to deliver four grams or more but less than 200 grams of meth, Aug. 14;
  •  Jackson Blaze Gilbreath — delivery of one gram or more but less than four grams of meth, within 1,000 feet of Doodlebug Day Care, a drug-free zone, July 21;
  •  Elza Noah Hensley — delivery of less than one gram meth, within 1,000 feet of Doodlebug Day Care, a drug-free zone, July 28;
  •  Christopher Matthew Lawrenz — possession of less than one gram meth, Sept. 22;
  •  Christina Marie Loudenslager — possession of one gram or more but less than four grams of meth, within 1,000 feet of Little Acorn Day Care, a drug-free zone, and to have used or exhibited a firearm, a deadly weapon, during the commission of the offense, Aug. 14
  •  Crystal Paige Lyon — delivery of less than one gram of meth, within 1,000 feet of Sulphur Springs Christian Day Care, a drug-free zone, Sept. 15;
  •  Lucas Eugene Sampson — possession of four grams or more but less than 200 grams of meth, within 1,000 feet of Doodlebug Day Care, a drug-free zone, Sept. 3;
  •  Joe Willard Thompson — possession of one gram or more but less than four grams of meth, within 1,000 feet of Doodlebug Day Care, a drug-free zone, Aug. 2;
  •  William Charles Vanwey — possession of less than one gram meth, Sept. 29; and 
  •  Kalyle Shundre Wright — delivery of one gram or more but less than four grams of meth, within 1,000 feet of Sulphur Springs Elementary, a drug-free zone, Aug. 30.meth on July 9; a drug-free zone enhancement was added to his charge because the offense was alleged to have been committed within 1,000 feet of Sulphur Springs Independent School District Administration Building on Connally Street. McGee also was indicted for delivery of less than one gram of meth within 1,000 feet of Hopkins County Alternative Education Program school on Craig Street, a drug-free zone, on July 14.
  • Also indicted for delivery of a controlled substance on two separate occasions were Kendale Shawn Qualls and Steven Allen Bruce. Qualls is accused of delivering less than one gram of meth on Aug. 8 and delivering one gram or more but less than four grams of meth on Aug. 13; the latter charge includes a deadly weapon enhancement alleging he also used or exhibited a firearm, a deadly weapon, during the commission of the controlled substance delivery. Bruce is alleged to have delivered one gram or more but less than four grams of the controlled substance morphine  on June 22 and on June 24; the latter charge includes a drug-free zone enhancement because the alleged offense is said to have occurred within 1,000 feet of Sulphur Springs Christian Daycare, a private youth center located on Bill Bradford Road.

Misty Leigh Evans and Anastasia Renee Ricker were both indicted for allegedly possessing on Aug. 22 less than one gram of meth and less than 28 grams of clonazepam without a prescription, within 1,000 feet of Sulphur Springs High School, adding a drug-free zone enhancement to both charges.

Also indicted on two possession of controlled substance charges in a drug-free zone was Donald Joseph Ballowe. He is accused on Aug. 3 to have been in possession of four grams or more but less than 20 grams of meth as well as 28 grams or more but less than 200 grams of hydrocodone, within 1,000 feet of Water Oak Elementary, a drug-free zone.

Others indicted on one controlled substance charge each included:

  • James Arthur Baxley — possession of less than one gram of meth, within 1,000 feet of Sulphur Springs Christian Daycare, a drug-free zone, on Sept. 23;
  •  Timothy John Dillashaw  — possession of less than one gram meth, within 1,000 feet of Bright Star Christian School, a drug-free zone, on Aug. 31;
  •  Lauren Leighann Duckworth — possession with intent to deliver four grams or more but less than 200 grams of meth, within 1,000 feet of Doodblebug Day Care, a drug-free zone, Sept. 3;
  •  Taylor Maxlynn Fletcher — possession with intent to deliver four grams or more but less than 200 grams of meth, Aug. 14;
  •  Jackson Blaze Gilbreath — delivery of one gram or more but less than four grams of meth, within 1,000 feet of Doodlebug Day Care, a drug-free zone, July 21;
  •  Elza Noah Hensley — delivery of less than one gram meth, within 1,000 feet of Doodlebug Day Care, a drug-free zone, July 28;
  •  Christopher Matthew Lawrenz — possession of less than one gram meth, Sept. 22;
  •  Christina Marie Loudenslager — possession of one gram or more but less than four grams of meth, within 1,000 feet of Little Acorn Day Care, a drug-free zone, and to have used or exhibited a firearm, a deadly weapon, during the commission of the offense, Aug. 14;
  •  Crystal Paige Lyon — delivery of less than one gram of meth, within 1,000 feet of Sulphur Springs Christian Day Care, a drug-free zone, Sept. 15;
  •  Lucas Eugene Sampson — possession of four grams or more but less than 200 grams of meth, within 1,000 feet of Doodlebug Day Care, a drug-free zone, Sept. 3;
  •  Joe Willard Thompson — possession of one gram or more but less than four grams of meth, within 1,000 feet of Doodlebug Day Care, a drug-free zone, Aug. 2;
  •  William Charles Vanwey — possession of less than one gram meth, Sept. 29; and 
  •  Kalyle Shundre Wright — delivery of one gram or more but less than four grams of meth, within 1,000 feet of Sulphur Springs Elementary, a drug-free zone, Aug. 30.
 
Tuna Christmas Play comes to Sulphur Springs PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jonathan Lance   
Thursday, 20 November 2014 14:35

Main Street Theatre is getting ready to run the Texas-themed play “Tuna Christmas” in the second week of December. The comedic show stars four actors playing more than 20 characters and revolves around the third smallest town in the state, Tuna.   

  “We have already been getting reservation requests, which never happens three or more weeks before a performance,” said Phillip Bickford, director of “Tuna Christmas.” “This is going to be such a fantastic show and it’s hilarious.”  

The plot is about a small town’s Christmas yard display contest and a local theater producing a rendition of “A Christmas Carol.” Everyone in the hamlet knows that the contest has always been won by Vera Carp, but when a mysterious “Christmas phantom” starts vandalizing yard displays, the town is thrown into an uproar. For Main Street Theatre, four actors will play all 20 towns folks as they unravel the who-done-it plot.

“The play was written by Ed Howard, Joe Sears and Jaston Williams and performed by Joe and Jaston.” said Bickford. “We decided on four actors to cut down on all the memorization. We are going to be playing males, females and children — I think it’s going to be a very entertaining experience.”

“Tuna Christmas” was selected by the play committee last year, but they hit some speed bumps along the way. This production almost didn’t happen for the theater. 

“We thought that ‘Tuna Christmas’ was not going to happen because we were having difficulty obtaining the rights to the show,” said Bickford. “We kept calling their representatives and they kept telling us to wait.”

Bickford  was told a professional tour of the original cast was about to begin around the United States. The rights to the production said that another production of “Tuna Christmas” could not be performed within several miles from their tour locations. Until the tour dates were officially released, approval for the show was at a stand still for Main Street Theatre. 

As Bickford kept waiting for approval, the theater starting looking at another show to run for their Christmas season.

“I had already picked out another show and started to plan the audition process,”said Bickford. 

The day before they finalized the the new play, they got word from the “Tuna Christmas” publicist. 

“It was around May when we first contacted ‘Tuna Christmas’ and finally got the approval in September. That is really late in the game for us,” said Bickford.  

The  cast of Hopkins County locals will be David Woody, David Bryant, Bryan Deterding, Landon Mabe and play director Phillip Bickford.

“I get to play four characters in Tuna, which are some of my favorites in the show,” said Bickford. “I am very excited we are getting to perform ‘Tuna Christmas.’” 

“Tuna Christmas” runs Dec. 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 and 20 at 7 p.m. and on Dec. 14 and 21 at 2 p.m. at Main Street Theatre. For tickets, call 903-885-0107 or visit mainsttheatre.com. 

 
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