Wednesday, February 5, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Mississippi State University Hosts Career Days
Many Mississippi State University students traded in their backpacks for business attire and resumes this week. MSU hosted its annual career days with more than 175 businesses that allowed students and alumni to share their work experiences with companies from Honda to Regions Bank. This gives students the chance to meet future employers and line up a job as they get ready to graduate.
 
Mississippi State hosting spring career days this week
On Tuesday, hundreds of hopefuls in the "Business and Non-­Technical" career category sought co-op, internship and full-­time employment opportunities at Humphrey Coliseum on Mississippi State University's campus for part one of the 2014 Spring Career Days event sponsored by the MSU Career Center. The event will resume today from noon to 4 p.m. when professionals in the "Engineering and Technical" fields will be screening and recruiting candidates. (Subscriber-only content.)
 
Dr. Holmes Comes Home To Mississippi State
As a part of the national observance of Black History Month, Dr. Richard E. Holmes of Columbus returned as a guest to Mississippi State University. During the turbulent decade of the 1960s, Holmes became the first African American to be admitted to the land-grant institution. To a crowd of onlookers at Colvard Student Union's Bill Foster Ballroom Tuesday night, it was for Holmes a time of reflection once again. Holmes applauded the recruiting efforts at MSU. "I think we probably have 16 to 20 percent of our student population being African American. Which is a very, very proud moment for me to see that," said Holmes.
 
Mississippi State's first black student visits campus
Richard Holmes remembers many students treating him with kindness when, in 1963, he became the first African-American student to enroll at Mississippi State University. But he also remembers one of the few students who did not, and the irony that followed. "I took microbiology, and my station (for a laboratory exercise) was in the back with a white student who said, 'I refuse to be his partner,'" Holmes said. "The professor said, 'If you refuse to be his partner, you can't take the course.' (During the exercise), he bent over, and his pretty blonde hair caught fire." (Subscriber-only content.)
 
Dan Rather to discuss world leadership Feb. 18 at Mississippi State
Dan Rather, one of the major names in U.S. television news history, will speak Feb. 18 at Mississippi State. At the program's conclusion, he will sign copies of "Rather Outspoken: My Life with the News," his 2012 memoir. He joined CBS in the early 1960s and, during a career spanning more than 60 years, covered the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as the Kennedy assassination, Watergate scandal and 9/11 terrorists attacks.
 
Dan Rather to speak at MSU Global Lecture Series
One of the major names in U.S. television news history will speak Tuesday, Feb. 18 at Mississippi State University in Starkville. Dan Rather, CBS Evening News anchor from 1981-2005, will speak as part of the MSU Student Association's Global Lecture Series. Admission to the program, while free, requires a ticket to be secured in advance, said university officials. Tickets may be picked up at the Colvard Student Union on campus.
 
Dan Rather to discuss world leadership during MSU event this month
One of the major names in U.S. television news history will speak Feb. 18 at Mississippi State. Dan Rather, CBS Evening News anchor from 1981-2005, will be the special guest of the university's Student Association for a 7 p.m. program in the Colvard Student Union's Foster Ballroom. His presentation is another in the SA's ongoing Global Lecture Series. His professional career began as a Huntsville, Texas-based reporter for the Associated Press.
 
Practical advice awaits growers
Two days of seminars and activities are planned for the North Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Conference and Trade Show on Thursday and Friday in the Magnolia Building at the Lee County Agri-Center in Verona. Topics on the agenda include honeybees, business management, wildlife enterprises, greenhouse tomatoes, fruit crops, vegetable variety selection, and control of insects, diseases and weeds. Mississippi State University scientists with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will provide updates on their research.
 
New program aimed at keeping beehives buzzing
A new program has launched aimed at further protecting threatened honeybees. Jeff Harris, Mississippi State University Extension Service apiculturist, said ongoing discussions over the course of several months resulted in the Mississippi Honey Bee Stewardship Program. "In light of the global decline of honeybee populations, the Extension Service and Mississippi Farm Bureau Federations facilitated discussions to foster a better working dialogue among Mississippi's row-crop farmers and beekeepers, all in the spirit of coexistence and cooperation," Harris said.
 
Extension Service to offer broadband information forum
The Mississippi State University Extension Service Center for Technology Outreach in partnership with the Mississippi Public Service Commission will hold a forum to promote the availability and use of broadband Internet by residents and businesses in Lamar and Pearl River counties and the surrounding areas. Attendees will learn about efforts underway to bridge the digital divide in rural areas and provide feedback to experiences they have had with their Internet service.
 
Arboretum uses controlled burn to refresh pine wetland
The fire danced above the ice Friday as Crosby Arboretum used controlled fire to burn the grass and small bushes so that sunlight could again reach the ground and let grass and other low, sun-dependent plant life return to a 40-acre pine savannah, or wetland, across from the arboretum's main site. Terry Johnson, the arboretum's grounds and maintenance supervisor, was in charge of the burn and used a combination of volunteers, arboretum personnel and Mississippi State University Extension Service employees. Crosby Arboretum director Pat Drackett praised the work.
 
Crosby Arboretum to hold Arbor Day Plant Sale
The Crosby Arboretum will hold its annual Arbor Day Plant Sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 15. A variety of native trees and shrubs will be available for purchase including native azaleas, Grancy Gray Beard and mayhaw trees. In celebration of Arbor Day, the day will begin with a program about a unique state treasure, the Gloster Arboreum in Gloster. Von Odenwald, site director of the Gloster Arboretum, will talk about this incredible garden's history, plant collections and current projects.
 
Council approves McGrevey -- mayor's pick for CAO
Without debate, Meridian City Council members unanimously confirmed Mike McGrevey as the city's new chief administrative officer on Tuesday. McGrevey served in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years, serving in several financial management roles. He also served as chief financial officer at Mississippi State University, was president of the Montgomery Institute, and was the executive director of Kemper County Economic Development Authority. McGrevey is currently senior vice president for client services for Generation Ready, a company specializing in professional development for educators and school improvement services.
 
McGrevey Chosen as New CAO in Meridian
After months of search, the city of Meridian finally has a new chief administrative officer. At Tuesday's city council meeting, the council voted unanimously in favor of hiring Mike McGrevey to the position of CAO. McGrevey previously worked in positions such as vice president for finance and administration at Mississippi State University, as well as president of the Montgomery Institute and executive director of the Kemper County Economic Development Authority. The council thinks his experience will be a big benefit. "He's local. He's from right in Decatur, and I think that's a good thing, as well," said Ward 4 councilwoman Kim Houston.
 
Starkville appoints new police chief
After nearly three months of not having a police chief, the city of Starkville has officially filled the vacant position. Tuesday night, Starkville's Board of Aldermen approved Captain Frank Nichols as the new police chief. "I'm very humbled," Nichols said. "I'm very grateful, and I'm so proud of the community and their support of me." The board voted six to one in favor of Nichols. Ward Three Alderman David Little was the only one to vote against the hire.
 
New legislation strikes language appointing Holloway as OCSD conservator in 2014
State lawmakers removed all language specifically appointing Starkville School District Superintendent Lewis Holloway as the county school district's conservator on July 1 with new legislation this week. As originally filed this term, both HB 833 and SB 2818 called for Holloway's early appointment and gave him the power to issue notes that would help finance school repairs in both districts before state-mandated consolidation in 2015. Now, the substitutes' language states Oktibbeha County School District shall remain under Mississippi Department of Education control until June 30, 2015, without explicitly calling for a new conservator.
 
Whole Foods opens doors to new location in Jackson's Highland Village
The bread has been broken, and the doors are open at Whole Foods Market in Jackson. Nearly 1,000 people gathered Tuesday in the Highland Village parking lot to be among the first to shop in the market. Jackson City Council members were in attendance as well as state legislators and Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba. At the bread-breaking ceremony, Whole Foods also awarded $10,000 to the Mississippi Children's Museum for its literacy garden, which will open in the spring, and $2,000 "Garden Grants" to six Mississippi schools to help fund gardens at the schools.
 
House might vote on teacher pay raise bill today
The full House could vote as early as today on a teacher pay raise bill. "I think we might try to move it up," said Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton. "I would like to." On Tuesday, a key deadline day to pass legislation out of the committee in the chamber where it originated, the House Appropriations Committee passed the proposal that could provide teachers a $4,250 pay raise over a four-year period. The bill, a key priority for the House Republican leadership, cleared the Education Committee on Monday. The double-referred bill also had to pass the Appropriations Committee on Tuesday or it would have died.
 
Pay raise for teachers on to next phase
Supporters say most of the state's 34,000 teachers would receive raises over the next four years -- at least the "good ones" and the new ones -- under a proposal House Republicans moved through committee Tuesday. The measure, pushed by Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn, passed the House Appropriations Committee on a split voice vote, with some Democrats saying "nay." The full House is expected to take up the measure, House Bill 504, by week's end, although its future in the Senate is unclear. And House Democratic minority leaders are saying the raise should be larger and that all state employees should receive raises. Others, including Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, question how the raise, estimated to cost $180 million over four years, would be funded.
 
Democrats in the Legislature Continuing Push for Medicaid Expansion
During the Stennis Institute-Capitol Press Luncheon in Jackson on Monday, House Minority Leader, Bobby Moak, a Democrat from Bogue Chitto, focused on some of the benefits of accepting federal dollars to expand the state's Medicaid program. John Turner, a Jackson accountant, sees the issue from both sides. "I'm a conservative generally speaking and not for government expansion per say. But it's an economic issue not a government expansion issue. There are people that need healthcare that are not getting it. Hospitals are serving those people and in some cases are not getting paid for it. And we are turning down billions of dollars."
 
Legislators mulling new regulation on abortions
Mississippi lawmakers are considering banning abortion after 20 weeks' gestation, halfway through a normal full-term pregnancy of 40 weeks. Exceptions would be made to prevent permanent physical damage or death of the pregnant woman, or in cases of several fetal abnormalities. Health Department statistics show 2,176 abortions were done in Mississippi in 2012, the most recent statistics available. Two were listed at 21 weeks or later, and 382 were listed as unknown gestational age.
 
Mississippi special ed students could get vouchers
Parallel bills in the Mississippi House and Senate would give more than $6,000 a year in state money to the parent of any special education student who wanted to withdraw their child from their local public school district. Supporters say too many public school districts are doing a poor job educating special education students, and parents need options including private school or home tutoring. "Parents are not currently having a voice to say, 'My child needs this, this and this,'" said Rep. Carolyn Crawford, R-Pass Christian. Opponents, though, are wary that vouchers could weaken public schools and be an opening wedge for a statewide voucher program.
 
Congress clears $500B farm bill
After years of delays and contentious negotiations that threatened to derail the farm bill, Congress completed its work on a new five-year package Tuesday. The measure now heads to the White House, where President Barack Obama is expected to sign it into law. The bipartisan bill will bring more certainty to farmers in Mississippi and across the country, said Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, who helped craft it. "This puts our farmers in a position where they can compete in a world-wide market," said Cochran, top Republican on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. "It's been a pleasure and a challenge. But I think it has produced a product that we can all be proud of."
 
Senate Passes Long-Stalled Farm Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers
No one was happier than Danny Murphy, a Mississippi soybean farmer with 1,500 acres, when the Senate on Tuesday passed a farm bill that expanded crop insurance and other benefits for agribusiness. "It's a relief," Mr. Murphy said. Few were as unhappy as Sheena Wright, the president of the United Way in New York, who expects to see a surge of hungry people seeking help because the bill cuts $8 billion in food stamps over a decade. The long-stalled farm bill, which represents nearly $1 trillion in spending over the next 10 years and passed on a rare bipartisan vote, 68 to 32, produced clear winners and losers. Over all, farmers fared far better than the poor. Other winners in the farm bill included the catfish industry, which benefited from a provision that moved catfish inspections out of the Food and Drug Administration and into a new $20 million office at the Agriculture Department.
 
Farm bill easily passes Senate, will change operations for farmers nationwide
The massive farm bill that emerged from the U.S. Senate Tuesday and is on its way to President Barack Obama will substantially change farmers' lives nationwide and make a step toward altering the way they've done business for decades. While the bill didn't go as far as some would have liked in changing the nation's farm payments system, and while it was ensnarled for months in the politics of food stamps, it nevertheless will cause farmers to restructure their operations -- and their expectations.
 
Congress approves 5-year farm bill
The long-tortured farm bill cleared Congress on Tuesday, ending a two-year struggle that split the old farm-food coalition as never before and dramatized the growing isolation of agriculture and rural America in an ever more urban House. Written off as dead just months ago, the giant five-year measure won final approval from the Senate on a 68-32 roll call and goes next to President Barack Obama for his signature. Throughout the whole drama, Obama has remained remarkably detached, almost a bit player. But Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his deputy, Krysta Harden, will move to center stage now as they try to put the pieces in place before spring plantings, just weeks away in some regions of the South.
 
Cochran leads McDaniel in campaign cash
Republican Sen. Thad Cochran had $1 million in campaign cash on Dec. 31, about three times more than Chris McDaniel, the leading Republican running to unseat him, according to reports released Friday. Cochran, who announced his bid for re-election in December, raised $333,337 in the fourth quarter of 2013, his campaign said. McDaniel, who had nearly $350,000 in cash on Dec. 31, raised $500,000 during that same period. McDaniel, a state senator, announced plans to run against Cochran last October.
 
Mississippi congressman Palazzo honored for his work for National Guard
U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-District 4, has been selected to receive the G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Eagle Award, which is given to members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives who have contributed outstanding and exceptional service to the National Guard by The Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States. Palazzo is the only member of Congress who serves as an enlisted member of the National Guard. Palazzo said his time in the Guard has given him a unique perspective into its needs.
 
USDA to open sites to help farmers, ranchers cope with climate change
The Obama administration has selected the locations for seven new regional centers that will help farmers and ranchers adjust to the increasing risks and extreme weather associated with climate change. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will announce the sites Wednesday, according to a White House official. President Obama unveiled the program this summer as part of his broader plan to address global warming. The centers, which the Agriculture Department calls climate hubs, will link local agriculture producers with universities, industry groups, state governments and federal agencies.
 
Chinese Implicated in Agricultural Espionage Efforts
China has long been implicated in economic espionage efforts involving aviation technology, paint formulas and financial data. Chinese knockoffs of fashion accessories have long held a place in the mainstream. But the recent case of Mo Hailong in Iowa, and a separate one in Kansas last year suggest that the agriculture sector is becoming a greater target, something that industry analysts fear could hurt the competitive advantage of farmers and big agriculture alike. "Agriculture is an emerging trend that we're seeing," said Robert Anderson Jr., assistant director of counterintelligence at the F.B.I., adding that the trend has developed internationally in the last two years. "It's pretty clear cut. Before then, the majority of the countries and hostile intelligence services within those countries were stealing the other stuff."
 
Assault on California Power Station Raises Alarm on Potential for Terrorism
The attack began just before 1 a.m. on April 16 last year, when someone slipped into an underground vault not far from a busy freeway and cut telephone cables. Within half an hour, snipers opened fire on a nearby electrical substation. Shooting for 19 minutes, they surgically knocked out 17 giant transformers that funnel power to Silicon Valley. A minute before a police car arrived, the shooters disappeared into the night. Nobody has been arrested or charged in the attack at PG&E Corp.'s Metcalf transmission substation. It is an incident of which few Americans are aware. But one former federal regulator is calling it a terrorist act that, if it were widely replicated across the country, could take down the U.S. electric grid and black out much of the country.
 
Bill Nye: Bible doesn't tell Earth's true history
True to his passionate and animated TV persona, "Science Guy" Bill Nye tapped on the podium, threw up his hands and noted that science shows the Earth is "billions and billions" of years old in a debate at a Kentucky museum known for teaching that the planet's age is only 6,000. Nye was debating Creation Museum founder Ken Ham and promoting science in the snappy way that made him a pop culture staple as host of "Bill Nye The Science Guy" in the 1990s. The event was meant to explore the age old question, "How did we get here?" from the perspectives of faith and science.
 
Alcohol hearing draws silence in Oxford
Oxford residents apparently take Sunday alcohol sales as a foregone conclusion. Tuesday's Board of Aldermen meeting was the second reading and official public hearing for an ordinance change that would seek permission from the state to allow restaurants to sell liquor, wine, light wine and beer by the drink at restaurants every Sunday. At least five of the seven aldermen have expressed support for the issue. For two years, the city has allowed Sunday restaurant sales on University of Mississippi football weekends and a few holidays, a compromise that some proponents had characterized as a test of whether the practice would change people's behavior on the traditionally quiet day.
 
Author Clifton Taulbert to speak at Southern Miss lecture series
Renowned African-American author Clifton Taulbert will headline the University of Southern Mississippi's Black History Month programming as the guest speaker for the annual Branch-Armstrong Lecture Series at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 18 in Bennett Auditorium on the Hattiesburg campus. Taulbert, a Mississippi native, is the author of the acclaimed "Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored," a memoir of his life growing up in the Mississippi Delta during the civil rights movement. He also wrote the Pulitzer Prize-nominated "The Last Train North" in which he shares, among other stories, two life changing experiences -- his decision to leave his native Mississippi Delta to join the Air Force and meeting his father for the first time.
 
East Central Community College, MUW announce partnership in culinary arts
Students enrolled in East Central Community College's Culinary Arts Technology Program can look forward to a "seamless" transition in continuing their studies toward a bachelor's degree at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, thanks to a partnership announced Feb. 3 between the two colleges. The memorandum of agreement, signed by ECCC President Dr. Billy W. Stewart and MUW President Dr. Jim Borsig during a ceremony on the Decatur campus, provides educational opportunities for students in the Culinary Arts and related hospitality fields, which at ECCC includes Hotel and Restaurant Management Technology.
 
Meridian Community College Foundation Kicks Off Annual Fundraiser
The Meridian Community College Foundation has kicked off its annual fundraising campaign for the Tuition Guarantee Program. Board members got in the spirit with a kind of rock star luncheon Tuesday afternoon. The foundation pays tuition for graduates of any high school in Lauderdale County to attend MCC for two years, provided they maintain at least a C average. "We've always felt it's a form of economic development," said Gerry Purvis, foundation board member. "The jobs of today require technical skills and we have a full array of programs at MCC. Not just the regular academic programs but hands-on type programs."
 
U. of Kentucky plans to privatize its dining services
The University of Kentucky plans to privatize its dining services, with the larger goal of bringing in millions of dollars for new dining facilities on campus, UK President Eli Capilouto announced Tuesday. UK will begin negotiations with vendors immediately, Capilouto said. "We have a very good dining operation and exemplary staff," Capilouto said. "That has never been in question and it shouldn't be now. But the most important question is, how do we ensure that we have the best possible service for all those we serve going forward -- most significantly our students?"
 
Writer who uses fiction to explain science will speak at U. of Kentucky
As a chemist, Carl Djerassi developed the first synthesis of a steroid oral contraceptive. It became "the Pill" and changed the dynamics of human sex and reproduction. Since the mid-1980s, Djerassi has developed a second career as a writer. Most of his five novels and 11 plays are exercises in what he calls "intellectual smuggling" -- explaining scientific processes to non-scientists and exploring the ethical and moral implications of science and technology. Djerassi will be in Lexington for four events Feb. 13-15 at the University of Kentucky and Transylvania University. His visit is sponsored by a host of UK academic departments, from Chemistry and Pharmacy to Theatre.
 
U. of Tennessee to host national music conference Feb. 13-15
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville will host a national music conference next week. Music educators, scholars, students, composers and professionals from around the nation are expected at the conference to hone their craft, share best practices and enjoy concerts by internationally renowned performers. Jazz trumpeter Doc Severinsen, the longtime band leader of "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" and a Grammy Award winner, will give the keynote address.
 
Administrator Hiring Drove 28% Boom in Higher-Ed Work Force, Report Says
Thirty-four pages of research, branded with a staid title and rife with complicated graphs, might not seem like a scintillating read, but there's no doubt that a report released on Wednesday will punch higher education's hot buttons in a big way. The report, "Labor Intensive or Labor Expensive: Changing Staffing and Compensation Patterns in Higher Education," says that new administrative positions -- particularly in student services -- drove a 28-percent expansion of the higher-ed work force from 2000 to 2012. The report was released by the Delta Cost Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan social-science organization whose researchers analyze college finances.
 
College work forces grew but not as fast as enrollment
Colleges' attempts to curb employee costs by hiring part-time faculty members and using grad students are being offset by administrative hires and rising benefit costs, according to a new study by the Delta Cost Project at the American Institutes for Research. The study uses federal data to examine hiring trends going back to 1990. Over all, it found, colleges have hired at a faster pace from 2000 to now than they did in the 1990s, but that tempo didn't do enough to keep up with an influx of millennials and other students who flocked to colleges amid the recession.
 
EDITORIAL: Republican pay package fails teachers
The Sun Herald editorializes: " At least Democrats in the Mississippi Legislature are honest about giving every public school teacher in the state a pay increase with no strings attached. Republicans strike us as less than honest. ...Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, summed up the GOP proposal this way: 'Finding more ways to play hide-and-seek with pay increases is the wrong way to treat teachers our children are entrusted to each school day.'"
 
OUR OPINION: Substantial teacher raise proposal moves in House
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal editorializes: "Two key Mississippi House committees have sent forward a surprisingly large ($4,250, four-year) proposed teacher pay raise, the first in seven years if it or some version were to win final passage and Gov. Phil Bryant's signature. Democrats grumbled it is too little and that the bill contains demeaning requirements on which receiving part of the raises depend, but meeting at least three of those 22 items should offer no impediment to the vast majority of teachers because much of the list involves items and activities in which teachers regularly engage. ...For once, Mississippi's economy looks promising enough to fund raises with confidence in their affordability -- and necessity. Debate moving ahead needs to reflect those factors."
 
BRIAN PERRY (OPINION): Finance reports clue to 2015
Consultant and columnist Brian Perry writes: "The qualifying deadline for the 2014 elections is still a month off, but it isn't too soon to be looking at the early indicators for the 2015 statewide elections. The campaign finance reports covering all fundraising by state candidates and political action committees in 2013 were filed last month with two incumbents, Governor Phil Bryant and Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves showing over a million dollars cash-on-hand. Those are the types of numbers that keep only the most ardent of challengers from attempting a primary challenge and discourages Democrats hoping for momentum to take on the top two statewide officials."
 
SID SALTER (OPINION): Farm bill's passage reflects Cochran's experience
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "Mississippi's agriculture and forestry industries are a $7.3 billion business, employing almost one-third of Mississippi workers on 30 million acres. Those farmers and timber growers now have the certainty of a new federal farm bill for the next five years thanks, in great measure, to Mississippi U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. The fact that the farm bill balances the interests of Southern farmers with those of Midwestern farmers is a direct tribute to Cochran's legislative skill, his personal tenacity and the esteem in which Cochran is held among his Senate colleagues. ...Without Cochran, the farm bill would have looked a lot different not just for state farmers and timber growers, but for farmers all across the South."


SPORTS
 
Bulldogs' Ray seeks first February win
Mississippi State played its most complete game in Southeastern Conference play against Texas A&M on Jan. 18. The Bulldogs shot 52.7 percent from the field receiving 45 combined points from Craig Sword and Gavin Ware in an 81-72 overtime win in Starkville. MSU (13-8, 3-5) hopes for a similar performance at 8 p.m. tonight on CSS in College Station.
 
Polk urges students to avoid distractions
Former Mississippi State University baseball coach Ron Polk urged local students Saturday night to not get distracted if they want to succeed on the field and in life. He was the guest speaker at the First Pitch Dinner for the Philadelphia High School baseball and softball teams at the Philadelphia Country Club. Over 200 people attended the event, packing the country club banquet room. Polk said that kids today have more distractions than when he was a youth. Distractions can be anything that takes your attention away from your goals, he said.



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