Category: Infrastructure

February 9th, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

The Board of Aldermen meets Tuesday for two separate sessions, a regular meeting starting at 6 p.m. and a work session covering utility rates starting at 3 p.m.

During Tuesday’s regular meeting, here are some of the more interesting agenda items:

10. Presentation on NC Global TransPark Authority.

Allen Thomas, Director of the North Carolina Global TransPark (“GTP”), was scheduled to make a presentation before the Board last July, but cancelled due to illness. He has rescheduled that presentation for this meeting.

11. Presentation by Craven County Board of Elections.

Melani Wray, Director of the Craven County Board of Elections, will make a presentation that covers a cost analysis of the City’s election process. She will also discuss the advantages of changing from a nonpartisan election/runoff method to a nonpartisan plurality election.

12. Presentation on Downtown Parking Update.

(Ward 1) Billy Faulkenberry and Lynn Harakal, Executive Director of Swiss Bear, will update the Board on the downtown parking enforcement.

15. Presentation on Ban-the-Box.

Whitley Carpenter, Staff Attorney with The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, will be joined by Corey Purdie and Angaza Laughinghouse to make a presentation on the Ban-the-Box movement.

Ban the Box is the name of an international campaign by civil rights groups and advocates for ex-offenders, aimed at persuading employers to remove from their hiring applications the check box that asks if applicants have a criminal record.

18. Consider Adopting a Resolution Approving a License/Use Agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

(Ward 5) The Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) has requested to lease office space at the old Water Resources building located at 2825 Neuse Boulevard. The proposed agreement provides for their use of the building through June 30, 2019 at no cost. FEMA will be using the office space to serve the citizens of New Bern and surrounding areas following the devastation from Hurricane Florence. 

Here is the full agenda:

CITY OF NEW BERN, 300 Pollock Street, P.O. Box 1129 New Bern, NC 28563-1129 . (252) 636-4000

Dana E. Outlaw Mayor

Mark A. Stephens City Manager

Memo to: Mayor and Board of Aldermen From: Mark A. Stephens, City Manager Date: February 8, 2019

Re: February 12, 2019 Agenda Explanations

1. Meeting  opened  by Mayor  Dana E. Outlaw. Prayer Coordinated by Mayor Outlaw. Pledge of Allegiance.

2. Roll Call.

3. Request and Petition of Citizens.

This section of the Agenda is titled Requests and Petitions of Citizens. This is an opportunity for public comment, and we thank you for coming to the Board of Aldermen meeting tonight to share your views. We value all citizen input.

Speaker comments are limited to a maximum of 4 minutes during the public comment period. At the conclusion of 4 minutes, each speaker shall leave the podium. Comments will be directed to the full board, not to an individual board member or staff member. Although the board is interested in hearing your comments, speakers should not expect any comments, action or deliberation from the board on any issue raised during the public comment period.

In the board’s discretion, it may refer issues to the appropriate city officials or staff for further investigation. If an organized group is present to speak on a common issue, please designate one person to present the group’s comment, which shall be limited to a maximum of 4 minutes.

Consent Agenda

4. Consider Adopting a Resolution to Close Specific Streets for the Neuse River Bridge Run.

(Ward 1) The Neuse River Bridge Run is slated for March 23, 2019. Accordingly, John Serumgard, Race Director, the event, has requested the 200 block of East Front Street be closed from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the 200 block of South Front Street be closed from 5 a.m. until 1 p.m. The organizers also plan to hold a “Super Kids Run” on March 22, 2019 from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Union Point Park, and the Director of Parks and Recreation has authorized the closure of the park streets during this time. A memo from Foster Hughes, Director of Parks and Recreation, is attached.

5. Consider Adopting a Resolution to Close Specific Streets for the Great Glow Run.

(Ward 1) Kathy Lewis, Officer Manager for Easter Seals UCP, has requested specific streets be closed on April 13, 2019 from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. for the annual Great Glow Run. The streets to be closed are the 200-700 blocks of East Front Street, a portion of the 800 block of North Craven Street, 700-800 blocks of Howard Street, 100-600 blocks of Queen Street, and 600-800 blocks of George Street. This Easter Seals fundraiser also promotes awareness. A memo from Mr. Hughes is attached.

6. Consider Adopting a Revised Resolution to Close Specific Streets for the Black History Month Parade.

(Ward 1) After receiving a request from Victor Taylor with Vision Forward, the Board adopted a resolution on January 22, 2019 to close specific streets on February 16, 2019 for the annual Black history Month Parade. That resolution failed to include approval of the requested rain date of February 23, 2019. The resolution has been revised to include this date, and all other information remains the same with respect to the affected streets. A memo from Mr. Hughes is attached along with copies of the application, a map of the parade route, and the resolution approved in January.

7. Consider Adopting a Resolution to Portions of Spencer Avenue for the Ghent Neighborhood Mardi Gras Parade.

(Ward 1) Michael Genest, President of the Ghent Neighborhood Association, has requested the 1400-2000 blocks of Spencer Avenue be closed to vehicular traffic on March 2, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. for the association’s annual Mardi Gras Parade and block party. A memo from Mr. Hughes, a copy of the application and a parade map are included in the backup documentation.

8. Approve Minutes.

Minutes from the January 15, 2019 special meeting, January 22, 2019 regular

meeting, January 26, 2019 special meeting, and January 26, 2019 annual retreat are provided for review and approval.

______

9. Presentation of Longevity Certificates.

Employment service is recognized at five-year increments. A roster is enclosed of all employees who are eligible to receive a service certificate for the period of July­ December 2018. Some of these employees will be present at the meeting, and certificates will be on hand for the Mayor to present. Sharon Koprowski, Assistant Director of Human Resources, will be available to assist with the presentation. The Board is asked to extend a handshake of appreciation to the employees.

10. Presentation on NC Global TransPark Authority.

Allen Thomas, Director of the North Carolina Global TransPark (“GTP”), was scheduled to make a presentation before the Board last July, but cancelled due to illness. He has rescheduled that presentation for this meeting.

11. Presentation by Craven County Board of Elections.

Melani Wray, Director of the Craven County Board of Elections, will make a presentation that covers a cost analysis of the City’s election process. She will also discuss the advantages of changing from a nonpartisan election/runoff method to a nonpartisan plurality election.

12. Presentation on Downtown Parking Update.

(Ward 1) Billy Faulkenberry and Lynn Harakal, Executive Director of Swiss Bear, will update the Board on the downtown parking enforcement.

13. Presentation on African American Heritage & Cultural Center of New Bern Project.

(Ward 1) Carol Becton, a representative with the African American Heritage & Cultural Center, will make a presentation on the center’s vision, as well as its plans to celebrate Juneteenth in 2019.

14. Presentation on Reliable Public Power.

Charles Bauschard, Director of Public Utilities, will make a presentation regarding the City’s application for the American Public Power Association’s designation as a Reliable Public Power Provider (“RP3”).

15. Presentation on Ban-the-Box.

Whitley Carpenter, Staff Attorney with The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, will be joined by Corey Purdie and Angaza Laughinghouse to make a presentation on the Ban-the-Box movement.

16. Consider Adopting a Resolution Approving a Human Resources Policy.

As a follow-up to the previous presentation, a Resolution approving a Human Resources Policy is proposed.

17. Receive Public Comment and Consider Adopting a Resolution Naming a Currently Unnamed Street as Sheryl Drive.

(Ward 4) In the area of Glenburnie Road, an unnamed street connects Elizabeth Avenue and Amhurst Boulevard. In 2013 and 2015, a proposed development named Quail Forest was reviewed and the right-of-way for this roadway dedicated, but not officially named. The proposed name, Sheryl Drive, was reviewed and approved by E911. Staff has met with adjacent property owners regarding the name proposal. It is requested the Board receive public comments on this naming and then consider adopting a resolution to establish the name.

18. Consider Adopting a Resolution Approving a License/Use Agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

(Ward 5) The Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) has requested to lease office space at the old Water Resources building located at 2825 Neuse Boulevard. The proposed agreement provides for their use of the building through June 30, 2019 at no cost. FEMA will be using the office space to serve the citizens of New Bern and surrounding areas following the devastation from Hurricane Florence.

19. Consider Adopting a Resolution to Accept a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure of Tax Lien.

(Ward 1) Craven County pursued foreclosure on 209 Lawson Street for delinquent ad valorem taxes owed to the County. At the time of the foreclosure, there were also delinquent taxes owed to the City. A commissioner’s deed was recorded on August 18, 2018 conveying the property to the County, which resulted in the City’s tax liens remaining intact. In order to avoid foreclosure by the City to collect those taxes, the County proposes a deed to convey the property to the City and County jointly, with the deed specifying the amount of both the County and City’s taxes, interest, liens, fees and costs as of August 18, 2018. The resolution authorizes the recording of the proposed deed and accepts the same in lieu of foreclosure of the City’s tax lien.

20. Consider Adopting a Resolution Authorizing the Installation of Additional Street Lights.

(Ward 5) Time McKean of 2800 Millinder Lane has requested additional street lighting at the intersection of South Glenburnie Road and Millinder Lane. The Department of Public Utilities evaluated the area and determined the current lighting does not meet the City’s light standard. The installation of one street light will cost approximately $574.96, and the monthly utility charge for service will be $8.44. A memo from Charles Bauschard, Director of Public Utilities, is attached along with other supporting documentation.

21. Appointment(s).

  1. Raymond Layton’s second term on the Planning and Zoning Board has expired, and he is ineligible for reappointment. Alderman Kinsey is requested to make a new appointment to fill this vacancy. The new appointee shall serve a three­ year term.
  2. Sonny Aluzzo’s first term on the Planning and Zoning Board has expired, and he is eligible for reappointment. Alderman Aster is asked to consider reappointing Mr. Aluzzo or make a new appointment for a three-year term.
  3. Jerry Walker’s first term on the Planning and Zoning Board has expired, and he is eligible for reappointment. Alderman Bengel is asked to consider reappointing Mr. Walker or make a new appointment for a three-year term.
  4. Carol Williams’ second term on the Planning and Zoning Board has expired, and she is ineligible for reappointment. Alderwoman Harris is requested to make a new appointment to fill this vacancy. The new appointee shall serve a three­ year term.
  5. Joseph Anderson has resigned from the Historic Preservation Commission. Alderman Bengel is asked to make an appointment to fill the remainder of Mr. Anderson’s term, which expires on June 13, 2019.
  6. Rose Williams’ appointment on the New Bern Appearance Commission expired February 8, 2019. She is eligible for reappointment, or a new appointment can be made to allow others an opportunity to serve. The appointee will serve a three-year term. The ordinance provides appointees shall be residents of the City’s planning and zoning jurisdiction and shall, when possible, have had special training or experience in a design field such as architecture, landscape design, horticulture, city planning, or a closely-related field.
  7. Mattie Tatum’s appointment on the New Bern Appearance Commission will expire February 22, 2019. She is eligible for reappointment, or a new appointment can be made to allow others an opportunity to serve. The appointee will serve a three-year term. The ordinance provides appointees shall be residents of the City’s planning and zoning jurisdiction and shall, when possible, have had special training or experience in a design field such as architecture, landscape design, horticulture, city planning, or a closely-related field.

22. Attorney’s Report.

23. City Manager’s Report. 

24. New Business.

25. Closed Session.

26. Adjourn.

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Downtown New Bern, Economy, Economy and Employment, Elections, FEMA, Infrastructure, Mayor, New Bern, New Bern business and commerce, Planning and Zoning

December 19th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Update: According to Alderman Sabrina Bengel, “Getting ready to come hot with the repaired line but we may still have to work through some issues as a result of this outage.

“Main reason is it is cold … because of that people’s water heaters and heat strips tend to kick on once power is restored so we have to slowly energize feeders.

“Thank you for your patience.

“Also please note that there was a rumor on facebook that the power outage was due to a substation exploding and would be days to repair… this is NOT TRUE.

“Thankful for our City workers out there.”

Update: City efforts to reroute power form another substation have failed.

“When our crews added lines and customers’ power came back on, the power draw was too much and breakers began flipping,” the city said on its Facebook page. “We are removing those rerouted lines and are working to restore power where we can.”

Update: Officials are saying it may be 9 p.m. before power is restored. The New Bern Police Department is urging drivers to stay home. Once it gets dark, it is difficult for drivers to see police directing traffic at intersections.

If you need to run your car to recharge your mobile device, and if you are doing so by letting your vehicle idle at home, make sure it is not inside a closed garage to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

PREVIOUSLY

An issue with Duke Energy is causing a power outage affecting more than 17,000 households in the New Bern area on Wednesday afternoon, with restoration expected in a couple of hours.

Duke Energy’s outage map online is showing just a handful of customers without power, but the city’s outage map is showing 17,633 customers without power as of 3:18 p.m.

WITN reported that Duke Energy had a vegetation crew they hired doing work along a transmission line when it was damaged.

Power went out between 2 and 2:20 p.m. Wednesday, and at about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the city acknowledged the problem on its Facebook wall.

“We are aware of it and are working to identify the issue,” the city said. “Estimated restoration is 2-4 hours.”

Almost an hour later, the city updated its posting.

“We have just confirmed this is a Duke Energy issue. The city purchases power from Duke and there. Are transmission issues within that service. Estimated outage is still 2-4 hours at this point.”

A short time later, the city posted this: “We are told Duke has deployed resources to repair and restore services as soon as possible.”

The outage did not occur all at once, but instead spread throughout the city in stages.

Law enforcement rushed to important intersections to direct traffic, while at other intersections, motorists were left to remember their Driver Training lessons, some more successfully than others.

Craven County Schools sent out a telephone alert notifying parents that their children may be home later than usual due to traffic issues caused by the outage.

Area agencies and businesses shut down early, including Craven County Government and the Twin Rivers YMCA.

Shortly after 4 p.m., City Manager Mark Stephens issued this statement: “The city is looking at options to potentially reroute. Some power supply to bring some customers back into service, but this will also take some time to complete.”

This would not be 100 percent restoration, but could support some city customers, the statement said. Using that measure, the city was able to restore power to the James City area.

CarolinaEast Medical Center switched to its generators as soon as the power went out and was fully operational, the hospital said on its Twitter feed.

Posted in Duke Energy, Infrastructure, New Bern, Utilities

December 1st, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

A power outage in New Bern affected more than 1,700 customers.

The city’s outage map acknowledged the problem but none of the city’s online or social media outlets explained the cause or said when power would be restored.

Affected areas are shown in red on the map.

Power was restored to all but five customers by 5:30 a.m.

Posted in Infrastructure, New Bern, Utilities

November 7th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

The City of New Bern will resume certain utility fees that were suspended during hurricane Florence.

Due to the storm’s widespread impact across our area, the Board of Aldermen unanimously agreed in September to temporarily suspend late fees, delinquencies and shutoffs for nonpayment.  The Board also agreed to waive new deposits for current customers until mid-November.  These actions effectively extended the due date of unpaid bills until such time that the City could recover from the hurricane.

All past due amounts must be brought current by close of business on Friday, Dec. 7.  If customers are unable to get caught up or current, they are encouraged to visit the Utility Business Office (UBO) at 606 Fort Totten Drive and speak to a customer service representative about a special storm payment arrangement.

The UBO is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  No appointment is necessary.  However, appointments are encouraged to reduce customer wait time.

These special storm payment arrangements will not count toward the four payment arrangements allowed each fiscal year under the City’s current business practices, but customers must remain current once the arrangement is made.

If the special storm payment arrangement is broken, the past due account balance must be paid in full.  Attached is a document reflecting our business practices in regards to deposits and payment arrangements.

Late fees, delinquent fees and shutoffs for nonpayment will resume after Dec. 7.  Deposit requirements will resume after Nov. 15.  Deposits caused by late and delinquent actions will resume after Dec. 7.

The reinstatement of fees comes more than 80 days after hurricane Florence ravaged New Bern and eastern North Carolina.

“The Board of Aldermen and management staff have carefully considered this resumption of fees after the storm,” said Mark Stephens, City Manager. “We remain sympathetic to the hardships faced by our residents and are implementing special storm payment arrangements to ease the burden on our customers.  We appreciate the community’s understanding during this recovery process.”

Utility staff are prepared to answer questions and assist customers with payment arrangements. As a reminder, customers have several options for paying City of New Bern utility bills: online at www.newbernnc.gov, at the Utility Business Office, and at Walmart stores in this area.

Posted in Board of Aldermen, Community issues, Hurricane, Infrastructure, New Bern, Utilities

October 9th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Approved counties: Currently nine North Carolina counties are approved for Direct Housing: Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Duplin, Jones, Onslow, Pender and Robeson.

FEMA understands that rental resources and housing are limited in some areas. FEMA is working closely with the State of North Carolina to implement a targeted strategy to provide other forms of temporary housing to best meet the needs of displaced survivors.

FEMA has been participating in the state-led housing task force since Hurricane Florence first made landfall in North Carolina.

The state and FEMA are implementing a multi-pronged approach to temporarily house displaced survivors. Solutions are tailored to the individual needs and situations of survivors based on how quickly their homes can be repaired to a safe, sanitary, secure condition and the availability of housing options in their communities.

Based upon the needs identified by the State of North Carolina, FEMA is providing two forms of Direct Temporary Housing Assistance. The following Transportable Temporary Housing Units are available:

  • Recreation Vehicles (RVs) provide a timely, effective interim solution for most households with a high degree of confidence that repairs can be completed in less than a year, ideally within six months.
  • Manufactured Housing Units (MHUs) provide a longer-term solution for survivors whose repairs will take longer to complete due to higher degree of damage.

FEMA contacts households who potentially qualify for an RV or MHU through the Pre-Placement Interview process to determine whether they need Direct Housing and, if so, what type of housing they require based on the size and needs of the household, including any people with disabilities or other access or functional needs.

FEMA will identify households that may be able to have an RV or MHU placed on their property or in a commercial park.

Direct housing solutions FEMA implements are temporary in nature and are not permanent dwellings.

During a housing mission, federal contractors are managed and monitored by FEMA inspectors. Contractors must adhere to all applicable laws, codes and requirements.

Continuous coordination among FEMA, the state, counties and municipalities regarding the installation of transportable temporary housing units is a vital part of this mission.

The state and FEMA are coordinating with municipalities and counties regarding the requirements of local ordinances, zoning, transportation requirements, occupancy inspections, setbacks and more.

The state and FEMA are also coordinating the temporary housing effort with floodplain managers, environmental regulators, historic preservation officers, utility providers and other authorities identified by the state or municipalities.

The State of North Carolina and FEMA will be implementing additional programs in the coming days and weeks.

Survivors displaced from their homes due to Hurricane Florence must first apply for disaster assistance to be considered for FEMA programs such as Transitional Sheltering Assistance, financial rental assistance, grants for repairs to make their homes safe, sanitary and secure, and other forms of assistance.

Survivors can apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621- 3362 (voice, 711 or VRS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY). In-person American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters are available by request by calling or texting 202-655-8824. (If possible, please allow 24 hours to schedule an interpreter).

Posted in FEMA, Housing, Hurricane, Infrastructure, New Bern

October 8th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

LONGLEAF POLITICS | Hurricane Matthew struck eastern North Carolina on Oct. 9, 2016.

A full 18 months later, some of the first federally funded repairs are slated to begin this June.

Hurricane Matthew has re-emerged as a political issue in Raleigh as thousands of people in eastern North Carolina await public money to rebuild.

The storm was one of the most devastating in North Carolina’s history, killing 31 people and caused more than $4.8 billion in damage. Matthew set rainfall records in 17 counties, and 2,300 people were rescued from floodwaters.

Why is recovery taking so long?

It mostly has to do with the processes set up to distribute the roughly $1.7 billion in recovery aid expected from the federal and state government.

While the initial response from the N.C. National Guard and FEMA came quickly, North Carolina has been in no hurry to distribute money intended for longer-term recovery.

And as it turns out, there’s a huge difference between money that’s been approved — and money that’s actually been used.

The breakdown of funding sources is an alphabet soup of agencies, each with its own policies and mechanisms and hoops to jump through. State governments have incentives to get roads repaired quickly. Homes, not so much.

Here’s a quick explanation of how disaster recovery works. It’s ordered by how quickly money has been distributed.

More

Posted in Economy, Economy and Employment, Environment, FEMA, Health, Housing, Hurricane, Infrastructure, Longleaf Politics, State news, State politics, Weather

October 8th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Analysis by the Environmental Finance Center compares water and sewer revenues with operation and maintenance costs. Gray dots show municipal systems that have enough revenue to cover expenses. Peach-colored pentagons show show those with enough revenues to cover their combined expenses and debts. The bright red squares represent those without enough revenue to cover regular operating and maintenance expenses. Almost a quarter of systems across the state fall in those categories coming up short. Thanks, in part, to Florence and Matthew, many of those are clustered in the east.

CAROLINA PUBLIC PRESS
Taking stock of what it will take to rebuild after Hurricane Florence, it’s important to remember that even before this year’s hurricane season started, the finances of dozens of water and sewer systems throughout North Carolina were already underwater.

Some were damaged in prior storms. Many more across the state are caught in a long-term downward spiral of declining jobs and population.

As policymakers begin to shape the state’s rebuilding program in response to Hurricane Florence, they must deal with the already distressed systems and those damaged in the most recent storm. They must also come up with a long-term solution to a chronic statewide maintenance backlog.

These will be the key steps toward building resiliency, especially in the hard-hit eastern region of the state.

At a recent General Assembly committee meeting in Raleigh, Edgar Starnes, legislative liaison for the N.C. Department of State Treasurer, said 37 water and sewer systems in Florence disaster areas are going to need significant help dealing with the damage.

“The repairs they’re going to face are going to be very expensive,” he told members of a joint House and Senate committee studying water and sewer systems in a post-storm assessment held in late September. “They’re in a lot of trouble because of the flood right now.”

The damage to those systems and the floods that followed resulted in tens of millions of gallons of wastewater and sewage spills.

Some of the systems were the same as those damaged in 2016, when Hurricane Matthew roared through many of the same communities.

More

Posted in Carolina Public Press, Environment, Hurricane, Infrastructure, State news, State politics, Water, Weather

May 18th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

 

On Tuesday, May 22 at 9 a.m., the City and its grant partners will celebrate the completion of two projects that enhance bicycle and pedestrian access along two of New Bern’s busiest corridors.  The event will be held at H.J. MacDonald Middle School located at 3127 Elizabeth Avenue.

Thanks to two grants provided by the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the city has completed a multi-use path along the Glenburnie Road corridor and installed new sidewalks along Neuse Boulevard.  Both projects provide greater access and improved bicycle and pedestrian safety with several connections to surrounding communities and businesses.  The grants were awarded in 2014 and provided the City with up to $1.04 million in construction cost reimbursement.

The Glenburnie Road corridor project provides a 10-foot wide multi-use path on the east and west sides of the road, stretching from Elizabeth Avenue to Neuse Boulevard.  Construction included the installation of crosswalk signaling at Elizabeth Avenue and Glenburnie Road.

Along Neuse Boulevard, phase two of a sidewalk improvement project makes it easier to get to the hospital, medical offices, and restaurants and businesses. Sidewalks were installed on the north side of this busy corridor from Hospital Drive to Glenburnie Road.

Construction for both of the projects began in early 2016. All grading and concrete work was completed in March of 2017 and pedestrian signals were added to several key intersections in March of 2018. With the completion of these two projects, New Bern now has a 5.75 mile contiguous pedestrian access that runs from the western end of Elizabeth Avenue to Union Point Park.

Tuesday’s celebration will include comments by Diane Hampton, NCDOT Division Corridor Engineer, City and school officials, and participation by H.J. MacDonald Middle School students who will celebrate by walking to the Glenburnie Road intersection and using the new crosswalk signaling to cross the street.  The ceremony will last approximately 30 minutes.

Posted in Infrastructure

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