GildaKeynotespeakerOn Wednesday, December 9, the League of Women Voters of Greater Red Bank will present an interactive discussion about race relations in America today, with special guest panelist Gilda Rogers (pictured), co-founder of Citizens for a Free and Open Diverse Society. Scheduled for 7 pm at the Monmouth County Library on Route 35 in Shrewsbury, the all-welcome panel looks at racially based discrepancies on how the media describes events, and examines how our feelings, experiences and unconscious reactions affect how we relate to others. Contact or call (732)895-3866 for additional information.


Press release from The Community YMCA

Wm O GeorgeAt its upcoming Y Cares Annual Benefit, the Shrewsbury-based Community YMCA will honor the Middletown Township School District and its Superintendent of Schools, William O. George III, Ed.D, for their commitment to youth development.

During the event, hosted on Saturday, September 26 at the CYMCA’s Camp Arrowhead facility in Marlboro, the school district will be presented the Community Partner Award, while Dr. George (pictured) will be acknowledged with the Distinguished Citizen Service Award.

The Y Cares Benefit will begin at 5:30 pm with cocktails in the Carr Pavilion featuring music by Carl Gentry, a graduate of Middletown schools. Dinner by Merri-makers Caterers will follow, along with dancing to the music of Tim McLoone and The Shirleys. The evening will include silent and live auctions, in addition to a 50/50 cash raffle.

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2015_Library_Commission_w_Tolchin_&_Burry_AugustIn a meeting at the Monmouth County Library’s Eastern Branch in Shrewsbury, Judith Tolchin (third from left in front row) was named director of the library system by the members of the County Library Commission.

Press release from Monmouth County Library System

Judith Tolchin, Acting Director of the Monmouth County Library system since January, 2014 was appointed Library Director at the recent meeting of the County Library Commission, held at the Eastern Branch location in Shrewsbury.

Tolchin, who has been with the library system for 23 years, immediately outlined a vision and her plan of action and expectation for the coming years through a Powerpoint presentation, covering everything from the need and desire for facilities improvements to the headquarters in Manalapan, to grants, corporate sponsorships and other means to raise funds to supplement county taxes that finance the library system’s 13 branches and 14 member libraries.

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CYMCAPress release from The Community YMCA

On the evening of Saturday, September 26, The Community YMCA will be hosting its Y Cares Annual Benefit, an event dedicated to the Y’s ongoing community programs and initiatives at its Monmouth County facilities, including the Family Health and Wellness Center in Red Bank.

Board members Bryan Kuderna and Remsen Straub (pictured left to right, with CYMCA President and CEO Rhonda Anderson) have been named co-committee chairmen for the event, a fundraiser for the Y Cares financial assistance program for kids and families in need of free and reduced program and membership fees, as well as community initiatives such as water safety programs for at-risk youth.

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Press release from The Community YMCA

At its 141st annual meeting, held Wednesday, June 17 at Rumson Country Club, The Community YMCA Board of Directors elected Joseph Oriolo chairman and chief volunteer officer. Oriolo replaces Patricia Whittemore, who led the board for two years.

The Shrewsbury resident has been a member of the Y board since 2008, and most recently served as vice chairperson. He also served as chairman of the Y’s Governance Committee.

“We are grateful for Patty’s leadership and we are pleased to welcome Joe as chairman and chief volunteer officer,” said President and CEO Rhonda Anderson. “He will continue to lead us forward to help increase our visibility as a cause-driven organization that strengthens the lives of over 20,000 people we serve in Monmouth County and beyond.”

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shrews historicClockwise from top left: the Shrewsbury Borough landmarks of the Friends Meeting House, Allen House, Old Christ Church and  First Presbyterian Church are among the historic sites on the Weekend in Old Monmouth Tour.

If it’s the first Saturday and Sunday in May, this must be the Weekend in Old Monmouth — and if you’re sufficiently curious about the rich history of the place where you live, there’s never been a better time to take a closer look at the area’s many historic places, some of which you’ve surely passed by countless times on your way to someplace a bit less charming.

A series of free, self-guided tours of some 45 homes, meeting halls and houses of worship in Monmouth County, the eighth annual event (brought to you by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Monmouth County Historical Commission) runs four color-coded tour routes on Saturday (10 am – 5 pm) and Sunday 3 (12 – 5 pm) — with all stops on the tour synching up their visitation hours, and waiving any admission fees for the duration of the weekend.

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rhonda andewrsonPress release from The Community YMCA

Rhonda Anderson, President and CEO of The Community YMCA, has been honored with the Professional Achievement Award by the Central Jersey Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc.

The award was presented on April 25, during the club’s 51st Annual Founders’ Day Luncheon at the Sheraton in Eatontown.

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winners-croppedPress release from the Shrewsbury Towne-Monmouth Chapter, D.A.R.

The Shrewsbury Towne-Monmouth Chapter, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution has announced the winners of its 2015 essay contest, part of a nationwide initiative in which DAR invites students of local public, private, parochial schools and registered home study programs (grades five through eight) to compose an essay on an assigned theme.

The local chapter has been participating in this national essay contest for over 25 years, with 15 area schools contributing 705 essay entries to this year’s contest. For 2015 — a year that marks the 125th anniversary of Ellis Island as an immigration station — student essayists were asked to “Imagine yourself as a child traveling through Ellis Island in 1892. How would you describe your experience to your cousin who had never heard of Ellis Island?”

Every student who entered an essay will receive a certificate of participation from the local chapter. The names of the winners from the Shrewsbury Towne-Monmouth Chapter, all of whom receive certificates and monetary awards, follow after the break.

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CircusSummerThe Kennedy Mystique: the egg-tempera CIRCUS SUMMER by Eileen Kennedy is among the items included in DREAMSCAPES AND SHAPED DREAMS — an exhibit of works by the painter and her cousin Lynne Kennedy, going up on the walls of the Oyster Point Hotel.

The river breezes may still be blowing more bitter than sweet, but as sure a sign of Spring — surer even than Punxsatawney prognosticators, or pudgy pitchers — is the sudden proliferation of art exhibitions in our area’s galleries, grand lodgings, and even greenhouses. It’s an explosion of color that begins, appropriately enough, amid the plant life of Sickles Market in Little Silver this weekend — and it continues, in the days and evenings to come, in places both safe and surprising.

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First_lap--Survivors_and_CaregiversCancer survivors and caregivers walk the first lap of last year’s Relay for Life of the Two Rivers fundraiser, the 2015 edition of which returns to Red Bank Regional this May.

Each year, people from Red Bank, Shrewsbury, Little Silver, Fair Haven, Rumson, Oceanport, Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach take part in The Relay for Life of the Two Rivers — a fun-filled overnight event designed to celebrate survivorship and raise money for research and programs for the American Cancer Society.

The locally based arm of the international Relay For Life effort is seeking community volunteers to help organize and plan its signature event, scheduled to take place in May at Red Bank Regional High School in Little Silver.  All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society to aid the fight against cancer.

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Louise Knight John GrimkeAuthor Louise W. Knight joins a panel of fellow historians at Shrewsbury’s Christ Church on Tuesday morning,  for an investigation into the somewhat curious burial of Revolutionary War figure John F. Grimké.

It could have been the biggest mystery since the storied disappearance of Judge Crater – were it not for the fact that we already know the answer to the question “Where is Judge Grimké?” In fact, the biggest question surrounding the resting place of John Faucheraud Grimké (1752-1819) isn’t where he’s buried (spoiler alert: it’s Shrewsbury’s Christ Church Episcopal) — but why this Revolutionary War hero and prominent figure in South Carolina history wound up interred here on the greater Red Bank green.

This coming Tuesday, January 6, Christ Church Parish Historian Robert M. Kelly Jr. welcomes a pair of visitors to the 18th century meeting house at the borough’s Four Corners historic district — author Louise W. Knight, and Monmouth University professor (plus “graveyard expert”) Richard Veit. Together, they’ll be teaming up (and welcoming interested members of the public in the process) to delve into the circumstances that brought the prominent member of South Carolina society (and onetime mayor of Charleston, SC) to his final resting place in Monmouth County — an investigation that begins with an outdoor search for the judge’s gravestone, beginning at 11 am.

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Christ ChurchPress release from Christ Episcopal Church

The historic Christ Episcopal Church in Shrewsbury has been awarded two Sandy Disaster Relief Grants. These grants are to fund the preservation, stabilization, rehabilitation, and repair of historic properties damaged by the storm. The full list of 37 such awards was announced recently by the Christie administration.

For Christ Church, one grant is for the church building and surrounding graveyard while the other is for the Rectory. Christ Church was founded in 1702 and the church building was erected in 1769. The oldest gravestone in the graveyard is 1719. The church building, situated at the corner of Broad and Sycamore in Shrewsbury, is on the Federal and State Registers of Historic Places. Built in 1824, the Rectory is on Sycamore Avenue about one quarter mile from the church, and is in the Four Corners Historic district. The Rectory was built in 1824.

The award figure for the church is $150,650; the Rectory amount is $122,930. These awards will enable the parish to repair these structures, and to ensure their greater resilience against future such storms. The applications for the grant were greatly aided by Margaret Westfield of Westfield Associates.

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MCC ChrisMillerAbove: Dr. Ryan Brandau leads the assembled voices of the Monmouth Civic Chorus in the annual Christmas program at the Count Basie Theatre…while the New Jersey Chamber Singers (right) visit Red Bank’s United Methodist Church in one of several choral concerts around the greater Green this weekend. (Top photo by Chris Miller)

NJCSIt’s been said that it just wouldn’t be the Yuletide season in Red Bank without the yearly performance of Handel’s Messiah by the assembled voices of The Monmouth Civic Chorus — and while true, it’s hardly the only occasion for Hallelujahs from fans of choral music this weekend. The fact is, Saturday and Sunday offer not one but four separate choir concerts in and around Red Bank, each a labor of love from the area’s most dedicated vocal artists.

It begins on Saturday evening, December 6, with the annual showcase of Holiday Favorites by Shrewsbury Chorale, in the beautiful setting of St. George’s by the River Episcopal Church (7 Lincoln Avenue in Rumson). It’s a selection of seasonal signatures from the venerable vocal organization, now in its 58th season and directed by Maestro Anthony La Gruth. Tickets, available at the door, are priced at $25 for adults; $20 for seniors and students; $10 for children under 12. For more information, or to reserve discounted advance tickets, call (732)513-8413 — and read on for more.

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Bazaar_basketsSilent auction gift baskets await inspection during the recent Holiday Bazaar at Christ Church in Shrewsbury. For those who missed it, there are many more craft shows, artisan fairs and gift boutiques going on around the greater Green this weekend.

There’s an open-house glimpse into the wondrous workshop of a leading Red Bank artist. Unique handcrafted gifts, unexpectedly encountered at a pair of county parks in Middletown. Floral arrangements in Shrewsbury; fine art pieces by the area’s best-known creatives in Little Silver. All around the villages and hamlets of the greater Red Bank Green, a dedicated core of neighbors seeks to combat the seasonal brainfreeze of “shopper’s block;” seeding inspiration for gift-givers who want to think outside the big-box store for the special ones on their list — and it’s all happening this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Just weeks after hosting her annual Art Show and Sale at Mudslingers Pottery, master potter Lauren Bellero takes part in a special Holiday Open House event this Friday, December 5. Between the hours of 3 to 9 pm, shoppers on a quest for something truly unique can visit 12 Oak Street in Lincroft to select from a display of the artist’s award winning pit-fired decorative creations (candle holders, vases, bowls and more) and glazed cookware — or visit the Mudslingers website to make an appointment.

Open for business at picturesque Poricy Park this weekend, the Nature Conservancy’s Holiday and Craft Shop offers up an array of locally sourced wood, pottery, crochet, fine art and home decor items, available for purchase between the hours of 11 am to 4 pm on December 5, 6 and 7. They’ll be doing it all again next weekend too, with shop hours on December 12, 13 and 14 — but there’s much more to see this weekend, with details around the bend.

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TubaXmasAbove, Tuba Christmas toots exclusively at Middletown Arts Center on  the evening of December 7 — while below, Santa (seen in a past appearance at Red Bank’s West Side Tree Lighting ceremony) will be making the scene all over the Green in weeks to come.

Santa LindnerThe first official sightings are expected to start filtering in tonight, when the Santa Express rolls out of station stop Little Silver on its way to Red Bank — but even if you miss Santa and Mrs. Claus at the annual Holiday Express Concert and Town Lighting ceremony, there are numerous other opportunities for an audience with The Big Red One in and around the greater Green, beginning as early as Saturday afternoon, November 29.

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cymcaCommunity YMCA Counseling and Social Services team members Danielle Bossert, Christina DeAngelis and Heather Soto with wrapped presents for the Adopt-A-Family Program in 2013.

Press release from The Community YMCA

Needy families in Monmouth County will be able to have an enjoyable holiday, through a pair of seasonal programs coordinated by The Community YMCA —  Adopt-a-Family, and Giving Tree.

Local residents and businesses are invited to join the CYMCA’s Shrewsbury team in making the holidays brighter, by donating toys, books, clothes and other gifts for area families. The families are served through the Y’s Counseling and Social Services branch, which provides support services and counseling to children and families who are victims of abuse, neglect, in the foster care system or have special needs.

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kim_levin_photoImages of Alaska — and of the people and dogs who call it home — are on display at a reception for Little Silver lenswoman Kim Levin.

Animal lovers and book lovers from the greater Red Bank Green may already know Kim Levin as the Little Silver-based picture-book creator and self-styled “phoDOGrapher” whose many publication credits include Cattitude and Why We Love Dogs — and whose images have appeared worldwide on everything from calendars to cocktail napkins; in People magazine and Modern Dog; and on her own line of Molly & Fig greeting cards and gift items.

Back in June, the pet portraitist had the chance to indulge another passion, and spent her summer vacation traveling through Alaska, Vancouver and the Yukon. What she brought back were some stunning images of the Alaskan landscape, its people, and their state treasure: the iconic Huskies that run the 1,049-mile Iditarod race each winter.

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Press release from the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County

On Saturday, November 15, the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County will host its annual Fall Celebracíon, at the Raven and the Peach in Fair Haven.

Centered around the theme Viva La Vida — translated as Celebrate Life — the event will offer a Spanish themed menu with tapas and stations, Sangria, open bar, silent auction, and entertainment by The Haven. Proceeds from the event will support Shrewsbury-based MHA’s free programs and services that are available to all families in Monmouth County.

The event will honor Ramon Solhkhah, M.D. for his tremendous efforts to advocate, educate, and treat those affected by mental illness and drug addiction in Monmouth County. As Chairman of Psychiatry at  Jersey Shore University Medical Center, and Corporate Medical Director for Meridian Behavioral Health Services, Dr. Solhkhah has participated in numerous forums throughout Monmouth County, where he offered information and outlined treatment options for those addicted to heroin and prescription painkillers.

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digital_bookmobileThe high-tech Digital Bookmobile visits the Monmouth County Library’s Eastern Branch on Tuesday, to provide outreach to residents of Sea Bright and other communities whose libraries were closed or displaced by Superstorm Sandy.

Nearly two years since Superstorm Sandy, several member branches in the Monmouth County system remain closed or displaced — including Sea Bright, where the library remains out of service after being devastated in October 2012. As a part of outreach efforts to those communities still recovering from the disaster, the DigitalBookmobile National Tour will visit the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library on Tuesday, October 7.

Housed inside an 18-wheel tractor-trailer — and operated by OverDrive, Inc. — the 74-foot community outreach vehicle is a high-tech update of the traditional bookmobile that has served communities for decades. The vehicle is equipped with broadband Internet-connected PCs, high definition monitors, premium sound systems, and a variety of portable media players, all of which help visitors explore their library’s digital service. Readers of all ages are welcome to this free event, and are encouraged to bring their electronic devices with them for download instructions and assistance.

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digital_bookmobileThe high-tech Digital Bookmobile visits the Monmouth County Library’s Eastern Branch on October 7, to provide outreach to residents of Sea Bright and other communities whose libraries were closed or displaced by Superstorm Sandy.

Press release from Monmouth County Library

Nearly two years since Superstorm Sandy, several member branches in the Monmouth County system remain closed or displaced — including Sea Bright, where the library remains out of service after being devastated in October 2012. As a part of outreach efforts to those communities still recovering from the disaster, the DigitalBookmobile National Tour will visit the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library on Tuesday, October 7.

Housed inside an 18-wheel tractor-trailer, the 74-foot community outreach vehicle is a high-tech update of the traditional bookmobile that has served communities for decades. The vehicle is equipped with broadband Internet-connected PCs, high definition monitors, premium sound systems, and a variety of portable media players, all of which help visitors explore their library’s digital service.

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Mr_TooleyMR. TOOLEY is among the paintings by Paul Hansen on display at Shrewbury’s Guild of Creative Art, beginning with a reception on Sunday afternoon.

“Hero worship, I’ve come to realize, is a fool’s folly,” says artist Paul Hansen in describing Under the Influence, a collection of new paintings grouped with photos of artisans of art, music and literature who have influenced Hansen’s work. “I’ve had to supplant what was once hallowed idolatry to authentic admiration…whether fooled by their own guile, or staying true to the course, these artists all had a major influence on me.”

For his third solo show, Hansen sets up shop inside the Guild of Creative Art in Shrewsbury, for an exhibit that opens with a public-welcome reception on Sunday, August 24 from 3 to 5 pm. The show remains on display at the Broad Street gallery through September 23 during regular hours (Tuesday – Friday 8 am – 4:30 pm; Thursday 8 am – 7 pm; Saturday 10 am – 3 pm) — and the reception is one of two special art happenings going on around the greater Green this Sunday.

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Monmouth-Civic-Chorus.3.16.13Dr. Ryan Brandau (right) and the Monmouth Civic Chorus invite the public to lend their voices to a performance of Mendelssohn’s ELIJAH on August 13 — one of two such Summer Sing events going on at the edges of the Green.

Summer loves may be fleeting — but for two highly acclaimed local choral ensembles, the year-round passion for making music doesn’t take a breather during the season of itchy tuxedos and sweat-stippled score sheets. Within one seven-day interlude, music lovers are invited to step out from the audience and join the assembled voices of their favorite choirs, in a fun seasonal custom known as the Summer Sing.

The democratic look into the magic of music-making starts Wednesday evening, August 13, when Dr. Ryan Brandau and the Red Bank-based Monmouth Civic Chorus host an opportunity to participate in a performance of a choral masterwork last performed by the MCC in 2000 — Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah, the classic cantata that illuminates the story of the Biblical prophet with some of the  composer’s best-known vocal passages. It takes place at 7:30 pm, just off the edge of the greater Red Bank Green (at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 112 Middletown Road in Holmdel). No reservations are required, and the admission fee of $5 includes refreshments and loan of the score.

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Young people from all over the greater Red Bank Green were among the many thousands of Class of 2014 members who received their degrees in May and June — and, with all appropriate pomp and circumstance, here’s a this-just-in roundup of the mortarboarded movers and shakers.


Joseph Ahlemeyer, Master of Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.

Jessica Asfar, made Dean’s List at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

Claire Donohue, Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ.

Lauren Marron, graduated Cum Laude with Bachelor of Science in Education/ Special Education/Visual Impairment/Pre-K to Grade 4 from Kutztown University in Kutztown, PA.

Anwar Roberts, made Dean’s List at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

Danielle Sokol, Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies from the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, RI.

Robert Sweet, Bachelor of Arts in Individualized Studies from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.

Andrew Terranova, graduated Cum Laude with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, RI.

Continue reading for a list of grads from Fair Haven, Little Silver, Middletown, Rumson, and Shrewsbury.

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NINEtheatricalsThey’re dressed in the photo for a holiday-season presentation, but the troupers of NINE Theatricals have a summertime treat in store, when they bring their original BOARDWALK PLAYS to the county library’s Eastern Branch on Wednesday.

There’s the self-styled doctor who dispenses “Cheap Therapy” to anyone who will listen, on the Ocean City boardwalk. The old friends whose rollercoaster relationship plays out “Under the Elephant” in Margate. And those “Surf City All Stars,” in which audience members are called upon to judge the hopefuls competing in a Long Beach Island talent show. They’re all part of The Boardwalk Plays, a trio of one-acts set in some familiar Jersey locales — and heading up the shore to the Monmouth County Library Eastern Branch on Wednesday evening.

Scripted by Ed Shakespeare (no relation) and Linda Turash, the program is the work of NINE Theatricals, a Shore-based troupe that tours libraries and senior facilities with a repertory of original comedy presentations that include a takeoff on Judge Judy and a program of highlights from the old Carol Burnett Show. With Boardwalk Plays, the folks from NINE will be bringing a new property before the local audience for an intimate performance that begins at 7 pm.

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mareheadshotThe multi-dimensional works of Mare Akana are on display at the county library’s Eastern Branch, starting with a meet-the-artist reception on Thursday evening.

Depending on where and when you might have made her acquaintance, you’d recognize Mare Akana as, variously, a painter, a sculptor, a wearble-art or ceramics artisan. Perhaps as a card-carrying stage, screen and voice actor — a founding member of New Jersey Repertory Company, an occasional choreographer, a trained hula dancer in her Honolulu hometown. Given that the Long Branch resident is equally adept at canoeing and equestrian pursuits, you might say that her bailiwick is both the surf and the turf — and all this month at the Monmouth County Library Eastern Branch, the artist is the focus of a solo exhibit that could only be called “Surf and Turf.”

On view right now during regular library hours, the exhibit encompasses textured abstract paintings that evoke the bright colors and shapes of the Pacific Rim (“I crave those colors the way another person would seek out comfort food”); sculpted figures of life forms “from the sea or from other worlds;” hand-formed ceramics (often incorporating equine imagery), and sculptural jewelry items in clay and silver. There’s a lot of the artist on display already, and this Thursday evening, Akana herself will be there in person — as will “Laughing Pony” — for an opening reception meet-and-greet.

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