Statesmen Basketball Honors

Oskaloosa–Three Statesmen cagers were honored for tremendous seasons as the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball All-America teams were announced Thursday.

Dexter Hood (Sr., Tuscaloosa, Ala.) was selected for the 10-person first team, while Kevion Blaylock (Jr., Houston, Texas, Information Technology) collected third-team laurels (10 players on that squad).  Karmari Newman (Jr., Detroit, Mich., Digital Communication) was also picked as one of 55 honorable mentions.  An additional 10 student-athletes were honored on the second team as well.

The trio pushes William Penn’s All-American tally to 27, including 24 during Head Coach John Henry‘s tenure.  They helped the Statesmen to a 30-3 overall record, highlighted by a 21-3 Heart of America Athletic Conference mark.  WPU won the league’s regular season and tournament titles and qualified for nationals for the 10th time in school history.  Unfortunately, the national tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Hood, who is the fifth first-teamer in school history, led the navy and gold in scoring with 20.2 points, while also averaging 6.7 rebounds.  He amassed 56 assists, 35 steals, and five blocks as well, while shooting 57.3% overall (36.1% 3-PT) and 68.5% from the free-throw line.

Nationally, the senior ranked sixth in NAIA Division I in total points (668), ninth in scoring average, and 15th in field-goal percentage.  His 2019-2020 campaign was one of the most prolific single seasons in school history as he finished third in field goals made (247), fourth in points, sixth in scoring average, and eighth in free throws attempted (184).

His 20.2 points per game helped Hood to finish his time as a Statesmen fourth on the career list, while he is also seventh in career field-goal percentage at 57.3%.

Although he played in just 20 games, Blaylock’s numbers could not be ignored by the A-A’s selection committee as he averaged a double-double of 16.4 points and 11.2 rebounds.  The junior also tallied 35 assists, 15 blocks, and 10 steals, while shooting 55.5% from the floor (40.0% 3-PT) and 84.3% at the charity stripe.

Blaylock made his mark in a few of William Penn’s top-10 single-season categories, including rebounding average (6th), free-throw percentage (7th), and three-point percentage (10th).

Newman excelled from the perimeter, averaging 15.9 points on 37.2% three-point shooting (108-for-290).  The junior also collected 3.2 rebounds per game, while posting 48 assists, 31 steals, and one block as well.  He shot 39.7% overall and 78.1% from the line.

Newman ended the year third in the NAIA in three-pointers made and fifth in three-pointers per game (3.48), while finishing fourth on WPU’s single-season list in both three-pointers made and three-pointers attempted.

Chris Coffey of Georgetown (Ky.) was named the NAIA’s Player of the Year, while John Moore of Westmont (Calif.) was tabbed as Coach of the Year.  Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) Head Coach Austin Johnson received NABC-NAIA Coach of the Year laurels.

For a complete list of NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball All-Americans, go to https://www.naia.org/sports/mbkb/2019-20/releases/DIMBB_AllAmerica_2020

Virus changes menus, operations as restaurants struggle


CINCINNATI (AP) — In the battle to keep their New York City restaurant going despite sharp restrictions during the coronavirus outbreak, the owners of Il Posto Accanto are relying on something Beatrice Tosci would have considered sacrilege in normal times.

“The biggest change is that we offer our food for delivery which never, never, never, ever, ever, ever happened before,” said Tosci. “I like my food to go from the kitchen to the table, and that’s it!”

However, with New York becoming the U.S. epicenter of the contagion and under self-quarantining edicts, she and husband Julio Pena have little choice but to package up their traditional Italian cooking such as meatballs and pasta and send them out.


Across the United States, restaurateurs are transforming operations to try to stay afloat. The National Restaurant Association warns the coronavirus outbreak could cost five to seven million jobs and hundreds of billions in losses and is pushing for a special federal relief package for restaurants. In an industry of traditionally tight profit margins, some decided that it’s time to take chances.

Frisch’s Big Boy restaurants, a Cincinnati-based chain that had laid off more than a third of its 5,000 employees in the first days of bans on in-restaurant dining, last week pivoted into the grocery business. Besides its signature Big Boy double-decker burgers and onion rings, customers at its 100 restaurants in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky can buy bread, milk and and produce at its drivethrus and carryout counters and via home delivery.

Frisch’s saw a quick jump in revenues at a time when people have been frustrated by long lines and shortages at traditional supermarkets. Toilet paper is in high demand, and Frisch’s and others are using it as a lure.

Westmont Diner in Westmont, New Jersey, has added it to carry-out options at 60 cents a roll, along with paper towels, soap, bleach and other household needs. Lindey’s in Columbus throws in a free roll with all takeout orders. Frontier in Chicago gave out decks of cards to homebound customers with their carryout dinners.

With the number of states with stay-at-home orders growing, some restaurateurs decided to shut down. Cameron Mitchell, based in Columbus, said carryout offerings weren’t bringing in enough business to keep his namesake chain of 36 restaurants in 12 states going. More than 4,000 employees were laid off last week.

Some fine-dining restaurants unused to carryout are trying scaled-down menu at bargain prices.


In Chicago, patrons can now carry out food for a fraction of the typical dine-in tab at Alinea, where nabbing a seat typically requires reservations weeks in advance and dinners can cost as much as $395 per head. Alinea now offers takeout meals of beef wellington, mashed potatoes and crème brûlée for $39.95, and reports strong sales so far.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday that with Californians under a stay-home edict, restaurants are allowed to deliver alcoholic beverages along with meals to boost their revenues and well, because booze.

Sitting in the nearly empty Frisch’s “Mainliner” restaurant where the chain originated in suburban Cincinnati in 1942, Frisch’s CEO Jason Vaughn said customers at the privately held chain’s 100 restaurants in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky have asked for additions, such as bottles of orange juice, quarts of soup and coffee for home. Frisch’s is trying to leverage its supply chain to accommodate requests.

Vaughn predicts the crisis will change the industry.

“People have changed habits,” Vaughn said. “When the green light goes on, we don’t expect to come back as status quo … when we go to whatever that new norm is, we’ll see if we can continue it (groceries) if it’s a service the community wants.”

At Il Posto Accanto, Tosti worries about potential months-long restrictions. The restaurant that dates to 1995 is down to 10 employees, from 14 before it.

“Too many,” she said of how much they have worked since the restrictions put in place last week.

“Nine days,” she reflected. “It feels like nine years.”


Associated Press writer Amanda Seitz in Chicago, Amanda Myers in Los Angeles and AP Business Writer Alexandra Olson in New York contributed.


Follow Dan Sewell at https://www.twitter.com/dansewell.

Gov. Reynolds’ extends public health emergency

Gov. Kim Reynolds is ordering the closure of more nonessential businesses to fight the spread of the coronavirus. Reynolds announced Thursday (3/26) that she had expanded an earlier closure order to include stores selling furniture, books, clothing, shoes, jewelry and other items. The business closures already included bars, dine-in restaurants, theaters, casinos and gyms and will last until at least April 7. Schools will remain closed at least until April 13. Reynolds also ordered dentists to halt all but emergency work and directed hospitals not to perform any nonessential surgeries and procedures.

3.3 million seek US jobless aid, nearly 5 times earlier high


WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — almost five times the previous record set in 1982 — amid a widespread economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus.

The surge in weekly applications was a stunning reflection of the damage the viral outbreak is inflicting on the economy. Filings for unemployment aid generally reflect the pace of layoffs.

Layoffs are sure to accelerate as the U.S. economy sinks into a recession. Revenue has collapsed at restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, gyms and airlines. Auto sales are plummeting, and car makers have closed factories. Most such employers face loan payments and other fixed costs, so they’re cutting jobs to save money.

As job losses mount, some economists say the nation’s unemployment rate could approach 13% by May. By comparison, the highest jobless rate during the Great Recession, which ended in 2009, was 10%.

“What seemed impossible just two weeks ago is now reality,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, an economist at Oxford Economics, a consulting firm. “The US economy will experience the largest economic contraction on record with the most severe surge in unemployment ever.”

The economic deterioration has been swift. As recently as February, the unemployment rate was at a 50-year low of 3.5%. And the economy was growing steadily if modestly. Yet by the April-June quarter of the year, some economists think the economy will shrink at its steepest annual pace ever — a contraction that could reach 30%.

In its report Thursday, the Labor Department said 3.283 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, up from 282,000 during the previous week. Many people who have lost jobs in recent weeks, though, have been unable to file for unemployment aid because state websites and phone systems have been overwhelmed by a crush of applicants and have frozen up.

That logjam suggests that Thursday’s report actually understates the magnitude of job cuts last week. So does the fact that workers who are not on company payrolls — gig workers, free-lancers, the self-employed — aren’t currently eligible for unemployment benefits even though in many cases they’re no longer able to earn money.

With layoffs surging, a significant expansion of unemployment benefits was included in an economic relief bill nearing final approval in Congress. One provision in the bill would provide an extra $600 a week on top of the unemployment aid that states provide. Another provision would supply 13 additional weeks of benefits beyond the six months of jobless aid that most states offer. The new legislation would also extend unemployment benefits, for the first time, to gig workers and others who are not on company payrolls.

Separate legislation passed last week provides up to $1 billion to states to enhance their ability to process claims. But that money will take time to be disbursed.

In the United States, the jump in applications for benefits is playing out in states across the country. In California, claims for unemployment benefits more than tripled last week to 187,000. In New York, they rose by a factor of five to 80,334. Nationwide, about 2.25% of the entire workforce applied for jobless aid last week. In Nevada, the figure was 6.8%, in Rhode Island 7.5%.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said 1 million claims for unemployment benefits had been filed in California since March 13. Many of those applications were likely filed this week, suggesting that next week’s report could show an even larger number of claims.

In Florida, Jessy Morancy of Hollywood was laid off last week from her job as a wheelchair attendant and customer service agent at Fort Lauderdale Airport. Morancy, 29, called the state unemployment office on Monday to try to file for unemployment benefits but encountered just a recorded message telling her to call back later.

She was also concerned that even a full unemployment benefit of $275 a week would be less than half of what she earned at her job and insufficient to provide for her children, ages 10 and 7.

“I’m still in a state of shock,” Morancy said.

Even for those able to file a claim, the benefits will take time to kick in. It typically takes two to three weeks before applicants receive any money. State agencies must first contact their former employers to verify their work and earnings history. Only then can the employee’s weekly unemployment benefits be calculated.

Worsening the problem, most state agencies that handle unemployment claims are operating at historically low funding levels and staffing that are intended to handle a trickle of claims. Just weeks ago, the job market was in the strongest shape it had been in decades.

Kim Boldrini-Sen, 41, has also struggled to file her claim. She has tried in two states: In Connecticut, where she works as an acupuncturist in a private practice, and in New York, where she lives and has her own acupuncture business.

In Connecticut, she thought her application had been submitted. But when she returned last week to re-file as applicants are required to do each week, she found there was no record of her initial filing. After taking an hour to re-file, she received a pop-up notice that she was ineligible to do so online.

In New York, the state’s website repeatedly crashed when she was halfway through filling out her request. When she finally managed to press submit, she received a pop-up saying she had to file over the phone. That hasn’t worked well, either.

“I’ve called at all hours of the day,” she said. “That’s been my life for a week, and I still can’t get through to anyone.”

On Wednesday, the New York State Department of Labor tweeted, “If you have been unable to get through our phone and/or online system this week, please keep trying.”

“We are working as hard as we can to ensure that all benefits are paid and appreciate your patience,” the agency said on Twitter.

Worldwide, the United Nations estimates that up to 25 million jobs could be lost in the economic upheaval from the viral outbreak. That would exceed the 22 million that were lost during the 2008 global financial crisis.

In Europe, companies are laying off workers at the fastest pace since 2009, according to surveys of business managers. Official statistics for Europe that would reflect the outbreak’s impact are not yet out. But companies have been announcing tens of thousands of job cuts, both permanent and temporary. Major car companies like Fiat Chrysler and airlines like Lufthansa are suspending most of their operations, putting tens of thousands of workers on temporary leave, many with only a partial salary.

The unemployment rate in the 19 countries that use the euro was 7.3% at last count in January. It’s expected to rise toward 10%, depending on the duration of the outbreak, economists say. The rise in joblessness may not be as sharp as in the U.S. because it’s harder to fire workers in Europe, where many governments are supporting companies financially to keep employees on partially paid leave.

Ellen Zentner, an economist at Morgan Stanley, said in a note to clients that 17 million jobs could be lost through May — twice the entire 8.7 million jobs that were lost in the Great Recession. She expects the unemployment rate to average 12.8% in the April-June quarter, which would be the highest level since the 1930s.

Still, Zentner also expects the economy to start recovering by the second half of the year. But it will take time for things to return to something close to normal, she projects: The unemployment rate could still top 5% at the end of next year.


AP Writers Carlo Piovano in London, David Lieb in Jefferson City, Missouri, and Matthew Barakat in Falls Church, Viriginia, contributed to this report.

One arrested in Ottumwa shooting

Ottumwa Police have a man in custody in connection with a Tuesday night shooting.  Around 11pm Tuesday (3/24), Ottumwa Police received several 911 calls about gunshots in the 1000 block of West Main Street.  Police found eleven spent shell casings in and near the road at that location.  A suspect was identified after talking to people in the neighborhood.  Then around 12:30 Wednesday morning (3/25), the suspect was found in the 500 block of North Market Street in Ottumwa.  Police obtained a search warrant for the suspect’s apartment and found the handgun believed to have been used in the shooting.  26-year-old Romario Scott Eliacin of Ottumwa was arrested and charged with intimidation with a dangerous weapon and felon possessing a firearm.  Eliacin is in custody in the Wapello County Jail on $15,000 cash only bond.

Hospital Notes

As of Wednesday morning (3/25), Mahaska Health in Oskaloosa will begin in-car screenings for all patients entering the facility.  All patients coming to Mahaska Health for any reason will need to pass an in-car screening at the south side of the hospital’s campus.  You’ll have your temperature taken and you’ll need to answer a brief health survey.  This screening does not constitute a COVID-19 test.  Once the screening is completed, staff will direct patients where to go next.

Also starting on Wednesday, visitors will not be allowed at Grinnell Regional Medical Center until the COVID-19 virus is no longer a threat to the community.  Exceptions will be allowed for a patient who is at end of life, or for a patient under 18.  And in those cases, a visitor will be allowed only if they don’t show signs of a respiratory infection.

White House, Congress agree on $2 trillion virus rescue bill


WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House and Senate leaders of both major political parties announced agreement early Wednesday on an unprecedented $2 trillion emergency bill to rush sweeping aid to businesses, workers and a health care system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The urgently needed pandemic response measure is the largest economic rescue measure in history and is intended as a weekslong or monthslong patch for an economy spiraling into recession and a nation facing a potentially ghastly toll.

Top White House aide Eric Ueland announced the agreement in a Capitol hallway shortly after midnight, capping days of often intense haggling and mounting pressure. The deal still needs to be finalized in detailed legislative language.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are done,” Ueland said. “We have a deal.”

The economic rescue package would give direct payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits and provide a $367 billion program for small businesses to keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home.

One of the last issues to close concerned $500 billion for guaranteed, subsidized loans to larger industries, including a fight over how generous to be with the airlines. Hospitals would get significant help as well.

“After days of intense discussions, the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a key negotiator. “It will rush new resources onto the front lines of our nation’s health care fight. And it will inject trillions of dollars of cash into the economy as fast as possible to help Americans workers, families, small businesses and industries make it through this disruption and emerge on the other side ready to soar.”

At the White House on Tuesday, even as the public health crisis deepened, President Donald Trump expressed eagerness to nudge many people back to work in the coming weeks and held out a prospect, based more on hope than science, that the country could be returning to normal in less than a month.

“We have to go back to work, much sooner than people thought,” Trump told a Fox News town hall. He said he’d like to have the country “opened up and just raring to go” by Easter, April 12. But in a White House briefing later, Trump said that “our decision will be based on hard facts and data.”

Medical professionals say social distancing needs to be stepped up, not relaxed, to slow the spread of infections. At the White House briefing, the public health authorities said it was particularly important for people in the hard-hit New York City metropolitan area to quarantine themselves for 14 days and for those who have recently left the city to do the same.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said pointedly at the briefing, “No one is going to want to tone down anything when you see what is going on in a place like New York City.”

On Capitol Hill, five days of arduous talks produced the bill, creating tensions among Congress’ top leaders, who each took care to tend to party politics as they maneuvered and battled over crafting the legislation. But failure was never an option, which permitted both sides to mark big wins.

Even before the deal was reached, news of the likely but elusive agreement had sent the stock market rocketing on Tuesday. The rescue package would be larger than the 2008 bank bailout and 2009 recovery act combined.

The package would give one-time payments of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child directly to the public.

A huge cash infusion for hospitals expecting a flood of COVID-19 patients grew during the talks at the insistence of Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, while Republicans pressed for tens of billions of dollars for additional relief to be delivered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal disaster agency.

Democrats said the package would help replace the salaries of furloughed workers for four months, rather than the three months first proposed. Furloughed workers would get whatever amount a state usually provides for unemployment, plus a $600 per week add-on, with gig workers like Uber drivers covered for the first time.

“It ensures that all workers are protected whether they work for businesses small, medium or large, along with self-employed and workers in the gig economy,” Schumer said.

Republicans won inclusion of an “employee retention” tax credit that’s estimated to provide $50 billion to companies that retain employees on payroll and cover 50% of workers’ paychecks. Companies would also be able to defer payment of the 6.2% Social Security payroll tax.

Democrats pointed to gains for hospitals, additional oversight of the huge industry stabilization fund and money for cash-strapped states. A companion appropriations package ballooned as well, growing from a $46 billion White House proposal to more than $300 billion, which dwarfs earlier disasters — including Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy combined.

To provide transparency, the package is expected to create a new inspector general and oversight board for the corporate dollars, much as was done during the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program bank rescue, officials said.

Trump in recent days has sounded a note of frustration about the unprecedented modern-day effort to halt the virus’ march by essentially shutting down public activities in ways that now threaten the U.S. economy.

Even though Trump’s administration recommended Americans curtail activities for 15 days, starting just over a week ago, the Republican president said he may soon allow parts of the economy, in regions less badly hit by the virus, to begin reopening.

He continued on that theme Tuesday as he weighed a relaxation of social distancing guidelines after the 15-day period is up. His suggestion that the pandemic could ease and allow a return to normalcy in a mere few weeks is not supported by public health officials or many others in government.

On Tuesday, top defense and military leaders warned department personnel that the virus problems could extend for eight to 10 weeks or longer. Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a Defense Department town hall meeting that the crisis could even extend into July.

Trump has balked at using his authority under the recently invoked Defense Protection Act to compel the private sector to manufacture needed medical supplies like masks and ventilators, even as he encourages them to spur production. “We are a country not based on nationalizing our business,” said Trump, who has repeatedly railed against socialism overseas and among Democrats.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

The virus has caused a global pandemic that has sickened more than 425,000 people and killed about 19,000 worldwide. In the United States, more than 55,000 people have been sickened and more than 800 have died.


Associated Press writers Lolita C. Baldor, Zeke Miller, Mary Clare Jalonick, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Alan Fram and Padmananda Rama contributed to this report.

On hold: Tokyo Olympics postponed to 2021


TOKYO (AP) — The IOC announced a first-of-its-kind postponement of the Summer Olympics on Tuesday, bowing to the realities of a coronavirus pandemic that is shutting down daily life around the globe and making planning for a massive worldwide gathering in July a virtual impossibility.

The International Olympic Committee said the Tokyo Games “must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020, but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”

It was an announcement seen as all but a certainty as pressure mounted from nervous athletes, sports organizations and national Olympic committees — all forced to deal with training and qualifying schedules, to say nothing of international anti-doping protocols, that have been ruptured beyond repair.

Four-time Olympic hockey champion Hayley Wickenheiser, the first IOC member to criticize the body’s reluctance to postpone, called it the “message athletes deserved to hear.”

“To all the athletes: take a breath, regroup, take care of yourself and your families. Your time will come,” she wrote on Twitter.

IOC President Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke via phone Tuesday morning, and they, along with a handful of executives from the IOC and Japan’s organizing committee, agreed to make the call to delay games that have been reported to cost upward of $28 billion to stage.

Other Olympics — 1916, 1940 and 1944 — have been canceled because of war, but none have ever been postponed for any reason, let alone a renegade virus that has accounted for more than 375,000 cases worldwide, with numbers growing exponentially. The Tokyo Games would still be called the 2020 Olympics, even though they will be held in 2021 — the first time the games will be held in an odd-numbered year since the modern era began in 1896.

“The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope,” the IOC said in a statement.

The decision offers a sense of relief for the 11,000 or so potential Olympians from more than 200 countries, who no longer have to press forward with training under near-impossible conditions, unsure of when, exactly, they need to be ready — and for what.

“Thankful to finally have some clarity regarding The Olympic Games. A huge decision but I think the right one for sure,” British sprinter Adam Gemili said on Twitter. “Time to regain, look after each other during this difficult period and go again when the time is right!”

One reason the IOC took longer to make the decision was because it wanted to figure out logistics. It will be a daunting challenge. Many of the arenas, stadiums and hotels are under contract for a games held from July 24 to August 9. Remaking those arrangements is doable, but will come at a cost. There are also considerations beyond the price tag. Among them: The $1 billion-plus the IOC was to receive from NBC, the millions in smaller athlete endorsement contracts that are now in limbo, the budgets of the individual national Olympic committees, to name a few.

There’s also the matter of the international sports schedule. Nearly all 33 sports on the Olympic program have key events, including world championships, on the docket for 2021. Perhaps the best example of what a disruption this can cause would come from track. Famous Hayward Field at University of Oregon was rebuild and expanded at the cost of $200 million to hold next year’s world championships. Now that event will likely be postponed.

“There are a lot of pieces of a huge and very difficult jigsaw puzzle,” Bach said.

But for weeks, it was becoming increasingly clear that pressing on with a July 24 starting date was no longer a choice.

Just about every sport across the globe has suspended play in the wake of the pandemic. The worldwide economy is faltering and people are increasingly being told it’s not safe to congregate in large groups or, in some cases, even to leave their homes. Gyms are closed across America. Holding Olympic trials in a matter of months was becoming untenable.

Olympic committees in Canada and Australia were saying they either would not, or could not, send a team to Tokyo in July. World Athletics and the three biggest sports in the United States — swimming, track and gymnastics — were calling for a postponement.

As recently as Sunday, the IOC was saying it would take up to four weeks to reach a decision. Four weeks ended up being two days.

The decision came only a few hours after local organizers said the torch relay would start as planned on Thursday. It was expected to start in northeastern Fukushima prefecture, but with no torch, no torchbearers and no public.

Those plans also changed.

The flame will be stored and displayed in Fukushima. Like everything else in the Olympic world, its next move will be determined at a later date.

“I’m thrilled for the athletes,’ Bob Bowman, who used to coach Michael Phelps and now works with other Olympic hopefuls, told The Associated Press. “That’s what this is all about at the end of the day, and really the world that gets to share in their journey and be a part of it. Now we can have a real Olympics that is healthy and fair.”


Wade and Yamaguchi reported from Tokyo; Pells reported from Denver. Also contributing: Paul Newberry in Atlanta and Graham Dunbar in Geneva.


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